Thursday, April 5, 2012

Esselstyn's Blueberry Muffins

I tried a different muffin recipe last night since I was out of bananas to make the mighty muffins. This one is from Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, which I still haven't started reading, but am avidly looking through the recipes. I didn't have applesauce but I made a quick substitute by cooking up a chopped apple in the microwave and then pureeing it in the food processor.

While I overcooked the mighty muffins, these were the opposite! They were moist, but maybe too moist. I cooked them for the time specified (25 minutes) but they were on the mushy side and stuck to the liners pretty good. Also, there is more sweetener in this recipe (1/3 cup maple syrup for 8 muffins versus 1/4 cup for 12 muffins in the mighty muffins) and these didn't taste as sweet to me. Not sure I would make them again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crispy NO-OIL Potatoes

I was reading the McDougall board when I read some posts about crispy no-fat tater tots. They claimed the potatoes got very crispy in the over without any oil. I've been making roasted potatoes for a while, but it's usually necessary to use oil so I was intrigued. Plus the Husband LOVES crispy potatoes.

The actual recipe takes some time, because the potatoes are first peeled, then par-boiled, and then cooked at a high temperature for an hour. When dinner is supposed to be ready in 30 minutes, a quoted time of over an hour isn't going to cut it. I decided not to peel the potatoes and to cut the chunks of potatoes fairly small (about 2" cubes). I also used lots of seasoning in addition before they were baked.

Since the chunks of potatoes were smaller, the baking time for me was about 40 minutes instead of 60. They really WERE crispy and very tasty! I wouldn't say they resembled tater tots at all, but they were delicious crispy (healthy) potatoes.

Recipe can be found here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The reluctant eater experiment begins...

The husband is now 2.5 days into his healthy eating plan. Unfortunately, I will still be stuck cooking separate meals for the two of us since I'm trying to make his meals as palatable and not as "weird" as possible. This may include things that are normally not used in strict ETL such as salt and sweeteners, which I am trying to avoid.

For the first meal (breakfast), I tried to make a delicious bowl of oatmeal. It was steel-cut oats with vanilla soy milk and maple syrup, topped with blueberries and chopped, toasted pecans. I would have loved to have eaten this.

Oh the faces he made.

"It's sooooooooo mushy!!!!!"

It was like trying to feed a child. He could only stomach about half of it before he turned it away. That was unfortunate. I thought this might be a nice step between fat-and-sodium-laden breakfast sandwiches and the funky green smoothie. Luckily, I had also made mighty muffins that morning as snacks and he ate one of those instead, despite having over-baked them and being dry.

Lunch was slightly better. I made him a whole wheat wrap consisting of fat-free refried beans (I didn't tell him they were beans -- I just told him it was a "sandwich spread"), sauteed mushrooms for the meaty texture, and chopped raw spinach (one of the few greens he eats) wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. I don't think he loved it, but it was acceptable and he ate the whole thing.

Since I wanted to reward him by at least trying everything, I opted to make a dinner with foods he liked. He loves anything BBQ-flavored, so I found a recipe for BBQ lentils and made this. It was served with a side of cooked broccoli and crispy oven-baked potatoes. He looked at the plate I made him and said he was happy to recognize potatoes and broccoli (the other veggie he'll eat) but didn't know what to make of the lentils. He ate the potatoes and vegetables first and tentatively tried the lentils.

"Not bad," he proclaimed.

He even went back for seconds.

I would call that a win!

I'd say he did pretty well the first day, having eaten no animal products. He complained a lot, but did try everything, and didn't run to McDonald's when I went out in the afternoon (I really did fear this).

Today was worse.

Breakfast was a mighty muffin and a PB+J sandwich. Lunch was another veggie/bean wrap. But we had to go to a family BBQ that afternoon. He picked up a cheese and prosciutto appetizer that he consumed claiming he didn't know it was cheese (an unlikely story) and had one rib and a brownie. Then we had a dinner to go to at a Mexican restaurant where he had a chicken appetizer and fish as his main entree. No dairy at least, but not exactly high on the health scale.

