Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I Love My Hubby

  1. He is Po from Kung Fu Panda, complete with attitude

2. He shows up to all our children's events, both big and small, and keeps me in the loop when I'm not able to be there. (Pono playing saxophone in the band - his first football game performance - and I was sitting at UH Manoa in a statistics class). He's in the back, closest to the end of the tent playing the saxophone.


3. He brought me pretzels last night after I posted about the vegan chocolate fondue and how I wished that I had some low salt, semi-healthy pretzels to go with the fondue. They happened to be in his truck, partially eaten already and in a Ziploc.
Me:  Hmmm, how come you didn't share these earlier honey?
BS: (Ignoring the question) See, I told you I read your blog.

So Big Spazz's choice for the perfect dipping pretzel to go with the vegan chocolate fondue. (According to him, it has less sodium than low sodium shoyu, which has less sodium than Braggs Amino, etc.

Happy Halloween to my Po! Love, purple Testris "T" girl.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Fondue

I despise Halloween!!!!!
I live for sugar and chocolate and I have no shame in stealing my children's candy. They know all peanut M&Ms are mommy's for fear of crankiness and pouting.

If I could, I would avoid the whole thing, but Big Spazz loves, loves, loves Halloween. He pushes himself to come up with a new costume for himself EVERY year. People expect him to make his own costume and he shows up at work in costume as if he were some kid. Seriously! Who shows up at the office wearing a costume? One year, he decided not to wear a costume and the secretaries almost rioted. He had to actually go home and put a costume on. Some of his memorable ones: The grape from Fruit of the Looms - with grape colored balloons (how did he sit down), a big blue Leggo, a cow complete with his fishing bell and udders (ok that one was a little obscene).

I love that Modern Family episode where Mitchell is told that everyone will dress up at the office and he shows up in a Spiderman costume but no one dresses up. It's a prank. He goes into the bathroom to try and change, ends up wearing his suit over the costume and squeaks when he walks. That's my greatest fear and why I'm not a big costume wearer. It's always a risk for me. Will I be the only one? Big Spazz is the only one and he don't care. One of the reasons why I love him.

Since Big Spazz is serious about it and actually made our costumes, I wanted to serve a dessert for Halloween that could still be fairly healthy and satisfied my monster of a sweet tooth. This slow cooker fondue had the two grandmas licking their plates, it was that good. They actually went for thirds and we had a really big dinner, so it's definitely a keeper recipe.

Slow Cooker Vegan Chocolate Fondue
12 ounces semisweet vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup soymilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Put it in a slow cooker on high and cook until the chips are melted and the sauce is smooth.

The sauce looked really thick, but I've screwed up when trying to thin chocolate out, so I resisted the urge to thin it out with more soy milk. If I had some pretzels it would have been a good sweet and salty taste profile, but it was just as good with banans and strawberries.

Pretzels are not on the Fuhrman plan, but I wonder what else I could dip in this fondue for a crunchy texture that will go with chocolate?

Or is there such a thing as fat free, salt free vegan pretzels? I'm really ono for pretzels now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Linguini with Rainbow Chard and White Beans

Despite my major date sugar making failure (maybe more on that later after I get over my irritation), I was able to modify a recipe that will go into our roundup of recipes AND I was able to use the rainbow chard that my friend Liana grew AND I was able to find the cannellini beans on sale at KTA. Tasty, and cheap. My favorite combination. 

Rainbow chard is nice stir fried but it's really nice with pasta, cannellini beans and some leftover grape tomatoes I had that we were tired of eating in our salads.

While the pasta is cooking, chop up the rainbow chard  and put the tops and the the tougher stems in separate bowls.

Rinse and drain a can of cannellini beans and quarter a cup of grape or cherry tomatoes. Chop up two cloves of garlic. 

Dry saute the garlic, add the tomatoes and stir fry until the tomatoes start to release its liquid. 
Add the rainbow chard stems, some herbs like basil, parsley, oregano and a little bit of salt. Cook until the stems soften and add the greens and the beans.
I put in about 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes and stir everything until the leaves soften like wilted spinach.

