Sunday, October 26, 2014

Turkey spinach meatball

We made a batch of turkey spinach meatballs tonight to serve open-faced on white Italian sliced bread.

I made chicken gravy from my homemade chicken stock to get that soggy white bread comfort food sensation. I made the gravy in the pan I baked the meatballs in. So the dried turkey drippings and chicken stock mixed with some Italian seasoning and a pinch of flour equaled my gravy.

The meatballs were one pack of Jennie-O lean ground turkey, too much garlic powder, about 2 cups raw spinach, parsley, one tablespoon fresh ground pepper, and about three tablespoons ras el hanout.

I wanted 20 meatballs but only got 12. And they were small. And yummy.

Must make double batch next time.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pure Green Protein by Vibrant Health

I really like this one. This protein powder was more expensive than some of its counterparts but it delivers a high protein count, a clean ingredient label as far as I can tell AND it dissolves. 

Vegan and gluten free 

It smells a tad funky and it really is green... So be warned. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Harissa chick pea stew and rice

I had to make a whole chicken last week and chicken bone stock to make room in my freezer. 

To use up some of the new chicken stock so it would fit in the freezer I made rice with chicken stock and parsley mixed 50/50 with the water.

To use up the chicken and this pile of tomatoes someone gave us from their garden, I made this stew:

- 2 cups homemade chicken stock (to use up my old stock)
- 1 cup diced chicken
- about 30 ounces chick peas
- about 4 cups diced tomato
- 1/2 cup zesty sprouts
- 1 package saffron road harissa simmer sauce
- about 2 cups vegetables (in my case broccoli, carrot and cauliflower)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- water

In the crockpot on high.

More protein powder

So, after doing research online and in my local health/ natural food stores regarding price and ingredients in various protein powders, I decided to walk over to Essence of Health to buy a larger container of protein powder.

I figured I'd compare the prices to online, but the reality is that I only have a few more days of my experiment samples and I'd like to have something in the house.

They were having a sale. I picked up a vanilla vegan powder from Biochem Sports because it dissolved well and tasted like a milkshake. It's sweetened with stevia, which I have mixed feelings about.

I also wanted cookie dough spiru-tein. They had the larger canisters of cookies and cream (which I didn't care for) but not the cookie dough. I liked the spiru-tein because it also replaces my multi-vitamin. Less protein than Biochem Sports but additional vitamins and minerals.

I noticed the cookie flavors pack extra sugar and extra calories (duh-- I should have realized that earlier). They had an unsweetened vanilla that sounded right up my alley but it turns out that was $2 more expensive than the flavors. So I grabbed cappuccino. 

Today we had Plant Fusion Cookies and Créme. Too chocolately for me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall flavors chicken salad

Yesterday, I used my Target pharmacy rewards and did a huge shopping order-- household items, Christmas shopping, clothing and groceries. My fridge and freezer are so full I had to toss a whole chicken in the crockpot yesterday. 

Today I have chicken bone stock brewing and I made some of the chicken into chicken salad.

I used about 32 ounces (?) chicken.
My other dry ingredients were:
- the biggest organic carrot I've ever seen, which, once my daughter peeled and grated it, yielded about 1 1/2 cups
- a small local apple, also grated
- and two tablespoons of the cranberry-clementine-almond relish I made last fall.

And the dressing:
- about two teaspoons mayo
- about one teaspoon organic peppercorn ranch dressing
- about two tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Plant Fusion

I bought two flavors of Plant Fusion protein powder. Today I tried chocolate raspberry. These powders (except for the rice protein) taste amazingly similar and most sweeten with stevia. This one tasted fine, had the same clumps of most everyone else and packed 21 g of protein.

I drank a few gulps, determined it to be like most of its peer and mixed a cup of cold coffee into it. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spiru-tein and tuna sandwiches

No exercise. Crappy diet. That's me today. Tried to make up for eating croissants and brownies and pizza earlier by having a tuna sandwich (with only one slice of bread) topped with alfalfa sprouts and a side of raw cauliflower.

Had bad need regarding a friend's health today and spent three hours at the vet's office. Our youngest cat has a chronic urinary tract disease and he developed a blockage. I had made the very difficult decision to have him put down because I don't know if we can afford the ongoing maintenance of his condition. Today's bill would have been $1,500 to relieve the blockage but not correct the condition.

This is Oz, after I made the decision to euthanize him.

