Breakfast was a green smoothie for both of us on Saturday. My smoothie contained: 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, 6 walnut halves, 4 stalks of purple kale, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, water to process. Dan’s smoothie was the same except he got 2 frozen bananas, a handful of walnuts and a little stevia.
It still surprises me that we both like the kale and banana smoothies. Initially we were both a little taken back by the color but the taste is good and the nutrition excellent. In the end of the color really doesn’t matter to either of us.
I opted to make a huge pot of soup for the mid-day meal with my parents. Dan bought me a massive Le Creuset pot a few years ago that is 15 ½ quarts. Doesn’t everyone need to make almost 4 gallons of soup at once? LOL … It is perfect for making soup or marinara sauce when you want leftovers to freeze. I didn’t measure what went into this soup because I knew most people don’t have a pot big enough to make it. However I can tell you what I used. Dan was in the mood for something Tuscan flavored which means beans, fresh sage and tomato to me. This soup included the following: onion, garlic, carrot, parsnip, celery, thinly sliced green beans, thinly sliced leek, red cabbage, diced tomato, dried Italian seasoning, fresh sage, fresh shitake mushroom caps, red lentils, barley, tomato paste, red bell pepper, cauliflower, and hot crushed peppers (wet hots). I finished the soup with fresh parsley on all the servings and a drizzle of unfiltered extra virgin olive oil for my parents. Much to my surprise both my parents said that my soup was very good so I sent them home with a quart for later.
The salad we had with lunch was very simple. I make a variation of fennel and orange salad. As you know I love olives. Back in our less than healthy days I used to make a black olive dressing with parmesan. This is a much healthier vegan version of that dressing. Here is what I did:
Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad with Black Olive dressing
1 fennel bulb, thinly shaved on a mandoline
4 radishes, thinly shaved on a mandoline
a splash of red wine vinegar to season the fennel and radish
1 orange, zest finely grated then peel and section the segments (I do not supreme my oranges since reading in the oncologist’s waiting room that the membrane and pith contain micronutrients that halt cancer growth)
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely minced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Dressing ingredients: (makes enough for 8 salads but any less won’t process properly in the blender)
8 kalamata olives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water (or what is necessary to achieve the consistency you want)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons raw cashews
Combine the ingredients in your high speed blender and process on high until smooth. Add as much water as necessary to achieve the texture/consistency you desire. Two tablespoons water was enough for me. If you plan to refrigerate the dressing it will thicken as it chills so you may want to make it a little thinner or thin it when you plan to use it.
Nutritional Information (assumes ¼ of the salad and 1/8th of dressing per serving):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 98.93
Calories From Fat (40%) - 39.15
Total Fat - 4.19g
Saturated Fat - 0.31g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 94.69mg
Potassium - 391.03mg
Total Carbohydrates - 12.28g
Fiber - 4.32g
Sugar - 0.37g
Protein - 2.59g
This is my spin on a classic Sicilian salad. The original contains red onion, which I replaced with radish. I omitted the olive oil and made a dressing with the olives rather than sprinkling them on top. If you like salty foods this would also be great with capers. I added the sliced almonds for crunch and the parsley for color. However the flavor combination is close to the original which has always been a favorite of mine.
After lunch Dan suggested going out for dinner. You know where we ended up. Yes, Ian made dinner and it was wonderful as always. We are so lucky to have a place in the neighborhood that will cater to us even though it isn’t a vegetarian restaurant. I always forget that not everyone has someone like Ian close by until I read other blogs that mention how difficult it is to eat out.
I was in the mood for a little vino last night and since they still had the Masi Pinot Grigio it meant I “had to” get a glass. As soon as I ordered the glass I decided that I “needed” the bottle but would take most of it home, which I did. We shared some with Aimee and Michael since they hadn’t had it before and it is always nice to share your toys with others. ;-)
We started by ordering a salad that was on special menu, hold the animal products. Ours was baby arugula lightly dressed with a lemon and toasted sesame vinaigrette topped with roasted beets and pineapple and it was delicious! When I asked Ian about it later he told me beet and pineapple was an old school flavor combination he thought from the 70’s. This is a good example of an oldie but a goody. I will be playing around with this flavor combination sometime soon. I think I would have enjoyed this with a few sesame seeds for crunch. Ian’s original contained turkey and goat cheese but ours we great without either. Maybe my version will include some almond feta. Hmmmm, too many ideas and not enough time to execute them all.
