Berry Protein Smoothie

Most mornings I have a smoothie for breakfast. It’s pretty easy to rack up the calories, but a little more difficult to blend up protein. Obviously, whey is not an option. I have tried Sunwarrior protein powder, it is a little chalky and after I bought the chocolate flavor, I discovered I don’t care for things sweetened with stevia. I am saving up to buy the unflavored powder. This recipe uses hemp protein powder.

  • 2 cups Almond Breeze, Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Dates
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/4 cup organic Hemp Protein
  • 2 cups Strawberries, frozen
  • 1 cup Blueberries, frozen
  • juice of one lime or 1/2 lemon

I always blend my oats, dates and almonds with the milk first. Then I add the other ingredients and blend again. This makes 2 servings.

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my protein and calcium intake. I should hide the calorie counter because I don’t think calories are created equal. I don’t want to make food choices based solely on calorie count. Anyway, I haven’t found a better way to add more protein to my diet.

So, is this why my hair is falling out?

Eating vegan this summer was great for weight loss, energy and over health. I actually like salad now. When my aunt was visiting she asked how I was getting enough protein. Protein? I eat nuts, seeds and beans everyday. I was sure that was fine. But…On an (I thought) unrelated note my hair has been falling out. Now, I have thick hair and have always had little wads of hair in the drain after my showers. The last few months I have had handfuls of hair come out when I shampoo and more fall out when I comb and brush my hair. I wasn’t really worried, but now I can feel a difference in the circumference of my ponytail. My hair is thinning. There are many reasons for hair loss. Physical trauma is one. I haven’t been in a car crash or had any other trauma. Stress. Hmm, well having my husband gone all summer was a bit stressful. Aging is another reason for thinning hair. I refuse to age, so that can’t be it. Also, not getting enough protein can cause your body to shut down hair growth. Well, how much protein am I supposed to be consuming? Turns out a lot! Using several protein calculators and charts from several websites, I found that I should be taking in any where from 65-90 grams of protein daily. How many grams of protein in a 1/4 cup of almonds? 6 grams. 6? So my smoothie that I thought had me covered nutrition wise was lacking a bit. So, what do I do now? Yesterday I added hemp powder to my smoothie. It didn’t change the taste too much, but it did make it feel like I added sawdust. I needed a drink of water to wash my smoothie down. Today I added Sunwarrior brown rice protein powder and it was good. No bad taste, no gritty or sawdusty feeling and 16 grams of protein! 16! Plus the 6 grams from my almonds. 22 grams of protein for breakfast is not a bad way to start my day. Wait, this makes two smoothies so that’s only 11 grams of protein. Tomorrow I’ll make it with two scoops of protein powder and see how that goes.  This is harder than I thought it would be. I better find some more supper-foods. Quinoa, you’re on the list! Now I just have to figure out how to get the rest of the protein I need and hope that in 6-9 months my hair is back to healthy!

Haystacks – Chili Salad

HaystacksA while ago I made a big pot of chili. Now, I could eat bowls of chili for days, but sometimes a little change is nice. My mom used to make haystacks because it was a quick and easy meal. The best chili is simmered for hours, but the chili on top of the haystacks can be made in half an hour. Just throw your chili ingredients into the pot and bring to a simmer. Or better yet, use leftover chili. Use your favorite traditional recipe or try this vegan chili recipe.
There isn’t really a recipe for haystacks, more like instructions.
Ingredients:
Chili
tortilla chips
lettuce, chopped or shredded
cheese (Daiya cheddar shreds, at our house)
sour cream (Tofutti for us)
avocado
salsa
olives
Instructions:
Cover a plate with tortilla chips (I like to crumble mine), cover with cheese. Spoon hot chili over the chips, cover with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, olives, any other toppings you like. It is up to you how closely your haystack resembles a salad or nachos.

This is an easy idea to adapt to any special diet. Use vegan chili, and dairy-free cheese and sour cream for a filling vegan dinner. Use dairy products and meaty chili for the omnivores or any combination that works for you.

Sweet and Salty

So, I have this little vegan problem. On the whole, a vegan diet is healthier than the typical American diet. But not all vegan food is “diet” food. I have found two recipes that are tempting me to snack. Vegan Cheez Its from Minimalist Baker and Carob Freezer Fudge from oh she glows. I know that vegan crackers are better for me than potato chips, but I don’t usually eat chips. And carob freezer fudge is better than a candy bar, but I don’t eat candy bars either. So, any weight that I had lost from my vegan experiment is now gone. Oh, well. These snackies are so good, I really don’t care. I’ll have to be sure that I don’t always keep these yummies on hand. Or maybe I’ll just add a little more exercise! Moderation, girl, moderation.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I have a crush on limes. My favorite green thickie is the Key Lime Pie one. It is so tasty, but it doesn’t really taste like key lime pie, just like a yummy lime smoothie. I wanted dessert. Not something healthy, something good. I found a recipe for Key Lime Ice Cream on SouthernLiving.com. I just swapped out a few ingredients and added a couple more and it worked! I think this is the best ice cream I have made. I ate two bowls last night. I want to quickly eat a small lunch just so I can have more ice cream.

