Day 12: An arsenal fruit

Today was a great day.  We woke up to a very potent and tasty juice. Ill call it..

Danielle’s Ginger Carrot Apple Juice

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4 carrots

3 apples

a chunk of ginger root the size of an egg.

Directions:  Put all ingredients into the juicer and enjoy!

Wooooooooooooow!!!!!!!!   This drink was strong.  I had a buzz after drinking it.  It had enough zing in it to knock down a horse!  It was a great way to start off the day.

Ginger is one of the healthiest foods on this planet!  I did some research on Ayurveda a while back which is an ancient Indian health and healing science.  It literally means in sanskrit “the science of life.”  They regard ginger as one of the most important foods in health and healing.  They still use it in everyday life very extensively.  They use it to treat ailments and illnesses as well as for preventative health.  Hear are some stats on Ginger taken from the following website…

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-healing-benefits-of-ginger

10 Terrific Benefits of Ginger


1. Haven’t been feeling hungry? Eat fresh ginger just before lunch to stoke a dull appetite and fire up the digestive juices.

2. Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body.

3. Ginger clears the ‘microcirculatory channels’ of the body, including the pesky sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time.

4. Feeling airsick or nauseous? Chew on ginger, preferably tossed in a little honey.

5. Can’t stop the toot-a-thon? Gas—oops—guess what?! Ginger helps reduce flatulence!

6. Tummy moaning and groaning under cramps? Munch on ginger.

7. Reeling under joint pain? Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory properties—can bring relief. Float some ginger essential oil into your bath to help aching muscles and joints.

8. Got a surgery done? Chewing ginger post-operation can help overcome nausea.

9. Stir up some ginger tea to get rid of throat and nose congestion. And when there’s a nip in the air, the warming benefits of this tasty tea are even greater!

10. Bedroom blues? Try adding a gingery punch to a bowl of soup. (Pss…the Ayurvedic texts credit ginger with aphrodisiac properties)

3 Ways to Use Ginger

1. Ginger & Herb Rice

Cook basmati rice. When you take the lid off the pan, quickly stir in finely chopped garlic, ginger, green chillies and fresh cilantro leaves—the burst of flavor and fragrance will drive your senses crazy with desire!

2. Ginger In Your Juice

‘Grate’ idea: grate some ginger root and put it in your juicer, along with carrots and apples and a little lemon juice. Totally yummy, and of course, so good for you!

3. Gingery Dessert

Even a smidgen of grated ginger on your vanilla pana cotta or strawberry sorbet can wake up the flavor!

The coolest characteristic is that it makes your body absorb the nutrients of everything else more efficiently.  I use to be apart of a network marketing company that sold a Juice that was formulated based on Ayurvedic principles.  Ginger was a key component for this reason and many others.  It also has strong anti-oxidant properties.  It is one of those foods that you can just taste the extreme nutrition.

For lunch Danielle heated up some bread that we bought from the Farmers market yesterday.  It was basically two thick homemade flour tortillas with a spinach curry in the middle.  It made for a great lunch, especially dipped in the nutritional garlic dressing!  Mmmm mmmmm!

We nibbled on some grapes and I ate some more mac and sweet potato “cheese.”  However we where still hungry when we went to Costco today.  It was awful!  It is like going through the gauntlet!  Samples, Samples, Samples!! Every where you look.  Not one vegan sample!  They had Creme puffs, chicken bowls, chicken egg roll lookin’ things, milk chocolate peanut butter cups, triple layer dip, cheese and crackers, mac and cheese, green been casserole, french onion dip, etc.  But the worst one was the cinnamon rolls!  I could smell them almost the whole time we were in there!  It wasn’t just Costco either!  Trader Joes was giving out whole slices of pumpkin pie.  My Favorite!

Oh well I enjoy exercising my will power and being healthy!  We got some more groceries today as well that I am pretty excited about!  Among them, a three pound bag of organic frozen berries, a four pound bag of frozen organic peaches, more acai, and more granola.  Breakfast is going to be good the next couple of days!

