Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooking Weekend

I spent a good amount of time cooking this weekend. Last post I wrote about how much harder it is to quit bad food habits than to quit smoking, and I didn't even consider that changing your food habits requires a serious commitment to spending more time in the kitchen. Restaurant food and quick fix food is usually full of extra calories/fat/processed crap, and it's hard to rely on those things when you're serious about eating better. Sometimes I get frustrated by the time I put into food preparation (mentally and physically), but I know it's worth it. I also try to make it more fun by working alongside Carly and/or listening to music while I cook. I've made a point to put on music when I'm cooking on week nights because it helps me zone out and use that time to de-stress and dance around the kitchen.

I've noticed that my new plant based diet has been excellent for resisting temptation. It's much easier to say no to foods when I don't know what's in them, or when I know they have something I don't eat anymore. We went to the movies on Saturday and it's nearly impossible to sit through a movie smelling everyone's popcorn and being in that setting without wanting to snack. We actually bought almonds and a healthy snack mix to bring in but left it in the car because we had a big lunch at an Indian restaurant right before the movie. I was still tempted to go for the popcorn or a pretzel, but I couldn't be sure there was no dairy in them so it made it easier to resist. I actually had a dream this morning (the one I was in the middle of when the alarm went off!) that I kept eating a bite of something and then realizing it had dairy or lard or something else I didn't want in my body. It was weird and I'm not sure if I should look at it as a message to keep up what I'm doing or that I need to relax about it!

Since I did a lot of cooking this weekend, I have a lot of yummy pictures. Friday night for dinner I made myself vegan french toast based of this recipe for Gingerbread French Toast from Happy Herbivore. It was excellent!!! The only modifications I made were that I halved the recipe and only used cinnamon (in much greater quantities) for spices. I had it with tempeh bacon, which is so so eaten in slices on the side but better in a salad/sandwich, and blueberries.

Bread waiting to be dipped in soy milk, syrup & chickpea flour mix
Vegan French toast & bacon!

Saturday we went to the farmer's market and got a lot of good stuff. Since I knew we'd be out during the day I planned to make salads with farmers market veggies (and some still in the fridge). There's not much better than a big salad full of fresh grilled veggies!!

Grill full of delicious veg
The farmer's market salad

Sunday kind of became kitchen day after lunch. In the morning I went to the gym and then came home to get Carly and Emmy (our beagle) to try out a greenway we hadn't been to yet. It was a great paved trail through a neighborhood that ran next to a creek and was very shady. We did 2 miles and it made us want to get bikes ASAP!

 When we got home we had lunch (leftover Indian for me) and then got to cooking. I've been wanting to make a summer corn soup for the longest time, so we made that with the intention of eating it for dinner tonight. I'll put our "recipe" below. We also made a pot of black & pinto beans for Sunday dinner, Carly made herself BBQ pork ribs in the crock pot, and I made a blueberry chia seed jam. For dinner we had a riff on my Mexican quinoa. We made a kale and cilantro sauce by blending blanched kale, cilantro, garlic cloves, salt & pepper, lime juice, hot sauce & some of the blanching liquid in the food processor. I had the beans cooked from earlier in the day. I made a batch of quinoa and sauteed chopped chayote squash separately. Then I put it all together in a bowl with a little fresh salsa and stirred it up. OMG AMAZING. Seriously I wish I could eat that dish every single day.

Favorite dinner in a long time!

Corn Soup (we made this based off what we had in the pantry & fridge, use what you've got!)
8 ears corn, corn cut off cob & cobs saved
6 dried guajillio chiles
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small white & 1/2 large red onion, chopped
4 banana peppers, chopped
6 small white potatoes, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups chopped kale
Spices (garlic powder, seasoned salt, pepper, cumin)

Make a stock by adding cobs, chiles and garlic to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and let it sit while you prep your other ingredients.

When you're ready to make the soup, strain the broth and reserve some of the guajillos to de-seed and chop.

Saute corn, onion, peppers & potatoes in tsp of olive oil. Add stock if you need a little liquid to prevent veggies from sticking. Once the veggies have sauteed for 10 minutes or so, add the can of tomatoes and the spices. Stir to combine.

Add broth, then kale. Bring to a boil. Once the soup has come to a boil, turn it to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes (can go a bit longer if you have a gas stove).

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