Friday, March 30, 2012

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You

After my review of Hunger for Change this morning, I just really wanted a pile of vegetables for lunch, but a body needs more than raw lettuce, so I was pretty excited to realize I had some of Mama Pea's Thai Veggie Burgers in my freezer.

John and I made them a little while ago and ate them burger-style complete with pineapple slices:

The ingredients are pretty simple, but these come together really well. The main substance comes from oats and garbanzos. I thought they were really good - but I've come to expect Mama Pea to pretty much blow me away and they kind of just reminded me of nice baked hummus. The texture was a little on the soft side, though maybe that was the fault of my frying. So my verdict was just okay. 

That is until today when I put one on a salad:

It just needed a little something extra and I think pairing it with a generous drizzle of Asian dressing brought it up to my expectations. 

And if you're thinking this looks suspiciously like a mixing bowl, you're correct. When it comes to salad, we don't mess around here. 

There's still one burger in my fridge that I'm planning to pack up like this salad-style and take with me for lunch tomorrow. 

Meanwhile I'm counting down already - just two more days of wards, 1 week of tests and Internal Medicine
is officially behind me.

Unless I have to repeat it.

Remember this morning when I said I was going to go study?

I did. I just obviously stopped again. Since I'm writing.

I swear I'll go back to work soon.

Can I tell you something I learned?

Can I?

Yeah I'm trying to think of something I learned...

Here we go: Crohn's disease is granulomatous. Celiac is not, so you can use that information when you're differentiating them, among other things.

Also S1Q3 for posterior hemiblock. Do these words not mean anything to you? Yeah me either.

I feel like I need another veggie burger.

Veganomicon Mole Skillet Pie with Greens

It's been a little while since I last reviewed a Veganomicon recipe, but the book is still pretty much my favorite.

John and I decided to make something new for dinner on my day off last Sunday, and this was one I'd bookmarked but hadn't yet gotten around to.

Basically a chile chocolate mole sauce gets combined with cooked veggies and beans and topped with a fluffy cornbread crust.

In a word, awesome.

Pretty much any time I can individually portion something from the beginning, I love it, so we made this recipe in ramekins instead of an actual skillet. It's not going to stop me from calling it skillet pie. We were also rather unexpectedly all out of baking powder so we found that the baking soda/cream of tartar substitute works great, in case you were wondering. I forget the ratio exactly. That's googleable.

The recipe only uses 1 cup of mole sauce, so I have an enormous batch in the freezer now. Not sure what to do with it...but I'll find something. The book suggests you could use it instead of enchilada sauce, or top tacos with it. Never having had any mole ever in my life, I don't really know how it would be best, but I can tell you it seems very versatile. It's spiced but very mildly sweet.

Ratio-wise, we probably could have made 5 little ramekins pies with the amount in the recipe, but since we have 4 ramekins, I just filled each and split the crust between them. There was some leftover filling but we just ate it like an appetizer with chips.

And the best part? I think they were even better as leftovers. I have one more for dinner and I'm pretty excited about it.

One big pie or little individual portions? And what should I do with my extra mole sauce?

Hungry for Change Review

I hadn't heard of this documentary until this morning, but Monica (heart her) from Run Eat Repeat posted about it, and I thought, "Hey, I'm pretty interested in food and health, and it's my day off. I'm totes going to watch this right now."

And I loved it. You can still watch it online free through tomorrow here. 

Hungry for Change is basically a documentary about real food, nutrition, how our stressful lives screw us up and how exciting it is that we can do something to fix it.

The focus isn't about a specific way to eat necessarily, it's more about how to add in the good, which will inherently crowd out the bad. I really liked that message. 

Here are my thoughts: 

1. The Dramatization: Okay, first of all I'm not sure that the dramatized sequence with the office worker who becomes healthy was supposed to be funny, but I thought it was really entertaining. When she was sitting there with her soda and her coffee and working through lunch in the awful office light I was like, "Girl, I feel you." Yesterday I had a Diet Coke and a PBJ eaten out of a ziploc in my pocket while I ran around the hospital trying to get work done. And I loved how as soon as she got out the juicer her hair became perfectly curled and she suddenly lived in a house with daylight. 

2. The Role Models: Kris Carr (cancer survivor, Crazy Sexy Diet etc.) is wise. I have a pretty big friend crush on her. "Dear Diary, I feel sad today, I'm going to eat EVERYTHING." Hilarious. My life. 

3. The Medicine: The study that the OB-Gyn doctor quoted about exercise being as good as antidepressants for mild-moderate depression is real. I heard about that on the wards last week. It's a pretty big deal, and it reminded me of this post I wrote about emotional eating. In my own life I already knew how much exercise makes me feel good, but it's nice to have science confirm it.

4. Diets: I want to be really confident in general, but especially in how I look for my wedding coming up in August. I really appreciated the time spent on why diets (in the you can only eat this sense) are totally setups for failure. It was a good reminder that no matter how I'm tempted to do something drastic for the wedding, it won't give me the kind of lasting health I actually want. And even if I scratched and clawed a few pounds off, how confident could I possibly be knowing that I didn't do it healthfully? 

