A Pancake Love Affair + No Duh Vegan Nachos

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Ello.  Tuesday in the hizzy!  I know you thought that people stopped saying ‘hizzy’ five years ago, but I’m bringing it back.  B and I like to add ‘izzle’ (Fridizzle = Friday) and ‘izzy’ (There’s a blizzy in the hizzy = It is cold in this house) to every word possible, almost to the point of creating our own language that no one else can understand (say wha?).  We also randomly shout things like “BOOM!” or “Poppycock!” (<— this must be done with a British accent) out of the blue.  Maybe this no drinking thing is starting to get to us more than I thought…  ;)

Lets talk FOOD.  Monday’s breakfast was amaze…

 

The mix: the last of the Greek yogurt topped with frozen blueberries, a tablespoon of ground flax seed, banana slices, goji berries, Kashi Toasted Berry Crumble cereal, and agave nectar.  :D

This morning I had a pancake for breakfast!  Who doesn’t love pancakes, I ask you… who?

(No, really.  WHO?  Anyone?  Does such a person exist?)

I took the last blueberry pancake from Sunday and dressed it up with whipped maple yogurt (plain Greek yogurt mixed vigorously with a little pure maple syrup), banana slices, wild blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a final drizzle of agave nectar.  I then engaged in a borderline-inappropriate photo shoot…

Out of control, I tell ya.  Ridiculously good.

Oh, yeah…

Mmm, hmmm…

And then I devoured it.  The End.

Next Sunday I plan to make OSG’s Blueberry Carob Pancakes.  :)  The week after that I am sooo making these.  I’m pretty excited.  I’ve gone pancake crazy and am clearly out of control.

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe?  Send it my way!  :D

Yesterday’s lunch was another salad, but I’m guessing that you’re probably tired of seeing the same old salad every other day, right?

No?

This was a pre-grocery shopping Use It Up salad, where I go through my crisper drawer and make a big salad with all the little bits of leftover veggies from the week before- half a bell pepper, a few leftover grilled kebab veggies, the last handful of baby carrots, some overlooked snap peas, the rest of the artichoke hearts- things like that.  I topped it all off with some beans, dried cranberries, and Annie’s Roasted Red Pepper dressingUse It Up salads usually rock, and this did not disappoint.

M came for dinner last night, and we watched two episodes of Dexter.  We made what I am now going to refer to as No Duh Vegan Nachos, because they are ridiculously easy but knock-your-socks-off good.  Do you really need a recipe for nachos?  No?  I’m going to give you one anyway.  What can I say, I’m a giver.

No Duh Vegan Nachos

Serves 3 very hungry people

Time: 20 minutes, tops

Ingredients:

1 bag Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips (or similar)
1 can vegetarian refried beans (I used Full Circle organic vegetarian refried beans with green chile and lime)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds if you don’t want lots of heat- we left them in because we like it SPICY!)
1 large ripe avocado, chopped
Salsa (I used traditional hot salsa)
2 cups Vegan Nacho Cheeze Sauce (recipe below- you will likely have leftovers of the sauce.  Store in a tightly closed container in the fridge and use it as a spread for sandwiches, as a chip or veggie dip, or drizzled over a salad!)

Heat beans in a small saucepan on the skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.  Meanwhile, make your Nacho Cheeze Sauce and chop your veggies.

Vegan Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Adapted from Angela / Ashley

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2/3 cup water (add slowly to thin the sauce to your desired consistency)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa (I like HOT)
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Directions: In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Take a little taste and say, “Holy frick, this stuff is GOOD.”

When everything is ready, mound a generous portion of beans in the middle of your plate and surround it with blue corn tortilla chips.  Sprinkle with the chopped veggies, top with salsa, and drizzle everything with the nacho cheeze.  Take a bite, die, and go straight to nacho heaven.

(Really, this doesn’t look very impressive but it tastes amazing!  It’s also nice and messy- sometimes ya just gotta eat with your hands.)

Obviously you could go nuts with the toppings… cilantro, vegan sour cream, diced onion, chopped tomato, lime wedges, and black olives (M’s idea!) would make great additions.

B said that these nachos and the vegan spaghetti “meat” sauce are tied for first place in our vegan cooking adventures so far.  :)  He is seriously bonkers for that cheeze sauce.

M brought dessert…


Strawberry Lemonade bars!

Man, they were good.  They had that perfect, flaky shortbread crust and the smooth, creamy, sweet/tart filling combo of a classic lemon bar, with a lovely strawberry twist.  Seriously delish.

Lunch today rocked my face right off.  I am now faceless.  :(

The last vegan bean burger (*sob*) topped with leftover nacho cheeze sauce and avocado slices, plus a side of baby carrots and snap peas.  I love snap peas!  They’re so sweet and crunchy.  :D

***

I ordered my first vegan cookbook!  I’m really loving dabbling in this style of cooking (and eating).  After lots of brow furrowing and back-and-forthing (sure, forthing is a word!), I narrowed my choices down to just a handful of popular vegan cookbooks.  In the end I bought Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.  I’m also really interested in Isa Moskowitz’s cookbooks (she’s the genius behind Post Punk Kitchen), but I decided to start with Eat, Drink & Be Vegan because I have read that it’s a great cookbook for vegan newbies.  I’m really excited to get cookin’!  My plan is to start writing some of my own recipes once I get the hang of vegan substitutions and cooking techniques.  I’m ready to take my kitchen skillz to the next level!  :D  My skills are so sharp that they end with a ‘z’…

What?

