Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lunch, breakfast, yogurt, mock tuna and a complaint.

This is just a catch-up post, I guess, nothing too interesting. Just some pictures. My lunch today, which was kale, boca burger, mushrooms and onions over noodles. It was meh.

A quick soy-yogurt review: I love yogurt. It's my favorite snack. I thought I'd try a new brand today,a nd I was very much not impressed. It was too thick and a little grainy, and the flavor wasn't as good as my favorite, WholeSoy & Co. I will continue to eat it, however, because I have a whole container, so I'll let you know if I change my mind.

I thought it was funny that this is our grater right now. But more importantly, I was grating carrots to make Isa's mock tuna, from Vegan With A Vengeance. SO GOOD! It uses mashed chickpeas and seaweed. Who cares if it tastes like tuna, it tastes damn good. I didn't get a picture because th camera batteries died after this one, and all the chickpea mash was eaten. :( But it's good.

Tofu scramble. I've been having fun with them lately, and I discovered that cabbage is an awesome, inexpensive way to 'beef' them up a bit. I use turmeric for color and because I love the smell of warmed turmeric (it reminds me of my aunts house for some reason), and usually thyme and basil. Hot sauce always helps, but I'm out.

And lastly, my complaint.

Ediets is so sneaky! NO WHERE on my account page does it say how long my membership will last, and since they charge me for a month, I assumed a month. Well, it turns out that the only place they do tell you is in the fine print in their contract that you "sign" by clicking a button, ad I'm stuck on it for 3 months.

Assholes. Sneaky assholes. I accept that I should have actually read the terms and conditions, but I do think they were a little shady about the whole thing. Oh well, lesson learned. Because I can really afford to pay for 2 months when I can't even afford my student loan repayments. Whoo-hoo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Salad all the time!

I love a good salad on a hot day.

This salad is: tender, delicious romaine, diced mushrooms, julienned carrots, tofu marinated and sauteed in teriyaki sauce, corn and sliced almonds.

I toss with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. You can't go wrong! From now on, I'm only making a dressing for special dinners. A little light mix of oil and vinegar is perfect for a hot summer day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

E-diets Review

Alright, well, since I've been feeling pretty uninspired in the kitchen and don't have any food or recipes to post, I thought I'm sum up my E-diets experience.

For those of you that don't know, I signed up for E-diets to lose a few pounds because although I didn't feel like I was "fat", I was watching the numbers on the scale steadily increase and I wanted that to stop before I did become overweight. Living and eating with a man who moves furniture for a living means that "having seconds" is more commonplace in our household than it should be to me. Last night Phil remarked to me that he thinks he's been eating too much-- and I was eating what he was eating!

Anyways, I signed up for a month of E-diets on the vegan plan. I had pretty low expectations in regards to their food options, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised! There were a lot of choices, and I cooked everything (no frozen meals for me!). In the three weeks that I followed the meal plan, I only repeated a recipe once or twice.

I also didn't stick to it too strictly. I snacked a little more than I should have and I went to the bar a few times. For the most part, though, I felt really good and I think that if I had stuck to it completely, I wouldn't have had enough calories. They had me at 1300 calories and I wanted to be running, as well.

The main thing that E-diets helped me with, though, is portion control. I know when to cut myself off now, and I haven't been snacking after work (big problem in the past, getting home at almost 11pm). I've also increased my fruit intake. I always viewed fruit as a "luxury" buy, when in fact I buy items that are way more of a splurge than fruit. I'm silly sometimes.

SO, all in all, in the first two weeks I lost 4.5 lbs. In the third week I didn't exercise and I overate, and I ended up losing about .5 lb. For the fourth week I stopped following the meal plan and I stepped up my exercise routine and I ended up losing another lb.

That brings me to 6 lbs! My goal was initially 7 lbs, but I'm fine with my weight right now. I'm just going to keep running and eating healthy things when I'm hungry, and maybe I'll lose that last lb, maybe not.

