Category Archives: cooking

Semi-wordless Wednesday: Books

You know I have a cookbook problem.

SAMSUNG
A few of my favorites, including books from authors I have a girl crush on. HInt – all of them.
al fresco
I reviewed this book and still pull ideas and recipes from it from time to time.
ice cream sandwiches
Don’t think any commentary is necessary.
Supercharged-Juices-Smoothies
Because your friendly neighborhood Sherrie does not fear the green,
meal plan bb
Meal planning was in full effect here.

 

Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules!
Raw or cooked, plant-based comfort food rules! Noms!
A classic.
A classic.
One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.
One of my go-to’s for healthy vegan eats.
HappyHerbivoreLight-2526Lean_FrontCover
I’m digging the recipes here. They help me stick to my eating plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter if the books are from the library or part of my personal collection.  I have one within reach daily.

By the way, if you’re in or near Charleston, SC, you can meet Happy Herbivore herself, Lindsay Nixon at the College of Charleston on Thursday!  I missed her back in 2012, but will be there this time.  Hope you can make it, too!

Review: Yacon Syrup is delicious!

Hello.   I’m Sherrie and I issues with sugar.  By issues I mean a deep love of it. Too much of it at times.  According to my mom, I went after sugary goodness with a vengeance as a baby. Before I was two, I snagged my Easter basket and took out the chocolate bunny when I was supposedly napping. She said I was working on the jelly beans when I was caught.

See, I told you I had a problem.

I’m on the lookout for low-glycemic alternative sweeteners that will hold up in baking and have minimal aftertaste no matter how it’s used.  I like stevia, but hubs and the kids don’t care for it.  Right on time, I was offered a bottle of V3 Life & Food Pure Premium Raw Organic Yacon Root Syrup.  While hubs was skeptical after hearing the reported benefits, I was happy to give it a shot.

yacon syrupHave you tried Yacon Syrup?

It’s making the rounds as a fantastic metabolism-boosting weight loss wonder.  It’s another new-to-us food from Peru that’s reported to have amazing benefits.

V3 Life & Food Pure Premium Raw Organic Yacon Root Syrup is certified organic, non gmo, soy and gluten-free, and a delicious low-glycemic sweetener.  It contains prebiotics and probiotics that support healthy digestion, has only 13 calories per teaspoon, and reportedly boosts the metabolism.   Other reported benefits include increased fiber intake, lower blood sugar, and  weight loss.  The Dr. Oz Show aired a feature on yacon syrup in November 2013 after looking into the hype and conducting a 28 day experiment.   Of the 40 participants who completed the challenge, 73% lost weight and 68% recommended it as a weight loss tool.   I wasn’t interested in the syrup as a weight loss aid and only tried it as a low-glycemic sweetener.

v3 yacon syrup nutrition label

It tastes like a cross between honey and molasses and adds a richness that honey doesn’t have.  I enjoyed it in hot tea, unsweetened soy milk (hot, cold, and blended with cocoa powder), drizzled on homemade soy yogurt and berries, coffee with a little coconut milk creamer, and in my morning acv and lemon juice drink.  I don’t know if it had an effect on my metabolism, but I do know that the flavor definitely had an effect on me.  I will keep it on hand for use in recipes calling for agave nectar or honey without hesitation.  I have a few muffin recipes calling my name now.  Pumpkin spice muffins are good any time of year.

Get your bottle of Life & Food Organic Yacon Root Syrup directly from Life & Food’s shop or Amazon.  No matter where you get it, give it a try and let me know what you think.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

June already? What’s your plan?

Can you believe 2014 is already six months old?  June is already 11 days old?  Where did the time go?  Are you on track?  Anywhere close to where you wanted to be?  I’ll admit it,  I’m not.   And I won’t let it throw me much.  I’ll tweak my plans and go month to month.

My plan was in part inspired by a dream.  I’ve been back and forth to the doc and specialists (yes, plural) trying to finally figure out what all ails me.   It’s exhausting and frustrating and frightening if I K et my mind wander too much.  More so if I consult Dr. Google instead of waiting to for a specific diagnosis.   According to Google,  cold symptoms could be anything from a cold to a rare syndrome that would put someone just outside death’s door.  No one needs that kind of stress or fear without knowing what’s going on inside them.

