The quarantine food game pantry edition

Howdy!  I hope that you’re settling into the new routine a little more and feeling less anxious about the state of the world.  I’m used to working from home but hubby (and I’m sure some of you) are not quite sold on working from home yet.  I hope at least that some of those meetings that could be emails are actually emails now.

Last time I posted about some of the staples in our refrigerator and how we turn them and some batch cooked rice, beans, and greens into various meals.  This post is all about the pantry.   A little bird told me that a specific list may be more helpful than paragraphs, so here goes.

  • Grains and pseudo-grains are a must – rice, oats, grits, dry cereal, and quinoa (when I’m in the mood)
  • Beans – dry and canned for quick meals.  I usually batch cook and freeze beans in 2-cup increments
  • Pasta – whole wheat, whole grain, or gluten-free, generally elbows, spirals, and spaghetti unless I’m in the mood for lasagna
  • Onions
  • Potatoes – sweet and red, Russet, or Yukon
  • Shelf-stable plant milk (when I remember to grab some)
  • Nuts and nut butter – usually cashews, walnuts, and a mix for snacking
  • Flour
  • Sugar and other sweeteners (stevia, dates, maple syrup, and Lakanto products)
  • Unopened condiments – barbeque sauce, mustard, salsa, salad dressings, and the like
  • Pickles – cucumbers, green beans, artichoke hearts – Yes, we treat pickles as staples.  Don’t you?
  • Tomatoes – diced and stewed
  • Pasta sauces – We tend to favor Classico
  • Bread and tortillas
  • Crackers (occasionally)
  • Spices and seasoning mixes
  • Vinegar – red, white, champagne, rice, and balsamic are here at the moment
  • Oil – Mostly for the family – olive, corn, and coconut

Our pantry staples don’t seem like much on their own, but pairing them to what we keep in the fridge and freezer (post coming soon) shows that the basics can go a long way.  These meals and sides are pantry- and fridge-based:

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  • Baked sweet potatoes topped with black beans and barbeque sauce served with a simple salad
  • Stuffed Russet potatoes
  • Pasta and potato salads as lunch or dinner sides
  • Pasta with beans or lentil sauces or tossed with made with whatever veggies are on hand
  • PBJ or nut butter with fruit and a veggie or fruit side
  • Beans on toast (noms and thanks to the Brits for this one)
  • Home fries with a side salad if they’re not full of veggies
  • Chickpea “tuna” salad with crackers, on bread, or on top of a simple salad
  • Mac and cheese with a potato and carrot-based cheese sauce
  • Oats or oatmeal muffins for breakfast
  • Bean or nut-based sausage
  • Lentil loaf with mashed potatoes and whatever green veggies are in the fridge

There you go – a nice selection of meals and snacks for any time of day.  It’s easy to mix and match to suit your taste and cravings.

So, do you prefer paragraphs or a list?  Let me know and I’ll make sure to follow the preferences of the majority.  Sometimes this blog is a dictatorship, but it’s usually a democracy.

See you next time when I talk about the freezer.  That glorious beast!

How’s your quarantine food game? Fridge edition

Is your pantry stocked? The freezer?  do you have staples on hand so you can cook and eat all the goodness you need? If not, this post is for you.  The post works for you if you have stocked up.  There’s something for all the veggies and vegans here.  I’ll share what we keep on hand in my house and how we make it work for us.  I’m the only veggie in the house, but I will not share what the omnis add to their meals here.  This one is for us.

When you have pantry and freezer staples on hand, you can mix and match to make

culi fried rice

Shhet pan dinner for th

delicious and healthy meals.  Not sure about that?  Check out Miyoko’s Creamery on Facebook for live cooking demos featuring pantry staples.  Why?  Because Miyoko is a joy to watch and her products are banging.  She published a book all about the vegan pantry a few years ago.  The Homemade Vegan Pantry is one of my favorites and comes in handy in times of crisis and storm season.  If you have a busy schedule and don’t always have time to cook or shop the way you’d like, you should check it out.

