Vegan Tuna and Egg Salads

vegan egg and tuna 1

Can I just point out, that like yesterday, when I gave you TWO recipes for the price of ONE (shawarma seitan and spiced mashed potatoes), today I am giving two recipes as well.  I hope you will look upon me kindly when we get to the end of the month, I am burned out and behind, and am putting up recipes for things like toast, and tea.

Day Two and we’re headed out of the Middle East and westward ho into American Jewish territory. Egg and tuna salad on bagels, baby!  I don’t miss very many dishes since becoming vegan in 2009, but the whole egg and tuna salad on bagels thing was a comfort food combo that I did often pine for, especially breaking the fast on Yom Kippur.  So I am delighted to finally be able to recreate it for my break-fast this year.  The yummy and easy bagel recipe will be up tomorrow, stayed tuned.  I also have a chopped liver spread recipe that goes well with the “bagel and a shmear” category.  I’ll blog that one too.

Both of today’s recipes were inspired by The Happy Herbiviore’s.  I used those as my starting place and then did my usual thang to them.  Honestly I was afraid of the egg salad as it uses uncooked tofu and I thought that would be gross.  So I only made half a recipe and then it was so good that I ate it all and had to make more.  Then the tuna salad, which I thought I would love, ended up being kind of meh.  It was saved the following day when it became a tuna melt.  More on that below…

Both salads call for sweet pickle relish which I’m sure you can find here somewhere, but rather than hunt it down, I just chopped up a regular pickle, added some sugar and some vinegar and bam, close enough.  You can play with the amounts of sweetener and vinegar to suit your taste buds.  I like things to be strongly flavored.

The tuna salad also calls for kelp granules which I order from vitacost.  I actually use it regularly as a salt-like seasoning, as it contains iodine, which is one of the important nutrients that can come up short on a vegan diet.  If you don’t have any, I imagine you could crumble some nori sheets or some dried kelp – both available at most health food stores or the Asian section of most grocery stores.  Or you could leave it out, but then you won’t have a fishy sort of taste to your tuna.

Vegan Tuna and Egg Salads

Vegan Tuna and Egg Salads

Ingredients

    For Egg Salad
  • 1 block (300g) firm tofu
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 Tbsp pickle relish (OR 2 minced pickles + 2 tsp sugar + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black salt (can use regular, but black salt has a slightly sulfurous taste, similar to eggs)
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • For Tuna Salad
  • 1 can (560g) chickpeas, drained
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 2 Tbsp pickle relish (OR 2 minced pickles + 2 tsp sugar + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp granulated kelp (or crumbled nori or kelp)
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

Instructions

    For Egg Salad
  1. Chop the tofu into small squares.
  2. Mix with all other ingredients.
  3. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
  4. For the Tuna Salad
  5. Mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork
  6. Mix in remaining ingredients.
  7. Adjust seasonings to your taste
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As mentioned above, the next day I made a tuna melt by spreading 1/4 cup of the tuna salad on a slice of bread, topping it with a slice of vegan cheese and broiling until the cheese melted. It was fabulous!

vegan tuna melt

 

And because I know you are going to ask, the brand of Vegan Cheese I used is called Violife and it is made in Greece.  They make it from coconut oil rather than soy and I think it really tastes pretty good.  There are many flavors, the above one is tomato-basil, my favorite.  For local peeps, I buy it at Shufersol and the package looks like this:

vegan cheese

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Seitan Shawarma and Spiced Mashed Potatoes

Oakey Dokey Artichokies, it’s September 1st, so it must be time for…

940x198_r1_header2014 Edition  ~ TaDa!

Our first recipe up this year turned out so spectacularly delicious that I ate it all right up and wished I had more.  Shawarma is something I have never actually eaten but I enticed my shawarma-lovin family members to taste test this for me and not only did they say that I got the shawarma taste and texture spot-on, we then had a shark-like feeding frenzy as we all competed to get more into our mouths.  OK, in case they read this and then publicly call me a liar liar pants on fire, that only happened in my fantasy.  In truth, I only gave them a taste to confirm shawarma-ness, and then horded the rest for myself.  That’s called good parenting by the way.

The original recipe can be found in Hebrew on walla food HERE.

Now, if you’ll remember from last year, my MoFo recipes will be using some less common Middle Eastern spices.  Maybe you have spices left over from last year and now you can use them up!  You’re welcome.  Today’s recipe uses Baharat, which wikipedia says comes from Turkish and Iranian cuisines.  They also give a recipe to make it in case you can’t find it. Or, you can just throw in a dash each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg,and cardamom and enjoy a similar flavor.

