Monday, November 29, 2010

Candida, stuffed peppers

I have been ill for what seems like a very long time. Last summer (2009) I developed severe stomach and digestive issues. I had problems before then but it seemed that they worsened drastically at this time. I thought I had the flu at first even though it was the middle of the summer. But after one week went by...then two...then four...I figured that maybe something more serious was wrong. I started seeing doctors about it and was diagnosed with epstein-barr and chronic fatigue syndrome in October when I was so ill that I could no longer attend class or get out of bed. I ended up getting a medical incomplete for my semester (luckily!) and was able to finish my work and continue on with my education. The b12 shots for the epstein-barr didn't help me the least little bit. I was disappointed because the doctors said there was nothing else to do except rest and get the shots. I discontinued them because I felt they were a waste of time.
My digestive issues continued on during all of this and I had multiple doctors tell me it was just stress or IBS. I started seeing another doctor (of alternative as well as traditional medicine) and he took over control of my thyroid medication (I found out I am hypothyroid 4 years ago and have been on medication since as well as completely overhauling my diet and exercise programs) and testing for digestive problems. He found that I'm allergic to gluten and have a problem with candida overgrowth. He has raised my thyroid medication to my dismay and the anti-candida diet is incredibly hard to stick to. My thyroid levels are good and I don't have extra weight on me (I lost the weight I had gained initially due to the condition within 4 months of discovering I had it).
But I still feel awful most of the time. I'm troubled by sugar cravings, fatigue, depression, and many digestive complaints. Gluten complicates these issues but I am still not 100% cured by removing it from my diet. I cannot currently follow the anti-candida diet (due to other health issues I'm not discussing yet) and I feel that this is keeping me sick. I'm trying to at least cut back on any added sugar (I usually only consume agave or brown rice syrup anyway), fruit juice, and dried fruits until I am able to fully attempt the anti-candida diet. This is going to be difficult with the holidays and my mother not understanding candida, but I'm giving it a shot. I will still post goodies on here though =]
Sorry to seem like I'm whining, I just wanted to give a look at where I'm at in my journey towards health. I know I have made amazing strides, but I still have a lot of work to do and it's difficult because of the area I'm in and my alternative doctor can be a bad listener at times.

On a brighter note, I have a recipe for stuffed peppers! I apologize because I don't have exact measurements, but it's simple to figure out I swear!

Brown rice, cooked
Whole bell peppers (I used 4)
Tomato or marinara sauce
Black, kidney, or pinto beans (canned or already cooked)
Spices (cumin, southwest, red pepper, salt)
Veggies of your choice
Cut the tops off of the peppers and stuff them with the rice, beans, and veggies. Place in baking dish and cover with sauce and olives. Bake in oven at 350 for about 45 minutes, checking often.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spicy Coconut Rice with Tempeh, Spicy PB &Co.

When I was out of town on a trip last weekend, I found a flavor from Peanut Butter & Co. that I hadn't tried yet:

This PB is far from traditional like their flavors tend to be, but this flavor was even more out there. They suggest that you use it on veggies since it has things like cayenne pepper in it. So after having it in my cabinet for a week, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it. I wanted it in my coconut rice. I like my coconut rice sweet and spicy which I know makes it different from normal coconut rice, but that's how I prefer it. This is the recipe I came up with and my partner used it to make the dish for me...

1 C brown rice
1/2 C light coconut milk
1 tbsp peanut butter (you can use the spicy PB if you have it or the urge hits you)
1 tsp stevia/sugar/sweetener of your choice
1/4 onion, chopped
Frozen veggies (I used cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, peas)
1/3 pkg tempeh
southwest seasoning (omit or replace if you don't have this)
salt, pepper
oil or spray for pan

In a saucepan, heat oil and onion until it is translucent. Add frozen veggies and let those start to thaw. In a pan, heat some more oil and add the tempeh cut however you like it (I like mine in bite size pieces). Add the listed spices to the tempeh as it cooks. Now add the coconut milk and PB in the saucepan with the veggies. After getting the PB melted and mixed add the rice and listed spices as well as the sweetener if you are using it. Once everything is done, combine the tempeh and the rice with veggies in a bowl and enjoy! This made 2 servings for me but it makes 1 big serving if you are really hungry.

