Month: May 2011

Forks Over Knives Inspired Dinner

       There is nothing that I love to do more than cook, except to cook for people I love. This weekend I was very lucky to do that twice! Friday night I brought hummus soup and vegan carrot cake loaf (from OhSheGlows) to my cousin who recently had surgery: delicious and healing! I definitely encourage you to try out both of these recipes, they were big hits. I have plans to turn her carrot cake loaf into gluten-free zucchini bread, if all goes well I will post the recipe to the blog.

       Saturday morning I spent time with my volunteer group Sports Made Possible. It is an organization that hosts adaptive baseball games for children with physical and mental disabilities. It is hard to wake up early on Saturday morning, but the kids are amazing and the experience is so fulfilling. After I got done with the games, I took my brother-in-law to a matinée showing of Forks Over Knives. What a wonderful compilation of this information this documentary turned out to be; I had very high hopes and was not disappointed. My brother-in-law is most definitely NOT vegan. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that he has some type of fast food every single day. He is young and not worried about his health or dietary needs. He has been one of the people who do not quite understand my choice to be vegan; but he is supportive nonetheless and willingly came with me to see a movie that promotes a whole foods, plant-based diet (I told him what it was about beforehand, it’s not like it tricked him!). Just as a joke when the show started, I turned to him and said “Wouldn’t it be funny if this documentary made you give up meat?” He quickly replied that there was NO WAY that would happen. Two hours later, as we emerged from the theater I got an unexpected surprise. Jake told me that, while he would never give up meat and dairy completely, he is going to try to reduce his consumption! That was more than I had hoped for and I am very excited for him. I immediately offered to cook him a wholesome vegan feast and he gladly accepted; he also brought his friend along who has Celiac Disease so it turned into a vegan and gluten-free dinner.

Forks Over Knives inspired dinner:

 

Stuffed Squash

Brown Rice Couscous

Chopped Israeli Salad

Fresh Fruit Bowl

Gluten Free, Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (not technically a health food, but I love chocolate!)

 

Shelley’s Favorite Stuffed Squash

(Side note: this is the first Vegan meal I ever purposefully cooked myself so it holds a special place in my heart!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • ½ onion, sautéed
  • 2 cloves garlic, sautéed

Directions:

Cut squash in half and roast, cut side down, in a 400 degree oven until softened.

 

Once cooled, scoop out squash flesh (leaving shell intact) and mix with additional ingredients.

 

Stuff the mixture back into the shells and cook another 10 to 15 minutes until warmed.

 

Feel free to mix up the ingredients with what you have on hand. It is a very versatile recipe. If I want to make a meal out of it, I mix in some couscous or cooked quinoa.

Oh She Glows Recipes:

“Hummus Soup” http://ohsheglows.com/2011/02/02/garbanzo-bean-soup/

Vegan Carrot Cake Loaf http://ohsheglows.com/2011/04/20/whole-grain-vegan-carrot-cake-loaf-with-lemon-glaze/

Feeling the Love

My husband Steven is in Afghanistan and I hate every second of it! He has been gone since the beginning of the year and will be home sometime in July. I cannot believe that it has been 4 ½ months since I have seen him. Earlier this year I was busy with school, going vegan, moving our apartment, and planning a bridal shower for my best friend. Time FLEW by. Now, school is over, the move is done, and the shower is just a memory. Time is standing still. If it is this hard for me, I cannot begin to imagine what life is like for my husband. Fortunately, we are able to speak every day through the magic of the internet and Skype. This definitely has made our separation at least a little tolerable. But no matter how long he is gone, I never stop worrying. Even though I speak to him every morning, I fear for his safety every day. But the good news: he just received word that their return flight is booked to leave Afghanistan July 8th, which means there are only 46 measly days standing between today and his departure date. That’s nothing!

In honor of the 7 weeks left until I see my husband again, here are 7 things that I absolutely love about him!

  1. He is hilarious. And he makes me funnier too! Or at least he laughs at my stupid jokes so I feel a bit funnier.
  2. He is constantly introducing me to new music that I never would have imagined I would like!
  3. He makes me feel safe.
  4. He loves my cooking. I love anybody who loves my cooking!
  5. He has a very big sense of wanderlust. I love his adventurous spirit; it’s contagious.
  6. He never laughs at any of my crazy ideas. Even when I said I wanted to learn the banjo he supported me (and got me one for my birthday!). When I doubt myself, I know that he will be there to tell me that I can do whatever I want.
  7. He pushes me to be a better person. I have changed my life dramatically for the better in the past few years and I really believe that his presence and support were paramount to my success.

I take solace in the fact that when I wake up tomorrow, there will only be 45 days until he comes back home!

My best,

Shelley

Favorite Foods: Green Juices & Smoothies

Now this is what I like to see!

         

This is not the countertop of someone who is in a funk; this, my friends, is the food of someone who is serious about their health! I would definitely call this a successful grocery trip. Crisp and bright produce is beautiful and inspiring to me. It’s hard to not eat well when your fridge is stocked with food like this! I make it a point to avoid processed foods as much as possible; I really believe that they are the downfall of our society’s health. I am also vegan. I do not eat any animal products: no red meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, etc…I have been eating this way since January. I feel like every aspect of my life has improved since going vegan. I cannot recommend it enough. Even if you could never see yourself giving up meat completely, I urge you to at least reduce your consumption and if nothing else, increase the amount of whole foods in your diet.

A delicious and nutritious dietary staple that I recently discovered is green juice! It is my secret weapon. On days when I drink green juice I have more energy (especially in my workouts) and feel brighter. I make a point to start my day off with green juice if possible. I drink it first and let it settle in my stomach for about thirty minutes before I eat any foods. This provides instant nutrients to my body that are readily and easily absorbed into my system.

I definitely emphasize the GREEN component of my green juices:

 

My typical green juice includes: kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, celery, cucumber, green apple, ginger, and lemon juice. Yes, it sounds scary at first but it is a taste that you get accustomed to and eventually start to crave! I like to make a giant batch of green juice on Sundays that way I don’t have to worry about it during the week. I freeze them and then use as needed. Some people ask if this lessons the amount of nutrients that I get because they are oxidized once juiced. Yes, but the nutrients to not disappear completely. Better to have some than none at all! Healthy eating is like exercise, you do what you have to do to make it happen.

I think that fresh green juice is a truly beautiful sight:

 

I also make a point to include green smoothies in my diet. My green smoothies typically include: romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery, pear, pineapple, lemon juice. These are very similar to my juices, except I just blend these ingredients together and therefore get the benefits of fiber as well. Plus they are extremely filling! How else are you going to be able to get almost all of your daily fruit and vegetable servings in just one glass!!

 

Extra juices and smoothies go into the freezer!

Even just adding a handful of spinach to your next smoothie will up the health factor. I do suggest experimentation with green juices and smoothies and I hope that you will like them as much as I do!

I plan to do more posts on my favorite foods that help me lead a healthy lifestyle. Please feel free to ask questions! Also, let me know if you would like recipes for any foods I mention. Next time: oatmeal!

My Best,

Shelley