Monthly Archive: October 2011

Drinking your calories

They seem to come up with new terms and definitions for anything and everything these days.  Case in point, drunkorexia.

Drunkorexia: depriving oneself of food as a way of “saving calories” for booze. 

I’m fairly certain this phenomenon is mostly seen in the college age bracket, but you never know.  I lived in a sorority house for two years and there was definitely a mix of healthy and unhealthy dietary habits – as well as drinking habits.  You don’t need to be a registered dietician to know that replacing vital nutrients with alcohol is a bad idea.  Depriving your body of key vitamins and minerals is bad enough.  But filling the calorie gap with EtOH almost seems worse. 

Personally, I tend to do the opposite.  I’m a “lightweight” and I know it, so there’s no way I can handle drinking on an empty stomach. 

For the college kids out there (or alumni), have you noticed drunkorexic behavior?  Is this a thing?

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Me, getting “iced” at 7 am before heading to Vegas for my bachelorette party.

Birthday Blog Takeover #8

My next birthday blog post is from my best friend Lauren.  We were so close growing up that our teachers literally wondered what was going to happen once we graduated and went off to separate colleges.  Our high school band teacher was especially concerned.  And yes, I just revealed the fact that we both were in band all the way through high school.  Photo evidence?

Elise & Lauren 

Me & Lauren & our French Horns.  Yeahhhh… Well, now that I’ve given away my deepest darkest nerdiest secret, I will turn the blog over to Lauren…

Elise and I go way back.  (Don’t ask)

LaurenElise7thGrade 

I like to think we’ve matured a bit since then…  she used to be my rather immature friend that would scribble on my homework minutes before I had to turn it in.  True story.  That was in 7th grade.  In the intervening years, she’s introduced me to some pretty great things: *NSYNC, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, the Lair of the Bear, water polo…  And thanks to her more recent influences, I may have to add vegan-ish food to that list. 

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Elaine, Lauren, Elise  [November 2010]

To preface this: I am not vegan, or even vegetarian.  I don’t eat much meat, but that’s honestly more a product of my laziness in cooking than anything else.  That being said, my laziness in cooking is mostly due to my schedule.  I actually love baking and cooking – I just have trouble finding the time.  When I saw Elise last month, I told her I was trying to push myself to try some new things in the next year (in anticipation of an approaching “big” birthday…), and cooking with some veg-friendly options seemed like a good start. 

Like Elise, I spend my days in the hospital (I’m a 4th year medical student).  Unlike Elise, I don’t usually do the whole get up a few hours early so you can work out, make coffee, eat breakfast, etc. thing.  With the hours I’ve worked this last year, it’s a good day if I get up early enough to dry my hair before heading to the hospital.  So here’s my attempt at channeling Elise – kale, oats, seitan, and work eats included!

I’m currently working nights in the Emergency Department.  The night schedule’s actually been kind of nice because I’m up by early afternoon and have a few hours before I need to be back at work.  Enter: French press coffee (new obsession – it just feels so leisurely!) and banana / strawberry / yogurt / orange juice / KALE smoothie. 

frenchpress greenmonstercoffeecup green monster 

I’ve been super skeptical of Elise’s green monsters, but I had kale in the fridge for my dinner recipe and figured I’d try it.  Not going to lie – already have it back on my next shopping list…  I think it makes the smoothie texture even better.

After a couple hours of studying, I was ready for “breakfast” (at 4 pm).  Inspired by Elise’s breakfast concoctions, I made up some oats with apple and pumpkin. 

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Tastes like fall!  Staying true to my Elise impersonation, I packed up some work eats before changing into scrubs and heading out the door.

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Salad with kale, quinoa, corn, carrots, and chickpeas.  I’d actually never eaten kale before this (besides the morning smoothie) and even though I forgot Elise’s suggestion of blanching or steaming it, I really liked it!  I probably could have even put the dressing on before packing it up and it wouldn’t have gotten soggy. 

