Welcome to My Blog...

A warm and simple, welcome.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Annoucing a New Addition...

Charlene Rose Nolan is pleased to announce the latest addition to her household, the VitaMix 5200. It looks as though this blender can do almost anything, except vacuum and cook dinner. Well, actually, it can make a "raw" cooked soup.

The recipe book that comes with the blender has some rather toxic recipes in it, but I know the first thing to hit the blades will be a kale smoothie!

Simple Experiment...TV and a Hypothesis

So, this is what you need to do. Oh, but wait, let me tell you what is leading me to this experiment. I think we all know that an hour's TV show has an actual 43 minutes of air time. Two minutes are for the show's trailer, and fifteen are devoted to commercials. If you've ever noticed, the theme of commercials varies throughout the day to catch different target audiences. Case in point, is that you never see an ad for grease-cutting dish detergent or home tutoring during CSI. There are two things about TV that have a connection with food: A. Do not ever eat anything you see advertised on TV; and B. Do not eat in front of a TV.

So, your mission, if you so accept it (RIP Peter Graves), will be to get a pad or notebook, and during your favorite TV show. keep a log of each commercial. Your log topics are: Company; Theme; and Duration. At the end of the hour, highlight those spots that were about food. Now, ask yourself this: Would I ever eat anything that I have seen advertised on television? Did I miss the Kale Council's ad for "Eat More Kale?" As I pointed out earlier today, until about five years ago, I thought that kale, along with a cute little pineapple wedge, was a garnish on a daily special at a diner.

Foods advertised on TV are generally cosmetically altered foods that no one should be eating. Their low prices appeal to people. Couples in love are dancing to the beat of a love-drum (or tachycardia) as they walk hand in hand eating McDonald's. Is that what love has turned to? Your green grocer or favorite produce mart doesn't have the bucks to promote the special on organic Lacinto Kale, but if they could, that commercial would be upbeat, and people would be dancing in the streets, and Martha and the Vandellas would be blaring in the background. Cause kale always makes me feel like I want to dance!

Do your homework! Don't eat foods you see advertised on TV! I'm curious to hear from you and what your findings reveal!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Loving My Kale

Kale is great. Today I went to the vegetable mart and bought kale as it really appears. It wasn't bundled into a neat little bouquet, but rather, it looked like tree tops--still connected to it's plant base. I stripped a lot of kale today and have already used it all up. It made it into tonight's "Engine Two Lasagne," tomorrow's lunch, and then thought, "Wait, why can't I make a Mighty Muffin, mightier?" And so, today's creation of these great muffins had minced kale...why not? Beautiful in color. Delicious in taste.

In speaking with Dr. Pam Popper last week, we firmed up a date in July to show "Forks Over Knives" at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. She's going to be one of the speakers. July 8th is the date. The event will be co-sponsored by Whole Foods Market and the Center for Cancer Advancement. All of this is possible because of my Immersion, and the new focus that my life has been given. WOW. I hope everyone in the Philly area who attended our Immersion will attend.

Lastly, tomorrow is my check up with orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Lorei. He's the architect of my new hip! And that new hip is now ONE YEAR OLD! Wow! Fifty pounds lighter in one year, feeling great and blessed.

Plant Strong has added a new dimension to my life. I still miss my Immersion experience. But, living plant savvy has filled any voids I may have had.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plant Strong, Baby, Plant Strong!

Happy Saturday! Some of you have the luxery of sleeping in and running fun errands, I, on the other hand, am at work. That's not hard for me, though, because my work is my play. I'm taking a break and am at my desk sipping on a kale shake made with homemade almond milk. All of a sudden, I started laughing out loud...the thought that I, a former sweet tooth diva, would even have raw kale to her lips just had me laughing, first to myself, then, it became a loud howl. Someone stuck their head in my office and said, "Hey, what's so funny?" And, all I could say, was, "Plant Strong, Baby, Plant Strong!" A much easier answer.
I've been home a week from my Immersion, and the experience continues to unfold everyday. Mostly, it has calmed me down. My New York quickness is at a red light, and I have found myself more thoughtful in my responses to others. Something about pure foods in your system seem to soothe my soul, make me less critical, less to judge. Maybe because I am so busy cleaning and peeling vegetables. It is joyous to be me today. All I can say, is LIVE PLANT SAVVY.
Enjoy the day, wherever you are. As my Mom, Marie used to say, "Reach for the Stars."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good News Today

I got a call from Pam Popper, PhD, ND today, She began our phone call with "Charlene, I have good news!" And, boy, did she ever! Pam Popper is a noted dietitian and naturopath who practices in Ohio at the Wellness Forum. She was one of the speakers at the E2 Immersion last week in Austin.