What do I keep in my fridge?  Plant milk, condiments, and produce always.  The produce we pick up depends on what’s on sale and what looks good at the moment. After batch cooking, you’ll find rice, beans, and greens.  Depending on the condiments and sides, I can make different meals out of those goodies.  Add salsa, shredded lettuce, olives, radishes, and tortillas for Tex Mex night.  Arrange beans and green over rice with a little hot sauce and a  biscuit or cornbread for a Southern meal.  Turn the beans and rice into burgers (or sausage) depending on seasonings used and throw it on a bun, bed of salad greens, or bowl of grits.  Make bean burgers and serve them over rice and topped with mushroom gravy for a vegan take on Loco Moco (the link goes to Guy Fieri’s version, so don’t click if you’re not okay with looking at meat or dairy).  And there’s always soup or stew – throw everything in a large pot with sauteed onions, garlic, and water to cook until all is heated through,  Season it to your taste and there’s lunch or dinner.  Don’t forget about throwing veggies on a sheet pan to serve with the bean burger.  Try cutting carrots or turnips into fries – yum!

food prep

Sheet pan dinner ftw – toss with a little oil, water, or broth season, and roast.  Easy cleanup, too! 

I hope this gave you some ideas on what to pick for the fridge.  If you want or need a specific grocery list, just ask.  I am always happy to help others find their groove in the kitchen.

Next time, I’ll focus on the pantry.  See you then!

 

Living the semi-quarantine life

Hello, family!  It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here.  I’m still active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but my official blog has been about empty.

Bruno 5-19

He was tiny, but look at those feet! 

Here’s a short update:

  • I’m a puppy grandma (happy birthday, boy!)
  • I’m recovering from a series of three steroid injections and one oral steroid pack) because my spine decided my legs and hips shouldn’t work correctly
  • I’ve been up, down, and all-around these last months and think am coming out of that cycle

Getting back on my feet has been my main goal lately, but making sure my nutrition game is on point is up there, too.  I’ve been unable to cook for a couple of months now and proved to myself yesterday that short cooking sessions won’t knock me out or lead to spasms.  Thanks to Instant Pot, I will have on-plan food that has flavor.

The main reason I popped on is to tell you to hang tight.  It may be annoying and a little rocky at first, but this current normal is not the end of everything.  It may take a few weeks to a few months, but we are resilient.  We will get through this pandemic by washing our hands and not being dicks.  Don’t buy more toilet paper or cleaning supplies than you need.  Don’t grab all the bread and nut butter.  Remember that we are all facing the same shortages, reduced shopping hours, and uncertainty.  We will heal together.  We will find or way together.  Your neighbor is not your enemy – fear is.

For the time being, I’ll share my thoughts, menus, and whatever random idea of entertainment that comes to mind.  I have a few book reviews to share, too.  I’ll stop treating my blog as an afterthought for those of you here to see what’s happening in my corner of the spoonie world.  Until then, be good to yourselves.

mug

I’ve chosen self-quarantine as a way of life.  Get offa my lawn! 

Peace.

Sharing something good: 8 Ways To Get More From Your Yoga Practice — Femme Fitale Fit Club Blog

Yoga has been good to me.  I’ve used it during and after PT to increase flexibility and help me ease through mild to moderate pain flares.  I read this post earlier and had to share.  If you don’t want to practice at home, find a class and give it a try. 

 

If you are a yoga fan, and you find yourself at peace during the session and are looking for ways to get more out of your routine, then there is a lot more to learn. Yoga is a great practice that relaxes your mind and body from all the world’s troubles. Yoga can be practiced…

via 8 Ways To Get More From Your Yoga Practice — Femme Fitale Fit Club Blog

So behind

Check out my lumbar spine, complete with spurs are wonky discs. IMG_20190619_074117_762

I overdid it a little on Monday and am still paying for it. I am taking baby steps and holding on to walls and furniture to get around. Pain is imparting my cognitive abilities

Just another day in my world.

I tend to get quiet when pain is flaring like this. I also tend to neglect tracking. I am more likely to reach for junky food during flares because either I’m too out of it to place my own order for take out or am not hungry for most of the day and scarf down all the food when I do eat. I’m recognizing these habits and working on them. Physical and mental baby steps.

Regular posts are back in the plans.  Next up, a book review.

Until next time, peace.

#chronicpain #stupidspine #stupidfibro #stupidarthritis #everythingalwayshurts #spooni

February 2019?

Hi, all.

It has been too long without an update on the good old blog.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know what’s been happening.  If you don’t, here’s a quick rundown.

I have Posterior Tibial Tendonitis in my left leg.  The tendon is responsible for some of my knee and ankle pain according to the Physical therapist and the doc told me recovery would be long.   Recovery and PT have been decidedly unpleasant but PT is working.  Slowly.supports

Due to the injury, my fitness game is limited.  I am not allowed to lift heavy or spend too much time on my feet.  Yoga, Pilates, and some walking in 30-minute increments make up the majority of my training schedule.  Yay.  The pain increases the fatigue, but it’s not anything new.  Fibro/CFS life, right?

