Day:14: Leftovers, vegan pizza, and lots of fun!

We chalked up a W for thanksgiving (my football team and our cooking).  It does not matter if you are vegan or an extreme carnivore, the day after thanksgiving is characterized by a smorgasbord of leftovers!

Shelby spent the night and I woke her and Danielle up to the sound of the Vitamix blender roaring at full throttle.  This is a great way to get everyone up and going in the morning!  However I might have woken some of the neighbors up as well.  Heck, everyone deserves to get an early start to the day!

So after a delicious smoothie we were off to the beach.  The waves were pretty good as they were the day before.  I would call it about 6 to 8 foot at Blacks Beach with some 10 foot clean up sets.

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Blacks Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! It also happens to be one of the best beach breaks in the world.  The only catch is you have to walk down a very steep cliff for 20 minutes to get there.  They also have a road for the cautious which is also very steep.  After walking down, surfing, and then walking back up, we were all pretty hungry.

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We decided to go to our friend Kevin’s restaurant in La Jolla.  It’s called Extreme Pizza.  We had the Pandoras box.  It has spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, garlic, fresh basil, oregano and mozzarella (tomato sauce upon request, no charge).  We substituted soy cheese for the feta and mozzarella and added tomato sauce and it was the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!  Better than all of the pizzas that I have had with regular cheese on them.  All of the ingredients tasted so fresh and powerful.  If your in La Jolla check it out- LaJolla.extremepizza.com

Kevin has an aeroponics system on his patio that grows a lot of the vegetables that he uses as ingredients on his pizzas.

For all of you that have never seen an aeroponic systems before, check it out…

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It is like hydroponics but instead of having a tray that the plants sit in and the water and nutrients ebb and flows, the plants are planted up the tower and their roots are all growing down the center cylinder.  A pump then brings the water and nutrients up from the reservoir to the top of the tower and drips it down on the roots.  It can be operated nearly maintenance free with timers.  All you have to do is add water and nutrients. Very cool.  It is a great way to conserve space as well.

We were excited about dinner all day.  We knew we had a lot of yummy leftovers to work with.  Danielle pan fried some toast with a little olive oil.  Then she heated up the potatoes, carrots, onions, and turkey-less roast, and put it over the toast.  Finally she poured the heated up gravy over it all for a fantastic, southern style, open-faced sandwich.  My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.  I bet yours is too! We gobbled it down with out saving room for desert, but then we ate pumpkin pie.

I know that Danielle already talked about the pumpkin pie.  However, words can not do this recipe justice.  I love pie!  I would put money on the fact that anybody who knows their pie and tried some of this pie would fall in love.  Imagine regular pumpkin pie, only with way more significant flavors.  We talked earlier about how ginger helps the assimilation of nutrients in our bodies.  It also is believed in Ayurvedic circles that it creates a strong synergy with all the nutrients it is combined with.  In other words it makes the nutrients work together to create something bigger than themselves.  I think it also creates a synergy of ingredients and the way that they taste.   I could taste each ingredient as I euphorically dissected the flavors of this amazing new pumpkin pie.  Each so distinct and rich.  Thank you Danielle!  You shall forever cook our pies!  I am a happy man!  Chalk up another W!

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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 2- seems like day 6

Hi everyone! This is Travis, Danielle and I are going to alternate who writes the post so its my turn! So today was our second day eating as vegans. Im not sure if Im supposed to use that word but, oh well. We are so excited about our month long Vegan fast! However I must note that we did have a couple minor headaches over the last couple of days, we had some urges and a little moodiness. Overall though, Danielle and I feel splendid! We do not feel bogged down after we eat. We do not need that thirty minutes to “digest” on the couch.

Danielle loves structure, so we mapped out our week and what we were going to eat. I woke up this morning and realized that the bananas we needed for this mornings smoothie were not ripe yet. However I had already poured the blueberries in the Vitamix. So we had to change the plan a bit. I walked our beautiful Dog Bella while Danielle made this amazing smoothie she found on Incrediblesmoothies.com…

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Blueberry-Mango Smoothie
1 cup blueberries
1 mango
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1 whole carrot
1/2 – 1 cup water

Calories: 258 | Fat: 1.3g (grams) | Protein: 4.9g | Carbs: 66.1g | Calcium: 13% | Vitamin A: 287% | Vitamin C: 166%

It a little leafy at first. But with each sip my appreciation for the leafiness of this concoction my wonderful wife had made for us soared! By the end of the smoothie I was in love! I ended up finishing off what was left in the blender! We chased that down with a couple of pieces of 100% whole wheat flax seed organic bread that we get from Costco with some of almond butter we had made yesterday and a little honey on top. After breakfast we both had a remarkable increase in the amount of energy we had. “Real men eat plants,” I thought to my self. This was a quote from the movie we watched last night FORKS OVER KNIVES.

