January 24, 2012

Snacking & Szechaun Noodles w/ Broccoli

I guess Mother Nature decided that today would go back to winter.  Or at least early spring.  Ohio weather is so bi-polar....either way, I had leftover pumpkin so I'm having a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for lunch.  Brrr!

In a previous post, I addressed changing habits here, so let's talk SNACKING.

So when you start transitioning to a plant-based diet, you don't automatically start craving fruits and veggies and snacking on broccoli and carrots (although damn that sounds good right now).  I am a HUGE snacker.....or "picker," as my loved ones call me.  I pick, pick, pick my way through the day and evening.  It's about knowing yourself and knowing your habits.  That way, you can work on adjusting where necessary.

So instead of giving up snacking altogether, because done correctly it can be quite healthy, work on changing the foods you snack on, and having a supply at all times for emergencies.  Yes, emergencies.  No, I'm not being dramatic because let me tell you - come between a woman and chocolate when she has a craving, and she'll rip into you like a monkey on a cupcake.

Also important to identify is what exactly you're craving when you snack.  Next time you have an urge, take a step back and ask yourself:  
  • Am I craving salt?  
  • Am I craving sweetness?  
  • Am I craving crunch?  
  • Am I craving creaminess?
Did I just write a rap song?  Anyway, once you've identified the craving, you can decide what will fulfill it.  Here are some suggestions for things that I make when I have cravings:

SWEET
  • Fruit - easy.
  • Fruit smoothie - throw any fruit you have in a blender with some almond milk, ice cubes, etc.
  • Frozen Grapes - thanks to my friend Lindsay, I discovered this GEM of a treat - tastes like little pieces of sorbet.  Sweet, cold, bite-size.  Snacking perfection.
  • Larabars - all whole foods - most flavors are 4 ingredients or less.
  • Handful of almonds with a handful of vegan chocolate chips.
  • Quick soft serve - Put a frozen banana and a tbsp or two of any nut butter into a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add any healthy toppings you want - walnuts, almonds, vegan chocolate chips, coconut, etc.
  • Quick raw brownies - take a cup of walnuts and process in the food processor.  Add a cup of pitted dates.  Process.  Add a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and a tsp of vanilla.  Process until combined.  Take dough and press into a pan.  Freeze for about 10 min.  Instant brownies.  Cut into squares, or roll into balls! YUM.
  • Cookie dough balls - another quick and easy food processor dessert.
SALTY
  • Tortilla chips and salsa/guacamole - or add avocado pieces, beans, corn to your favorite salsa.  Make your own tortilla chips or buy all natural ones.  There should only be 3-4 ingredients or less!
  • Popcorn.  A staple of mine.  Make your own - easy and tastes so much better than the microwave ones.  Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for some cheezy popcorn.
  • Handful of nuts.
  • Veggies and hummus.
  • Kale chips.  Not a favorite of Ann's, but we're gonna try in once more.  I think they're delicious and they really satisfy my salty, crunchy cravings.  Take some kale leaves (de-stemmed), put on baking sheet and spray a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and bake for about 15 min. on 350, turning the pan once.
Know yourself, know when you're gonna snack and have some or all of these items on hand.  Then start snacking yourself into better health!

Love and Kale,
Ali

Szechaun Noodles w/ Broccoli
 
I found this recipe and "veganized it." It's a peanut-y asian sauce that's just so, so good.  I recommend making a double-batch of the sauce and using it for a stir-fry sauce with veggies over rice.  Mmmmm.  If you guys don't like peppers, switch out with whatever veggies you like - shredded carrots, bamboo shoots, baby corn, etc.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb brown rice spaghetti (or any pasta that you like)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 red pepper, julienned (fancy word for skinny slices)
  • 1 green pepper, julienned (see above)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or Bragg's Amino Acids or tamari)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (if you don't have it, just omit)
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (adjust to your suit your spicy taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish - sliced scallions, sesame seeds or chopped peanuts.
Instructions:
  1. Make pasta according to package directions.  In the last 2 minutes of cooking, toss in broccoli.  
  2. Drain pasta and broccoli and rinse with COLD water (to stop cooking).
  3. Meanwhile, slice your peppers and put them into a big bowl
  4. Make sauce.  Combine all ingredients from ginger through salt and pepper into your food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add more water, to thin out if necessary.
  5. Place pasta and broccoli in bowl with peppers, toss all well with the sauce.
  6. Top with scallions, sesame seeds, or chopped peanuts for garnish!  Serve warm, room temperature, or cold!  ENJOY!
Mmm...peanut-y noodle goodness.

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