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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Restriction catches up with you…

Confession time:

I have a teensy little bit of ED in my head (FYI: eating disorder, NOT manly disfunction…)

Yesterday, I very unintentionally had a super low-calorie, almost restrictive day of eats.

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Breakfast

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Lunch (I only ate 1/2 of this because I didn’t really like it)

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Dinner

I had a ton of meetings and just didn’t really have time to eat. The teensy ED in my head?

“Wow! You hardly ate any calories today! Good job!”

Today, however, my unintentional restriction all came back to bite me.

1. I could barely make it through my regular spinning class. I was dizzy and shaky. I actually left early. Obviously I hadn’t fueled well the day before.

2. I was hungry all. day. long.

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Breakfast: tofu pudding with oats, berries and bananas.

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Lunch: curried lentils and brown rice. I realize this is the grossest picture you’ve ever seen. No matter, it was delicious.

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And then the hunger beast took over:

Two of the above chocolate cherry bomb energy bites (recipe to come)

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A handful of carrots

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1/2 a cara cara orange (love these!)

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Dinner: pinto bean enchilada, 1 ear of corn, 1/4 cup guacamole

Around 3:30, I got a text from Matty B…

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Being the sweet man that he is, he obliged me…

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And I had 50 bathousand of these. Maybe more.

I think, I think, I’m full now.

Wait. Maybe I need some chocolate.

The moral of the story? It all evens out in the end. My body knows what it needs. I need to pay better attention and stop believing that I can survive on cabbage salad and Kashi cereal alone.

Also, no more mental congrats to myself for low calorie days. I need fuel, not fluff.

Finally, I have a winner for my Kitchen Kaboodle gift card giveaway!

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Congrats to Kyrandia! Email me your address (holley@versatile-vegan.com) and I’ll send you your prize!

Don’t make this salad. Do make this dressing.

Submitted to Meatless Mondays A-Z

Better With Veggies

Let’s talk about cabbage.

1. I don’t like it.
2. It smells bad.
3. That’s enough.

As I’m following Better With Veggies Meatless Mondays A to Z party, I’m ecstatic about avocado (week 1) and I’m thrilled with blueberries (week 2).

But cabbage? Cabbage? see #1-#3 above if you’re confused.

“Maybe it’s like kale”, I thought. “Maybe I just need to give it a fair try.”

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I bought myself a lovely napa cabbage because it seemed less offensive than it’s purple, sulfurous relative.

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I made an absolutely delightful dressing with avocado…

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And balsamic vinegar, among other things.

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It’s ugly but deeeeelicious. Really. I licked the spoon and went back for more.

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I added a big fat dollop to my cabbage and mixed it all up.

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Still pretty ugly, but I’m not one to judge on appearances alone. Besides, I’d eat a paper bag covered in that dressing!

And that’s kinda what it tasted like. A really sulfurous paper bag covered in yummy dressing.

“Maybe it’s like kale,” I thought. “Maybe it needs to be massaged and then sit overnight.”

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For lunch today I added chow mein noodles and juicy chunks of cara cara orange and I kept thinking, “other than the cabbage, this is really good!”

All the elements were there. The creamy dressing with a bite from the balsamic. The sweet juicy oranges. The salty crunch of the chow mein noodles.

The moral of the story? Make this dressing. Now. Massage it into some kale. Add some sweet and some crunch.

Let’s talk about cabbage.

1. I don’t like it.
2. It smells bad.
3. That’s enough.

24 hours left to enter my giveaway!

Avocado Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. It makes a very thick dressing. Add a little water if you want it pourable. Dress kale or romaine or anything else, really, just not cabbage.

Celebration and GIVEAWAY!

You’ve got to celebrate the small things in life.

Back in August, when I started this little blog that I’ve become somewhat fond of, I imagined that my followers would consist of my mom and Matty B’s mom. Maybe some friends who might feel obligated. Note: Matty B doesn’t even follow me. WHAT???

Yesterday, I got a notification that I officially had 100 followers! Yay! To many of you, this may not seem note-worthy, but to me it’s a big deal!

So big, in fact, that some celebration was necessary.

Celebration in the form of peanut butter caramel corn.

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I used Cat’s recipe from Breakfast to Bed and it was amazing. It tasted like this to die for soft peanut brittle we get at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA.

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Did you want a closer look? Completely addictive. Matty B actually brushed his teeth so he would stop eating it.

Celebration in the form of hiking to Latourelle Falls.

