What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition, part II

Last week I blogged about what I ate, with a weight loss slant.  I continued with my oil-free cooking (ie not using oil from a bottle), no bread/pasta/crappy carbs eating this past week as well as continuing to cut out sugars (apart from fruit), watching my portion sizes and not giving in to my ‘inner Labrador’– that woofy voice that tells to me sniff around the kitchen for tidbits all day long.

So last week I was pretty happy with my loss of  1.5kg/3.3lbs (I’m recording my weight here weekly for interested parties!) but I’m not a person who goes much by numbers on the scale.  I care about how my clothes fit, how I feel and how un-bloated I look!  Scale readings can be dodgy from one day to the next, though I have been weighing daily in case I one day decide to put those numbers up publicly somewhere for some reason.  Truthfully, I don’t care for daily weighing, happy to do weekly but for me monthly is where I would probably get a more accurate idea of how I’m going.  I’m also not counting calories, weighing or measuring food at this point while I do have quite a lot of body fat to lose.  Once my stupid feet injuries are history and I begin training again when I have (hopefully!) lost lotsa fat, that’s when I’ll begin paying more attention to eating for fuel and recovery.  For now, I’m just getting myself back in to healthier eating habits that I can maintain daily long term.

This week I have lost 900g (1.98lbs), making a total weight loss of 2.4kg (5.2lbs) in two weeks.  I’m not doing anything strictly though I do prefer to use fruit in smoothies at breakfast time and not during the day. I’m avoiding using oil and throughout the day I keep a mental note of where I’ve eaten fats. I’m drinking more water too and not eating sweets though as you will see below, going out to dinner is the exception to the rule!

Okay, this week’s foodie goodness!

On Monday we had Easter lunch at my mum and dad’s house.  I’m avoiding things like rice and potatoes at home but I put a little on my plate along with some black pepper tofu.  Look at me having an okay portion size.  In other words, measly. Mum had made some stuffed vine leaves and dip made with roasted red peppers, eggplant, walnut and garlic:

dolmades

easterlunch

Dessert was the Banana Coconut Pie I made from one of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books:

thrivebananacoconutpie1

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That morning’s early breakfast was a smoothie made with a hemp milk, banana, a few greens, orange and lemon:

breakfastsmoothie1

On Easter Sunday DeeW fell over at a park and broke her arm in one, possibly two places. Husband and I decided that DeeW and I should stay with my parents for a couple of days, just to allow her to chill out a bit more and also be closer to the hospital if she needed to go back for some reason.  This meant I had to go back home and scramble fast, like Goose and Maverick, to get all my gear together for a sleepover.  This included taking one of those big plastic storage tubs on wheels, carrying my blender, meals I’d cooked for the week, nooch, hemp protein, dressings, stuff from the veggie crisper drawers and canned beans.

I had (over) sauteed some kale and pak choy in water then added in a small batch of red quinoa I’d previously cooked and frozen.  I wanted to add this to meals throughout the week.  First up was a variation of the Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It.  I roasted some eggplant using only a little olive oil spray and well, this makes the eggplant turn out all dry and blergh.  I already had a little amount of pasta sauce in the fridge I’d made for DeeW, using an Aldi ‘Just Organic’ pasta sauce with some spinach and lentils added.  To that, I followed the Isa Does It recipe for the sauce and I add a small handful of raw cashews, a bottled roasted red pepper a tablespoon of tomato paste that had been in the fridge for almost-too-long, veggie broth and lemon juice.  I forgot to soak the cashews, because when I use my power blender I don’t have to soak.  But I forgot I was using my food processor when I threw cashews in to the mix, so they didn’t mix well (couldn’t mix them in the blender because there wasn’t enough sauce and it would have gathered under the blender blades).  The Isa Does It recipe uses vegan sausage but I used the roasted eggplant and some of Johanna’s Tomato Nut Roast with Buckwheat that I had frozen.  This was quite a filling meal though next time I’d want to follow the Isa Does It recipe to the letter… because here you can see the bits of cashews that didn’t whizz up well:

pizzabowl

Another Isa Does It recipe was the Citrus Tahini bowl.  Here, I marinated some firmer tofu overnight in sesame oil (less than what the recipe states, a couple of drops were enough for flavour), orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger (I leave out the sweet stuff like agave or maple syrup). The leftover marinade is mixed with tahini and used as a dressing. I served this over those overcooked greens and the not-very-good roasted eggplant.  Yum!

citrustahinibowl

A breakfast smoothie was made with fresh figs, banana, plant milk, cinnamon and hemp protein.  I can’t find my photo but it was delicious.

