Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Onion Soup for Sick Days

I'm sorry I haven't posted in several days - I've been sick. It's probably just a bad cold but it has laid me out so badly I've barely been able to move or think.

I have been eating gallons of soup. I invented a new delicious soup called Onion Soup. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. Sautee some onions until nice and browned, add broth. Add miso if you have it. Another delicious variation is to sautee mushrooms with your onions and create Mushroom Onion Soup.



I love the clouds that miso makes in soup. Delicious!

I love broth. I remember opening up a can of broth to eat like soup when I was a kid and my mom was like, "Whaaat? You can't eat that! That's just broth!"

But there is NO reason to buy cans or boxes of broth. Just buy the concentrated stuff and mix it yourself. Save yourself lots of money and packaging. This is my favorite:



So here's my official recipe for
Onion Soup for Sick Days:
1 sweet onion
1 cup mushrooms
1 tbsp garlic, optional
1 tbsp miso
4 cups broth

Sautee onions and mushrooms. When sufficiently browned, add remaining ingredients until soup is piping hot. Now drink that up!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cooking Sprouted Chickpeas and Gardein Beefless Tips

Food Diary:
Breakfast: Chickpeas and broccoli
Lunch: Salad, Gardein beef tips
Snack: 1/2 serving zucchini pasta
Dinner: Instant Colcannon, Cocoa Berries

I made some sprouted chickpeas over the past two days. It's really easy - you start with dry chickpeas, then soak them overnight in some water (use lots of water because they puff up a lot). Then put them in some sort of mesh bag for a couple days and rinse them a few times a day. Lots of people sprout with jars, but it's so much easier to get some sprouting bags. I just keep them in my dish drainer and rinse when I'm at the sink for some other reason.

You can eat sprouted chickpeas raw if you like the taste. I don't really like it, so I cooked mine. Cooking raw sprouted chickpeas may seem counterintuitive, but you still get benefits of sprouting plus a really short cooking time - like ten minutes instead of an hour and a half. I steamed up some broccoli, squirted ketchup all over it, and ate breakfast.


Can you see the little sprouts? These were not my sproutiest chickpeas because I was impatient.

I Skyped with Mom while we both cooked - she made roasted vegetables and stuffed pattypan squash from Oh She Glows (I gave her the recipe) and I made zucchini pasta with cheezy sauce.



The sauce has silken tofu, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic, turmeric, Braggs, and black pepper. I always liked my mac 'n cheese with tons of black pepper. This made a lot of sauce because I used a whole package of silken tofu.



I added some tomatoes. :)

When I was at Kroger today, I spied some Gardein Beefless Tips on a big sale, so I figured this would be a good time to try them.






I like the short, sensible ingredient list and really good nutritional stats.



The taste was fantastic, and I ate them condiment-free. The texture was interesting, because it's very soft, like a fatty meat, even though they're really low fat. I don't eat many meat analogs but if you're craving one, I would say Gardein is an excellent choice.

And I ate an entire head of lettuce for my salad! What can I say? :)



I also dyed my hair today because my roots were really bugging me. My hair is really, really dark and it seems like even if the dye color is supposed to be "darkest brown" or something, it looks too light. And when your roots grow in, they're darker than the rest of your hair and that makes your hair look greasy.



My hair is NOT greasy in this picture. So do you get what I mean?

So I dyed it today, and I think it looks better. You'll have to wait to see the results, though. ;)

Just for fun, here's one of my senior pictures from high school of me with black hair.


Three other bits of news today:
1) I bought one session of a "circus" class where you learn to do Cirque du Soleil-type stuff. I have a year to use it, but I'll be sure and give an update when I do.

2) I did a student film a couple of months ago and they sent me the link to the finished product today. So if you want to see a short experimental silent student film that involves me fake-barfing up Mountain Dew, check it out!
http://vimeo.com/13551026

3) My name is in Variety today! If you don't know, Variety is one of the main industry trade papers, so that's a fairly big deal. My movie Bloomington got a short, positive review. At first they spelled my name wrong and I was super bummed but I sent them an e-mail and then they fixed it. =)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is That Food... or Poison?

Food Diary:
Breakfast: Spinach salad w/ peach salsa and homemade Rawmesan
Lunch: Brussels sprouts w/ nooch
Dinner: Brussels sprouts, Spiced Carrot Puree, Cocoa Berries

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, pretty early. I wanted to do my Rosetta Stone Russian program, but it wasn't working on my computer. That's when I realized that I haven't used it yet on my new computer, so I would need to install the program. Except I apparently lost the installation CD! So I wrote to the company asking for a replacement and guess what - it costs TEN DOLLARS! WTF?!