This is an awful picture just like all of my rice bowl pictures (and all food pics, for that matter) tend to be. But I swear it was really yummy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More animals! And Thai food

I'd like to introduce you to the rest of my beloved animal family =]




So I live with three medium/large dogs. Akuma is very attached to my partner, Aurora is very attached to me, and Odin is equally attached to both of us (and anyone who will pet him...) Needless to say, it gets pretty insane around here. But I love them <3 and they all love Kitty so it's all good!

I also ate at a Thai restaurant that recently opened in my city. I say city but really it's more like a town. I live in Huntington, WV. If you've heard of it it's only because of the We Are Marshall movie with Matthew McConaughey, it sort of put us on the map. But even with a major motion picture about my town and the university in it, our finest dining still tends to be the Olive Garden. Vegetarians have a rough time at restaurants and with the locals, much less a vegan who is allergic to gluten. I have to worry about cross contamination but since I don't live near anything resembling a vegan restaurant or gluten free raw places, I'll take what I can get. But the Thai place is exciting, new, and nice. And it has tofu! Like I've said, if it's a special occasion like I'm eating out, I'll get tofu especially if that's my only option like it is at the local Asian places. I got the Panang curry tofu with vegetables and panang rice. It was really good curry and the rice was super delicious and different. Annnnnd yes that's a bite I'd already taken out of the rice ^_^

And just for some awwww factor, here's a picture of my baby cousin and her happy face fried rice:

Sunday, November 14, 2010


What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Caesar salad. I ate it every week before going vegan.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Brussels sprouts

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Seitan. Now that I have to be gluten free, I don't feel so bad about it but I hated it long before that.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
No raisins in savory dishes. Seriously people are always doing that. And I love raisins, I eat them straight. But not in my stuffed peppers.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Hummus or dark chocolate

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Mac n cheese

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Dark Chocolate, almond butter

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
I'm a big snacker. Rice cakes with nut butter or apple butter, hummus and carrot sticks, popcorn.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, olives, banana peppers, onions

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Peas, any type of berry

What is the best salad dressing?
I put hummus on my salads most of the time

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Apple butter with tahini or almond butter

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
I'm partial to chocolate anything

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Oatmeal raisin, pb chocolate chip

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
rice veggies & tempeh or beans

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
No one in my household is vegan and therefore they won't eat anything that I do. Except for the cookies

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
1 hour

How many fingers am I holding up?

What kind of things are you doing for VeganMofo?
Reading lots of blogs

Cabbage rolls, a recipe from another blogger

I'm feeling a little bit better now as I've been trying to drink my fluids. I still haven't had a huge appetite but I'm still eating of course. I made cabbage rolls and a special treat from another blogger, Averie's No Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls with High Protein option

For the cabbage roll filling I used brown rice, tofu, and mushrooms seasoned with basil, onion, and garlic. I put tomato sauce on top of the rolls with some green olives. Delicious! You can make them in the crock pot or oven and it's very simple.

For Averie's "cookie dough" balls I did use the high protein option because my protein intake hasn't been what it should be since I came down with the flu. Her recipe seriously tastes like cookie dough, it's seriously addictive and delicious.

Sorry that I don't have any pictures but cabbage rolls are ugly and I couldn't get a good picture of the balls.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I wanted to do a post about my companion cat, Kitty. I know MoFo is about food but veganism is about the animals for me so I wanted to do a tribute to him. Kitty is the love of my life. I found him in the middle of the road when he was about 3 weeks old. He was so tiny! He had upper respiratory infection which had turned into pneumonia. The poor thing had lost one of his eyes to the infection and the other one wasn't looking so good. I took him to the vet to get medicine of course and then brought him home to be babied beyond belief. I stayed up all night with him as he cried and meowed because of his discomfort. I cleaned his eyes constantly and cried with him because i felt so bad for the poor thing. The vet told me he might not live so I didn't want to get too attached to him. Getting attached was unavoidable but I called him Kitty instead of giving him an official name. Well, Kitty lived and I was able to save his other eye. He's been with me for a year and a half now and is thriving. He's the most wonderful cat I have ever met. He thinks he's a dog and follows me around like I'm his momma. I did name him, Agent Jack Bauer because he's invincible, but he only answers to Kitty. So I still call him Kitty because it's the name he knows and likes. He always makes me smile and feel loved. I don't know what I would do without him!

