Thursday, April 26, 2012

RAW Soup

My detox (reboot) is going well so far :-) I lost 3 pound since Monday. I am still fighting with cravings and trying to find a balance in my diet, but I am proud of myself to go so far and not to give up. I am dry brushing every night before shower and my body feels better already. 

I made a tasty raw soup today. I used a base of cucumber, celery, lemon juice, parsley, spinach, kale, avocado, garlic and red bell pepper. I topped the soup with radishes and red bell pepper and later I added raw pumpkin "parmesan cheese". It was pretty good. Much better than my other raw soup experiments... 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A promise to myself (and a reboot day #1)

 I don't know how it happened, but it happened.... I fell off the healthy eating wagon few weeks ago. Unhealthy, sugary, processed, fatty, white flour based and other poison foods found their way into my kitchen and my stomach. 

Well, they did not exactly found their way into my kitchen, I brought them in there. When I started eating healthier few month ago, I felt better than ever for a while, but then my poison food addiction took over again. It started by eating white bread and vegan mayo.....then the other foods joined the party. And the results? I gained back all the weight that I lost since January and my health problems are back! I feel toxic, depressed and weak! I feel sluggish, tired, constantly hungry and unhappy. The more garbage I eat, the more I want. It is like a drug addiction. I needed to admit to myself that I have a problem and that I am addicted to white foods (white bread, sugar, etc), chocolate and processed vegan junk food. I realized that in order for me to break the addiction, I have to detox myself first and clean my body and mind from all the toxic food, toxic emotions and stress. I have a mentally and physically demanding job and the stress often makes me crave bad foods and I "reward" myself for the stress and hard work with garbage foods. Recently I decided that I need to break this addiction and get better. I made a promise to myself today to get healthy, to eat better, to lose 27 pounds by December, to make time for myself and not to give up or make excuses. I want to be radiant, healthy, full of energy and love. I want to start living my life to the fullest!
This is not going to be easy, this is not going to be an overnight fix and I am fine with it. I have a lot of knowledge and support this time around. I found a lot of inspiration online and in books. I just finished reading "Crazy, Sexy Diet" by Kris Carr and I am feeling powerful and ready to do this! 

I started a 5 day Express REBOOT today. I modified my reboot slightly to eat mostly raw, living veggies and fruits, juices and smoothies. No grains, no beans, gluten, condiments, etc. 
I drank a gallon of unpasteurized green juice (cucumber, celery, lemons, spinach, parsley) and a small cherry juice. I had two smoothies, one with spinach, banana and mango, and the other was carrot, banana and mango. I am not used to drinking so much and not eating all day. I felt very weak at times, but I would get bursts of energy and mental clarity. I noticed I was more cranky and sensitive today than ever. To make it even worse, I had to do grocery shopping and get fresh bread for my husband. I was almost drooling over his dinner while sipping on my smoothie.... That was a real torture! I did some dry brushing, meditating, cleaning and reading. I bathed my dog, too :-) 

My husband is my biggest support and inspiration :-) 

My friend Brennan has been a huge inspiration, too. He rocks!!!

I found a lot of support and inspiration in Raw Rebecca (including the idea of having two jars with little stones representing total pounds lost and total pounds left). She is amazing!

I also have a lot of support via several Facebook and Twitter friends, too. 

Here are some foods that I will be eating for the next few days. Raaaaaaaw :-)

My work lunch and breakfast for tomorrow

My dinner smoothie: spinach, banana, mango and purified water. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kitty Birthday party

Our sweet kitties celebrated their 4th birthday today. Abbey and Bear are twins and we are so lucky to have these beautiful, fun kitties as a part of our family. You can read a story about how we got them because of Halloween here.

I made them a miniature birthday cake from canned mackerel, grain-free cat treats and grain-free cat kibble. The peas was just for a decoration because they did not even touch it. (Shelly ate the peas later). For those of you wondering why my cats are not vegan, please, read my post about the vegan cat dilemma.

Bear checking out his cake

Curious Abbey checking out the cake

Let's dig in!


