Pancakes and Chocolate Mousse!

I started the morning with a perfect batch of “Perfect Pancakes” from Vegan Brunch. These are truly perfect. They are fluffy and classic tasting. I make them a lot, but today was the most perfect they’ve ever been. I halved the recipe so I don’t know if this had anything to do with it. All I know is they hit the spot this morning drizzled with agave syrup and served with some pumpkin spice coffee.

And while I enjoyed the pancake breakfast, I read the weekend’s section of Vegan’s Daily Companion. The recipe was for chocolate mousse. A very simple recipe that I happened to have all the ingredients for. I whipped it up later in the evening. I had a hard time getting the melted chocolate to incorporate completely into the mousse. I used my food processor and I think it might have been smoother if I’d made it in the Blendtec. But it still tasted delicious. It is very rich and the half cup serving size is plenty! The recipe makes six servings.

Let’s Eat: Raw Nachos!

These raw nachos were three days in the making! But they were totally worth it! I was inspired by my friend Ty over at Camera Phone Vegan.  She’s been eating high raw lately and we both love nachos. So when she made raw vegan nachos with a cashew queso sauce, I HAD to try it!

I started out by making juice pulp crackers a couple days ago. I always save the pulp when I juice veggies in a bag in the freezer. I’ve tried a few recipes but the one I used this time is by far my favorite. I used this recipe and the only thing I changed was that I used a half teaspoon of granulated garlic instead of fresh garlic, and I made them in my dehydrator instead of in the oven. I dehydrated them for about 12 hours at 115 degrees F- flipping once after a few hours. They looked like this when I took them out:

I cut the crackers into wedges and then broke them in half for the ‘chips’ in my nachos. When I was ready to make the nachos I arranged them on a plate and topped with chopped romaine and red bell pepper.

Then I made the queso sauce! Holy Moly! This stuff is awesome. I kept eating it out of the blender with a spoon. I used Ty’s recipe found here. The only things I did different were to use a red bell pepper instead of yellow, I added a clove of garlic, and I added a 1/4 teaspoon cumin. I liberally drizzled the sauce over my nachos and it was beautiful!

look at that sauce!

I thoroughly enjoyed these raw nachos and I plan to make them again and again! I have leftover sauce that I think I’ll use as a dip for veggies or a salad dressing later this week. YUM!

Whole Food Eating Day 2

I was planning to post about the raw nachos today, but yesterday afternoon didn’t turn out as planned and so raw nachos will be had tonight! (or someone is getting hurt!) We ended up going out to dinner last night and I had a big salad with beans and guacamole but I forgot to ask for the fritos to be left off (ok- I didn’t forget), but other than a handful of fritos the ‘taco’ salad was right in line with my plan.

Today I started out with more green juice and then a small cup of coffee. Since I didn’t prep anything last night and had to drive David to work this morning (the car is in the shop with a recall issue…), I didn’t make a fruit salad. I just grabbed an orange and a banana to eat at my desk. This wasn’t really enough food for the morning but I survived. I need to get in the habit of planning better so that convenience food doesn’t rule my life.

I sipped matcha green tea (my latest tea obsession) throughout the morning and waited (impatiently) until noon for my lunch.

I had more of the lentil pistachio salad and green beans that I had yesterday and I also added a mixed green salad with chili beans on top. I just grabbed the salad package and the beans on my way out the door and threw it together at lunchtime. It was was beautiful but it needed more flavor. I should have made a nice oil-free dressing. I ate a little bit of it but I just wasn’t feeling it so luckily I remembered that I had more green juice in the fridge at work. When I got home I had a small romaine and banana smoothie to tide me over until dinner was ready.

One of my goals for eating better is that I hope to wake up refreshed in the mornings. Currently I have to drag myself out of bed every day and I feel like if I didn’t have to go to work I would sleep until 10am. And I go to bed at 10pm! I know people have different sleep needs, but I’m not sure I should ‘need’ 12 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Here’s to another day of whole food eating!

Adventures in Whole Foods!

No, not the store, but actual whole foods! A few months ago I came to the harsh realization that although I eat lots of healthy foods I also eat lots of process junk foods. And just because they are vegan junk foods does not make them healthy! Anyone that follows me on Twitter knows how much I ADORE nachos. Like, LOVE them. OBSESSED with them. I always have tortilla chips in the pantry. I eat a variation of nachos at least once a week if not more often. Yes, I usually make my own vegan queso that is low fat and relatively healthy, and I sometimes put veggies on top of the chips and queso, but still. I am eating full fat, fried, processed, not even always organic tortilla chips! This needs to stop (not entirely (gawd forbid) – but just not as a regular habit).

