Kabuli Pizza Crust – The Best Veggie Pizza So Far

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I found and tried a Kabuli pizza crust after reading about it on the Engine 2 Diet website. It was listed as one of the “allowable foods” for that plan which stresses “plant strong” foods.

The Kabuli crusts were hidden in the frozen section of Whole Foods (about 45 minutes away) but when I went to another location today (about 30 minutes away) they didn’t have them. So, apparently not every WF carries them.

I did see where you could order 16 crusts for $49 plus shipping from their website (UPDATE: I can’t find Kabuli anywhere anymore! After some research, trying this soon! Will let you know how it compares!) which is a good deal considering I paid $5.67 I think for just one? Warning…pizza crust is amazing, website is horrible, but it looks like they have decent customer service via phone.

I used Dei Fratelli pizza sauce which I found at Publix and tasted really delish. Next time I will use less sauce because 1) I thought a pizza without cheese “needed” more sauce. Not true. 2) There are 4g of sugar per serving in this sauce. Tastes great, but too much sugar. I think I will cut this sauce in half next time with some no salt added tomatoes. Since I was making the pizza for more than just myself, I had to be a little bit flexible.

I topped the pizza with basil from my happy basil plant (which is just temporary until the basil my mom planted grows a bit more) also from WF for $2.49.

happybasil

Then I added green peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and sundried tomatoes (no oil). It was so Yummy! Having a pizza like this really makes you rethink the Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s I used to get. This had no grease, no added fat, and lots of veggie power.

Hopefully I will find this Kabuli crust again when I go to the far away WF. I will post the nutritional info when I get the next crust as I already threw the wrapper away! Enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

 

Tofu, Rice, and Spinach. Breakfast?

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Tofu, rice, spinach, mushrooms, and onions for breakfast? Absolutely! This is a huge difference from my former typical diet of fast food sausage, cheese, eggs, biscuits, and hash browns. Usually topped off with a cinnamon roll of some sort! After all, I needed to get in all of my food groups – fat, salt, and sugar. Ugh.

In 1995, I taught English in South Korea. One week was spent at a children’s summer camp in the woods so meals were served community style. I was shocked at the time to see the breakfast menu. Rice, vegetables, and mushrooms. I didn’t eat. My mind was so ingrained in the Standard American Diet (SAD) that I couldn’t even conceive of these foods as breakfast food!

I wasn’t eating so I ended up getting sick and having to leave camp early. The first thing I did when I got back into town was to head to the US military base bowling alley and order a pizza, cheeseburger, and some fries. I instantly felt better which meant I was eating the right thing, right? Ha!

Something Dr. Joel Fuhrman recently said that I wish I had heard back then. He said

When you eat broccoli, you don’t feel differently, you feel the same. If you are eating something that instantly makes you feel better, you are using food as a drug.

Even back then I was using food as a drug. I am so thankful that my taste buds have matured and I am willing to try so many new things, at different times of the day.

Why this bowl is great for breakfast:

1) It is nutritionally complete. Protein in the tofu; Vit K, A, manganese, folate, and iron in the spinach;  potassium, phosphorous, antioxidants in mushrooms;  and manganese, magnesium, and selenium in the brown rice. Good stuff.

2) It is filling. This bowl has an entire bag of spinach in it! That is a lot of fiber which is very satisfying.

3) It actually tastes great for breakfast. You want to start the day with something hearty. While it definitely takes some time to want to eat this for breakfast (it took me about 2 months) your taste buds change and you start to want to eat for nutrition instead of for “well that is what I am SUPPOSED to have for breakfast.”

So maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you feel like you need a bowl of cereal, or some toast with fruit spread when you first wake up. That’s fine, but if you make the switch to eating a lot of fresh fruits and and vegetables and limiting sugar, salt, and avoiding fats, you might be surprised how quickly things change. ~Amanda Rae

 

Time to Grill Vegetable Kabobs

veg skewer

You know summer is upon us when we start to whip out the wooden skewer sticks. It is time to grill vegetable kabobs! Open the farmer’s markets, fire up the grill, get to chopping and welcome the warm weather with fire-kissed veggies! Very much a summertime favorite of mine even during times when I was not dieting. There is something special about grilling vegetables (and fruits for that matter) – a completely different assault on your taste buds.