5. The Changes: I'm pretty sure I want to buy a juicer, but I'll have to save some $. Considering I'm getting married this year, live on loans, and have to travel all over the country to interview for residency in the next 12 months, I'm trying to be more on a budget, so I don't really know if this is something I'll be starting soon. I do think I might try to add even more veggies to my day though. While I do a great job with fruit, I think my veggie serving count probably comes in a little under on average. I was really inspired by the sequence with all the pretty produce. 

6. The Self-Esteem Message: When the doctor was talking about putting the quote on your mirror and saying you accept yourself out loud, and that it will feel like a lie at first, I really resonated. I've tried it and I've given up because I felt kind of dumb. She claimed it takes about 30 days to build up a part of yourself that will really listen to those positive messages, and I'll feel crazy, but I might try it.

And now that I've spent a while this morning thinking on food and health etc., it's time to take the "food as fuel" message and go focus on something else: I have my last 2 days on the wards for Internal Medicine tomorrow and Sunday, and tests next week. 

So, I'm going to go get my learn on. 

You though, you should go watch this documentary. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vegan Mac & Cheese from Peas & Thank You

I've been feeling like I'm on the brink of illness. It could really go either way. First I feel a little feverish and like my throat and head kind of hurt, and then I feel okay within a couple hours, so I'm sucking down the tea, slacking on exercise and making comfort food.

#25 of my 25 by 25 list is to cook all the recipes in one of my cookbooks. Am I going to completely hate Peas & Thank You by the time I'm done? We'll see. Mama Pea hasn't really failed me yet.

Tonight's dish was Lulu's Mac & Cheese. I followed the recipe exactly in terms of ingredients. Complete with 8 oz. of Daiya cheddar, which I've never used before. It does a pretty fair job as vegan cheese goes, but I still prefer nooch for most things.

The changes I made included cutting the pasta by a couple ounces and replacing it with 3 steamed crowns of broccoli (because you know I can't restrain myself from adding veggies) and some Linketts that I browned in a frying pan before stirring it all together. Also I used penne noodles. Nothing against macaroni noodles, I love them, I just didn't have any.

The verdict? Completely awesome. It's very cheesy - it could probably have even handled even more veggies and been all right, but I liked it really well in this exact ratio. The recipe made probably 4-5 good sized bowls and if possible I can tell you it was even better as leftovers.

Or maybe it just tasted better because my head couldn't decide if I'm sick or not and all I wanted to do was lie on a couch and watch Ghost Whisperer on Ion. Yeah that's one of 2 channels we get.

Instead of Ghost Whisperer though, I hung out with my EKG book and my question bank again. I'm starting to get stressed about nearing the end of this medicine rotation and not knowing nearly enough. It's rough to end on an inpatient rotation with pretty long hours too - makes me a tired whiner. Someone tell me to suck it up and study.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: Day Off

Thanks to Jenn of Peas and Crayons for hosting.

This WIAW I had my first day off in a while and tried to pack in a full day of studying and a full day of relaxation. Turns out I only had one day's worth of time, but I got through some of both.

Breakfast: Smoothie in a Wine Glass (SIAWG). In the mix: protein powder, spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk and a frozen pineapple ring. Blended in the magic bullet blender attachment, which I then couldn't separate, so thanks to my roommate Katie for helping me. Also be sure the little rubber ring in the blade part, because otherwise you may have some leaks. Lesson learned.

And after I fueled by brain up with this I had a date with my Step 2 Question Bank, as well as Dr. Dubin' EKG book. It was a wild morning. 

One of my other crazy adventures included grocery shopping. Spotted:

Okay it's hard to see. This woman is literally opening a giant container of yogurt and going at it with a plastic fork in the aisle of my fave health food store. Love this place. 

Lunch: Veggies with Aloo Palak from Tasty Bite. I was feeling something quick, so I put together some vegetables with some packaged Aloo Palak.

Snacks: Fruit, Gnu Fiber Bar in Peanut Butter. This fiber bar is pretty aggressively fiber-y, though the ingredient list is pretty awesome. It doesn't taste bad exactly, just extra chewy, and I don't really need 12 grams of fiber in my granola bar so I probably wouldn't buy it again. 

Dinner: BJ's Italian Market Salad. Except with no cheese, no meat, and the light Italian dressing. Surprisingly that still leaves a lot of good stuff on it: artichokes, peppers, kalamata olives and garbanzo beans. 

Dessert: Trader Joe's Coconut Milk Strawberry Ice Cream. These were gone from my TJ's for awhile and I was so happy to see them come back. I didn't intend to eat a whole pint, but, well, things happen. And it was so good. 

And plenty of greens, happy WIAW!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tofu Ricotta Gnocchi - from Peas & Thank You

Today I got home from my last day at VA inpatient just in time to make dinner with John. Last night we had planned to make the Tofu Ricotta Gnocchi, but when it came time for it we weren't really that up for cooking, so we put it off to tonight. I'm working my way through all the recipes in the cookbook for my 25 by 25 list, so here's another one from it.

