Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Friday and a Stuffed Sweet Potato

Happy Friday! I am so glad today is Friday, woo hoo. It has been a long week and I have not been as productive as I should have been. Spending two days relaxing with my hubby is just what the doctor ordered. Now if I just need to convince Dan to relax and we will be all set.

In spite of getting almost 8 hours of sleep last night today started slowly for me, it must have been the weather. Getting up to a weather forecast of 95 degrees is no way to start a fall day. *shakes head* Since it was almost 80 with 80% humidity early today the AC went back on line. I will be so happy when I can turn that off for the winter.

I finally realized why I was feeling so sluggish and not myself yesterday. In addition to a general lack of sleep my GI system was not itself due to the rich food which we don’t normally eat. I decided to do something that I have avoided for the last two years. Yes, I made myself a double shot of espresso this morning to get everything moving. My first sip was not what I expected it tasted burnt and not particularly enjoyable. However by sip two and three I was back into the espresso groove. Somehow I managed to not make myself a second double shot, though I have no idea where that will power came from. ;-) For those of you that don’t know I am a recovering espresso addict (who owns an Italian semi-auto espresso machine) and have been known to drink 8 double shots in a day. That was when I knew I had a serious problem and gave it up. My body is no longer accustomed to the caffeine hit so I was wired not long after I had the espresso. Funny I used to drink 2 double shots each morning and felt nothing. I guess it is a good sign that my body isn’t used to it any more.

Oh the positive news front the mysterious 2.4 vanished this morning just as it arrived. All is right with the universe now, LOL. Thank goodness it was just water retention. ;-)

After my caffeine jolt I was ready to exercise. Gee I wonder why? LOL! Once that was knocked out it was time for breakfast.


Today’s smoothie consisted of: 1 frozen banana, 2 kale leaves/stems, 1 collard leaf/stem, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 ½ cups cold processed green tea, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, 1 small chunk (about ½ tablespoon) fresh ginger root, stevia to taste if necessary. Process the smoothie until everything is smooth.

Why Frozen Bananas in the smoothies:

I get a lot of questions about why I use frozen bananas in my smoothies so I wanted to address that question here for everyone. I take overripe bananas, like those pictured above, peel them and freeze them in a zip top freezer bag. By having the bananas a little overripe the natural sugars develop more so that maybe you can go without any added sweetener. I try to limit our use of all of them, even stevia. Also because the bananas are frozen they will chill the smoothie without needing to add ice which dilutes the overall flavor of the drink. I hope that makes sense as to why I always use frozen bananas. There is an added benefit for my hubby; they are always around when he wants a quick dessert. ;-)

Since today is Friday it was errand day for me. :-p Like usual I checked in my aging parents and did a little light housekeeping while I was there, vacuuming, dusting and straightening. I suppose when I reach 80 I won’t really feel like dragging out the vacuum or cleaning either. ;-) But since I didn’t have kids I guess a maid service will need to be in my future.

I also had a few stops to make on foot and got those out of the way early since it was getting warmer by the minute. What happened to fall again?

Before Dan left for work this morning I asked what he wanted for dinner tonight and got the usual reply, “I don’t know”. Like always we went down the same path, “How about a cuisine, or even a continent, any particular protein sound good to you?” Each question got the same reply, “Anything you want to make would be wonderful.” I adore my husband but it would be nice if he could help with dinner ideas occasionally. Now I know why my chef friend Ian says coming up with daily specials is hard work. I have the same problem and it is just one dinner. *rolls eyes* Needless to say as I am typing this I have no idea what is for dinner tonight. *sigh*

I had to share this picture with you of our baby (Nicco, aka Binky). Could he look any lazier? My felines never seem to have a care in the world. I just love our three little fur babies. They bring so much life and love to our home. Okay the life is only when they are awake but you get the idea.

Email responses:

I want to apologize to everyone that I owe an email response to. My blog email is starting to overwhelm me a little. Being off line for a day and half this week buried me in email. I am trying to resist putting an auto reply on my email but now I know why other bloggers do it. Please know I will get to your email it may just take me a while. I am very sorry for the delay in my responses.

The colors on your plate:

Do you ever look at your plate and think wow everything is white, beige or brown? Mine used to look like that. Unless the white is cauliflower and the brown mushrooms odds are you need more veggies and less white, beige and brown food. Antioxidants are found in much larger quantities in veggies and fruit than in grains or mock meat products. Additionally different colored items seem to have similar antioxidant profiles. Think of tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon all containing lycopene or carrots and sweet potatoes with their beta carotene. Instead of trying to memorize what antioxidant is in what food I simply make sure that we eat the rainbow every day. The only tough color to eat daily is the blue/purple group. For this I use frozen wild blueberries, beets or red cabbage. I find it much easier to concentrate various colors rather than the individual antioxidants. We add different colored produce into smoothies, soup and salad. Also I take every opportunity to add veggies to our meal anyplace that it makes sense. Hard to believe I was ever a veggie hater isn’t it? But it is true I didn’t always like veggies let alone love them. ;-)


My smoothie was so filling (though I don’t know why) it took me a while to get hungry for lunch. I opted for a simple salad. Don’t I always? LOL! Salads are great because you can get in a lot of veggie servings without many calories or fat.

