Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend

Started having juice meals again, this time with vegetables that will not make me sick. Breakfast was a safe and flavorful mix of 2 apples, fennel, and 3 carrots.  It was also one of those rare juices that was not green.
Lunch was a mix of spinach, watercress and 3 carrots. This was a major juice fail. The watercress has an unbelievably strong taste to it.  It is very bitter.  I tried cutting it with sparking water, but it did not help much.  I went through a liter of water and still had not finished the juice. I will not use watercress in a juice again.
Since the weather was nice on Saturday, we decided to take a walk into Fell's Point with the dogs.  We settled in at Bond Street Social  Which has a huge out door seating area.   One of the specialities of the bar are liquid nitrogen martinis.  Liquid Nitrogen is poured on top of the drink which becomes extremely cold and it 'smokes' as it evaporates.  I had the New Fashioned made with Grey Goose Cherry, muddled orange and cherry, bitters and lemonade. Great drink. The food menu is not very vegan friendly.  I had the curry chickpeas which are side and thought that maybe I could mash them into a hummus and spread on some bread.  When I asked if they had baguettes or pita the waitress said "no".  While I was eating the very spicy beans, I saw an order of mussels come out with long slices of toasted baguette.  So much for accommodating your customers.  I would have paid extra for the bread.

After we left, we walked back to Canton and hung out at our favorite water hole, Chesapeake Wine Company.  I had the tapenade and roasted pepper salad with baguette slices.  After the chickpeas, that was enough for my evening meal.  Tommy and I split a bottle of Rose as we sat outside until close to sunset and the temperatures dropped.

For my breakfast juice I made a pineapple, spinach and lime drink. This was much more pleasant tasting.  Today, I ate a brunch and returned to the juice for dinner.  I made a bottle of orange juice and a liter of soda water. We also had a Pouilly Fuisse wine. I made a simple cocktail mixing the three liquids which made a nice light juice cooler.  If only the weather had been nicer for sipping.
I did a Tofu Scramble for the meal that was made with asparagus, chives and nutritional yeast.  It really does look like scrambled eggs.  The turmeric gives it that look.
An Easter brunch is not complete without homemade biscuits.  These were made using Earth Balance and rice milk in place of butter and heavy cream.  They were very light and flaky.  I spread some leftover lemon curd on mine.
Dinner was back to the juice.  Tonight's was made from a head of romaine, kale, a lime, cilantro and 2 apples.  It is sort of weird making juice from lettuce.  However the taste was good, which is the most important thing.  I also found myself more full today by having the food meal during the middle of the day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bad Juice Day

Everything started out well today.  I had the above mix for breakfast.  Fridays is personal training day at Canton Club, so I had everything ready to go the night before. This juice was made from chard, kale, cucumber, celery, and lemon.   There was definitely enough other ingredients to cover the taste of the cucumber.  I drank this one in the car while driving Tommy to the train station for work.  
So for lunch I made a juice from 3 carrots, 2 large and 2 small beets, and celery.  These are all ingredients that I like.  The juice was very nice looking.
I was about 3/4 done with the glass when I noticed it was really rich.  I decided to add some soda water to finish it off.  Before I could make the water, I was in the bathroom divesting my body of this drink.  It was a very fast and strong reaction.  I start thinking that maybe I have had too many juice meals.  But people do juice for 90 days  with no solid meals and bad reactions.  Should I have solid food before my gym workout? I have done smoothies before workouts with no problems in the past.  After a little googling, I found that beet juice can be quite toxic.  It can paralyze the vocal chords and cause liver damage.  Really?  How did I not know this?  You know not to eat mushrooms in the woods because some can kill you.  I knew that rhubarb needed to be stripped because it can make you sick.  You  remove bay leaves from soups and stews for the sake of your stomach.  Why is this not public knowledge.  Apparently it is a quantity issue.  I read that you use one beet per 8 carrots then there should not be a  problem. In the future, I may try beets again, but it will be the minor addition to the juice. I ate a little bit of potato soup and a tortilla to help settle my stomach.  My vocal chords are still sore.

