Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Week's Supper Plan

I'm taking it fairly easy today as I nurse a cold that has hit me hard. Other than taking a nap and drinking tea, I thought it would still be nice to actually get something done. I had thought about posting on my vacation site, but realized that the info I need to access it is on a disconnected, damaged hard drive at the moment. I have a back up... somewhere... lol. I'm in no mood for searching for it, so I decided I would look through some cookbooks today and come up with some supper ideas for the week.

ALL of my menu ideas on this blog are automatically dairy-free or easily adaptable between dairy and dairy-free. I don't consume any dairy at all--except for movie theatre popcorn butter which is clarified butter that doesn't have any of the protein that bugs me. So, if you are dairy-free or wanting to go dairy-free, EVERYTHING I post on this blog is safe!

The first book I've got beside me is How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.

*I already know that I want to make the Holy Moly Hummus on page 95. This is the most delicious hummus I have ever eaten! It is great as a veggie dip but also with tortilla chips, especially the Tostitos round chips. I was actually going to make some yesterday and discovered that not only was my tahini several months past the best before date, but that I didn't even have half of what the recipe called for, so I need to get to the store before I can make this. I actually change the recipe slightly and don't put in the parsley and have never tried it with the jalapeno. This recipe is actually so good, and I think I'm allowed to share a small number of recipes from books, that I'm going to share it here now for you:

1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
splash of olive oil
2.5 cooked or canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
3/4 cup of tahini
1.5 tbsp Braggs (or soy sauce; I use Braggs)
1/2 cup lemon juice (or you can use 1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar; I use lemon juice, mmmmm mmmm)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (haven't ever tried it with the parsley)
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

It's very easy to put together: You sauté the chopped onion and garlic in the splash of olive oil on medium heat until the onions are translucent. In a blender or food processor (if you use a blender, it had better be a large one!), put the onion, garlic and all the rest of the ingredients. Blend until it's the consistency you want. It makes about 2 cups of hummus. You can freeze whatever you won't eat in the next few days!

But that's for snacking and dipping. How about the supper ideas?

I asked my kids what they would make for supper this week. My 13-year old son said he wanted to make spaghetti and my 16-year old daughter had been wanting to make spaghetti, largely so she could make a meatball recipe we all love that she got from her foods science (aka home ec.) class. They are going to work together to make supper one night this week with my son making the sauce (family recipe) and his sister making the meatballs. Just got to figure out other nights they can help with. :D

Tonight, we are having pizza. I use a mix of Daiya cheddar and mozzarella on my pizza (well, my half of the pizza). I find that the mozza can easily be overdone but the cheddar doesn't bother me at all, so my pizzas usually have more Daiya cheddar than mozza on them! I'll be using my breadmaker to make the crust. Well, the dough for the crust.

We have some fish I'll serve with rice and veggies and salad one night.

I've got some turkey sausages I can make with potatoes another night. (Yes, and add in veggies, but we usually eat our veggies raw at supper so it doesn't really require any specific planning!) I'm pretty sure the sausages are gluten-free, so that will make a dairy- AND gluten-free meal.

I think I'll try the Chicken, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir-Fry on p. 122 of Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love.

We've really liked everything we've tried so far from this book and we love stir fry meals, so it should be good. :)

How many meals does that bring me up to? Five. Including tonight's. That'll bring me to Thursday. Okay, we'll have chili one night. There. Brings us to Friday. Good enough for now. lol

So, quick recap for a dairy-free menu plan for the week (er, part of the week):

*homemade pizza made with Daiya cheese (could use the pizza crust recipe from the above-mentioned Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen for a gluten-free option; the crust is really good)
*spaghetti and meatballs (could easily be gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and gluten-free bread crumbs)
*crispy fish and rice
*turkey sausages with potatoes (gluten-free!)
*chicken, broccoli and carrot stir fry with rice (gluten-free!)
*chili (gluten-free!)

Clearly, I am not focusing on meatless meals this week, but I will be looking at vegan and raw vegan things during the day, like Ani Phyo's  Coconut Breakfast Cakes (I finally found golden ground flax seed!) and some other things. I also got a free Actifry recently and have only so far used it to make French fries. It would be nice to explore other recipe options, for any meal.

Do you plan dairy-free meals? Do you have a plan for this week you'd like to share? Or are you looking for more dairy-free supper ideas--or perhaps specific recipes? Let me know!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Random Stuff

I've been reading more the past couple of months from a variety of books. (Book list shared below!) One of the things I read recently in a John Demartini book was something along the lines that whenever we master one challenge and think we've got everything down pat, something is bound to happen to upset any ensuing calm/peace because we need to have constant challenges to grow.

That has, I can say, been my reality the past couple of months.

But I have no complaints: there is so much good that has come out of these challenges, like having me spend more time each day connecting spiritually, growing spiritually. Like turning to books which have provided me with some amazing ideas I was ready for.

