Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vegan Sausage, Peppers & Mushrooms and Miscellaneous Stuff ;-)

I am going to start with a tease for the vegan sausage and peppers from dinner last night. This is ridiculously quick and easy but very tasty and still healthy. ;-)


Wednesday started off exactly as I had expected with the scale going up. Whenever we go out to dinner that happens the following day. I feel certain it is mostly due to the sodium that causes us to retain water and me more so that Dan. I find it fascinating how much of an impact consuming sodium can have on weight.


Breakfast this morning was grapes, and a small handful of unpictured walnuts. I didn’t have much of an appetite this morning after a bigger than usual dinner so I ate a light breakfast. Dan had his usual bowl of oatmeal with no-sugar apple butter and walnuts this morning.

Once Dan left for work I decided to walk to the grocery store to pick up a few things before the rain started. There is a big band of rain and thunderstorms running up the east coast causing the weather service to post flood advisories for our area. While I love to walk to the store I would rather not in the rain so I got out and back this morning. Like usual we needed organic carrots and organic celery. However this time I grabbed another container of organic tofu (no soy protein isolates), organic tempeh, and bananas for smoothies.


For lunch today I decided to eat something from the freezer to start to make room. This time I grabbed a potato filled calzone. I used to make calzones all the time before we began reducing our bread consumption. This one used my 100% whole wheat dough and I filled it with cooked potatoes, rosemary, and caramelized garlic. If you make these in large batches you can wrap them in foil and freeze them in zip top bags. I find they defrost nicely in the foil in a 300 degree oven. The filling was based on a potato pizza I had in Italy years ago. It is very carby but good. Today I dipped it in what I call adult ketchup that I also had in the freezer. My freezer is full of things like this but I really need to reduce the inventory so I can put new things in there.

Thoughts on weight and health:

I received a very thoughtful email today reminding me that weight is just a number after my post yesterday and not a sign of how healthy or unhealthy a person is. To a large extent I agree with what this person wrote. However it brought up some thoughts for me about weight that I want to share so that you can think about the issue as well.

The reason I mentioned the weight at the doctor yesterday was because I was annoyed that the number wasn’t what I had expected and wanted to share that. My annoyance was gone 5 or 10 minutes afterwards but in that moment I was not amused. Is weight a big deal? I guess that all depends. If you are happy with how you look and feel and all your other health indicators (blood work, BP, etc.) are good I don’t think weight alone is that meaningful. However normally excess weight brings its own problems so it isn’t something to be dismissed lightly either. I do agree that there is a lot of pressure on women to be thin in our society and I don’t want to add to that with my comments. So if I did I apologize that was not my intention. I think it is much more important to eat a healthy diet and exercise and focus on your BP, cholesterol, resting heart rate and waist size than your weight.

I also believe that if you eat a healthy whole food plant based diet your weight will eventually reach the amount that is right for you. That number is very individual and shouldn’t be something you look at a chart to determine. Many people tell me that my husband that Dan is too thin. Since his BMI is just under 25 we both find that a little surprising. But the consensus among our friends is that he needs to gain weight. Needless to say I brought this up with our internist this week who said he thinks Dan is exactly where he should be. As a culture we have gotten so accustomed to see people that are larger than they should be that we think those at a healthy weight are too thin. This is similar to cholesterol levels in this country. When did cholesterol of 200 get to be normal? Easy when nearly everyone in America started to overindulge in unhealthy food.

So how do you know if you are healthy? How was your last doctor visit? Are your health indicators good or are you closer to the average American? Given the dramatic improvement in my health and Dan’s I am fairly confident that eating a diet like ours will improve anyone’s health no matter what issues you are currently facing.


When dinner time came around I wasn’t much in the mood to cook. Most days I love cooking but yesterday wasn’t one of those days. I made a quick dish from things I had on hand in the refrigerator and freezer. While I didn’t measure things I have a good idea what I did which I will try to describe in a narrative fashion rather than in a formal recipe. This took me about 20 minutes to prepare which was mostly due to the time it takes to make quinoa. If you use cooked brown rice from the refrigerator the dish can be made in less than 10 minutes. This is a version a traditional Italian sausage and peppers only no meat.

I cooked 1 diced red onion, 6 cloves of minced garlic in 2 cups of pureed tomatoes. Add another 2 cups of diced peeled tomatoes, 2 diced red bell peppers and 1 diced poblano. To this I added ½ pound or crimini mushrooms, 2 sweet Italian seitan sausages which I cut into bite sized pieces, Italian seasoning and no salt seasoning to taste. I also added nutritional yeast until I had a light buttery background this turned out to be 3 tablespoons. I served this on quinoa and topped with walnut parmesan. This made 4 good sized servings.