Of course, my weight is having a negative effect on recovery.  Nutrition is the main focus for hitting my goals.  I’m currently following 2B Mindset and figuring out how to customize my plan.  2BThe program is helping me change my relationship with food and to get in more water and veggies daily.  It’s also helping me pinpoint exactly how much corn I can have before I have a reaction.  I’m not allergic, but am sensitive to it.  I’m losing inches and have fewer digestive issues all around.

I’m counting down to the big 5-0 and kicked off 2019 with the Shrimp & Grits 5K (one of 5k 2019the Charleston Marathon events).  There was a new course (all flat, baby), a new location for the finish and after party, and were veggie grits available.  There was also coffee which was awesome because it was COLD!

Meal prep is not just a one-day marathon anymore.  I break it into a two-day thing and find it a better fit overall.  As always, there are batches of greens and beans every week.

culi fried rice

Batch cooking this way makes it easy to throw together meals on the fly that I did not necessarily plan for.  I felt like Asian food one night, so I made Edamame Cauliflower Fried Rice with the baked tofu I batch cooked, a cup each of frozen edamame and mixed veggies, and two cups of cauliflower rice.

And now you’re up to date.  If you have any questions for me about my nutrition, PT, food prep game, or anything, feel free to ask.

Vegan Mofo 2018

Hi, all!

Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie will participate in Vegan Mofo in September!  Vegan Mofo is all about the vegan food and you know how much I love food. This gives me an excuse to eat and share more nummy goodness.

VeganMoFo-2

For those who don’t know me, I’m an omni turned vegan married to an omni hubs and have two omni college kids (well, 24 and 20 years old).  The food I love is a mix of omni-friendly comfort food, raw goodness, decadent desserts, bowls, Southern goodness, and everything in between.  Sometimes boring, occasionally misses, but always colorful and full of love.  I love to cook and have no problem taking shortcuts when necessary.   I deal with chronic pain, so shortcuts and takeout are necessary at times.

I’ll be posting here, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so you won’t miss anything if you stalk – I mean follow – me like I follow some of you.

Keep an eye open for all the plant-based goodness all over the place! If there’s something in particular you’d like to see, give me a shout.

Until tomorrow!

 

The processed foods I love

July 2018?  Happy Holy Crap the Year is Half Over!

Yeah, it feels that way some days, eh?  The kids (well, adults) are getting ready for another semester of college, the dogs are practically mentilg in the summer hear, and life is life.

Since my last post, not much has changed.  My glucose is getting better but pain is not. Daily chances of thunderstorms mean daily muscle spasms and pain spikes.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I’m pushing through, though, and working on my nutrition when my body fights.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum makes a huge difference for me, but some things will always be a part of my eating plan.  Why?  I’m stubborn.

I know I’m not the only one that deals with various health issues and know for sure there are some who do not feel like cooking or eating.  Processed foods as an occasional treat or served with unprocessed goodness is working for me.  Here are some of my favorites and how I enjoy them.

sujaWhen I’m on the run and need a drink to hold me over, I grab water and occasionally pick up a green juice.  Suja makes my favorite blends and I have yet to be disappointed.

Costco occasionally carries Suja juice cleanses and Target seems to keep a good mix of them in stock.  The new Drinking Vinegars seem to be everywhere, but I have not tried one yet.  The Wellness Shots are on my radar and I’ll let you know what I think.

Not all commercial salad dressings are junk.  While I do enjoy the occasional Just Caesar, turneric dressing I’ve been reaching for hummus with vinegar the most at home, but when I want something else, Trader Joe’s in my jam. Er, go-to.  This cold-pressed Almond Butter Turmeric blend is creamy and smooth.  I like more of a zing on my salads, so I add a little vinegar over the top.  This is fantastic on top of greens or as a mayo substitute in bean and pasta salads.  It makes a yummy ‘peanut’ sauce with a little soy or aminos added.  The other cold-pressed options are Carrot Ginger Miso and Green Goddess (with avocado).  I have not tried the other two yet, but both are only list.  There is nothing like a big bowl of mixed greens with Green Goddess dressing.  Anyway, swing by TJ if you want to give them a try.

Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a non-dairy yogurt instead of making it.  If I get in a baking mood and need yogurt, I will swing into the store instead of waiting a day for foragerhomemade to do its thing.  Yes, I’m impatient.  If I want to eat some straight up, I may choose a flavored one, but do love the flexibility of unflavored yogurt.  One of my favorites is Forager.  I have picked it up at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Publix (at the best regular price).  While it is not as creamy as dairy, it is pretty creamy and the cashew base makes it more versatile thanks to the neutral flavor.  I’ve used it in baking, as sour cream, and as a topper for fresh or frozen fruit.  Give it a shot sometime if you’re not up to waiting for homemade.

I love making non-dairy milk.  Oat and cashew are the ones I reach for most, but when I want to bake for the family, nuts are out of the question and oat milk has a little too much flavor to most things.  I gave Ripple Unsweetened Original a try and will not go back.  This pea milk is as rich as non-dairy according to my omni family and the goodies baked with it come out perfectly.  It has no gluten, lactose, nuts, or sugar along with 8ripple grams of  protein, 32 mg DHA Omega 3’s, and 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, there’s no reason to use dairy.  Besides, the family does not complain about my vegan desserts.  If plain unsweetened isn’t your thing, Ripple also comes in vanilla, chocolate, and half and half.  I have tried the half and half in baking and coffee.  It’s really, really good.  Omni hubs enjoyed the half ad half in his iced coffee without blinking or commenting.  That says a lot.

The hardest food to find when I first dropped meat was a substitute that really hit the spot for me.  While I enjoyed the occasional veggie burger, I did not find one that tasted better than a fast-food burger.  And I wasn’t really a fan of fast-food burgers ever.  Morningstar Farms was my go-to until I dropped eggs and dairy, and back then their vegan burger was meh.  Boca was another favorite, but it stopped going into my shopping cart when I started experimenting with homemade bean-based burgers.  When I’m with the extended family and a random burger meal is in the works, I have to find something quick so I don’t sit there starving or eating just a bun with lettuce and tomato.  While that works sometimes, it isn’t always my idea of a meal.  Enter the Beyond Burger.

beyond burger

This beast has 20 grams of protein and gives the old-school burger feel that mome meat eaters will enjoy.  This is not a daily thing, but makes a nice option for the “can you eat burgers” discussion that tends to pop up at cookout time.

I don’t use these foods as a regular thing.  As I mentioned earlier, a primarily unprocessed eating plan works best for me.  Every once in a while, these foods help save the day.  Give some a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Until next time, peace.

 

 

 

Want to know more about my Diabetes Management program?

If you are a woman with Type 2 Diabetes, want to follow a plant-based approach, and need help, consider Enlighten Health & Wellness.  I do not regret working with the Zamans one bit and would do it again.  This is not a sponsored post. 

ehw-logo

The end of 2017 was hard, y’all.  My blood pressure was not changing, I developed Type 2 Diabetes, and was not getting inflammation or weight under control.  While I was not gaining weight, I was not losing, either (just the same 5 pound every month).  I knew I needed help, but there is no local plant-based Diabetes education class offered in Charleston (I’m working on this, so stay tuned).  I went to Facebook and found a plant-based Diabetics group and visited daily.  I discovered that I was not alone in the struggle and found some comfort in that.  I also found the woman who changed my life.  I responded to her post about a coaching program and was excited when selected to participate.  I’ve been working with her for a few months and have seen my A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight come down.  I’ve also come off of Metformin and had my blood pressure medication dosage reduced.

Thinking and writing about this course makes me teary.  Bear with me.

Marie Howe Zaman is the coach who helped inspire and encourage me.  She gave me tough love when needed and made me work.  She is the coach and co-founder of Enlighten Health and Wellness and the Enlighten for Diabetics program.  I believe it is the main reason I finally saw a difference.  The program is for women with Type 2 Diabetes and is worth the time, effort, and work.  The focus is not just on food, and that is key.  Diabetes education, fitness, food, accountability, and support make this program invaluable.

It started with a call and goal setting.  Once my specific and attainable goals were set, the work began.  There were articles, videos, and quizzes.  Yes, I had to work, but the work is what made the difference for me.  I learned more about myself, my motivations, and reasons why I easily fall off track.  These lessons gave me focus and a way to combat my demons.

While the lessons helped me get my mind right, the food and activity portions of the program also played a role in my success.  While I had a fitness tracker, it was not compatible with the app that gave Marie insight into my food, activity, and sleep.  I found a Fitbit Flex at Marshalls for a steal and it worked just fine without connecting multiple apps or any hassles.  The only time I needed to take additional steps was when my Fitbit was charging and I used my other tracker.  Tracking was easy and the app provided a direct line to Marie whenever I needed an ear or had questions.