Mum cooked up some big bean things with carrot and potato.  I wasn’t very hungry when I ate this because I’d just had those dolmades, so this isn’t my usual dinner.  Because there’s not enough of it:

greekbeans

I asked Mum if she could make some of her Greek lentil soup without oil and with all the leftover veggie bits we had.  So this soup is made with brown lentils, onion, a bit of garlic, carrots, broccoli stems and kale. I admit that taste wise, this isn’t that fab because the olive oil is what adds that spark.  But I kinda feel that every now and then I need something that’s just a simple healthy food, without needing loads of flavour.  I need to break out of the mindset I have when it comes to food, I want everything to be fantastic and hate bland boring stuff, even if I know a dish is really good for me.  In other words, I’m a spoilt foodie brat.  As in, if I’m really hungry and whining about having nothing to eat because we’re going shopping the next day, Husband will suggest I eat toast. And then the scene looks like this:

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Anyway, here’s the soup.  I had this many times:

kalelentilsoup

I’ve been in a quiche craving mood lately so I decided to try these fab looking Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  After reading through the comments I decided to use a packet of the Morinaga tofu that you find in the non-refrigerated aisles.  It seems that using soft or silken tofu that we get here in Australia would not result in a ‘set’ quiche.  I thought I had the same problem when I tried to take a quiche or two (or three…) out of the mould after they’d cooled down to warm, but when I let the rest cool completely they came out of the moulds fine.  I really liked these but predictably, my fussy family didn’t.  I’m going to use the filling recipe as a base for lots of other stuff.  I have some vegan vol au vent cases that may work:

minitofuquiches

This is the non-weight-lossy bit.  Friday was ANZAC Day here in Australia and we usually always make ANZAC biscuits.  Traditionally they contain butter which can be replaced with a vegan alternative, but this year I looked up healthy vegan versions online.  I found one using almonds and coconut oil, but I won’t link to it because it was a bit blergh.  I ended up adding some Nutellex because the amount of coconut oil wasn’t enough and I didn’t want to use up the little bit I have remaining.  This year I used maple extract instead of vanilla, just for something different.  I wouldn’t call them ANZAC biscuits at all, as ANZAC biscuits are something that stand on their own and healthier versions like this are just too different to even call themselves ANZAC biscuits.  I’d say the ones I made should be called coconut almond biscuits:

notquiteanzacs

Another non-weight-lossy bit was dinner at Loving Hut on ANZAC Day.  All healthy bets are off when it comes to meals out!  Though I did factor in what I’d eaten that day and that I had about four meals worth of lentil-veg oil free soup at home to make up for it all a bit!  I had some of the fried entrees (spring roll, crumbed prawns.  I ordered Husband the wrong spring rolls and he had one and didn’t like it much so I had the two leftovers…)  Then for my main I decided on the spicy lemongrass chicken with vermicelli noodles and a lemongrass dressing.  The bowl was loaded with mint and coriander which I love and some some salad ingredients.  The flavours were great but it was pretty spicy.  The ‘chicken’ was layers of (possibly) bean curd sheets and was quite chewy. I only ate a bit because I was already full and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day.  Aaaaand I maaaay have ordered the salted caramel coconut ice cream by Zebra Dream…

lovinghutlemongrasschicken

I saw plantains in a supermarket and decided to try them out.  I’ve never had them before and see so many American recipes using them:

plantains1

I had no idea what to do so I followed instructions for slicing the plantains in to 2mm slices, spraying with a little oil, then a little salt and lemon juice then bake.  They looked nothing like the photos of roasted plantains.  I didn’t like them at all so I think an expert has to prepare them for me next time:

plantains2

Okay, that’s about it.  I’ve just realised I haven’t got any meals prepared in advance for this week and I haven’t sat down to flip through cook books.  Apart from that lentil soup.  I have one plantain left so I guess I should do something with that as well as all the veggies.  I’ll probably end up with a veggie and chickpea/bean curry and I’d love to replicate the meal I had up there at Loving Hut.