E-diets get my approval, but beware-- this should be an aid to changing your eating habits, not a quick fix. I'm not expecting to go back to over-snacking and eating over-sized portions. I (hope) have learned a thing or two about the way I used to eat and the way I want to be eating.

P.S. To see what I was eating, click on the "diet" label.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Almond Jewels

That picture is so morbid and doesn't illustrate the chocolate-y goodness of these cookies at all. I'm sorry. Also, the record is the new Beck album, Modern Guilt, which is really quite good.

Anyways, Phil basically forbade me from cooking until it gets cooler because of how hot our no-AC apartment gets. But Phil wasn't home, and I wanted cookies.

I like calling small cookies 'jewels' because they feel more precious and you eat less (to savor them). This recipe was adapted from this recipe, using random things that I had as subs, so you can feel free to make changes if you want. But they are so nice and small and chocolate-y! Additonally, this is the first step in my quest to create the perfect vegan chocolate chewey, which is a simple cookie made with just egg whites, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and.. I think that's it. Water, maybe, too.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Almond Jewels
Makes 16 small cookies

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. earth balance margarine*
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. silken tofu, blended
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds
*You can probably omit the margarine if you want.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the applesauce, margarine, sugar, tofu and vanilla and cream until even and smooth.

In a seperate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients except the chips and almonds until well combined.

Add the dry to the wet, stirring until smooth. Add the chips and almonds, mix well, then drop onto a greased baking sheet in the form of 16 little drops of batter. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes and do a fork test, because they never really look done until they're burned.

Enjoy! Almost guilt-free!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cold meals and a new cookbook

Yesterday was disgustingly hot, so Phil and I refused to turn on any heated appliances for lunch. Instead, I made this chickpea and beet salad. I love bean salads because they can be eaten by themselves, over lettuce, or even in a wrap or pita. We had ours over lettuce accompanied by a sandwich made with Nature's Soy Tof-Deli Slices (their website is down, so I'm not linking to it).

Chickpea and Beet Salad
Serves 3-4


  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 small beet, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Add salad ingredients, mix well, and serve cold.

Phil picked up a book called The Ethical Gourmet by Jay Weinstein a few days ago, so we decided to make one of the dishes from it. We settled on the Cumin Laced Root Vegetable Couscous With Apricots. Delicious! I wish I could share the recipe! The key to this was the cumin and cinnamon... mmm. Plus it made a huge amount. It also took me 2 hours to make in a 95 degree room, but no matter. It was worth it.

We served it with kale sauteed with garlic and pan fried tofu.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grab you a ragu...

... or something clever (-er than that).

Quinoa elbows with a "ragu" sauce, i.e. crumbled tempeh in lieu of meat.
Veggies include carrots, broccoli and onion, throw in some tomato sauce, a little seasoning, the tempeh. Simmer for a bit, then throw in fresh basil at the end and toss with noodles.

This was especially nice because I was hungry from my (4 mile!) run this morning and impatient, so the broccoli ended up still being a little crisp. I normally cook my broccoli soft. It was nice for a change.

Phil and I have a spicy globe basil plant that we love (deliciously intense basil taste) and I pinched all the little white flowers off this morning as per instructions that might be wrong, so now my hands smell amazing. Who would have thought such tiny flowers could be so fragrant?

It is SO HOT. 94 degrees F to be exact. And super humid, of course.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Phil bought me a present!

It's a melodica.

I think it's 'our' present, but I've wanted one for a while! I'm so excited to start recording with it.

Pre-run breakfast with a tofu scramble, with tofu, onions, broccoli, spinach and corn, accompanied by half a whole wheat pita and a white nectarine. This was not an e-diets meal, but I think it fit all the parameters.