As for seitan, for those who don’t know, seitan is simply wheat gluten.  If you have celiac or gluten intolerance, you obviously want to avoid it, but others need not be frightened of it.  Some think it’s a “processed food” but you can easily make it at home, just by washing flour until the starch all runs off.  The gluten that remains is then stewed in broth and becomes meat-like in texture.  Seitan is high in protein and low in carbs, has no fat or cholesterol and makes a great addition to a healthy diet, especially a vegan one.  If you find it makes you gassy, just eat smaller portions and see how you do with that. You can buy it in the store usually flavored in different sauces. For this recipe, I just used plain, original flavor.

 

Seitan Shawarma and Spiced Mashed Potatoes

Serving Size: 2-3

Seitan Shawarma and Spiced Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

    For the Seitan:
  • 1 package seitan, plain flavor (In Israel this is 350g)
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Baharat (see above)
  • 1/2 tsp black salt (use white salt if you don't have black)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil for frying (or can use a non-stick pan and no oil)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp tahina
  • For the mashed potatoes
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped green onions, cilantro or parsley for garnish as desired

Instructions

    For the seitan:
  1. Cut the seitan into bite-sized strips
  2. Mix the dry spices in a bowl and toss in seitan strips until well coated. Set aside while preparing everything else.
  3. Saute the onions and peppers in oil (or in non-stick pan) until softening and starting to carmelize.
  4. Add the seitan and cook until crispy and golden.
  5. Remove from heat and stir the lemon juice and the tahina. (I was afraid of this tahina step because I thought it would be awful, but it made the dish amazing. Do not omit the tahina!)
  6. For the mashed potatoes:
  7. Boil the potatoes in water, curry and turmeric until they are soft.
  8. Drain water (potatoes will be yellow from having cooked in the spice water)
  9. Mash the potatoes adding oil and if you want, some plant milk or water to the texture you prefer
  10. Season with salt and pepper
  11. To Plate: Place potatoes in a round, shallow bowl. Pile seitan and veggies on top.
  12. Sprinkle with chopped green onions, cilantro or parsley if you wish.
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Vegan MoFo 2014 Coming Right Up

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Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food anual blogging challenge begins on September 1, 2014.  This will be my third year participating I think.  Because the challenge happens right before the Jewish holidays and many of my readers have holiday meal prep on their minds, my theme will once again be veganizing some Jewish and Middle Eastern favorites.

I need to put up 20 posts in 30 days to complete the challenge.  Last week I already started choosing recipes, making my blog calendar, assembling all needed ingredients.  Today hopefully I’ll get some things pre-cooked and photographed.

mofo planning

There is no time to do recipe development and testing with this blogging pace, so however things turn out is how they show up here.  Oh the thrill.

If you are not already subscribed to get my posts by email, you can do so in the upper right corner of the page.  Also you can check the MoFo website after the event begins to get the RSS feed of all the participating blogs (warning: you will have no time for anything else for the entire month if you read all those blogs!). They also have a breakdown by country and theme.  Last year I was the only Israeli participating and I think the only blog from the Middle East!  I wonder if this year will be different?  You can also follow their page on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

I don’t want to ruin the suspense, but I can tempt a little by saying we will hopefully have recipes for vegan bagels, bialys, chopped liver, egg salad, tuna salad, challah, matzoh ball soup, spanikopita, meatballs in sweet and sour sauce, beet hummus, Syrian lentils, Tunisian squash, Freekah with dried limes and crusty potatoes, and maybe even vegan gefilte fish and schnitzel!!

Are you tempted?  I hope so!

Let me know if there are any other dishes you’d like to see veganized and I will try to work it in.

So I will see you back here on Monday, September 1st with recipe #1!!!

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The Emotional Eating Bottom Line

I want to start off today by sincerely thanking all of you who have written to me with words of love, strength, and support.  There have been times when I have been very low and one of your emails has meant the difference between chin up or down.

Thank you.

So the task of blogging this very personal business from the midst of a complicated war continues to be basically impossible.  I keep thinking that things will get better and tomorrow I can return to a post on The 10 Best Uses for Chickpea Flour.  But then something worse happens here – something that even yesterday was unthinkable – and I can’t even remember how to spell “chickpea flour”, let alone how to use it.

Things became personal for me last week with an event a friend said “virtually wiped out your seven degrees of separation”.  At one point, as I listened to the unbearable agony of someone dear, my heart hurt so much that I thought I was having a heart attack.  I wanted a pair of scissors with which to pry the damn thing out of my chest in order to get some relief!