Five days of plant strong immersion resulted in the following laboratory results:

Cholesterol: Went from 165 to 158

LDL: Dropped from 115 to 87

Blood Pressure: Nice numbers

Weight: Lost 5 pounds

I could have danced on the head of a pin! I ate like a truck driver last week, so the truth is that plant based eating is a good thing. Just look at those numbers!

Thanks to everyone at Engine 2. I am hopeful, each day, for more and more progress, not only for myself, but for anyone who decides to embrace a plant strong way of life.

Walnut Salad Dressing...Courtesy of Ann Crile Esselstyn

Today I went to Whole Foods Market and bought three copies of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD. If you have read other blog entries, you'll know that Dr. Esselstyn was one of the primary speakers at the E2 Immersion in Austin, Texas. His narrative about reversing heart disease is a great read, and when I was reading it today, it was in the voice of Dr. Esselstyn.

Walnut Dressing
1/2 cup of walnuts
1 garlic clove
1-2 teaspoons of low-sodium Tamari
1/2 cup of water

Place nuts and garlic in your food processor. Once chopped, add Tamari and water. If you prefer a thicker dressing, add less liquid. I also added some freshly ground white pepper, just for some added zing.

The full recipe appears on page 166 of the book.

And speaking of the book...I bought three copies of it. They're going to be "I Care" presents for friends and my nephews. I don't want my zeal to seem annoying or preachy to others, and if they can read the words for their own validity, I think that it will serve everyone more practically.

Plant Strong, Baby, Plant Strong!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tofu or Not Tofu, That is the Question

I'll be honest. I am not a total fan of the tofu. I try to like it, but it sort of reminds me of the pestering cousin that your mother made you sit next to at a family gathering...it is tolerable, just like that annoying cousin.

And, I am not sure why, but I think that there is too much of a molecular likeness to a pound of tofu and a pound of fat from my left thigh. Sometimes, when I want to put weight loss into a visual perspective, like if I lose five pounds, I envision five squares of tofu that are equal to that weight loss. Maybe I am not a total fan of tofu because it also feels funny upon touch. Sometimes I think that the tofu package should come with a pair of surgical gloves. Truth is, I've never liked touching meat or poultry, either. I guess it is a sensory thing.

I did find one place where I really liked tofu, and it was from the hot bar at a local health food store. They cut the tofu into these really attractive points. And they are breaded, and I thought baked. Their flavor was so good and dreamy. I thought one day, "Tofu, where have you been my entire life?" But then, one day, I read the ingredient listing and learned two things: They were battered with EGG and they were FRIED. This happened about four months ago. And since then, tofu and I have been divorced. It's okay though, because I do love beans, beans of any form, with the lovely Fava, being my favorite. I grew up eating Italian peasant food, and there was no greater meal than beans and greens. Oh, Nona, how I love thee.

However, I have found that tofu in the dessert form is palatable. Maybe it is the twist with sugar and say, chocolate. But, tofu, as a meal form, I will leave at the table along with that little cousin of mine.

The end point here has nothing to do with my feelings about tofu, but more like the real importance of reading labels. Had I never read that tofu label, I'd still be eating that fried tofu and convincing myself, "It's tofu, it has to be good for me!" So keep on reading labels, and sit at whatever table your Mom tells you to!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's All About Balance

This was day one into the real world--I am at work for the first time in a week. Glad to be here, but having trouble answering, "So, how was it?" Because the answer would take so much more than a simple "Great," or "Amazing." Like, I want to cram all five days into one full sentence, and I just can't.