For dinner we made brussels sprouts!  Here is the recipe we used from the following website…

http://bomphenom.com/2012/11/20/nutty-roasted-brussel-sprouts/

Nutty Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Prep time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound whole brussel sprouts
1 medium red onion (about 1½ cups)
4 ounces raw pecan halves (about ¾ cup)
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Rinse brussel sprouts, trim the ends, slice in half and place in a single layer in a casserole dish.
Slice the onion into wedges and add to the brussel sprouts along with the pecans.

Sprinkle the spices and nutritional yeast evenly over the dish and drizzle with olive oil. Mix the ingredients together using a spoon or spatula, return them to an even layer in the dish, and pop it in the oven.

Roast for 45 minutes, checking and mixing the ingredients every 15 minutes.

When it’s time, remove the dish from oven, let cool for at least 5 minutes then serve.

Enjoy!

We did not use any nuts.  And it still turned out amazing!

Tomorrow’s smoothie is going to  be magical!  I am going to go to bed now so I can wake up and make it! Good night.

 

Day 10: A world of possibilities

So many people think that becoming a vegan, even just cutting out meat from ones diet, drastically reduces the amount of options that you have when choosing what you are going to eat.   I think that this is a terrible misconception.  The truth is that there are so many fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, roots, and other whole foods that you and I have never even heard of.  The abundance of natural food on earth is incredible!  In becoming vegan, Danielle and I have exercised our creativity when it comes to cooking and thus diversified what we are consuming.  The variety of food that we’re eating has increased so dramatically!  We are having so much fun exploring all of these wonderful foods that we only dabbled in or did not even know existed before.

So yesterday we ate Oatmeal Cranberry pancakes again.  If you have been following our blogs then you have already seen that recipe.  We already told you how good they taste. Our eating them again is testament too that.

For Lunch and dinner we ate my new favorite dish.  I had a feeling it was going to be fantastic, so when Danielle was putting the recipe together she said I’ll just double it for 4 servings.  I said why don’t we quadruple that sucker!  Thats just what we did!

Whole-Wheat Macaroni & Sweet Potato Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked noodles (according to package instructions)
  • 1/2 baked sweet potato
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil for crust

In a medium-sized bowl combine the sweet potato half, juice of half a lemon, mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Fold 1 cup of cooked noodles into the sweet potato “cheese”.

Place the mixture into a serving-size baking dish.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast over the dish and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. This will allow the top to crisp while cooking.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown. Serve and enjoy!

It tasted like normal Macaroni and cheese, but with way more distinct flavors.  If I were to eat as much regular Mac n cheese as I did this, I would have had to sit on the couch for an hour afterwards.  Danielle and I both felt great!   I heated up some today and it was just as marvelous!

We found out today that our apartment managers are going to release us from the lease early because of all of the issues that we have had.  I am not going to get into all of that, but this definitely means that we will commence on our expedition across the country in about 10 days!  We are getting so excited!  It will include but is not limited to…

Big Sur

Santa Cruz

San Francisco

Wine tasting in Napa

Yosemite if the weather permits

Hiking in Utah

Josh Garrels concert in Boulder Colorado

honky tonk with Paul Secord

we are bringing our Vitamix and our juicer!

Stay tuned!

We will absolutely keep you guys posted on that!

Day 7: Nutritarian has a nice ring to it!

Travis and I have gotten through 7 days of this VEGAN  CHALLENGE! We are feeling really good and very optimistic about it! I was sent the following and I wanted to share: It’s from Dr. Fuhrman’s website (he is an amazing nutritionalist that was in the movie Fat, Sick , and nearly dead: we watched it tonight!)

What is a Nutritarian?

Simply put, a nutritarian is a person who strives for more micronutrients per calorie in their diet-style. A nutritarian understands that food has powerful disease-protecting and therapeutic effects and seeks to consume a broad array of micronutrients via their food choices. It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats, consume foods with a low glycemic index, lower the intake of animal products, or eat a diet of mostly raw foods. A truly healthy diet must be micronutrient rich and the micronutrient richness must be adjusted to meet individual needs. The foods with the highest micronutrient per calorie scores are green vegetables, colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. For optimal health and to combat disease, it is necessary to consume enough of these foods that deliver the highest concentration of nutrients.