That experience made me remember something that I have wanted to tell you.  I have been trying to write a series for the blog on Emotional Eating, as it is probably THE one big main reason that people fail at long-term weight control.  We can stay on top of our food intake when things are going smoothly, but throw in overwhelm, stress, anger, crisis, fear, worry, loss, pain, etc and we go face first into the Ben and Jerry’s.

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Overcoming Emotional Eating is something I teach my clients in a 4-month program.  It is vitally important for long-term weight management, but there are several steps and it requires patience and practice.  But as I contemplated a heart-ectomy the other day, I realized there is a bottom line I could share with you.

I am, and always have been, super sensitive and empathetic.  I feel every little pea under the mattress as though it is a boulder of unbearably tragic proportions.  I have also come to recognize that many people who struggle with Emotional Eating are similarly blessed in the super sensitive feelings department.  WE FEEL and we feel deeply.  And because we feel so deeply, we often feel the deep need to ESCAPE the feelings.

To put it bluntly, we feel that we will DIE if we experience our unpleasant feelings!! Oh the drama!

We think we have to eat something in order to escape our feelings.  (Not unlike others feel the need to drink, gamble, use drugs, shop, self-harm… to each his own escape!)

What I want you to understand and learn at the very most basic level is that your feelings will not kill you and if you just stop to feel them, they will pass.

You do not need to run away, numb yourself, distract yourself, stuff your face, have the drink…  You can just FEEL.

That’s right, you just sit there feeling your feelings.  It’s not fun, I’m not going to lie.  Your mind monkeys will raise holy hell “We have to get out of here!!!  We are going to DIE from grief!!  Run away!  Find some cookies!  Only Jack Daniels can save us!” (Hoosier mind monkeys live here).  There will be all sorts of calamity predictions clanging.

But all you have to do is sit there and breathe and feel.

You might need to first correctly identify the feelings.  On Saturday, as I felt unbearable pain listening to a family begging G-d for the return of their child, I closed my eyes and asked “What is the feeling?”  Pain, Sorrow, Worry, and then the biggie, what if it were MY son?  OK, now we are getting somewhere. Those first three are valid feelings.  I can feel them.  They suck but they won’t pull me under.  No, it’s that third, that monkey called Anxiety Projection that was truly unseating me.  I do not need to entertain those thoughts.  I can choose.

Feel your feelings.  Understand your feelings.  They will not drown you if you can really reach in and ask “what’s the feeling here?” and see clearly what belongs to you and what does not.

The best news of all is that when you stop trying to run away from your feelings, not only does Emotional Eating go away, but you actually get to be happier, less freaked out by everything, less reactionary, and mentally stronger over all.

And for those of us whose mission is to help others, you really cannot help anyone else when you have pushed back or run away from your own emotions.  Only from a place of being free to feel and express your feelings can you truly help others deal with theirs.

If you’d like more help with this, there are still a few spots left in the Summer Special but they are going fast.  Click here to see the calendar, details and book.

And if you enjoy my writings, please share with your friends by using the share buttons below, on FB or twitter etc. thankyouverymuch

 

wound is the place

Don’t run away from the light.

The only way out is through.

You can do it.

You are stronger than you think you are.

I believe in you.

love, em

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Summer Special Announced!!

UPDATE: The Summer is over and the Summer Special is not longer available.  If you would like to book a trial session for the 4-month program, click this page.

Ah, thinking back to 2 weeks ago when I naively wondered what would happen if I was on my way to the gym when the air raid sirens went off.   Well, since then I have had the unique opportunity to overcome that particular fear several times. I have lain face down in the gravel on the sidewalk while sirens wailed and rockets flew over head.  Then stood up, dusted myself off, waited for my heart to resume a normal tempo, and continued my trek to the source of my mental stability and physical strength, The Gym.

I have also experienced sirens while at the gym itself…

sehlter at gym

(running to the shelter)

-while in the shower…

shower shelter

(dripping in the shelter)

-while out running… (lay stomach-down on the ground, hands protecting head)

-while at the grocery store… (larger stores have bomb shelters, smaller ones invite you into their supply room)

-while working with clients… (when you are both on skype, the call continues as one or both of you gets up and goes to a safe room.)

-while at home with my youngest son and freaked out pup…

-and on Friday, as we sat down to Shabbat dinner, not only were there sirens, but I got a first row seat to the Iron Dome demolition show as I peered out the window at 2 rockets headed seemingly straight for my building!  My kids tried to reassure their now hysterical mother than they were really far away and only LOOKED close.  On Sunday morning when we learned that the exploded fragments of one of those rockets indeed fell 5 miles from here, I was morbidly vindicated.

