Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soul Food

Sadly, I finished Kathy Freston's "Veganist" today. I say sadly because, as any reader knows, a good book becomes a friend, and turning the last page means saying goodbye. This is why it's not uncommon for avid readers to read some of their favorites over and over again. Of Note: I've only read one book twice in my life and it was, "Rats Saw God" by Rob Thomas. I read it in High School and again in college. Not sure why I capitalized H and S in high school, but we'll leave it ;)

Anyway- this book opened me up and spoke directly to my soul. I fell like Kathy knew me, and wrote it for me. For the person on a spiritual journey. This isn't about Christianity singularly, it's about MY spirit and YOUR spirit, and all of the things we do, places we go, people we meet, and the things we eat that serve our spirit. The condition of our spirit defines the condition of our emotions, which defines how we life our lives with other people.

Eating is, has been, and always SHOULD be a spiritual experience. To eat mindfully is to realize what you're putting in your mouth will affect your hunger now, and your health later. To eat connects you with the beginning of time, the very plants (and animals if you go that route) that God provided FOR US back in Eden. Our spirits should always dwell in Eden, should always dwell before "The Fall."

I don't mean to get heady about it, but so many of the words in her book felt like a gut punch, in the best way a gut punch could feel. I suddenly looked at my kitchen-in my fridge, freezer, and pantry- and studied what they all said about me, my family, how we live our lives, how we choose to live our future.

Now, I don't know where my spiritual path with food will take me. I don't know if I will ever "become" a card-carrying Vegan. However, I know that I will forever make choices based on the world. In no other country than the U.S.A. does what we eat say so much about how we view ourselves, our place in the world, and the place of others in the world. My kitchen is now more a place of ingredients. A place to make food, not store food that others have made that can last an odd amount of time on a shelf. Grab and Go food around here is in the form of fruits, vegetables, and homemade bread.

On this road I can certainly say I will never again eat as much meat as I have been. That is for certain. I can envision myself not eating flesh ever again. Not so much because I think it's wrong to eat animals and everyone should be ashamed- it's just not currently sitting right with me for a host of reasons better saved for an entirely different post. I've gone YEARS without eating meat before, only to forget in a split second bite of a burger why I ever made that choice in the first place.

If my journey to "eating nirvana," if you will, DOES lead me to Veganism, I can also say with certainty that bacon and cheese will be the last things to go- and likely in that order. I don't drink cow's milk now as it is (I just dont- I drink almond milk mostly...again, that could be another post) so that part of dairy won't be difficult to part with. However bacon and cheese are spiritual experiences on their own. And, I've tried fake's just insulting ;) I can't say I've ever tried fake cheese. I've used vegan grated "parmesan cheese" before but it's more for salt than taste anyway, and I didn't notice much difference.

This post wasn't entirely spawned by "Veganist." I also, this week, watched "Food, Inc." Due to reading "Veganist" at the same time, and having spent several years as a vegetarian for a number of reasons, AND frequenting the PETA site, not a TON in that movie was shocking- but it was very cerebral. It tied in the slaughter house snuff that PETA shows with the food industry molestation, portrayed by "Fast Food Nation" or "Supersize Me." It ties it together in an eloquent package and doesn't get in your face Michael Moore style. It's educated, it's well thought out, and should be viewed by everyone, including the a-holes at Monsanto :)

Can you all vow to check out some of the resources I've mentioned to see how you can make your dinner table a symbol for how you choose to live your life, treat your planet, and provide for your descendants?



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Veggie Loaf and other food things...

Until now I have steered away from food posts because I feel the blog world is thoroughly oversaturated with them. However, the past few weeks has brought some exciting new food things in to my life.

It all started with an episode of Oprah, that featured Kathy Freston and her new book. While I'm not about to bodly state that I'll be going vegan, the book has given me a lot to think about, health-wise and ethically. I'm about half way through the book and I HIGHLY recommend it. It is very well written and she has clearly done her research-which I respect.

I have wanted to try making a Veggie Loaf for years. Many recipes call it "vegetarian meatloaf," but oxymoron's annoy me. As does most fake meat. I didn't want to use the fake "ground meat" either, I wanted to use beans, grains, and veggies. Cheap, easy, delicious. The recipe below makes a loaf that fills a loaf pan to the top, 6 servings, and each serving is 7 points plus on the new WW program. Its a solid meal in itself and you'll see why.

