Life got busy, but it’s all good

So, it’s been two weeks since I posted. Sorry! It seems a lot harder to post every week when I don’t have a three day weekend!

Highpoints:

I’ve now lost a total of 16.1 pounds since the December 30th! While it is extremely unlikely that I will continue at this fantastic rate, if I did, I would lose my 100 pound goal for the year by my birthday (June 24th)! Most likely this will just give me an edge when the dreaded plateau arrives.

I am almost a size smaller than I was at Christmas. This will (at least temporarily) make my wardrobe easier. I suspect over the summer I’ll have to start recreating a work wardrobe for next year.

Cooking:

Vegan Pizza Tacos Chinese Stir Fry

I’ve been doing some cooking. You can see above my mini vegan pizzas (used Daiya), stand’n’stuff soft tacos with bean filling, and a Chinese style stir-fry with broccoli, bell peppers, water chestnuts, tofu, carrots, and mandarin oranges. I also lived off of the freezer for a few days, and have started having oatmeal for breakfast. I still haven’t bought any diet soda, doing well drinking water/coffee/juice/tea/plant milks. I have decided that SoDelicious’ Original Coconut tastes exactly like the memory of dairy milk. I’ve started using that phrase, “the memory of” when I talk about meat and dairy substitutes, because I know my tastes have changed enough that I don’t like the taste of such things any more.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of citrus fruit, either by itself, in stir-frys, or as juice. Guess it’s my body’s reaction to winter.

My friend invited me out to dinner last night, and I was very pleased at how easily the mexican restaurant accommodated me – cooking my veggie fajitas without butter, and giving me a double serving of rice, since the beans had lard in them.

Exercise:

I signed up for the Fresh15 5k that’s on March 1st. The last time I did a 5k it took me almost an hour. I hope to do this one in about 45 minutes. I know, not the fastest time in the world, but baby steps. Maybe next year I’ll do the 15k.

Besides the Lighten Up East Texas challenge that I signed up for, my work is doing a weight loss challenge. I signed up for that one, too. The benefit is that the same weight loss will work for both 😉

In other news:

My work is sending me to a conference in February. When I filled out the form, I tried to be very clear what I can and cannot eat. I think I’m still going to take a goodie bag of instant oatmeal and vegan treats, so I won’t starve for three days if everything is covered in cheese and butter. On my mom’s suggestion, I’m also stowing away some of those little “juice” boxes with soy milk, so I can have something that I can put into my coffee. If anyone has some vegan survival tips for conferences, I would welcome them!

Up in my business

So, I ran into the supermarket to buy some rice noodles (to make more pad thai!!) and when I was there a man asked me where something was. I pointed it out to him, and he said he needed it for his wife’s diet. I said I was here to get stuff for my diet, and he asked me how it was going and what I was doing. After a short explanation, he wished me luck and went on his way.

This is where it gets weird.

After he left, a woman who’s cart was full of meat and bacon came up and told me that my diet was going to make me ill, that I would become anemic, that I needed to eat meat for my cells to divide successfully and replace themselves, etc etc etc. She said that Duke University had proved all of this (?) and completely discounted the decades of research I referred to.

When I told her that my iron actually went UP when I became vegan she basically said “huh” and looked at me like I was lying.

I don’t go around pointing at people’s bacon and eggs in their cart and telling them it’s going to kill them – why can’t people get out of my business?

Oi.

Cooking on the weekend

I did a bunch of cooking last weekend, all from Lindsay S. Nixon’s wonderful cookbooks.

From “The Happy Herbivore”

seitanThis is Chicken-Style Seitan. It was kind of fun to make. I’d never cooked with vital wheat gluten before, and it’s kind of like baking with silly putty – if silly putty turned into fantastic fake meat.

From “The Happy Herbivore Abroad”

Cheater Pad Thai Mediterranean Chard

 

The picture on the left is “Cheater” Pad Thai (because it uses peanut butter). It is SO GOOD! I absolutely loved it, and took it to lunch two days in a row! (After having some at the time that I made it).