It was the perfect meal for a cool rainy night. Dinner was Dan’s idea; he always loved sausage and peppers. I am happy that I can make a healthy vegan version that he still enjoys.


The rain started really coming down around midnight. By morning it looked like it was time to build a boat in the backyard. Of course the big oak trees in our neighborhood had filled one of our downspouts with acorns so my poor hubby had to deal with that problem before he could go to work. The poor baby was soaked when he came in from the yard.


Dan had his usual big bowl of oatmeal this time topped with no-sugar apple butter and chopped walnuts. He also had a mug of hot green tea to warm up after being out in the cold rain.

Since I had stayed inside and dry (I am such a girl) I didn’t need a hot breakfast. I had a bunch of grapes and a few walnuts for breakfast. I did join Dan and have a mug of hot green tea since it was a bit cool in the house.


I was seriously in the mood for one of my enormous salads today. This one contained: 1 head of romaine, 2 Roma tomatoes, 1 thinly shaved carrot, ¼ thinly shaved cucumber, a sprinkle of slivered almonds and dried cranberries and cherries. I dressed this with my current favorite dressing of Dijon, red wine vinegar and stevia.

For those of you that wonder how I shave carrots and cucumber I used this handy little fixed blade Kyocera ceramic mandoline. Because this is ceramic it stays very sharp so be careful when using it. Since I make a lot of salads this little gadget gets used quite often. If you don’t have something like this I highly recommend picking one up. I find it is much easier to make salad with this. Also I can add a different texture to the veggies by slicing them very thin. You could never get the veggies this thin with a knife.

Snack one:

About two hours after lunch I was hungry again. As you all know I like to listen when my body tells me to eat I got myself some edamame from the freezer. I love to eat them things out of the pod.

Local Flooding:

I was chatting with a out of state freind and was telling her about the local flooding and took these pictures of the news so she could see what was happening here. I thought you might be interested too.

This first one is the Inner Harbor and Baltimore which is flooded. It looks very similar to these pictures I took earlier this year.

The second shot is of Annapolis which is also flooded. The sad thing is that high tide was still 6 hours away when these pictures were taken. The water front is going to be a mess tonight. Let’s just hope a certain husband doesn’t get stuck downtown since he works very close to the harbor.

Snack two:

Knowing that Dan would probably be working late, since he went in late, I grabbed another snack later in the day. This time it was an appetizer plate with the sausage and peppers dish from last night over quinoa. Again I topped it with walnut parmesan because I think that adds a lot to the dish.

Signing out:

I will talk to all again tomorrow after I finish my usual Friday errands. There may also be a little clothing shopping in my day. I haven’t decided yet but I am feeling the need to pick up a few things. Since the rain is supposed to stop around lunch time tomorrow I may have to celebrate the sun coming out with something girlie.

I hope everyone had a great week. I will talk to you again soon. I have not forgotten about the marinated mushroom recipe a few of you have asked for. As soon as I pick up some crimini or button mushrooms I will get that posted for you. I think you will all be surprised how simple it really is.  Have a great evening.


  1. I haven't had calzones in a million years. Yummy. And the "sausage" dish sounds great. I was way too tired this evening to do anything more than thaw out homemade bean burgers. Hope you enjoy your shopping tomorrow!!

  2. Heather,

    I am not feeling like a ball of fire tonight either. I have no idea what we are having for dinner. Time to get started though, LOL.

    I hope tomorrow is better for you,

  3. Mmmm...everything looks delish, Ali, especially the calzone. WOW the flooding looks like how it looks here at least once every June (something to do w/ the tides, unless there's a hurricane, June is the only time we really have major flooding, weird).

    Thank you for posting about the whole issue of weight that we experience in our society. My weight is an ongoing battle...sigh....


  4. LJ,

    I think weight is a sensitive issue for 99% of women. I am not sure that I have a single woman friend that is happy with her appearance. That really is a said commentary if you think about the implications.

    You are right the wind was blowing the water up the bay and since we had 8 inches of rain today that didn't help. It happens occassionaly here but not too often. It should be gone soon.


  5. I identified very much with you on your Dr apt weigh-in...I don't know much of anyone who enjoys being weighed in front of others and at times having it commented on.Of course it is important to focus on health, but weight is also very important from all I have read..Many of the doctors I am reading would have us weigh less than is considered "normal"
    I am 5'4 and Dr Fuhrman puts my good weight at about 111. He doesn't allow for more weight as you age..I love your are very thorough and interesting and challenge me to do healthy but tasty..

