Monthly Archives: May 2009

Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad

Hungry yet? I’m quite proud of the photo I managed to take of this delicious side dish or appetizer. This was served at one of our Western Kansas Vegetarian Society discussions, and it went over quite well. I found a similar recipe from VegWeb and altered it a bit here and there. I’ve made a version both with and without the cilantro, and each time it has been a success. I of course prefer the version with cilantro, but when you know people who have allergies, what can you do?

Black Bean Salad (makes 8 servings or so)

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn
2 tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 anaheim pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1/2 tbsp minced garlic

  1. Drain and rinse black beans well.
  2. Drain corn.
  3. Dice red onion, peppers, and tomatoes; chop cilantro.
  4. Mix all ingredients together, including the olive oil, garlic, and vinegar.
  5. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips, or wrap in a corn tortilla.

Moroccan Stew

Moroccan Stew 2 on Flickr

Just one of the many recipes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s new cookbook, The Vegan Table! This stew turned out excellent. Ryan was skeptical about the sweet potatoes, as he had only ever had them years and years ago at a family Thanksgiving and could not stand them. Thankfully, he got over that! And yes, there are onions in this dish! I have decided that instead of just eliminating onions because I was convinced that I didn’t like them, I will actually include them in dishes when they are in the recipe. And what have I discovered? That I LIKE onions! I’m not sure if it was just my tastes changing or what, but I like them. I even was craving onion rings from Sonic, something I have NEVER purchased for myself. And I got them and they were so good! It’s like some crazy kind of alternate universe where we eat onions and sweet potatoes now. This is what Colleen has brought us to.

Anyway – this stew is being served over quinoa, which was prepped with vegetable broth instead of water (delectable). If you don’t have this cookbook yet, you need to get it!

A Diet That Includes Desserts?

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

So I’ve started a diet. Who doesn’t want to lose weight and get healthy when summer is approaching, right? But this diet is more than just that – it’s a way of eating that just makes sense, and it is actually maintainable. When most people go on a diet, they find an eating plan that they can maintain for a little while – enough to lose a bit of weight, but then once the weight is lost and those diet behaviors cease, the weight tends to come back. I don’t want that – it’s hard enough to lose weight in the first place; I don’t want to have to lose it more than once! And I am definitely not hugely overweight. I’m pretty average. But I know that I’m carrying a bit more on my frame than is healthy. So I had to find something that would work …

Enter the No-S Diet. This plan is simply genius. The S stands for snacks, sweets, and seconds – meaning, you need to cut these out EXCEPT (and here’s the sustainable part) on S days – usually Saturday, Sunday, and special days. That’s it! You can have whatever you want for your meals, as long as it fits on a plate. And of course, it helps if you make more healthful choices at meals, but it’s not necessarily a requirement. Just by cutting out snacking, hundreds of calories are eliminated. The same with sweets and seconds. As long as what you are having for your meal fits on one plate and you are having a reasonable number of pre-planned meals per day (typically 3, although some people are successful having 4 or 5 planned smaller meals per day), you are following this diet.

I tend to make healthy choices anyway, especially since the food I eat is always vegan. That cuts out a number of calories, as well as unhealthy substances, right there. But even though I was eating healthy food, I was gaining weight – or at least staying at a higher weight than what I wanted. I think that my problem came down to mostly snacking – and my snacks were typically half a wheat bagel or an apple, but they were still unnecessary calories. Now my meals themselves are actually bigger – because I am having that apple with my supper, along with some salad plus the main entree. But I am not eating as often, and I am not eating high-calorie sweet stuff during the week. As you can probably guess, eating healthfully 5 out of 7 days can do wonders for a person!

