What I Eat in a Day, Part 2

I still like watching these types of video, so I thought I’d do another one of these blog posts!

For breakfast lately, maybe because of the warmer weather, I’ve been eating cold cereal. So interesting, right? This cereal is what I think of as being granola, but the package said muesli. Is there a difference? I don’t know. Into the cereal, I added some mixed berries, chia seeds, and peanut butter. (I would add peanut butter to everything if I could.) Also, oat milk.

For lunch, I have been experimenting with adding non-meat proteins to salads. Above is an example of one of these salads. It is kale, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, and some carrots (just what I had to use but I would have added more if I had them). Dressing is just olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

I haven’t been snacking in the mornings, but in the afternoon I will snack if I’m hungry. Usually hummus and carrots or gluten-free crackers, fruit, or a smoothie.

In the photo above is a dinner that I recently made that is probably one off my favorite new things! It is mashed polenta (every time I have polenta, I question why I don’t eat more polenta–it’s so good!) with fried onions and chorizo. Excuse my hand in the photo, but I wanted to show the packaging. This product is made with pea protein! Link to their website here. The green blob on top is just a bit of avocado.

I have been not eating after dinner but what I do have a lot of that’s not pictured here is tea–probably about four cups a day. I don’t put anything in the tea, so it doesn’t have calories or count as food and of course a mug of discolored water isn’t pretty. I typically drink black tea and green tea during the day and after dinner usually just herbal tea.

A Week of Kid Lunches

When my kids used to go to an actual in-person school, they ate school lunch every day and appeared to like it. Since they ate cereal bars on the walk to school most days, I only had to worry about feeding them dinner, and to be fair, this was more like five times a week because of take-out and actually eating out. Then, more than a year ago now, I suddenly started having to feed them every single meal at home.

My younger son in the PB&J days.

At first, last March, I made the same lunches for everyone, every day. That lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with raw veggies, fresh fruit, and a handful of chips. It soon because apparent that I’m the only one who actually enjoys that lunch (go figure! PB&Js are great!). One year later and I seem to have figured it out somewhat. I give my kids basically the same lunches every week, but in random order. Those lunches are mac and cheese, ramen, egg and cheese sandwiches, pizza rolls, and cheese and crackers and hummus. Lunches are still served with raw veggies (so glad they like raw veggies). And then they eat fruit and chips in the afternoon when zoom school is out at 2pm. Dinner is still a work in progress!

I will still happily eat PB&J but limit myself to once a week!

What I Eat in a Day

If there is one type of YouTube video I like, it is the What I Eat in a Day type. Now that I’m home all the time, my diet has changed a bit. Another thing that has changed my diet a bit is the fact that both my endocrinologist and my primary care doctor have ordered me to stop eating gluten. There’s more to it than just that, but I’ll save that for another time and just focus on the fun, food-related part this time.

For breakfast, I usually have a bit of non-dairy yogurt with gluten-free granola, nuts, chia seeds, and fruit. If I am hungry still in the morning, I have a smoothie (not pictured because everyone knows what this looks like). Morning smoothies usually have frozen fruit, a handful of kale, a banana if I haven’t had one at breakfast, and plant-based milk.

I’m usually pretty busy at lunchtime, so one thing I really like is just to have a plate of nibbles. Of course it varies depending on what I have. From the top going clockwise, I have some romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and celery; Gluten-free crackers of the brand Mary’s Gone Crackers; some hummus; and some probiotic slaw of beets, cabbage, and dulse, from Ozuke. If I am hungry after lunch, I usually take my dog for a walk first to make sure I’m hungry and not bored. When I get back, I have a green smoothie of kale, cucumbers, whatever amount of apple my kids haven’t eaten in their afternoon snack, and coconut water.

Dinner is the most varied meal, and while I know it’s not great, sometimes I cook differently for my children that for myself. The above photo represents something I would make for myself that my kids would not eat. From the top are rice and lentils; sauteed Brussels sprouts; and bean and corn salad. On the top is just some mashed avocado. I am trying not to eat after dinner, but if I make popcorn for the kids, I always grab a handful, and sometimes I have fruit or sorbet.

Anyway, that’s it!

Leftover Curry Recipe

It tastes way better than it looks!

We ordered curry one night, and ate everything except a few tablespoons of curry sauce and some rice and one naan. I saved those items and the next day made something that was a bit like curry. I made this in an Instapot, but you could just use a large pot on the stove.

Mix all these ingredients:

  • One cup red lentils
  • One sweet potato
  • One carrot
  • One onion
  • Handful of chopped kale
  • Two garlic cloves
  • Tsp salt
  • Tsp pepper
  • Tsp garlic powder
  • Tsp onion powder
  • Tsp turmeric
  • Tsp garam masala
  • Leftover curry sauce (probably 4 Tbs)

I served it with the leftover rice and naan. It was so good! I’ll definitely do this again next time, and of course you can use whatever veggies are in the fridge.

