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This blog has been on the back-burner, but I wanted to post it because there’s another new blog – Plant-Based On a Budget – so maybe “thrifty vegan” is a trending topic.

I thought it might be good to track a week’s worth of groceries. I did this partly because the groceries look delicious. I’m not sure my pictures do them justice, but feel free to feast your eyes. I also just had no idea how much things cost. It can be enlightening to simply track expenses. This seems to be an average week, but this isn’t intended to be scientific. Also note that there are two of us, about average-sized, both active with maybe two meals eaten out weekly. So what we find is a pretty solid distribution with about $150 total for the week’s groceries.

Beautiful vegan spreads for each day - click to bigify.

Does $150 make sense? The Census reports the cost of a “nutritious diet” on thrifty, low-cast, moderate, and liberal level. the “liberal” cost for “nutritious diet” for a family of two is just over $150 for 2009 and 2010. The “thirfty” plan for a…

Click to see weekly cost

family of two is only $80. Just with a quick adjustment, removing ProBars first, pre-made Whole Foods Lentil Soup, deluxe chips, deluxe orange juice, and hummus, the total plummets to just $83.07. Obviously one might swap some hummus with sprouts and add some lower-cost staples (beens, split peas, etc) to replace the calories from the ProBars (which is on the order of 6 days of calories). However, we also compare this diet with nearly no effort to reduce costs.

Jo notes that the census data indicate that a male and female living together spend about $25 more in food living together versus separately. “I guess married people do put on weight…”, she says. The census also reports average food costs. Oddly, they provide three kinds of meats and dairy, but nothing for lentils and beans, thus acknowledging no vegan alternative for protein intake.

In any case, this is a small sample size. A vegan diet, at least for us, is no budget-breaker, but it doesn’t seem super-cheap either.

Brussels sprouts, barbarian style, for maximum yum

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5 Day Autumn Detox

I’m quite fond of my springtime detox, and was feeling a bit weighed down and sluggish as the season transitioned into Autumn. So I decided to do a little research into Autumn detoxes. None of them really appealed to me, so I decided to simply create one using warming veggies that are known to possess detoxification qualities. I wanted something easy on the digestion so I created some pureed and brothy soups from the list of detoxing veg — one of the reasons for embarking was to give my digestion a break, a reboot, a clear slate with which to renew itself. Plan it according to fasting day falling on a day where you can lounge, sleep, rest, read..whatever you do to relax. You don’t want to exert too much energy — mentally or physically — on fasting day. As with the springtime detox, I find fasting to be more successful when I tapper off the amount of food over a few days before fasting, then slowly ramping up portions over a few days when breaking the fast. You can choose to simply fast for 1.5 days up to 3 days.

As I went through this detox, I slept quite a bit (even before fasting day)..reduced the intensity of yoga I practiced, but still taught some tough classes which didn’t help the fatigue/weakness factor — and because of my teaching requirements, I broke the fast Day 5. The mind tried to talk me out of fasting midday on Day 4 (as it usually does when I fast), but my body was happy..so I persevered with the help of hot lemon water and chamomile tea. I did a walking meditation on Day 4 when I walked Mocha – a slow and abbreviated walk (maybe only 1/4 mile over the course of ~15 min). It was most enjoyable. 🙂  If you want to extend the number of fasting days beyond 1-1.5 days, I’d recommend also incorporating an herbal vegetable broth once a day (after a full single day of complete fasting) to keep nutrients coming in, without reigniting the digestive system.

Disclaimer: This is only meant as a way to give yourself a renewed sense of digestive health..NOT as a way to lose weight. As with any protocol that calls for fasting, please listen to your body (but be wary, the mind can play tricks..the body doesn’t lie). If you need to break the fast sooner than expected, break the fast gently. If you are pregnant, refrain from fasting. If you have any medical conditions, please consult a physician before embarking on this detox. Typically with detoxing, salt is recommended as to be avoided — however, if you have serious low blood pressure please include a minimal amount of salt during the detox/fast to avoid black-outs and such.

Day 1: [Eat normal portions for each meal.]

Breakfast: Cup of tea (options: Green, Herbal) + apple (or other autumn fruit) + oatmeal or handful of seeds (options: sunflower, pepitas)
Lunch & Dinner: Roasted Veg (choices: Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale, Garlic, Onion, Artichokes, Beets) served with brown rice or quinoa and baby spinach salad (with baby tomatoes, carrots, seeds, drizzled with a small bit of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice).
Afternoon Teatime: Red Rooibos or Chamomile tea (or a detox tea blend)
Evening Teatime: Chamomile, Red Rooibos, or Coconut Milk Chai using Rooibos tea

Day 2: [Normal portions at lunch, reducing the dinner portion to half of normal.]

