Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pictures and Thoughts for February

Well, it's February. I've been vegan, now, for nearly 3 months, and it's going very well, indeed. I haven't been posting very often, lately, but that has more to do with the statistics class I'm taking than with anything else. As more of a writing and reading sort of person, mathematics will tend to take up a lot more of my time and effort if I am actually meant to learn it. So even though my daily computer time has been reduced by a mean of one and a half hours with a standard deviation of 22 minutes on a standard normal has been otherwise grand.

I have some pictures from the last week or so to show you. The first one here on the left is a photograph I took of Elizabeth's breakfast one day. She told me, "Mommy, I bet I'm the only kid in my school who gets a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast!" Since this cookie has flax meal, no eggs, no cholesterol, and no dairy fat...I bet her cookie is a much healthier choice than all the kids chowing on sugar-filled breakfast cereal and full-fat cow's milk. So. I let her eat cookies for breakfast, sometimes. :) Eliza's stories of the reactions she gets from classmates in the lunchroom are some of my favorites. Last weekend, Elizabeth and I made a chocolate cake. While we were mixing the egg replacer and measuring out the organic sugar, I answered a round of 6 year-old "why" questions that worked themselves around into explaining again why we don't eat eggs or drink cow's milk anymore. In the end, Elizabeth declared that our cake was healthy (and in many ways, it was). I told her that, yes, it was a very healthy chocolate cake and that it was good for her as long as she only ate one piece. On Monday, when I picked her up from school, Elizabeth matter-of-factly told me, as she buckled her seatbelt, "Well, Mommy, I told Kayla about our healthy chocolate cake, and she said I was lying. Kayla doesn't believe in healthy chocolate cake. I feel sorry for her because she is missing out." Being proud and giggling at the same time...well, it's one of my favorite things about being a mom . Here are some pictures of my first batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies and a recent picture of my smart little princess.

These next pictures below are of some of my lunch bowls. I love rice bowls, and I have finally hit on the rice recipe. Before I give it to you, I will indulge in a tangential rant:
Now, lookit. If you don't want to eat white rice? Don't. No one is forcing you to eat white rice, and nobody with sense would try to argue that white rice is as good for you as brown rice. Go have your bowl of nutty brown rice and enjoy it. That's great. Congratulations. As for me, I can't stand brown rice. I don't like the flavor, the texture, the aroma...nothing about it appeals to me. I'm 35 years old, and I've tried brown rice many ways in many recipes, and I haven't liked any of them. At my time of life, I feel I've earned the right to say, "I don't care for that, thank you." I love barley, oats of all kinds, multi-grain mixtures, wild rice, and muesli. I eat all of these liberally and I'm very adventurous with trying new grains, so I'm not worried about being deficient in high-fiber whole grain products in my diet. I also eat a lot of white rice (as, may I remind you, does the entire Asian population in the Orient...all very healthy cultures with historically long life spans)...and I fully intend to continue doing so. It's not going to kill me. So just deal.

So anyway...I cook one cup of long-grain white rice with 2C of water, one veggie bouillon cube, and a T of olive oil. Bring it to a boil, cover tightly and lower heat to simmer for about 15 minutes (or until water is fully absorbed and rice is fluffy-tender). It is insanely good. I've begun making a double batch and keeping the leftovers in the fridge so I can use it for snacking or quick-cooking later on. The first bowl is Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, and water chestnuts tossed in olive oil (or Smart Balance) and garlic salt on high heat until the sprouts caramelized. If you've never eaten Brussels sprouts this way, you honestly don't know what you're missing. The second bowl is one I made for my husband with all his favorite (or I should say least non-favorite) vegetables. I tossed fresh raw green beans, frozen green peas, blackeye peas, and fresh chopped carrots in lemon pepper, canola oil, and garlic salt until the carrots were al dente. We seriously made gluttons of ourselves.

On to the health and body changes. I'm totally losing weight. Not even trying. Snacking constantly. Eating more carbs than I have ever eaten in my whole life. Not really working out, lately (slacked off because of the holidays and my gym partner's husband deployed, and she's been helping another friend whose husband is deployed while she had a baby....long story). Nope. Nothing. Just...eating the way I want to eat. Losing serious weight. I'm down about 10 pounds now, and pretty soon I'm going to have to go buy some new clothes. I know!! The horror. There has been a bodily downside, but in the Nix family, we're very easy-going people who enjoy laughing at ourselves, anyway. We are seriously the most flatulent family you ever met, now. I'm assuming that this will eventually go away, and we don't find it painful or uncomfortable...just inconvenient. Well. I do. Mr. Nix and Eliza think it's hilarious.

So anyway, this is getting lengthy, but I'll close with the following pictures. A friend of mine took me to a local produce market where everything is local and seasonal. It's all grown within a half-hour's drive of my home. It's absolutely fantastic. Yesterday, I bought the most beautiful yellow carrots I've ever seen, and a bag of fresh basil that made my whole van smell like pesto in the 10-minute drive between market and home. The coup de gras? They have fresh tofu there...made on the premises! It was still HOT from being made in the back. I. was. in. HEAVEN in this store. Will go back with camera next time.

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