Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vegan Gumbo

Delicous and very good for you!  I've heavily adapted this recipe from Emeril Lagasse's Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo.  The vegetable ingredients are totally negotiable.  I've swapped in mushrooms, tomatoes, or zucchini and it always comes out delicious.

1 cup vegetable oil (or your favorite plant oil)
1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole grain flour) 
1 1/2 cups chopped onions 
1 cup chopped celery 
1 cup chopped bell peppers
 1 package of Tofurkey Italian Sausage - cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 tsp cayenne
1 cup of Textured Vegetable Protein
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 tsp paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon of minced garlic 
1 tsp onion powder (optional)
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried thyme.
Salt to taste if you prefer.
6 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups of cooked brown rice.

  1. Combine the oil and flour in a small pot over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 15 - 20 minutes  minutes, make a medium brown roux, the color of light peanut butter. 
  2. Saute the tofurkey sausage, onions, celergy and bell peppers in a large stock pot with a few teaspoons of your favorite plant oil.  Saute until onions soften and the sausage browns a bit, then add the vegetabel stock/water.  Add spices, cilantro/parsley and textured vegetable protein.  Bring to a simmer.
  3. Once the roux is a nice light brown (careful, once it starts to burn it burns fast), add it to the stock pot of gumbo.  Add it slowly and be careful as it will bubble up some.  Stir well and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves if you can find them.  (I end up just warning everyone that they're in there.)
  4. Serve in bowls over rice, topped with the green onion.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Vegan Pesto Mayonnaise

Adapted from The Healthy Hipster's Recipe

This is a delicious spread for just about any sandwich that you would use mayo for flavor.  The only adaptations for the recipe are due to what I had on hand.  It's so delicious that I wanted to share it with you.  All credit for this goes to The Healthy Hipster!

1/4 cup dried basil (or 1 cup fresh)
1/4 package silken tofu
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 tsp almond butter
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Blend until smooth.  Keeps in the fridge for about 5 days.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Shake

Adapted from The Vegan Stoner's Oat Shake Recipe

Blend together:
12 ounces of almond milk
1 banana, chopped and frozen
1 apple, sliced
3 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 cup cooked old fashioned oatmeal
2 scoops of soy protein powder - vanilla

Makes 2 full glasses of shake.  Share with a friend or save one for later!

I replaced the soy milk with almond milk due to my own preference.  Feel free to use soy instead if you wish.  Instead of the pinch of cinnamon that the original recipe calls for, I added the peanut butter to give the shake more calories and good fats from the nuts.  Vegans sometimes struggle to get their calories in and nuts are a great way to get some healthy fats.  The original recipe didn't call for adding protein, which seems to be a big oversight.  Getting enough protein every day is vital!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eating Out With Realistic Portions

No, I didn't eat this all by myself!
Shortly after weight loss surgery, when I would go to eat out, I would order a cup of soup, a house salad or some small appetizer.  More often than not, I had leftovers to take home.  Those first few months you can't eat much, so keeping your portion sizes under control is fairly easy.

After a while, it's possible to eat more and restaurants are more than happy to oblige.  Portion sizes for meals at most restaurants are 2-3 times the correct size.  Eating twice the food that you should is not a great way to lose weight or maintain your weight loss.  Fortunately, I have developed a few strategies that are simple and work for me.
  1. Split a meal with someone.  It's cost effective.  It always surprises the waitress, but no one needs to eat that much food by themselves.
  2. Eat the foods that "don't keep well" first.  Anything that will turn soggy or will not reheat well gets eaten first off my plate.
  3. Declare aloud and to yourself that you're done eating when you feel full.  Stop eating, no more nibbling at this point.  This is a hard one for me.
  4. Ask for a to-go box for your leftovers as soon as you can flag down the waitress once you've decided that you're full.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Providers

I'm posting this in case this information is helpful to people considering weight loss surgery.

My health insurance company at the time of my surgery: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empire.  My approval only took a few months and was pretty painless.

My surgeon:  Doctor Moran.  Doctor Moran's office hosts free informational seminars about the three types of weight loss surgery he performs, the positives and negatives of each and the journey to getting approved for weight loss surgery.  They give you very detailed information about your pre and post dietary needs, especially for the first few months after surgery.  If you go, make sure to write down that Melissa Moritz referred you so that I get some free vitamins!

My nutritionist:  Jennifer Hunt.  Jennifer is right on track with her recommendations and I highly recommend that anyone looking for help with their diet in the Raleigh area contact  her for an appointment.  Most insurance companies will pay for a few visits per year to a nutritionist.

Monday, December 3, 2012

150 lb Goal Met!

Healthier & Happier

I hit my goal weight this morning. I now weigh 150 lbs.  According to the government and my health insurance company, I am no longer overweight but at the top edge of "normal".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spicy Sausage and Bean Soup

I made this soup on the fly the other day with ingredients on hand.  My friends were impressed, so I thought I'd share the recipe!

  • 1 lb of spicey sausage
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves of sliced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cans of beans various beans of your choice
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons caynne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  1. If using ground sausage, break into small pieces.  If using sausage in a casing, slice into 1/2 inch coins.
  2. In stock pot, saute sausage, onion and garlic in the olive oil until sausage is browned over medium heat (approximately 5-7 minutes).
  3. Deglaze pan by adding 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  Add the beans.
  4. Stir in spices, pepper sauce and soy sauce and simmer for 30 minutes to incorporate the flavors and heat the soup.