Lunch was a vegetarian sloppy joe, which was an e-diets recipe. It was really good! A little big for my favorite sandwich roll, but I was fine eating the extra with a fork. The original recipe called for green bell pepper and Splenda, but I'm out of bell pepper and I don't believe in Splenda, so I used some carrot, instead. I think everyone but me knew that carrot is an awesome sweetener in sauces, but I just used it today.

Since I liked this recipe so much, here's the basic idea:

  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. TVP
  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. water as needed

Saute the onion and carrot in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the TVP, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Stir and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes, adding water if needed to keep it moist.

Serve on a whole wheat roll. Good without hot sauce, but better with!

Speaking of splenda, at Whole Foods customers complain all the time about us not having Splenda at the coffee station. Usually they accept the explanation that we don't carry anything artificial, including sweeteners. Once, though, this lady got really snappy and said, "Splenda's not artificial!" I didn't know much about it at the time, so I sort of shrugged and said, "I'm not so sure about that." And she walked away, pissed off (I'd love to know why it really matters, anyway, our coffee sucks and there's a Starbucks across the street.)

Anyway, I had to find out what Splenda was in case I ever saw this woman again, because my gut told me it spent considerable time in a lab. Which is true, as it's table sugar that has had things removed and replaced by chlorine atoms. That means it's artificial.

I hope she went home and looked it up, too, and felt as stupid as I felt triumphant.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last night I played a show at a well-liked bar/music venue here in Philly called the North Star Bar. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but Phil is an amazingly talented drummer (we met in music school) and so, I am lucky to have him as my drummer. Our very good friend Scott plays bass (aslo ridiculously talented). Whenever I played with them I feel so fortunate that I have such talented people in my life to play with.

Anyways, the show went pretty well, so I thought I'd post some pictures (courtesy of my friend Jeff).Hey! That's me!

Here's Scott bass-in' it up and my head.

I love this picture of my man/drummer/Phil hitting things. With sticks.

Here's the 3 of us. Can you guess my favorite color?

No food today! I mean, I'm eating, but I don't know how much I feel like photographing it.

Until next time, friends!

Monday, July 14, 2008

4 lbs and counting!

Blah, blah, diets are dumb. I know. But I have lost 4 lbs and I actually really like E-diets. Here are some things I've been cooking up lately. (Please excuse any blurriness-- I've been focus-challenged lately).

Steamed broccoli and tempeh sauteed lightly in teriyaki sauce on a whole wheat pita. I add hot sauce to pretty much everything, including this.

A whole wheat roll with some Soy Garden margarine and strawberry jam, and brown rice crispies with soy yogurt. I added some sliced almonds because eating, too.

Some weird pasta thingy with a "cream sauce" made from soymilk, cornstarch and a bit of vegan rella. Not bad, with some hot sauce added.

I think I'll take a little nap before work!

Good bye.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Might as well face it, I'm addicted to...

I don't know, they were there, they were cold, and so I just ate one. And then I couldn't stop! One became 5! 5 became 15! And so on, so forth. Part of me thought, 'Tsk, tsk! You already had your snack today!' Then my sense took hold and I realized that a diet that limits me from fruit (even thought grapes are basically candy, whatevs) is silly. So I won't feel guilty.

But I will say that I wish I wasn't on a diet so I could cook interesting things. I'm reluctant to post weird diet crap like:

Okay, this was actually pretty good. The other night, Phil came home late and made a midnight snack. It was an awesome pasta. It took me back to the good old days (2 weeks ago) when I ate delicious stuff like that every day! Every meal! I asked for a bite and he gave me a (small) bowl and I ate it even though I was suffering from massive stomach pain from that stupid movie popcorn on Saturday night. Which is finally gone, btw, but it was hell for three whole days. It was like I had a length of chain moving slowly throug my intestines.

Anyways, I tried to recreate Phil's pasta, but E-diets friendly, and naturally it didn't work at all. It was good, just not Phil-good. The basic idea behind the pasta dishes I've been cooking is to replace some of the pasta with something else-- in this case it was green beans, which I boiled with the noodles (half the time) and then treat as noodles. It's a good alternative since starch is something I gravitate towards.