Vegan Chili

I am on the Green Thickie 7 day diet. It isn’t too much of a stretch for me. I went from one thickie to two, cut out meat and alcohol and sweets. I don’t have alcohol or sweets regularly so that isn’t a big deal, (I might be lying) but I’ve had a little trouble with the no meat. The first night I made brown rice and stir-fry. I just left out the chicken, it was pretty good, but I was hungry an hour later. The next night I made chili. Now the recipe from the Thickie lady said it was chili, but she is in the U.K. and chili means something different there. So, I made red, American-style chili. Only I had no idea how to make vegan chili. I mean how do you make chili without meat? Some people don’t even put beans in their chili! Where does the flavor come from? How do you get the right texture? Most recipes I found on the internet used some kind of “veggie crumble” meat-like product. I don’t know about that. I had some left over stir-fry veggies so I popped those in the Vitamix and mixed it in. Luckily it turned out pretty good. My kids didn’t complain, one of then even asked for seconds! (I served theirs over macaroni)  I don’t know if I was just so hungry or if it really tasted that good! Anyway, I think I’ll make it again just for a healthy alternative. I served mine over left over brown rice, topped it with Tofutti sour cream, salsa and avocado. I thought it was delicious! And, I’m hungry again. More water.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

When I was single a lot of meals took hours to prepare (because I didn’t have anything else to do) and often consisted of variations on pasta. Occasionally I had a meat of some sort and odd vegetables left in the crisper. Other times garlic and olive oil was about all I had. I still love pasta and I hope my family does as well. My girls prefer good old spaghetti with meat sauce, but sometimes I like to have Carbonara, Piccata or Alfredo. Yes, dairy-free. Carbonara is pretty easy because you use an egg yolk and pasta water to make the sauce. Parmesan is added at the end, but it tastes fine without it. Sometimes I grate some Brazil nuts on top. but not always. (I use the Rachael Ray recipe Spaghetti alla Carbonara: Bacon and Egg “Coal Miner’s” Pasta.)Piccata may not taste as good without butter, but I just use more olive oil to make the roux. (I use the easy Piccata Toss recipe from Rachael Ray.) Now, Alfredo is a whole other ballgame. How do you make a dairy-free sauce that is supposed to be made from cream, butter and cheese? Hurrah for the internet! Hurrah for the Vegans! I found a great Alfredo recipe called “Hurry Up Alfredo”. It uses cashews to make a creamy sauce. My husband loves it. He asked me not to tell him what it was made of because he didn’t want to risk being freaked out by the ingredients. He was totally fine with cashews. Sometimes I make this with whatever pasta I have on hand, but sometimes I get all fancy and use fettuccine, add grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. This is one of those meals I don’t have to worry about anyone complaining or whining about the food. Luckily both of my kids love broccoli. I never thought about hurting my mom’s feelings when I whined about dinner, but now I know it must have upset her. One more thing you can’t learn until you have kids of your own.

Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie

So, last fall I took a picture of chicken pot pie, but never got around to writing down the recipe or posting it.  Big breath.  Here goes.

Then only chicken pie I remember eating when I was a kid was at my grandma’s house.  She fished it out of her huge chest freezer. It’s funny because I don’t remember much pre-packaged food at my grandma’s house.  She made just about everything from scratch. I don’t remember being terribly impressed.

When I first started making chicken pies, I used a pre-made crust.  Wasn’t I doing enough without having to make a pastry too?  Anyway, once I made the mistake of making pastry for the chicken pie and my husband will not be happy with anything less now.  Whatever, even if I am making this just for myself I will make the pastry.  It’s just better. Good thing I have a KitchenAid. ‘Cause if Julia Child said they were good for making pastry I will not argue! When I started making pastry as a kid, I made it by hand.  I used the recipe in my mom’s checkered cookbook. My pastry was flaky, but it also fell apart and looked like a 2nd grade pottery project. Now I use a machine and I can roll and re-roll my pie crust and it is still tender, flaky and good. Although I still think pastry is tricky and I’m never quite sure how it will turn out. Handmade, KitchenAid made or bought at the store, pastry filled with creamy chicken and vegetables is yummy!

Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time! -Julia Child

Dessert in a Cup

This is either a genius idea or just horrible!  I am leaning toward genius, until I can’t fit in my jeans.  On the pro side, I won’t feel inclined to eat an entire batch of brownies or a two layer cake.  On the con side, I might want to try out a different dessert every night.  And what if it doesn’t turn out?  Then I will have to try another one.  I am planning on making a folder with all the best single serving recipes and saving them until I am a crazy old lady, living in a retirement home, with no access to a stove.  It will happen, if I live long enough.  But until then I really didn’t think I would ever make a cake…in a mug…in the microwave.  I mean, these seem to be mostly for college girls in dorms and crazy cat ladies.  Until… my dearest husband is out of town, the kids are in bed and I NEED something sweet!  Pinterest to the rescue!  Found this blog with a page of single serving desserts.  So far I have tried the microwave mug brownie, (too much flour) cheesecake mug (I “broke” mine, not good) and another brownie (made it with tofutti sour cream, pretty good) and an actual cake in a cup.  None of them have been spectacular and I am wondering if the bloggers are better photographers than cooks.  I’m not a photographer or food stylist and there is no way I’m going to use another bowl for mixing and then pour the batter into a mug.  If I’m making a cake in the microwave it will be mixed, cooked and eaten out of the same container.  So, my results are not Instagram worthy.  However, with a little tweaking I have made a decent tasting dairy-free brownie and cheesecake pudding.

 

 

Dairy-Free Ranch Dip

I have a problem with writing down recipes.  My dad and his new wife came to our house for Thanksgiving.  My step-mom (that sounds weird! But what else do I call her? My dad’s sweet new wife.) also has a dairy allergy and she was asking me for recipes.  Umm…well, even the recipes I have, I don’t really follow.  I’m hoping this blog will help me to write down recipes, measure ingredients, and get a little organized.