A nutritarian is a person whose food choices are influenced by nutritional quality.

Now this sounds like something we really like! Why not evaluate what types of foods you are putting into your body?! I want to live a long and healthy life and eating healthy is a HUGE step towards that goal.

So, we woke up really early for an appointment we had. Travis threw together a fast Acai Bowl that was ASTONISHING! I sure love my husband so much and I’m super impressed with his skills in the kitchen! Here is his Acai Bowl Recipe:

Travis’ Acai Bowl Recipe:

2 Packets of Organic Sambazon Acai Berry and Guarana Smoothie Packets(run them under warm water for a couple minutes, if frozen, to loosen)

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup of organic apple juice

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries (blueberries are the best, but we were out of them)

1 tablespoon of honey

Organic Granola.

He threw it all in the Vitamix and hit the frozen smoothie setting… then we put the granola on top. Words can’t even describe how delicious this was! Acai berry is so high in antioxidants and the taste is wonderful.

We knew we would be gone for awhile, so I grabbed some of my homemade trail mix (see recipe below) and an apple for the road.

Danielle’s Homemade Trail Mix:

3 cups of roasted almonds

1 cup of dried organic cranberries

1 cup of semi-sweet vegan chocolates

1/2-1 cup of organic sunflower seeds

Toss together. SO GOOD!

After our errands, we came home and I was super hungry. I threw together a pasta, spinach, garlic, and tomato sauce dish. It was very simple, but very tasty!

Travis and I decided to make dinner together, so I worked on the butternut squash and he worked on the Jalapeno and Cilantro Hummus.

Since we made hummus the other day and it turned out so amazing, I suggested he use the Tahini paste that we have so much of. So he did, and it turned out horrible. I guess the Tahini paste wasn’t called for in this recipe. I felt a bit guilty for suggesting it, but Travis is always so sweet and just kept trying to make it better. Needless to say, I won’t post that recipe until we perfect it! It’s all about working towards the same goal: eating healthy and tasty food, right? I decided to make a butternut squash bake and it turned out great!

Danielle’s Butternut Squash Bake:

3 cups of chopped butternut squash (large chunks)

4 tablespoons of water

2-3 tablespoons of honey

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the squash in a 8×8 dish and add the water.

Once the oven is preheated, put the dish in for 20 minutes (uncovered)

Remove and add the honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Put back in the oven for 20 more minutes.

*Make sure to check every 10 minutes throughout cooking and stir the squash to ensure they are getting fully cooked.

THIS WAS WONDERFUL! Sweet, but hearty and healthy!

Travis and I were pretty bummed out about the turnout of the hummus, but he still ate some with corn chips. I tried, but couldn’t stomach it… so we threw together a quick green smoothie with Basil! The basil was Travis’ idea and it turned out DELISH! Here is the recipe:

Travis and Danielle’s Basil and Spinach Smoothie Treat:

1/2 cup organic basil

2 cups of organic spinach

4 clementines

1 orange

1 tablespoon of organic orange juice concentrate

We just put the Frozen Smoothie setting on the VITAMIX and let that bad boy do the job! It was VERY basil-ish, but after the first few sips, it was so good. Travis loved it!

Since we have been so into documentaries lately, we wanted to watch the one many people have been talking about: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. If you haven’t seen it, DO IT! It is truly an amazing story and some really good points and statistics. Travis and Bella looked so cute cuddling on the couch, I had to take a picture…

 

After the movie, we ended up falling to sleep pretty early because this is the first Friday night that we didn’t have to run our hot dog cart company, since we sold it on Weds.  I have noticed that we have been sleeping a lot better and I don’t feel nearly as bloated as I use to, while eating meats and dairy. I know for a fact this has to do with our new challenge of eating Vegan. I can’t wait to see what the days ahead bring. We are leaving for our up the coast and cross country trip in 2 weeks! I think it will be very interesting to see how well we do with traveling and trying to eat this healthy. We are always up for new challenges and look forward to it!

Thank you for reading.

Day 6: We are really enjoying this!