Cake and presents :-) Nobody had any interest in the grasshopper toy but the dragonfly on a stick entertained them for a while.

Shelly joining the party and enjoying a piece of this awfully smelling cake

Still eating......

Bear doing what he does the best with toys......chewing on the string......

Abbey checking out her new toy

Bear trying to play with the string again. He lost interest shorty afterwords and wanted to play with a plastic straw instead....... Typical cat! No store bought toys can replace the free toys made out of paper, plastic straw, or a plastic bottle cap.
Do you cats like the "free" toys better than store bought? Do you celebrate your cats birthdays?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Apple Strudel Muffins

Apple Strudel Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 large apples, peeled and cored
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C)
Coarsely shred apples and squeeze out extra liquid using your hands or mesh strainer. Set aside.
Line muffin cups with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, mix almond or soy milk, oil and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until well combined, but not over mixed. Fold in shredded apples and raisins.

Fill muffin cups all the way to the top with batter. Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. I sprinkled my muffins with extra cinnamon before baking.

A package from my Croatian friend

I have been exchanging tea and chocolate with my Croatian friend Enola for over a year now. I love having friends and family all over the world. And I love sending and receiving surprise packages full of vegan goodies and tea. Yesterday I received a package from Enola full of sweet surprises. She sent me vegan Nutella, baked apple flavored fruit tea, jelly pralines with cherries and chocolate, orange marzipan chocolate eggs, vanilla blueberry tea, Apple & Cinnamon tea, vanilla & chocolate pudding, Orange & Rum tea, dark chocolate with lavender, nougat wafers, hazelnut almond nougat candy, and Rum chocolate candy bars.

Do you have any international or out of state pen pal with whom you exchange packages with?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter lunch at World Peace Cafe

I took my husband and my friend Melissa to World Peace Cafe for Easter lunch today. World Peace cafe is "a peaceful oasis in our busy city".

World Peace Cafe in one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants. I love eating there as much as I love volunteering there. There are many benefits of volunteering there. My mind is more peaceful and I am happier, I learn cooking techniques and knife skills from a great chef Mike and others. I see what ingredients go into each menu item. I am happy to see that World Peace Cafe only uses the best, organic and locally grown ingredients wherever possible. They buy the highest quality ingredients and support local businesses by shopping at local farmers' markets, as well as purchasing bread, cakes, pastries, juices and coffee from small business owners in the metro Atlanta area. They also offer a wide variety of organic loose teas.

The World Peace Cafe is unlike any other restaurant in Atlanta. Built with donations and by volunteers, and owned and operated by Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia, all of their profits go to support meditation classes and special events designed to help others find peace of mind.

Most of the people who cook and serve their excellent food are volunteers who believe in the premise that

“Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible.” — Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Peaceful communities and nations begin with peaceful people. Peaceful people have peaceful minds. The mission of the World Peace Cafe and its owner, Rameshori Center, is to help others find a peace arising from within their own mind. When our mind is peaceful, we are happy and we can make others happy. When our mind is unpeaceful, we are unhappy and cannot make anyone happy.

Colorful menu full of delicious food options

Each table has beautiful fresh flowers

Beautiful, unique interior and calming, positive music make everyones dining experience one of a kind

Buddha statue

This is my FAVORITE burger EVER!!! It is the best veggie burger on this planet! The Peace Burger is made with savory vegetables, oats, sunflower seeds, and lots of love. Red beets give this burger the color of beef burger. The texture is absolutely amazing, and the taste is spectacular! I love mine with vegan Russian Dressing and lately also topped with vegan cheese. This mouth-watering burger is my favorite item on their menu :-)

Melissa got the Peace Burger with avocado and loved it. It was her first experience at World Peace Cafe :-)

My husband was not very hungry so he got a bowl of healthy and flavorful lentil, kale, and shiitake mushroom soup. He also got a big pot of hot mint tea.

There are many vegan options on the menu, including lovely cranberry-orange pancakes, Tempeh Reuben (with vegan cheese), Tofu Steak and Fries, salads, soups, and the best vegan cakes in the city.