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

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What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition

A little while back, I blogged about needing to lose a bit of weight.  Make that a lot of weight!  5kg (11lbs) for starters, seeing as that’s what I’ve put on after getting down to a weight I hadn’t seen in a very very long time over a year ago!

This week I am right back in to my oil-free cooking and avoiding stuff like bread and pasta.  I’m also going for more wholefoods and minimising processed foods.  Fats are also cut waaay down so I am mindful of things like nuts, seeds and usage of coconut oil.  As much as I don’t like the cooking sprays, I am using a very short burst of olive oil spray for oven cooking but keeping that to zero as much as possible.  I don’t find this restrictive in any way, fortunately!

Here’s a look at what I’ve eaten this week.  I have retained only a little of the muscle mass I gained when heavy weight training over a year ago (boy does it hurt my pride to flex and see no more guns) so I’m trying to keep an eye on protein intake so I don’t shrivel away entirely…

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I started on Monday and today is the following Monday morning .  So in one week, I am down  1.5kg (3.3lbs).  I haven’t exercised, apart from one gym workout as a trial.  I have injuries in both feet and should avoid weight bearing and impact exercises like jogging.  Not fun when you want to lose weight, so I’ll be checking out exercise bike hire to get some HIIT happening.

So, these are some of the things I’ve eaten.  Of course, it’s not everything but I’m guessing you will all get sick of me photographing bananas and the same bowl of soup because I made enough for four days then went nuts because I hate leftovers after the second day…

Smoothie with unsweetened plant milk, banana, spinach, pepitas, hemp protein:

bananahempsmoothie

A bowl of vegetable and cannellini bean soup (there are also some red lentils floating around but not enough, so I threw in the beans for a protein boost).  Days worth of this:

beanveg

When I went for my haircut, I made a double serve of a breakfast smoothie so I could take some with me, seeing as a) I was at the hair salon for a couple of hours at least and b) I was near Crumbs Bakery, with their vegan pastries and donuts.  DANGER. This smoothie has spinach, banana, blueberries, hemp protein, flax:

blueberrysmoothie

Chickpea scramble made with broccoli, tomato, kale, lemon juice and lots of savoury yeast with my mum’s peas and carrots (cooked with onion and a little tomato paste) on the side:

lunch

Smoothie with hemp protein, flax, fresh mint, banana. As I was making it I was thinking “I’ve missed something, I just know it”… turns out it was the spinach.  I add spinach to all my smoothies.  Except this one:

bananahempsmoothie

Pan Seared Garlic Tofu from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, cooked in my new cast iron frying pan.  Oh my goodness, crispy tofu without using stacks of oil! I served this with the roast cauliflower (with a spritz of oil spray) and the miso tahini dressing from the Isa Does It recipe for the Roasty Soba Bowl.  Instead of soba I went for the last of the broccoli and some chickpea scramble.  YUM.  I had it again quite a few times:

misotahinivegtofuAlthough I enjoy smoothies for a quick easy breakfast, I decided to try pancakes.  AHA! I hear you say.  Pancakes on a diet?  Oh Veganopoulous, you crazy kid! Well!  I made the blueberry pancakes from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive nutrition book.  These are made with buckwheat flour, cooked quinoa, hemp milk, water, blueberries, salt, two dates, baking powder and baking soda.  You mix up the batter in a food processor.  They’re not the most attractive of pancake colours but they’re super healthy.  The recipe makes two large servings.  I had mine with a small sliced banana and home made applesauce (I just stewed some apples in a little water then pureed it all.  No sweetener).  The banana and applesauce did well as a ‘syrup’ seeing as I’ve waved goodbye to my beloved maple syrup for now.  This breakfast really filled me up and I was stuffed by the last couple of forkfuls so next time I’d make these as three smaller servings:

thriveblueberrypancakes

Another smoothie from Thrive, this one made with hemp, flax, pumpkin seed, banana, orange, ground cloves:
ironsmoothie