Add the pasta and top with fake parmesan (raw almonds and nutritional yeast ground together into a parmesan like consistency).


I Show You How: Konnyaku Twists

My family loves miso soup as a fast comfort food, but like salad, miso soup is best when you change up the goodies.
Our favorite goodies include:
shiitake mushrooms
soba noodles
dehydrated daikon
and now konnyaku

Konnyaku is the ultimate diet food. The whole block of konnyaku (found in the tofu section) is about 5 calories, probably because it's about 97% water. The rest of it is ground konnyaku corms (in English they say it's yam, but it's closer to taro than to yam) and calcium. Don't be afraid of the texture. It's a firm, gelatinous, tasteless substance, but when it's made into noodles (shirataki) or sliced up and put into brothy dishes like sukiyaki or miso soup.

It's packed in water, so like shirataki noodles, rinse it first or the smell is a little off putting.

Japanese food is about appealing to all the senses, so although you could just cut up the konnyaku and put it in the food (like above), it's much more appealing to take a couple seconds to make the fancy cut.

Cut the slice of konnyaku in the center leaving space on the two sides (enough so it will twist without breaking apart)

Take one end and feed it through the center
As long as the initial piece is thick enough, the konnyaku will hold its shape in the broth and like a sponge, it will take on the flavor of the liquid.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Prepping for November 1st with new goal

Just for kicks, I decided to take a "Type A" personality test online and out of a score of 100% (with 100% being totally Type A), I scored an 83%. If this were a grade in school, I would be totally irritated, but since it's not, I have enough control to say, "I'm ok, you're ok, we're all ok." See, that's why I'm not a totally Type A person.

Things that I do have: 
  • time urgency - I want results NOW!
  • highly competitive
  • ambitious
  • controlling
  • results-oriented
That's why when I'm watching the weight go down for Big Spazz and I'm not hitting my 10% at the same time, I get a little irritated - NOT because I'm not happy for him, but because I want the same results  within the same time period. 

In order to tap into a more harmonious, peaceful me, especially since I'm only competing with myself, I vow to not worry about my weight for the new 6-week challenge starting on November 1. Instead, I'm focusing on a more important goal: fit into my vintage peacock dress.

This dress is older than me, but I got it at a church bazaar about ten years ago and if my memory serves me right, I think I have approximately ten pounds to go before the middle part of this dress no longer bunches up. It's totally zipped but it has a full cotton liner in the dress and I'd have to pull down and suck in or wear some spanx in order to actually smooth this dress out. 

So this is pre November 1 challenge goal. Hopefully, at the end of the 6 weeks, I can take another picture in this dress (and clean my room) and it will fit better.

If you're interested in joining the fun, like my friend's Facebook page: So Duck Soup and let her know you're interested in Eating to Live. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

My new fave smoothie: Green papaya ice

The Healthy Girl's Kitchen blog has compiled a big list of smoothies, but this is my new favorite go to morning smoothie: green papaya ice.

I don't normally buy papayas, not because I don't like papayas, but my mother-in-law used to be the secretary for a papaya company and she'd bring home a box of papayas per week. When she retired, I just couldn't see myself paying for something we always got for free, but at Saturday's farmer's market I saw a big bag of almost overripe papayas for $1, so I cut it up and put it in mini muffin cups and froze them for smoothies.

I have these silicone mini muffin cups that I never use because I don't bake as much, but I just scooped papayas in the cups for easier clean up and stuck it in the freezer.

Once the papaya ice is frozen, I just popped them out of the cups and bagged them for the morning smoothies.

The papaya in the green smoothie is nice and sweet, and the papaya gives the smoothies a rich creaminess.

