Tag Archives: healthy living

Super Veggie Soup

21 Jun

Growing up I didn’t like a whole lot of different kinds of soups except my mom used to make a vegetable bacon soup which had a base of V8 juice. And oh man did i love it when I was a kid! Now, if you have read any of my previous posts regarding The Veg Project you will note that I haven’t eaten any pork related products since I was 11 years old, therefore when in my mid-twenties I decided that I wanted that little slice of my childhood I needed to adapt the recipe. It also involved a series of microwaving different items- which I am generally not in favor of doing so it differed greatly, but still provides me the same comfort as it did as a child.
It’s healthy, delicious and above all, nutritious. I honestly don’t think you could pack any more servings of vegetables into one soup! I am also a weirdo who happens to love making homemade soups all summer, I know I’m strange. I don’t know if its because I soup is light and I generally try eat a little lighter in the summertime or if its because my husband keeps my house Arctic cold (and my office at work is as well), but I love soup in the summer.
Here’s my Super Veggie Soup recipe:

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Super Veggie Soup: 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion chopped
4 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
3 celery sticks chopped
3 carrots chopped
3 cups Original V8 Juice
1.5 cups water
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 zucchinis quartered
1 yellow summer squash quartered
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
*A couple dashes hot sauce optional

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Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add chopped onion, sauté but do not allow to brown, add carrots, celery, and potatoes, cook for approximately 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Add V8 juice, garlic, and water, stir to combine. Add salt and pepper and a couple dashes hot sauce if desired. Bring mixture just to a low boil and add zucchini and summer squash and reduce to simmer. Simmer approximately 20 minutes until vegetables (specifically potatoes are tender), add frozen peas, allow to summer for another 3-5 minutes until cooked through. Enjoy!
I decided in the middle of making the soup that I would enjoy mine with some freshly baked wheat bread (since I had it on hand) so I made a “no knead” wheat bread mix. I must say that for a 50ish minute box recipe deal, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact it was quite good!

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Cooling Off Period

29 May

My closest friends and husband will tell you that when it comes to temper, I have a short fuse. I tend to get worked up over small to medium sized frustrations that my husband can easily let roll off his back. Some people have higher tolerance levels than others and unfortunately I am not blessed with patience or a high tolerance level for crap. I have worked hard at times to suppress my temper to avoid boil-overs and cataclysmic fights (not really that tremendous, I just really wanted to use the word cataclysmic). I find that there are some situations that lend themselves to frustrated episodes better than others and it’s true for everyone that when we feel that our core values are being threatened we tend to react poorly. I also tend to become overwhelmingly frustrated when I feel that I am being attacked and when my life is not in sync. When I am not in sync with my emotional, physical, and psychological well being I tend to lose control of my frustration and say things I would otherwise have kept to myself.
Recently I have been dealing with a particularly difficult and frustrating issue that has caused me a great deal of stress. I have found myself greatly desiring to lash out at the people whom I am having problems with (really give them a piece of my mind), fortunately I have a sounding board (my husband and friends) who help to remind me that although I may feel justified in my rant, I am better than that behavior and are able to provide suggestions for a better course of action.
I have recently developed a quick set of questions that I plan to implement when I am feeling frustrated and wanting to say things that I will regret. These are influenced by my studies of counseling techniques and one on one session work. I hope that this will help you too when you feel overwhelmed by frustration.
Why am I so bothered by this?
1. What is the core fear that I am experiencing with this issue? You may be experiencing a basic fear at the core of the issue of rejection, failure, embarrassment, etc and although we often don’t realize the true cause of our action we typically act out of fear when dealing with frustration.
2. What is my core value or belief that this situation is in conflict with? A betrayal of our core values is usually at the center of most conflicts in our lives. If you think that honesty is paramount any time that you feel someone is being dishonest or if you are being dishonest you will feel conflict in your life.
3. What is my natural and innate first reaction to this issue? It is important to realize and acknowledge that you have an innate reaction to everything that is going on around you especially when dealing with frustrations so that you can make wise choices about your course of action.
4. What are some possible consequences of my innate reaction? Impulses tell us to do one thing or another but one key to successful relationships and interactions is to be sure to at least attempt to anticipate the other party’s reaction to your behavior. Often when I pause for a minute (in my frustration) I find that my first reaction, a reaction in anger, will not be well received and needs to be reworked.
5. What is the most healthy response I can have? I find that I typically know what the right thing to do is as long as I take the time to examine questions 1-4. Even if the answer is to contact a sounding board and get advise, I am now avoiding acting in anger and will be able to make a better choice.
6. Can I reconcile my frustrations through the corrective course of actions? Sometimes after going through questions 1-5 I discover that no, I am still going to be frustrated with this situation and my frustration will not be alleviated by my more mature behavior but by that time I realize also that it’s more beneficial to take a corrected course of action due to the consequences associated with acting out of anger.
It’s important for me to make sure that at this point I am making wiser choices in my life to build better relationships and interactions with others.