We visited my parents on Good Friday and my mum had made Greek lentil soup and added in some kale I took over.  Being Good Friday she didn’t use olive oil so I was pleased to have a nice bowl of oil free lentil soup.  Called “faki” in Greek, pronounced “fu-KI” and enough to earn me detention after the home ec teacher asked what I ate for dinner and I answered honestly:

faki

I made another Brendan Brazier Thrive recipe, this time the Black Bean Lime Salsa.  I love this! black beans, tomato, onion (which I left out), fresh coriander, balsamic vinegar, hemp oil, lime juice.  I moosh mine up in the food processor even though you’re supposed to just mix them together.  Here I have it served with the last of my roast cauliflower steaks:

blackbeansalsa

I haven’t featured any Easter gatherings here as I haven’t been to any.  We have a belated Easter lunch with my parents, sister and brother in law today so I’ll be blogging about that very soon.  This year I said I’d make hot cross buns with the kids but really, we’ve had so many store bought ones in the house that my dad insists on buying for us, that I am just well over them and I think Arthur and DeeW have consumed more than enough without needing to add to the count!

Although I ate the same things many times, it doesn’t bother me much now.  See, I’m a person who hates leftovers after day two.  I get BORED to the point where I would rather not eat than eat leftovers AGAIN.  I’m a bit of a princess like that.  On the third day I wanted to cry, in that whiny #firstworldproblem manner, when I realised I still had more bean-veg soup to eat.  Yea verily Veganopoulous, get over it! For day 4 I felt better about it because it certainly helps knowing what I will be eating, without having to worry about coming up with something new every day or two.  It makes for boring blog entries though!

 

This past week I’ve been playing and re-playing the new single by Tori Amos called ‘Trouble’s Lament’.  I can’t get enough of it!  I’m a looong time fan but the last couple of albums didn’t really jump out and grab me like all the rest.  But this song just kapowed me in the face!  If you’re a long time fan too, you might also be kapowed by the different sound she takes here.  Before I sat down to listen I was wondering how different, though familiar, it would be to her past albums and I wasn’t expecting this.  I’m looooving the percussion and guitars.  Kapow!

Lunch today at Invita Living Food at the Queen Victoria Market

Yay for haircuts!  Especially when you haven’t had one in over a year.  Today I headed down to North Melbourne to get about two hundred kilograms worth of boofy hair cut off (more like six inches but boy my head feels lighter).  After that I went for a short walk down to the Queen Vic Market to pick up a bunch of coriander.  I also thought I’d go and check out Invita Living Food, as I’ve been past it many times without realising I could actually find healthy vegan food in there.

Initially, I was just going to browse and not buy anything but one of the menu items caught my eye: the rice ball.  The description on the menu board (which is different to the description on the website) was ‘rice balls, corn carrot, zucchini, coriander, sea weed, tamari, ginger juice, lemon juice, olive oil, rice crumbs, tapioca starch’.  Gluten free, vegan, full of good healthy stuff.  I think it cost $14.60.   I asked if it was fried in oil and the staff person told me it was baked. The rice ball sure sounded better than my plain bean and veggie soup that was waiting at home!  My stomach was growling, it was another half hour before I’d be home and so I thought why not?  It’s a beautiful day!  Phone photos, sorry!