Anyway, after my Rosetta Stone letdown, I got sweaty.

I worked out while watching Losing It with Jillian on Hulu. She went to a Native American reservation to help out a family and hopefully the entire community but she caused a stir when she thew away the fry bread they were serving at a picnic. People got pretty mad at her, saying that it's against their customs to throw away food. Fry bread is supposedly a Native American tradition, and it's pretty much deep-fried white dough. So of course I was thinking, "That's not food! And it's not really your tradition!" Finally one of the women admitted that fry bread was invented after her people had been forcibly removed from their land and given crap to eat. (And even then you can be sure they weren't using enriched bleached flour.) Finally Jillian said what I had been waiting to hear - "That's not food. It's poison."

THANK YOU, Jillian.

I think this all the time. Food is something that's supposed to nourish your body and sustain life. Most of what people eat nowadays isn't nourishing them and in the long run is killing them. Jillian continued to say that what was really being wasted wasn't the food she threw away - it was the lives of the people who were eating it.

This is one reason why I don't miss non-vegan food and it's so easy to stay vegan -- animal products are not food to me anymore. And I have no desire to eat non-food items.

I am DEMANDING. And I demand things from my food.
1) Nourish me. Give me the nutrients my body needs to live and thrive.
2) Don't kill me with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
3) Don't kill anyone else, either.
4) Satisfy me with good taste.

When did we decide that Twinkies are supposed to be food? They've got more chemicals than a tube of Chapstick. No, thank you.

We don't have to eat what the conglomerates are trying to force-feed us. Stand up for yourself! Care about yourself and your family enough to take care of yourself. Nobody else can do it for you, and no amount of pills can undo the damage you inflict upon yourself.

Junk food isn't food. It's crap. It's slow-acting poison. Animal products aren't food. They are the product of death and they lead to death. And I refuse to be a part of that cycle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Was ißt man als Veganer?, Nori Rolls, and Johnny Carson

Food diary:
Breakfast: Cocoa Berries
Lunch: 2 nori rolls, steamed broccoli w/ BBQ and ketchup
Dinner: Arugula salad w/ peach salsa and Homemade Rawmesan, Cocoa Berries

First up today was general blog-reading time, then I walked to Cardio Barre (where Ashlee Simpson was in my class today). I stopped at Whole Foods for some groceries afterward and then walked back. I bought this lovely heirloom tomato.



I had two of these nori rolls for lunch. They included cabbage, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, onion, and snow peas, and the paste is miso, garlic, wasabi, and umeboshi plum paste.



And check out this comparison of the storebought Rawmesan with my homemade version.

Storebought:


Homemade:

Don't they look almost exactly the same? And they taste almost exactly the same, too, except that I use more nooch.



One of the blog posts I read this morning was this one:
http://tierfrei-mampfen.blogspot.com/2010/07/was-it-man-als-veganer-teil-1456.html

It's in German, so read it if you can. But if not, I'll summarize it for you. She's responding to the question, "If you don't eat meat, cheese, eggs, etc., what CAN you eat?" And it's very interesting, but the comments she says people make to her are exact translations of the comments we get here in America: "Was? Kein Käse, kein Fleisch, keine Eier, keine Butter?? Was ISST man den da? DAS wäre mir zu langweilig, da darf man ja GAR nix essen! Also nee, dafür bin ich viel zu sehr Genießer. Ich esse und genieße so gerne, ich möchte mich nicht so quälen wie Du!".
Pretty much - "What? No cheese, no meat, no eggs, no butter?? Then what DO you eat? That would be too boring for me, you can't eat anything at all! And I like food too much, I enjoy eating and I wouldn't want to torture myself like you do."

