Friday, April 20, 2012

Lunch Box: Black Sesame Saffron Rice and Tangy Soy Curls

It's not uncommon for me to walk through the front door after work to a warm house full of delicious smells and the sounds of stirring, blending, or pots banging. My boyfriend loves hanging out and creating in the kitchen as much as I do.   I feel so lucky to get a nourishing home cooked meal after a twelve hour work shift, but also to have left-overs for an awesome lunch the next day!   

This gorgeous meal of brown jasmine rice with saffron and black sesame seeds is not just pretty to look at, but the taste is incredible.  Pan fried apple cider vinegar soy curls are on the side, which are crispy, chewy, salty and tart.  This combo is perfect on a bed of spinach.   I love taking food this beautiful and vibrant to work because I get a lot of questions about it and I can spread the word about tasty vegan food.  

We usually don't eat fake meat products because they tend to be hard to digest and often have ingredients that we're not into, but soy curls have been going down just fine for both of us.  Our favorite way to make curls is to rehydrate them in warm water then pan fry with seasoning and vinegar to taste.  

I've had a long, busy, exhausting week and I'm really looking forward to a beautiful weekend and the opportunity to go for a long run by the river.  Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lunch Box: Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash, Sweet Potato and Kale

Hello!  I'm feeling so much better after last weekend's gluten invasion sickness.  There are still a few lingering symptoms, but overall I'm feeling good.  No more gluten for me, no thank you!  This lunch box looked extra pretty to me, so I thought I'd share.  From top left:  azuki beans with kabocha squash, sweet potato with black sesame seeds, and steamed kale with umeboshi vinegar.  This is a good example of how I've been eating lately.  Real, whole, unprocessed foods.  Local and in season as much as possible.  Vegan and gluten free, of course.  Lucky for me these foods taste amazing just the way they are.  Bravo, tastebuds!  

For the azuki beans and the kabocha squash I use this recipe from the Kind Life blog:
*edit - Shoyu is not gluten free.  I use Bragg's or gf tamari as a substitute in this recipe.  Thanks for noticing this Bitt! 

The sweet potato is just baked until soft then scooped out of the skin and sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt and black sesame seeds.

The kale is simply steamed and sprinkled with umeboshi plum vinegar.

Hope you're having a great week!  What are you having for lunch today?

Monday, April 16, 2012

This Blog Is Going Gluten Free!

Hello!  In my last post I brought up going gluten free.  Well, turns out I feel about a million times better when I'm not eating gluten.  Things that I thought were "normal" like cramping, bloating, and extreme fatigue after meals became non-existent after a month of being gluten free.  I'll admit I had some suspicions about gluten for quite some time before I did anything about it.  I just didn't want to give up bread!  But once my system cleared out and I started feeling the real "normal" sans gluten I found that I didn't even want the stuff.  Why eat something that was obviously making me feel like crap?  And finally, my decision to go gluten free was validated yesterday....
That's me, in Astoria, about to visit the Goonies house!  I grew up on the Oregon coast and have 2 friends that lived in the Goonies house at different times and I was a huge fan of the movie when I was a kid.
Do you recognize it from the movie?  Anyways... what does this have to do with my gluten free experience?  Well, while in Astoria we ate lunch at a cute little cafe that offered vegan and gluten free options.  Finding a place along the coast with vegan options isn't always easy, let alone vegan and gluten free.  What happened next is totally my fault.  I ordered something that I assumed was gluten free even though it wasn't advertised as such because I didn't want to annoy the person taking my order with more questions. Part way through eating we guessed that the injera (Ethiopian flat bread traditionally made with gluten free teff flour) was made with a combo of teff and whole wheat flour.  Like I said, I should have known better and I could have saved myself a lot of pain if I would have just inquired about the ingredients.

My second mistake was finishing the bread, but can you blame me?  Look at that pretty plate of food!  I kept eating, thinking "Ok, so I'll be a little bloated after this".   And sure enough, the bloating happened, plus more.  Waaaay more.  To the extent of missing the next day at work.  It was a miserable experience and a valuable lesson.  First of all, I'm committed to staying gluten free.  No bread is worth having to go through that again.  And second, I really should have just asked about the bread.  Sheesh.  Another thing I've been pondering is this:  If having gluten made me feel this terrible, what has it been doing to my body all of this time?  I'm happy to be rid of it.

So, from now on this blog is going to be gluten free too.  The food nerd in me is super excited to experiment with new ingredients and see what I can come up with that's tasty and makes me feel the best.  A good handful of my blog friends and blogs that I read are already gluten free, but if you know of any awesome blogs, books, or websites please leave me a link in comments.  I'm soaking up all the info I can get my hands on right now.