I'm hoping today will be better. I imagine it will be hard to break those habits and not let the car gravitate toward the fast food joints, but I'm hoping sending him away with plenty of healthy options will deter that.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

E2's Mighty Muffins

Mighty Muffins

3 cups oat bran
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sweetener
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large apple, grated
6 brown bananas, lightly mashed (leave some chunks)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped or halved
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lemon onto the combined apple and bananas. Add walnuts, raisins, and water. Combine the wet and dry ingredients into one bowl. Pour into sprayed muffin tins and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Bake the batter in a loaf pan, and enjoy hearty slices instead of muffins.
Add three thinly sliced pears or 1 cup of 70 percent pure cocoa chips to the batter.

I found this recipe on the Engine 2 website. It was easy to put together but the baking time quoted was too long for me so they came out dry. They taste like a "healthy muffin" and I don't think I'd be able to sneak this by any regular SAD-eater, but my plant-fearing husband has been eating them, probably because he doesn't have any other sweet options and they resemble "normal" food. I think I'll try making these again but baking them for less time.

BBQ Lentils!

Recipe is here.

This recipe is excellent! I was looking for something to make that would be "meaty" and have good, but not too unusual flavors. Also great was that I had most of the ingredients (I ended up skipping the allspice which I didn't have and leaving out the vanilla because it seemed weird).

I didn't have to bake this as long as stated (maybe 30 minutes total) because I put it in a glass 9x13" pan and it looked like it was going to burn if I left it in there longer. It had a great tangy flavor without tasting overly sweet. I would serve this to SAD-eaters and am actually thinking about bringing it to the next work potluck!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can I reform a SAD-Eater?

I don't think it's any secret that one of the most important people in my life -- my new husband -- is a SAD eater. If I am on the "extreme" spectrum (his words) of eating, then he is pretty close to the other extreme. This was quite a contentious point while we were dating and before we got married, and still is an on-going battle to some extent. For now, he is mostly respectful that I want to eat this way, but until recently has shown zero interest in joining me. That was fine with me for a while. Early on, I had tried to push and persuade, but that just seemed to backfire and alienate him even more. So I gave up and decided that he had to make his own decisions as an adult and I could just try to set the best example I could.

Well, he got his cholesterol checked earlier this year and it was bad. Very bad. Plus he has been dealing with these cold/flu-like symptoms that haven't been going away for weeks. It's not quite a full-blown illness, but it's enough to make him have coughing fits, congestion, and complain of no energy. He thinks maybe he has suddenly developed "allergies", despite never having them before. And he has been doing nothing to help his health but feed it fast food sandwiches at breakfast AND lunch. Sometimes with fried potatoes and always with soda. Last week, he discovered a blood pressure machine at work and decided to try it. His BP, which had been normal in the past, was in the "hypertension" range! I freaked out a bit.

So late last week we had a long talk about his health. VERY reluctantly, he has agreed to allow me to prepare all meals for him for the next three weeks. It's going to be tough. He is an incredibly picky eater. He doesn't like soups, stews (this includes chili), tomatoes, most vegetables, oatmeal, cereal, most ethnic foods, beans... the list goes on and on. He also likes his food HOT and sometimes travels for his job which means he doesn't have access to a microwave. I've been racking my brain all day already wondering what I'm going to feed him.

We start on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The chaos (for now) has ended. I am now married and living with my husband. That still sounds weird. :) It's been an interesting transition living with a SAD-eater. Before, in my single days (heh), I avoided most temptations by not bringing them into the house. Now, they are everywhere. However, I feel the need to be a good example to the Husband and so I am usually good about avoiding them and I haven't been "falling off the wagon" as much. I'm still not perfect (who is?) but I committed to a plant-based diet for life.

I've found the biggest motivator so far has surprisingly been education. Not that I didn't understand the science before. I've read ETL. I've read The China Study. I've watched Forks Over Knives. But it's this continuous delving into these subjects through books, movies, and other media that has been helping me. One interview in particular with Dr. Esselstyn resonated with me. It's from a podcast called Powerful Living that I recently found online:

If you haven't listened to this, it's excellent and motivating. Like Esselstyn says, "[No one] with a brain in their head would ever continue to eat this way which is going to guarantee them all these chronic killer diseases." I also liked that he addressed the "everything in moderation" question, asking why anyone would ever want to have a small amount of "grass-fattened stricknine" or "organic arsenic"? Hmm, yes, why would they??

I liked this interview so much I recently picked up a copy of Dr. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and am looking forward to reading it. I've also picked up the King Corn and Fast Food Nation DVDs from the library. It is going to be an educational week. :)