  6. Coco,

    Thanks for letting me know my scale at the doctor comment resonated. I was afraid I wasn’t clear. I find it very unsettling for strangers to know my weight when my husband is the only person that knows otherwise. ;-)

    I am a bit shorter than you so Dr. F puts my weight at 107. I have not weighed that since high school when I was a size 0. The one thing Dr. F does not take into account is that for cancer patients they need a little cushion. The treatment side effects can cause a drop of 10 pounds in a few days. Since malnutrition is a leading cause of death for cancer patients they need to keep a few extra pounds on board. But otherwise I agree with you that most Americans are too big and not active enough.

    Thank you for your nice comments about my blog, I really appreciate it.

    have a good evening,

  7. Ali, those calzones look delicious! Sadly, I don't know that I have every had a calzone, but I know I want yours. :o)
    Seeing all that flooding reminds me of the bad flood we had here in TN at the end of April. We had never experienced anything like that here.
    Oh yeah, your sausage dish looks good too. I hope you have a great weekend!

  8. Your adult ketchup sounds really good - we keep Simply Heinz in the house, but I prefer bbq sauce over ketchup any day. I bet the your homemade spiced version would be a hit in our house.

    Sorry your weight remark was misunderstood, but I'm glad you revisited it. It is a really sensitive topic because it is just a number and some people do feel pressure to be too skinny - but it is also a measure to pay attention to. I am tall and have gained as much as 15 pounds without really noticing. Had I been monitoring a scale, I could have nipped that in the bud. I do see weight as at least one indicator of overall health, especially if there is a major change. If there is a big change, it can be due to underlying medical problems or poor health, and either should be addressed. I was talking about this last weekend when I saw how heavy and unhealthy my brother and sister in law are - I also saw how poorly they ate. Just junk food. And they got out of breath going up stairs. You can say it's just a number, but I agree it's an important one to watch.

  9. I think weight is important because it is typically a reflection of our state of health. I am trying to drop 1 lb. every two months in the ways that lots of the Calorie Restriction people suggest to do, but it is hard. I am having an especially difficult time this week. And with the winter months coming, it's going to be even more about staying in and cooking comforting foods. I do, think we can all learn to eat less. If we could pair everything down in our lives, I think it would be a good thing:) I strongly believe that there is too much emphasis on exercise and not enough on eating less. (Exercise is ALWAYS important, but the way we eat is equally if not more so)...

  10. I think your peppers and sausage look amazing and I love love love the salad, I think I like it better...Who knew I would ever say that! LOL
    Weight is a big deal to me, not for vanity reasons of course, but for the way I feel when I am heavier. When I weighed 180lbs. I was miserable, not to mention the added strain on my knees. Now weighing in at only 127 and being
    5'6, I am considered slim, if not skinny. My joints do not ache as bad and I am much easier to push around my husband
    The rain pictures are ridiculous!
    I bought a new workout regimne. It is called the ABS diet. It helps build muscle in your stomach and back which helps with back pain.

  11. Michelle,

    Calzones are just pizza dough with the topping/filling inside. They bake about twice as long as regularly pizza otherwise they are the same thing. They are street food in Italy.

    I remember the floods you had earlier this year, they looked horrible on TV. Ours are not the same magnitude.

    I hope you are having a good weekend too,

  12. Jessica,

    I love to make unusual sauces and the ketchup was one of those. It is a bit of cross between BBQ and ketchup. I liked it. ;-)

    Weight is such a sensitive subject for women. I think it is such a shame we all seem to feel pressure to be model thin. But I also agree with you that it is something to keep an eye on. I get on the scale every single morning to monitor what is happening. However being short I can feel two or three pounds by how my clothes fit. I am sorry to hear about you brother and sister-in-law. Junk food doesn't do anyone any favors and it is what most Americans live on, sadly.

    hope you are having a good weekend,

  13. Aimee,

    I agree with you that the vast majority of Americans can stand to lose weight. It is something I find very depressing. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more people began to consume a more healthful diet?

    I try to alternate low calorie and normal calorie days to decrease my overall food consumption. That seems to keep my body from thinking it is starving so it loses weight. I have been surprised by how few calories I actually seem to need. It is quite a bit less than I used to eat.

    I agree with you that diet is a bigger component of health than exercise, though exercise is important too. But all the exercise in the world won't compensate for a poor diet.

    hope you are enjoying the weekend,

  14. Brandi,

    I never thought I would be a person that craved salad and green smoothies but I have become that person. My body seems to have taken over, LOL.

    Congrats on your wonderful progress that is huge going from 180 to 127 this year. I hope you are feeling as proud of yourself as you should be. ;-)

    When you have had a chance to use the new workout for a while please post a reveiw. I would love to hear what you think of it.

    hope you are enjoying your b'day!


Related Posts with Thumbnails