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Celebration in the form of a giveaway for YOU!

In honor of my 100th follower, I offer to one lucky commenter a small token of my appreciation: a $25 gift card to Kitchen Kaboodle! Even if you don’t have this store in your area, they’ve got a great online store too!

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How to win? Comment below, telling me what you’d buy at a kitchen store.
And knowing I have 100 followers gives you pretty good chances, so comment away!

I’ll randomly pick and announce the winner on Tuesday, April 30!

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J Man will be looking for your thoughts…:)

Stuffed Peppers and Hungry Girl

the veggie nook

In general, I try to say nice things about people. I’ve gone so far as to enact a rule that requires me to say five nice things about a person if I’ve said one bad thing- you know, some positive to cancel out the negative.

There are a few rules about this exercise:

1. You can’t pre plan out your positive things, just to buy yourself a “free pass” to say something negative about someone.

2. The positive things have to be legitimate. For instance, “they don’t kill people” wouldn’t count because the same could be said for most people. Same for observations. Example: “she has brown hair”. True? Maybe. Legitimate positive trait? No.

That being said, I’m here to break both of those rules as I talk about the Hungry Girl.

Certainly you’re familiar with the brand? Recipe book franchise that boasts “50 meals under 50 calories” and other such nonsense? French toast sticks made of low carb hot dog buns and egg whites? Mmm…sounds yummy!

Rule #1. Broken. And here are my pre planned five nice things:

1. The Hungry Girl raised awareness about obesity.
2. She’s cute.
3. She has a certain “Rachael Ray” likability (this might be a “con” disguised as a “pro”- not sure)
4. She tries to remake certain fast food favorites into “healthier” options (note the quotation marks on this one…)
5. She has brown hair. Rule #2. Broken.

Now that I’ve said my five nice things about the Hungry Girl, let me tell you how I really feel. Her food is fake and her recipes are gross.

All of her recipes call for fake cheese, fake tortillas, fake noodles and fake sugar.

At a time in my life that I’ll refer to as ABBH (After Baby, Before Health) I was on a quest to rid myself of “I’m pregnant so I can eat whatever I want” excuse pounds. Special K for breakfast, Lean Cuisine was lunch and Hungry Girl was my best friend.

And the weight came off but like my friend, I was truly a Hungry Girl and I knew I was putting trash in my body. It’s been a long education, but I’m finally to the point where I’m making fairly consistent healthy choices.

There was one recipe, however, that Hungry Girl had right. It was a recipe for stuffed peppers.

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Hungry Girl had very specific measurements: 2 mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup burger crumbles (Morningstar, I think), etc.

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In my version, I really threw in a little of this and a little of that, which is the beauty of a recipe like this. Don’t over think it. Use what you have.

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Jarred marinara sauce is the glue that bonds this whole thing together, but if you’re a purist, you might call this blasphemy (or fake food:). I don’t make my own marinara. Call me a hypocrite, I don’t care. But if you do, you’ll have to say five nice things about me…

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Peppers are par baked, just to soften, then filled…

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And baked again.

These were good and filling. I think a “serving” might be considered two pepper halves, but one, with some brown rice on the side, kept me full all afternoon.

I didn’t do a calorie count, but the Hungry Girl would certainly approve. She’s probably celebrating with a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich right now…

Was that mean?

Five more nice things…?

Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

2 bell peppers, sliced in half and seeded
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 egg plant
1 package Trader Joes Beefless Strips
2 cups kale
1 cup marinara sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Lay pepper halves in baking pan and bake 10-15 minutes to soften.

Meanwhile, chop onion, mushrooms and eggplant to a small dice. Sauté in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add Beefless strips and kale. Cook for 10 minutes, seasoning to taste. Add marinara sauce and stir to combine.

Fill each pepper half with approximately 1/2 cup filling. Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.

Alicia Bars

Making friends as adults is hard. When you’re a kid, it’s cake. “You like Thomas the Train? So do I! Best buds forever! You’ll share your graham crackers with me? We are now bonded for eternity!”

With adults, it’s a little more complicated. Specifically, making friends as couples or families.