So, back to this dream.  Of course I dreamed about a doctor visit.  I mean, it’s been at least 33% of my focus for a while now.  So, I’m waiting for the doc to walk in, and it’s Kris Carr!   You know, the woman behind Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  Her.

I was so in awe and blown away.  I think seeing her was a sign.  Not that a cancer diagnosis is looming, but that I’m doing the right thing by following up with the docs and working on healing.  Another round of physical therapy starts next today   My diet is cleaning up and even more greens are coming in.  My healthier cookbooks are my main kitchen inspiration and I’m eating to live.

There they are, two of my inspirations!
There they are, two of my inspirations!
One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.
One of my go-to’s for healthy vegan eats. Lindsay Nixon photo.
A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Sherrie Thompson photo.
A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  This and the tahini dressing that is.
I'll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.
I’ll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.

I don’t want to just survive anymore.  I want to thrive, glow, and kick ass.

So, what’s happening with you?  Have any good dreams lately?

tea

I’m in love with green tea!

Oh, Kiss Me Organics, you had me at hello!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I love tea, especially herbal blends. But sometimes I need a little more kick, and that’s when green tea calls me. It has caffeine, but doesn’t give me the shakes or upset my stomach like coffee does when I overindulge. As for cooking with green tea, that’s new for me. It was, anyway, until Kiss Me Organics asked if I wanted to try their Organic Matcha Green Tea.  Not only did they send the tea, but they included a cookbook and additional recipes.

Why Matcha Green Tea?  It helped me (and others) come out of a coffee addiction without leaving the detox symptoms of quitting cold turkey.  It has antioxidants, boosts metabolism (which helps with the 2 pm slump and calorie burning),

I’ve enjoyed my Matcha hot, iced, in smoothies, and in green tea soy (and almond milk) lattes.  Kiss Me Organics sent an e-book filled with recipes for drinks, cocktails, dips, baked goodies, and more.  If course, I had to put my own spin on the ones I tried. I made the Refreshing Matcha Cooler (page 16) with raw instead of steamed broccoli, raw beet greens in place of the steamed spinach, raw carrot instead of juice, a lime wedge instead of juice, and almond milk instead of yogurt. Oh man, it was fab!

If I thought my family would go for it, I’d go all out with some of the baked sweets year round.  Come

St.Patrick’s Day, a cake or cupcakes with a Matcha non-dairy icing will grace the table.  I know some Chocolate Rum Matcha Truffles (page 35) will hit the table before then.  Striped Pig Distillery’s Rum and a coconut cream should work nicely here.

Get your bag from Kiss Me Organics on Amazon for $25.  Kiss Me Organics offers excellent customer service and follows up to share additional recipes and tips. If you don’t like it, return it within 30 days for a full, no questions asked refund.

Cheers!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

vegg-casserole

Ahh, Vegg. Nummy goodness.

So I received a package The Vegg Cookbook and a package of Vegg.  I wasn’t sure what I could do with it before I started playing with it, but so far, so good.

Hubby and the Boy don’t always care for my vegan goodness when tofu is a main ingredient, but last night they tore into my experiment.  I had Soyrizo on hand I needed to finish up and wanted a grab and go breakfast besides overnight oats or chia pudding,  A breakfast casserole seemed perfect, so I went for it.

Soyriso Vegg Breakfast Casserole

2 TBS Vegg
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used homemade raw cashew milk)
1 lb.firm tofu, divided
4 oz. Soyrizo (Trader Joe’s version is gluten-free)
3 small or one large potato, diced
1 medium onion, diced

Preheat oven o 350 degrees.  Blend Vegg and milk, then add 1/2 of the tofu and blend until smooth. Saute potatoes and onion until browned.  Add tofu and cook until heated through.  Add potato mixture to an 8×8 glass dish and pour Vegg mixture over it.  Stir to combine, then bake for 30 minutes.

Inhaled by a tofu-hating teen boy and tofu-tolerating husband.  I call that a win.

8-17-11-005

Semi-wordless Wednesday – all about the food

Nom nom nom

Vegan French Onion Soup from Vegan Nutritionista’s
Cut the Cheese 

Vegan Cheesecake from Cut the Cheese

Same cheesecake topped with strawberries.
‘Twas awesome!