This salad contained: ½ head of romaine, a couple of diced Roma tomatoes, ¼ thinly sliced cucumber, ¼ thinly sliced carrots, marinated mushrooms and roasted red peppers. I added a dollop of cheezy white bean dip and a few raw pumpkin seeds and I had one very tasty salad for lunch.

Mid day meal/snack:

Later in the afternoon I had leftover the tempeh and veggies in tomato cashew curry over brown rice from last night. This held my hunger at bay until Dan came home from work around 8pm. Being on the road for work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday meant he had a long day today which will turn into a long weekend I just found out. *sigh*


For some reason I was in the mood for a baked sweet potato today. Or rather I should say a microwaved sweet potato because I was not turning on the oven with the AC running. Since it was an enormous spud (about a pound) we split it. I topped it with: cooked white beans (no salt), marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, cashew crème fraiche, avocado slices and fresh diced tomatoes. The entire meal took less than 10 minutes and it was delicious. The benefit of keeping things like marinated mushrooms and beans on hand is the rest of the meal is a snap. This would have been equally good with sauerkraut in place of the marinated mushrooms and sriracha added to the crème fraiche.

Signing out:

It is time for me to some time with my sweetie. I will talk to you again tomorrow. I hope you are having a great Friday evening.


  1. What a cool cat! That curry looks so tasty Ali.

    I've been meaning to ask you: your diet is so healthy and I think you have mentioned previously (correct me if I'm wrong) that you don't like taking medications unless absolutely necessary; do you supplement your diet at all?

    I'm thinking mainly of B12 as I don't think you eat any processed foods which would contain added B12 like soymilk etc.

    Maybe you could address this in one of your posts as I'm sure others would be interested to know.

    B12 is particularly worrisome to me as I know a lack of it is linked to dementia in later life. I realise that this is mainly due to a decrease in intrinsic factor as we get older which means we can't absorb the B12 so easily, but still as vegans it's something we should really take care of.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. OH! I didn't know you were a veggie hater too, Ali! I was a hater of all veg (except for potatoes and corn, lol) until 2005. I was doing my yoga teacher training, and going out to lunch w/ my teacher who I idolized. I didn't want her to think I was weird, so I ate veggie dishes in front of her--she has no idea that she "peer pressured" me, lol, but I'm forever grateful!


  3. Carol,

    All three of my felines are Turkish Angoras and behave as predicted by their breed characteristics (both good and bad). ;-) Mr. Nicco was very lazy yesterday.

    I don't like medications but would take them if I needed them. I do take supplements and B12 is one of them, vitamin D is another. I have a doc appt on Tuesday in fact and my internist always checks my B12 and Vit D levels to be sure I am in line. ;-) Good idea for something to write about soon. I will give it some thought.


  4. JL,

    Sometimes I just crave sweet potatoes, they are so tasty and comforting.


  5. LJ,

    I was a veggie hater for years. My mom was/is the world's worst cook so I grew up hating veggies. It wasn't until about 2004 that I started forcing myself to cook with them often until I found ways to like them. You are certainly not the only reformed veggie hater. I love your story about veggie peer pressure. ;-) Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.


  6. We keep a freezer full of frozen bananas too. Jason uses them often for smoothies. I think I could have used a double espresso myself yesterday ;-) Happy Saturday friend!

  7. Heather,

    I normally have two gallon ziploc bags full of bananas in my freezer too. Dan loves the strawberry banana soft serve so much I can't run out of frozen bananas. ;-)

    I bet you could have used a double espresso yesterday. I hate to admit I had another one a little while ago. It seems my "addicttion" wants to come back. At least it was only 1 and hopefully won't turn into 8 again. ;-)

    hope you have a good Saturday too,

  8. Ali,
    Glad those lbs. disappeared:))) Can't wait to try your cashew creme fraiche! Have a great Saturday! -Aimee

  9. Aimee,

    I was very glad the lbs disappeared just as they had arrived too. ;-)

    We like the cashew creme fraiche qutie a bit. Once I discoverd many brands of silke tofu contain soy protein isolate I needed a substitute and this works well.

    hope you have a good Saturday too,

  10. 8 double shots in a day?!? I can't imagine ONE shot, lol. I don't know how you were able to sleep!

    I worked at the deli/juice bar in a natural foods co-op in high school, and that was where I learned the secret of frozen bananas in smoothies--it makes them creamy and cool and substantial without ice, like you said. Using all frozen fruit makes the smoothie so cool and refreshing. I used to have so much fun making up smoothies with all of their ingredients on hand!

    Don't forget eggplant, grapes, blackberries, plums, purple potatoes and purple carrots and green beans in the purple/blue category either!

    I hope you and Dan are having a little FUN today and celebrating his birthday with style :-)


  11. Courtney,

    I know ... I was a serious espresso addict I really wasn't kidding about that. Sadly I could drink the stuff and go right to sleep. I think my body was numb to the caffeine, LOL. I don't want that to happen again. ;-)

    I worked in a healthfood store in college, but no juice bar. =( That must have been a blast. At least I know I would have loved it.

    Thanks for listing some other blue/purple foods. I was only mentioning the ones I tend to rely on.

    Dan is relaxing with his feet up at the moment, which is a good thing. He watched a movie earlier but he will need to get in a little work later. ;-)

    I hope you had good weather for your fundraiser today,


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