No tricks, all treats. (November Favorites!)

In this “monthly favorites” post, I’m doing something different in including a few recipes. I figured, why not? I believe it was last month that I started posting food ingredients, so this is just an extension of that. If I discover good recipes, then I should share them with you, after all. Good recipes are definitely “little things” that qualify for the “favorites” list.

November was fairly low-key. We saw one good film that we loved, one good streaming series that we enjoyed (and that we’re still watching), one bad series that we also enjoyed, and the new Jack Reacher novel came out at the end of October (which I’m still reading, as I got a late start), and I discovered awesome foodstuffs even before I could eat “for real” again toward the end of the month.

Let’s go!

 

1). Ford v Ferrari

 

 

Fabulous, entertaining flick. Matt Damon and Christian Bale have great chemistry, and if I ever doubted that either of them could act, I’m not doubting it now!

 

2). Sneaky Pete (Amazon Prime Original Series)

 

 

After passing over this Netflix Original Series for years, we finally landed on it and decided to try it. We’re almost at the end of Season 1, and we’re into it! Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is one of the crime thriller series’ co-creators, and he’s featured in it, as well. It’s interesting to see him in a role other than Walter White. I’m always a little thrown during his scenes. Aside: It’s funny how an actor becomes a character so thoroughly that they’re always that character, no matter how talented they are. In my mind, Jeff Bridges will always be The Dude. Bryan Cranston will always be Walter White.

Anyway, we’re enjoying Sneaky Pete. You might like it, too.

 

3). The Mist (Netflix)

 

 

Here’s the series that apparently everyone in the world hated except for us. I’ve read nothing even remotely positive about this badly rated series, but we really enjoyed it! Granted, I haven’t read the novel, nor have I seen the film version of the story, so I had no basis of comparison… yet there were many others new to The Mist who gave this production a thumbs-down. At any rate, we got into the story and had ourselves a good time watching the series on Netflix.

 

4). Blue Moon (new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child)

 

“Blue Moon” by Lee Child (Jack Reacher novel, 2019)

 

I’ve only just started reading Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel, but I liked it from its opening pages. I would love to get inside Lee Child’s mind to see where/how he comes up with his plot ideas. How many different sorts of adventures can one character have? Reacher lands in the middle of some shit going down every single year. I like some of the stories more than others, but I’m always impressed. REACHER FAN FOR LIFE OVER HERE.

 

5). Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes

 

These ready-made protein shakes saved me in the month following my surgery! I’d usually mix up my own, but drinking two of these a day, it was just easier to grab them from the fridge. I like both the chocolate and the vanilla, but the chocolate is my favorite!

Ingredients and nutrients in a nutshell and quoted directly from Vega’s site (“sic” all the way through):

  • 20 grams protein: each bottle has 20 grams plant-based protein from a multisource blend of pea protein, hemp protein, and pumpkin seed protein
  • Veggies & greens: with ingredients including spinach powder, kale powder, carrot juice powder, and organic spirulina
  • 25% DV of at least 11 vitamins and minerals
  • 3-4 grams fiber: Vanilla flavor has 3 grams fiber, or 12% DV, while Chocolate flavor has 4 grams fiber, or 16% DV. The fiber in both flavors comes primarily from flaxseed
  • 1 gram Omega-3 ALA: You’ll get essential fatty acids from flaxseed

 

6). Imagine Organic Miso Broth. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Imagine Organic Miso Broth

 

INGREDIENTS: Filtered Water, Organic Yellow and Red Miso Paste (Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Rice, Sea Salt, Koji Starter [Aspergillus Oryzae]), Organic Flavors, Organic Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Organic Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Organic Ginger Juice, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola Oil and/or Organic Safflower Oil and/or Organic Sunflower Oil.

This miso broth was another life-saver, the warm and savory to Vega’s cold and sweet. I love adding silken tofu to this broth. Did you know that you can eat silken tofu without chewing it? Neither did I.

 

7). Mandarin oranges.

 

Mandarins

 

Once I could eat again, I found that mandarins are great for when you can’t bite into fruit and you want to add to your selection of bite-size options. I’ve been cutting up strawberries and tossing them into a bowl with red grapes and mandarin slices to make a little bite-size fruit bowl for dessert, and it’s wonderful!

 

8). One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola

 

INGREDIENTS: Sprouted gluten-free organic oats, organic cane sugar, sprouted organic brown rice, organic sunflower oil, organic flax seeds, sprouted organic sunflower seeds, organic chia seeds, organic vanilla, unrefined salt, tocopherols (Vitamin E).