The Veg Project: What’s For Dinner?

27 Mar

Since Stephanie & I began The Veg Project (a three week challenge of becoming Pesco-Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians) we have spent quite a bit of time texting each other about what we are eating for our meals. At first when thinking about becoming a vegetarian people tend to say “so I guess I can only eat vegetables” and then picture themselves sat down in front of a dinner plate with a measly stalk of celery as their taste buds die off one by one- this is not so. Conversely there are those that think their life is going to be one pb&j after another until the bitter end- also not true. There are so many awesome things that can be made vegetarian and this is especially true I find for Pesco-Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians because they can still eat seafood, dairy, and eggs.
Some of the things I have been making or ordering include: vegetable lasagna, egg & cheese quesadilla, black bean veggie burritos, shrimp & fish tacos, seared scallops with sautéed spinach and roasted Brussels sprouts, corn, peppers, & jack cheese stuffed portabello mushroom caps with roasted sweet potatoes, spinach salad, bean & cheese burritos, baked salmon, veggie chili, & of course my ‘everything’ veggie pasta sauce, just to name a few. br />
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The Veg Project: mid week update

26 Mar

                                                                  “animals are friends not food!”

It’s starting to stick with me again, I am now about a week and a half into the three week vegetarian challenge I entered into with my bestie, Stephanie. Stephanie, our friend Danielle, and I all watched (at different times) the documentary Vegucation that follows three meat eating individuals around Manhattan (and out to some farms) while they take a 6-week challenge to eat Vegan only foods. Danielle is taking the same challenge, Stephanie and I are challenging ourselves to eating only vegetarian. I call it “The Veg Project”.

Thus far it’s been a good ride, I have missed a couple meat meals, looking through my cookbooks I have had to stop myself when I thought “oh that chicken tortilla soup is great, I want to make that” and think to myself, can I make this vegetarian? That’s the great thing about eating vegetarian is that so many meals are easy to just take the meat out. Sub in some extra veggies, maybe some tofu, portabello mushrooms if you want a ‘meaty’ flavor, or even a meatless burger for your run of the mill beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, etc.

I think that it must be much easier than trying Vegan. For anyone know doesn’t know the difference, according to wikipedia a vegetarian is: “Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat – red meatpoultryseafood and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter, such as animal-derived rennet and gelatin” (although I eat seafood because I am a Pesco-Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, meaning I eat seafood, dairy and eggs). The definition of Vegan in Wikipedia is: “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.” Part of the reason I think that it would be very hard to be Vegan is that I live in a suburb in the LA area and there are not a whole lot of health food stores that offer these kinds of options and we are definitely lacking Vegetarian or Vegan restaurants as well. When I was in college in Santa Cruz, CA it probably would have been really easy. I often frequented the Saturn Cafe in the downtown area that was a Vegan restaurant and there were many other options. However here there are barely any options.

It’s actually really funny to tell people that you are a vegetarian or a vegan, a lot of people don’t understand why you would not want to eat meat. I think it’s funny because I am not a person who goes out into the world telling people that they need to stop eating meat or yelling “meat is murder”, for me it’s a personal choice that I make for myself. I may tell people this is what I am doing but in no way am I telling people that this is the right lifestyle and that they should do it as well. But I have found some people in my life who have done the opposite when I tell them that I am not eating meat or at times stopped eating red meat, they have interrogated me as to why I would do that, told me that they thought that was stupid or ridiculous. I don’t feel that I need to justify my reasons behind my [healthy] lifestyle. For this reason I let my husband know that I am not advertising this change to our family at this time. piggies are friends, not food!