So after a dip in the hot tub and a shower, Danielle and I were ready for Lunch. I think we were more excited about using our new Vitamix than we were hungry. Especially since the next item on our menu was already one of our favorites even before we decided to change our eating habits. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. No Exclamation need. We took the recipe from the Vitamix website and It turned out absolutely phenomenal.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Submitted by: Steve Schimoler

Dietary Interest: vegetarian, gluten-free, low cholesterol, no added sugar, vegan

Yield:

3 1/2 c (840 g)

Difficulty:

Easy

Total Time:

11 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (170 g) roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • ½ cup (120 g) tahini paste
  • 2 ½ tablespoon (38 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 (6 g) garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3 cups (720 g) canned garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

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 until smooth. Add water if necessary to keep mixture flowing freely through blades.

The recipe made more than enough for our meal and Im sure we will be indulging in this heavenly hummus over the next few days. After we were done eating it, Danielle grabbed a pyrex container to put the remainder of the hummus in. “I don’t think it will all fit in there,” I warned her. Her eye brows dropped as she replied, ” yes it will.” She poured the hummus into the container and it was more than filled. “There you see” she smiled.” “The lid won’t fit on there,” I asserted. She put the top on anyway in disregard for what I said and Hummus spewed out of the sides of the lid all over the table, the floor, and the counter, as she carried it over the sink. I love my wife, and our relationship is quite hilarious at times.

We rode our bikes along the stream to the dog park this afternoon. Bella loves the dog park! However she pays more attention to her small green tennis ball than she does the other dogs.

After riding back home and relaxing for a bit we were ready to eat again. Next on our list was a recipe we have been salivating over for a while now. Tortilla soup. One word to describe this dish- delectable! Here is the Recipe…

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Tortilla Soup

Submitted by: Vitamix

Dietary Interest: vegetarian, low cholesterol, low fat, low sodium, no added sugar

Yield:

5 c (1.2 l)

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Total Time:

21 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (720 ml) chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
  • 1 roma tomato, halved or about 1/2 cup chopped
  • 1 carrot, halved or about 1/2 cup chopped
  • 1 rib celery, halved or about 1/3 cup chopped
  • 1 thin slice of onion, peeled or approximately 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 thin slice of yellow squash
  • 1 thin slice of red bell pepper
  • 1 thin slice of cabbage
  • 1 mushroom
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • dash ground cumin
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño
  • 1/4 cup olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) canned corn, unsalted
  • 2 ounces (60 g) tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Place stock, tomato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, squash, bell pepper, cabbage, mushroom and seasonings 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 5-6 minutes or until steam escapes from the vented lid.
  5. If adding optional ingredients, reduce speed to Variable 2.
  6. Remove the lid plug.
  7. Drop in jalapeños, olives, corn, and chips.
  8. Blend for an additional 10 seconds.

We initially forgot to put in the celery, and the soup was quite spicy. So I chopped a half of stock with our chef knife and sprinkled it into our bowls. The celery helps neutralize and at the same time compliment the taste of the Jalapeno. Unfortunately it was still a little spicy for Danielle and she could only eat half of the soup. Of course I was happy to help with the emptying of her bowl (into my mouth). After cleaning up we were out the door and on our way to church. When we got back from church we were in for another treat.

So simple, yet intensely rich and flavorful. Sultry sensations danced on our tongues, yet what we were eating was still vegan. It was the best I have ever had anywhere, and it was made at home. Hot Chocolate. So Smooth, so Creamy, so decadent, the perfect temperature- I could go for days about this beverage!

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Danielle’s Hot Chocolate.

2 cups of almond milk

1/4 cup of semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips.

Blended in the vitamix 6300 on the soup setting.

I will dream of this Hot Chocolate tonight, and for many nights to come. Our vitamix is now a part of the family!