We have definitely had better days, my friends.  I have struggled like crazy to keep myself from going to The Dark Place.  My family and friends help me get my shit back together when I start to unravel.  I hope I do the same for them.  But I also understand quite painfully that other people are having far worse summers – in other parts of Israel that are harder hit, in Gaza, in Iraq and Syria, within the families with casualties, there is more than enough human suffering to go around.  I constantly remind myself to stay grateful.

One of the ways that I do that is to keep working and doing good in the world.  I am focusing on my amazing clients and delighting in their inspiring and exciting accomplishments!  Therefore, for this month, August, I have decided to offer something I have never offered before – a mini coaching program!

Instead of having to commit to the usual 4 months and big bucks,  we will just work together on a single issue or two for one single month, until you have complete mastery of it.  I think it will be really fun and will allow people who don’t have 4 months worth of issues, or who just want a taste of working with me, to make August a super, amazing month!

The link for the Summer Special is here.  SOLD OUT!

You know, there are good things that have come out of this nightmare of war.  There is a renewed and revitalized grassroots peace movement.  As a country, Israel has bonded and mended internal fences, left and right, Arab and Jew.  Worldwide, we have all had to confront how much really vicious anti-Semitism there still is in Europe and other places in the world.  I think that was a real wake-up call for many of us. I feel like as a whole, the world has been sleeping, coasting by good-enough-itis, procrastinating, thinking we have all the time in the world.  We have been like complacent Lotus-Eaters but now we are waking up and confronting the reality that the world is ill and we all have an important role in mending it.  Mending it, dear ones, starts within each of us.

Personally, as I have lain in the gravel, waiting for the boom, watching the busy, indifferent ants, I have had time to be VERY awake.  I have thought about my life, my plans, my direction, and what’s really important to me.  Back home, with an exquisitely swollen heart, I have just sat staring, drinking in the faces of those I love the most.  Perhaps I am  freaking my children out more than sirens, but I don’t want our days to pass by unnoticed and unappreciated.

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 (read the above many times a day!)

I hope some of you will be joining me in making August the best possible month, no matter what our external circumstances!  By working on ourselves, we raise the whole world.  By gaining our own strength, we strengthen all.

Summer Special booking page HERE.  SOLD OUT

How to Fight the Blues (even when rockets are falling)

We have reached a sticky wicket, my friends.

I write this blog as an extension of my health coaching business.  I write things that I hope will inspire others, as well as giving usable tools for living a healthier and happier life.  You read this blog presumably because you enjoy the content I write.  But of course, you also read because of me, the blogger herself.  Me, the blogger who lives in Israel.  Me, the blogger who might need to stop writing any minute to enter a bomb shelter at the wailing of an air raid siren.  Me, the blogger who will wait there until I hear the wall-shaking boom, mutter a prayer of thanks for the incredible Iron Dome, let the adrenaline drain away, and return to my seat in front of the computer to continue writing.

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Day after day, I look at the awesome content calendar I made to keep myself on track with writing and publishing, and I think, “How can I write about those subjects and not mention what is going on?”  But on the other hand, how can I mention what is going on, when to open my mouth at this moment, would unleash upon you a dark, vile blackness, that is the exact opposite of inspiration, health or happiness?

I know I am the only Israeli many of you know and you would really love to hear more from me about what it’s like here right now, but I’m not going to write that.  I don’t have the emotional stability to be able to say what you want to hear at the moment.  I’m too close and too upset.  I will say, because I know you are concerned, that I actually feel pretty safe right now.  What I am afraid of, is where things are going and of all the nightmarish scenarios I try not to even entertain.  And yes, in my better moments, I am afraid for the suffering of the very people who want to kill me.  They are still human beings despite it all.

It seems absurd to write glibly about the fact that I’m going to the gym every day, and except for one particularly scary night when I mistakenly thought food could help, I am still on plan and on track and gettin’ it done.  People are dying, but I’m achieving my personal goals.  I am ashamed to even write such a sentence.

But, maybe it is exactly what I am supposed to be writing?  Maybe seeing someone stay on track in the worst of situations, will somehow inspire you to stay on track in the face of lesser obstacles?  And for my fellow Israeli readers who are struggling to keep their heads up, may my words provide strength.

So today, like every single day, five days a week, I went to the gym.  I spent my usual 60 minutes lifting weights and then did 20 minutes of sprints on the treadmill.  Today was “leg day” meaning I did 5 compound leg exercises:  leg press, heavy squats, walking weighted lunges, lying leg curls, and deadlifts, about 4 sets of 10-12 reps each, then 2 ab exercises, bicycles, and crunches, another 4 sets of 20 reps each.  Then 1 minute sprint/jog  intervals on the treadmill for 20 minutes.