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Garlic Expressions salad dressing – shout out to Perrysburg, Ohio!  (Gotta find the good things about being stuck in Ohio…)

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I’m still a slave to the Diet Coke.  (At least I just packed one)  Lunchbox stuffed full.  And before you ask – I have no explanation for why they thought this was a good idea to give us lunchboxes with this color/design.  Or for why we all think it is still a good idea to use them on a daily basis…

The next day, after an ER shift full of chest pain, leg swelling, choking, and not one, but two people that decided to punch walls and break their hands, I got some sleep in preparation for an ambitious dinner endeavor.  I saw this recipe on NYT Recipes for Health and thought it fit the bill.  Even though it’s not vegan, it combined a few ingredients I’d never used and sounded perfect for the stormy weather we’ve been having out here in the Midwest.  I decided to really go big and test out Elise’s claim that making seitan “gets an unnecessarily difficult rap.”  I used her tutorial recipe, but couldn’t find nutritional yeast (maybe I didn’t know where to look, but I blame Ohio grocery stores). 

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Had some trouble with flipping them, but I promise they taste better than they look.

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Even Glitch thought so!

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I mostly followed the NYT recipe, with the exception of adding seitan into the kale-bulgur mixture. 

[see recipe at the end of the post]

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I could have eaten that part by itself (and may have had a small bowl – strictly for testing purposes).

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The tomato sauce was unusual with the sweetness and spices, but really good.  I also have lots of leftover seitan.  Suggestions? 

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It took almost 45 minutes in the oven for the middle to set, but the finished product was worth it!

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Now I’m trying to figure out what to take on next – after I find people to help me eat the rest of this casserole.  Somehow I don’t think will be much of a problem!

*Oh my gosh Lauren!  I am extremely impressed, to say the least!  Knowing how insanely busy you are in medical school, the fact that you made seitan from scratch for such a multi-step gourmet meal is really amazing.  I am so happy that you enjoyed it –  I just wish I lived closer so I could sample it myself!!

For those who are drooling from the above photos, here’s the recipe. 

NYT Bulgur and Kale Casserole (with home-made seitan)

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill, peeled, seeded and chopped if you don’t, or  1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with juice, or crushed tomatoes in purée
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Gratin:

  • 1 pound kale, stemmed and washed, or a 10-ounce bag of stemmed, washed kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup coarse bulgur (No. 3), cooked
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 ounces (approximately 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup thick plain low-fat yogurt
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Directions:

1. Make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt to taste, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and allspice. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling. Stir together, turn the heat back to medium-low, partly cover and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sauce is thick and fragrant, 25 to 30  minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat. If your sauce is chunky, put through a food mill or pulse in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in salted boiling water for 4 minutes or steam for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Rinse with cold water and squeeze dry. Chop fine (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.)

3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic. When it begins to smell fragrant, in about 30 seconds, stir in the chopped kale. Toss together and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the bulgur and dill, combine well and remove from the heat.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 3-quart baking or gratin dish. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, and spoon in the bulgur and kale. Spread in an even layer. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce, spread in an even layer.

5. Beat together the eggs, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the remaining Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Spoon over the tomato sauce and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Options for advance preparation: All of the elements of this casserole will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, as will the assembled casserole, without the egg-yogurt topping. Make the topping right before baking. The casserole can be baked ahead and reheated.

To cook the bulgur, bring 2 cups water with salt to taste to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bulgur, and when the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, place a clean dish towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Let sit 10 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving (8 servings): 220 calories; 3 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 78 milligrams cholesterol; 26 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 178 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 13 grams protein

Time to Thrive (giveaway)

I’ve professed my love for Brendan Brazier in the past (many times in fact).  I have his other books, Thrive and Thrive Fitness, which taught me so much about nutrition as it relates to training.  During my summer of funemployment I became obsessed with all things thrive. 

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So imagine how excited I was when my father-in-law returned from Expo East with this!!!  [insert shrieks of joy here]

I’m still reading it, but I already love it.  Like his other books, he shares his knowledge about how beneficial raw foods are in terms of maintaining your health.  He also summarizes how superfoods keep your body in tip top shape. 

How this book differs from his others, though, is in it’s focus on the ways a vegan diet can help the environment.  It’s so interesting!  I’ve never seen the specifics comparing the carbon footprint of raising cattle and drinking dairy to farming grains and choosing nutmilk.  He spells it out in such a way that makes it clear how being plant-based is definitely a greener choice. 

But, of course, the recipes are what really excited me.  :)

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I’d love to share the recipe for this raw, vegan sauce with you…but it’s Brendan’s to share. 

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How about I give one lucky reader a copy of his book

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Then you can try all the recipes for yourself!  :) 

Psst, did I mention it’s a SIGNED copy.