A great selection of teas :-)

If you are in Atlanta, you have to visit World Peace Cafe !

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mediterranean Feta Cheese Spread

I adapted this recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine (Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil)
You can either buy blanched almonds, or you can make your own. In my adaptation you do not need a cheesecloth.

Mediterranean Feta Cheese Spread

1 cup blanched almonds
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp salt (or more if your olives are salt free)
1/2 cup black olives (preferably salt-cured or oil-cured), finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil

Place almonds in medium bowl and completely cover with water. Soak them for 24 hours, drain and rinse.
Place drained almonds in a blender or a food processor. Puree almonds, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and 1/4 cup water for several minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Stir in chopped olives, oregano and basil, mix well. Refrigerate overnight, or least for an hour before serving. This is a very flavorful spread, it tastes great on fresh bread, or on sliced tomatoes. You can even use it as a base for pizza instead of pizza sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

FungusAmongUs aka Mushroom heaven (review)

Few weeks ago FungusAmongUs company contacted me with a question if I liked mushrooms. Do I like mushrooms? I love mushrooms! My family used to go into woods on weekends and pick up fresh mushrooms, mostly porcini mushrooms. It was fun finding the mushrooms, cleaning them and then bring them home in big baskets. We ate most of the mushrooms scrambled with onions and eggs, with a side of freshly baked bread. Then we dried the rest or pickled them for later.
I was very happy to get a package from FungusAmonUs that contained their Italian Truffle Salt, Mediterranean Blend Organic Melange Seasoning, Moroccan Porcini & Green Lentil Soup and organic dried Porcini mushrooms.
If you like mushrooms and mushroom flavored condiments and goodies, FungusAmongUs is the right company of you. They offer dried mushrooms (everything from Porcini to Chanterelle), Italian truffle products (truffle salt, balsamic vinaigrette with white truffle, truffle mustard, and other truffle goodies), Porcini salt, Porcini infused oil, organic dried soup mixes, organic melange seasoning and rubs, and fresh mushrooms.

The Italian Truffle Salt is out of this world! I have a truffle oil, but that cannot be nearly compared with this salt. This naturally dried sea salt from the Mediterranean is combined with 6% finely ground truffle mushrooms. The aroma and flavor of this salt is beautiful. It is very strong and I noticed that a little goes a long way. Even when I have the salt closed in a glass jar, I can smell the lovely aroma in the pantry. I have to keep the jar inside a plastic container with a tight lid. I love the fact that FungusAmongUs uses real, good quality truffle, instead of just artificial flavoring. Having this truffle salt makes me feel very fancy :-) I have used it in soups, on top of mushroom pizza, and as a dipping salt for boiled edamame. I love it!

The Mediterranean Blend Organic Melange Seasoning is great! The aroma is very herbal and mushroomy. This seasoning is a blend of Porcini Mushrooms, Oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, Basil, and Sage.
It adds a lovely flavor to foods and I have used it numerous times in soups, stews and even as a tofu rub. I pressed the tofu, sliced it and soaked it in a little bit of soy sauce and an olive oil, then I rubbed the Mediterranean Blend Organic Melange Seasoning onto each tofu slice and let the flavors blend for an hour in the fridge. I fried the tofu and had some in sandwiched and some as a topping for the Moroccan Porcini & Green Lentil Soup. Look how beautiful it looks!

The Moroccan Porcini & Green Lentil Soup was pretty good. It was super easy to make and the aromas were exotic and nice. It was not spicy, but it had a lot of flavor, including cinnamon which gave it a special touch. I topped the soup with fried tofu that was flavored with The Mediterranean Blend Organic Melange Seasoning.

The Dried Organic Porcini mushrooms were just like I remembered dried mushrooms from Czech Republic. I made a soup with them and a recipe bellow.

Porcini Seitan Cutlets recipe

I made Truffle kissed bean soup recipe using The Mediterranean Blend Organic Melange Seasoning and Italian Truffle salt.

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