VMM 12 – Crock Pot Rice Pudding

Earlier this month I wrote that my ulcerative colitis had flared up leaving me doing a whole lot of not much.  I’ve been feeling a LOT better and I kind of thought I was in remission the last day or two. Today wasn’t the best but colitis is always a roller coaster, never a straight line. I’m OK with that, I still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I haven’t been eating totally vegan, that lasted a full week.  I have not strayed much though.  One thing about colitis is when I have a flare up I get obsessed with what I can and cannot eat, just because I know I can’t eat whatever I want. As soon as I start to feel better I want to eat everything I wasn’t able to before.  Happily salads and fruit are the biggest draws. Unhappily a bowl or two of ice cream was slipped in too. Is what it is.

Two things I can eat unless I’m really sick are rice and bananas.  That’s just great but after a while it does get a wee bit boring.  Maybe it’s because of all that obsessing over food and rice but last week I started to really crave rice pudding. Like, CRAVE.

So I looked up the recipe, but all of them I could find had a full cup of sugar in them.  Sugar is not on my short list of foods I can tolerate, so after much thought I came up with the (now) obvious – substituting the sugar with bananas.  I wasn’t sure how it would work but it is awesome!  Nothing in it is off limits and it tastes good enough to have everyday for breakfast (and maybe lunch) without having to force myself to eat.  Win and win.

So long story short, you don’t have to be sick to make this and love it – and you don’t have to feel a bit guilty about eating it because it’s pretty much health food.  Yay.  🙂

Rice Pudding:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 box coconut milk (1 quart)
  • 1 1/2 over ripe banana, smashed with a fork
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Throw it all in a crock pot on high for 4-5 hours.  And done.  How easy is that?  I like it cold with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

The first time I made this I used a full cup of rice and cooked it the full 5 hours, it was good but I wanted to try and make it not as thick. So the next time I used 3/4 cups rice and only cooked it 4 hours.  Looks perfect!

I’d love to have you try this and let me know what you think.  Do you have any suggestions for healthy, real food sugar substitutes?

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My Race Ragz – Review and Giveaway!

What would you put on a running shirt if you were inventing your own?  Turns out mine would be vaguely sarcastic.  Imagine that.

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My Race Ragz lets you choose from about a ton of pictures and sayings, or you can create your own. They have motivational, funny, and even some for barefoot runners!

20140715_180408I haven’t been able to try my shirt out on a run since I haven’t been feeling well (and as you can see I used that excuse to not hang up my laundry too…) but I wore it around anyways and I absolutely love it.  Their shirts are really comfortable and shaped to fit nicely.  I ordered a size up and I’m glad I did – I would definitely recommend you do the same if you order one of their shirts!

I believe they only have white colored shirts, but the graphics can be most any color you’d like.  I actually chose black. I know, how boring I must be. But I like it!

I  know you want to create one of these, and here’s your chance!  My Race Ragz was kind enough to give me a performance shirt to review AND one to giveaway!  (US shipping only, sorry everyone else)

Enter below to win, and go ahead and make your shirt all kinds of colorful and you! You have until 7/25/2014 to enter; the winner will be emailed the following weekend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am DETERMINED to get out for a run this week, if only on the treadmill and I’ll try my shirt out then, it’s moisture wicking as well as cool looking.  Fortunately I finally realized that it would be best to post my review without waiting around for all that.  🙂

Oh, and since you can personalize these with your own saying you don’t have to run to love one of these shirts!

 

VMM 11 – Time to go All In?

As I mentioned yesterday due to health reasons I’ve decided to try and eat vegan and unprocessed for the remainder of July.

My go to meal this last week has been simple – throw a cup of rice, 2 cups water, and a bag of southwest frozen vegetables in the rice cooker, wrap some in a small tortilla with a little salsa, and ta-da, dinner is served. Easy to make and easy on the stomach, it’s even OK without the salsa though it’s dry.

My goal for this week was to find easy meals so good that I’d crave them.  And I found some!

First I wanted to try making cashew cream sauce as I’ve seen it used as a base for mac and cheese, nachos, and even whipped cream.  The base recipe is this easy:

Cashew Cream Sauce:

  • raw cashews
  • water

Rinse the cashews, soak them overnight, rinse them again.  Put them in a food processor, cover with water to about an inch over the cashews, and blend very, very well.

Done!

Since it’s a base for so many things and freezable I made too much and froze some in mason jars to be used later.  After all, easy as it is to make it’s even easier to pull it out of the freezer to defrost.

I’m hoping to try an alfredo sauce with it, I’ll let you know how it works out.

I found a recipe with great reviews to use cashews as a base for a nacho dip, so I made some of that too, modified slightly (I really over bought the cashews…).

Nacho Dip:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 juiced lemons
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (heaping)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Basically you throw everything in the food processors and blend until it’s liquified.  I stopped at this point and stored the liquid half in the fridge and half in the freezer.  I’m guessing if cashew cream freezes well so will this.  We shall see!

At this point it is the consistency of water almost. I still dipped a chip in it and this stuff is amazing tasting!  The end product is definitely more than the parts.