This granola! Is so! Delicious! Enough said.

 

9). Impossible Pumpkin Pie (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Impossible Pumpkin Pie, aka Crustless Pumpkin Pie (recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THIS PIE: Pumpkin puree, plain unsweetened soy milk, flaxseed meal, agave syrup, whole wheat flour, canola oil, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

The whole concept of Thanksgiving is still somewhat foreign to my French husband. He never liked pumpkin pie, and he typically dislikes pumpkin anything (pumpkin is very New World and pretty much doesn’t figure in French cuisine), but he loved this pie that I made for Thanksgiving this year! I loved it, too. I made another one this morning and took the pic you see above.

This dessert is called “Impossible” because it’s a crustless pie. The flour you mix in with the other ingredients gives it a structure while it maintains the classic pumpkin pie texture. (You can see in the pic how it kind of forms its own “crust.”) I got verification of its awesomeness when one of my exacting Thanksgiving guests – a pumpkin pie purist, mind you – remarked that “it tastes just like pumpkin pie.” I suspect that if it doesn’t taste “healthy” to him, it won’t taste “healthy” to anyone.

You can use whatever sweetener you want, and Chocolate Covered Katie gives options to make the pie gluten-free and/or fat-free, so there’s a version of this simple and easy recipe for everyone. And I do mean it’s easy: you mix everything together by hand and pour it into the pie pan without having to deal with a pastry, and it’s in the oven for less than 30 minutes. Clean-up is easy, too. You need this recipe in your life if you like pumpkin pie.

 

10). Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal, aka Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal for One (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THESE OATMEAL SQUARES: Rolled oats, plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, plain unsweetened soy milk, agave syrup, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips [ETA: I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips… they’re vegan.]

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

I wanted to eat oatmeal. I was not in the mood for oatmeal. I was tired of mushy food. I had a feeling that Chocolate Covered Katie’s The Healthy Dessert Blog would hold the answer, and it did. Put 1/2 cup of oats into a bowl, she said, and mix in these other things, and throw the whole shebang into the oven, and there you go – oatmeal that isn’t oatmeal.

Like the pie, this baked oatmeal is so simple and so good. The most difficult part is having to break it to Callaghan that the oatmeal isn’t for sharing. It’s one serving, the same serving I’d have were I to make it the traditional way. It looks like a lot because I make it in a loaf pan and cut it up into squares, but it’s really not a lot. In fact, it’s not enough.

I did tell him that I’d make him his own pan, though. No guilt!

Also, I think that Chocolate Covered Katie is my new spirit animal.

The End.

p.s. December’s already grand, because I started the month by going back to the gym!! I did my first Body Pump workout in a month yesterday.

 

 

i.e. stuff I eat in a week. (Food post by request!)

People love food posts, and I’m here today to honor this popular request. And I get it. I like seeing what other people are eating, too. I don’t often post food pics on instagram, but I’m making up for it now with these pics showing the stuff I’ve eaten in the last week. It’s all vegan and gluten-free and delicious.

If you’re here for it, enjoy!

(Please to pardon the weird, yellowish overhead lighting in the dinner pics.)

Dinners:

Kale salad with green onion, fresh jalapeño pepper, grape tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, coarsely ground black pepper, hummus (my favorite: Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus); gluten-free whole grain toast; avocado

 

Kale salad

 

Brown rice spaghetti with vegan pesto and nutritional yeast; arugula salad with olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and coarsely ground black pepper

 

Spaghetti with pesto

 

Miso soup; brown rice, tofu with shoyu (soy sauce) and fresh grated ginger, kimchee, green salad with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and nori (seaweed)

 

Miso soup with plate of Asian randomness

 

Amy’s Rice Crust Roasted Vegetable No Cheese pizza with nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes; arugula with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and coarsely ground black pepper

 

Pizza buried in arugula

 

1-Pot Vegan Minestrone Soup: navy beans, brown rice pasta, carrots, green beans, onion, garlic, kale, zucchini, vegetable broth, canned fire-roasted tomatoes; gluten-free whole grain toast (not pictured)

 

Minestrone soup

 

Get this fabulous Minimalist Baker recipe here! I modified it slightly to our tastes by using less sugar (my preference) and no red pepper flakes (Callaghan’s preference).