Recently, while considering how I've been dealing with the challenges, I've found part of me thinking I don't lead a balanced life. At the same time, I'm starting to wonder if I'm supposed to. If any of us are supposed to. I think we are supposed to learn to connect to our inner guidance (whatever you might call it) and act from inspiration. Inspiration isn't always balanced--but it doesn't leave us feeling unbalanced. We can go and go and go when we are inspired, never tiring.

Where am I going with tihs? Not sure. That's why it's a random stuff post. :D

Other random stuff:
We are booked for Hawaii! Woot! Which means I only have a few months to work on my fitness level and to get my weight down to where I would like it. Even just another 5 pounds down would be nice! I started using this video set by Tracy Anderson

I am discovering that while I can walk for hours, the fairly simple routine really gets to the core of certain muscles that are clearly weak! Probably not suitable for people who have been working out for sometime, but for those of us who are sporadic with our exercise and haven't done much challenging, it's a very nice start. She does have other videos of various levels, which I hope to start moving up through soon.

That will hopefully help with the fitness level I would like so that we can do all the activities we want and I will be able to keep up! Food-wise, I've already started making changes (not for Hawaii, just for my own benefit) and have lost a few pounds already. I do still have a hankering to have more raw vegan foods as part of my daily life and even tried out Ani Phyo's Blueberry Smoothie recipe from her book Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes. I'm hoping to make Mimi Kirk's raw Caesar salad this week. (Mmmm, do I ever love that salad!)

Okay, my (partial) reading list the past while. If you want more information, click on the pictures (or ask me questions in the comments box!). And, um, no, I don't usually read one book before moving onto another. Most of these are still being worked on!

This is one book that really gets me thinking, seeing things differently. I'm not 100% in agreement with everything he says but am open to the possibility that he may, in fact, be on the right track. He talks a lot about how we are to learn to come from a centre of love and that as we act out of balance (elated vs unhappy, for example), we can see that there is something else going on to balance it. (Yes, this appears to go against what I said above about balance, but I'm talking more about the balance in activities, like household stuff and kids and exercise...) He has helped me to lose anxiety I had about some on-going issues and instead appreciate what benefits are coming out of the challenges. Haven't finished this book yet. I seem to need to read a chapter or two and then let them digest.

This is all about Ho'oponopono. It is fascinating, intriguing, something I question and yet have been attempting to implement. It has definitely helped me find greater peace and a deeper spiritual connection. I admit to modifying how they present it to connect it more with my religious beliefs.

This is quite different from typical "law of attraction" stuff out there. I seem to be taking quite a long time to get through it, not because it's not interesting or potentially useful (actually, it may very well have helped me bring a car into my life--but that will have to be a separate post. The story is almost unbelievable!) I guess part of me isn't quite sure what I think of her whole approach, although I have been using the "one command" idea but more as a sort of affirmation/reminder than doing the steps she says.

Gotta have a novel in there, no? lol. I have actually been working on this for months. I am not finding it as captivating as the first two, which I reread immediately before starting this one, but it is still interesting and I definitely want to finish it (although I accidentally saw a spoiler online :( ). We saw the movie for Divergent last Friday and while it was good, it was not nearly as amazing as the film version of The Hunger Games. (Yes, another random thing thrown in there. Sorry.)

Last one on my partial list:

Okay, this isn't really to read, but I'm working on it, so I'm including it!

I don't draw. I can't really draw. Even my students recognize it and I'm quite open and playful about it. So when I saw this book, I initially thought, hm, I can't do that. But when I looked more into it, I started thinking that it was something I could potentially do. Have I been doing one a day? No. I'm not even using the materials they say to use (if I had to wait to start until I had the materials, I would never start!). But I am finding that while some designs they show are a bit of a challenge for me and I may simply never really "get" them, most are quite enjoyable and things I can do! If you aren't very artistic but love the idea of being able to do something artistic, look into zentangle. It may just help you feel like you aren't a total artistic loss.

Okay, is that enough random for you today? :D What is going on in your life? What are you reading? What is inspiring and helping and motivating you?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Making a Dairy-Free Meal Out of a Dairy-Filled Meal

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter was participating in an activity where she needed to bring an entrée from another country. She chose chicken quesadillas.

She found the recipe, made them and had enough left over that my husband and son could have supper, too. But, with the cheese and butter used, it was not going to be a supper for me. How could I adapt the ingredients that were left over for me?

There was chicken left over and some tortillas. We had lettuce in the fridge.

So, I started building myself a sandwich wrap, added some additional taco seasoning, some salsa... (I put more lettuce on after the picture!) It was quite a tasty supper and a very easy way to modify what was a dairy-filled recipe not with a dairy substitute, but by creating a different, but simple, meal. :)