Rice Mix Copycat

You know the ones…they come in a box. Chicken flavored or whatever. My family loooooves them. I’ve never been a huge fan, but now that I’m starting to eat better, I can hardly stand them because they are sooooooo salty. Well, besides the fact that they contain animal products.

Every time I open one of those boxes I comment about how they can’t be that hard to make at home. It’s just rice and tiny pieces of pasta with some seasonings. Soooo, today, I made my own.

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Still looks pretty bland, but that’s about normal. I had all 3 of my boys try it and they all liked it! Yay! I’m interested to see what my husband thinks of it.

Here’s the “recipe”. Sorry, I’m not one to use recipes very much.

No Box Rice Mix

1/2 cup white rice
approx. 1/4 cup broken vermicelli pieces
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. veggie bouillon
sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder and parsley

Lightly spray pan with cooking oil (or use a bit of oil or butter). Saute rice and noodles until noodles are browned. Add remaining ingredients, cover and reduce heat til all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Enjoy!

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Quinoa

I have noticed that quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) seems to be more recognized lately. I had never heard of it until a couple years ago.

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What is it?
Many refer to it as a whole grain, but it is actually a seed.

 Why use it?
Quinoa has a very high protein content (see, I’m getting good protein!). Not only is it a protein, but it contains all 9 essential amino acids. That means it is a COMPLETE protein.

Are there any other benefits?
Yep! It is also gluten-free and cholesterol-free (plant foods don’t have cholesterol).

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition Data for 1 cup: 222 calories, 4g fat, 5g fiber, 8g protein

How do I use/cook it?
Cook it as you would rice. 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Or you can use broth in place of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Let cook 15-20 minutes untill all the water is absorbed.

Quinoa can be used in place of most grains. I like to mix veggies in mine.  Today I had quinoa, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and edamame with a bit of rosemary and salt and pepper.

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Yesterday I had quinoa, black beans, avocado with cilantro, chili powder and taco sauce.

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I have also seen breakfast recipes using quinoa and fruit, but I have not tried that yet.

Have you tried quinoa? If so, what is your favorite way to eat it??

Weigh-in Wednesday

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Yeah…it’s that day again. Ugh! Guess I’m not doing as well as I thought. I didn’t like what the scale said this morning. I was up about 0.4lb. It’s not much, but it’s moving in the wrong direction.

I have been exercising a bit this week. Not nearly as much as I should, but I guess something is better than nothing, right? I’m going to have to get serious about the exercise. I know that will really make a big difference.

Pizza

First, my apologies. I haven’t gotten used to taking pictures of my food or other things I want to blog about. I will try to do better…

Ok, now, on to the PIZZA!!! I LOVE pizza! I don’t know too many people who don’t like pizza. I was excited to eat some pizza tonight. I make homemade pizza. The dough is from scratch and everything. Well, I do use canned sauce. I was even willing to eat a little bit of cheese. Not much, but every now I then I figured I can eat some cheese (maybe I should re-read that post about my cholesterol).

I made a small pizza for my mother-in-law and I to share. She is also eating plant-based and is the one that introduced me to it. Our pizza had sauce, lots of mushrooms, black olives, a few yellow peppers and that tiny bit of cheese. Mmmmm!

And, are you ready for this? It really didn’t hit the spot like it used to! It was fine, I ate it, but EH! I guess it’s another good reminder that my tastes are really changing. I think it was good to eat it. Why? Well, in my mind I think I really miss eating pizza. Now my brain knows that it really doesn’t taste that great anymore. I think I would have enjoyed just eating all those veggies more than eating the pizza. I know, I know, I’m crazy. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to be crazy.

I suppose I will have to find something else to make when we have pizza night….

Exercise

OH….that dreaded word. Why is it so hard to exercise? I know I will feel better, look better, and be stronger. It has so many health benefits…besides just losing weight.

The last few nights I have done a little exercising. A little is better than none at all, right?

I had a bit of motivation as well…a few days ago I got my lab results. I was very frustrated to learn that my cholesterol is 22 points higher than right after I started eating plant-based. I know I haven’t been doing it 100%, but I was hoping it had gone down instead of up!!! My HDL (good) was great, but LDL (bad) was a bit high. My coronary risk was low, so that was good! I was told that the only way to improve my HDL any more than it already is…exercise! So, she said I am kind of in the middle…I can start meds or keep working on diet and exercise to try to improve things. NO THANK YOU to those meds. I’ve heard some not-so-good things about them and I do not want to do that if it’s not completely necessary.

The other good news? My thyroid was back in the normal range. I have not been taking the prescription meds since the beginning of Nov. I know they help, but I’ve also read that your body becomes increasingly dependent on them. She told me I could go back on the meds if I think it will help symptoms (don’t really have many), or continue as I am and check again in 3 months. Let me think, NO thank you to meds if I can avoid that.

So…I guess it’s time to get busy and get rid of this extra weight! Time to really be aware of what–and how much–I’m eating.

What kind of exercise do you like to do?