If you’d like to win your very own signed copy of Brendan Brazier’s new book, Thrive Foods, leave a comment on this post telling me what one question you’d like to ask Brendan if you had the chance.

Kyle just said he’d ask him what was going through his head at mile 50 of an ultramarathon.  Ha.  I don’t know how long those races are, but I wonder how he feels at mile 100 of the cycling leg of an ironman triathlon…when he still has a full marathon ahead of him!!  Yikes.

*Extra entry if you tweet about this giveaway mentioning @elisehippie or @Brendan_Brazier (and leave a separate comment below saying you did so).

Birthday Blog Takeover #7

I don’t think I could put into words how thankful I am to have veg-curious in-laws.  It’s one thing for your husband’s family to be accepting of your diet, but it’s a completely different thing to have them be interested enough to embrace it in their own lives.  I know they already wrote a joint post, but this one is just from Beverly.  It’s funny because I remember this story SO VIVIDLY (but somewhat differently).  Enjoy!

the hug 

In & Outta Love

On the HHH blog, many readers noted they wished their family embraced their veganism.  Well it isn’t always an easy bridge!

It was always our signature and welcome to feed those who enter our home – and all meals were prepared with love.

Our family comes from a rural farming background – where if you grew it or raised it – you ate it.  Our Scandinavian heritage based their recipes around cheese and butter.  In addition, with hubby’s roots being southern where deep fried food and full fat dinners is a sign of love.  Excited and thrilled to have Kyle come “home” my “motherly love” began thinking what to cook.  

When Kyle left for college, I (his mom) was immediately out of the loop from whom he was dating… Therefore, when he informed us he was flying home and bringing his girlfriend….we knew it had to be love.

Making the list of all the un-heart-healthy family favorites, the fridge was fully stocked.  I really wasn’t brought up to speed on Elise’s preferences or health influences with eating prior to her arrival.  I now relate it to the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the Mom and the Aunt are informed the boyfriend doesn’t eat meat —with a response “NO MEAT???? —Then we will have Lamb!” 

Looking back, I was THAT naïve about cooking vegan.  I will even embarrass myself by sharing the thanksgiving fiasco when I asked her to slice the meat… WHAT was I thinking!  Thankfully, her now sister-in-law pointed out to me that wasn’t the best job to delegate, as Elise was dutifully obliging – but in tears.  Poor Elise must have nearly starved to death (now I know, Elise brought hidden food and nourishment in her suitcase).  Everything I thought was vegetarian missed the mark.  Moreover, I wanted soooo much to welcome and know her.  It must have been outta love that she hung in there with us.

I do remember being “hip” somewhere in my teen/hippie years where for a short period (probably a couple of weeks) experimented with being vegetarian.  Which I am sure thinking potatoes qualified – so why not French-fries.  My next real wave embracing Food and Cooking is when I went from corn oil to EVOO.   How Savoir-faire!  So I had some work to do!

Elise has been so patient as we learned to understand Veganism vs. Vegetarian.  She has exposed us to absolutely a plethora of new, colorful, flavorful and healthy choices –and getting away from the thought that it meant eating sticks and weeds. 

Now this learning experience has not been one sided with Elise showing up and wondering, “whatcha got” when she arrives for a visit – in fact, do you remember the blog where she traveled across the US with a batch of brownies??  Now that was love!!!  Ok and darn yummy too!  Each visit she joins me in the kitchen and we tackle a recipe, a salad dressing or she adds something to a meal.  That has made such a difference!  She too wanted me to learn.

It wasn’t until I was asked to do the Daniel Fast at church that the light came on – hey, THIS is Vegan.  Then I knew I could bridge my inexperience with my deepest desire to be closer with my daughter-in-law. From that experience Kevin and I have embraced, experimented, and incorporated vegan recipes into our life.  There are healthier food choices made though now it is not a struggle but a pleasure to adapt.  

It is outta love!  With love, we old dogs learn new tricks. Most importantly, I can continue to show my “motherly love“, through food–especially for my daughter-in-law!

E & the fish

[Barcelona 2005]

*Aside from having to baste the ham that first Thanksgiving with Kyle’s family, there’s never been a moment where I haven’t felt completely comfortable.  Kevin and Beverly have always welcomed me and my food preferences – no raised eyebrows, no eye rolling, no snide remarks – just pure open-minded intrigue.  They are the dream audience for a vegan who just wants to share how wonderful and delicious plant based food is.  And for that, I’m extremely grateful. 