PS – Don’t be concerned with grilling veggies and cancer. Heterolytic amines are formed when grilling meats but there is no associated danger with plant foods. Just don’t overcook them and enjoy!

Gather:

  • Sliced zucchini
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Onions cut into chunks
  • Peppers, red, yellow, green, orange
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • Braggs aminos (optional)

Create:

Usually you need to soak the wooden skewers in water first to keep them from burning. Toss all of the chopped veggies in a bowl with Mrs. Dash, minced garlic (optional), and about a teaspoon of Braggs aminos (optional). Next take all of your chopped veggies and stab the heck out of them with the skewers. I like to put something larger on the bottom and work my way up.

Then once the grill is ready, lay them across the rack but try to avoid the tempation to turn them constantly. Keep a close eye as the cherry tomatoes in particular like to “melt off” the stick sometimes. You really don’t need to over cook these. I go about 10 minutes with about 3 turns throughout that time. Serve with brown rice.

Revise:

One of the best revisions of this includes pineapple and other fruits like pears or mango chunks. All give each kabob a different flavor. One combination I want to try is tomato, mango, onions, and jalepeno. After cooking, take of skewers and blend just a few seconds in the mixer. Add cilantro. Grilled salsa!? Get creative! ~Amanda Rae

Ezekiel Wrap Pizza – Vegan Recipe

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In my attempt to find more meals that I do not have to eat out of a bowl, I made this Ezekiel wrap pizza and I am hooked! I really thought it would be just so-so because I didn’t have any “pizza sauce” and only had about a small teaspoon of Go Veggie Dairy-free cheese left. I threw everything together anyway and was thinking to myself “Well, just get it down. It is a meal.” Ha! Little did I know that I was about to stumble upon my next great recipe! That is how it works sometimes. You just throw stuff together and wala!

I am a big fan of the Ezekiel products and I use these wraps about 1-2 times per week, usually for breakfast. The ingredients in the Ezekiel 4:9 wraps are Organic Sprouted Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Spelt, and Sea Salt. Each wrap is quite large and is 150 calories if you are counting. They do sell “taco size” wraps that are 80 calories each, but I haven’t found those yet in any of my stores.

Ezekiel Wrap Pizza Recipe

Gather:

  • 1 Ezekiel 4:9 wrap
  • 3-4 tablespoons of diced tomatoes (I used no salt added canned tomatoes, drained really good, but you can also use a homemade pizza sauce or a low salt pizza sauce)
  • Garlic powder
  • Toppings: 1 teaspoon of Go Veggie Dairy-free cheese
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Basil

Create:

Place wrap on a cookie sheet. I put mine on a piece of parchment paper so no sticking. Spread out tomatoes and then sprinkle on some garlic powder. Add mushrooms, spinach, onion, zucchini, and basil and top with the cheese. Now this cheese goes a long way as far as taste and texture (yes, it melts!) so you do not need a lot to have a great impact. Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes. Mine was done when the edges of the wrap curled up like a bowl and were very crispy. Cut into slices and chow down!

Revise:

You can do so much with these! I may have a different post each week with my new creations. I am going for mexi-pizza next time! Send your pictures of your Ezekiel pizzas so I can get some ideas. Enjoy!~ Amanda Rae

 Pizza is like the entire food pyramid! ― Madeline Oles

Simple Stir Fry – Earth Day Veggie Recycling!

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Sometimes my collection of veggie bits and pieces starts to take over my fridge. When this happens, I whip out the wok and throw in all of the leftover, lonely veggies I can find and make this simple stir fry. Much better than having to throw things out because you just don’t get to them. I have little baggies of veggie scraps that I know I am going to use some how, some way soon.

I didn’t used to be this way. I didn’t used to save a one inch chunk of onion, or the little sword of carrot that remains after using the veggie peeler all over it. In fact, we (my sister and I primarily) would make fun of my grandmother for all of her little plastic containers with 5 peas inside, or how she would incessantly scrape all of the butter off of the paper wrapping. She has transitioned but she left her need to use every last bit here with me on Earth.