She says the "Denkfehler" - sorry, it's such a good word, it means error in reasoning or "thought mistake" - that people are making is they imagine what THEY eat all day, subtract all the animal products, and are left with almost nothing. You take away the eggs and bacon from breakfast and you have butterless toast or dry cereal. Lunch is a lettuce sandwich with no mayo. Dinner is rice and... broccoli. But that's obviously not how we eat! People don't realize that we completely restructure our eating habits. In the blog she gives an example of a dinner party she went to where the host assured her that she would have food to eat. So when she showed up, everyone else was eating pork with mushroom sauce, au gratin potatoes, and salad with ham and cheese. Her plate had dry potatoes and some lettuce with oil and vinegar. And no surprise, everyone thought that being a vegan must be super miserable. And of course, if that's what being a vegan meant, then it would be rather miserable! What everyone doesn't know is that vegan food is freakin' delicious, there are a billion things we can eat (there are many more types of vegetables than there are types of meat most people eat), and most of us are pretty freakin' happy with our food and our general lifestyle. Now I don't eat the most exciting diet in the world, but there are a few reasons for that - 1) I'm lazy, 2) I'm easy to please, 3) I'm cooking for one, and 4) I'm an actress in Hollywood and thinness is a job requirement.

So anyways, I just loved that post and I wanted to share it with you.

After lunch, I watched the first disc of the Ultimate Carson collection - the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson's greatest hit moments from the 60's-80's. I had never seen a show with Johnny Carson before, but my mom said that her dad watched him every night for pretty much his entire adult life. And watching the clips I started to get an idea of just what made Carson so beloved. He wasn't the funniest guy in the world, but he laughed a lot and obviously thought other people were funny. Mom always wondered why people would want to listen to Bob and Tom when it's just people laughing but Carson was definitely the forerunner of that phenomenon. One of the most common gags involved pairing up Carson with some exotic animal and watching it climb on him and poop on his desk while he laughed. Interestingly enough, I was listening to The Business on KCRW on my iPod while walking today - it's an awesome podcast about the business side of Hollywood - and there was an interview with Joan Rivers. She said she was good friends with Johnny and a frequent guest on his show and when she got her own (soon to be ill-fated) talk show, he was the first person she called. He was furious and never spoke to her again, EVER. So it seems he was probably not the nicest person in real life. But this is America, and this is showbiz, and we never like to humanize our idols. ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hey There, Tomato, What on Earth Are You Doing?

I got lots of little things done today, which felt good.

For some reason I had trouble sleeping last night and didn't get to bed until probably 1:30 or so, but I still got up around 7:30. First things first, I worked out and watched Covert Affairs on Hulu. It's a new show about a CIA operative. I'm a sucker for CIA narratives! I once thought that maybe I wanted to join the CIA, but then I realized that I really just wanted to ACT like a CIA agent... like Sydney Bristow (Alias). =)

I also washed my sheets and towels, watered my plants, took out recycling, did some cooking and used up vegetables, and trimmed my bangs. I've only trimmed my bangs once before and it was a huge failure because I can't tell what's straight and what isn't. But it went much better this time because I cut a teeeeny tiny bit at a time. I also watched the movie MASH and read Wired magazine. My stepdad got me subscriptions to Wired and Fast Company, and I love reading them because they're really interesting and discuss topics that I wouldn't normally read about (business, technology, science).

Oh and something else cool is that Kathy added me to her vegan blog list on Healthy Happy Life:
http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2010/07/best-vegan-blogs.html

Thanks, Kathy!

On to the cooking!

Today's food diary:
Breakfast: Arugula salad w/ peach salsa and homemade Rawmesan
Lunch: Steamed broccoli w/ garlic, BBQ, and ketchup
Dinner: Raw zucchini pasta with sweet and spicy sauce, Cocoa Berries

Broccoli:


Raw zucchini pasta w/ carrot noodles, red bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and sauce made with sun-dried tomatoes, tamarind paste, apple cider vinegar, Braggs, garlic, red curry paste, sriracha, spirulina (that's why it's green, it was orange).




I've talked about tamarind paste before, because I used it in my pad thai recipe. Click on the pad thai label to see more. But for a photo refresher:



Weirdest-looking fruit award goes to tamarind!


I also made some salsa verde out of tomatillos, half a tomato, and sriracha. It's not very verde.



When I got sick of my sweet and spicy sauce I rinsed off the pasta and put on the very light-tasting salsa verde instead.



And I had something CRAZY happen. When I cut up my tomato, the seeds were sprouting! Check it out!


I thought that was totally awesome.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cocoa Berries and Coming Out in Hollywood

I invented a delicious dessert! And it's reaaaally easy. But we'll get to that in a second after two days of food diaries.