This is Kitty when I first found him
giving me kisses

cuddled up trying to get better

And this is Kitty now:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beans & rice, No Bake Cookies

Hey! I have been unable to post because I've had some health issues arise. I came down with what I think was the flu on Tuesday and became dehydrated because of it. When I went to the doctor yesterday, my blood pressure was so low that they couldn't get a reading on it. They determined it was because of the dehydration and told me I either had to drink a ridiculous amount of gatorade and/or water or they could put me in the hospital with an IV. I chose to go home and try to drink a bunch because I dislike hospitals. I've been constantly drinking water so hopefully I'm on my way to being hydrated =]
I hadn't eaten very much either due to not feeling well but last night I made myself a big bowl of brown rice, black beans, corn, peas, broccoli, carrots, and peppers topped with chipotle Parma. Yum!

I also asked my mom to make me her wonderful vegan no bake cookies. They are delicious! So delicious that I wasn't able to keep them long enough over the weekend to get a picture. Keep them in the fridge so they don't go bad of course. The refrigeration makes them fudgy!
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup almond or other nondairy milk
1/8 cup vegan butter, melted
2 tbsp cocoa
3 cups rolled oats
3 dates finely chopped
Combine in a bowl and mix well. Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet and chill.

So simple and easy to make!

Monday, November 8, 2010


1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Unsweetened chocolate almond milk by Almond Breeze.

2. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
I tried to replicate this amazing coconut curry soup that I had at an Asian restaurant in Alexandria, VA. It was awful.

3. Favorite pickled item?


4. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?

Dark chocolate, brown rice, tempeh

5. Fondest food memory from your childhood?

Being at my great grandmother's house and my grandfather's cabin which are both in the woods of WV. My great grandmother always let me help her in the kitchen (making food I would never touch now) but it gave me a lot of good times with her while she was here. We also would have holiday meals at my papas cabin and all the family would be there.

6. Favorite vegan ice cream?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bliss. It has 5 ingredients, is free of soy, and made with agave. Yummmm. I warn you that you can taste the coconut milk in it so avoid if you don't like coconut.

7. Most loved kitchen appliance?

Aroma rice cooker and steamer

8. Spice/herb you would die without?

That's a tough choice between cumin and garlic

9. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
You can't beat homemade apple butter, in my opinion

10. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

Oatmeal raisin cookies

11. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

Tempeh, for sure

12. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

My favorite time of day to cook is afternoon. I can take my time and I'm not starving and impatient like I am at breakfast.

13. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bliss (calling my name), frozen veggies, frozen fruit

14. What’s on your grocery list?

Beans are always a must have, tempeh, almond milk, produce

15. Favorite grocery store?

Elwood Thompson. I wish I had one near me.

16. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.

Chicken/tuna salad. There's so many recipes out there I need to just go ahead and do it. I posted the tempeh salad wraps from Little House of Veggies and it's tempting but I've held off mostly because I've never tried vegenaise and I'm afraid of it haha. Maybe I need a recipe that doesn't use it or uses very little

17. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?

Love Veggies and Yoga
Vegan MoFo (now that it's happening)
Just Bento (not vegan but I love bento and they have a lot of vegan ones or easily veganized recipes)

18. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?