Where my qualifiers for a friend used to be:

a) Will you wear obscene amounts of eye make-up with me? (Lisa?:)

b) Are you comfortable spending 75% of our waking hours at Starbucks, “studying”? (Lisa?:) Side note: if at the time I had known how many calories were in a venti iced white mocha, I’m certain I wouldn’t have gained my “freshman 15″…

c) Do you like the show “Friends”?(Lisa?:)

Now? With a husband and 2 kids? Here are the qualifiers:

a) Do you have children who are either close to the age of my children OR who are old enough to think my kids are cute and want to play with them?

b) Does my husband have anything to talk to your husband about? Bonus points if your husband likes football. Super bonus points if he likes the Cowboys.

c) Do you like the show “Friends”? (Some things never change)

We have these friends, Michael and Alicia. They made the cut. We loved them. Then they moved to Wyoming. We really miss them a lot:(

Alicia is an awesome cook. She makes these fruit and oat bars that sound healthy but are the exact opposite. They are, however, the most amazing thing you’ll ever put in your mouth.

We call them “Alicia bars”.

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Oats

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Fruit

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Crust

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Jam

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Before the bake

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After the bake

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My heart hurts, these are so good. We took them to some other friend’s house (they have a 4 year old, a 1 year old and the husband likes football- although rival teams. Close enough.) and they helped us eat them.

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Thanks, Alicia, for an awesome recipe!

P.S. Move back to Portland

(Now let’s hope we’re still friends after I’ve shared her recipe with the world…)

Alicia Bars

Ingredients

2 C oats (quick or regular)
1 C flour
1/2 -3/4 C melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C chopped nuts (I usually use pecans)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
8-10 oz jam or jelly (any flavor)

Heat oven to 350, grease an 11×7″ glass dish. Combine all ingredients except the jam, mix well. Reserve approx. 3/4 C oat mix; press remaining onto bottom of dish, bake 10 mins. Spread jam evenly on “crust”, to within 1/2″ of the edge. Sprinkle w/ reserved oat mix. Bake 20-22 mins. Cool, cut into 15 bars.

Tulip Festival

My kids like Chuck E. Cheese. They like the Children’s Museum. They’ve even been known to frequent McDonalds on a rainy afternoon, in search of some ice cream from the soft serve machine and the Ebola virus from the play equipment.

They don’t like craft fairs, Christmas bazaars or art galleries.

So what about Tulip Festivals?

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Tuesday morning it was bright and sunny. The perfect morning to check out the tulip festival in Woodburn.

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When we told the kids where we were going, Miss Rae shrieked with delight (note: we could have told her we were going to the garbage dump and she’d probably have had the same reaction)…

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J Man was a little more cautious. “Will there be food there?” he questioned.

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“We’ll bring our own snacks,” I said, not wanting to explain to him why we wouldn’t be eating the bratwurst/liverwurst/grossowurst they would be selling at the festival.

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“Will we be picking strawberries?” he asked. The answer was “no”, with a little trepidation building in my heart. Not only would we not be picking strawberries, but we wouldn’t be picking tulips either…

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“Punkins?” asked Miss Rae.

“No, sweet girl, no pumpkins”.

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And so we went to the tulip festival, certain we’d be leaving after 17 minutes.

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Two hours later, they were still going strong!

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And when it was time to leave, we took them kicking and screaming to the car.

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Although the tantrums were more about who got to pump the rubber ducks down the water shoot than leaving the flowers…

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Or maybe they were still waiting for their pumpkins…

Not Too Hard

Things that are hard for me to do:

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Limit myself to one cup…

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Get both kids to not only smile, but to look at the camera at the same time…

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Control myself around these…

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And these…

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And this…I am a sucker for baked goods.

Sometimes I have a hard time eating healthfully. There are cookies on the staff room table or the “snacker” catches me before dinner and I fill up on chips and salsa instead of real food.

Today, however, it seemed fairly easy to eat healthfully. I done good!

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After a killer spinning class I blended up my “go to” smoothie: 1 frozen banana, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 TBS peanut butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 giant handful kale and 1/2 cup ice.

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I shared with Miss Rae. Contrary to what you might think from this picture, she requested “mo”.

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The siren lured me with her song. I typically have regular coffee with coconut milk, but I splurged on a soy mocha. Delish.

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Lunch was another treat: Native Foods! I adore this place and had iced tea with the kale salad. I’m rockin the kale today!

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For dinner I made salad rolls with peanut sauce on the side. Inside: rice noodles, romaine, TJ’s chicken less strips, carrot, cucumber and red pepper. Also multiply that amount of peanut sauce by 40000. No exaggeration.

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Something else that’s not hard for me to do at all?

Eat chocolate.

The hard part?

Stopping.