Colorful Food

I know in my head that plant-based meals are usually much more colorful than the Standard American Diet (SAD).  This became more obvious while looking at my boards on Pinterest the other night. I started a new board for plant-based recipe ideas and was moving things from one board to another. It was easy to find the plant-based recipes because they were so colorful.

I mean, really, look at that beautiful bunch of veggies. I ate these with a little bit of spaghetti and marinara sauce. They were DELICIOUS!!!!

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I also made some bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking I love this cookbook. Just mix it up and when you’re ready to bake it you only have to spend a few minutes prepping it! Also…no kneading. They also have a healthier cookbook. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. I made the dough into more of a focaccia-type bread. I figured it wouldn’t take as long to bake that way.

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Several of those pictures (plant-based) on Pinterest would have looked completely unappetizing several years ago. Now, however, they look so delicious. Much more so than the boring, bland looking pictures of the other board. Why would we not want to eat all these beautifully colored fruits and vegetables? I am so glad that I have learned to like a wide variety of new foods the last couple of years.

Weigh-in Wednesday

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My weight today was 195.2. That number is soooo ugly!!!! This surprised me this morning because all week I have been 193 or so. Not sure what I did yesterday that made it jump, but I guess that’s just more incentive to work hard this week!

I have got to get out of the 190’s. I have been hanging around in there for far too long! I’m thankful to be out of the 200 range, but this is still not a good range to be in.

I’m trying to remind myself how good it felt when I was down 35 lbs. How much more energy I had, the fact that my knees and feet didn’t hurt as much, and how I had more confidence in myself. I’m ready to get back to that feeling!

Vegan Blueberry Bundt Cake

I have been following Happy Herbivore’s blog for a few months. I have really enjoyed her posts. Her recipes use ingredients that are not hard to find. Another great thing about her recipes is that they don’t have a mile-long ingredient list.

I recently ordered her newest cookbook Happy Herbivore Abroad: A Travelogue and Over 135 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes from Around the World I have bookmarked quite a few recipes that I want to try. The first one I tried was the Blueberry Bundt Cake. It was super simple, mixed up quickly and tasted delicious. I love the orange glaze that goes on top. I may even add a bit of orange juice and orange zest to the batter next time.

Blueberry Bundt Cake

Blueberry Bundt Cake

I think this would also be good with cranberries in place of the blueberries. Be sure to check out the other recipes in this wonderful cookbook.

New Year

Well, it’s that time of year again. Everyone is busy making resolutions. I have to be honest…I didn’t really make any resolutions this year. I usually do the typical “I need to lose weight”. However, I’ve been working on this plant-based stuff for several months now, so basically I just want to continue on with that. I still need to do some tweaking and make more improvements, but I’m on my way.

I’m going to try to get back to blogging here. I guess that is a resolution. I will try to do some brainstorming about some ideas for posts.

So…here’s to a New Year. New Food. New Me!

Speaking of new….

I tried this recipe tonight (and will share more info in the near future)

Blueberry Bundt

Still going

I posted back in August (I forgot I did) about starting a plant-based diet. Amazingly, it really has not been that hard for me to continue. As I said in the post I NEVER in a million years thought I could be vegan (basically what I’m doing). A few years ago, I couldn’t have been. There are tons of foods that I eat and enjoy now that I wouldn’t have even considered then.

Now, I haven’t been a fanatic about eating this way. I’ve had a few things here and there that “aren’t on my diet” as my boys like to remind me. Ha! But, I do have to say some of the things that sound really good, things I think I’m really missing…not so much. They don’t taste as good, but even more importantly I don’t feel good after I eat them. Things like pizza. I love pizza and I’ve had a slice here and there, but it doesn’t quite hit the spot like I think it will. I’m not satisfied like I would be after eating a big plate of sauteed veggies and rice or a nice piece of fruit. Again, I’m not perfect, I still eat things that I shouldn’t, but it’s getting easier to not be so tempted.

It’s a little tricky since my family isn’t eating this way. I just try to make sure there are plenty of veggies, grains and/or fruit to go with their meat. And speaking of meat…that is probably what I have missed the least. Red meat especially. I’ve had a few bites of chicken or fish, but a few bites is more than enough.  In reality, not eating meat has taken some of the stress out of making meals.

Lunches were the hardest. We home school, so we eat pretty much every meal at home. Some days I was so stuck about what to fix for lunch in order to provide the needed protein. In my mind, that protein needed to come from some kind of meat. Now, that pressure is not there. I am content to make a bunch of sauteed veggies, vegetable soup, rice and beans, peanut butter apples, etc. I also no longer feel the need to push the boys to eat their meat.

I haven’t lost much weight since my last post in August. However, I also started working at a restaurant about that same time. I think I was nibbling and eating things I shouldn’t have more than I realized. I am no longer working there, so hopefully the weight will start to go away! I was glad to discover that I did not gain over Christmas…even though I did eat quite a few cookies and plenty of “snacky” stuff. Still less than I would have normally eaten, though. We have been home a week and I am already down 1 pound.

I’m sorry for the rambling. I will try to gather my thoughts a bit more next time. I guess I just feel like I have so much to say, but I can’t say it all at once…