Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 3: Movie Time Monday

Today started another week and we are desperately trying to get back into our routine. I instituted a "movie time monday" for my kids and some of the neighborhood boys. What this means is that I will be happy to watch your kids if you don't mind me putting on a movie and then going to work on dinner. I was a little tired before the boys came over and in the afternoon, there is only one way to fight it. My new favorite vegan snack, a green smoothie:
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Mark says it looks gross, but it is actually quite delicious. In a blender I put a handful of ice, half of an avacado, 2 oranges, a handful of spinach, a teaspoon of honey, a splash of vanilla, some cold water then blend, blend, blend. After drinking I have definately noticed an increase of energy and had some great long distance runs after consuming one. Back to the boys:

The movie I got was 101 Dalmations, or as James calls it, Dalmation Dogs. When the movie first started, the boys insisted on all sitting on the same chair, including "no-nap Andy". Sigh:
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After a round of fruit snacks (see I am not always "that mom"), I passed out popcorn popped in coconut oil.
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Then they decided they wanted their own smoothie. I promised them a "pink smoothie". This is what was in it:
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One orange, frozen strawberries, a handful of spinach, a bit of honey, a good bit of vanilla almond milk, and blend blend blend. And here are your boys drinking their spinach:
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Henry had 2 cups! John did not have any, and I didn't push him because I was out of cups with lids.

This was a was succesful Movie Time Monday and they watch the movie for about an hour until they didn't.

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It was ok because by then I had finished preping dinner (and checking email and facebook). Here was the result, Chickpea Cutlets with roasted veggies.

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The cutlets were actually really good. Reminded me of an italian meatball almost. The roasted veggies were just cut, added olive oil, salt, and pepper, then in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. James took one look at them and said, "I love cauliflower!" He ate all of it and asked for more until we ran out. Love that kid.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vegan Day 2: Going to lunch and Sunday dinner

I have to admit, it still hurt a little bit this morning when I got up and still no hazelnut creamer in my coffee. This is going to be harder than I thought.

At any rate, it was Sunday, a church day, and after church we go to lunch. Mark loves lunch. Loves going out to lunch. When I tell him about my crazy diet ideas he is always concerned with what we will eat when we go out. Today we went to Moe's because I was pretty sure I could eat something there. I ordered the Art Vandalay. That is probably someone famous, but for me, it was just their vegetarian burrito. I had stopped ordering the burrito because the calories are high, but decided to try it today. Ordering at Moe's is a bit tricky because there are 4 people in my family and we all get something different. My burrito had moved to the "toppings station" and my helper was saying "cheese, lettuce, and salsa?" as he started to grab the cheese and put it on. "NO!" I barked at him. Everyone looked at me. "sorryiamdoinga10dayveganchallengesonocheese. Can I have guacamole please?" The burrito tasted...pretty much the same as one with the meat, cheese, and sour cream, but I just checked the nutional value and the vegan option brings it from a almost 800 calorie lunch to a much more reasonable 575 calories. Sweet.

I made a pretty big dinner tonight. That doesn't always happen believe it or not, but it was a casserole. That is right, a spicy tortilla casserole with roasted poblanos. I had a ton of corn tortillas to use up and this seemed like a good way to do so. It took some doing, I actually cooked all the potatoes yesterday (for the pizza too) and roasted the peppers then since the oven was hot. Today I made the salsa and the "cream" and put it all today.

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Mark sat down and asked "what is this?" pointing to the top crust. I told him I would tell him when he was done eating. (it is a blend of silken tofu). It was a pretty good. I think it would be great when you could use fresh tomatoes for the sauce.

The thing about vegan cooking, and maybe I am an idoit for just realizing this, there just isn't a lot of fat. I was really craving a decadent dessert. So, I made some vegan brownies. I just did a quick search and found this recipe. Unfortuately, it is actually a low fat vegan brownie recipe. I wasn't so sure how they would come out...but they are delicious. Just what I needed.

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I might have another one. It is ok, I'm vegan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vegan day 1: rude awakening and pizza night!