Continuing to Work on my Yard (all about soil)!

Last week I wrote about my trials and tribulations of getting the cement in my backyard taken away. That actually took place last fall. After the contractor finished moving away most of the broken cement, he said we would wait to do the next part until the spring.

While this was ongoing, I decided to test my existing soil. A few people warned me that it may contain heavy metals or other dangerous things, and I had to do that before I planted anything in it we would possibly eat. I didn’t have a solid plan as to what to plant yet, but I wanted to include the possibility that I would be gardening edible plants.

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These tiny tomatoes came from a plant I had in a pot last summer. I opened my shed in December and found these growing! And yes, they were yummy!

 

After several annoying and possibly hilarious attempts to test using kits I bought online, I discovered the NYC Urban Soils Institute. You mail them a soil sample, and for a reasonable fee, they test it for you and email you the results. The soil from my yard came back as lacking in biologic material but otherwise fine. I was so happy to hear it!

Through the Soils Institute helpful website, I found that the best way to amend my soil was by adding organic matter. I would add to need topsoil, because the level was so far below the cement, but the winter is not the time to do that. Since it was a mild winter, I started just adding organic material by burying my organic garbage. It sounds odd, but I was already bringing scraps once a week to be composted. This was even easier! Just dig a hole and bury them!

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In early February, I went for a walk and found this very early flower! I hope to have some in my garden this year.

A few people asked about animals digging it up, but we are vegetarians, so it was only fruit and vegetable scraps. I live in Queens, so the only animals about are stray cats, who wouldn’t want my scraps, and raccoons, who can easily find tastier stuff in garbage cans. I have never had a problem! And never will, since it is now spring and I stopped doing this because things are growing in the yard. More on this next week.

Meat-Free May: Week 4

Week 4 of Meat-Free May included a lot of eating out, and, to come clean, one of those times I ate fish. I found out my favorite fish restaurant was closing, and I was planning to go there for my birthday in June. So I went this week. I feel like I failed in that I ate fish, be succeeded in that I didn’t let in get me into a spiral of continuing to eat meat.

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BBQ Tempeh Bowl from MTHR Vegan was a terrific lunch in Midtown NYC!

One day, I forgot to bring my lunch to work, and was depressed at the thought of eating in my office cafeteria, so I wandered out to MTHR Vegan. I originally wanted a sandwich, but changed my mind and got this BBQ tempeh bowl. Fortunately/unfortunately the restaurant is only a few blocks from where I work, so I’ll be back.

We also went back to the Queens Night Market, and managed to eat only vegetarian things, and none of the things we ate the last time. We had a guava and cheese empanada, spicy fried masala noodles, samosas, mozzarella arepa, radish puffs, and some fried cinnamon cake.

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And it is/was Memorial Day weekend, so we had BBQ! I marinated some eggplant in olive oil, tahini sauce, garlic, and lemon juice, and had it on fresh Italian bread with some kale and a cashew cream sauce (that I made for something else, but didn’t have time to make yet, so I’ll make it tomorrow). Also, grilled corn, which is always a favorite!

Meat-Free May: Week 3

We are into the third week of Meat-Free May! I am still feeling good and have not eaten meat nor wanted to eat meat. I do have a few health updates that may or may not be related. Because I was at the doctor’s this morning for my annual, I know I lost two pounds. Also my blood pressure, which has never been a concern of mine, was 118/75, so now it is even less of a concern (previously had been 120/80). At some point this week, I remembered that in the past when I was vegetarian or vegan for years-long stretches, I became deficient in vitamin B12, so I did start taking that as a precaution.

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Hiking in the woods near our house!

This week I ate out a lot, but forgot to take photos every single time! We went hiking, biking, went to a show at my son’s school, and I went to a concert and spent a lot of time hanging out with horses. One night I ate Chinese food out at a fancy place. We had an assortment of things, but my favorite was Shao Kao Fu, which is seitan with mushrooms and peanuts. I also ate Thai food out with my family, and had Massaman Curry with tofu and vegetables. And finally I had Italian food out with my family, and I had eggplant rollatini.

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These were actually really good!

I’m trying to remember what I ate this week at home and mostly failing. There were a ton of my favorite salad: kale, avocado, cucumber, tahini, and hemp seeds. I made orange seitan with broccoli for the family one day. And I finally got to try jackfruit, which I’ve been curious about for some time. It came four cakes to a pack, so I made them all, and ate two on successive days for lunch. I liked the jackfruit, even though I’ve not into crabcakes that much. I would definitely be interested to try jackfruit in a different format!

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This was my favorite thing I’ve made in a long time, and I ate it two days in a row!

