Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Curry Peanut Butter?

I should seriously just make an entire blog devoted to various nut butters.  Since I've made just about every dessert-related nut butter I can think of, it's time to start experimenting with some more savory recipes.  This one was delicious, in a very strange way.  Trust me.  Don't knock it until you come over and try some.  It even cleared out my stuffy nose!

Oh snap, this post would not be complete without something pretty to look at...

Inspired by this stuff...

Sweet Curry Peanut Butter

You'll need:

8 oz. honey-roasted peanuts
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
Dash of garlic powder
As much chili powder as your taste buds can handle
1 tbsp sesame oil

Grind dry ingredients in a food processor, then add oil and puree until smooth.  Protip:  this stuff is amaaazing with rice crackers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh right, I have a blog / Chickpeas are the bomb


It's been awhile.

I'm just back to inform you all that I tried my hand at a chickpea recipe that didn't involve tossing them in a blender and making hummus/some weird variation of hummus/blondies (remember those??  They really weren't that bad, trust me!  Haha).  Another CCK recipe:

Chickpea Poppers!

I thought they were a bit bland, so I stirred in some Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and parmesan cheese.  Which de-veganized it, but whatever.  They made for a delicious snack, and I think they'd be pretty awesome on a salad as well.  Or mixed in with stir-fry veggies.  But maybe season them with wasabi beforehand instead?  Nom!

PS -- Do you know why chickpeas are the bomb?  Well, in the world of nutrition, these guys pretty much have it all.  Chickpeas (and beans in general) are full of protein, complex carbohydrates, and iron.  They also contain some other minerals that are vital to everyone's diet, like zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.  I hear the term "superfood" being used right and left these days...I'm not quite sure to which foods this terms applies, but I would not be surprised if chickpeas were included! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hey, this is why I haven't been updating...

I'll probably remember this date for quite awhile, because some major lifestyle changes are starting today.

This is exactly what I thought when I made the decision to go vegetarian on November 24, 2005 (Thanksgiving day!  Ironic, huh?).  I was sixteen, and had only recently become interested in the ethics system of our society.  Why we choose to behave the way we do, why we purchase what we purchase, wear what we wear, eat what we get it.  As a high-schooler, I could only do so much.  I decided that I didn't want turkey that night.  The next day, I realized that I never wanted it again, or any other animal product, for that matter. 

You know those kids who watch a ten-minute PETA video and then pledge to go vedge immediately afterward?  Well, I wasn't one of them.  In fact, I hate the organization with a fiery passion, and the idea that thousands upon thousands of people listen so intently to such hateful, one-sided propaganda is just plain shocking!  No, definitely not a fan of PETA.  I did my research (if you're curious about any of this stuff, just ask -- I'll throw some info at you.  As much as you want.  And probably a bit more afterward, haha), and what I found out was disturbing.

I'm sure that if more people who strive to shop more ethically (not sure if I'm phrasing that correctly) knew the conditions in which our livestock, poultry, etc are kept, they would at least consider going vegetarian.  If more people who strive to lead healthier lifestyles knew what our meat and dairy went through pre-grocery store, I'm sure they'd consider this lifestyle as well.  And hey, even people who have any sort of interest in the world hunger crisis might find this lifestyle appealing -- basically, if you happen to have a few acres of farmland, you have quite a few choices as to what to do with said land.  You can, for example, raise a handful of cattle.  OR you could raise a TON of soybeans.  No, I'm not saying that all farmers should raise soybeans instead of cattle, and I'm not avoid statistics because I'm lazy.  There are a LOT of different statistics on this out there, and they're ALL different.  But they all seem to point to one thing -- you can produce a heck of a lot more soybeans than cattle (again, these are just examples) with the same amount of land and, therefore, feed many more people.  Does that make sense?

All three of these reasons factored into my decision.  I feel that is it wrong for human society to treat other species as we do.  I want to lead a healthier lifestyle, free of so much of the processed crap that so many people order at [insert any fast food place here] every day...sometimes several times a day.  And I feel that it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the populations of so many third world countries starving out of existence when we Americans have enough food to last us through several lifetimes (but I mean, if we all die of obesity-related health issues, this may be a moot, but I digress here, haha). 