This morning I was walking downstairs ready to face my first day in this new diet when I got my first surprise:

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I knew my beloved hazelnut creamer was non-dairy, so I thought it would be ok. But no, animal products are on the label. I used some vanilla soy milk instead, but was sad. To be fair, the hazelnut creamer was on its way out because I had apparently never read the label, but I wasn't quite ready to give it up.

The other surprise is that I realize that superbowl sunday is about day 8 of my 10 day challenge. Man, why couldn't it be two hippie teams playing like San Diego and Seattle? Ms. Becky - are you going to have vegan brats at your party?

A Saturday morning tradition is to make some breakfast item with the boys and we usually alternate between pancakes and waffles. I had been experimenting with different (whole food) recipes, but I never had done a vegan one. The boys were up for the challenge:

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But the results were surprising:

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The taste was very good, but aparently vegan baking is going to take some getting used to.

The day went by with no problems until the afternoon. I was a little hungry and was planning on making a smoothie and have some granola. Then it dawned on me, the only granola I had on hand had butter in it. Not vegan. I started to get a little down at this point. Then Mark came home hungry. He only had TWO hot dogs at the basketball game and had a leftover hamburger for a snack. I really started missing meat and cheese, but tricuits and hummus satisfied me for that moment.

We also have a traditional pizza night at our house. Usually it is Friday, but I was going to have pizza on Saturday. Again, this is a tough non-vegan meal. Earlier this week I came across a four cheese pizza recipe. It is really good. If you aren't vegan you should try it. However, that wasn't an option for me. Ideas started coming into my head and once I started thinking, I couldn't stop. I made a vegan white pizza. First of all I used a different recipe for pizza dough, one with beer. My normal dough recipe has butter and milk so I was trying something different. (ie, where it is ok for my kids to have pizza dough with beer, it is NOT ok for me to have dough with milk and butter). After rolling my dough out, I baked it for 5 min at 425. I then spread some olive oil on it then spread some boiled potatoes that had been mased with garlic, salt, and peper. Then I sprinkled some northern white beans over the potatoes. Another sprinkle of nutritional yeast (which is like a cheesy spice), then some non-diary cheese (which really wasn't all that bad), and some green onions. I baked for about 10 more minutes.

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Results were...not bad. Not bad at all. I was feeling much less sorry for myself after dinner and lets face it, some things are easy to fix:

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Starting tomorrow

Starting Saturday, I will be eating vegan.

I went to whole foods today to stock up on my vegan food products:

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I had my last burger at BGR in Clemson. A real burger. It was delicious, but tomorrow I will be vegan.

Why? Well, my motto is everyone is a little bit crazy, so I might as well be a little vegan crazy.

In the fall, I had to put my foot down. Put my foot down to non-processed foods and get on the real foods kick. I still am, I try to eat as many real foods as I can. I read all the real food books and the real food blogs...and they were ok.

My doctor is also my friend. Well, his wife is my friend. It is a small town. This happens a lot. But they are vegan for health reasons. They are vegan because of a book called The China Study.

I read "In Defense of Food" and it was ok. This book is very anti-processed foods. It makes some good points and everyone should definately read it.

I read "The China Study" and it blew my mind.

The China Study lists the experiments that have been done on the correlation of animal protein and diseases. As the amount of animal protein has increased, the incidence of many diseases has increased. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking "there they go with those western diseases: heart disease, diabetes, obesety." But they found other correlations: liver cancer, breast cancer, other cancers.

At first this did not affect me. I am not scared of hospitals. I am not scared of cancer. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. I started thinking about the changes I could make.

So I decided to become vegan. Not forever. I am doing a 10 day vegan challenge. After 10 days, I hope to find a certain amount of moderation that I am comfortable with.

Vegan means no animal protein. No meat. No milk. No eggs. No yogurt. The China Study found it was actually more proteins found in dairy (caesin) that led to cancers. There can be no cheating on this. The results were very clear. Once they were apparent to me, how can I not tell this to everyone I love?