I’m still torn between a Fitbit and Garmin as my reward for hitting my 2018 goals at the end of the year.  Which do you prefer?  Sleep and heart rate tracking are a must-have feature.

Access to a cooking course and meal planner are included with the course.  I thought my cooking game was on point, but I still learned a few things.  And I have not purchased any commercial vegan mayo or salad dressing since starting the cooking course.  While I had several recipes for substitutes at hand, I was not ready to let go.    If you know me, you know this is huge.  I love my condiments, but they don’t always love me.  I’ve known that for a while and have finally made the switch.  It does not take much time to whip up the cashew (and white bean) sour cream that I use as mayo and a yogurt substitute and I truly love the taste.

In addition to access to a coach, whole food plant-based cooking course, meal planner, tracking app, and courses, there were bi-weekly one-one-one meetings with Marie and bi-weekly group meetings with a small group.  I loved seeing how my fellow students were doing and especially appreciated the Q&A sessions with Dr. Tarique Zaman, MD, MPH.  Dr. Zaman is Marie’s husband and another driving force behind the program.  His input adds even more value to the program and helped make lessons stick.

As it is a 12-week program, I’m a little sad to see it end, but it isn’t over.  I have no plans to stop working the program and will keep in touch with the Zamans as I continue to see progress.  As I told Marie, she should prepare to be Facebook stalked, lol.  Not in a scary way.  I’m a member of her Beat T2D Naturally Women’s Support Group and have no plans to leave.  Apply for membership if you want to learn a little more about her approach.

Before you say anything, yes, occasional setbacks are still progress.  It helps me see when I fall off course and paints a clear picture of the need for a change somewhere. 

To learn more, visit Enlighten Health & Wellness on Facebook or schedule a free Discovery Call.

I am so happy that I reached out to Marie in December 2017.  I feel fantastic and she is a huge part of why.  Thank you so much, Marie!

What happens when I stop tracking

Morning, y’all.

v cuts mug

I love this mug from the Vegan Cuts Coffee Box! 

It’s Saturday.  I usually sleep in until around 9-10 am as a weekend treat (and because I usually stay up until 2 am or so on Friday night/Saturday morning).  Not today.  Why?  In part because I went to bed just after midnight and because it’s a high pain morning.  The pain level this week had me thrown.  Yes, there’s a spike twice a month, but this spike has been 3 weeks long.  I decided to jump on the scale to see what’s what and found the culprit.  I’ve gained – part of it is due to typical hormonal changes and the other part is due to tracking.  Well, the lack of.

Why did I stop tracking?  I did not completely stop, but I did slack off.  I stopped paying attention to portions.  Yes, I still need to keep portions of some things in check, even when following a primarily whole foods plant-based plan.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.  More nuts and seeds (I’m looking at you peanut butter, cashews, and pecans) and letting too much bread and oil get in hurt when I overindulge.  The extra treat days don’t help, either.  I slipped back into an old pattern and am paying the price.

Why did I slip?  I get a little lazy and bored.  I feel like I can let go of the routine a little more than not and have not worried as much since my blood pressure and glucose readings have still been great (90-110 range fasting and 120-135 after meals) which keeps me on track for coming off of more meds.  I still have more energy and generally less pain than after the weird muscle spasms a few weeks back.

I know what I need to do and how to do it.  This gain was not a surprise and I should have paid more attention.  This it not beating myself up.  This is just a statement I need to see in print (well, on the screen) and a reminder that exercise alone does not work for me.

So, what’s next?  Getting back in gear and following my plan the way it works:

  1. water
  2. produce
  3. protein
  4. whole grains with portions of trigger foods in check
  5. treats twice a week at most

See, that’s not so bad.  It’s not boring when I put some thought into it.  The heat has sent my cooking mojo into hibernation, so i need to find ways to mix it up a bit.  Produce is banging this time of year, so between farmers markets and the produce department, I can be inspired.

Right now, I’m enjoying my morning smoothie (a blended salad as Dr. Fuhrman calls it), coffee, and water.  While my coach is not fond of me drinking my calories as a regular thing, she is happy with the way I make the program work.

I’ll share more about my fantastic Diabetes coach soon.  Until then, have a fantabulous day!

Peace!