Breakfast: Cup of tea (Green, Herbal, or Hot water+lemon wedge) + autumn fruit + handful of seeds
Lunch & Dinner: Butternut Squash-Cauliflower Soup [roast b. squash, onion, and puree with cauliflower. spices include: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom. veg broth to desired consistency.] OR Potato-Broccoli-Kale Soup [broccoleek soup+kale] + green smoothie at one of the meals (to make things easier, buying a Naked or Odwalla Green Monster or SuperFood smoothie will suffice..unless you want to make your own green smoothies).
Afternoon Teatime: Herbal tea, Detox tea blend, or Dandelion Tea
Evening Teatime: Chamomile, Red Rooibos, or Coconut Milk Chai using Rooibos tea

Day 3: [Option to begin fasting after lunch.]

Breakfast: Cup of tea (Herbal or Hot water+lemon wedge) + glass of juice (if feeling you need some blood sugar love)
Lunch: leftover Day 2 Soup or Herbal Broth (veggie broth heated with herbs like turmeric, garlic, oregano, thyme, coriander)
Afternoon Teatime: Herbal tea, Detox tea blend, or Dandelion Tea
Dinner: optional to begin fasting and skip dinner, or perhaps just have a green smoothie or Herbal Broth for dinner if you had soup for lunch
Evening Teatime: Cup of Chamomile or other light herbal tea

Day 4: [Fasting Day]

Anytime you feel the need for tea or a snack, have some hot water with lemon, Chamomile, a fasting/detox blend (pending it doesn’t have caffeine). As mentioned before, listen to your body — rest, relax, restore. Your mind will try to tell you to break the fast.. “why am I doing this? just eat!” yada yada.. but your body will tell you the truth. If you’re experiencing migraines (not just a slight headache, that is common), severe nausea (not just mild upset stomach), or black-outs, BREAK THE FAST with some light herbal broth or a smoothie.

Day 5: [Option to continue fast or reintroducing food.]

If continuing to fast, have a small bowl of herbal broth midday, then continue as Day 4 and use Day 5 as a guide for when you break the fast. I wouldn’t recommend fasting for more than 3-5 days — and always listen to your body and break when your body needs it. Don’t reintroduce too much food at once..go slow!
Morning Teatime: Hot water with lemon or any light herbal tea + glass of juice (if breaking the fast)
Lunch (about 1.5 C serving): Herbal Soup (see Day 3) + green smoothie
Afternoon Teatime: Herbal tea, Detox tea blend, Dandelion Tea, or Nettle Tea + apple
Dinner: Small portion of any leftover Day 2 soup, or Herbal Soup with the addition of peas or any leftover veg+rice/quinoa from day 1
Evening Teatime: Chamomile or Coconut Milk Chai using Rooibos tea

As with the Springtime detox, focus on calm breathing, positive thoughts, rest, and getting in touch with the change of the seasons. Autumn is a great time to reflect on seeds which we plant for a bountiful harvest in the spring, to let go of the high-heat energy of summer and linger in a slower-paced, mellow energy, to reflect on that which we should let go/release the way the trees release the leaves that no longer serve the health of the tree.

Happy Fasting!

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Tex-Mex meets New-Mex Fiesta

Here’s a menu I created for Jo’s post-dissertation defense (“Dark Matter”) party Spring 2008. It was a huge hit for both the vegans and omni’s alike. It served about 40 people buffet-style, with plenty for morning-after leftovers. I used about 3 doz tamales and made about 2 dry C of the quinoa. I didn’t scale up any of the recipes (except for the quinoa and the margaritas). It was BYOB, and we had a house Sangria for the guests, but naturally some wanted my wonderful margaritas. So we went through about 2-3 full pitchers, which used a total of a full bottle of tequila and about 1.5 bottles of triple sec.

This menu would also serve nicely as a buffet at a big Super Bowl Party this coming February! 🙂

Main Munchers:

Basic Roasted Vegetables (Roasted Red Bell, Corn, Zucchini, Red Onion) served with tortilla chips
Black Bean tamales with Tomatillo Salsa and Pico de Gallo
New Mexican Veg & Quinoa (with Tomatillos, Green Chilies, Black Beans, Corn, and Spinach)
Spicy nuts and seeds
Jo’s Favorite Roasted Potatoes
Zucchini fritters – my secret recipe, sorry folks – maybe I’ll let it go one day when we put out a Primate cookbook 😉
Fresh fruit salad

Dessert and Drinks:

Sugar Cookies (in drop form, not specially shaped)
House Sangria
Margaritas (Pitcher)

Happy Hosting!

On This Day In History: Classic 3-Bean Salad

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tomato soup1What does one feed to a incredulous omni or contravening family member? What does a vegan tell a skeptical omni is an acceptable dish they can make for you to eat at a gathering, without stressing the omni out with ‘special vegan ingredients’? What are some quick and simple ideas that could have even the most cynical guest asking for the recipe at the end of the meal?