But at the last minute the vet found another solution! The animal hospital would subsidize his corrective surgery if we allowed a student surgeon to perform it as a teaching case. $1500 reduced to $600, all inclusive, and he gets his surgery not just treatment.

I'm still waiting to hear how he did. I obviously said yes.

So that's why I'm carbohydrate queen today. 

Figured I'd go ahead and try today's protein powder with dinner, Spiru-tein cookies and cream flavor. 

Only 14 grams of protein, lots of nutrients and a reasonable price point. ($1.99 for the sample.) My daughter loved it, but it left me ambivalent. Drinkable, not too sweet, but more like a thick flavored milk. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vega plant-based tropical tango smoothie

I expect today to be one of my less active days. I work less than six hours as a closer tonight (probably yield walking about 4 miles). I'm doing laundry and studying for my GREs. A week from today! 

I might even consider skipping today's protein shake sample and review... But yesterday was fairly intense exercise-wise, doing c25k in the morning, then weights and then working 1 to 9:30 p.m. at the store. I burned about 900 extra calories doing all that so needless to say, I ate four meals instead of three yesterday: breakfast, protein shake, lunch, early dinner and late dinner (with dessert). 

My main plans for today are laundry, a lunch date and taking daughter to Girl Scouts. I decided to have one of the lighter protein shakes today because 1. According to my calorie counter I had a deficit of 12 grams protein yesterday so while my activity level may not require it today, I will assume my body is still recovering.
2. A mid morning protein shake is a better choice than something like french fries at the diner today.
3. I was really anxious to try this one.

Now, the ingredients scare me a little. So many vegetables... What will this taste like?

It wouldn't dissolve well no matter how hard I shook. But even the lumps tasted fine.

Yup. This one definitely could be a nice addition to a fruit smoothie.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Today's salad

II love a big crunchy salad, but I like mine with unorthodox items in it. Like this one:

It's mostly normal... Romaine lettuce, organic carrots peeled into ribbons, even my sprouts aren't that weird. I used my homemade sesame peanut dressing and added crispy onion straws, sesame sticks and dried kiwi.

Biochem sports whey

Today I did C25k and did some heavy weights but not for a long time. My body feels the effort I put forth so I thought I'd use one of the heavier powders today. Since the vegan vanilla Biochem Sports powder was the tastiest and easiest to dissolve, I selected their whey today (also vanilla).

I think part of the reason these taste like milkshakes is because they are sweetened with stevia.

Again, it dissolved well and tasted great though a few big lumps were very stubborn no matter how hard I shook. Weird thing is... Even the lumps tasted good. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

NutriBiotic Raw Rice Protein Powder

So today I did not do a heavy work out. Yesterday I lifted weights and walked 11 miles by the end of the day. Today I took it easy and decided my walk would be a three mile leisure stroll to my daughter's swim lessons. 

I entered my projected food for the day into my calorie counter and saw I was about fifteen grams of protein short of protein levels even for a not very active day. And I had chicken for breakfast and lunch! 

I thought this would be a good time to test a rice protein powder since it has less protein than the pea, hemp, soy or whey. 

I tried the Nutribiotic Raw Rice Protein in Mixed Berry. 

It smelled great, like Berry Berry kiss. Gluten free. Vegan. Only 60 calories. 12 grams protein, less than 2 g carbohydrates, 2 mg iron and 80 mg phosphorous. Cheap, as the sample was $1.25.

Initially shaking looked good.

Daughter hated it. I likened the finished product (mixed with vanilla soy milk) to pouring the milk in an empty box of cereal and drinking the crumbs. This would have to go in a smoothie to fix the texture and lack of flavor. It's not terrible as much as it doesn't dissolve well and has a taste like unsweetened Kix. I drank it, but it wasn't something I enjoyed.

It doesn't have any other nutrients and the protein count is half what most of the others are... So I don't know if it's a product that would be useful to me.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Biochem Sports Vegan Protein

Today, I doubled my previous reps on my weight training circuit after eating a burger, chips, beer and shots of fireball whiskey at 10 p.m. last night. Good news is it's 11 a.m. and that extra 1,000 calories I consumed last night still has me full. But, after the workout, I needed something and since I'm testing protein powders anyway...

Today I picked Biochem Sports 100% vegan protein in vanilla. I "test" all the powders the same: shaken in 8 ounces vanilla soy milk. 

This one has a nasty smell, but dissolves the best of any contestants thus far. It really seemed tasteless, the vanilla blending into the soy milk I suppose. The result also had the best mouth feel so far. 