For those 80 minutes I thought of nothing else besides the burn in my buns and lungs.  There were no rockets, no hate, no depressed thoughts, no alarming predictions.  I built up the desperately needed rising endorphins which finally burst over me in a wash of well-being and even JOY.  If I didn’t have those 80 minutes, I do not know how I would cope with the remaining 22+ hours of frustration, fear and sadness the rest of the day will likely dispense.

Except for that one slip, when I was actually trying to avoid alcohol and chose cookies instead, I have been feeling my feelings and not eating (or drinking) them.  I am not rocketing around from sugar high to low (see what I did there? so puntastic).  I am sticking to my healthy food, eating when hungry, not eating when sad.

A good bit of this happens unconsciously because I have had years of practice and this is now my routine.  But there are still many times when I struggle as well.

-I have been reluctant to go to the gym some mornings for fear of a siren going off on my walk there.  Where would I take shelter?  But I remind myself that I am in a country of good samaritans (literally) and I would not be left alone and in danger.

-When I make the mistake of reading comments on the internet, pretty much anywhere, or watching a foreign news broadcast, I am overcome with the strong desire to drink alcohol  in order to dull the horror of the things people say about my country and my people.  But I remind myself that now we can defend ourselves.  That is the whole point of all of this.  And also, that if I focus on hate, I will see and feel hate.  If I focus on love, love is what I will see and feel. And ultimately, I’m a sloppy, depressed drunk anyway.

-When I feel the dark, sucking maw of depression opening up below me, I remember my Tool Kit, which consists of the following steps. May they help you as well:

  1. TELL someone!  Depression loves to isolate us.  You don’t want to burden anyone else with your crazy thoughts, right?  Well, that’s a trap, people.  Find someone who doesn’t mind a rant and get it OUT of you!
  2. Get outside.  Sunlight is magic and free.  Get into it.
  3. Take your vitamins.  For me that is B vitamins, D and EPA/DHA.  Maybe it’s a placebo effect but who cares if it works.
  4. Write in a journal.  Face it, there are some things you don’t even want to admit to your bestie.  Paper doesn’t judge.  Write it out of you.
  5. Exercise.  See above.  Endorphins are good.
  6. Stop and eat a good meal: veggies, fruits, protein, carbs and fat.  Balance it up and munch it down.  If you need help, that’s what I do…
  7. Avoid sugar, booze and drugs – depression’s best friends. They are not welcome at your party.
  8. If you’re a prayer person, pray.  If you’re an artist, create. A dancer, dance. Etc etc. Force yourself if you have to.  This is an emergency.
  9. Close the computer!  My kids (and everyone I know) have downloaded an app to their phones called Red Alert Israel, which rings whenever there is an air raid siren anywhere in the country.  For the first few days of this, I had to run to my computer every 5 seconds the thing rang to see where the alert was.  I quickly went mad.  If something happens that I need to know about, someone will tell me.  It doesn’t help the residents of Ashdod or Kiryat Malachi or wherever, that I know they are running to their shelters at the precise moment they are running there.  Likewise, if you stay off of Facebook because it makes you feel like shite, the only thing that will happen is you feeling happier and having more time to accomplish things.
  10. Have faith.  The moments when I begin to lose hope that there is a solution here, I start slipping into the abyss.  I made the conscious decision that I will NOT give up hope.  I have a few phrases and psalms that I repeat when I start to feel hopeless.  They remind me that my life is tiny in the scheme of things and my people have endured through thousands of years of relentless hatred and persecution. Everything will somehow be OK.  You don’t have to know HOW, just believe it will be.
  11. Volunteer.  One of the best things you can do to stop feeling sorry for yourself, is to focus your attention on someone who needs help.  Don’t just send money either because that negates the mood effect.  You have to actually offer of yourself, your time, your talents, your love, your comfort.  = Instant uplift.  Plus the world is a better place because of what you did.  Win win.

Disclaimer:  Depression isn’t monkey business, loves.  I am talking here about “the blues” not clinical Depression, which needs professional, medical treatment.  If you can’t get out of bed in the mornings, don’t want to wash, eat or dress, or cannot raise your spirits no matter what you do, PLEASE call your doctor and get help!

I am shutting off the ability to comment on this post.  I know some of you want to send me your support and I REALLY appreciate that, but I can’t take the chance of other sorts of comments.

To better days!