To finish it up it should be heated up for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. As I said I didn’t get this far and I’m already addicted to the taste. If I can have this for my burritos and such vegan just got a whole lot easier!

My other big win came from The Simple Veganista, mashed chickpea salad.  The name does not do it justice at all. I made it and thought well, it’s healthy looking.  Then I tried it on a cracker and wow, delicious.  I had the 13 year old try it, win.

I made a couple modifications as raw veggies are out at the moment.

Chickpea Salad:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream (I just happened to have some in the fridge so…)
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of paprika

Ground up the carrots, scallions, and garlic pretty small in food processor

Pan fried them to soften

Throw everything but the cashew cream in food processor and pulse.  Leave the garbanzos chunky, not smooth like hummus.

Stir in the cashew cream (hummus or vegan mayo was suggested in original recipe)

Eat with crackers or on a sandwich. It’s really, really good on crackers!

lunch

I had some plain on spelt bread. It would be great with lettuce, tomato and onion. Also, it would have made a better picture that way!

Bread Maker Spelt Bread:

  • 1 1/4 cup rice mik
  • 2 Tbls. agave
  • 2 Tbls. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Warm the milk slightly, add all ingredients in order to bread machine, and set on basic.

My bread fell somewhere in the final bake cycle, as it always does. It’s still soft, nutty and delicious!

 

Catching Up

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t been running, I haven’t even been on much of any social media because sitting at the computer paying attention to one thing for that long has just been too much work. Heck, I’ve even been watching Netflix instead of reading which isn’t much like me.

On the animal front out of the 2 chickens I have left one began crowing – seriously.  I have  a third rooster out of my 4 pullets, and I can’t keep one chicken by itself so I’m looking for a good home for both of them.  If I try again I’ll for certain get them from a breeder instead of a feed store.  It never even occurred to me that they’d sex 3 out of 4 wrong. At least I live in an area where it isn’t too hard to find them good homes.

Chickens

Also this week my 13 year old dog Lucky who has arthritis and nerve damage in her legs has begun randomly falling down even when she is just standing still.  Her legs have been bad and the other dogs have knocked her down before, but it wasn’t like this. Not fun but not unexpected.

Lucky 7-6-2014 8-18-18 AM

Oh, and my son brought home a little couple day old kitten who was the only survivor of a litter from a hoarder’s house.  We knew it had about 1% chance of making it but it started eating, made it through the night, and then didn’t make it through the next day.  I couldn’t tell my son to leave it to die but it was definitely a rough life lesson for the kids. I did use it as an opportunity to talk about how they made his last day so much better than it would have been and sometimes that’s all you can do.

These are things I can’t change.

I don’t like to sound so negative. On the plus side my other two dogs are happy healthy and obnoxious as always, the rats are healthy and playful as always, and the bunny is still awesome though she/he has decided that chewing on floorboards is a great way to pass the time.

Lelo and Mia 7-6-2014 8-16-42 AM

On the everything else front my ulcerative colitis which has been in remission for an entire year is rearing it’s ugly head again.  It isn’t horrible yet, I usually feel a bit sick after eating or after drinking anything cold or carbonated but I still CAN eat and that’s always a plus. Half of the time I feel almost normal and the other half I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus.  I’m absolutely not up for running or even walking outside. Thanks to an insanely high deductible I really can’t afford to go to the doctor for it. I’ve decided it’s time to take things into my own hands and see if I can control it through diet.

I know what things make me feel sicker.  Being a vegetarian I don’t have to worry about red meat, which is said to make it worse.  Strangely I can’t eat any raw fruits or vegetables, everything has to be super-cooked. No booze though it seems I can tolerate sangria , I’m *trying* to be smart and not test that theory. But stress is a trigger too and some days it’s a toss up as to which is the worst of two evils.  Dairy is a trigger too. The doctor told me way back when to avoid glutton, but as a vegetarian we decided that would limit my food too much and it was never brought up again.

You might be surprised at how hard it is to follow the rules even when you know that breaking them will only do you harm.  There’s only one frozen pizza in the freezer, I’ll just eat it and then it won’t be there to temp me anymore.  I’ll just have a bowl of ice cream tonight, and then I’ll stop eating it…  till the next grocery store visit that is.

This is something I can change.

So I’ve decided it’s time to go all in.  For the rest of July I’m changing my vegan Meatless Mondays to every day, and going vegan for the rest of the month.  I’m not going to stock up on fake cheese and such, I’m going to try and eat real foods as much as I can.  I’m also cutting out wheat and rye.  I don’t plan on going glutton free but I am going to avoid most of it until I’m firmly back in remission.  Will it make a difference?  Only time will tell but it certainly can’t hurt.

I am making one exception if I feel good – Friday nights I usually go to the BarFly for dinner.  It’s a bar / mostly seafood restaurant in Safety Harbor. They’ve had nothing on the menu vegetarian but always let me special order vegetarian quesadillas or nachos anyways (and they make them GOOD). Then I went in last Friday and they had added both to their new menu!   Granted I’m sure other people were asking for them too, but I’m certainly not going to start asking them to modify their newly vegetarian menu items when they just added them! At least not yet.  🙂

So wish me luck and if you have any tips for a cheese addict going vegan or blogs you recommend let me know!