Since Dan loves pizza you know we had to have one of nice crispy whole wheat ones Ian makes. We took a few items from the puttanesca pizza and other items from the potato pizza and came up with a Dan and Alicia pizza. Our whole wheat pizza included: marinara sauce, capers, black olives, roasted red peppers, roasted red onion, fresh tomato slices and thinly sliced potato. Both Dan and I thought it was delicious. I have to say I am now convinced that pizza does not need cheese or faux cheese to be delicious. Seriously I never thought I would say that (being a former cheese-aholic) but I would rather have no cheese than fake cheese now. Who said that? ;-)
Those of you with a good memory probably remember that Dan is not fond of olives. I happen to think they are the best thing since sliced bread. I only had one slice of the personal pizza tonight. However I had most in not all of the oil cured olives which are my favorite. Can you say water retention? Of course the sodium will showed up on the scale this morning. Oh well, it was good going down.
Of course we weren’t finished eating. We decided to order the marinated mushroom appetizer as our last course. Since mushrooms are said to stop cancer cell growth why not eat mushrooms every chance you get? Not only are they good for you but these are seriously good. I really need to ask Ian what he includes in his mushrooms. They have a subtle but distinct umami that I can’t put my finger on. You know I will be asking so I can make my version of his recipe. ;-)
We also had two pots of green tea with dinner because you know we drink the stuff all the time. No doubt about it we got our quota of EGCG today.
Thanksgiving menu options:
I have been going back and forth on the menu for a few days. Here is what I am thinking of now:
• Butternut squash soup (possibly with chipotles in adobo) and topped with crispy dehydrated red onions and cashew crème fraiche
• Roasted vegetable salad with balsamic glaze and pine nuts (an oldie but a goodie)
• Seitan (either cutlets or a roulade) or a Portobello cap filled with bread stuffing (not both since it would be too much flour)
• Porcini or mixed wild mushroom gravy for the main dish and/or faux potatoes
• Cauliflower and millet faux mashed potatoes (possibly with caramelized garlic)
• Haricot vert with caramelized onion, and sliced almonds
• Brussels sprouts with clementines and poppy seeds
• Cranberry granita or Tofu Chocolate Mousse
What sounds better and/or healthier to you? Would you go with the seitan or the stuffed mushroom caps? Also between the granita and the mousse which one sounds more Thanksgiving appropriate? I think the granita sounds better but Dan always wants the chocolate mousse. I keep looking at the menu thinking that I need more “veggies”. However since I almost always over cook for national holidays I am trying to restrain myself.
I have been enjoying the happy thoughts endings to the post. I hope it reminds you to think of the good things that are happening for you too. We all have things in our lives that would we rather not focus on but there is also a lot of good too if you just look for it. Here are my happy thoughts today:
• This morning there was a beautiful orange, pink and purple sunrise. I tried to photograph it but the none of the pictures did the sky color justice. Picture or not it was gorgeous and both Dan and I took the time to enjoy it.
• The farmers’ market was great this morning and I actually remembered boots and gloves today so I wasn’t a human popsicle today. ;-)
• The weather today was almost perfect. It started cold (in the 30’s) but warmed to the mid 60’s by mid-day. Glorious weather for the Mid-Atlantic in November.
• We had an extremely nice vegan brunch today which I will tell you about tomorrow. Ian and Dani (Ian’s sous chef) really out did themselves since they knew we were coming. We even got tofu scramble and vegan chai oatmeal pancakes. We were very impressed! To think he claims they can’t do vegan. *shakes head* We did find out today that Dani used to work for a vegetarian restaurant in Portland which probably explains a lot. ;-)
• Dan and I did more Christmas shopping today. Williams Sonoma is always good for an idea or two. Details on that soon as well.
• I was able to photograph a few Christmas decorations while we were out which I may have to try to replicate. Yes I will share what I discovered but it may take me a day or two.
• Last but certainly not least Mommy’s little grey furry angel (Masi) seems to be completely himself today. *huge sigh of relief*
Seriously am I having a wonderful day or what? So I didn’t sleep well, it has all uphill from there. I hope all of you are having a fabulous Sunday too. Talk to you again tomorrow.