The picture on the right is Mediterranean Chard with chickpeas added. I was getting really tired of chopping things at this point, and think I didn’t mince the garlic enough, and all I had was green olives and it recommends kalamata olives, but I loved the taste of the chard itself, and that was the first time I had eaten it. I’ll have to try this again, when I have kalamata olives and maybe a garlic press.

And from “Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean”

Irish Stew Deviled Eggs Tofu Jerky

The first picture is Irish Stew. I put in more tomato paste than the recipe calls for, but I like tomatoes so it’s all good. I also used a Shiner instead of Guinness, so guess it’s Texan Irish Stew. In any case, it’s delish!

The second picture is Deviled “Eggs” made with red potatoes and hummus. Deviled eggs always reminded me of my grandmother, my Aunt Eloise, and the week after Easter. These do, too.

The last picture is Tofu Jerky. I used to love beef jerky, but this was even better, and plant-based, too!

How I got through the work week:

Freezer

 

Overall, a great weekend of cooking, and a great week of healthy eating!

If I continue at this rate of weight loss, I’ll be back to what I weighed my freshman year of college by this time next year!

 

Exercise in the land of the busy

So, this past Monday, work started up again, and my time became much more restricted. I still have the desire to walk around the track after school, but this week it seemed it was either bitterly cold, rainy/wet, or just too late when I got out to the parking lot. Even so, according to my ap, I walked 32.4 miles this past week. That does include a 5 mile walk this morning on the STT (the walking trail close to my place).

I really enjoyed the walk this morning, then came home, took a shower, and almost passed out (!). According to my friend with a degree in sports medicine, I should have eaten breakfast, and stretched and cooled down for about 15 minutes before getting in the shower. Now I’ll know!

In other news, I’ve lost 4.9 pounds since the first of the year, and if I can continue at this rate I should blast past my goal of 100 pounds! I hope I can keep it up! I joined an area weight loss challenge (Lighten Up East Texas) that lasts until the end of May. I get an entry in the drawing for each 5% of my weight I loose. I could win a car or $1000 in groceries. That would be nice. I did a lot of cooking last weekend and didn’t post it, so I’ll do that ASAP.

Asian Mushroom Noodle Soup

It felt like a soup day, so I made soup. Like a lot of my cooking, I started out by looking in a cookbook, but there were things I didn’t have, and other things that I thought would be good, and sometimes I forget about little things called measuring spoons, and after I got done it was a completely different recipe. Credit to Lindsay S. Nixon from happyherbivore.com. The original inspiration was her thai noodle soup in Happy Herbivore Abroad. It’s even gluten free if you substitute hot sauce for the soy sauce, or just take it out.

Asian Mushroom Noodle Soup

Ingredients

1/2 pound mushrooms (I used baby portabellas, use what you like)

1/2 pound extra firm tofu

2-3 cups bean sprouts

3 green onions

1/4 yellow onion

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 serving size rice noodles (I got them from an Asian market, check your packaging for amount needed)

1 heaping teaspoon yellow miso

6-8 sprigs of curly parsley (I meant to buy cilantro, but this worked)

1 tsp ground ginger                              *amounts very much to taste, I’m estimating after having cooked it!

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp soy sauce or *hot sauce for gluten-free

Water

Directions:

Cut off the bottoms of the green onions and discard. Finely slice the white and light green part of the onions, and put the dark green tops aside to use later. Slice the 1/4 yellow onion up into long, thin slices. Put both types of onion in a large pot with the bouillon cube and put enough water in the pot for it to be about 2 inches deep. Add spices and soy sauce*. Bring to a light boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, chop up the mushrooms and tofu into the size of pieces you’d want in your soup. I like them shaped like little bricks that are 1/4″ by 1/2″ by 1″. Don’t bother with a ruler, just make them a pleasing size that would fit in a spoon.