The recipe is kind of interesting, because it's gnocchi-like in style and process, but doesn't actually have potato in it. It's actually a tofu/vegan cream cheese/flour/seasoning mix.

I wasn't sure I got the consistency of the dough quite right, but I added some extra flour as I was rolling it out until it wasn't too sticky.

Rolling it out to about the length of the cutting board and then slicing made piece just the right side. I tried to make the little gnocchi marks with a fork, but that worked out better for some than others. Some were too sticky and the fork sort of tore them. More flour pretty much solved it. 

We also ended up cooking them a few minutes longer than the recipe called for because they seemed too soft when we first tried them.

And we served them up with steamed veggies, the Peas & Thank You tomato sauce and topped it all with nooch.

The best part was actually the tomato sauce for sure. The gnocchi tasted great, but I just didn't love the texture - still too far on the soft side. I think though that anything topped with this sauce would be awesome and I'll definitely be enjoying the leftovers later. 

Tomorrow it's off to Riverside. People also call it "hell" or "the jungle." I can do anything for three weeks right?

What's your stance on soft gnocchi? 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lunch Date

On Monday I switch to a new location for my rotation, so I'm in my last days at the veteran's hospital. Tomorrow I end the rotation with call, but today I unexpectedly got out of work before lunch time and met up for some Japanese food with my future husband.

Miso soup and salad to start.

He's super prepared to protect me with these vicious chopstick weapons. 

I ordered the Veggie Combo: 8 piece veggie roll, 2 pieces seaweed sushi, and 2 pieces Inuri (favorite). I'd never had Inuri before - it's the brown one. They sort of look like egg roll wrappers but it's actually seasoned super-thin tofu around rice. 

With the soup and salad I ended up full with 6 of the veggie rolls left, so I saved them for lunch tomorrow.

Next up John and I jay-walked from the restaurant parking lot over to Costco for some berries, bell peppers, cooked brown rice and EVOO.

And in the afternoon we did yoga in the park under the powerlines.

Lately we've been going on free afternoons over to this area and doing yoga from my All-in Yoga app. We usually hit it close to sunset and it's really pretty. 

And now we're watching The Bucket List which I'm frankly finding kind of boring, but at least relaxing, and resting up for my last day at the VA and then the switch to my new (rougher) location. 

Don't forget to Spring Forward!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Post-Call and Day Off

I finished my long-teased 25 by 25 page - check it out for the things I'm working on before my birthday this year. It also explains the two Peas & Thank You recipes in this post - #25 is cook all the recipes in one of my cookbooks. 

Today was my only complete day off in this three week block. I have three total but the other two I had to go in for at least a little class. I tried to keep it a little productive. Worked on a paper, read about the liver and the lungs, but also it was kind of fun.

Yesterday I was post-call, which just means the day after you've been on call and are therefore at least a little sleep deprived. On-call days are longer than regular - if it's overnight it could be 30 hours, but most of the time for us students they're like 18 hour days.

Really it's just an excuse to rock your wrinkled scrubs, smudge your mascara, down an extra cup of coffee and walk around with your eyes 3/4 open. People see the scrubs and say, "Oh hey are you on call?" And you say, "No, post-call." Meaning, "Yeah, that means I have an excuse for looking like this." It doesn't give me an excuse for my rough face all the other days, but at least every few days I have it.

It's also an excuse to eat this - Overnight Oats in Jar. In the mix: Milk, chia seeds, oats, leftover peanut butter scraps, maple syrup. And 1/2 a banana added in the morning. Being able to just pull my breakfast out of the fridge the morning after call was so nice.

After we got done with all our rounds and discharge workup, we were able to go home for some needed rest.

First I picked up some veggies at the Sunday farmer's market:

Then John and I went on lunch date to a new place: Thai Kitchen in Grand Terrace. I got the Cashew Tofu with brown rice:

And finished off lunch with the last of the Call Brownies ("Call" anything = baked goods I make and take with me when we're on call for my team) I made the Peas & Thank You recipe, but added a 1/2 cup of walnuts.

And then today, DAY OFF! I slept in until 7. It was nuts. 

For my day-off breakfast, I made Peas & Thank You French Toast with Ezekiel bread and a berry sauce for John and I. It's impressive the way somehow this recipe mimics that eggy batter without the eggs. John's fave breakfast is still oatmeal, but this was pretty tolerable.

And we also did some yoga under the powerlines, where there's some nice grass. I went on a run and realized just a couple blocks in that I was already thirsty and it was 80 degrees outside. I was pretty thirsty when I got back.

"Yoga Bawss."

John doesn't let me spell "boss" the normal way anymore. 

And tomorrow it's back to work as usual. 

Internal Medicine's almost half over and I feel like I need to step up my study game, but I'm also learning a lot on the wards. 

If you were on call, what baked goods would you want someone to bring?