However, as of late, these changes in my lifestyle have taken a turn on me.  =( 

I failed pretty hard at the vegan thing, but I was a happy lacto-vedge for nearly six years.  Yes, was.  Thought I would be for the rest of my life.  There was never any trouble in the beginning -- a lot of people told me I would have severe KFC cravings and whatnot.  Nope.  It felt natural to be eating the way I did.  It felt like that the whole way through.

I've been having some health problems the last few years.  They came into existence so gradually that, up until recently, I would not have been able to distinguish feeling well/healthy from feeling the way I did on a regular basis...even if I had to.  I thought it was normal for your appetite to decrease dramatically as you grow older.  I also thought it was normal to lack hunger all day after having a bowl of cereal in the morning...and for half the things you eat to make you feel a bit nauseous, to some degree.  And to feel so tired that -- heck, I could practically sleep on command.  I could go on.

My doctor and I went through a ton -- a TON -- of different possibilities, but in the end the culprit seemed to be one specific thing -- gluten.

Wanna know what gluten's in?

Okay, not everything, but that's sure what it seems like right now!  The possibility of being intolerant to gluten came up several times, and honestly, I just chose not to process the possibility.  I knew fully well that if my diet had to have so many restrictions added to it...I'd probably have to lift quite a few of the restrictions that were already on it.

Went to the doc yet again this afternoon and, as of today, I am gluten-free.  Actually, I've been gluten-free for the last few weeks for experimental reasons (except when my roomie made puppy chow...heh.  Totally worth the suffering, haha), and I cannot describe how much better life is now.  I don't have an allergy, and I don't have celiac disease.  What I do have, though -- what's been developing over the past few years -- is a slowly-worsening intolerance to gluten.  It really is in a lot of different foods, but now that I've actually been going out of my way to avoid it, I can:

-- Wake up at eight -- naturally, sometimes -- and have enough energy to last me through the day, until I go to bed at midnight/one-ish.  Naps were so last year.

-- Run a mile almost a minute faster than I could before!

-- NOT feel five months pregnant after eating a small/normal-sized meal (yeah, that was never fun)

-- NOT be thirsty 24/7 (still not sure why that was an issue...but it's not anymore!)

-- feel hungry on a regular basis.

-- and not feel sick afterward.

-- just have a better attitude...or a less-pronounced attitude problem, at general.  ;)  Trust me, if that many of your dilemmas all simultaneously disappeared, you'd be a bit more chipper, too!

Here it is, nearly six years later, and I'm still trying to live more ethically (part of the degree I'm working on actually has to do with Ethics).  It'll probably be a lifelong endeavor.  And, of course, I still want to try to have a healthy lifestyle (that definitely does not mean I'm never touching a cookie everever again.  Being perfect's overrated!).  But in order for me to be healthy, I can't restrict myself so much.  I'm feeling pretty bittersweet about this right now, but I think it's the right decision.  Right and doctor-approved.

I still love my tofu and vedgies. 
I am still a hardcore supporter of animal rights. 
Still gonna follow all the vedge bloggers whose amaaaazing recipes have intrigued me over the past few years.
Oh, that's right...I have a blog, too!  Well, that will change as well.  =/

Although I don't subscribe to a particular system of ethics, I do believe that any personal choice that proves to be detrimental to your well-being is the wrong choice. 

What do you think?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Non-sugar-coated recipe numero dos.

As you can see, I haven't been inspired to update for quite some time now.  Had a lot of things on my mind as of late.  Things that pertain to my future, as well as the future of this blog.  I'll let you all (hah -- I'm saying this as if I had actual readers!  Har har...) know what's going on once I have some answers.

In the meantime, here's something chocolatey to keep you busy.  =)

I've always been a huge fan of hot cocoa (well, I'm a fan of anything involving chocolate!); however, what I really like is hot cocoa that is so dark and so strong that you can really taste the bitterness of the chocolate.  Therefore, most brands of hot cocoa disappoint me -- they're all about 90% sugar!

I made this yesterday to satisfy a chocolate craving.  You can most definitely sweeten it if you so desire, but I just drank it straight-up.  I thought that the almond milk added a unique hint of sweetness to it.