Not only am I feeling "plant strong," I am feeling just plain strong. I want to fast forward my life and have it be September so I can see some real progress. But one thing I know is this, I have cleaned up my food selections really well. And, I hope I can sustain myself. I can't afford to take other's inventory, but it is hard to do when you are a people watcher like I am. At the airport, I saw participants and one was buying beer, and the other a frappachino...after their hands were sworn to plant based living "back at the ranch." In my liberal mind I tried to think, "Well, coffee and hops are plants." And really, all I really need to do is stay focused on me, myself, and I.

Later, I will post my recipe for vegan lasagna...and it was good. I think my grandparents, Maria and Luigi Montaruli would approve. Molto bene.

Enjoy the day and touch the sun!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ann Esselstyn, Where Are You?

The exuberant and charming Ann Esselstyn, one of our hosts at the "E2 Immersion" made everything look easy! Ann, can you come to my house? I'd love to make food with you in my kitchen! She helped everyone believe that they could be "like Ann" in the kitchen to create plant strong menus for everyone. I think she may be on to something

After heading to my local Whole Foods Market, a vegetable market, Target, and Macy's (new bra, and that is a high math problem, more later). I got home, cleaned out the fridge, packed legumes and nuts in new opaque containers...my kitchen is high styling. As I am chopping and dicing, I am thinking of Ann and the poise she so easily displayed in the kitchen. I want to be Ann. I love Ann.

In my kitchen, I guess I got a little carried away. Pots are steaming and boiling. The oven is roasting veggies, I am drying steamed collards, the place looks like a kitchen at a fancy restaurant. This is one Plant Strong experience.

All of a sudden, I forget something. And that sweet smell permeating throughout my house was the overly cooked yams...and in the top steamer was a pound of asparagus...so steamed that their color changed from dark green to a light kiwi color.

I can't throw food away. It is against my nature. Sometimes, I find little science experiments in the back of the fridge...a remnant of something I couldn't throw out. So, with a pound of asparagus (at $4.99 a pound), I was wondering what their fate would be? Answer? Easy. Guacamole, well, actually, I am calling this "guacahummus." And, it is really good. Here's what to do:

Asparagus "Guacahummus"

One can of no salt added Garbanzo beans
One pound of really steamed asparagus
2-3 cloves of garlic
Liquid from the beans

Pulse the beans until pureed. Cut the asparagus stems, so that you have mostly the upper 3/4 of the stem. Add to the beans. Pulse and add garlic cloves. Pulse until a smooth and creamy looking hummus appears. You made need to add some liquid. Your decision. You should have about two cups of mixture. Very hummy, I mean yummy. The taste was delicious. Enjoy as a dip, or as a component to Nori rolls.

Live Plant Strong.

Thought of the Day: Your plant strong way of buying food, preparing it, and eating it, is far superior than anything else you can imagine.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leaving Tomorrow...The Flight to Reality

What a lovely week it has been. And I am sad to see this come to an end. But, excited and hopeful for all the newness in each tomorrow. I feel confident that my path is set in stone, and I will be able to traverse the road to plant based eating.

People, if you are feeling a little pudgy and believe you are eating right, let it be the fault of marketing and advertising, really.

Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder:

-Nuts are a good source of protein (you may as well drink oil, instead)

-Margarine is better for you than butter (a fat is a fat is a fat)

-There's no protein in vegetables (you'd be amazed)

-That "low-fat" whatever you are eating might be full of lies (low fat compared to what??)

-Never believe what you read in the front of the package--study the label, not just read it

-Bring back the family supper at the dinner table.

-Turn off the TV (a hard one for me and I don't even have cable!!)

Be kind to yourself, and show it to others.

E2 Immersion is more than I could have ever thought it would be. Amen, sistah! Because I am going to get preachy in a moment. So, I will just close. Love is in my heart. Plant Strong.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If You Want to Look Thinner, Stand Next to a Fat Urn

Or, eat plant strong. I've officially completed day three of the E2 Immersion, and with the length of each day, I feel as though I have been here for a month. This is a very structured environment, which I rather like. Things are feeling more emotional for me, and today when we were eating breakfast, Sting was playing in the background when I heard, "Brand New Day." It seemed fitting...I was looking out the window of the dining hall as the early morning fog was lifting itself above Lake Travis. Tears were streaming down my face. There is a lot of love here, and it feels good to be with such caring and kind people.

