Archive | July, 2011

Summer rolls!

31 Jul

My sweet friend, Gretchen, and I cook for each others’ families every other week.  We live only a street away, cook similarly in regards to nutrition, and both love to experiment!  It is FABULOUS!  I think everyone should find a neighbor or a good friend to share dinner duty.  It is awesome.

A few months ago, she made summer rolls.  They were wrapped in rice paper, and are gluten free!

After my splurge on produce this weekend, we thought this may be a fun thing to do as a family. We had no recipe…just some fresh ingredients. I am NO expert in rolling, as my ugly rolls will show.  But they were SO yummy!  The kids ate vegan and had no idea.  They rate every meal I make.  This one got a 100 (scale of 1 – 10) from one kid and a 6 from my picky eater.  This is quite exciting!


Romaine lettuce

A Carrot

An Avocado

A Cucumber

Cilantro Sprigs

Cooked brown rice

Gluten Free Teriyaki sauce

Rice Spring Roll wrappers

Variety of dipping sauces

Thinly chop all veggies (except cilantro).  Once your brown rice is cooked, add some Teriyaki sauce to give it some flavor.

Take a pie pan and fill with warm water from the tap.

Soak a rice sheet in the water then lay it on a damp dish towel.

Take a scoop of rice and lay it in the middle on the bottom, about ¼ of the way down.

Lay down some of each of the veggies.

Lay sides of rice paper in the middle.  Roll the bottom up and then roll the entire thing. (we were actually having a lot of fun, despite the serious looks on our faces! We look hysterical!)

Dip in a variety of sauces!!!  Here are our gluten free choices.

Enjoy your veggies!!


Addiction, revisited.

31 Jul

Remember my addiction?  You know, the whole marinara thing? Well, I have a new one. I have made 4 batches of it in two weeks.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  And it, too, is TOMATO!!!! Evidently, I have a thing for lycopene.

And here it is!

Vegan Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (adapted from


  • 6–6 1/2 pound tomatoes, cut into chunks (any that look juicy and good)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (sometimes blended in my blender instead)
  • 2 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups fresh whole basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Arrange the cut tomatoes on a large (10×16-inch) baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss with your hands until the tomatoes are evenly coated with oil, then arrange them cut side up; they should fill the pan completely. Place in oven and roast the tomatoes for 50 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and set aside.
  3. Warm the rest of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and sauté for one more minute. Carefully pour in all the tomatoes and their juices. Add the basil and thyme. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Blend the soup in batches in the blender, pouring finished soup into a clean saucepan or bowl.  Once blended, it looks all creamy and orange.�
  5. After all batches are in the serving bowl, salt to taste.  Keep adding kosher salt until it tastes just right.  I add a lot.  🙂

Lots of Veg Risotto Recipe

30 Jul

I was so overwhelmed with the veggies I had and really just went with my instinct on what to make and how to make it.

Please read this recipe through before starting. It is a little bit of a juggling act.  Risotto is always best made with a helper. 

I made it today after getting all of these fresh veggies from the Farmer’s Market.  I am trying to just let the food guide me as to how to prepare each thing.  Thanks to some awesome cookbooks from: Nutritious Eats, I was able to read about some different veggies and prep ideas and put together this recipe.

So here is my creation (which I think you should try….vegan or not!): Vegan butternut squash, red chard, and roasted red pepper risotto!

Olive Oil

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1 yellow onion, chopped

2-3 large leaves of red chard (and stalk) chopped

1 handful purslane, chopped

2 medium sized butternut squash

1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

64 oz veggie broth

White wine (1/2 cup or more…you choose!)

Toasted pine nuts (toast on 350 for 5 minutes)

Preheat oven to 400.  Stem and slice butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and lay cut side down on a greased pan.  Add cut red bell pepper to the pan.  Roast these together for 35 – 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, do 3 things. 

1) Heat veg broth to a boil and lower to a simmer.

2) Heat olive oil and add rice until starting to brown (and maybe pop).

3) Heat olive oil in another pan and start sauteing the onions.

Once your rice is brown, add the veg broth, one hot scoop at a time.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed.  This will take a while. As you get toward the end of the broth, test for doneness. You may or may not need all of that broth. Somewhere during that process, pour in some white wine in place of the broth.  This really enhances the flavor.

As you are doing this, add the cut chard and the purslane to the onions and cook down, adding some Kosher salt as you cook.  This will help coax the water out of the veggies. The red stems will maintain a little crunch, but really cook those suckers down!

Once the veggies from the oven are roasted, skin and chop the butternut squash and chop the red pepper.  Add these veggies to the onion mixture and saute a bit.  Taste for seasoning.