I also finally bought a full-size food processor.  I’ve been using my tiny 3-cup mini processor all this time, and the small capacity makes things like veggie burgers, sauces, and double batches of nacho cheeze really difficult to make (I usually have to prep these types of recipes in two pain-in-the-ass rounds).  This 8-cup Black & Decker processor was inexpensive and got good reviews, so I’m anxiously awaiting it’s arrival from Amazon.

***

Alright, lots to do this afternoon!  I have a boat load of homework and E has karate, so I better run.  Have a great Tuesdizzle!  ;)

xo,

S.

PS- This powerful little story is from Geneen Roth‘s regular email newsletter.  I could relate to it to a certain extent and thought I’d pass it on.  Though some of Geneen’s work is a bit too touchy-feely for me, her overall message is a good one and many of her books really helped me during my experience with making peace with food and my body.  Enjoy!

The Chocolate Cabinet

A mother of an 8-year-old was desperate. “My daughter is gaining weight by the second,” she told me. “I am so afraid that I have passed on my troubles with food to her, and I don’t know whether to remove all candy from the house, take her to a doctor, or put her on a strict diet. Help!”

“What is your daughter’s favorite food?” I asked.

“Chocolate,” she said.

“Does high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes run in your family?”

“No,” she said.

“Is your daughter’s health good?”

“Yes.”

Desperation calls for radical measures, so I said, “On your way home, stop at the store and buy enough chocolate to fill an entire kitchen cabinet. In your kitchen, designate one cabinet The Chocolate Cabinet and fill it to overflowing with the chocolate you bought. Now, tell your daughter that this is hers and hers alone. Tell her that she can eat as much of it as she wants and that you will fill it back up when the cabinet gets even a tiny bit empty. Do not criticize her. Do not watch her with hawk eyes. And make sure that cabinet is brimming with chocolate. Wait three weeks, and then let me know what happens.”

She looked at me in disbelief. “Have you lost your mind? If I give Gracie free rein over chocolate, she will devour every single piece before I can get to the store and buy more. She will gain a million pounds. I will create a monster!”

“Try it,” I said. “Let’s see what happens.”

Fast-forward three weeks. The desperate mother says, “When I first told Gracie about the new plan, she didn’t believe me. She waited until I left the kitchen, and then she plowed through the contents of her cabinet before I could change my mind. I filled up that cabinet four times that first week (with gritted teeth, I admit). But when Gracie realized I was not going to criticize her and that I was absolutely serious about letting her have as much as she wanted, she ate less and less. By the second week, I only had to buy a little chocolate, and by the third week, none at all. She is more relaxed around food. She is losing weight. I am a chocolate-cabinet convert!”

Does this story (it’s true, by the way) make you excited? Slightly hysterical? Have you come up with 25 reasons why this wouldn’t work at your house? You are not alone.

However, while some of your reasons may be based on fact, most of them are about your own relationship to food and hunger and abundance, not your children’s. And here’s the litmus test: Ask yourself what would happen if you filled one cabinet with food you wanted but believed you’re not supposed to have. What would happen if you let yourself eat it without criticizing yourself? I can’t swear to this, but I bet you have (at least) 25 reasons why that wouldn’t work.

It’s not about the food. Although the chocolate-cabinet idea was radical, I was almost positive that what Gracie wanted wasn’t candy. She wanted her mother’s (positive) attention. She wanted her mother to trust her. But mostly, she wanted to believe in and trust herself, and only way she could do that was by first learning those skills from her mother. The drama around food and weight gain was the language that Gracie was using to communicate with her mother. The real issue is never the food.

My mother was a fat kid whose own mother took her shopping in the Chubby section of Macy’s. Growing up, my mother felt self-conscious, ashamed of her body around boys, clothes, socializing. Because she loved me and didn’t want me to suffer the way she had, when I was a kid she began watching what I ate, restricting certain foods from my diet, telling me I was getting fat.

How did the hawk-eye, restrictive approach work?

Not so well. In response, I began hiding frozen Milky Ways in my pajama pants, sprinting past my parents’ room and sitting over the trash can in my room eating the candybars as fast as I could, ready to spit them out if my mother opened the door and caught me. I began feeling as if I needed to look a certain way for her to love me, eat certain foods for her to approve of me. And so I began living (and eating) a double life: When I was in front of her, I’d eat cottage cheese and chicken without skin. When I was out of her sight, I’d stuff myself with everything I wasn’t allowed to eat in her presence. Food became the language of our relationship. And although, as my brother often points out, I’ve made a career from the dysfunction that resulted, I would not recommend this path to anyone.

When I hold my online workshops, mothers from all over the world ask me questions about food and their children. Mothers from Montana and New Jersey, Thailand and Brazil all have the same concerns. They all love their children and don’t want to pass on their pain to their daughters (or sons); some of them have children who are already showing signs of starving themselves or stuffing themselves. They all want to know: How do I best love my child when it comes to food? What will help her the most?

I tell them, “Attend to your own relationship with food first.” Be honest with yourself about what you actually believe. Do you believe you can’t trust your hunger? That if you really let yourself eat what you want, you’d start at one end of your kitchen and chomp your way across the country? Do you believe there is an abundance of what you need, want, love?

After you begin exploring your own relationship with food, be mindful about what you communicate to your children. Deprivation, force, and shame do not ever, under any circumstances, lead to positive change. If you judge your children, if you create a moral standard about body size, if you withhold approval based on what they weigh, nothing good will come of it. They will begin judging their bodies, hiding their food, and defining their worth by what they weigh.

And ask yourself this question: If you could fill a cabinet with anything — food, attention, time — what would it be? Chances are, it won’t be chocolate. Commit to being lavish with yourself with what you really need. As you do that, you will become a living example of self-care and trust and love. You will be who you want your children to become. Believe me, they’ll notice.

-Geneen Roth

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