Yesterday I went to a panel at the DGA as part of Outfest called Coming Out in Hollywood. The panel featured three actors, including Meredith Baxter and Jonathan Slavin, who played Phil on Better off Ted (if you have not seen B.O.T. - DO IT NOW. Lem and Phil are my favies), a publicist who helps celebrities come out of the closet publicly, and a TV writer. It was very interesting to hear about the ramifications of coming out and how many actors are still closeted for fear of what it will do to their career. But Phil (sorry, can I just call him Phil? I feel awkward calling him Jonathan like we're friends, and calling him Slavin would be like I was writing for a newspaper) said that people really need to think about what's important in life - losing some acting jobs versus being able to be open and honest about who you are. I totally agree with that - it's too soul-crushing to deny who you really are. And the idea that gay men can't convincingly play straight men is ridiculous. This idea persists that straight men can play gay (see Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, Six Feet Under, and on and on), but gay men can't play straight. What?! Gay men play straight all the time - it's called being in the closet. And besides that, go check out Neil Patrick Harris' work on How I Met Your Mother or in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (you should watch that just because it's funny. And don't worry, Kal Penn was actually eating veggie burgers). He plays a total womanizer and it's completely believable.

Anyhoo, I have been eating a lot of salad.
Yesterday I ate:
Breakfast: Spinach and arugula salad with homemade Rawmesan and peach salsa, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Lunch: More spinach salad
Dinner: More spinach salad (I know! I'm sorry!), Cocoa Berries (stupidly simple recipe to follow)

Today:
Breakfast: Spinach salad w/ homemade Rawmesan and pineapple salsa
Lunch: Spinach salad
Snack: about 1/2 cup marinated mushrooms
Dinner: A little more spinach salad, about 1.5 cups slightly steamed broccoli with BBQ sauce and ketchup, sugar snap peas and raw red pepper slices, Cocoa Berries

I know broccoli with ketchup and BBQ probably sounds weird, but it's good. And mixing ketchup and BBQ sauce together is good because BBQ has twice the calories of ketchup but if you mix them together it all tastes like BBQ.

Also, I have an UPDATE on the Homemade Rawmesan. I made a little more today and simplified the recipe even further! I soaked some walnuts all day, rinsed and drained them, and then chopped them up into little bits with my slap chopper. Then I added the tons of nooch and Italian Seasoning and a little Bragg's. Ta da! So you can use soaked nuts without dehydrating them, and you don't even need to use your food processor.

All right, onto today's delectable dessert.

Cocoa Berries

Frozen blueberries or other berries
Cocoa powder
Molasses and/or agave (optional)

Thaw your berries in a bowl on the counter for as long as you want - eat them frozen or wait an hour for thawed berries. Add a spoonful of cocoa powder and an optional drizzle of agave and/or molasses. Mix up a lot. You only really need the sweetener if your berries are really tart. As long as you let your berries melt a little bit, they'll be wet enough for the cocoa powder to stick on.

Yesterday's blackberries


Right after putting cocoa powder on blueberries.


After some mixin'.


Sorry, I really wish these pictures looked better but there's no way to make them look beautiful. But they taste really, really good. And for an entirely Raw dessert, use raw cocoa powder. Can you say aaaantioxidaaaants!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Homemade Rawmesan

I made myself an awesome salad for lunch yesterday and ended up having a similar version for both dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

There's arugula, spinach, carrot shreds, broccoli, red pepper, sugar snap peas, marinated mushrooms, onions, pineapple salsa, and Rawmesan.

I was getting pretty low on Rawmesan, so I decided to make some of my own. Here's what the stuff from the store looks like (Parm! looks similar).

The only ingredients are brazil nuts, nutritional yeast, Celtic sea salt, and herbs and spices. Parm! uses walnuts instead of brazil nuts. I had some leftover raw soaked and dehydrated brazil nuts, so I decided to make my own.

Homemade Rawmesan
Brazil nuts or walnuts
Nutritional yeast
Braggs or Celtic sea salt
Garlic (optional)
Italian seasoning

I chopped up the nuts roughly with my slap chopper so they wouldn't hurt my coffee grinder, then I put them in the grinder and processed into course grounds. I added a bunch of nooch, a bunch of Italian Seasoning, and a little Braggs and garlic for that clumpier texture.



It turned out really well! Next time I'll make it with a mixture of brazil nuts and walnuts to take out my selenium and Omega 3's in one fell swoop.

So there you have it, a delicious seasoning you can use a substitute for parmesan. Parmesan cheese does absolutely nothing for you nutritionally but Parm! gives you omega 3's and B12. Get your food to do something for you besides supplying taste.