Dinner was very simple. I made an open face sandwich using 7 grain sprouted bread spread with dijon and topped with tofurkey and my last slice of rice cheese.  The deli slices are a mix of wheat protein and soy protein.  They taste good. The cheese still sucked. On the  side I made a slaw using cabbage, apple, chives, and coconut yogurt.  This was my first time tasting that type of yogurt.  It was good for the slaw, I am not sure how it will be as a breakfast item with fruit.  Coconut milk does not have a strong coconut taste, but the yogurt did.  After dinner, I noshed on some Annie's Honey Wheat Pretzels. Bunny pretzels for Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I am learning more about the juicing process each day.  Many recipes call for cucumbers and I can see why. There is an amazing amount of juice in them.  I would have thought that the honeydew melons would be equal to cucumber in juice, but not so.  I like cucumbers when I eat them with salads or on sandwiches. However, the juice is not a pleasant taste.  I should have known I would not like it.  I don't like mixed drinks with cucumber juice or even the Hendricks Gin that tastes very cucumbery. This is not good since I have 3 more juice meals that will use cucumbers. If the strawberries had been sweeter, it would have tempered the bitter taste.  These out of season greenhouse strawberries do not have much of a taste at all.  This is what the finished juice looked liked
This one was not very filling either.  So far the pineapple, orange, grape one has been the most satisfying for hunger and taste.  For lunch, my mix was 2 cucumbers, 5 kale stalks, 2 bell peppers,  and 2 apples.  The apples helped to smooth out the taste of the cucumber.

I added some soda water to make a sprakling cooler.  I bought a soda stream over a year ago to make my soda water.  It definitely helps the environment by eliminating the use of lots of plastic bottles.  I am not a regular soda person, so I just use it for soda water.  I drink about a liter a day 3 days a week. 
The quantity of juice is very dependent on the fruits or veggies used. This one made a good bit. About half of the foam disipates after a few minutes.
I slowly sipped this while reading internet articles.The champagne glass was a nice touch. This  was probably the least filling of all the juices I have made.  I had to munch on a few pecans during the afternoon to keep the hunger away.
Dinner was a flour tortilla wrap spread with BBQ sauce and topped with romaine, seitan, and sauteed onions.  Seitan is a wheat protein that tastes like the 'chicken' in chicken nuggets or those fried chicken patties at fast food places. I had a side salad of romaine, orange bell pepper and carrots topped with my everyday vinaigrette. 
Nicely browned onions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Juice

I made a new batch of stock today. It does not look very appealing when veggie pieces are still in the juice.  I strain the liquid into a pitcher before using.  Now that I am using vegetable pulp from the juicer, it is more cloudy before straining. this version had kale stems, tomato tops, leek stems, onion pieces and pulp from carrots, celery, and kale.

 I switched things up from yesterday and had a vegetable juice for breakfast and a fruit juice for lunch.  I vegetable juice was made from spinach, parsley, 2 tomatoes, and 4 celery stalks. I need to look for some spirulina next time I am at Whole Foods.  Spirulina is a bacteria that is a complete protein and works well in the green juices.

I know that pictures glasses of juice start to look alike.  So, I am showing some before pictures for variety.  My lunch juice was pineapple, orange, and grapes.  I will definitely say that I getting very hungry during the day. I did another 3.5 mile dog walk an hour before lunch to help stave off the morning hunger pangs.  In the afternoon, I drink a lot of tea.  It doesn't help with hunger, but it gives me something to do.  What is interesting is that the fruit juices are more filling that the vegetable juices.

Dinner was pretty simple.  I grilled my last faux sausage.  This one is so spicy, that I will not buy it again.  It is hard to tell if I really like the product because of the heat.  I will look for some from the same manufacturer without the heat for use in the future.  I roasted asparagus, corn and broccoli with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.  Garlic and lemon juice really enhance the taste of broccoli.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Juicing Begins

I started using the juicer at breakfast this morning.  The first thing I have learned is that it takes a lot of fruits and vegetables to make juice.  The juice for breakfast is pictured about.  That glass was made from 3 carrots, 2 apples and some ginger.  I used way too much ginger so the juice had a bit of a bit.  Ginger is an anti-inflammatory so my joints should be happy today.  My lunch juice was more vegetable oriented.  This one used 3 celery stalks, 5 kale leaves, 2 apples and a lemon.  Both had a very good and fresh flavor. The juices have a bit of foam on the top that I am not a fan of.  I need to try and skim that off better.  I was starting to get really hungry an hour  before lunch.  I took the dogs on a 3.5 mile walk which diverted my attention from the stomach.

