Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday a Lentil Loaf Experiment and Xmas Menu

I must not slept have well Monday night because when the alarm went off at 5 I turned it off then crawled back into bed and feel fast asleep. Typically I turn the alarm off and get back in bed but get up 5 – 10 minutes later after I have started waking up. That plan didn’t work for me this Tuesday morning. Dan woke up after 7 and got me up. So much for our morning trip to the gym. *rolls eyes* I get annoyed with myself when I oversleep. However being realistic we both must have needed the rest or we would have woken up sooner rather than later. I had to remind myself that getting adequate rest is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise.

I made our usual green smoothies this morning for breakfast (frozen banana, kale, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and stevia to taste). Dan had his smoothie to go and I had mine at home.

I spent the morning exercising, catching up on my email and cleaning and organizing the kitchen.

For my mid morning snack I had my usual orange and two Brazil nuts (for selenium).

Lunch was another snack this time cucumber slices with salsa and white bean cheeze. I used the cucumbers as a stand in for crackers and spread the cheeze on top and finished with salsa.

My afternoon snack was a banana and reduced fat peanut butter.

Dinner was a lentil loaf, and spinach salad with sweet potato and grapes topped with a quick dressing of Dijon, red wine vinegar and stevia. The lentil loaf was a recipe I found here. I decided to make this because our friends that went to “Forks Over Knives” with us borrowed my book from Dr. Esselstyn and made the loaf over the weekend and liked it. I thought I should give it a try and looked for the recipe on line. The flavor was good but the loaf would not come out of the pan in one piece or even in two pieces. It actually didn’t stick together at all. I have tried so many lentil loaf recipes and they almost always do this. Clearly I need to make one up myself. Oh well at least it tasted good. I plan to use the leftovers in collard wraps to make “sandwiches”.

Black Rice:

My friend Sheila sent me a link to this article about black rice. If you haven’t tried black (or forbidden) rice I like it. I have seen the Lotus brand at Whole Foods and Wegman’s. However check your local Asian market as I have purchased a large (3 lb I think) bag of organic black rice there for much less.

Black rice, which is more purple hued when cooked, also contains anthocyanins like other purple/blue foods. If you are having difficulty consuming those every day maybe black rice would be good for you.

Removing Tea Stains from your Ceramics:

As you all know we drink a lot of tea in this house usually white or green. All that tea means ugly stains in my favorite mugs. Tuesday I decided to try something unorthodox to remove them since making a paste of baking soda didn’t work. Remember I mentioned buying denture tablets to clean my juicer? I thought they are supposed to remove stains from false teeth they should remove stains from my ceramics. The verdict? Much to my surprise it worked beautifully. The mugs are not sparkling white but in one application that are “almost” back to new. I added warm water from the tap and one tablet to each mug and allowed them to sit undisturbed for about 6 hours. I put them in a cabinet with a closed door to keep the cats out of them.

Christmas Menu:

I have finally had a little time to think about our Christmas menu. It is not finalized yet although I need to get that done today or tomorrow since I am running out of time. However at the moment here is what I am thinking of making, subject to change of course:

lasagna (Italians love lasagna and it shows up for many national holidays)
acorn squash stuffed with fruit (I am thinking apples, dried fruit and nuts or mostarda)
cauliflower and millet mashed potatoes (maybe with a few white beans this time)
sauerkraut with apples and onions
• spicy cranberry relish
• green salad possibly with roasted vegetables
• marinated veggie tray
cranberry orange granita

The funny thing is when I looked at this typed out my thought was it wasn’t enough veggies. However when I looked again I realized that was ridiculous since it is nothing but veggies and fruit with a little tofu and pasta.

What are you making for the Christmas or are you going to be a guest and not a cook? Will your meal be 100% vegan or are you also serving omnivores?

Happy thoughts:

Tuesday was a little stressful but that was completely self-induced. I probably should stay focused on Christmas rather than adding other things to my to do list now. ;-) Here are my happy thoughts today:

• I am looking forward to another holiday season with Dan. We always have such wonderful holidays together. I am very thankful to be married to my best friend and to know how much I am loved.

• I am very thankful for my friend Louis. He has always been there when I needed him frequently before I even asked him for help. Thank you for being calm and putting things into perspective when I get too emotional. There have been many times you were the only reason I remained “somewhat” calm. Hugs!

• It is wonderful to know that I am ending 2010 more healthy than it started. I love being able to see positive change in my life year to year.

• My knee was acting up a bit again yesterday and this morning so today my cardio was on the exercise bike at home. I am thankful to have an option for elevating my heart rate at home that isn’t hard on my knee.

• I made good progress yesterday on my to do list and hope to get more crossed off today. I am thankful to have time to do the things that need to be done. Life isn’t perfect and I am always behind schedule lately it seems but it could always be worse. At least I have time to do things that many have to cram into their weekend.

• Luca Belle (our female feline) seems to be responding well to the prednisone that was prescribed for her asthma. We worry about our little fur babies when they aren’t 100%. I am very thankful to have a wonderful carrying veterinarian that treats my animals as though they are his own. I have known our vet longer than I have known Dan and can’t imagine anyone else taking care of my babies.

• It is very exciting that it still looks like we will have snow falling on Christmas this year. I am looking forward to my first White Christmas in probably 30 years. I love to sip hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. Seriously I am just a big kid.