My fav veggie curry from Saffron Cafe and Bakery
 (soon featuring vegan desserts – just ask)

A fab dinner from Sunset Oasis

Black Bean Sliders and Sweet Potato fries from
Sesame Burgers and  Beer

Dinner salad from Runaway Bay 

Are you hungry now?

South-of-the-Border-12-30-11-043

The year in review and the year ahead

It might not seem that a lot happened in 2011, but it did.  I am coming out of it stronger and more aware of what’s going on and what I need to do.

(Yes, my daughter and I are hugging giant chickens.  It just had to be done.)

Food in 2011 was awesome!   One of the biggest things we did was purchase a freezer.  We can stock up when things are on sale (BOGO Gardein for the win), cook ahead for quick meals, and keep fruit and veggies at the ready no matter how the vegetable bin looks.

New cookbooks were added to my collection and I’ve been giddy.  Decadent goodness from Vegan Diner sits along side Radiance 4 LifeEat to Live, Happy Herbivore’s books, The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Get Healthy, Go Vegan, and Appetite for Reduction.  I’ve been cooking a lot more, reduced my sugar intake, and eat out less.

I’ve also changed my mindset somewhat.  While the scale may not move as much as I’d like, I’ve noticed major changes in my body.  Three weeks ago I bought a pair of size 20 jeans.  Two days ago, those jeans were falling off of me, but the scale stayed the same.  Not long ago I’d be upset about the scale, but now I celebrate the clothing size.  The weight loss will follow the size change.

And it’s easy to change how I think about my body when I can look at how far I’ve come even with the pain. Remember this?  I do, and I still cringe when I look at it.  But that was August, and the chicken-hugging pic is from yesterday.  I knew it would be a full body shot and I didn’t care.  Scratch that, I wanted it to be a full body shot.  I had no fear of it.  That is huge for me.

I think 2011 is ending on a positive note and am so excited about 2012.  Why be exited about the year when something scared the Mayans into ending their calendar? Well, I’m not a Mayan and have plans. Both the daughter and I are graduating in 2012, and those big days will be celebrated.  I’ll hit the big 4-3 and tackle my first big race since my high school track and field days.  The year will kick off on a fantastic vegan note (and another PCRM 21 Day Vegan Kickstart will start on January 2) and the weather in town will be lovely.

I’m sitting here with a silly grin, blogging and smiling at hubby on the desktop ad listening to the kids game in their rooms.  I am a happy wahm this New Year’s Eve and hope that you are happy, too.

For the last time in 2011, peace.

One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.

Showing Love for Everyday Happy Herbivore

I have lots of love for Happy Herbivore.  I can’t remember when or how I first stumbled across Lindsay Nixon’s blog, but I have been drooling over and cooking from it ever since. The omni family has loved most of her goodies, too.  I have a well worn copy of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and received my copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore a couple of weeks ago.  I’m digging it, too.

When Lindsay put out a call for stops on her blog tour, I jumped at the chance to pick her brain a little.


Me:  You’ve mentioned Charleston in both of your books.  How much did the Lowcountry inspire your cooking?  Were you introduced to many new ingredients or techniques?


Lindsay:  I lived in Charleston, SC for four years to attend the College of Charleston (c/o 2004). My husband is a graduate of The Citadel (Hotel, 2000) and he was also raised in Summerville, South Carolina. 
My experience with Southern food and cooking was none before I moved to Charleston. I’d never had or heard of grits or collard greens or she crab soup… so I was constantly dazzled by all these new ingredients and foods when I lived there. Even after we left, my husband was always after me to make low country staples he grew up with — and when we switched to a vegan diet, he insisted I learn how to recreate all these dishes that were traditions in his family and had been staples in our diets. (That’s how they ended up in my cookbooks!)

I have a soft spot for Low Country cuisine — and cajun, too. They’re magnificent and really understand the concept of sticking to the basics, using hot spices and fresh, local foods to make something amazing. 
Was it difficult it find a variety of vegan eats when dining out? 