Dinner was soup and salad.  A simple side salad was made with romaine, sunflower seeds, dried apricot and  rice bread croutons.  A sprinkled a little bit of nutritional yeast on top and dressed with my everyday vinaigrette.
A Potato Soup was the main course.  This soup used sauteed leeks with potatoes, veggie stock, and almond milk.  After the potatoes were soft, the mix was pureed with an immersion blender.  I added fresh asparagus that cooked for 5 minutes in the puree.  Finally, 8 oz of the almond cheese went in.  I tried to shred the 'cheese' and it looked like a bag of cheetos exploded in the food processor.  At least it melted very easily in the soup.  The taste is better than the rice cheese, but no one would mistake it for cheddar.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My New Toy

In the box

So, I decided to get a juicer.  Maybe I am being a little trendy, but I have been doing a lot of smoothies at breakfast.  The kale and spinach in the blender to do not always breakdown the way I like it.  I am not intending to do a 'cleanse' or go on an all juice diet.  For the coming week I will juice for breakfast and lunch and have a regular  meal at dinner.  After that, the juices will either be for breakfast or snacks.I also plan to use the vegetable pulp in my stock mix. Since we do not use a coffee maker any more, I had the perfect space for it. The trend for the summer is supposed to be canning and preserving.  I am ready for that, I just need Spring and its fruits and vegetables to make an appearance.
On the counter
Today was grocery day. My cost definitely went down.  The food total was $178.70 for the vegan part.  However, Tommy is not going to do the juice thing.  So I bought him a $12.99 ham and some goat cheese for $9.30.  It is amazing how quickly the costs start to add up for the non-vegan items. I am not sure if this will last two weeks.  There will be a learning curve for figuring out how fruit or vegetable makes a liter of juice.
I did make a vegan mistake with the almond cheese (it looks like cheddar).  I am usually rushing through the grocery and made the assumption that cheese in the vegan section was vegan.  This brand uses casein which is a milk protein.  There is no lactose so it will not cause havoc with my digestive system. I knew some of the faux cheeses did this, but I did not read the label till I got home. I hope it at least tastes good.  The rice cheese that resembled American cheese slices was truly vegan and truly terrible.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Maggie's Farm

 I am a big fan of hot tea.  That is the main beverage during the day for me. I have about 4 travel mugs a day of tea. I rarely use teas with caffeine. This group is herbal or roobios.
 Friday night's dinner was still about using the leftovers.  I made a saute using a red onion, potato, corn, green beans, endame, carrots and parsley. I added a Malaysian dipping sauce for flavor.  We have a side salad of romaine, carrot, cucumber and sunflower seeds.
Saturday's lunch was a simple sandwich.  I spread one piece of bread with leftover spring roll filling and the other slice with tofu mayonnaise.  I sliced a soy protein sausage for the main part of the sandwich.

For dinner we met friends at Maggie's Farm.  This is in the spot of the old Chameleon Cafe and is a locally sourced restaurant.  I brought my camera, but forgot to take pictures of the food.  This is becoming a bad habit. For my appetizer, I had the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with a grape salsa.  Normally,there is a charcuterie meat with it, but they left it off for me.  Everything is made fresh, so substitutions or modifications are easy.  The only other item on the menu for me was the vegetarian special of the day.  The one for today was a crepe based dish with dairy.  The chef made a special dish for me that included an eggplant puree with roasted mushrooms and kale.  I had some whole roasted carrots on the side.  Everything was excellent. I do find it interesting that so many of these local food places are so meat heavy.
For lunch on Sunday, I did a version of the Tofu Scramble.  A red onion, potato and tofu were sauteed, then I added the rest of my spinach so it would have some green. Some plum sauce was drizzled on the top.  Half of a whole wheat pita was on the side.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eating Leftovers

When is someone going to feed me?