Hot Cocoa!
You'll need:

8 oz almond milk
1 scant tbsp Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder (you would not believe how much of this I go through on a daily basis)
Dash cinnamon

Nuke almond milk and add remaining ingredients.  If it's too bitter for you to handle, go ahead and add your sweetener of choice.  Wuss.  ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Non-sugar-coated recipe numero uno.

This is yet another creation of which I did not take a picture, due to the fact looks like nearly any other kind of oatmeal out there!  And oatmeal just looks...bleh.  Haha!

If you know me well, you know that I absolutely love the heck out of oatmeal.  Why?  Because a) It keeps you going (and, on a very regular basis, I am going all sorts of different places all day, so stopping for food every few hours is a major inconvenience), b) it's healthy, and c) if you make it the right way, it tastes pretty darn amazing!  Most people prefer sweet oatmeal; however, I discovered that the stuff can be just as amazing when mixed with a few savory ingredients as well. 

My favorite kind of sweet oatmeal has always been apple cinnamon.  The Quaker Instant kind.  X)  But the other day, I do believe I created something just a bit better.  Although this recipe physically yields more oatmeal than a packet of the instant stuff does, it only has 20 more Calories.  Oh, and it has no added sugar.

Apple Pie Porridge

You'll need:

1/3 cup quick oats
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix oats and salt together and add water.  Microwave for approx 1 min, 15 sec.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Try topping with raisins or cranberries.  :p

Once you try this stuff, you'll see why I called it Apple Pie Porridge. 

Calories:  150

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I don't sugar-coat things.

That statement applies to me in two different ways.  Firstly, I really am an honest person.  I don't believe in euphemisms and white lies -- I tell it like it is (and I'd prefer that people told ME things as they are, too.  If I can dish it, I can take it)!  Any of my friends could tell you that.  Sure, being a nice person is always on my list of priorities...however...if you ask me a question -- any question -- I'm going to say what I think, no matter what.  And it might not always be the answer for which you were looking.

Secondly...I am one of the many people out there who is saying goodbye to that white, grainy stuff and trying to find something healthier to dump in my coffee/cereal every morning!  Okay, okay, I am most definitely not on a sugar-free diet.  Chocolate is one of my absolute favorite foods, and, on a very regular basis, I visit my favorite cafe downtown and order my favorite coffee drink, a tin roof latte.  This drink consists of coffee, milk, chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, and a heck of a lot of sugar.  So yeah, glucose is all good in my world.

However, over the past few years, I have been exploring healthier alternatives.  Why?  Well, there are several different reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that I am hypoglycemic.  Most of you probably already know what that is, but in case you don't...when someone is hypoglycemic, they need to consume complex carbohydrates every few hours in order to prevent a "sugar attack" (at least, that's what I've always referred to them as).  During a sugar attack, they might get shaky, dizzy, even nauseous.  If I let one go on for long enough,  my muscle coordination and motor skills get kinda effed up.  Oh, and I fell flat on my face once.  That wasn't fun.

These attacks are triggered by two different things:  a)  not eating for a long period of time, or b) consuming simple carbohydrates, such as white, processed grains guessed it, SUGAR.  But hey, I can still eat all the sugary crap I want.  I just need to be armed with a glucose tablet, a piece of fruit, or...something involving whole grains...when the attack comes an hour or so later. 

I've tried various sugar substitutes.  They all suck.  Yes, all of them.  Nearly every single kind I tried was, essentially, a packet of crystallized, sickeningly sweet chemicals with a downright nasty aftertaste.  My most recent sugar-free adventure involved cooking a few things with stevia.  Stevia...well, it definitely doesn't taste good.  It just tastes slightly less awful than all the other sugar substitutes out there! 

Honestly, I prefer healthier forms of sugar.  While refined sugars will give me an attack and sugar substitutes won't do crap for me (and taste disgusting), complex sugars, such as honey, maple syrup, fruit, and agave syrup, actually help me.  And they help you, too.  Since complex sugars take longer for your body to break down, they fuel you for a longer period of time.  In other words, they give you legit energy, unlike white sugar.  I love putting honey in my coffee and tea, and mixing fruit with yogurt, cereal, etc.  Recently, I tried chai tea sweetened with agave syrup, and it was heavenly. 

Seriously, there are so many more alternatives to sugar than that icky stevia!

[stay tuned for some nom-tastic, no-added-sugar recipes!]