I like a lot of different ones I've tried but my staple chocolate bar is Endangered Species dark chocolate with almonds & cranberries

19. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

Raw almonds

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm so lazy today

I worked all morning and half of the evening and I have another paper to write. I haven't been doing much cooking for three days since I need o be able to just throw something quick together and go due to work. That will change soon and I'll be posting some food. So I'm going to do a post about vegan things that I love =]

Pattycake Bakery in Columbus, OH is awesome. Not only are they completely vegan but they also have gluten free and raw options! I live about 2 hours outside of Columbus (in WV) so I get to go there every couple of months for shopping and food that is unavailable in my state. Another awesome thing is that you can order online from them, even though they can only ship a limited number of their gluten free options and none of the raw ones. I recently ordered two cookies online, the ginger spice and cranberry almond. Both were soft and delicious and didn't taste gluten free!

Chipotle Cayenne Parma. If you haven't tried this raw cheesy topping made from nuts, nutritional yeast, and perfect spice blends then you need to go buy some now! The other flavors are good but the chipotle is phenomenal.

So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir in strawberry. Gluten free, vegan, and 10 active cultures. The chocolate is good as well but only if you like the sour chocolate cheesecake-esque flavor. If not, stick to the strawberry. It goes down smooth and delicious.

Daiya. Duh.

This next thing is delicious, but it's terrible for you. I've eaten this once since it came out and it will be a long time before I do again because as much as I love amazing vegan and gluten free things, I also love being healthy. I also ate this in two sittings, not one. It really is that rich! I'm talking about Amy's Vegan Rice Macaroni & Cheeze. This is made with Daiya and it is killer. Of course, you can always whip up your own healthy version of gluten free mac with Daiya but if you want a treat, then grab this meal.

Once again, this is something I get very rarely but I do love. It's Zen Soy Vegan Pudding Cups. I try to avoid soy as much as possible and only eat soy products once or twice a week because I have hypothyroid. And when I do eat soy I stick with tempeh unless I'm eating out and tofu is my only option. I'm not hating on soy, I absolutely love it, but it's better for my health if I don't eat it every day. Get these in the Chocolate or Chocolate Vanilla Swirl. I find the other two to be not as good, but I'm a chocolate lover.

All the products I mentioned are also gluten free, of course =] Let me know if you have tried these products and love them/think I'm crazy because they're nasty or whatever!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gluten Free Vegan Halloween cookies

I was pretty bummed on Halloween this year because normally I dress up and go all out for the holiday, but I stayed in this year and didn't get a costume. To avoid being completely depressed by this I decided to make and decorate some Halloween cookies =] I used Bob's Red Mill GF shortbread cookie mix, Halloween cookie cutters, Cherrybrook Kitchen's allergen free vanilla frosting, colored piping gel, Stretch Island fruit leather, and organic 65% cacao chocolate chips.
I added egg replacer, almond milk, earth balance butter, and applesauce (to replace a portion of the huge amount of butter the mix called for). The cookies turned out pretty well and cooked very quickly. The majority of my time was spent on decorating the cookies which took a good 30 minutes! And my decorating skills are very amateur as you can see:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gluten Free Vegan "Stuffing"/Lentil Veggie Loaf

I came up with a recipe for my mom to make me a veggie loaf cause I'd really been craving one. It's a lentil based loaf and I thought it would be a lot like a normal veggie loaf. Well, it wasn't. It was way better! Even though it wasn't exactly like a typical veggie loaf, it tasted just like Thanksgiving stuffing! As I ate it I decided it would be perfect as a gluten free substitute for stuffing.

It doesn't stick together well once you start dipping it out of the pan. It's a little crumbly but not too bad. You can always add more binder if you want it to stick together better.

GF Stuffing/Veggie Loaf
1/2 C cashews
1 onion, Diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 celery ribs, diced
1 C mushrooms, chopped
2 C cooked lentils (any variety, I used brown)
1 C cooked brown rice
1/4 C vegetable broth
1/2 C cooked oatmeal
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray (you can also use a loaf pan but I think the baking pan makes for a more crispy stuffing like texture).
Grind cashews in a food processor. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Saute the garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and mushroom. Add to the bowl as well as the remaining ingredients. Mix together well, adding only as much broth as you need to create a moist loaf that holds together.
Press mixture into your pan and bake for 45 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Mom made mine in a heart shaped baking pan. Awww =]