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

buddha bowl (n). a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha

I started eating huge bowls of raw and cooked veggies, grains, beans, fruits, nuts and seeds for lunch back when I was first working on the Fuhrman philosophy that “the salad is the main dish.”  Now, these giant bowl meals are pretty much part of my daily routine. I don’t use recipes for my Buddha Bowls.  I usually just use whatever I already have cooked, chopped, ready, on hand.  There are veggies and/or fruits, a starch of some sort and a protein.  Here are some options:

1.  Starch: Roasted sweet potato cubes; Cooked quinoa, buckwheat, millet, rice, amaranth, barley, couscous, etc…; Cooked or raw corn kernels; Roasted white potato slices; Cooked winter squash, noodles or pasta

2.  Protein: Cooked beans or lentils; Cooked tofu, tempeh or seitan; Peas; Edamame; Leftover Chili; Cooked, crumbled or sliced veggie burgers or cutlets

3.  Extras: Any nut or seed; Grated coconut; Apple slices; Raisins or dried cranberries; A sprinkle of granola; Olives; Sun-dried tomatoes; Nutritional Yeast; Roasted Red Peppers; Pickles

4.  Veggies (cooked, or raw, or a combo of both): Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Mushrooms, Carrots, Zucchini, Peppers, Onions, Sprouts…

5.  Dressings:

Tahina + Apple Cider Vinegar + Stevia + Paprika
Tahina + Lemon + Garlic + Water
Peanut Sauce (peanut butter, vinegar or lime, maple syrup, soy sauce, water)
Salsa + Hummus
Olive Oil + Lemon Juice or Balsamic Vinegar
Here are some examples.  Some of these I made at home, some are from cafes. Quite often, I’ll have something at a cafe and then recreate it at home.  (And yes, we get food like this all over the place in Israel.  Every cafe listed here is in a Shopping Mall!  I know that in America, you would be pressed to find this kind of food at the Mall.  I am lucky.)
greg 2 bowl
Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Sweet Potato, Bulgur, Black Lentils, Cranberries, Fresh Herbs, a Granola Sprinkle in a Lemony sweet dressing
Cafe Greg, Canyon Arim, Kfar Saba
rice noodle bowl
 Rice Noodles, Greens, Red Cabbage, Tofu, Sesame seeds in an Asian Dressing
Fresh Kitchen, HaTachana, Jerusalem
bean grain bowl
 Salad, Mushrooms, Black Lentils and Red Quinoa to be topped with Tahina Dressing and Nutritional Yeast
kale tofu bowl
Sesame-Rubbed Raw Kale, sweet potatoes, tofu with Peanut Sauce
hummus salad bowl
Israeli Salad topped with hummus, tahina, almonds and pine nuts
a Hummusia in Zichron Yaakov
mexican bowl
Black beans, couscous, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and avocado in a lime dressing
orange greg bowl
Lentils, greens, beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red cabbage, oranges and onions
Cafe Greg, Canyon Arim, Kfar Saba
poleta eggplant kale bowl
Polenta, kale and eggplant
sabich bowl
The Sabich Bowl (my FAVE!):  Israeli salad topped with potatoes, chickpeas and eggplant, smothered in tahina!
Cafe Greg, Canyon Arim, Kfar Saba
salad bowl
Salad with roasted chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes and Moroccan carrots
sandwich bowl
Toast Salad:  Green salad with slices of grilled vegan cheese and pesto sandwich!
Espresso Bar, Canyon Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv
What are your favorite Buddha Bowl combinations?
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Rose-Vanilla Overnight Oats

Forgive me.

I said I would blog twice a week and then I didn’t.  Excuses to follow…

This spring I taught several cooking classes and then a huge Detox group program at a yoga studio.  Exciting stuff, but I got drained.  I brandished about my utensil, forking fears as I said I would.  It was all brave and bluster and mostly success, but I gotta level with you, I also had one of my worst business fears come true.  Like when you ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and then it happens and you find out it was even worse than you had anticipated.  

BUT, some initiations are by fire and some lessons sting like heck to make sure you’re paying attention.  I took it on the chin, learned what I needed to,  and kept moving forward.

On the heels of that, my baby boy had a bar mitzvah last week!  Now he is my baby man.  It was brilliant and beyond joyful.  Some of my family came from waaaaay far away to help us celebrate.  Here are a couple of pictures of our pre-bar mitzvah trip to the Western Wall for those who didn’t see on Facebook. That’s my husband in blue, and my tiny father-in-law standing next to my boy (and then my older son after him) as he reads from the Torah for the very first time. Ferklempt fo sho!

bar mitzvah collage

#ProudJewishMama

As you can maybe see from those pics, my fitness program is going well!  I’m probably in the fittest and strongest shape of my life, although have recently been set-back by some injuries, so I’ll hold off a bit before I brag and carry on about how great it all is.