Last night was officially our last night selling hot dogs! We sold our hot dog cart company to a great couple who we believe will do well with the business.  And it was an absolute burden lifter.  It was so difficult cooking bacon, hot dogs, and sausages, with cream cheese and shredded cheese for hours and selling something that we really no longer believed in.  What we were doing was supporting the problem.  Now it will be a lot easier to concentrate on this very enjoyable and challenging adventure we have set out on.  Ok lets get to the food… Before preparing breakfast (not cooking) I looked at our meal planner and realized that the peaches and cream recipe was not going to be the one. The bananas were ripe and I had to use at least one.  So now, with all of my experience with the vitamix, I felt comfortable throwing my own recipe together.  This is what I came up with.

Travis’ all fruit Smoothie

1 perfectly ripe banana peeled

1 orange peeled

1 clementine peeled

1 1/2 cups of organic mixed berries (frozen)

Directions:  Put a half cup of water in blender, add all ingedients, no ice because of frozen berries, and then hit the smoothie setting, which is probably about a 4 on the variable speed setting if you do not have the new machine.

It was nothing short of magical.  And believe it or not, we are still eating almond butter and honey on organic whole wheat flax seed bread, and it still tastes amazing!  We have more left still! We made a lot the first day!

After breakfast we showered and went to run some errands.  After shopping for a while we were hungry again.  We stumbled on a restaurant called true foods.  We figured we would give it a try.  We ordered a teriyaki tofu and asian vegetable bowl with organic whole wheat rice.  It was extremely yummy!  It even showed up my tofu bowl!  However I assured myself and Danielle that if I had the organic whole wheat rice that my bowl would have been as good or better.  Regardless, this restaurant gets two thumbs up from us!  They had a herb garden on wheels at the door!

We went home and worked on getting rid of some things and selling others to prepare us for our move and trip across country.  We are both getting really excited! I also ate some left overs from last night to hold me over.   After a couple hours, wouldn’t ya know- we were hungry again.  So we decided to try a different variation on the tortilla soup.  It is and was as follows.

Vegan Tortilla Soup1 yellow or zucchini squash, cut in large chunks
1 carrot, scrubbed and cut in large chunks
1 stalk celery, cut in large chunks
1 fresh tomato, or 1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/4 fresh onion
1/2 bell pepper or 3 small bell peppers
1 garlic clove or 1 T fresh minced garlic
1 wedge cabbage
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 vegetable boullion cube or 1 T vegetable boullion powder
3 cups boiling water (I did this in a teapot)
1 T taco seasoning1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans (drained)
1 cup tortilla chips

Place all ingredients except last three in Vita-Mix. Secure lid and turn machine on Low, then increase to High. Run for 3-4 minutes until steam escapes through lid opening. Reduce speed to Low. Remove lid and drop in corn, black beans, and chips. Run for an additional 10 seconds. Serve immediately. Makes about 8 servings.

It turned out a bit frothy, but tasted good!  We have yet to perfect this dish.  We have decided that we will go back and find the vitamix salesperson and watch them make it again.  The frothiness might have been the result of using broth instead of bullion.  Next time we will use bullion.  Nevertheless we both slurped up every drop from our bowl, and we have a lot left over.
Danielle had a headache this morning and had to take some Ibruprofen.  Rene, our health counselor and Danielle’s step mom, advised us that this is a normal withdraw symptom.  Her and Skip, Danielle’s dad told us we need to drink plenty of water.  We have always done this, but I think that with the current state of detoxification of our bodies we need to drink even more!  After all nobody has ever overdosed on water.
We watched a throw back surf flick- called SHELTER. Highly recommended. We watched another great documentary tonight on Netflix called FOOD MATTERS.  It was excellent.  We gave it five stars.  Netflix is so much better that T.V.
Thanks for following us on our journey!  Tomorrow  morning I am going to make an acai bowl!
Good night!

Day 4: We are getting good at this!