Signing out:

I have many things on my to do list that I need to take care of today. Christmas is always a little hectic around here but it is worth it in the end.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful week and are looking forward to the holiday. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. It sounds like you needed the sleep! Your menu looks great to me. We'll be having manicotti at dad's (though unfortunately not a healthier vegan version). He does try at least and makes meatball-free sauce now ;-) I'll definitely be bringing along veggie side dishes to combat my step-mother's casserole extravaganza.

  2. Hi Ali,
    It seems Heather and I will be eating very similar-homemade manicotti for xmas eve. The day after xmas is when my one side of the family celebreates and I offered to make chili. Maybe a bit unorthodox for a xmas meal, but hey-start your own traditions, right? I'm also going to be bringing my bread (cross your fingers that it comes out!) and perhaps my grinch soup =]

  3. Heather,

    I think I did need the sleep but I hated missing the gym. However Dan worked out before he left work yesterday which made me very happy.

    I thought about manicotti but couldn't find whole wheat manicotti noodles and didn't want to make my own.

    LOL to the casserole extravanza. Just imagining that made me giggle.

    thanks for the laugh,

  4. Jill,

    I didn't know you had Italian heritage.

    I love the idea of chili the day after Christmas it sounds perfect.

    Your bread will be great. Are you going to try a test run before the main event?

    Thanks for sharing the grinch soup by email. I was very curious what that was. When I was a child The Grinch was my favorite movie and it wasn't Christmas unless I saw it. LOL

    talk to you later,

  5. Hi,

    I'm a long time lurker and a huge fan of your blog!

    Regarding lentil loaf that doesn't bind....have you tried using peanut or almond (or pumpkin seed, but I find it a bit firm) butter in the mix? I started doing this for lentil loaf that was 3 parts lentils, one part rice (plus veggies, etc) and it helped with the binding about 1-2 tbs). It adds fat, so it may not be ideal for everyone. If you've mentioned this elsewhere, I apologize for the repeat.

  6. S,

    Thanks for commenting and for your kind words.

    I have not tried nut butter but that is a good idea and I will try it next time. I have used vital wheat gluten in the past and it worked well but I didn't have any and wanted to see if I could make a loaf without it. I have also been meaning to try "flax eggs" but always forget.

    thanks for the nut butter suggestion, :-)

  7. Have a Great Holiday Season!
    Peace :)

  8. Oh my...I must make that white bean cheeze!

    Your Christmas menu sounds very good! I'm not sure what we will have.

    I always enjoy reading your happy thoughts. :o)

  9. I am drinking your green smoothie and loving it!

  10. You always eat so healthily! Certainly beats the giant vegan PB chocolate cookie I just ate at my desk.

    I'll be going to both my parents and my boyfriend's parents' houses for Xmas. My grandma and mom make me a delicious vegan holiday breakfast, but I'm bringing my own food to the boyfriend's family thing.

  11. I like seeing your scoop of PB - I remember reading about that and look forward to trying it after things settle down after the holiday.

    Your Christmas menu looks great. I am just going to play it by ear as this month I will be away from home for more than half the month. I got my good vegan Thanksgiving and will be looking forward to a January birthday feast instead!

  12. I love the plates of snacks and dip. The salsa/cheese combo sounds delicious and the reduced fat PB is a great idea but I don't eat peanut butter to begin with.
    I also like the look of your Christmas meal. I'm not sure what I'm making this year - my sister is making some sort of baked lima bean with diced tomato dish that she promises is vegan. My mother requested the Brussels + pistachios from the other night, but I have no idea what else there will be to eat.
    Besides that I am making gingerbread biscotti and perhaps another dessert...

  13. Your Christmas menu looks great to me! I love lasagna but am ususally too lazy to make it--so many parts. I have made lower-fat peanut butter in the past and had no idea how many calories I was saving--yay!

    Merry Christmas to you and Dan and all the fur babies! :D

  14. Chandra,

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday too!


  15. Michelle,

    The white bean cheese is great on salad or crackers. If you don't have a high speed blender (like a Vitamix) substitute tahini for the whole sesame seeds.

    Glad you enjoy my happy thoughts. I try to focus on what is good since whining doesn't help anyone. ;-)

    Have a great holiday,

  16. Aimee,

    I am so glad you enjoyed the green smoothie. We have that most mornings and Dan loves it. If you like chocolate ;-) try adding some cocoa powder to it. Dan loves it when I do that.

    have a great holiday,

  17. Bianca,

    Thanks we try to eat healthy most of the time but some days we are better than others. ;-) If there were cookies in the house we would eat them too.

    How sweet of your family to make vegan food for you! I take a lot of food with me when I got out as well. It is easier on everyone.

    have a great holiday,

  18. Jessica,

    We love the reduced-fat PB and I hope you do it. It is very easy to make.

    You have been out of the house a lot this month. I would be playing Christmas by ear too if I were you.

    Enjoy your holiday,

  19. Foodfeud (M),

    I prefer to snack rather than eating full meals. I have always been that way.

    Enjoy your holiday meal and let us know what it turns out to be. :-)

    have a great holiday,

  20. Ricki,

    I was shocked by how much fat I poured out of the peanut butter jar, which of course I measured. Then when I whipped in the water (which was more than the oil that I poured off), the combination had a huge impact on the tottl calories and fat per serving. It surprised me too!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! Give the fur kids a scratch from me.



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