We are all so busy, and I can even hear my own voice say that I don't have time to cook. But today, the solution was presented to us by Jeff Novick, RD. And in a nutshell, here's all you have to do to eat a plant based diet with such precise organization.

Box of Pomi Tomatoes
Bag of Frozen Veggies

Italian: Tomatoes, Onion, Zucchini, Italian Spices, Cooked WW pasta

Indian: Tomatoes, Onion, Cauliflower, Cooked Potatoes, Indian Spices

Mexican: Tomatoes, Peppers, Salsa, Chili Powder, Rice

Heat the stuff in a pot, stir, and you are good! Very reasonable to make. So nutritious. And great tasting.

Do you get this? Easy and delicious. All fat free. Plant strong. Lots of food. And, don't forget to throw in the K-A-L-E!

Thought for the Day: The truth will set you free.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Engine Two/Day Two. New Beginning...

Here's Rip Esselstyn with Amy Robuck, from the TODAY SHOW, a show I have watched since I was in the first grade. I like this picture, because when I was taking a media-training class last fall, our instructor, a former sportscaster, gave us insights about what to do and not to do on TV. I remembered seeing this and thought, "Wow, this guy is awesome."

Rip E., is the brain child behind ENGINE 2, and the energy that you see if the real deal. He states in his book, that as a fire fighter, we wanted to save peoples' life in another and more purposeful way, and teaching a plant based approach to living was a good thing. The fact that I have had the opportunity to interact with Rip has been a blessing. He and his entire family, and the posse of people who've banded with them, will be responsible for changing the way that people approach "plant based eating," and meeting the maximum of health and well being.

You know that I am N-E-V-E-R at a loss for words, but my life has been touched in a way I have never known before. I am almost speechless. Aside from the warm and fuzzy stuff, I am also learning so much about nutrition. I want to refer to myself as a "Plant Strong Whole Foodie." Not a vegan, nor a person who eats "plant based," (it makes me think that I will be eating a Wandering Jew, or something).

The food here is perfect and beautiful. And, it tastes like manna from heaven. I see the importance of eating at a table, and not at my desk. I see the importance of chatting and chewing with others. Overeating is a disease of isolation. Eat with others, you'll always find something to say...

Our breakfasts are wonderful. Today, we had "E2 Muffins" and they are awesome. I've made these at home and tweaked them a little bit...take a peak and make these, you will LOVE them.

"Mighty Muffins" from the E-2 Diet book, page 160.

You'll Need

3 cups of oat bran
1 t of baking powder
1/2 t of salt
4 T of agave or maple syrup
Juice of one lemon
1 large apple, grated.
3 brown bananas
1 large mashed sweet potato
1 t of pumpkin spice
1/4 of walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup of raisins
3/4 of water

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all dry ingredients. Squeeze the lemon in the apple, sweet potato, and banana mixture. Add walnuts, raisins, and water. combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour into gently sprayed muffin tins and bakes for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

These are good. Wheat free. High in flavor and they freeze well.

These days are filled with hope and joy. You don't really have to look too far to find joy.

Thought for the day: Search yourself to find an open heart.

E2 Immersion Day One

It's hard, even for me, to put into words, the myriad of feelings that I have experienced today. Aside from all of the joy and peace, and lack of worrying, I am in a state of disbelief in realizing that I, Charlene Rose Nolan, born in Queens, NY, am here. I have realized through most of the day, that I am one of the very lucky ones, because at the age of sixty, I have escaped any gunshot wounds from the ills of obesity. I also realized today, that I am not a "big girl" but a "fat lady."

Looking at slides of blocked arteries that repaired themselves through planet-based eating, validated the last six months of my life and what I have been doing to be a better steward. Learning that sudden death is a symptom of heart disease was a clarifying moment for me. I was hoping to hear arteries opening in my system all day long.