Once the rice is done, remove from the heat and add this veggie mixture.  Top with toasted pine nuts and some parm, if you are not vegan!

Wondering WHAT THE HECK Purslane is???  Me, too!  But evidently it is the highest plant form of Omega 3’s!  Yay!  For more, read here: Purslane.  I bought some at the market today.  It is trickier getting Omega 3’s now because fish oil is not exactly vegan. 🙂

Eat well! 

Someone went coo coo!

30 Jul

Today, we visited a local Farmer’s Market:

Then we went to Whole Foods.

Then we ran out of money.

Not really, but we spent a LOT on food. This is what our kitchen counter looked like when we got home.  We have to keep remembering that this is my medicine and the hope is that we are investing now and saving medical bills in the future.

Week two, down!

30 Jul

Week two was spent in the cool mountain air of Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Even though I spent pretty much the entire trip inside, my family got to hike and walk in the creek and so much more.  That air is just so fresh and wonderful!  We went with Lucky’s family and the cousins had a blast playing together.

Still off Plaquenil and the immunosuppressant.  Still on 1/4 Lexapro, and now attempting 1/2 a Prilosec.  Also, tonight I will try to come off sleeping pill by replacing it with Melatonin.  I have heard this is a natural sleep aid.  We shall see…..

Symptoms are definitely getting worse.  My hair is falling out again like mad, I have sores in both sides of my nose, my spots on my scalp are  more bothersome, and the nerve issues are here (hands and feet fall asleep randomly).  I am also back to taking really long naps.  Most of them are at least 2 hours.  If this is what I see on the outside, what on earth is happening on the inside?  Time will tell!

I have eaten exactly as I should- even on vacation.  I packed salad and ate cold soup both on the way there and on the way back.  And I snacked on apples.  I will admit to tearing up and a little pity party after the family got Blizzards about 3 hours away from home.  But Luck got me some gluten free coconut milk ice cream (cookie dough…yum!) for me when we got home. Good guy 🙂

Week one, DOWN!

22 Jul

I have now been off both of my Lupus meds for a week!  I no longer need coffee, I am on 1/4 of my antidepressant (weaning VERY SLOWLY off this one) and I am feeling….well, a little better?!?!  I still feel like crap a lot….but this is a huge step!

Like I said below, the insomnia at this point would hinder my body healing…so I will tackle that pill when I am more symptom free and can afford no sleep.  I am also still on Prilosec and will deal with that another day.

I eat like a stinking rabbit.  But I am never hungry!  A pound of greens per day, plus some cooked greens and then all of the other fruits and veggies keep a girl pretty full.  I will occasionally have a little rice.  Or beans.

And guess who lost weight?!?!??!  No, not me.  My husband.  Isn’t that about right?!?!  We just laugh b/c he is so lean it is ridiculous.  He played an extra game of soccer this week, so off came a few lbs.  He has to work to put them back on.  Oh if it were that easy for me!

In all seriousness, it is quite interesting that I haven’t.  I am now starting to see a small change on the scale…but you would expect more.  However, I think this is a reflection of 1) a WHOLE lot of inflammation inside my body (that is just what Lupus does and why I feel so badly all of the time) and 2) I was already eating really well and did not get that sudden drop of water weight most “dieters” get. and 3) that CURSED Prednisone I was on for so long.

Thank you to ALL of you who have showed me some love with food, cookbooks, juicers, gift cards, etc….  This is my promise to you: I will some day do something with all of this knowledge and experience.  I will make a difference, Lord willing, in other people’s lives the way YOU have made a difference in mine.

Pressing on toward health,


Day 5 and the start of 6.

20 Jul

Day 5: No coffee.  Took Prilosec.  Took 1/2 antidepressant.  Took vitamins and at perfectly all day.  No dairy, egg, meat, anything other than fruits and veggies.  Again, none of my Lupus meds.  Yay!  I felt good for the first half of the day.  So good, I called Luck and told him I felt normal!  By afternoon, I crashed and never left the couch the rest of the day.  But still, a win in my book!

Day 6: No coffee, 1/4 antidepressant, Prilosec. Had my “salad in a blender” for breakfast.  Gone are the days of super yummy shakes.  Now I drink ones that are just plain good for me.  Today I had a kale stalk, a TON of Romaine (packed in), and entire carrot, milled flax seeds, peaches, raspberries, and some almond milk with a splash of cranberry juice and cinnamon.  It is palatable. And good for me!

I press on and I have hope.  Real hope!  And have not had any of my Lupus meds since Wednesday morning.  Whoa!