Monthly Archives: January 2012

Meatless Monday: Collard Greens & Rice

Veggie plate, anyone?

Our weekly CSA veggie basket is brimming with greens every week this time of year. We had to find some favorite preparation methods or we were in danger of dreading the basket instead of looking forward to it. We stumbled upon this recipe, and now we HOPE to see collard greens in our basket. Go figure!

Collard greens with rice

• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 1 cup brown* or long-grain white rice
• 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 cups chopped collard leaves, loosely packed
• pepper

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#38: What is IS

What does your present look like?

Listen to yourself talking to your friends about your typical “I ate this,” “I really shouldn’t eat that,” “I feel so…” body conversations.

If you are always looking to a certain weight or measurement that you think will make you finally “just right,” then your life—where you are and who you are right now—is just a means to an end. You’ll be missing out on the you that you are at this moment, and frankly, the goal weight or whatever it is you have in mind will likely make you only fleetingly happy. You can become addicted to seeking.

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Meatless Monday: Lentil Burritos (reprise)

Just had these and decided to bring them back to your plate, too.

Lentil Burritos

½ package of Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils
1 small onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (4 oz) shredded soy cheese
1 cup vegetable broth
About 8 small flour tortillas
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce (with roasted garlic if you can find it)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon taco sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Toppings: Tofutti sour cream, guacamole (when avocados are in season)

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#37: Focus on the Progress…

…not the slip-ups!

Focus on your progress, not your slip-ups. For slip-ups there will inevitably be. If there were no slip-ups, there would be no challenge, and life would be easy, and everyone would be healthy and skinny and“The Doctors” would go off the air.

Focus on the now. What can you do, say, think, feel, eat right now that will make you a better you? Just because you ate a huge dinner out last night does not ruin your diet and give you carte blanche to continue eating badly until Sunday night at midnight, at which point you will virtuously start from scratch and never slip up again. Start right now. The body is amazingly forgiving.

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Meatless Monday: Soyrizo Tacos

You won’t believe how “meaty” these tacos are.

Soyrizo Tacos 

Hello, delicious! You won’t believe how easy and non-meaty these meaty-tasting tacos are.

  • 1 package veggie chorizo (We love Trader Joe’s Soyrizo)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • Shredded cheese (Trader Joe’s soy shredded is our pick)
  • Small flour tortillas

Toppings:

  • Tofutti sour cream
  • Taco sauce

So easy: Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the soyrizo and heat through. We like to sear our tortilla shells by holding them over the burner with tongs for 10-15 seconds per side. Don’t burn your house down, though—cover them in paper towels and warm in the microwave if you don’t want to sear them!

Put the soyrizo mixture in the shells, add sour cream, taco sauce, and any other toppings that suit your fancy, and you’ve got dinner!

(Based loosely on a recipe in The Kind Diet)

#36: Food Is Our Fuel

Do you REALLY know what you’re putting in your body?

I don’t pretend to be a nutritionist, but I am very interested in the human diet. You can exercise as hard as you can every day of the week, but if you eat a crappy diet, you won’t look as good as you want to look, and you won’t be healthy. Fortunately, usually when you exercise regularly, you tend to eat a little better because you don’t want to screw up the hard work you just put in at the gym. But there always seems to be room for improvement.

Eating virtuously is pretty much impossible, especially if you want to have a social life, or any fun at all. And you’ll recall, too, that I don’t believe in all or nothing behavior. So in terms of eating a very good diet, let’s assume that we’re talking about most of the time.

See if this will click for you the way it clicked for me: Think of food as fuel. Our cars need gas to go, and we would never put anything in the gas tank but gas. So why do we clutter our bodies with so many non-energy-producing edible things? They clog up our plumbing and make us feel sluggish, ill, or heavy. Foods that are not fuel are extraneous. They just get in the way of health.