But, I wanted to mention it, because today’s recipe comes to us thanks to the coach currently in charge of my meal plan.  I’ll write more about all that later, including why I, a nutrition coach, would need to hire a nutrition coach, but suffice it to say for now, that Vegan Figure Competitor Claudia Lailhacar has been, and continues to be, the brawn behind my gym program, while Holistic Nutritionist and Trainer Lori Brannen-Graham, is now the brains behind my meal plan.  I promise I’ll explain it all, but in the meantime, the following recipe was given to me by Lori.  (And then, as usual, I messed with it mercilessly. But the idea was hers).

I initially resisted the idea of these uncooked “overnight oats” that were sweeping the healthy blogosphere.  The idea of cold, slimy, uncooked oats, turned me off completely!  But coach said “Try It”, so I tried it, and lo and behold, I liked it.

You do NOT cook these oats! You just stir everything together and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  The oats soften and the chia turns it all into a soft pudding.  You can just grab it and go for those rushed mornings, or layer it with fruit like a parfait, when you have more time.  It is cool and refreshing and packs a powerful nutritional wallop!  You will be like energizer bunny for hours after eating this treat!  And people, I will never again accept the “I don’t have time for breakfast” excuse, so just forget even trying it with me!

You also do NOT need to use the rosewater.  You can make this any flavor you want and use whatever liquid you want.  Nut butter or no nut butter, protein powder or no protein powder, the only thing that really matters is oats, chia and liquid.  This amount of liquid is used here because the protein powder absorbs a lot, so if you omit the protein powder, lower the liquid.

overnight oats 1 logo

Rose-Vanilla Overnight Oats

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water, or other liquid
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter, or other nut butter (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan protein powder (optional) - I used vanilla flavor in this recipe
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash cinnamon
  • Fruit for topping. Above I used 1/3 cup each raspberries and blueberries and 1 Tbsp coconut flakes. Below, I subbed raisins for coconut and layered the oats and fruit before serving.

Instructions

  1. Stir all ingredients (except toppings) together in a bowl or jar.
  2. Cover and set in fridge overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir and eat as is, or mix in fruit of choice.
  4. If the mixture is too thin for your taste, stir in some more chia and let sit in the fridge for another 20 minutes. If it is too thick, add more liquid.
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Vegan Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten-free)

If you read a lot of food blogs, you will know that there are blogging food trends, such as the chickpea omelette, Sriracha-flavored everything, and chia puddings, just to name a few.  I am rarely one to start a food trend, but happily climb on board other people’s creative food ideas.

The cauliflower crust pizza however, nope.  Didn’t interest me.  It seemed to be sweeping the low-carb, no-grain, fad-dieter circles, and since I’ll happily eat carbs and wheat flour, I really had no need for a pizza crust made out of cauliflower.  My life was at peace.

But then it appeared on my meal plan from my vegan body building coach.  And despite what my clients may or may not do (ahem), if I hire someone to take charge of my fitness and nutrition, I do what she says.  But OK, so I actually tried avoiding that particular meal option for a few weeks. Yet after my seven thousandth portobello mushroom burger, I was getting a little bored, and suddenly a cauliflower crust pizza didn’t sound like such a bad idea after all!

The link to the recipe on my meal plan however seemed to have mixed results in the comments.  Many people said the vegan version of cauliflower crust didn’t hold together and although tasty, you just ended up eating it with a fork.  I don’t know about you, but when I spend a lot of time on a recipe only to realize it would have been just as good to eat a bowl of steamed cauliflower with tomato sauce on top, I am none too happy.

So I did a little blog hopping and discovered this version that combines the grated cauliflower with chickpea flour, ground almonds and ground flax or chia seeds.  Bingo!  The crust held together firmly.  It was tasty.  It was better than a plain bowl of steamed cauliflower with tomato sauce.  I shall be making it often and I hope you will too!

