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Monthly Archives: April 2011

So far, this week has been (in a word), challenging. At the beginning of week 2, I visited some family for Easter dinner. While everyone else dined on salmon and chicken, I ate some healthy salads and vegetarian dishes. Because I had a hard time feeling full, the meat looked very appealing to me. It took every ounce of strength I had to turn down the meat. But, in the end, my resolve won out and I stuck with it.

For whatever reason, I did not think to purchase veggie burgers or meatless meat like they sell at Trader Joe’s. That would probably help with my frustration, because there is only so much tofu and quinoa a carnivore can eat in a 2 week period.

I am continuing to hold on, with about 1.5 weeks to go. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been enthusiastically looking forward to the juicy burger and fries I will have at the end of this challenge.

Lately, I’ve been blog surfing and came across another “foodie blogger”. I even love the name “The Carnivore and the Vegetarian“. I am re-posting this recipe from his site:

Fennel and Apple Salad
Serves 4 as a side

1 large granny smith apple
1 medium fennel bulb, top and 1/4″ of bottom removed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fennel fronds

Core apple and then julienne apple.** Place into a medium bowl and pour over 1/2 lemon juice. Using a mandolin, thinly slice fennel. You want the slices to be as thin as you can make them. Add to bowl with apples and top with remaining lemon juice, oil, zest, and vinegar and mix well. When ready to serve, top with feta and mix.

**For the apple, core and then cut in half. Using a mandolin or chef’s knife, cut slice that are approximately 1/8″ thick. Cut these slices into similar size strips. The goal is to get thin matchsticks of apple.

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Do you have another recipe that uses fennel? Share it with me. I’d love to try it!

On day 2 of my 21 day vegetarian challenge, I made a chunky tomato soup from the March 2011 edition of Food and Wine Magazine. While my other taster found it to be too spicy, I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t know if it was the fact that I used the canned tomatoes I had on hand (which were made with jalapenos), but it definitely had some kick. It was easy to make, and went great with a roasted vegetable sandwich I made (pictures forthcoming). Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 oil, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups water
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes — drained and finely chopped, juices reserved
Optional: Pan Fried Croutons, Fennel Orange Gremolata, and diced Fontina cheese

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel and thyme and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the water and the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme.
2. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Serve the soup with the Pan-Fried Potato Croutons, Fennel-Orange Gremolata, and diced Fontina Cheese.
*The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Pan Fried Potato Croutons
Ingredients
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

1.Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let stand for 5 minutes.
2. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Fennel-Orange Gremolata

Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt

1.Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Found a recipe for quinoa that I must try on another WordPress blogger’s site: a quinoa avocado salad with spinach. Go here for the original source! But I’m re-posting it here:

3/4 cup uncooked white quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
Bag of fresh spinach leaves
2 plum tomatoes
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ripe avocados

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Place quinoa in a medium bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.

Take a handful or two of spinach and shred it until you have about 1/2 cup. Finely chop the tomatoes and place with the spinach in a small bowl. Add the feta and mix.

In another small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and whisk with a fork. Peel, halve, and pit the avocados, then slice them and set aside.

Prepare the plates by laying down a bed of spinach, then arrange the avocado slices in a sunshine pattern. Take the quinoa out of the refrigerator and add the spinach-tomato-feta mixture. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil mixture once more and add to the quinoa, then divide quinoa mixture evenly among the plates.

Makes 4 servings.

Update: I made this from memory (forgot the tomatoes) and it was a great salad.

Lately, I’ve been an exceptionally enthusiastic carnivore. I’ve made pot roast, steak, salmon, chicken, turkey meatloaf…..the list goes on and on. Although my diet was balanced, I started to feel like I was just consuming too much meat. It was only when my stress level at work was extremely elevated that I started to question my eating habits. Mainly, my daily intake of food decreased substantially and I lost weight. This got me thinking. Maybe I need to change the way I’m eating. After a conversation with a friend regarding the Engine 2 Diet (a 28 day vegan challenge), I decided to initiate a 21 day vegetarian challenge. I’m doing vegetarian because I like cheese, honey, and other things far too much. I’m saying 21 days because it only takes 21 days to make or break a habit (or so they say). I am doing this on my own, finding vegetarian recipes all over.

During my trip to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market yesterday, I purchased a lot of ingredients to help me with this process. For instance, I purchased quinoa, couscous, tahini paste, chickpeas, tofu, and fruits and vegetables.

My first day
For breakfast this morning, I am eating my typical organic oatmeal from Costco. I’m not adding any additional butter or sugar or other sweetener.
For lunch, I am eating a Black Bean and Quinoa salad I found in the 2010 Annual Food and Wine Cookbook.
For snacks, I have sunflower seeds and a plum.
I also drink 2 quarts of water everyday and will continue doing that through this process. I don’t plan on increasing the amount I drink.
*I don’t know yet what I’m eating for dinner, but I have a lot to choose from.

Are you doing a vegetarian challenge? Or are you already a vegetarian? I welcome any advice, tips, recipe recommendations, etc. I’d love to hear from you!

This is scary. I found this article in Time magazine about the dangers of getting a Brazilian Blowout. Apparently, high (and potentially dangerous) levels of formaldehyde were discovered by U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in salons using “some hair smoothing and straightening products, including the Brazilian Blowout brand. (Formaldehyde helps bind keratin to hair, straightening it.)” According to the article, several startling reactions were reported by both clients and salon staff, including hair loss, allergic reactions, nosebleeds, eye irritations to the release of formaldehyde by these products. Brazilian Blowout, and other similar products, have already been pulled off the shelves in Canada!

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