Now, don’t get me wrong. She was WAY better at it than I am, but I do try, and for that I think she would be very proud. So on Earth Day, make the commitment to reduce your food waste, as well as other waste. I am personally going to conquer plastic water bottles this year!

Simple Stir Fry Recipe

Gather:

  • Whatever veggies are in your fridge! Onions, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, peppers, etc.
  • Braggs Amino Spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium veggie broth
  • Wok or a large pan

Create:

The key to stir frying is to make sure the pan is hot enough. Since no oil is used, essentially you are steaming the vegetables instead of frying them, but they taste just as great. The next issue is the length of cooking time required for each type of vegetable and your preference for “doneness.” For instance, some people only like their peppers very soft. I like mine a bit more on the raw side. This will be a factor when it comes to the order in which you add your veggies. I usually put the carrots in first as I like those to cook a lot more than the other things I add. Save things like spinach for last as it will wilt quickly.

Make sure you cover your pan while cooking to get a good amount of steam going. When everything is ready, add the chili paste, a few sprays of the Braggs and mix. Pour into a large bowl and top with a few sesame seeds (optional).

Revise:

Of course you can serve this on brown rice, but if you are doing the 6 week plan, you may want to omit the rice. For the most part, you will not really miss it as long as you have plenty of vegetables. Other options are to add minced garlic or beans. At one of my favorite restaurants, they have a tri-bean blend (black, garbanzo, and soy) that goes into all of my dishes I get there. For some reason, I have not tried it at home yet, but it is on my to do list. Happy Earth Day! ~Amanda Rae

The earth is what we all have in common.  Wendell Berry

 

Eat to Live 6 Week Plan

Eat to live

Today is my first day back on the Eat to Live 6 week plan by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Many of you know that I have already succesfully completed the 6 week plan once, well now on to round 2!

So why am I doing it again? Well…I have a lot more weight to lose. That is the simple answer. In fact, I am thinking I should have never stopped the 6 week plan, but I got a little off track. Not in a “drive my big butt through the McD’s drive-thru” kind of off track, but just a little swerving around on veggie lane.

You see…I started to hear about this Dr. McDougall  and how on his weight loss program, you could eat many more grains than what is allowed with Eat to Live. Other than that, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall share many of the same food ideas – plant-based diets are best, no animal proteins, low fat, low sodium. But this one difference, MORE WHOLE GRAINS, was very appealing to me.

The trade off is less fruit and I was feeling a little “over” all of the fruit I had been eating. So I started to have a whole grain with just about every meal. I have still been losing weight, though not as quickly, and I noticed something else too. I stopped having any kind of feelings of hunger. No rumblings in my tummy, no feeling of a hollow belly down there. Instead, I have been feeling like I am pretty satisfied and full all of the time.

Now for most people this is a good thing. Still losing weight, not feeling hungry. But there was something special about the 6 week plan when I did it the first time. It wasn’t difficult, and that empty feeling in my stomach? Well…I sort of liked it. It was such a NEW feeling that I felt like I was learning things about myself and my body that I didn’t know before. Like the fact that I would not completely drop dead if I had to skip a meal because there was nothing there I could eat. Or the idea that I could actually go to bed, and fall asleep, hungry (gasp)!

I do like the Dr. McDougall plan as I love whole grains like corn tortillas, brown rice, quinoa and 100% whole wheat pasta, but…I like losing weight faster better than any of those things. Like I said, I have continued to lose weight with these extra servings of whole grains each day, but I am ready to get back to the 6 week plan to see what other new things I might discover this time around. Already I am finding some new, interesting spices and recipes to try, along with some veggies I have never heard of before. This is the part of the journey I like, so I am ready for another food adventure.

After this 6 weeks, I may “McDougall-it” for a few weeks and then do the 6 weeks again. OR I may just continue with the 6 weeks plan until I am at my goal weight. Planning is important but some flexibility is important too. You have to find what is going to work for you during different phases. You will definitely not feel the same every day, every week, or every month throughout your journey.

