Tag: Kale

The Learning Curve

What a strange journey this has been so far…. I have learned quite a bit about myself in the these last three months. The highlights?

  1. Soy hates me
  2. I hate nutritional yeast
  3. I can do this

I am bummed about the soy. It removes more than half of the recipes that are labeled “vegan.” It also makes eating out super hard, but whatever. I would rather ditch soy than feel like a homicidal maniac for the week it takes to clear my system.

I am also a little bummed about nutritional yeast, which is another staple of the vegan diet. Looking for cheesy flavor? Add nutritional yeast. I don’t have anything specific against it, other than it reminds me of my first desperate weeks trying to find things that worked. I made myself a Dijon dressing about 3 days in that was heavy on that particular ingredient and I used it for salad dressing and for veggie dip. Now, whenever I get a whiff of it, I get a knot in my stomach. Brains are weird.

The most important thing I have learned, though, is that I can do this! I have become more resourceful as I go and food choices are becoming easier and less stressful.

Take this evening, for example. Today is my day off, so I usually try to make something a bit more time and labor intensive than on the nights I work. Those nights are the nights I save for meals that take half hour or less, because traffic sucks and I get home later than I would like.

I was planning dinner when my daughter came downstairs and asked if we could dye her hair. She leaves for camp next week and it has become something of a tradition to kick of the beginning of summer by heading to camp with crazy hair. This year she chose a nice shade of raspberry. It takes about 2 hours for the whole process.  Dinner be hanged, I have a colorful quest to fulfill!

So now, her hair is done and off she goes to piano lessons and I am stuck wondering what I should make for dinner. I have a bit more than an hour. I hit up Pinterest. I find Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale.  Perfect. I have Trader Joe’s Lentils in the fridge so I can skip the 20 minute lentil cooking step.

I sauté 2 medium shallots in water, then add a Tablespoon or so of fresh garlic.

Then I add 2 lbs. chopped mushrooms and cooked until tender.

A splash (2 tsp or so) of white wine vinegar and just a pinch (1 tsp.) of Tamari (soy hates me, remember?) Then about 3 cups of vegetable broth along with the whole package of pre-cooked lentils. 

I added some pink Himalayan salt, pepper and a bunch of spices. I didn’t measure but here is an approximation:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

I simmered about 15 minutes, then took 1/2 the mixture and put it in my VitaMix and blended until smooth. I poured it back into the pot. 

I added 2/3 cup of unsweetened rice milk and a small container of baby kale. 

I simmered until the kale was wilted and served it  up. YUM! For next time, the family asked me to please leave the kale out, it was a bit too bitter for them but the lentils were good and everyone agreed it could go into the regular dinner rotation.

Ah, it’s good to feel a bit of confidence in the kitchen, again.

Oh, and just for the record, I am down 34 pounds. Yay, me!


The Power of Numbers

Why are numbers so powerful in our lives? They can influence you in ways you never thought possible, both good and bad.

Take the scale for instance. A higher number than you expect on that particular instrument of torture can send weeks of dedication and work spiraling down the toilet. Too many times in my life  I have given up completely because of gaining 2 pounds after losing 10 or even 20 pounds.  This is why this particular journey has nothing to do with weight loss (even though it is a beautiful and much needed side effect.). This time it is about health and being pain free.

That being said, do you have any idea how humbling it is to admit your weight on a platform that other people can, and will, see? Why does a number somehow make it worse? 225? Because saying it out loud will somehow make you think worse of me? Because if I didn’t say it out loud, my pants wouldn’t still be plus size? You wouldn’t be able to see my rolls and bulges?

But there is a flip side to those powerful numbers. A beautiful flip side. It is your friends. The power of numbers to encourage, support, cheer on and even join you in your battle.

I have an amazing husband who has gone vegan with me, for no other reason than he wants me to succeed and for my life to be easier.

I have an amazing sister who has also joined me in an effort to support and encourage me from afar (she lives 1,000 long miles away.)

I have friends who share their recipes as well as their struggles.

I have friends who rallied with me when The Old Spaghetti Factory removed spaghetti squash from its menu. They put it back on the menu on Saturdays at my local restaurant thanks to everyone who contacted them! 😘

Even the receptionist at my chiropractor’s office is cheering me on! She shared with me this amazing recipe that I have added into my weekly rotation. Oh, how delicious it is. Savory, crunchy, creamy, filling and oh so satisfying.


Find the recipe here.

Once again, minor modifications were in order. I substituted chopped dates for the sugar in the roasted chickpeas and left out the oil, of course.  Hurry up and make it already!

Oh, and if you are one of those that I am blessed to call friend, thank you. You have no idea how much it means to me.