1c dry Quinoa
1c dry lentils
2 eggs
1c shredded cheese
1c fresh breadcrumbs
1/3c onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2c baby spinach, wilted
1/2 plum tomato, diced (left over from a different meal)
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Freeze Dried Basil
1 tsp. Freeze Dried Chives

*Cook Quinoa and lentils according to individual package directions. Drain, rinse. Mash cooked lentils slightly and combine with Quinoa in a large bowl, setting aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. I put this 2nd only because it will take roughly 30 min. to cook the lentils.

*Heat a skillet with some cooking spray or a little oil (1tsp) and wilt spinach, place in medium bowl.

Dice all vegetables and place in bowl with spinach. I gave you the vegetables I used, which were what I happened to have around, use whatever you like. Maybe some peas or corn too, if you like that.

Combine vegetables with Quinoa and Lentils, and add in fresh breadcrumbs. I didn't add them when I made mine, because I didn't think it would need it- but it didn't hold together as well as I would have add them :)

*Add in the spices. TASTE NOW BEFORE YOU ADD THE EGGS so you can add more seasoning as needed.

*Beat eggs and cheese together lightly, add to mixture

*Work mixture with clean hands and press in to a lightly greased loaf pan.

*Bake at 350 for 45min-1 hr.


**You could easily make this dish Vegan by omitting eggs and cheese, and using a vegan substitute.

Fun fact. The next day I heated up one "slice" then broke it apart and used it as a filling on a "Smart Wraps"tortilla....IT was VERY FILLING!

If you try it, let me know how you like it!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Potty Training........and Weight Watchers.

Like the period at the end of "Potty Training"? That's the little space in which I wish to curl up and die.......

There needs to be some place for parents to send their toddlers for 2 weeks, overnights, to potty train them. Not every parent is cut out for it I'm sure. I am sure of this because I can handle a lot. I had twins when Quinn was 20 months old for God's sake- I don't scare easily......But day #2 of potty training has my hair standing on end......Very few wetting accidents, but 3 poops in his pants. It's such a ridiculous mess to clean up poopy underwear....Just picture it- I'm not typing about it. I'm too overwhelmed to write, on to Weight Watchers.

I've toyed with the idea of re-joining Weight Watchers since the twins were born. Technically I joined shortly after they were born, but their nursing mothers program was not designed for those mothers nursing twins...Losing weight was honestly the furthest thing from my mind at that point.

HOWEVER, yesterday was the day. After 2 very inspirational Oprah episodes (If you hate Oprah don't bother reading my blog at all, lol) I felt ready to re join...That and a plateau to end all weight loss since SEPTEMBER! Anyway, they have re done their program and I can feel the difference. I certainly ate less today than I have in recent days, but not so much less that I am ready to eat the keyboard. I actually feel great. I had room for these cookies to boot!

Today I was able to get to the gym and run a mile on the treadmill and do 20 minutes on the elliptical. I felt good about that. I felt even better about these noodles, that are 1 pt for 8oz.

Anyway, today calls for a gigantic glass of whine wine.....


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Quinn!

Dear Quinlan:

Oh my Quinn. My little Q-ball. Tonight I put a 2 year-old to bed, and I will wake up to a 3-year-old. Tomorrow is your 3rd birthday. I'm surprised we all made it! Especially surprised that your father and I made it. There were times throughout this year that I surely thought I would die of frustration- turns out that doesn't happen. I usually have a pretty realistic sense of time, but I HONESTLY feel like we just had your 2nd birthday party here, complete with the SpongeBob cake!

Tomorrow I will no longer have 1 2-year-old and 2 1-year-olds, which is fun to say. However, tomorrow I will have a 3 year old, which makes me sound very grown up, I think.

You're a beautiful boy and you're growing and learning every day. You're passionate and compassionate-and for you I hope that never changes. You love Paige and Aiden dearly, and while you're sometimes a bit “in their face” about it- they squeal in delight whenever they see you first thing in the morning, and that melts my heart!

This year will hold new challenges for us- such as potty training. Let's make that quick, ok?

I love you Buddy and I hope you keep your silly spirit a while longer