Posts Tagged ‘lettuce’

Follow up to yesterday–eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy–but it can mean eating boring.

April 20, 2010

Don’t get me wrong. I love salads.  Salads can be full of wonderful textures and a variety of tastes and colors–and they can be incredibly healthy.  But, that is not the only option when you are not eating meat.  Except, when it is.  And that is just annoying and frustrating to me.

In a town that is health conscious, it seems to me people who are setting up luncheons in a restaurant, you could find some vegetarian option.  Not today.  The only option was to choose the salad and have them hold the meat.  But, good news for everyone else.  Meat is free!.  It must be, because I paid the same for my salad without meat as everyone else did for salmon or chicken.  And here I always thought the veggies were the least expensive part.  Apparently I was wrong. Or maybe the meat was already on the salad and they had to charge me the same to cover the cost of removing it?  I am not sure, but all in all a very frustrating lunch.

How hard can it be to think outside the narrow little box of lettuce?  And then, lettuce covered in some type of creamy, sweet dressing.  Healthy?  Doesn’t seem so to me.  I have been posting healthy, fun, easy and inexpensive vegetarian recipes for several weeks now without resorting to plain lettuce salad (my bad–it also had avocado and a few tortilla strips) and a creamy dressing to give it flavor.  I would think restaurants would be better able to come up with creative ideas than demonstrated today.

So, okay, I think I am done with the rant.

But I also know I won’t order food at that restaurant again.

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Eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy.

April 19, 2010

Eating out doesn’t mean eating unhealthy foods, or giving up on the cleanse.  Eating on the cleanse has been fun and pretty simple and easy the past several weeks.  And with minimal appearances by lettuce during that time.  But, there comes a times when eating out is on the agenda and it can seem daunting to eat out, enjoy the meal with others and still eat healthily.  That was my challenge this past weekend.

With family visiting from out of town (and one of them is a chef, so knows good food) and a schedule that was a little on the time constraint side, it might have seemed a challenge to eat foods on the cleanse without eating lettuce salads. But, most restaurants offer something that fits the bill.  Now, I will admit that in some smaller towns, finding vegetarian fare that isn’t based around salads might be more challenging than in a big city, but you can always ask for what works for you.

Friday evening was a stay-home-finish-laundry-get-the-house-ready evening.  And after a full week of work, the food needed to be easy and comforting.  So, what is easier than vegetarian fried rice and my favorite fast food, spring rolls.  Warm and flavorful rice and cool and easy spring rolls with a rich peanut sauce.  My idea of a healthy take out meal.  Yum.  But easy to make at home also.

Then, lunch out at a wonderful, local, Interior Mexican cuisine restaurant here in Austin–Sázon. Lots of healthy choices on the menu, but how could I pass up Calabazitas Rellenas–steamed tender squash stuffed with roasted corn and serve with fresh roasted tomato salsa. Light and healthy and delicious.   Then dinner that evening at Kerbey Lane with potato flautas, guacamole and pico de gallo.  While the flautas are deep fried, they are far from greasy and it was wonderful warm food during a cool thunderstorm.

Finally, Sunday morning brunch at 24 Diner for divine slow cooked steel cut oatmeal with apples and brown sugar and vegetarian sausage (made from beets and lentils and rice and flaxseed).  I am going to search for this recipe.  It was delicious.

Then back to cooking at home again last night.  A rainy, cool day just begged for a warming hearty stew, so it was time for Green Chile Stew and garlic toast (wheat free bread of course).  How warming and comforting and just plain good.

Now, on the third week of the cleanse, it might be time to add in some lettuce.  But, then again, maybe not.

Kale Salad–how to play with your food without getting into trouble!

April 16, 2010

I love salads and have no problems with lettuce, but there are so many other wonderful leafy vegetables to enjoy.  One of my favorites is Kale.  There are several varieties available, each with a slightly different taste.  My favorite is curly leave Kale.  However, it can sometimes have a bitterness to it’s taste if not cooked or treated correctly.  My favorite recipe for kale in a salad type dish comes from my friend Sylvia, who is an awesome raw-foods chef.

When my energy is low, or I am just feeling tired and fatigued, this recipe always perks me up.  It is easy to make and I love it because you really get to feel and play with your food while making this dish.  Don’t let the instructions scare you–you get to become a kid again, play with your food and not get in trouble:)

Click here for the recipe for Mediterranean Kale Salad.

My new favorite fast food–spring rolls with peanut sauce.