And those other 2 days? You can have whatever you want. If you want seconds of a particularly good meal, have them. If you want to have a few cookies, go for it. And if you want to follow breakfast with 11 a.m. brunch, no problem. Of course, if people let their “S Days” get out of hand, it will be harder to lose weight. But if you are only “getting out of hand” 2 days a week instead of EVERY day (or at least most days during the week), you are cutting out a lot of it. I even find that I do not want to go overboard on my S-days because I just don’t feel good after I eat a large amount of sugary food, or just too much food in general. I still treat myself, mainly because I know that I won’t get to for another week. But my treats are better than what they were when I started. At the beginning, I would plan to gorge on a whole bag of Twizzler Pull-N-Peels (have you ever read the ingredients on those? Ick), but now I’m more likely to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, have a few, and take the rest to work the next day.

Which brings me to another happy side effect: I am so much more aware of my food than I was before. Ok, I have to admit – I still eat dinner in front of the TV most nights, and I still tend to browse the Internet or read a book while I am having breakfast and lunch. So I am not totally conscious of my eating. But MORE than I was before, at least. I slow down, sip water between bites, and actually taste every bit of food that I eat. I used to look down at my plate, thinking I still had a few bites left, only to realize that my dinner was gone! Not anymore. I know when I am taking the last bite – and I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first. When I’m done eating, I’m satisfied – I don’t really want to go browse through the cabinets around 8 p.m. wondering what there is to eat. When I DO feel like browsing the cabinets, I realize I’m probably just bored and should get up and do something instead of sitting around thinking about food when I just ate a satisfying meal an hour or two ago and should in no way feel hungry.

On the website, linked above, there is a forum as well as a handy tool called a Habitcal. This calendar allows you to mark when your S-days are, as well as your successes and failures. If you realize that you have been staying at the same weight for a few weeks, check your Habitcal. That will tell you if you’ve just had too many S-days or “red” days, or it might allow you to pinpoint something else. There are also testimonials from people who have followed the No-S plan for years now. They have some amazing stories, and they provide amazing support for other people on the boards. Reinhard, the creator of No-S, managed to expand his concept into a book that is for sale as well, although the website has the majority of the information there. The book is easy and quick to read, but it contains a wealth of information and answers to questions that people may have. It’s great for paging through here and there when you need some motivation, or reading straight through to get you started.

Anyway, to quote LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow – don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself!

A Quick Recap

So it’s been an entire semester since I’ve written! I guess that’s what happens when someone is taking graduate classes / doing an internship / working part-time / doing a thesis on top of regular home stuff.

But that doesn’t mean that I have cut back on activism and good cooking, either! So here is a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to lately …

– We’ve been keeping up our Western Kansas Vegetarian Society discussions, but have switched from two Saturdays a month to now doing one Saturday and one Wednesday a month. Hopefully it brings in a few more people, what with all of the summer activities scheduled on Saturdays.

– Ryan and I tabled at the Lawrence, KS Earth Day celebration in April like we did last year. The picture with this post is of this year’s celebration. We ran to Target that morning to pick up the canopy thing, because it was raining here and there and we didn’t want our stuff to get all wet. Of course, after an hour or so there wasn’t any more rain, but it did protect us from the sun that afternoon. We got a lot of good positive comments, and once again got to speak with some amazing vegans and vegetarians, including some kids and the parents who support them.

– I got my copy of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s new cookbook, The Vegan Table! I absolutely love her cookbooks and want to fix every recipe in the book. I’ve already tried a few dishes from this one, and I will blog about them soon. I love all of the extra tips that Colleen gives with each recipe, and the pictures are beautiful.

– Ryan and I are thinking of making a cookbook of our own! I love taking photos of the food we fix, and sometimes the pictures turn out really great. So hopefully I can keep that up! My only concern is, what if a recipe is based on a recipe I found on the web but that I have altered in some way? I’m just not sure how that works, if we would put together a cookbook that we would actually sell or something. I’ll obviously have to do a bit of research before I take the plunge completely. I come up with a lot of recipes on my own, but lots of them are “inspired by” something else, and I just don’t know how much alteration is significant alteration and would make it my own. Hmph.

Now that classes are over, I’m hoping to be updating regularly again. We will see how that goes, because I always end up being busier than I planned.