And even more recently I realized that I have become addicted to sugar. In the afternoons, sitting at my desk, I get an overwhelming urge to eat something sweet and if I don’t get it I get all panicky! (umm, sugar-holics anonymous much?) And then, if I do eat something sugary, I get that terrible crash later and feel like I’m going to pass out at my desk! No Bueno.

So I’m embarking on some changes around JenoJoon-land. I’m focusing on whole foods and primarily on fruits, veggies, and beans. With a little bit of nuts and seeds thrown in and the occasional serving of a cooked grain or sprouted bread or pasta.

I’m taking parts of a few philosophies that work for me and combining them into an eating-habit revamp. This isn’t a cleanse or anything like that. I need to make some permanent changes. However, I was definitely inspired by Bianca of Vegan Crunk, who does a cleanse each January, and I decided to give The Crazy Sexy Diet another read. I’m incorporating green juice most mornings because I know how good it makes me feel. I’m also using the little ph sticks to test my alkaline/acid balance in my body. So far today I’ve been nice and balanced!

I’m reading Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live so I’m also incorporating lots of raw fruits and veggies (also recommended by The Crazy Sexy Diet). As well as some cooked veggies, lots of beans, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds.

So, with all that being said, here’s what I’ve eaten today:

Before I left for work I sipped eight ounces of fresh green juice. I juiced what I had on hand that needed using up so I did collards, bok choy, rainbow chard, romaine, a little carrot, a couple apples, half a lemon and a couple oranges. (this made enough juice for four servings) This made for a pretty spicy green juice but very tasty.

Then I ate some chia seed pudding that I’d made last night- just chia seeds, some organic soymilk, and a bit of stevia. It ‘gelled’ overnight and tasted like vanilla tapioca pudding. I also had a small cup of coffee with soymilk. I’m not giving up coffee. It brings me joy and I don’t think the 6 ounces I drink each day is going to hurt me…

chia seed pudding

Then I had a big fruit salad with a combo of fresh and frozen fruits: Frozen peaches and strawberries and a fresh orange and banana. Dr. Fuhrman recommends at least four fruits a day, so that was my breakfast.

fruit salad

I was definitely feeling hungry around 10am but I need to remind myself that it is ok to feel a little hungry between meals. My body needs down time. If I’m constantly eating, I’m constantly digesting! Dr. Fuhrman recommends not snacking between meals.

So I waited until lunch time to eat my next meal. I had some juice pulp crackers that I dehydrated (more about this tomorrow when I tell you about my raw NACHOS! See? Told you I wasn’t giving them up!), and two dishes that my mom gave me. She gets food delivered from a vegan food service sometimes and I always get to try some of the items. This week she gave me a lentil pistachio salad and green beans with leeks and fennel! So delicious. I’ll do a post on the food delivery service soon too.

lentil salad, green beans, and raw crackers

I guess this wasn’t all that different from a typical day for me, but it was what I DIDN’T eat instead of what I did eat that was so different. There was no snacking, no afternoon cookie gorging, and the only processed thing I had was the soymilk in my chia pudding and coffee. I had to make a concerted effort not to snack before dinner too. But I knew that I’d had plenty of food and plenty of nutrients throughout the day and also that I had an awesome raw dinner to look forward to!

I felt clear and energetic all day. Which was nice.

Cat Friends: Now Starrring David and Rocco!

Today’s Cat Friends is a guest post from my awesome Twitter friend, Madonna Monster! :) Let’s meet David and Rocco!

Shortly after my Yoda passed (http://madonna816.blogspot.com/2011/07/painful-journey.html), I found myself in my local PetSmart, looking for a gift for a friend’s pup. I couldn’t help but peek in on the kitties up for adoption. What a saw through the plexiglas instantly had me in tears. A tiny black kitten, all curled up. After a couple of minutes, he raised his head & I saw the white spot on his chest, just like my Yoda. I crumbled and all I could think of was holding that kitten. They were having open adoption hours later in the day so I called up my partner (who is now my wife) & asked her to meet me, because I knew I’d be a mess. Mind you, I was NOT ready to adopt. I was still grieving for my Yoda & crying several times a day. In my heart, I was looking for some kind of comfort from that kitten. Michelle, my wife, had other ideas.

So there we were. I was sitting on the floor, inside the cat room, holding that kitten & sobbing. I don’t remember much, beyond feeling pain. Then, Michelle piped up & said she wanted to take the kitten I was holding, along with the other tuxedo kitten that had been making a racket & zooming around the place. This seemed unacceptable to me. I felt like I was betraying Yoda. I was crying & pleading my case, but even the lady from the shelter was now trying to convince me, saying Yoda would want me to rescue them.

Baby Rocco and David

It’s now 4.5 years later &, as I type, the crazy, mouthy kitten, now a crazy, mouthy cat named David, is perched on my leg. The kitten I drenched with tears, now named Rocco, is curled up in his bed, just a few feet from me. At the time, the adoption definitely made my grieving process harder (I still find myself crying for my Yodie Bird), but I also can’t imagine life without David & Rocco.