In Charleston? No. I was actually pleasantly surprised when we went back to visit last November (2010). I contacted the Charleston Vegetarian Group on Facebook before I went for some restaurant recommendations, but some of our friends wanted to go to other places, and I admit I was worried I’d be limited to salads. Boy was I wrong! Every restaurant we went to had something on the menu that was already vegan (not necessarily identified as such — but no dairy, meat, etc) or something that could be made vegan if we left off cheese. I thought FOR SURE when Scott’s friends made us go to Wild Wings I’d starve and I actually had a really delicious meal there!
In Everyday Happy Herbivore, most of the items can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.  Are there any other quick cooking tips that work for you?

I can’t stress the importance of a well stocked pantry and spice rack — that is the secret to fast cooking.

We’ve all had kitchen failures.  My most recent involved misreading a recipe and adding 1/2 cup of agave nectar instead of 1/s TBS to bread.  What was your most memorable kitchen fail?

I once turned my blender on without the top on. Green smoothie EVERYWHERE. Seitan also blew up once and splattered on the wall and ceiling. That was awesome.
The holidays are upon us and omnivore family members sometimes have low expectations of the vegan’s contribution to the family meal.  Should herbies stick with appetizers, entrees, sides, or desserts?  What knockout recipes do you recommend?  Desserts have won over my family 

Desserts are always a safe bet — but I try NOT to bring a vegetable side or a soup because I want to dispel the notion that we only eat the side dish or vegetables only compliment meat. I like to show off how beans and vegetables ARE the meal and not just a side. BUT it’s important to do whats right for your situation — we all know our family and friends pretty well and that can help us decide what to bring. When in doubt, Cake.



While cake helped bring my family on to the herbie train, burgers and fries keep them coming back time and again.  Lindsay shared one of her burger recipes from EHH.  Not only is it quick and easy, it’s pretty cheap, too.  This would make a great quick lunch or dinner on a crazy night. 



Quick Burgers | makes 4 

I developed these burgers in a hotel room: they’re quick, easy and require very few ingredients. (In fact, except for the beans and a seasoning packet, I sourced all the ingredients from the complimentary “breakfast bar”). I make these burgers any time I need a super fast meal or I’m really low on ingredients.

15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/3 c instant oats

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties with your hands. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside. Slap into a bun with extra condiments and eat!

Chef’s note: If you only have rolled oats, chop them up in a food processor or blender so they are smaller and more like instant oats. Rolled oats left whole tend to make the burgers fall apart. 

Per Burger: 109 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 17.6g Carbohydrates, 3g Fiber, 2.2g Sugars, 5g Protein


Thanks again, Lindsay for the inspiration, tips, and fantastic food.  Go Cougars! 

World Vegetarian Day, Vegan MoFo, and a Challenge

Another Vegan Kickstart has come and gone and so have 4 pounds. Granted they were lost in the first week, but I maintained for the month and that makes me happy.  Counting Points is working for me and I’m saving money in the process, too.  Less junk is coming in the house and less food is being wasted.  It feels good.

It’s almost October and that means another World Vegetarian Day will kick off another Vegetarian Awareness Month.  I’m a giddy girl because it means another Vegan MoFo is upon us.  My procrastinating butt missed the Vegan MoFo signup deadline so I will be sitting on the sidelines again.  But I won’t be completely out.  I’ll be blogging more often and posting pics more often, too.  That will be a challenge in itself because I don’t always post regularly.

Another challenge that I’m going to take on is the Eat-In Challenge from Cook. Vegan. Lover.  Basically I’m going to eat in for every meal, drink, and snack for the month of October.  I am somewhat torn because I have a new job (yay) and wanted to celebrate at The Sprout next week.  The special events are scheduled monthly, but this one is screaming my name.  Other than this meal, I’m going to stick it out.   It’s easier for me to eat at home anyway since I’m the ‘difficult’ one in the family when it comes to eating out.  Difficult according to the omni family, anyway.  :sigh:

Eating in would save us a bundle.  We rarely spend less than $40 when the four of us are together and most of the time the bill pushes $60. I can throw a killer week of meals together for $60.  Hell, I’ve done it with less.  Once the pantry is stocked, I can work magic with $40-50 a week.  I know I can keep on track because I track Points already.  The most difficult part of this challenge will be the hubby and kidos.   Yeah, I’m going to give it a shot.  

On the health front, the headaches continue while the blood pressure continues to fluctuate, but that’s another post.

Until later, peace.