Today was such a beautiful day!  I woke up and to the magical sound of a 2 horsepower Vitamix blender Roaring.  They are quite clamorous in a small apartment compared to the giant warehouse where we first observed one in action.  Nevertheless I was extremely excited because I knew instantly what this machine was capable of.  As has been said oh so many times- a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Going Green Smoothie

Submitted by:  Vitamix

Dietary Interest:  vegetariangluten-freelow cholesterollow fatlow sodiumno added sugarraw foodsvegan

Yield:

3 1/2 c (840 ml)

Difficulty:

Easy

Total Time:

11 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (160 g) green grapes
  • 1/2 cup (78 g) pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups (60 g) fresh spinach, packed
  • 1/2 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) ice cubes

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Toast with almond butter and honey was the perfect compliment to the smoothie for a complete breakfast.  Thank you to my beautiful wife for making me a meal fit for a king!  Today was not as eventful as yesterday, but the food was the best we have made yet!  We ran some errands and did some laundry.  We sliced some organic carrots up put them in a cup and grabbed the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  This was a perfect mid day snack and very scrumptous! After we got back from running errands, we decided that we were hungry again.  While doing laundry Danielle whipped up the most palatable soup I have ever tasted.

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Carrot Ginger Tofu Soup

Submitted by:  Vitamix

Dietary Interest:  vegetarianlow cholesterolno added sugarvegan

Yield:

4 1/2 c (1 l)

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Total Time:

25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (244 g) medium carrots, peeled, halved or 2 cups chopped
  • 1/4 (18 g) small onion, peeled or 2 tablespoons chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root or Ginger Paste
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) light silken tofu
  • 2 cups (480 ml) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

Directions

  1. Place carrots, onion and garlic into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 4 or 5.
  4. Blend for 10 seconds or until chopped.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan and sauté chopped ingredients until onion is clear and carrots are tender. Add a little broth, if needed.
  6. Place remaining ingredients into the Vitamix container, add sautéed ingredients and secure lid.
  7. Select Variable 1.
  8. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  9. Blend for 3-4 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid.

I gobbled down my bowl faster than a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck! Once I was done I looked over and noticed that Danielle had only eaten about half of hers. I tried to convince her to eat the rest. I was somewhat flabbergasted.  That soup was a divine miracle sent down from god to redeem us from our feeble eating habits!  I even licked the bowl! P.S. Ginger is one of the best things you can put in your body.

After probing her, and trying to get her to eat the soup, the truth came out.  It looked too much like mustard! If you know Danielle at all, you will know that she is not very fond of condiments.  Especially mustard, relish, and the dreaded m word 😦 which I am not at liberty to mention.  After I poked fun at her for a little she said it was really because it was too rich.  I love my wife, but she is silly sometimes.  An hour later she was hungry again so we had some Hot chocolate (refer back to day 2 for recipe).  Ok so fast forward to dinner  and the most revered meal of all time! Now, I know I have built up every meal we have eaten so far, but this one…

This one was special!

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Stir-fried Eggplant and Tofu
From Sunset

Time: 25 minutes.

 
Yield:
Serves 4
 
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons vegtable oil
1 package (18 oz.) firm tofu, drained, cut into 1 1/2- by 2-in. chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1- by 3-in. strips
1 small red or green bell pepper, cut into 1-in. pieces
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
 
Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, add tofu, and gently cook, turning tofu occasionally, until browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer tofu to a plate.

2. Cook garlic, eggplant, and bell pepper in pan until softened, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce and cook until heated through, another 2 minutes. Return tofu to pan and gently stir to coat. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves. Serve over rice.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

 
Nutrition Information:
CALORIES: 263 (55 % from fat)
FAT: 16 g (sat: 2.4 g, mono: , poly: )
CARBOHYDRATE: 21 g
FIBER: 3.3 g
CALCIUM:
CHOLESTEROL: 0.0 mg
IRON:
PROTEIN: 14 g
SODIUM: 1170 mg
 
We substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil and probably used a little more than three tablespoons.  Also we added some chopped white mushrooms and used roasted red pepper instead of fresh bell.  This time we both devoured everything in our bowls.  What little was left on the stove disappeared instantaneously.  After dinner we agreed that we were getting pretty good at this! Toot Toot!