On a different note, today after work I did some grocery shopping. Something you'd think I would do more often as I work at Whole Foods, but I actually live closer to another one and I don't like to drive to work, so I usually walk to the one near my house to shop. I drove today, shopped, and while I was in line the Odwalla guy gave me this Odwalla and a coupon to get it free!

First of all, lt me start by saying that I don't drink juice. I mean, I don't buy juice, because I don't like drinking sugar. It makes me thirsty, which defeats the point of drinking. I do, however, like drinking R.W. Knudsen Family Spritzers (see left) because they're 100% juice and that's awesome.

I mention this because cane juice is the second ingredient is this tasty Odwalla drink, and though it was an awesome free drink, I wouldn't buy it again. I just don't get the point. But some people really like juice, and if that's you, give this a try.

I have, however, had the Odwalla smoothies for a snack, and they're yummy.

Sorry this is a lame post. Hopefully I'll lose my 7 lbs and can go back to creating interesting food.

PS. I had too many labels so I'm shortening them, drastically.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Music ?

Can popcorn stomach aches last 3 days?

That's the question of the day, and I wish I had a definitive answer. Something funny is going on in my tummy, and I wish it could leave me in peace! Maybe I should try pepto bismol. Is it even vegan? I've never had it. I'll have to look into that.

Anyways, lunch yesterday was the above pictured 'pita pizza', a meal that tasted better than it looked.

Dinner was this Boca burger with pretzels and hummus. Yum! I've eaten more processed veggie burgers in the last week than I did last year, without a doubt.

My mom pointed out a while ago that even though this blog is called "Music and Veganism" I rarely mention the music in my life. I'm going to try to from now on, since it i the focus of my life and what I want to be doing. For now, if you are interested, my myspace page is , and for anyone in the Philly area that is reading this, I'm playing next Tuesday (7/15) at the North Star Bar!

See you later-- lunch is cooking up and I've got a chick-flick a-waitin.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 8

Can you tell I'm a little uninspired by this diet?

Well, I did lose 2 pounds last week, so that's pretty inspiring, I suppose. Here are some more pictures of 'diet food'.

I did pretty well on the 4th but destroyed my diet on Sunday when I devoured a huge dinner at Sabrina's, ate craploads of popcorn at the movies, then washed it down with beer. Don't worry, I paid a painful price. Apparently stomach's shrink pretty quickly.

I do have to say that all-in-all I'm impressed by E-diets. The recipes are decent and there's a large vegan selection. Even Phil has been enjoying some of it, like that like picture which was a "Moroccan Stew" served with couscous.

Alrighty. I hereby promise to post more often, diet or no diet!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

day 3

My day started off with sodium-free whole wheat bread, soy yogurt, and watermelon. Yesterday was a gym day and I like to eat breakfast and have a cup of coffee before working out, which is exactly what I did. Good workout, too.

Lunch was supposed to be a burrito, but I forgot to buy tortillas so I used some pasta instead. This was actually really good: chopped up veggie burger, green bell peppers, mushrooms, green onions and teriyaki sauce. Salad and apple on the side.

Here's my dinner packed up for me to take to work. This is an "Italian" tofu and spaghetti dish. I tweaked the seasonings and it was still bland bland bland, even after adding a splash of Bragg's at work. Oh well, I was hungry and it did the trick.

The vegan options aren't bad, and there are a lot of them. I am noticing that it helps to tweak the spices to your own liking. I'm a sodium hound, so my taste buds are a little biased-- I really need to just get used to eating less salt all around.

Also, I had just eyeballed the calories before, and it turns out the intake is more like 1250 or thereabouts, so that does make a difference (especially since I've decided to double my snack, so I'm getting almost 1400). Plus I had 2 pints of beer last night.