After the onion and spice mix has boiled and started smelling good, add the sprouts and cover for just a few minutes. Then add water until the pot is about half full, and put in the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add tofu. Add yellow miso. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add seasoning to taste. Add the noodles close to the end, they don’t need to cook for very long.

Cut the green onion tops into pieces about 2 inches long, and just before you’re ready to serve, add them and the parsley to the pot and stir.

The Great Cat Vomit Attack of 2014

So, today was the day I picked to get all the errands that I needed to get done in January done. I also wanted to go for another walk.

I sat down this morning and wrote it all out:

Car registration

Car inspection

Pay bills (electricity/rent/water)

Get cat litter and cat food

Find a vet and get my cat her annual vaccinations.

So, I paid the bills, drove across town to the tax office and paid my money to get new tags (yay…not), and drove to my usual mechanic to get my car inspected. He was super busy today, so I had to sign up for an appointment at a later time. I then drove home and had a late lunch before taking my cat off to this new vet. I ended up not being able to go with any of the many suggestions I got on area vets, because they were either still off for the holidays or didn’t have any appointments available. The vet I went to, well, I’m sure she did a good job… ran several tests that proved my cat is healthy, told me I needed to get her teeth cleaned at some point (estimated cost $225 eeep!) and gave her the annual vaccines… all for a whopping $95 dollars. Afterwards I just had enough time to come home, drop off the cat, and head back to the mechanic to get my car inspected. Nothing wrong there, thankfully! Then I came home and (my head spinning from spending so much money today) sat down to balance my checkbook, where I figured out that I had about $35 dollars left until payday. This made me feel rather nauseous, but it was my cat that started throwing up in spectacular fashion. Now, any cat owner is used to a small amount of vomit, but this was more than 10 times in less than 5 minutes, no hairball, and after emptying her stomach she just kept coughing up liquid. She seemed to be in pain, and I freaked just a bit, because this was NOT normal for her. I called back the vet, and was hoping that she would say something like “Don’t worry about it, shut her in the bathroom and let her out in a bit.”, but instead she asked, in a worried tone, if I could bring the cat back in.

Now, call me naive, but I assumed that since I had ALREADY spent almost $100 in this woman’s office, and it was likely that this vomit fit was because of the various things she injected into my cat or squirted down her throat, that this visit was gratis.

Au contraire. After taking her temperature (I’m guessing it was normal), and injecting her with an “anti-nausea” medicine she said to call her if it kept up, and charged me $28.

Yippie yay.

When I came home I cleaned up any stray cat vomit, and the cat box for good measure, and was all set to finally go on my walk… but by then the sun had gone down.

I’m bummed about being broke, bummed about the amount of money I spent on my cat and car today, bummed at how big my electric bill was (who knew that heating cost more than air-conditioning… it was larger than my bill from August), tired, and stressed.

In the past what I would do in this situation would be to find some way to appease myself with food. If I allowed my emotions to hijack my logic I might have even gone out to eat – to make myself feel better. What I really want to do is dive into the half-package of oreos I have left from before New Years, and turn back into a junk-food vegan for the night. After the oreos, I might poke around in the freezer and see if there were any frozen burritos or something else with a relatively high fat content. 

I have done none of these things.

I plan on having a bowl of leftover black eyed peas, with cornbread, and drink water.

Then I will get up from the table and move into the living room so that I’m not just sitting and thinking of something else to eat.

And since I couldn’t get my walk in today, I’ll do some stuff with the wii fit.

But I might have to throw away the oreos.

New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas

These were absolutely fantastic! Had all the rich flavor of a hunk of ham, without the ham! No animal products in this southern favorite!

black eyed peas

2 packages of frozen black eyed peas

1/2 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 tsp red miso

2 tsp liquid smoke

1 tsp pure maple sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

Tabasco sauce to taste (I used a lot!)

Water or vegetable broth.

Saute onion and garlic in large pot with a small amount of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the pot), until the union is translucent.

Add everything else, with enough water to support the peas. Bring to a simmer.

Cover, and let simmer for about an hour. Stir periodically, and add water as needed.