Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fabulous Alfredo Sauce with Whole Wheat Pasta!

WHAT??  Alfredo Sauce?  Aren't you like dieting or vegan or something??  Who knew you could make a plant based Alfredo Sauce??  Definitely a BIG drawback for this part Italian! 

But plant based Alfredo?  My Nana is up in Heaven, just a laughin' and asking "Why would you do such a thing?" or more like How??

Ok, so forgive me vegans, vegetarians, and all the other -atarians... I'm new to this ok?!

So, I drew off of other's recipes and kinda came up with my own.  It's not perfect and I'm sure it will be adjusted many times, but here's the basics...

1 cup Walnuts (everyone else's called for Cashews, but I only had Almonds, Pecans, and Walnuts.  Next time, we'll try different nuts..)
Garlic Clove (of course!)
3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (I love this stuff!)
3/4 cup Almond Milk
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce (I didn't have any Tamari on hand!)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard (maybe just a lil for you, but I like flavorful kicks!)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Paprika

Blend it all in the Cuisinart or Food Processor!  DE-LISH!

I made Whole Wheat Pasta, added a can of Diced Tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves.  It was wonderfully garlicky enough and the kids LOVED it!  Next time, we're going to try some Broccoli, Zucchini, Squash, Mushrooms, Spinach, Peas, (even Corn! As my son suggested, which um, ok, if he's willing to eat it!!) or anything else!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The basics of the Engine 2 Diet

Now, I know you think you've tried everything and some it is a big ol' YUCK in you're mind, but just ACTUALLY try it!  My hubby and children were adamant that they would not eat chili, tacos, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, etc. without some type of Meat on it.  Naturally, I made all these Wonderfully Yummy dishes that they ate up completely with NO leftovers and didn't even realize they were NOT eating any meat!  (Sometimes you just have to JUST DO IT and let the food do the talking! Score One for Mom!)


Salt:  Instead of salt, season with lime juice, lemon juice, low sodium tamari, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, vinegars, tomato juice, soy sauce, and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

Sweeteners: Replace ordinary sugar with pure maple syrup, Sucanat, turbinado sugar, blackstrap molasses, unrefined dark brown sugar, xylitol, fruit juice, mashed bananas, or applesauce.

Dairy and butter: Try sliced bananas and fruit and no-oil-added nut butters on toast in place of butter. Use blended Silken Lite soft tofu in recipes in place of sour cream and milk.

Spinach = chard = kale = cabbage = collards = mustard greens = arugula = bok choy = beet greens = romaine lettuce if you’re desperate

Potatoes = turnips = parsnips = beets = kohlrabi

Cabbage = broccoli = cauliflower = brussel sprouts = kohlrabi = bok choy

Winter squash = sweet potatoes = carrots

Leeks = onions = shallots = green onions = garlic

Celery = fennel = tart apple

Pears = apples

Broccoli = asparagus = peas = green beans = zucchini

Tofu, made from soybeans, is a hearty and very malleable food.  Tofu packed in water should be drained before using.  Tofu can be either soft or hard. Soft, or silken, tofu blends into a smooth cream and is excellent in desserts. Hard, or firm, tofu retains its shape, and can be sliced or crumbled. All tofu is about 40 percent fat (except for low-fat versions).  Firm or extra-firm tofu can be drained and then pressed firmly with a cloth to remove excess water. Crumble, slice, or dice it, and add it to the skillet for a spin
with your favorite vegetables and seasonings.  Marinate tofu the way you would chicken or fish—with herbs, citrus juice, cracked black pepper, vinegar, tamari, soy sauce, or wine. Cook marinated tofu in a sprayed skillet, under the broiler, or on a sprayed grill until it is nicely browned on both sides.  Try freezing a drained block of tofu in the freezer. After it thaws, frozen tofu soaks up marinades easily since it becomes more porous in the freezing process. It also changes slightly in consistency, becoming chewier.

Seitan is a wonderful substitute for chicken or beef, and comes in both flavors.  Derived from wheat in a process that extracts the gluten or wheat protein, it slices and dices easily without falling apart, and is delicious plain.

Tempeh is a form of fermented, unprocessed tofu; it is remarkably nutritious.  It usually comes in hard bricks that can be sliced or chopped, then added to stir-fries or chilies. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Introduction to "Engine 2 Diet" with Rip Esselstyn!

A couple months ago, I delved into juicing and trying a plant based diet and that really went well. I felt healthy, lost some weight, and had better than ever before energy.   I hadn't been able to give up the dairy, but after about 6 weeks and Christmas, my family sabotagers worked my will power down to nothing and I was back to not feeling good, let alone being healthy, and I started gaining weight again.  I started looking again at how I could get off the roller coaster and get on the straight and narrow track.  I had to find something to get me motivated again.  I went back to my netflix and tried watching one of the movies that helped get me headed in the right direction in the first place - Forks Over Knives.

So, I'll say it once again, if you haven't had a chance, watch Forks Over Knives and Forks Over Knives: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue!  It is life altering, even if initially there's some groaning or sadness over what your spouse thinks you need to "give up."  I'd recommend watching it with the whole family, which is what we did in order to keep everyone on the same page and have our own lil' support group! 

Since, there's no "Whole Foods" store or anything similar nearby, the whole family went to a local bargain country store that had loads of vegetables and fruits and all their "healthfood" products discounted.  (I'm suspectin' that there ain't much need for a 'healthy' diet when you have an abundance of southern food around ya'!)  It wasn't a totally pleasant experience for the family, as they were absolutely miserable finding out what they shouldn't be eating anymore!  But, they prevailed and continued to read labels and determine for themselves if what they chose was a good choice.  If nothing else, it was a good class in 'Nutrition' and 'Life Skills', the spouse included!

Jumping right in is my specialty, however, that can lead to frustration, which is what it did.  Spending all my time planning, led to either eating the same basic staples or skipping meals altogether - neither of which are good.  Getting the family involved has been a tremendous learning experience for everyone and is the right way to stay on track!