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The rice ball was pretty big though I was a bit surprised the inside was quite mooshy and for a while I wondered if it was undercooked but I guess with those ingredients, it’s a mooshy ball.  I took a pic but you can’t really make it out:

invita2

I figured I’d eat it, blog about it and see what readers think!  I liked it regardless of the mooshy factor but my favourite part of the meal was the eggplant chickpea salad on the side.  This was really tasty. The serving of quinoa with some veg and lentils mixed through was okay.  There was a little bit of chutney too, I tried it and it was a peanut satay kind of flavour.  It was sweet though and as I’ve cut out sugars/sweet food (apart from fruit), I put this to the side.  Only after I’d emptied a sachet of sugar over it to stop me being tempted to eat a bit more…

There were vegan desserts on display, alas I took a photo that didn’t turn out.  Plus I didn’t want to linger too much around the dessert display, seeing as I’m not eating sweet stuff!  Invita also serve juices, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, a tofu burger (no bun is mentioned) and other savoury breakfast and lunch items.  I very much enjoyed sitting under the marquee listening to the hustle-bustle market sounds and the ding dings of the trams!  All while flipping my new ‘do around.

farah

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Invita Living Food is located at 76 Therry Street, near the Vic Market jam donut van and the organic fruit and veg section.

Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

I’ve made a few more recipes by Isa Chandra M. over the past month but have been a bit slack with posting, so here they are all in one go.

Peanut Butter Criss Crosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I won’t ever eat peanut butter on bread or toast but in biscuits I love it:

pbcrisscrosses
The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:

peanutkaletofubowl

After trying the roast veg soba bowl at the Corner Hotel back in March, I had to make it at home.  This time I followed the Isa Does It instructions to the letter and I was rewarded with the same delicious meal.  I used both the lentils in the actual recipe but the next day I went for marinated tofu instead.  I’ve also made this with more veggies added in:

misotahinisobacauli

Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance is a great book but admittedly, not one I have used all that much.  Not because there’s something wrong with it, more because I tend to stick with the latest cookbook purchases.  You know, shiny new toys and stuff.  Last week I decided to break out VWaV and I made the Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.  Deeeelicious!

gingermaccococarrotcake

Some weeks ago I made the Marbled Banana Bread from Isa Does It.  Clearly, my family need more practise with the marbling bit:

marbledcake

marbledcake2

 

As I’ve cleaned up my eating (again) I won’t be doing much baking and I will be adapting recipes I use to be lower in fat, or making substitutions outright.  I like that I can still use Isa’s recipes as a base and end up with something that is still super tasty!

Lunch at Vege2Go in Melbourne

I only recently discovered that Vege2Go have an outlet in the David Jones food hall. I’ve had some Vege2Go before (ha, that links to my tortilla disaster post!) but a few weeks ago a fellow vegan told me about the David Jones outlet.

Today Husband and I took Arthur and DeeW to a kids comedy performance called Mr Snot Bottom and the Curse of the Silly Stinky Zombie Babies.  With a title like that, my kids are THERE. I loved hearing dozens of children in the audience squealing with crazy snorty laughter.

After the show Husband took Arthur and DeeW off to the Pancake Parlour (yay for freebie vouchers!) and of course as there’s nothing for me to eat there I went next door-ish to David Jones to check out Vege2Go.

vege2go1

I haven’t been to the DJs food hall in well over ten years.  Maybe even fifteen.  I used to buy those big bags of mixed biscuits and I saw they still have them but I’m betting nothing is vegan so I didn’t bother getting a closer look!

Vege2Go has vegan meals in packaging that they can heat up for you:

vege2go3

On cold rainy days I’m not someone who is in a soup mood.  I was in a pizza mood today, rain does that to me:

vege2go2The pizza was okay and not bland, though I feel the toppings were on the light side.  I also picked up the Vege2Go blueberry pear breakfast quinoa as it was half price.  That can be tomorrow’s breakfast.

Vege2go cater for vegans, vegetarians, egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, sesame-free, nut-free, sugar-free and gluten-free peeps. You can browse their products online at http://www.vege2go.com.au/  I love the lemon coconut slice and can’t resist eating it in one go.  I try but lemon-coconut is a flavour combo that completely destroys me.  Fellow lemon-coconut lovers will probably know exactly what I mean!