The food is delicious. Rip E's entire family is here...his Mom, Ann, is one of the presenters and is teaching cooking classes. I love her. Jane, her daughter, has also been teaching cooking along with Ann, and they are like the Laverne and Shirley of plant-based cooking. They are perfect for those attendees who have never cooked this way before, and for me, they are the background voices of every recipe I have ever made since last September.

And, when you talk about brilliance, being in the same room with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has been amazing. To say he is brilliant is understated. He also has a crystal clear sense of humor. He either made me laugh from his humor, or cry from the reality of his lecture.

John Mackey was here today, as well. Always poised and eloquent. This was his brain child. I think he may have started a revolution. He is brilliant. I couldn't thank him enough. His ideals will refine every Whole Foods Market, and make our stores cleaner and void of any foods that don't belong on the shelves.

My first day here was heavenly. For those of you still eating "foods with a mother," really, go and buy ENGINE TWO, and just read it. Just read it. Then, put on your thinking cap. I am trying to think how I can get back home and not sound "too preachy" to those still eating "foods with eyes."

I got up at 4:00 AM today, just so that I could spend some time alone and reflect on whatever it is that is racing through my mind. I am proud to say that I am a "Plant Based Whole Foodie" and I hope this is something that anyone who reads this would think about doing.

Blessings to all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Deep in the Heart of Texas...Day One of E2

I am here at the Crossings, about seventeen miles outside of Austin proper, for my anointment to the "Engine Two Program." Driving up to the resort's long driveway reminded me of the long journey my life has taken on this food management odyssey.

As we pulled up to the check-in area, there were lots of people wearing "Plant Strong" t-shirts. Through the corner of my eye, I saw Ric Esselstyn, and I thought that I had seen Paul McCartney or Oprah (two of my life's idols). He is a tall man with a strong smile and warm way. I went over to him and introduced myself, and he said, "Hello Silver Haired Maiden." I thought to myself, "You'd only know that if you ready my blog!" And he has, which was surreal, because in my mind, this blog is a tool for me to channel thoughts and feelings about life, food, and well-being. And while a scant few read it, that fact that his eyes gazed on this page, well, it would be like Oprah telling me she liked my shoes. Though, I doubt she would have commented on the new patent leather Merrill's that I wore for travel today. Oprah, I was thinking about comfort.

I feel as though I am on the precipice of a new phase of my life. I've had a rough week, and not once did I resort to food for solace, or the falseness of trying to believe that food would have been understanding to the situations of this week. This was a good lesson for me to learn...when you are not putting a cap on your emotions with food, somethings feel more fluid.

My mind is very open, even though my eyes were closed during the weigh-in today. As my dear friend Christina Pirello says, "People won't remember what your BMI was in life, they'll remember that you were a good person." I always tell her that I'd like people to remember me for both!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Being a Green Goddess (Dressing)

I love salads. I always have. The word "salad" was once a passport to the land of "eat this, it is really good for you." Albeit that those former salads may have been laced with bacon bits, and eggs, and other fattening, empty foods served at a grade "c" chain restaurant.

My eating is based on habit. This week, I have had the same fabulous salad for dinner every night, simply because it has been so good and green, and filled with nutrient dense foods. Crunch. Fresh. Organic. So, every night this week, a huge green salad has been my glorious dinner. I love cilantro, and have used a head of it in each salad...it has been so rich with flavor.

Growing up, salad dressing at our home was made from one thing, and only one thing...olive oil from a large tin gallon, and then, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic and salt. My grandmother would artistically pour the oil onto the salad top in the shape of the letter "G" for "God." I'm saying here, I didn't have a bottled dressing until I was in my 20's. I've investigated every bottled dressing in the world, but have always come back to the simplicity and ritual of olive oil. You should know that growing up, olive oil was used for many things other than a saute or a dressing. Here are some more uses for olive oil practiced by my grandmother, Maria Montaruli...