BTW, when we adopted them, their names were Dave & Otto. Being a huge Madonna fan, their names were quickly changed to the names of Madonna’s sons.

Christmas 2011

Rocco, for the most part, is an angel. He sleeps about 22.5 hours a day (at least it seems that way). We make a huge deal of it when he walks into the room & we start cheering “Rocco’s awake! YAY!” He LOVES the home grown catnip that my best friend, Jay, sends us once or twice a year, along with the laser pointer, his chirping bird, and the strings on our hoodies. When we adopted him, he was the smaller of the 2, but he now dwarfs David. He tolerates being picked up & can’t wait to get down. However, he does love affection. We call him the stealth hugger, because he likes to sneak up on you, give you a head-butt & run away. He wants to be chased into the bathroom, where he flops on HIS mat (aka the bath mat) & rolls around, letting you pet, scratch & smooch him. Over the last year, he’s also started finding his voice, as small and high pitched as it is. It’s funny & heartwarming, all at once. He’s so big, thumps when he walks, is a loud jumper (like he’s going to crash through the floor), yet has the softest meow. He sounds like he’s straining to even make a noise. It tugs so hard on my heart.

Rocco, when awake, also runs to the door to greet me. The dog doesn’t even do that. The myth that cats are aloof is just that. Cat lovers know the truth. They are regal & want to be treated well, but they deserve it! They are also loving & sweet. 

Gorgeous Rocco

As for David, he is the exact opposite. I hardly know where to begin. He is definitely the boss (except for when Rocco has had enough of being pestered & kicks his butt. Thankfully it’s not daily & there has never been any blood *knock wood*). David is my shadow. My mouthy, bossy shadow. If I’m sitting, he’s either on me, or next to me. If I leave the room, he follows. He even yells at me the entire time I’m taking a shower.

David’s favorite toy is a polar fleece ‘string’ on the end of a plastic stick. He will drag it from room to room, demanding that we play with him. First we hear the plastic being dragged across the floor &, before we can say “oh crap,” the guttural meowing begins, with the toy still in his mouth. If you ignore him, it gets dropped in your lap & he’ll start pawing at your face.

Mouthy David

But the biggest frustration is the kitchen counter. I love to cook. Having 2 cats & a dog, it’s nearly impossible to avoid pet hair, but the idea of offering food that could be tainted is something that gives me anxiety every time I step foot into the kitchen. The cats are allowed everywhere, as they should be, except the kitchen counter. Rocco, God Bless Him, has figured it out. David, on the other hand, not so much. Daily, we do battle with the squirt bottle. The problem appears to be, not only does he feel entitled, he actually likes to be squirted. He’ll run away, but immediately return, & if he thinks I haven’t noticed his paws on the counter quickly enough, he yells at me, often with his tongue sticking out. I have never known a cat to stick their tongue out at you, while screaming at you, until David. We often call him The Punk, but he’s the cutest punk in the world!

Beyond our kitchen counter battle, I’m putty in his paws and he knows it. If I nap, he’s right there with me. If I bend over, he jumps on my back. The other day, while getting ready to go out, he made himself quite comfortable on my back. Being a “crazy cat lady,” I never want to disturb him, but it was starting to hurt (and I needed to leave) so I decided to start walking to see if he’d get down on his own. I need to mention that I have a bad hip & a pretty pronounced limp. Being bent over, the limp was even more pronounced so I thought for sure he’d jump down. The little bugger stayed on my back through three room & only jumped down when Michelle started to film us, because he didn’t like the bright light from the phone. http://youtu.be/yb67GjbnZ7A

Family!

I adore these two…so much so, it was painful to whittle down the amount of photos to submit. They bring us so much joy, we can’t imagine life without them. They are warm, safe, well fed, comfortable & endlessly loved so I can only imagine that they wouldn’t want life to be any other way, either.

omg!

The sad reality is that black cats are the hardest to adopt out. I don’t just know this as a statistic. I am a volunteer at a shelter in NH, that often has special, lower adoption fees for black/tuxedo cats (and dogs), because there still exists a stigma around them, in much the same way that there is a stigma around certain breeds of dog. I have personally shared my life with three tuxedos, spent time with black cats that lived with family members, and cared for them in the shelter. If anything, they have a tendency to be sweeter than any other type of cat. The stigma is silly & stems from mythology & superstitions. If you ever get the chance to adopt, and I hope that you do, because we’re overrun (spay & neuter, too…PLEASE), by all means adopt from your heart, but please don’t pass up black cats out of fear. Seriously, look at these faces!

Cutie David

Precious Rocco