Now we are to the point of finishing up the last grocery run.  I did another smoothie for breakfast.  This one was made with almond milk, frozen blueberries, spinach, ground flaxseed and cashews.  This was one of the most filing smoothies I have made.  I had a larger portion of greens which probably made the difference.  For    lunch I had some leftover mixed vegetables of olives, tomatoes, collards, onions, sugar snap peas and carrots  that I added chickpeas and onion gravy to.

The next day's lunch was another mix of stuff in the frig.  I sauteed some onion, sweet potato, tomato and garlic. I added a can of black beans, some red wine, brown rice and spinach.  For serving I topped it off with avocado.I toasted half a pita round to go with it.

For the next couple of days, I have toasted a Whole Wheat Olive Roll and spread on some minced sundried tomatoes and avocado.  I then topped it with some sunflower seeds.The roll is the size of an English Muffin. This is easy and doesn't make you feel to full before a workout.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chocolate Cake

Vegetarian Journal

I did some internet searching and found some good vegan resources in the area.  First, there is a Vegetarian Journal that is published here in Baltimore.  On their website I found a couple of festivals that I hope to make it to in April.  The Kale A Rama  is in Greenbelt on 4/20 and is about everything kale.  The Vegfest is at the UMBC campus on 4/27.  Many of the local vegan spots will be peddling their wares.  I discovered a vegan bakery called Dirty Carrots that was in Fells Point.  However they closed in January.  How can they close before I hear about them?!  There are still several places I need to try, Liquid Earth, Land of Kush and Grind   House Juice Bar and Market. Spring needs to hurry up and make an appearance.

I did another smoothie for breakfast.  This one was a blend of almond milk, frozen blueberries and raspberries, cocoa, dates, and coconut.  For lunch I made of Hummus Plate.  I had a toasted pita, hummus, olives, carrot, cucumber and a avocado tomato salad.  My afternoon snack was some sweet potato fries.

At dinner, we finished the Chickpea Burgers on the sprouted wheat bread with dijon, spinach and sundried tomatoes.  The main item was my first vegan Chocolate Cake.  This was called a melting cake because the center was gooey chocolate.  This recipe was adapted from a Bon Appetite magazine.  The original recipe called for 4 eggs.  I used a mix of ground flaxseed, potato starch, canola oil and water.  I melted 8 oz of chocolate with 6 Tbs. of Earth Balance.  This was added to a mix of flour and sugar and baked in ramekins.
Fresh raspberry puree was under the cake and then topped with bananas.

This was crazy good.  You would not suspect this was vegan.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cafe Zen

For my Sunday lunch, I had a salad plate.  A mix of romaine and spinach was topped with endame and some carrots and hummus.
For dinner we met with 14 of our friends and their children at Cafe Zen in the Belvedere Square area.  It was St. Patrick's day, so a Chinese Restaurant was the obvious choice.  These were folks that had attended the salon at house during a 5 year time frame.  I brought my camera to take pictures of the food and totally forgot to take pictures of the people. Cafe Zen had a lot of vegan choices which was great.  I started with the Vegetable Dumplings that were steamed.The dough was nice and chewy and reminded me of pasta.

For the main course, I had the Vegetable Green Bean Rolls.  These are considered a speciality of the house. These are deep fried and very crunchy.  The order was huge and I took half of it home.  I would the restaurant 3 of 5 stars.  Solid food with a good variety of vegan choices.

For breakfast, I am continuing to experiment of different smoothies.  This one was oat milk, frozen blueberries, frozen banana, almonds, cinnamon and cocoa.  Anytime banana and cocoa are in a smoothie, it was a rich taste.   This one was made in the food processor and had a soft serve ice cream texture.  It was like having dessert for breakfast.

 For lunch I used leftover spring roll filling inside a pita pocket with spinach.  For dinner I broiled some tempeh with BBQ sauce and mixed it in with quinoa cooked in vegetable stock.  I made another serving of Crispy Kale. If you are keeping score, that is the third bunch of kale this period.  This time I used red kale coated with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled with garlic powder.  The lemon just evaporated off and did not leave a taste.