From the omni perspective (because maybe there’s some omni’s out there reading this and have a vegan friend that they want to feed), what does one serve to satisfy the lone vegan at the table – that consists of more than a plate of leafy greens and some olive oil? What can an omni include in their diet to make themselves healthier without stressing over buying a whole slew of ‘strange and bizarre‘ items that they can’t find at the grocery store?

Ok, I think you get the idea of what I’ll be discussing in this post – quick and easy dishes, sure to please anyone regardless of their chosen dietary habits, which use only items that can be found at any grocery store!

baked rice casserole9Tex-Mex Rice4Green_Enchiladas2

Here’s a few items that have been field-tested at many joint omni/vegan tables 😉

Dad-inspired Baked Rice Casserole, burrito style
Black Bean Burgers with a side of Spicy Potato Wedges – always a hit!
Black Bean Quinoa Saladquinoa is becoming more popular in your non-hippiemarts, but if you can’t find it, use brown rice
Broccoli Pasta with a side of Velvety Tomato Soup
Green Enchiladas with a side of Tex-Mex Rice
New Orleans Red Bean and Rice Soup with a glass of wine, because it’s SPICY

black bean burger and potato wedges

On the lighter side of things:
Spinach and Chickpea Dinner Salad with a fresh fruit sorbet or coconut milk ice cream for dessert
Wild Brown Rice Salad with a side of Hannah’s Potato Salad or Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup

Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup

When deciding what to make, think of things that an omni wouldn’t feel that is lacking or sub-par because it’s a vegan dish (think “no cheese in the enchiladas or on the pizza” – that freaks people sometimes because it’s not the norm). Try to think of things that are naturally vegan (and I don’t  mean Oreo’s) – think rice and beans/veg (colorful veg), or pasta, or a vegetable soup. If the plate is colorful and appealing to the eye…nobody is going to notice that there isn’t any animal products. They’ll be excited to be eating something so aesthetically pleasing! 😀

Happy Eating!

On This Day In History: Oh my Darlin’ Clementine-n-Mango Juice

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inaug. sugar cookies6It’s holiday time again, and that means another menu to inspire your 4th of July festivities. Since I’m spending the fourth in DC..I’m feeling rather patriotic. So here’s a few ideas to help you celebrate our Independence, while simultaneously celebrating your own independence from animal cruelty. There are some obvious choices because of color scheme (blueberry tart), but I’ve also listed some traditional All-American classics like chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Hope this inspires!

Hannah’s Potato Salad
PotatoSalad

Ice Cream Trio – Blueberry, Strawberry, and White Chocolate
Chocolate Chip cookies (or if you’re at altitude)
Sugar cookies (colored for the occasion)
Margaritas and/or Lemonade

Various salsas, naturally: Pico de gallo, Roasted corn, Tomatillo

*Don’t forget the chips for the salsas!

blueberry tart5

Happy Fourth of July!

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Memorial Day Munchies

cc2Ah, Memorial Day is almost upon us… Another holiday filled with gatherings outside, and by this I mean backyard or beachfront BBQs. So what is a person to do when they know they’ll be confronted with parties filled with vegan-unacceptable foods? Since most BBQs are filled with hamburgers, hotdogs, and other unfortunate foods, it becomes a perfect opportunity to show off your mad skillz in the realm of vegan foods! Here’s a few ideas of what to bring to a party, or to serve at your own! Obviously you don’t need all of this, especially the desserts – but this is just a list of things that can travel well for you to choose from! 🙂

Black Bean Burgers
Grilled New Potatoes with Red Pepper Crust (these are one of Dads personal fav’s)orzo-almond salad5
Orzo-Almond Salad
Frijoles Borrachos
New Potato and Green Bean Salad
Texas Cornbread
Various Salsas: Roasted Corn, Pico de Gallo, Tomatillo
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Zesty Lemon Shortbreads
Brownies with Homemade Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Fields Forever Ice Cream

black bean burger and potato wedges

Happy Holidays!

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pico de galloHere at the Primate, Jo and I are known for loving our Mexican food! And though we realize that Cinco de Mayo is not the actual Mexican Independence holiday that the US has somehow turned it into, and rather a specific battle celebration, we partake in the festivities all the same. So here’s a few menu ideas for your Cinco de Mayo celebration – hey, any reason to make up a pitcher of margaritas and a huge bowl of salsa.. 🙂 Here’s some quick and easy foods that can be made for an impromptu or planned Cinco de Mayo Fest!

Fresh Salsas: Pico de gallo or Tomatillo, or both 😉
Hearty Black Bean and Corn salsa
Mexican Quinoa
Spicy Potato Wedges
SOP: Margaritasquinoa

Tell your friends to bring chips, ice, and any Mexican beer they prefer and you’re set to go! You could also make some Watermelon sorbet for the kiddo’s to keep you cool in that hot sun!watermelon sorbetFM watermelon

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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