Vegan Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten-free)

Yield: Makes a large rectangle shape with about 8 pieces

Vegan Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten-free)

Original recipe can be found here: http://myvega.com/vega-life/recipe-center/vegan-cauliflower-pizza-crust/

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower (Israelis, I used a single bag of pre-washed cauliflower florets)
  • 2 Tbsp almonds
  • 3 Tbsp flax or chia seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • olive oil
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pizza toppings of your choice (I used vegan cheese, black olives, onions, and jalapenos)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and then oil or spray with oil spray.
  3. Grind the almonds in a grinder or food processor. Set aside.
  4. Grind the flax or chia seeds in the same grinder.
  5. Mix the flax or chia seeds with the 1/2 cup water and let sit while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Add the cauliflower to a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  7. Add chopped cauliflower to a frying pan with a few drops of oil or water, and cook on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl and mix in all remaining ingredients, until it forms a dough. I did this with my hands, obviously letting the cauliflower cool a little first!
  9. Depending on the moisture content of your cauliflower, you may need to adjust your quantity of chickpea flour slightly to get the right consistency for your crust.
  10. Spread dough out onto baking sheet evenly with your hands.
  11. Bake crust for 30 minutes, until it firms up and begins to brown.
  12. Remove pizza crust from oven, add pizza toppings or your choice, and bake for about 20 more minutes.
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Training Update and Recent Vegan Eats

Firstly, you must know that this blog gives me major daily angst.  I can feel it sitting here, staring at me from my desktop, waiting to be written in.  The pressure!  The PRESSURE!

Then I calm the heck down and realize that I am probably the only person who actually notices a lull in blogging.  (oh, and Mom.  Mom notices).  The rest of you have so much hitting your readers and inbox that a little break is kind of a nice little breather.  Right?  So, you’re welcome for that.

“But no!  No, it’s bad for business!”  screams my boss lady (me)  “Sit your hiney down and write!” she admonishes the employees (me).

Twice a week is my new blogging goal.  One food post and one Deep Thoughts post.  Mondays and Thursdays.  I can do this.

So, it’s Monday and we’ll do a little food post, yay!  Except I don’t have any recipes because I haven’t really been cooking any different recipes, boo.  So I’ll just share some pictures of what I have been eating.

Now, just a little update here before I share pictures:  As I mentioned a few posts back, I have been working with a vegan body building coach.  She has been in charge of my food and my workouts for the past nine weeks.  In those nine weeks, I have never worked harder and never been prouder of myself!  The workouts take my ALL and when I start them I think “I can’t!” but I DO and then I get to feel like a hero for the rest of the day.

My body is changing too.  I have dropped some fat and built some sexy muscles. I feel so fit and strong, energetic and confident.  My clothes are sliding on easier.  My upper arms don’t flap around like flags anymore.  My knees no longer sag.  I am LOVING this training!  I will share some photos soon I promise.

The food plan is not restrictive because I’m a vegan and that means large volume of lower calorie plant-based foods.  I am not hungry but am often saying “no” to things like bourekas (I know!  Can you believe I eat those in the first place?!), wine, bread, handfuls of nuts, bites (ahem, snarfs more like) of other people’s desserts – things I was eating prior to hiring Claudia.  It requires self-discipline, it really does.  But the pay off is SO worth it!  More on that later.

So here are some of the yummy things I’ve been eating:

Here I am this morning, post workout, drinking a banana-raspberry protein smoothie.  Can you see how my face is slimmed down and glowy?  OK, so the glowy is probably just an instagram filter, but my face is definitely less puffy!

photo (2)

So that’s one banana, 1 cup raspberries, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 scoop of this vegan protein powder I found here at Eden Teva:

pea protein

This is Vegan Pea Protein and it’s made here in Israel and is Kosher.  It is also 120nis for 600g, ouch!  I usually order PlantFusion from Vitacost and it’s cheaper, but this one is kosher so might be a good choice for some of you who need that kashrut.  (By the way, I don’t think protein powders are necessary, even for vegans, but I LOVE them and find that I’m building some nice muscle, so I’m keeping the powder!)  This one has ingredients comparable to Plant Fusion and it tastes and blends great.

red rice

This perhaps unappetizing bowl is my new meal obsession:  Red rice with roasted eggplant and broccoli, tossed in tahina sauce with nutritional yeast.  I could eat this every day.  Seriously.  Try it, you’ll like it.

photo (4)

This is a chickpea flour omelette topped with a bunch of veggies (kale, tomato, mushroom, who knows what else) and a side of avocado. 

photo

Tofu scram, sauteed portobellos,  and peas.

photo (3)

And Heaven forbid I should write a food post and not include my most favorite of the 5 major food groups: Hummus!  The reason it is not served with pita as usual here is because this was over Passover when bread is prohibited.  These were I don’t know exactly what – potato starch rolls or something.  They sat in our bellies like waterlogged bricks, so we won’t be doing that again!  But the hummus made up for it.

So, I hope the above was helpful and entertaining?  Showing you some ways to get a good amount of vegan protein with a small amount of cooking and fuss.

 I’ll see you back here on Thursday with some Deep Thoughts on the mental patterns that stop people from losing weight permanently. Ooo, that’s big!

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