It's not a nutritional protein shake and had a moderate price. (all the samples I picked were single serving portions between $1.79 and $3.79). This sample was $2.79 at my local Nature's Way market, which, for protein powder was comparable to Wegmans.

The protein blend contains pea protein, organic hemp seed protein and cranberry protein. Also contains medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Crazy Cauliflower Curry

On my trip to Wegmans today I saw (and bought) the BIGGEST head of cauliflower ever. I wanted to make one of my favorite Indian dishes, but I don't know the name of it to find a recipe.

So I visited And found a recipe to base mine on, but not follow because I don't have the same ingredients or plan to follow their directions.

You were supposed to start with 3 large onions. I don't have onions but I do have about three tablespoons chives from my garden... See how this starts? Already! 

This is what I did...
I sautéed the following in my pan, adding water as it grew pasty:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- about three tablespoons shredded red cabbage
- one small organic carrot peeled into ribbons
- about 1/4 cup zesty sprouts 
- tons of garlic powder
- tons of ginger
- about 3 tablespoons curry powder
- about one tablespoon cumin
- a pinch hot Indian chili powder
- a teaspoon paprika
- the pulp and last ounce or two of Goya coconut water

Until it looked like this:

Then I added a can of petit diced tomatoes and some parsley. Brought that to a boil and poured it into the crock pot on high.

I added about a head of cauliflower and one cup unsalted cashews I had ground in the food processor.

I added water to cover the cauliflower. 

Now it looks like this:

Periodically I stir it. The house smells great but I haven't tasted it yet.

Oh my goodness! It's fabulous!

Vega One Chai

So, my free calorie counter app says I should get about 100 grams of protein a day based on my current activity levels. With carbs consuming about 50% of my diet, I only get 50-60 grams on average. Hence the dabbling with protein powders.

Yesterday I tried a whey powder and my daughter and I both liked it. I didn't put in it the blender as we had smoothies for breakfast Wednesday and washing the blender hadn't happened. It all honesty, I had washed certain parts last night and tossed the glass pitcher in the dishwasher. It was lumpy, but not grossly so. I bought vanilla as vanilla is my favorite flavor. 

I am intentionally doing my taste tests without making full on fancy shakes because I want to taste the drink. I used Very Vanilla soy milk yesterday and ran out today. Wegmans didn't have Very Vanilla so I tried the store brand. Day two and I've skewed my results.

Today I'm trying Vega One chai flavor.

First impression: darn, this is green.

Now it's a vegan, soy free product so I don't know what color I expected a plant-based protein to be.

Verdict: less lumpy than the whey. I did not get chai out of the taste. I got green, and I'm okay with green. Not sure it's worth the extra cost unless I were looking for the nutritional benefits. Flavor of the whey was better, but texture was better with vega one.

And I think the soy milk isn't as good as Silk.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Protein powder

Well, it's come to this. I keep losing weight. And I don't want to anymore. I've lost 30 pounds. I don't want to cut back on my work-outs because I'm trying to strengthen my legs and upper body to combat various health issues.

So I need to eat more.

Except I'm not a fruit eater. I love veggies but they don't have much of a calorie count. Processed carbs? Chips? Cakes? Candy? Yes, I love ALL of them. But I want to eat cleaner than that.

I need protein. And I'm not a big meat eater. Most days my calorie counter says I run a protein deficit and despite working to remedy this, I just don't have enough protein foods that I enjoy that are healthy. Chicken and fish? Blech. Peanut butter and cheese, absolutely but then I overload on fat.

So I checked out the protein powders at Target today. We have some BIG cans. I don't want to invest quite that much into this experiment. 

I went to Nature's Way. Got these sample sized packets. One serving.

I tried good old fashioned whey powder after my weight training today. I liked it. I mixed it with Very Vanilla soy milk. My daughter says it tasted like a milkshake. A lumpy milkshake, in my view.

I loaded it into my calorie counter-- I STILL have a protein deficit. Le Sigh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Quick meals

Tomorrow we're doing a drumstick meal similar to last week but we're using a mango sauce instead of lemon pepper.

Tonight I sautéed beef cubes in Saffron Road harissa medium simmer sauce and added green peppers and carrots.

Looks great:
This was fabulous! The Saffron Road harissa simmer sauce was perfect for my family's desire for a not spicy harissa. I drowned mine in spicy harissa from Tunisia.

Today's chicken turned out fine. I'm still not a fan of drumsticks but I love the vegetables marinated in the same sauce.