Today's concoction: spinach, a couple dates (the papaya has enough sweetness so I could do without the dates), a frozen banana and about 4-5 pieces of papaya ice. Add soy milk, ice and/or water (I watered it down a little because my first try was a little too thick. It was like making green papaya sorbet). Yummy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

After the Show

We started the Dr. Fuhrman 6 week challenge on September 1 and it wouldn't be a true challenge if there weren't some obstacles that we had to overcome. Our first one started on the first weekend when I flew to Molokai to sail with Nainoa Thompson and Ken went camping near South Point. Homemade kim chee, pipikaula, sausage, bacon -- we still survived. We survived both of our birthdays and the dreaded "what are we going to eat for dinner" dilemma.

Since I forced Big Spazz along, I felt it was time to interview him to really see how he felt.

RSC:  how did you do?
  BS: It was tough in the beginning, but I got used to it, it wasn't bad. (He won't say, but in the 6 weeks, he lost 10% of his body weight)

What was your biggest obstacle and how did you overcome that obstacle?
   Trying to figure out what to eat, and I found a lot more things to eat than I thought I'd find, but I don't think I've overcome that challenge. I'm always thinking about it.

What did you feel was going to be difficult, but really wasn't?
  I thought the hardest thing was going to be eating the one pound of raw and one pound of cooked vegetables per day, but it wasn't a problem because I never did get there.

What was the first thing off the list that you ate after the challenge?

What's your next step?
   Trying to mix the nutritarian lifestyle with normal stuff in moderation, continue exercising, take salads for lunch and continue eating this way for the majority of our meals (plus drink coffee again unless we're on another 6 week challenge).

What were some of your favorite things to eat on the challenge?
   Chef AJ disappearing lasagna
   veggie summer rolls
   peach and mango salsa
   homemade tortilla chips with guacamole
   no oil hummus
   veggie chili
   date-chocolate-cherry balls
   fruity green smoothies

What advice would you give others looking into this type of lifestyle?
Ummmmmmmmm - it's not that bad. There's actually a lot of good things you can eat; just be creative.

   We've still got a long way to go, but it's been a pretty good start.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Vitamix Divide

With all this renewed energy from eating a nutritarian diet, I decided to go back for my doctorate in education, so put that down as another perk of eating healthy -- diminished decision making that's attributed to an over exaggeration of one's full capacity to "grab the bulls by the horn." After all, this eating stuff or rather this NOT eating stuff that's bad for us is so "DUCK SOUP." It's already the 5th week. I could go another five years, so the logic then is that every challenge in life now is duck soup too.

Yeah. . . no.

I dare you to sit in my statistics class for three hours on a Friday night and tell me that from the thirty pages of data you can write a coherent  5 page recommendation report based on some box plot and a roaming t element that can either mean a t score, a t test or a t statistic.

Ok, enough whining.

The point is for everything I'm learning, I try to connect it in as many different arenas of my life as possible. I try to make the connections for my students, and I try to make those connections with myself. My tech class essay was on the digital divide - that seeming wall between the haves and the have nots in regards to technology and access. What I really wanted to write about, though, was the Vitamix Divide -- that seeming wall between those who have no Vitamix (me when we started this challenge, Macanas', Brownies) and those who have a Vitamix (Hondas, Bakers, Langs?? and now me).

As someone who has been on both sides of the divide (mainly for financial reasons - you know doctorate, private school costs, one more son in college, the audacity of the government to NOT see that we deserve financial aid because what we make on paper is strictly theoretical - voodoo economics and all that), I must say the grass (or green smoothies) really are better on the other side.

To ease the shock of the investment (I'm not going to lie, it's expensive - like sell a kidney on the black market expensive), I have been dutifully using it every morning and sometimes twice a day.

It will blend pretty much everything - this was one morning's green smoothie ingredients: peach, spinach, carrots, broccoli, frozen bananas, frozen strawberry, prunes, oranges, soy milk - basically any leftover raw veggies or random fruit go into the smoothies and some days are better than others, but that's breakfast. I have to get better at color combinations - it's like mixing watercolors - if you're not aware of the color combinations, everything you make looks like baby doodoo brown - but it's the taste and nutrition that counts.

I don't want to be some elitist Vitamix snob,  but I do love, love, love my red Vitamix. It's like the red Porsche I never had. So if selling your kidney is an option, I'd think about it.