So, food diary for yesterday:
Breakfast: Okra w/ barbeque sauce (I really needed to go to the grocery store)
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Salad, lots of frozen blueberries

I vaguely considered taking a picture of my blue teeth after eating all those frozen blueberries, but then wisely decided against it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vegan Milk and Cheese: The Overview

The other day I saw something at Ralph's that I found pretty exciting:

That's Daiya vegan cheese, nestled in with all the dairy-based cheeses. Cool!

Daiya is all the rage in those fortunate parts of the country like mine where it is widely available. I've only tried a bite of someone else's pizza with Daiya, but it was definitely good. The general consensus is that it's melty, delicious, and stretchy. If you want to see more, check out quarrygirl because she posts about daiya-laden foods on an almost daily basis.

This discovery made me think that maybe I should write a little bit about vegan milk and cheese substitutes. You may see them spelled "mylk" and "cheeze," and while I get the point of such labels, I think they're pretty silly and something akin to writing "womyn."

There are tons of brands of vegan cheese, from the classic Follow Your Heart to Teese, Cheezly, VeganRella, and now Daiya. Daiya is especially known for mimicking the characteristic meltiness of dairy cheese, which was typically difficult for vegan cheeses to produce, hence why so many packages declare, "Melts!" You can use vegan cheese to make mac 'n cheese, lasagna, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, whatever. Personally, I almost never eat vegan cheese. I actually prefer my pizza without cheese on it now. But if anybody makes vegan mac 'n cheese, I always have to try it. It's an obsession and I love vegan mac just as much as I ever loved dairy mac.

As for vegan milk, rejoice! For your bounty is plentiful. Soy milk is the classic non-dairy milk, but there's also almond, rice, hemp, oat, cashew, and more. I feel like it's hard to go wrong with almond milk, and that's what I usually use. I've shown on this blog before how to make almond milk, but you can also buy it. I usually buy Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla. Here are the nutrition facts for one cup:

Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Unsweetened Vanilla
Serving Size: 8 oz

Report incorrect nutrition info
Amount Per Serving
Calories 40.0
Total Fat 3.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 180.0 mg
Potassium 190.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 1.0 g
Vitamin A 10.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.0 %
Vitamin C 0.0 %
Vitamin D 25.0 %
Vitamin E 50.0 %
Calcium 20.0 %
Copper 0.0 %
Folate 0.0 %
Iron 2.0 %
Magnesium 4.0 %
Manganese 0.0 %
Niacin 0.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %
Phosphorus 4.0 %
Riboflavin 0.0 %
Selenium 0.0 %
Thiamin 0.0 %
Zinc 0.0 %

Lately I've bought this brand instead, because it's been on sale:




It's just dandy in coffee and smoothies, which are the two main ways I utilize almond milk because I don't really eat cereal. Though I have to warn you, I tried drinking a glass plain the other day and it didn't taste very good for that, Almond Breeze is much better.

If you're interested in vegan milk and cheese, try out several kinds and see what you like. There are also many ways to make your own vegan and even Raw substitutes. Don't give up if you don't like the first one you try - my mom hates rice milk but loves almond milk. Giving up cheese is usually one of the most difficult changes for would-be vegans but I promise you, it can be done and in the end, it isn't that difficult. And after you're used to it, it isn't difficult at all. Dairy isn't a food to me anymore and I don't miss it one bit. But why would I even need to when there are all these great alternatives available?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happiness, Determinism, and HUGE

The new ABC Family show Huge has been getting lots of press lately. The show focuses on a group of teens at a weight-loss camp, and it serves as the first show with a predominantly overweight (actually obese) cast. But what kind of messages will it send about body image, self-acceptance, and health?

Many people are worried that the show will reinforce stereotypes of fat people (that word is a choice, BTW. I don't think we need to use euphemisms for fat). And it certainly is replete with stereotypes, as are most TV shows and movies.

The question usually boils down to whether we should accept ourselves if we're fat or whether we should try and lose weight. But I don't know why people feel the need to take one side or the other.

The real problem I have with the self-acceptance and fat pride movement is the all-too-frequent accompanying message that you will always be fat, there's nothing you can do about it, so just get used to it and accept it. I think that's plain wrong. I've met SO many people who think they are destined to a life of obesity and then diabetes and heart disease because it "runs in their family." Well maybe those diseases run in your family because your family members all engage in the same unhealthy habits.