Birthday Blog Takeover #6

Missed the previous guest posts?

Check ‘em out…Kyle, Mom, Marie, In-Laws, Ethel

This next one is from my bestie Alene.  If you read my blog with any frequency, then she really doesn’t need an introduction.  Enjoy!

A Birthday Tribute to E

Elise and I have known each other for most of our lives.  We were in kindergarten together, and that’s about the earliest memory in my mind, so to me, that’s pretty much the beginning.  So we’ve known each other from the beginning.  And we started with one big commonality – we both have weird hard-to-say names.  Elise and Alene.  You can imagine the variations we’ve heard. :)  And for as long as I can remember, I have called her Elsie – a common mispronunciation she heard all her life.

Elsie was one of those kids who always had an abundance of energy, a loud voice (shoot, she had two sisters to compete with), and a laugh you could hear from the next room.  She played harder than anyone else, and was always one of my smartest friends.  But the thing I think about first when I think of Elsie is her incredibly strong character.  At a young age, when going against the grain was highly unpopular, she was the one who would stand up and shout when something wasn’t right.  If someone were being teased or talked about badly, she was the only one who would say, “That’s not cool, don’t say that” with squinched-up eyebrows that let anyone around her know she meant what she was saying.  And I remember thinking – damn, she is brave, and pretty cool.

And now as an adult, she continues to pave her own path, make her own rules, and be the kind of friend I idolize and love.  A couple years ago, I learned she was writing a blog.  This was back when she was living on the east coast (I’ve been a California girl my whole life) and we didn’t see each other much.  I started reading her blog, mostly because it felt like a way to keep up with what was going on with her.  And over time, I started to learn more and more about the health aspects of her eating habits and diet.  It was so interesting – a lot of the food she wrote about eating did not appeal to me at all.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I made an “ew” face more than once reading some of her posts.  I come from a family that eats meat regularly and is pretty healthy overall, but more in the eat-your-fruits-and-veggies generic kind of way.

But after months of reading her blog and taking note of her recipes, my mindset started to change.  I started to get more and more interested in the various health aspects to different kind of food (did you know there’s calcium in broccoli?  Yeah, me either…) and the nutrients that come from various foods and what they do for you.  I started to re-evaluate the foods I was buying and making for myself.  Even when I would go out for lunch during the work week, I started to change my lunch decisions.  And the more I started eating healthy foods, the more I craved those foods.

New food choices:

Snack 1 

Snack 2 

Recipe 

In the midst of this slow transformation of my mindset and eating habits, I started food journals with another friend – a friend Elise had introduced me to.  Ethel and I met years ago, back when we were all still in college.  We didn’t see each other often, mostly when Elise would invite me to their Thursday Night Dinners.  But we reunited a couple years ago, went on a friend-date, and became close friends.

B&G Night 

Recently, we started food journals that we keep up every day – emailing back and forth whenever we eat, talking about our food choices, struggles we have (eating when we’re not hungry, bored, tired, etc.), and attempts to eat better.  Over time, we’ve both improved what foods we eat, how we shop, and how we cook.

All inspired by Elise :)

The other day, I was on my way home from my exercise class, hungry, and no food in the house because I’d just come back from a trip.  Situations like these used to lead to a fast-food dinner on the way home.  In-n-Out, Taco Bell, maybe pizza delivery.  But that night, as I drove home, I was craving something fresh.  Something crispy.  I wanted SALAD.  And, now that there’s a Whole Foods ad campaign on her blog just about every day, Elsie’s favorite go-to for ready-made dinner pops into my head when I get hungry.  So I stopped by the delicious delicious place and made up a salad at the salad bar.  I meant to just get that, but of course I can’t hardly get out of WF without groceries.  So – that resulted in:

Bag of Groceries

Groceries 

Produce

Dinner Salad

Now as an adult, Elsie is still a friend I look up to, one I know will be there when I really need her, one who makes positive choices that I would also like to make.  I am so thankful we’re back in the same city again – because now we not only play together, but we cook together and try new food spots.  Some of my favorite things to do.  :)

Beth's Wedding Tea Cups

So E, on your birthday, a toast to you.  Friend for life.  Love you mucho.

*Alene is actually the ONLY person I allow to call me “Elsie” because it’s a name that I’ve been mistakenly called my entire life (and thus hate) – in turn I call her “Alien” because it’s my way of reciprocating the annoying mispronunciation.