Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Well, today my mother-inlaw was to undergo her second heart surgery after a heart attack last year. As they prepared for the surgery they injected dye into her artieries to plan their intervention. Upon reviewing this, they decided that she had a much better flow than they had originally anticipated. As a result, no surgery. However, the doctors did notice that in comparison of her records she showed drastic improvement in her cholesterol levels when she was staying with me and I was cooking for her. She has not been here since last November and her numbers are once again out of control. Diet and exercise is a key factor! When she was here I cooked from the "heart book" - 6 weeks to reverse and prevent heart disease. Apparently, that worked, however just as quitting exercise for a sedentary life style packs on the pounds - one can reverse the reversal if they quit following the life plan or as I am coming to regard it, a plan to live. Now, this is real life motivation to press forward in changing our diets for the better, as it does make a difference. Hopefully, my mother-inlaw will revisit the cookbooks I gave her and make yet another reversal, back to the better numbers!

Monday, March 22, 2010


My last post was rough waters ahead and well, I thought I could make it through the rapids, but alas I did not resist temptation.

I had a plan and I did my best to stay with it, but where my parental unit is there is wine. The Catholics drink wine right? It's vegan....isn't it?? Excuses.....excuses.

So the first day of the visit we ate oil and drank raspberry lemon drops. Then I stuck with my food menu very well.....then I fell back off when the chocolate cake came.....need I say more? No not really. It's my shame, and my confession.

However, back on track today. I quit my job last Thursday so I will have time a plenty to cook and plan. Today I ate soft tacos with beans and mexican coleslaw. Tomorrow is a stir-no-fry, then soup and salad, and then...... I will have to consult my menu.

You are not alone in your sins...........

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lent Week 3

Lent Week 3: FAIL!
Of course, I want to blame it on others, but that’s never the really the truth is it? Especially since I’m reading Wayne Dyer’s book Excuses Begone! I know better. It was my fault. I gave in. I drank wine. And beer. As my only excuse, it was good wine, and there are far worse things to do than share a beer with your dad after skiing on a beautiful spring day. But I ate french fries, and please don’t anyone tell me what was actually in that wrap. Confession done, that was the bad news, now for the good news:

Menu Plan:
Crockpot Chili and baked potatoes

Veggie Dal with brown rice

Split pea soup, baked potato and salad
Stir fry broccoli, mushroom and red bell pepper

Various leftovers

Good workouts this week:
Two swim sessions
One hard tempo run
Two good bike rides (road)
One maintenance session in the gym.

Next challenge?
Easter at the Boucher’s!
There will be lots of good, tempting stuff, so wish me luck!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rough Waters Ahead!!!

OK- so here it is...........test week. Mom is coming for a visit and this is always when I fall prey to every temptation of the culinary kind. Oil, alcohol, cheese, eggs, whatever it is I am trying to avoid seems to crash down on me. So, at least this week I am thinking ahead. I have a menu plan already in motion with tomorrows dinner (potato and leek soup with fennel and carrots) premade and chilling in the fridge. Lettuce for salad is washed and ready to make a salad with, so I shouldn't slip tomorrow. Then I have a day off of work so I will make dinner ahead of time that morning and warm it up in the evening..... no giving in due to laziness. I will allow one meal out in liew of my Sunday off but stick to my plan the other days. I feel strong, dedicated, and goal oriented!!! Onward!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


So I am reminded of a Neal Barnard lecture a while back where he describes the various "food seductions". These are dangerous foods that have particularly strong drug effects on the brain for susceptible people. Cheese is one of the big ones, and I am susceptible. Barnard found that the casomorphins are so strong that cheese was the number one thing patients/research subjects missed when switching to a vegan diet. I sympathize, I literally woke up last night dreaming of pizza. Mostly I was fantasizing about the melting cheese. What was worse, is that unlike most nightmares, when I woke up, the feeling didn't go away! I've thought about it all day! I WAS excited about my first asparagus dish of the season, but its luster faded a little because of my cheese craving.

I did the asparagus proud by sauteeing it with grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, and chimichurri sauce, which is a balsamic and spice blend originally used as a steak sauce. Highly recommended. As our former commander in chief was fond of saying, "stay the course".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Dinner Recipe - Need Comfort Casserole Now

I decided that I want a casserole meal toady. It is cold and gray and I need comfort. But how? Casseroles are so full of cream of this or cream of that and sour cream or butter, or cheese.....ahh!!!!!

So I came up with a great sauce that I am using and while it does not meet the MWL criteria due to some rice milk and whole wheat flour, it tastes awesome and is great on top of my veggies.

Here it is: Adapted from vegweb

1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp curry powder
black pepper
lemon zest 1 tsp
1 Tablespoon of chunky salsa
1 Cup of rice milk or water

Whisk all dry ingredients together then whisk in rice milk or water until no lumps remain. Place in a sauce pan and heat until it thickens to a condensed cream of something soup consistency. Add in zest and salsa and stir to combine.

Pour over steamed veggies and bake or you can add in cooked brown rice to the veggies and pour over and bake for a vegie rice casserole, or pour over a baked potato, or use as the sauce to make scalloped potatoes or do whatever. This sauce reminds me of the old days of cream of chicken soup based casseroles, yet there is no animal ingredients. It has a mellow yet distinct flavor and works well as a sauce for casseroles.


Monday, March 8, 2010


So, at first I was really down on myself for the many mishaps of last week. Then, I realized that I need to think of them not as failures, but as weaknesses that can be made strong. For the past ten years I have been teaching business students how to do a SWOT analysis on an organization. A SWOT analysis is the idtification of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to an organization's success. Why not apply this to myself and my lenting?

So, last week identified not too many strengths in the face of change. When my environment is stable I am strong, but a single shock to that reality and I lose my strength. Weakness then becomes evident. I am weak at planning when company comes so instead I derail. Opportunities? I have an opporutnity to develop these weaknesses into strengths by planning meals out in advance when I know company is coming. Perhaps I should have a few homemade frozen meals on hand as well so that I can be caught off guard but not become weak from it. The threat?? Chaos. I seem to abandon in the face of chaos or a shock to my "norm". Social settings are a threat for me, dining out is a threat. So, I should be certain to plan for these events and if I am going to someone's house I can bring a dish that works for me or if going out I can prepare a list of what is acceptable in my mind so that I am less likely to panic and take the wrong path. Perhaps I can never give up my raspberry lemondrops but at least I can cut down on the oil consumption that seems to go along with them.