-Shoe polish for my Sunday patent leathers (oh so shiny)
-Hair conditioner
-Face cream
-Furniture polish
-Earaches (you heat it, dip cotton into it, and place the cotton in your ear)
-A physic (for constipation)

But, these days, I am really keeping oil consumption to a restricted amount. But, I can still make a great salad dressing. And this one is really good, easy, green and delicious. However, my shoes still shine, and my face is smooth as silk.

Going Green Goddess Dressing
One ripe avocado
one teaspoon of olive oil
juice from three lemons
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of water
a glass jar

Prepare avocado into cubes or slices. Squeeze the three lemons into your glass jar. Use a spice grater to grate the garlic. Add the oil and water. At this point, everything is in the jar. Gently shake. I am trying to not use salt, but you might want to add some to taste...along with pepper

Stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to "marinate." When ready, pour on your salad. You are good to go (green).

Thought of the Day: Even if you have to pull from the bowels of your soul, try your hardest to be happy for others. It will unleash a great deal of tension, and your soul will be more receptive to the goodness that needs to flow in your heart. Eat healthfully.

Monday, March 8, 2010

T-Minus Six Days Until Texas

I am getting so excited about my travels to the Crossings in Austin, Texas for a week's retreat at the "Engine Two Immersion Program." Rip Esselstyn's office has been great communicating with participants and getting us all ready for this adventure. Packing is going to be easy...be/c we spend the entire week at the compound in gym attire. A week in my Asics and a pair of yoga pants? Does it get any better? (To non-WFM people, I describe this adventure best as a "Copy-Cat Biggest Loser.")

I've been trying to identify the moment in my adult life where this excess weight of 100 pounds crept up on me. It was gradual. My mom, Marie Nolan, died in 1991 and I identify her death as the saddest moment in my life. Do the math, and you will see that it was "only" five pounds a year. It was like someone pulled a plug, and really, I didn't care about my looks and gaining weight was not an overt issue for me. I know that I coped with her loss by stuffing my soul with food, any kind of food. Anytime of the day. And every Monday, was a new diet day and I would swear I would practice better eating. Whether it was a happy occasion, a sad occasion, or a joyous occasion, food was the centerpiece of my life's events. I thought that baggy sweaters would detract from this actual weight gain. But, I was kidding no one but myself. Oddly, through all of this, I have remained very healthy--my cholesterol was 160--my blood pressure 110/60. But, I am convinced, had I never found this vegan lifestyle, I may have had a health event that could have altered the quality of my life.

Anyway, I've been vegan since September, and I feel wonderful. And, I feel as though this way of eating has brought a new meaning to my life. The fact that I get to spend a week in Texas rejuvenating my life and adding more purpose to it is a dream. No, it isn't a dream, it is something I embrace with all my heart, just like another fact of life.

A few weeks ago, one of my bosses had asked me if I was excited about being vegan. This is a gentleman who is almost thirty years my junior. I tried to explain that I hadn't always been the size I had been for the past five years and that I was cognizant how differently people treat you when you are not in "mold zone" (that's what I call a normal size [12 and under]). What I most want from this experience, aside from feeling well, is to return to a normal size so that I can lose the judgement of others. I want people to see me as a silver haired maiden, and not a fat 60 year old.

So, Texas, here I come. Open hearted. Open minded. My appreciation to Whole Foods Market for providing me with this grand opportunity. My love to my family and friends for helping to sustain me, always.

Tip of the Day: All you need is love. And lots of green veggies.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sweet Thoughts

You already know, if you are a regular reader, that I love to watch people.
And, aside from airports, restaurants, the dentist's office, etc., my
next favorite place is the grocery store. This is a higher level of
watching, because people are mobile, and I have to maneuver my own cart
while taking inventory of their selections. It has the potential of getting dangerous. Sometimes, I will even ask them about something they've selected, "Hey, what do you do with your jicama?"As my subjects shop, I also watch
their faces and note this sense of approval as check out a food label.
Usually, they hunt for "zero" values that then impose a dispensation.
Like, if that sorbet is fat free, it has to be good. Forget about
sugar, it's fat free, so it has to be good, right?

And, unfortunately, I am one of those people. Though since the early
fall, I am so careful in my label reading, that foods that would have
once "passed" my test, are now left behind for totally nutrient dense
foods. That's where our mind conversion needs to go.