Quinoa salad with brown rice, chickpeas, cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onions, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, coarsely ground black pepper; cold roasted sweet potato; kale sautéed in olive oil with fresh garlic

 

Quinoa-chickpea salad

 

Asian salad: Black Sesame Cold Noodles with Spring Veggies; fresh pan-fried teriyaki tofu; fresh green beans with shoyu and sesame seeds

 

Cold Asian noodles

 

Get this awesome Thug Kitchen recipe here! I modified it to use the veggies I had on hand. Rather than asparagus, I stirred in a “superblend” slaw of green cabbage, broccoli, kale, and carrots. Also, I made this with brown rice spaghetti rather than soba noodles.

Lunches:

Hummus sandwich with spinach and grape tomatoes on gluten-free whole grain toast

 

Hummus sandwich

 

Peanut butter and jelly on gluten-free whole grain toast (creamy natural peanut butter and no-sugar-added black raspberry jam)

 

Open-face PBJ

 

Chickpea “tuna” sandwich on gluten-free whole grain toast with arugula; grape tomatoes; sliced organic gala apple

 

Chickpea “tuna” salad sandwich

 

Junk version lunch! Amy’s Gluten Free Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap with Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips and Frontera Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa with Roasted Tomato and Garlic; sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

 

Tofu scramble burrito

 

Breakfasts:

Gym mornings: Bear Naked V’nilla Almond Granola with Silk plain, unsweetened soy milk and creamy natural peanut butter

 

Granola with peanut butter

 

Non-gym mornings: Van’s Gluten Free Original Waffles with Earth Balance buttery spread; raw, unsalted mixed nuts

 

Gluten-free waffles with mixed nuts

 

Go-to snacks and desserts every day: fresh fruit; roasted and salted nuts and sunflower seeds; protein/energy bars.

 

Go-to snacks and desserts

 

There you go! I’m hungry. Oh – that Asian noodle salad is what we’re going to eat right now; I took the pic after I made it today. It’s been chilling in the refrigerator.

Happy Friday Eve, everyone!

 

 

Homme Don’t Play That.

“Homme” is how you say “homie” in French. It’s basically the same word. It means “man.”

While Callaghan was busy drawing a hermaphrodite tin can with a pair of mismatched rocket man-boobs and its lid flipped up like a hat and a skirt around one of its tentacle knees, I went down to the bergerie to retrieve a few things. Along the way, I encountered a donkey and a large snail, and I found two lizards hanging out on the terrace when I got back.  Down in the laundry/storage room, the largest spider I’ve ever seen here in France ran across the wall when I walked in. Up here in the front room, the morning’s scattered ant swarms have finally died down.

Nature is active today, and we’re having a relaxed and productive afternoon. The house smells pleasantly of ginger and cardamom from the Ethiopian chickpea wat (stew) I made yesterday for tonight’s dinner – it’s one of those aromatic dishes that’s good to make a day in advance, so the spices can mingle overnight. I’m going to serve it with brown rice, since I don’t know where to find injera around here (Ethiopian flatbread), or the teff flour I’d need to bake my own.

I miss Ethiopian restaurants! Soon. In three weeks, we’ll be back in the States. First thing I’m going to do is find an Ethiopian restaurant and attempt to eat two years’ worth of injera in one sitting.

Ah, food. Bread. The plight of carbs’ reputations crossed my mind the other day when we were in the supermarket. It’s odd how popular it’s become to believe that carbs are “bad.” It’s like, one day, everyone became aware that allergies/sensitivities to gluten are common, so, alright, let’s be hyper-aware of that. Millions of people now feel a lot better on reduced-gluten or gluten-free diets. Great! But then, somehow, that entire category of food came crashing down from grace with a sweeping, extended indictment: Carbs make you fat. The problem with this is that it’s only half-true. Not all carbs cause the metabolism-compromising biochemical reaction that leads to weight gain.

I generally avoid simple carbs (white sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta and white potatoes), but as far as I’m concerned, life’s not worth living without complex carbs. I love whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. I’m lucky that my body gets along with wheat, because I’d be forlorn without it. I could never do a raw food diet; after a while, I’d go crazy without pasta. I eat it for lunch almost every day, as I have ever since Callaghan discovered my pasta with garlic and olive oil obsession. Though I maintain that just plain old garlic and olive oil would be fine with me every day until the end of time – it’s something I’ll never get tired of eating – he’s undertaken the challenge of creating variation after variation on this heavenly theme. He should write a book: 365 Variations on Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil.

So he makes lunch, and I make dinner, usually. And he draws hermaphrodite tin cans with mismatched rocket man-boobs and lids flipped up like hats and skirts around their tentacle knees. We’ve got our division of domestic labor all sorted out.