I think we should accept and be happy with ourselves by not letting our weight dictate who we are. Your weight does not determine whether you are a good or bad person. And you shouldn't wait to live your life until you reach some goal weight - go out and date, pursue your career, and be happy. And focus on your health at the same time. But don't fall into the trap of determinism that says that you have to accept your body because you cannot change it. You can. And even if certain lifestyle diseases do run in your family, you can fight your predisposition. In my family history, if you smoke, you die. So I don't smoke (for many other reasons, too). If in your family you get heart disease and diabetes after years of meat, dairy, and refined carbohydrates (and that's true for most everyone), then change your life! And not because you feel bad about yourself or you're a bad person. Change your life because it will make you happier in the long run.

I was just reading about a recent happiness study that said that short-term pleasures don't raise your happiness level, and the only thing that has a real effect is long-term pain and illness. So that means when people say "live a little" and eat a cupcake, they're actually encouraging you to sacrifice your happiness. Health nuts who love steamed vegetables really do derive as much pleasure from them as cake-lovers do from cake, and you can train yourself to love different foods. One thing the study found is that you will love what you eat when you are famished. So when you're super hungry, reach for vegetables instead of candy and start changing your preferences!

There are so many caveats I could list here - I'm not saying that we should never eat cake again or that all fat people are unhappy. But I am saying that when you live a healthy lifestyle, you will be happier in general and in the long run. Unhealthy habits like smoking and eating fatty food don't mean that you're enjoying your life more, and especially not when those habits start to deteriorate your health in a few decades. Sometimes your habits will kill you and some will just make you a prisoner in a useless body. You will deprive yourself of years with your children and grandchildren. So I can't support any movement that says that it's OK to be obese and that you will always be that way. You can change your life and your health, and the longer you do it the easier it becomes.

I could keep on this topic for quite a while, and maybe I'll revisit it more later.

And because I KNOW that giveaways make everyone happy, Kristen over at Kristen's Raw is having a great giveaway of her e-books. All you have to do is leave her a comment with your best parenting advice, because she just had a new baby!
http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/2010/07/kristens-raw-24th-awesome-giveaway-free.html

Monday, July 12, 2010

Peach and Pineapple Salsas

Well I've had a busy couple of days, and tomorrow will be no different! Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out at my friends' house, and for dinner my lovely host made me this salad:



There's lettuce, chopped veggies, and some chickpeas. Instead of dressing I used horseradish mustard and lots of fresh cracked pepper. YUM. I love good mustard and I definitely need to get myself a pepper grinder.

Today I cooked, went to Power Group, and went to a talk by a casting director. Both events were through The Actors Network. Power Group is a group of actors that get together every month and talk about what they did for their careers in the past month, goals for next month, and then issues they need opinions on.

Food Diary for today -
Breakfast: Spinach salad
Lunch: Brussels sprouts, 1/2 sweet potato
Dinner: Brussels sprouts, coffee

I know spinach salad is a strange breakfast food, but I'm a strange girl. Lately I have been loving salad with peach or pineapple salsa from Trader Joe's. I especially love the peach salsa, and it's about half the price of the mango salsa I usually buy because it's not in the refrigerated section.





Pretty good stats! The flavor is delicious, and the jar says it's medium spicy. I also like that it's not jalapeño-y, which is a problem I can have with regular salsas. For some reason, sometimes I get a bad reaction to jalapeños and my lips and tongue swell up. Bad.

The pineapple salsa is also good, and it has a bit more of a traditional salsa taste. It's less pineappley than the peach is peachy, if you know what I mean.





So today I had spinach salad with pineapple salsa, some marinated mushrooms, and Rawmesan. Rawmesan is a mix of brazil nuts, nutritional yeast, and spices, and you can use it as a parmesan substitute on salads, pastas, etc. Parm! is a very similar product made with walnuts, and both are delicious.



For my lunchtime brussels sprouts, I squirted them with a little bit of Bragg's and then a layer of nooch.



Since I was gone all through the afternoon and evening, for dinner I brought a jar of brussels sprouts and a mug of coffee with me.

I would definitely say that my food today proves that eating healthy and vegan can be very, very easy. I'm not saying everyone should eat as simply as I am right now, but if you are feeling unmotivated to chop veggies for salad, have a salsa salad. And if you need a filling to-go snack, fill up an empty salsa jar with roasted brussels sprouts (cut them in half, sprinkle with seasonings/salt/pepper, roast at 450 for 30 minutes. super easy). Veggies can be easy and delicious!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Veggie Grill and Movie Premiere!