Here is what I ate on day 1:

Banana
Oatmeal vegan cookie (Small one)

Leftover whole grain pasta (very small serving) with asparagus, tomatoes, spinach
Brussel sprouts (steamables in the bag)
Grapefruit
Oatmeal vegan cookie (Small one)

Big bowl of salad with low sugar, low fat salad dressing
Beans and turnip greens, tomatoes, onions, garlic
Strawberries, pineapple, banana

So I did have a whole grain for breakfast (oatmeal cookie) and another at lunch, but they were very small so not stressing. All together with the pasta, looks like about one and a half servings of whole grains. Ok, I will take it. One thing you will learn about my ETL journey is that I was not perfect the first time around and I will not be the second time around. It is about good effort, not perfection!

By the way, this is also how I write down what I eat each day in my journal. I don’t write “1 cup of this” or ”4 ounces of that.” Drives me nuts to do it that way. With this method, I can keep track and not go insane over the exact amounts. Also, when you know what you are eating is nutritious and “allowed” you don’t have to go all OCD on tracking.

So leave a comment if you are doing ETL too! I would love to hear about your successes and challenges as we go through it together. Or if you have any questions about starting, feel free to contact me. If you follow any of the links to Amazon and buy the Eat to Live book, this blog will receive a commission which helps to support its activities. Or you can buy the book from your local Barnes & Noble which usually has many copies. Eat to Live!~Amanda Rae

 

 

Baked Tofu Bites

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These are “like” crackers…sort of. But they were good! They are chewier in the middle as they don’t totally firm up, but the edges are crispy so they are close. They were easy to make and really good for something to snack on while watching a movie or something like that. They take some time to eat so they will not be gone in 30 seconds. I liked the seasoning I used and it went well with the salsa.

Baked Tofu Bites Recipe

Gather:

  • 1/4 package of extra firm tofu
  • Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
  • Fresh salsa with lower sodium content

Create:

Dry tofu by patting it with several paper towels or a clean kitche towel. You can squeeze tofu slightly to get all of the moisture out. Slice into very thin slices for your bites. Place on a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle generously with seasoning. Turn over and sprinkle again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn bites over and bake an additional 20 minutes. When you take them out, they should have browned and turned crispy on the edges. Serve with fresh salsa or a store bought low sodium brand. I have tried the Engine 2 salsa. It was OK, but I prefer the salsa found in the produce section of Publix.

Engine2_cantina_style_salsa_medium_16ozF

Revise:

You can use many other seasonings for this. Garlic and serve with marinara. Greek seasoning and cucumber sauce. Herbs and hummus. Lots of combinations are possible. Enjoy! ~ Amanda Rae

Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger, but a heart as soft as tofu. Chinese proverb

Pasta with Beans Italian Recipe

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I do not know how to say “da bomb” in italian, but…I need to find out cause this is it! I made this a few nights ago and have been enjoying leftovers ever since. Why I love it: 1) it is filling, 2) it is “meaty,” 3) it has whole wheat pasta in it (duh), and 4) I will eat anything with tomatoes!

Pasta Bean Italia Recipe

Gather:

  • 1/4 box of organic 100% whole grain pasta
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (low or no sodium, rinsed)
  • 1 container of grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (sometimes I do my own or I use the little jars, in water, NOT oil)
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of diced mushrooms (I usually use shitake, but whatever is on hand)
  • 3/4 of low sodium vegetable broth
  • Big handful of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Italian seasonings (Mrs. Dash, garlic, crushed red pepper, etc.)

Create:

While pasta is cooking, combine onions and garlic in a large pan. Add a little veggie broth so it doesn’t stick while cooking. Add tomatoes (whole). Cover and let simmer for about five minutes. Now here comes my favorite part. Pop those little tomatoes with a big wooden spoon. This is therapeutic for me for some reason.

Then add beans, mushrooms, seasonings, the rest of the veggie broth. Cook pasta as directed on box, but leave a bit al dente. Rinse pasta and set to side. Add basil and spinach to sauce, cover and allow spinach to wilt (about 3 minutes). Add pasta, juice from half a lemon and mix. Serve family style in a giant bowl! Enjoy!~Amanda Rae

Life  is not worth living if I cannot have pasta or bread again. Monica  Seles