April 14, 2010

Still no lettuce, but lots of good veggies.  It was time to make portable food for lunch and dinner–eat in the car kind of food.  While it isn’t hard to buy spring rolls already made, they often have meat or tofu, which aren’t part of the cleanse or my diet. I decided to make my own. They are so easy and yummy!  And portable. And inexpensive!  And everyone can choose what they want in their own spring roll.  I love it when everyone gets to “have it their way”.

The peanut sauce can be modified easily to fit your taste and to not run down your arm while you are eating it:)

Still feeling great, lots of energy and ready to enjoy some really good, gooey cheesy tex-mex soon!  And a glass of wine. Looking forward to a big get together soon at a favorite Mexican food restaurant.  Suggestions for THE BEST place in Austin to eat gooey, cheesy Tex-Mex?

So, what about favorites like hamburgers?

April 9, 2010

One of the hardest things for many people is giving up the comfort foods, the familiar foods, the high fat, high sugar foods that we are used to to satisfy our mouth hunger.  I am fortunate to live in a city where veggie burgers are often on the menus and almost every hamburger place in town offers a veggie burger option.  My challenge is that many vegetarian options are made from soy–tofu or Textured Vegetable Protein, which I cannot eat.  But, there are some options available that are made from whole grains and just vegetables.  And, there are some wonderful options for vegetarian burgers at home, either commercially prepared or home made.

Morningstar Farms

My favorite commercially prepared veggie burger used to be  from Morningstar Farms called the spicy black bean burger.  It can be grilled, broiled or fried. But, unfortunately, it contains soy and wheat gluten.

But, you can easily make your own that doesn’t include those ingredients if you want.  If you make the bean patties yourself, they are easy, freeze well and can make a healthy, hearty quick meal or snack.  Plus they are cheap. Put it on a spelt or gluten free toasted bun with tomato, lettuce, avocado and mustard, it is delicious. Add some potato chips and cabbage slaw with vinaigrette, a few pickles to top it off, and it is wonderfully satisfying.

I love Chinese food, but some of my favorite dishes can be challenging because of the noodles.  Fortunately, there are many alternatives to traditional wheat pasta, especially in the Oriental food isle.  I love fried rice and but Lomein is also a favorite.  And, it can be made with soba noodles (which are made with buckwheat, which really isn’t related to wheat).  It is easy, and best of all, inexpensive.  

Like most of us, I eat on a budget, so easy, inexpensive dishes are great for me.  It is important that I be able to eat healthy, still afford the food and support our planet.  These meals do that.

And, finally, my favorite party or large gathering dish (but it can just as easily serve one).  It is made up of whatever sounds good to you at the time and/or you have leftover in the frige.  I call it the Baja bowl (but Sherry eats it in a tortilla too.) Add some chips and guacamole and you have a meal fit for a restaurant!

So, while lettuce made a brief appearance, and it will come back occasionally, it is so exciting to me to realize I can healthy and have a huge variety of foods in my diet.  I hope some of you will share some of your favorite healthy recipes as well.

OK, finally, some lettuce–but only briefly!

April 5, 2010

Days 4, 5, 6 & 7 have come and gone in the cleanse with barely a leaf of lettuce on the menu.  I do have to admit, though, that I like lettuce and salads, so I am glad to see it make an appearance.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.

April 1, 2010:  Baked potatoes with sauteed mushrooms and onions topping and Green leaf lettuce and fresh vegetable salad with olive oil vinaigrette.  I love baked potatoes and this topping is rich and meaty tasting without all the fat and calories of normal toppings.

April 2, 2010:  Black bean nachos with guacamole.  What a great way to use up any leftover black beans, plus they are high in iron and it feels like eating junk food (a great way to trick the mind so it doesn’t feel deprived!)

April 3, 2010:  Potluck!  I have no idea what was in some of the dishes–still waiting on recipes.  But I can tell you, grilled plantains are absolutely delicious, as is baby eggplant, yellow squash, red bell peppers and portabella mushrooms.  Marinated in a basic oil and vinegar dressing before grilling, it was hearty and flavorful.

April 4, 2010:  Slow cooked creamy oatmeal with crushed pineapple for breakfast.  Filling and creamy and wonderful (and the odd thing is, while they are cooking, the whole house smelled like bacon!)   For dinner, Jambalya inspired kidney beans and potato/cabbage hash cakes. How delightful and delicious (and really filling).

Recipes for day 2 of 28 day cleanse–no lettuce here!

March 30, 2010

Still no lettuce, but some really yummy food.

For dinner last night, we made Spicy Thai coconut soup (and although the recipe usually calls for tofu, since I can’t eat it, we made it without tofu but feel free to add it if you like.) It also suggests serving the soup over cooked quinoa to add additional protein, but I don’t care for quinoa, so I substituted another dish with beans (White Bean and Black Olive spread)  instead.