I finally got to see my movie last night! My first feature film, Bloomington, had its LA premiere at Outfest last night at the Laemmle on Sunset. It was really fun and the movie turned out great.

Before the movie, my friend Emily and I went to the Veggie Grill, which happened to be directly below the movie theater. She got the chili and kale salad and I got the chop salad. It was great!





I have to admit, though, after doing lots of having fun and staying up late this weekend, I am ready to get back on my schedule. I just feel better going to bed at 10:30, getting up at 7:30, working out first thing, and making my food at home. I am so lame. =)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Makeup Photo

Chocolate-Covered Katie (chocolatecoveredkatie.com) issued a CHALLENGE to post makeupless pics, preferably post-exercise. And I just can't resist an embarassing challenge. And for some reason I like to post dumb pictures of myself on the internet -- is that an official mental disease yet? Well I don't have any pictures of me exercising (because why would I let anyone take pictures of me exercising) I do have this:


That's me in Vietnam at an outdoor exercise class. So I'm kind of exercising, but mostly I was goofing around.

And just for fun, check out this picture that I was e-mailed today:


OMG, right? It's a cat and a deer, and they're friends!

So anyways, food log for the past two days:
Breakfast: Sweet potato
Lunch: Salad w/ mango salsa and Rawmesan
Dinner: Instant Colcannon

Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Instant Colcannon
Dinner: Arugula salad w/ mango salsa and the last crumbles of dehydrated eggplant bacon, 1/2 instant colcannon, sweet potato

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cardio Barre and PRISON BREAK



I had a great day!

I walked the 30 minutes to my Cardio Barre exercise class, did that, stopped at Whole Foods for some kale and lettuce, and walked back. Cardio Barre is a workout that combines cardio and strength, based off of ballet principles. It's challenging but I felt pretty good. Oh and I saw vegan Snickerdoodle ice cream at WF. No, I didn't buy it, but I thought it was exciting anyways.

Food Log:
Breakfast: Coffee (I don't like to eat before I workout, makes me sick)
Lunch: Salad w/ mushrooms, mango salsa, and Rawmesan and 1/4 potato of Instant Colcannon
Dinner: 1 potato of Instant Colcannon, 1/4 sweet potato

I also read Luna Nueva and online news in several languages in order to practice my skills, fixed my broken lamp, painted my nails, and watched Prison Break!

I am always way behind on shows but I just got into it and wow, it's really good! Of course, the two main characters are so amazingly attractive that I would watch the show even if it was about pruning bonsai trees. But as a bonus, it has a great plot. I've heard the later seasons pale in comparison to the first but I'm in it for the long haul, people.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Instant Colcannon

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I know I did. And my mom baked this vegan cake and sent me an e-mail picture of it. She said she baked it for me and would eat it for me, too.



I have a great, super-easy recipe to share with you today!

Instant Colcannon
1 organic potato
several cups of kale
nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, seasonings

Here's what you need:


First, scrub your potato. If it has any imperfections or little sprouts, just dig them out with your fingernails. It's easy. And always buy organic potatoes - they're on the dirty dozen and they're root vegetables, so they just suck up all the pesticides.

Poke the potato several times with a fork and microwave for about three minutes, longer if it's a big potato.

While your potato is microwaving, boil a couple of inches of water in a pot or pan. Put in your steamer basket and steam several cups of kale for about 30 seconds. This will make your kale softer and bright green, but minimize cooking time. The water doesn't even have to be boiling yet, so I can finish steaming in the same amount of time the potato is microwaving.

Assemble your ingredients, like the above picture. Then mash your potato with a fork and mash in the kale and seasonings. I just mash about 1/4 of the potato at a time and put in as much kale as I can. I actually ended up steaming about twice as much kale as in the above picture and eating it with that potato.



Now enjoy your delicious nutritional powerhouse! The carbs keep you full, you get tons of nutrition from the kale, and protein and B vitamins from the nooch. It's a perfect meal.

And a bonus tip of the day - I ate the rest of my cooked eggplant leftovers yesterday and rejuvenated them with a squirt of ketchup and a spoonful of nutritional yeast. It was really good!

Daily food log:
Breakfast: Coffee w/ almond milk
Lunch: Instant colcannon
Snack: Some dehydrated Raw eggplant slices
Dinner: 1 zucchini pasta w/ Everything Kale Pesto, Instant Colcannon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Six Bags of Brussels Sprouts. No Joke.

