Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where Did the Week Go?!

Hi y’all—I’m here to tell you that this week has gone by so fast, it’s pretty scary. It’s like yesterday, I was 30 and today I’m getting damn close to 68!! That bein’ said, I want to make sure that the next years are the healthiest I have…

Since we publish this little blog on Wednesday, that’s the day that begins ‘bloggy idea’ week.  Wednesday evenings are our ‘burger’ nights. We may have a Simple Truth burger (vegan) OR this week we had a portabello burger with a recipe from Oh She Glows cookbook by Angela Liddon. Always have oven fries as well, so it’s not a very creative meal but it certainly fills a niche for us. BTW, not only is Oh She GLows a GREAT cookbook, the blog/site is also terrific. Check it out.

This week we’ve eaten out (or should I say dined) twice. We ALWAYS eat out on Friday night…not only is it ‘date night’ but also it’s just a holdover from celebrating the end of the work week that we have chosen to hang onto.  And, we almost always eat out Friday nights at Kathryn’s Steakhouse in Ridgeland. This week, we decided to try a new place in Gluckstadt even though the menu did not look particularly vegan-friendly.  I was prepared to take some of my own ‘stuff’ and get a salad or a baked potato.  So, even leaving early, when we got there, the parking lot of full. We are so noise aversive, the idea of a big crowd so early was an immediate deterrent but we were gonna give it a go. HOWEVER, as we were turning in, we noticed a guy standing on the deck/porch who all of a sudden blew his nose over the side without the benefit of a handkerchief—we did not even stop the car; just made a u-turn out and headed to our standby, Kathryn’s. Since we eat early, the crowd had not started to build and we had our ‘Cheers’ experience. I had a salad with my Boca crumbles over it and Big Solid had grilled chicken.

Saturday night, we headed for another of our local haunts where I KNOW I can get a vegan entrée without calling ahead…Anjou. How nice it is to have that option! As usual for a spur of the moment dining selection, I had the Anjou plate which is spaghetti squash with a delicious marinara/kalamata olive sauce.

Sunday is a fasting day…now, really…we don’t completely fast. We just lower our intake of food dramatically. Nothing but a protein smoothie and a small evening meal (less than 500 calories). It certainly does reduce the stress of ‘what to fix for dinner’ as we usually have some combination of beans (or lentils)/brown rice and a tomato salad. Sunday was also a bread baking day…we have gotten so used to the dark and delicious pumpernickel, we’ve pretty much stopped buying store-bought ‘balloon’ bread. I finally wised up and have prepared several plastic baggies with the dry ingredients already made up, so all I have to do is throw in the wet, mix, knead, let rise a couple of times and bake. Piece of cake—or, well, bread. 
Nothin' says lovin' like pumpernickel from the oven!

Monday gave me an opportunity to try something from one of my favorite vegan blogs, Vegan Richa by Richa Hingle.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE Ethiopian food; the one Ethiopian restaurant attempt here did not make it and frankly, the food was not that great nor was the service. The next best thing, then, is to try to make it at home. This recipe, Ethiopian Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots (Atakilt Wat) looked so good, so we gave it a go. IT WAS DELICIOUS, low calorie and pretty easy to prepare (fix). To make sure we got additional protein, I cubed some organic flax tempeh and sautéed it with some Hot Madras Curry powder. Her site can be accessed at
Atakilt Wat/Ethiopian Cabbage

Flax tempeh dusted with Hot Madras Curry Powder

Tuesday was fasting day and also a cookie baking day. Am saving the cookies for a whole ‘nuther blog because, frankly, I’m havin’ the time of my life makin’ cookies! Since we don’t eat them that much, it’s fun to give them away. It was also CSA day and I got my usual great crate of vegetable bounty from Amorphous Gardens…I think we only have a couple more weeks in this summer’s share (mini-sob). Falls shares are open (meaning you don’t buy a whole season’s worth but can purchase on a first come/first served basis) and will probably begin in late September.  That got me to thinking about planting a fall garden of greens, cauliflower, broccoli and kale and, of course, some fall tomatoes.

So, that brings us to today—Wednesday July 23. And so we begin again to think of things to tell you next Wednesday. BUT WAIT!! We have a NEW FEATURE!!
(OK, this bears some ‘splainin’).  Remember (or not) in an early blog, we mentioned our inspiration for becoming vegetarian in the first place (see blog of May 28 titled “Counting Calories or Not, section titled It’s All Her Fault).  Shannon Hall, AKA Spidey-Nurse, was my colleague at the Long Term Care Institute for many years and we found ourselves joined at the hip on many a working week. Since the Long Term Care Institute is a group of the finest people on EARTH, it stands to reason lasting friendships would evolve. Shannon is a special friend indeed and we have had many a laugh, cry, rant, martini, and superb dining experiences together. And just because we have gone in different directions over the past few years does not mean that the connection is lost…au contraire! Shannon lost over 80 lbs in our waning days at LTCI (she took another position and I retired) but we have stayed close. Over the past few years as career moves are made, the weight that had been lost found its way back. So now, Shannon is determined to get back on track.  I invited her to take a leap of faith and contribute her journey as part of this blog. First, to help her focus on keeping the path clear and second to offer folks a first-hand account of the challenges and successes she is having. She was my hero then and she’s my hero now. And so it begins…from Shannon in her own special way:

Hello...I am Spidey-nurse. Don't say it....I can hear you, "Spidey-Nurse...really?"  But yes...I am Spidey nurse. Empowered by the bite of a bastard spider who crept in my room AND made it back out, I've adopted AHIMSA ("Do No Harm") as a way of life.

Spidey-Nurse AKA Shannon
I am a fallen-away-vegan-vegetarian who ran out of excuses. I went vegetarian 5 years ago and have never looked back, but my yearlong attempt at veganism was defeated by work travel, life in the south and Midwest roots. Now? I LIVE in Tree Hugger Central (otherwise known as Silicon Valley) and all my excuses have dried up and blown off the coast.

My sidekick (and sometimes superhero) Janne wanted me to jump into her blog and share the trials and tribulations of working life as a vegan so I said, "What the hell? There aren't any more spiders are there?" and here I am. I am 8 days in to my return to a gentler life and I feel more balanced, have fewer cravings and can look my dogs in the eye. Don't think it hasn't been hard, but sometimes the details are too ridiculous to share. The end game?  I still went out with my girlfriends after work today; we still ordered the same thing at the same wine bar we always go to. But tonight, I added hummus to the order and thoroughly enjoyed little breads and homemade crackers with chickpeas and olives instead of cheese. I don't feel empty...I'm not sad I missed out on the cheese...I feel at peace.
On a final note for this post, we want to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to our own MS Vegan Blogger, Susan Voisin who has Fat Free Vegan blog and is also very accessible via her FaceBook page by the same name

Recently, one of the country's largest HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization), Kaiser Permanente, issued a statement supporting the benefits of a plant based diet and cited Susan’s blog as one of note in their pamphlet And here is the link to their site which includes a video of the benefits of a plant based eating regimen.

Y'all have a great week. Be kind to each other and PLANT ONE ON!!

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