If you don’t already, take an interest in the nutritional content of the foods you eat. When I put carrots on my daughter’s plate, I’ll say, “Oooh, these are good for your eyes, so you can see better at night!” When you know what amazing things different foods do for your body, you might be more interested in consuming them. If Omega 3s are going to help my brain function, protect me from heart attacks and stroke, and keep my menstrual cramps from being very painful, sign me up—how can I not try to find a way to include them in my diet every day?

Which leads to a thoughtful idea: Maybe you can learn to choose your foods according to the nutrients you need, rather than grabbing whatever foods are closest and then wondering (later) about what might be in them.

It’s empowering to be in control of what goes into your body. It’s empowering to know about the foods you are eating, and what they are doing for you. We are not helpless creatures, with no hope but to suffer saggy bellies for the rest of our lives. You have everything you need to run a smoothly operating system. Just don’t look for it in the middle aisles of the grocery store!

Meatless Monday: Santa Fe Pizza

Meatless Monday week 2

Santa Fe Pizza (adapted from Bon Appetit’s fast, easy, fresh cookbook)

  • 1 fully baked thin whole wheat pizza crust (we love the ones from Whole Foods)
  • 1-2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese (we use Trader Joe’s shredded soy cheese)
  • 2 c “chicken” strips,* cut into cubes and browned lightly in a T of olive oil (it will continue to cook in oven)
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ c thinly sliced red onion
  • Small can of no-salt-added corn
  • 1-2 T chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped (jarred works great)
  • Salsa of your choice

*Our favorites are Morningstar Farms and Gardein—any that sound good to you will do!

Preheat oven to 425. Place crust on baking sheet. Sprinkle about half the cheese, chicken cubes, and cumin over crust, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Top liberally with onion, corn, cilantro, remaining cheese, and jalapenos. Bake pizza until crust is crisp and toppings are heated through, about 10-12 minutes. (We like to broil the pizza for 1 minute at this point to melt the soy cheese and brown the crust a tiny bit more.) Top with dollops of Tofutti sour cream, salsa, and avocado when it’s in season!

This is the basic recipe, but feel free to add toppings you think sound good—I’d love to hear what you come up with!

#35: Overdoing It

Be consistent without overdoing it—or it will not last.

I’m not a fan of deprivation. So if you ask me what I think about your “grapefruit cleanse,” I’ll probably tell you what I think, and it won’t be, “Well, get to it!”

Have you ever tried to go without sugar for a week? Alcohol for a month? Meat for a day? Then you likely know that for that sugar-free week your mind was racing….and all it was thinking about was the jar of Hershey’s kisses on your co-worker’s desk. Deprivation doesn’t work. It makes you crazy in the head until you break down and eat not just one Hershey’s kiss, but half the jar. If you had rather taken just one candy for after lunch each afternoon, you would have been satisfied of your sugar craving, and would have moved on to the rest of your day just 26 calories heavier, rather than the embarrassing number of calories heavier you are now that you ate seven kisses without taking a breath.

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Meatless Monday is back!

Make a big pot of this soup and enjoy for dinner as well as lunch the next day. You’ll love it!

Tortilla Soup 

  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced (we use jarred, pre-chopped)
  • 1 poblano or green pepper, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ t red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 t salt
  • 24-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 24 oz vegetable broth (we love no-chicken broth)
  • 2-ish cups baked tortilla chips
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can no-salt-added corn, drained
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime

Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, jalapenos, and poblano pepper in the oil until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Use a little nonstick cooking spray or broth if needed. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt, and sauté for another minute.

Break up the tomatoes with your fingers and add them to the pot, including the juice. Fill the tomato can with the vegetable broth and add that to the pot. Mix in the cumin. Crush 2 ounces of the chips into crumbs (some bigger pieces are okay) and add those. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the beans, corn, and cilantro, and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Add the lime juice and taste for salt and seasoning. Ladle the soup into bowls, crumble the remaining tortilla chips over the top, and garnish with cilantro. YUM! (Thank you, Isa Chandra Moskowitz—Appetite for Reduction)