I inherited a lot from my grandmother, Mary DeVito Montaruli...her
bunions, her thighs, her hair, and her sweet tooth. So, for me, this
"fat free" thing would speak loudly and clearly to me, because if it
was "fat free" it was okay. No fat, no worries. And, always remember
that sugar is fat free. Oh, there is a God. My grandmother was the only
person in the world who I knew, that after a visit to my childhood
dentist, Dr. Huberman, she would take me to the candy store and buy me
"Good and Plenty." Really. Better than that was hitting the pillow at
night to find a bulge in your pillow...she'd have stuffed a few candy
bars for safe keeping. This is where I learned that food was comfort,
reward, and had nothing to do with hunger. But, it also translated to
"amore," because what could speak love more clearly than a grandmother
who stashed "Milky Way" in your pillow? You can ask my sister, Mary

Portion control is rough for me. So, even if, let's say, I purchased a
pint of a fat free sorbet, in my mind, it would be good for me. And
although a portion might be four ounces, those four ounces were too
many, but never enough. It's sugar that is like a drug to me. And
without it, I am more balanced, less critical, and better thinking.
Without it, I do not crave anything. Really. This, I believe supports
the 45 pound weight loss I have worked towards since the fall.
My solution to eating well and healthfully, is to re-create or
duplicate recipes of things I like...I like to "flip" them so they work
for my body...fat free. Sugar free. Salt free. Still good tasting. No
"Milky Way" for me, and even my grandmother's lasagne has been
converted to a totally vegan dish that is delish. I won't lie, though, without the Parmigiano Reggiano, it isn't the same.

Today, I have made a sorbetto...no added sugar, vegan, pure and delicious. No filler.
Nothing fake. High density nutrients. Easy to make. No sugar. No guar
gum. All good. This sweet temptation will make your heart sing.

Sorbetto di Nonna (not really, but I like the name)

Three very ripe pears
Freshly grated ginger, to taste
One very ripe mango
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
One teaspoon of agave

Peel the pears (I eat the skin, it just doesn't puree well)
Peel the mango.

Cut both fruits into slices. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.

Next day...take the frozen fruits and place them in your food processor with your grated ginger (or you can juice the ginger so that you do not have to deal with the ginger fiber). Pulse until fruits are in beads. Gradually add the almond milk. Pulse. Add your agave. Pulse again. DONE and ready to eat. This is SO good. Too bad there isn't a 75% dark chocolate tree.

Tip del Dia: If you are still using the poison in the pink or blue packets...time to think about low-glycemic sweetners, like agave. Remember, that honey is not vegan, because after all, bees do have eyes. The pink and blue packets will kill you. Sweet love.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cream of Celery Soup-Vegan Style

Her name was Robbie Ringler, and she was my 7th grade home ec. teacher. She wore pearls everyday and also taught me how to sew. I am guessing her name was Roberta.

Mrs. Ringler told me that I had a knack of making soup. It was a rather impressionable thing to hear when you are twelve. My first assigned soup was "Cream of Celery." In home ec, you could make anything, as long as you could do it in the prescribed 43 minutes of class time.

Here's a recipe I put together yesterday...I really liked it and I think the success of its great flavors is because I sauteed the vegetables in freshly made celery juice. Mrs. Ringler, wherever you are, this is for you.

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

Juice celery to yield about one cup of juice

Chop and saute, one medium onion, three carrots, and three ribs of celery, in the celery juice. Once translucent, season with white pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder to taste. I am trying to cook without salt, if you like salt, do your thing.

Add four cups of spring water and two cups of soy milk. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Get a can of white beans and 1/2 cup of raw cashews. Put them in your food processor and blend until pureed. Add to soup mixture, stir well. These will be a nice thickening agent for your soup.

It worked as a creamed soup. Play with the recipe. Maybe you'll find a way to make it thicker. But it is really good. Serve with a salad. You'll feel as though you are back in home ec with me and Mrs. Ringler.

No thought of the day today, just continue to move and watch your "P's and Q's."