Meat-Free May: Week 2

The second week in Meat-Free May went well in that I continued to not eat meat, continued to not crave meat, and continued to feel well!

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Yummy ramen! We were also given complementary endamame for some reason–not that I’m complaining!

We actually ate out a bit more than usual, the highlight of which for me was ramen! I love ramen and was concerned our local joint did have a section for “vegetable ramen,” but it did not specify that the ramen was vegetarian. I know their regular ramen is made from animal bones, so I asked the waitress, and was informed that my favorite, the miso ramen, is vegetarian!

The two other times we ate out were at vegan restaurants, so we were able to pick from the menu without asking/worrying. While I love this about eating at vegan places, I think it’s also important to eat at omnivore restaurants as a vegetarian, so they will know that yes, people like vegetables!

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TJ’s falafel mix is very easy to prepare!

For meals at home, we had pasta one night, pizzas another night, and one day, something that I previously thought was really hard to make–falafel. I baked it rather that fried it, mostly because that amount of frying seemed like it would be more danger than I wanted to deal with! Thus, it was a little dryer (and I’m sure way healthier) than I’m used to. Also, this mix was a bit spicier than I usually expect falafel to be. Nonetheless, thumbs up! I ate this with kale salad for lunch the remainder of days of the week.

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The pita is almost bigger than my plate!

For dinner, we had the falafel balls with pita, kale, cucumbers, avocado, and TJ’s tahini sauce. The kids ate their falafel with…cheese and ketchup. At least they ate it!

Meat-Free May: Week 1

It hasn’t been a full week yet, but since I didn’t take notes and am liable to forget, I thought I would check-in how I did for week 1 of Meat-Free May. In short, it went well! Meaning, of course, I didn’t eat any meat, and I felt fine and wasn’t craving it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I generally eat the same two things for breakfast and lunch every day: cereal with almond milk and a banana and kale salad and a peanut butter sandwich. My only weekday deviation was an egg salad with carrots and chips one day, as I was at the DMV all morning and didn’t want to bring my lunch with my.

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Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs: a yummy study in contradictions!

One night for dinner we had spaghetti and meatballs. Having two young kids, this is a staple at our house. They were hesitant when I told them the meatballs might taste differently because they were not meat, but they not only ate everything I gave them, but asked for seconds!

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They ate all this and asked for seconds! And yes, I let them eat in front of the TV, but in my defense, we were watching Kiki’s Delivery Service!

Another meal I put together at home was ready-made Indian stuff, also from Trader Joe’s. It was chana masala (chickpeas with tomato and spices), palak paneer (cheese cubes with spinach puree), and garlic naan (flatbread). This was too much for my older son, so I also made him frozen fish fingers. My younger son is a much more adventurous eater and proclaimed it “spicy, but not too spicy.”

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I was hungry and started eating before taking the photo!

Over the weekend, as predicted, I ate out twice. For lunch Saturday, we had pizza. For dinner Saturday, we went to a large food truck festival called the Queens Night Market. I was walking around and eating too much to take photos, but we mostly all shared everything. We had corn on the cob, a rice cake with eggplant and tomato puree on top, a corn cake with tofu and vegetables cooked into it, a spiralized potato with cheddar seasoning, and fried ice cream. I have to admit that I was nervous there would be no vegetarian options there, but there were plenty. I plan to go back many times this season!

 

 

Meat-Free May!

This month, I am doing another month-long project: Meat-Free May! As you might guess, this means I will attempt to not eat any meat for the month of May. Other people are doing it too, and have written about why you would do it here. The New York Times also has a great article about how what we eat impacts the planet. And yes, there is also a quiz!

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Vegan me a few years ago, visiting an animal sanctuary.

I have a long and twisted diet history, but for the most part, I don’t like eating meat. I don’t care for the flavor and texture of meat as a whole. For a not insignificant portion of my life, I have been vegetarian and sometimes vegan. I am also a minimalist with food choices. What I mean is that the more food choices there are, the more stressed I feel. (I can’t even tell you how stressed I get just looking at a buffet!) I have tried to deal with this by eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Breakfast is cereal with almond milk and a banana. Lunch is kale salad with oil and vinegar and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

For dinner I will usually eat out about two nights a week, have take-out one night, and cook the rest. Dinner is varied, but usually kid-friendly. If I were single with no kids, I would probably eat the same two things for dinner every other night, like I did through most of my 20s. (If you are interested, these two meals were a flatbread with garlic and vegetables on it, and pasta with oil, garlic, and greens. Now I would probably add a rice and beans to the mix, you know, because I’m so adult.)

For this month, to keep myself accountable, I’ll write how I did every Monday. I assume the weekends will be the problem, as I tend to be out and about with the kids. I also assume I will be eating at least one slice of pizza and one Impossible Burger a week, which is okay by me. Let’s see what happens!