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The Veg Project

22 Mar

Something that you should know is that I have not eaten pork or any other pig related products since I was 11 years old. Miss Piggy was simply off the menu, which was a far cry from the little girl whose favorite sandwich was ham & cheese her whole life. When I was on the verge of turning 16 my high school tennis teammate, Miss Ashley told me about how she was a vegetarian and all the virtues of it. It sounded like something that I wanted to try, so I bought myself a book on being a teenage vegetarian and gave it a go. I was what is called a ‘pesco-lacto-ovo’ vegetarian, meaning I ate all fruits, veggies, beans, grains and also fish, dairy, and eggs. I felt fantastic, I was eating so healthy, very versatile meals. I had limited the sugar intake I was having and cut down to about one soda a week (which is kind of a big deal to a teenager). I was also very active since I was playing high school tennis and was involved in a lot of other activities so I was leaning out and feeling fabulous. Then came the following summer and my biggest temptation was confronting me almost daily: bar-be-que… I love BBQ, it is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Everything about it reminds me of childhood and summertime. I gave in. I began eating meat again.

It wasn’t until I was 23 that I decided I wanted to stop eating red meat again, although I was still eating poultry. I had realized that my body wasn’t processing red meat very well, I was feeling sick after every burger, steak, or beef taco. It wasn’t fun and clearly my body didn’t want me to eat it. Again, I felt more healthy after giving up another form of meat. That was until I got pregnant and it became difficult to find options of things to eat since so many foods are off-limits while you are pregnant and at this time I didn’t have a lot of time to cook. I started eating meat again and my junk food intake increased greatly. I started feeling really gross all the time after I ate out and guilty too because I knew the choices I was making were poor choices and were destructive. It took me an entire year to start working vigilantly to lose the weight that I gained pre-pregnancy and throughout my pregnancy and one of the things I did was reduce my all over meat consumption. I lost 22 pounds in 3 months through eating right and working out religiously. It has now been 9 months from that time and I have managed to keep the weight off, but I have felt myself slacking in the working out department and have lost some self-control over eating ‘bad’ foods.

So that leads us to last week. Now my girl friends are meat lovers, major carnivores really. These girls have books about bacon in their kitchens, eat bacon ice cream and candied bacon, once a bacon cupcake, meat is their lives. I once watched one of them eat a Tomahawk steak that was about 30 oz. Then Vegucation happened to one of them. What is Vegucation? It is a documentary about a challenge taken on by 3 individuals to become vegan for 6 weeks and learn about veganism that is arranged by a vegan convert Manhattanite. She decided that night that she wanted to try to be vegan for 6 weeks (taking a similar challenge as the participants in the documentary). Then I get a text from my other girlfriend who happened to watch the same documentary a couple of days later saying that “[she] isn’t going to eat meat today” to which I ask why? (as this was out of the blue). She goes on to tell me that she saw the documentary and realizes that she needs to cut down her meat consumption for her health and also because of feeling guilty for what she saw in the film. She knew she couldn’t go completely vegan (knowing your limitations is important!), but she wanted to do something, so I helped her come up with a plan. I told her about what I did when I was a vegetarian in high school, which is kind of funny because she was my bestie in high school too and totally ate with me all the time and was on the tennis van with us when Ashley first told me about the virtues of being a veg. She said that she thought she might be able to do that but she didn’t want to make any kind of proclamation of change that she didn’t know she wouldn’t fulfill so she committed to three weeks and then she would see how she was feeling. I told her for solidarity I would do it with her to help her out (and all the other wonderful virtues mentioned above).

Now being a vegetarian at 28 is a little different for me that being a vegetarian at 16, first off, I have a car and I have money to eat out whenever, and where ever I want. I also have cooking skills that I had not previously had and awesome meat filled recipes that I make regularly. I also am married to a meat-eating man and cooking is definitely for two. So I know that this will be a challenge.

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