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 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!