Are you listening?

I am putting this on my blog to make me do this. I had been putting this off for one reason or another (we got a box of Omaha Steaks...pretty good reason) but now it is time. The one rule is that I will not be eating animal protein for at least 10 days. Mark is not vegan. The kids are not vegan. Just me. However, by me making that choice, this does reduce the amount of animal proteins they will be consuming.

I know you are thinking this is crazy and it is, but look at it this way. I am moving from an animal based diet to a plant based diet. Who can argue with that?

I am starting tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is wrong with this picture?

Hey, sometimes you just need a blog post.

Incase you haven't noticed, we got a new tv. By new tv, I mean my dad upgraded to a 3D tv and we got his old cast off. It is pretty nice, don't get me wrong, but as free tvs go, this one is pretty expensive with the new stand and HD fee. In the process of moving things around, we uncovered some old gaming systems and had them laying around. James saw the controllers and games and KNEW THIS WAS SOMETHING HE LIKED. He knew right away what they were for and couldn't wait to play. For those of you born in the 90s or later, the gaming systems featured in this blog post is the atari and the Sony Playstation.

I am not into video games. At all. Not at all. But I did play some atari in my day. On Friday I set it up (which in itself is a miracle) and let James go to town:

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Turns out all/most atari games involve shooting something or someone dying. It is pretty difficult for today's youth with the CGI to understand what is going on.

"hey, I think this is a racing game James. Want to play?"
"That is not a car"
"Yes, it is!"

We did have more luck with the PS. I have never played these games so we waited for Mark. Graffics were a little better, but not much. The first game was the robot war game, which Mark and James played a "head to head" match up where they just walked around and flew.

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I think the computer was most confused that no one was trying to kill anyone.

At any rate, I think we might be getting a Wii for Easter...we will see!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Snowy Day

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Last night, I had a dream that it snowed, and then in my dream the sun came out and melted all the snow. When I woke up, snow was still everywhere. New snow was falling!

This was a true snow day for us. School for James was canceled. Mark didn't have to go to work. (He still had to work, but he didn't have to GO to work - ahhh, the internet age!) We started off our snowy day with snow pumpkin waffles:

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We also had a fire:

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The kids lasted until 9am when we finally ventured out. James was so excited!

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Andy was excited when he was inside. In the snow, not so much:

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He didn't last long. We stuck him in front of Bob the Builder and went back outside:

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James had a list. Snowman, snowball fight, snow angels, sleding, ice skating... This was very powdery snow, so the only one we had luck with was snow angels. We tried sledding, but it didn't go well. We may need to get a sled one of these snow days:

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Ms. Juliet and Christopher had the right idea though:

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A view down the street:

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Afterwards, there was hot chocolate!

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We got somewhere around 6". Ms. Becky, who is from "the north", said that she was impressed by it! The amount of snow is really unbelievable and amazing...but I hope it melts soon. Today went ok, but I am not looking forward to spending the next week stuck at home!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Year in pictures

This might be a really lame post.

On the corner of our house, we have a little deck that is really more like a walkway. It overlooks this ravine and I have always said that it would be cool if we could expand the deck there cause it would be a great place to sit. The view is really nice and what is really neat is how it changes over the year. In the summer it is filled in with trees and leaves, but in the winter, hey, there are houses over there. Last year I had a little project to take a picture every month from that spot. I orginally thought that I would take a picture on the first day of the month, but that didn't happen. Now, I am not a great photographer, did not take them at the same time of day, nor do I have a great camera, but here is the result:

Taken January 31, 2010
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March 4, 2010
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April 2, 2010
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April 16, 2010. I took more than one this month so you could see the leaves coming in.
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May 19, 2010
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June 6, 2010
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July 6, 2010
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August 31, 2010
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September 27, 2010
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October 23, 2010
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November 14, 2010
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November 25, 2010. Again more than one so you can see the change.
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November 30, 2010.
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December 26, 2010. Just cause it was cool.
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January 1, 2011
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