I made another Trader Joe's run yesterday to get more brussels sprouts.
And I got SIX BAGS.
It turns out brussels sprouts are an entire dollar per pound cheaper at TJ's than at Whole Foods or Ralph's. They cost $2.99/lb at WF and Ralph's and only $1.99/lb at TJ's. But it does drive me crazy that at TJ's they come in plastic bags and you can buy them in bulk at the other stores. Plus, TJ's is a little bit out of walking distance if you're carrying groceries. But a dollar a pound difference is just too huge. That means I saved six bucks. That's big money!

The cashier commented on my six bags of brussels and I told her that I just really love them, I eat them for dinner, and they're my favorite food. We both laughed that I'm probably the only person on the planet whose favorite food is brussels sprouts. But maybe there is someone, and I hope to meet that soulmate someday.

So here's my TJ's stash:


On the right you'll see some dark roast organic coffee that I have not had the chance to try yet. It is a few dollars cheaper than coffee at Ralph's or WF, though.

On the left you'll see something I was very excited about... marinated mushrooms! And no oil! Just vinegary, garlicky goodness. Much cheaper than buying a similar item at the Whole Foods olive bar.



I have tried these, and they are really tasty and good.

Highlights of my day:
I finished reading Biss zum Morgengrauen (Twilight in German) and started with Luna Nueva (New Moon in Spanish). I hope to find the next two maybe in French and Italian or German again. I'll keep an eye out on Craigslist and Ebay.

I walked to Cardio Barre to work out but they were full! Luckily the walk is half an hour each way so even without the class I still got a workout.

I bought my ticket to see Bloomington at Outfest! My movie is going to be playing at the Laemmle 5 on Sunset. That's a real gosh darn movie theater, folks.

Aaaand food diary for the day:
Breakfast: 1 sweet potato
Lunch: Brussels sprouts
Snack: More brussels sprouts, 1/4 c. black beans
Dinner: 1 zucchini of pasta with a couple spoonfuls of my Everything Kale pesto and some Rawmesan



Lovely, isn't it?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eggplant: Raw and Cooked

I never liked eggplant before I went to China. Then I learned the joy that is qie zi and I've loved it ever since. If you want an oily splurge, get some eggplant in an Asian restaurant. Or make it yourself. You can stir-fry it, roast it in the oven with some tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and squash, and you can flavor it Asian or European style. You can also cut it into thin strips and use it for Raw dishes like manicotti and ravioli. I made some Raw manicotti in March that had cashew cheese and spinach on the outside, rolled up inside thin, marinated eggplant slices. It was super good.

I finally made the eggplant that I bought last week. I cut it into thin slices on my mandoline and then made half of it into a cooked dish and half into a raw dish. Here are the recipes.

Spicy Italian Eggplant

1/2 eggplant, sliced or cut up however
2 tomatoes, diced
Garlic
Chili powder
Paprika
Italian seasoning
Turmeric
Fennel seed

Stir-fry and add seasonings to taste. The fennel seed gives it that Italian sausage flavor.



Raw Eggplant "Bacon"

Eggplant, thinly sliced on mandoline
Water
Braggs
Apple Cider Vinegar
Molasses
Paprika
Chili powder

Mix together all ingredients besides eggplant to make a marinade. Just season everything to taste and add water to thin it out.

Pour marinade over eggplant slices in a bowl, let marinate an hour or more.

Dehydrate at 105 for 10 hours or more, depending on thickness of slices. Mine were pretty thin.

You may have also heard that you should salt your eggplant first, let the salt sink in, rinse, and then marinate. If you want to do that, go for it.



So for today I've been all raw. I've had:
Breakfast: Carrot puree, banana
Lunch: Spinach salad with onions, raw eggplant bacon slices

But I plan on ruining my raw streak and having brussels sprouts for dinner.

I also wanted to really clean out my aluminum water bottle. I put it through the washing machine regularly but had the idea that it wasn't getting totally clean. So:

How to Clean an Aluminum Water Bottle

Put some dry rice in your water bottle. A few tablespoons should do it, but more if you like wasting rice.
Add a good spoonful of baking soda.
Add some hot water.
Put the lid on and shake the crap out of it so the rice can scrape around the insides and the baking soda can clean.
Rinse rinse rinse, let dry.

Ta da!