Archive | April, 2012

April Foodie Penpal!

30 Apr

I came home from Hawaii to my April Foodie Penpal box!! Here is what I got:


Yummy sweet potato chips, vegan dark chocolate, chile spiced  dried mangoes, and cinnamon almonds!  We have broken in to 3 of the 4 and are thoroughly enjoying them!  The kids are trying to avoid my noticing them steadily eating away at them :).

A big thank you to Stephanie from Upbeat Eats for providing such wonderful snacks!

Thanks to my computer crashing, I am all sorts of messed up with things. So I can’t post what I sent to my penpal because, quite honestly,  I can’t find her info!!!  I can only pull up email on my phone and can’t get to all of my sent messages to scroll though.

Do YOU want to have a penpal?

If you’re interested in participating for May, please send  an email to Lindsay at and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address (you don’t have to be a blogger!)
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so you get on the right list!

The Lean Green Bean


Eating our way through Hawaii!!!!

29 Apr

Here is our trip, in food!  All pics were taken with the iphone and not the camera…so please excuse the quality.  I knew I wouldn’t want to pull out the big one (thanks, Players!!!) for every meal.

***I realize that approximately none of you will be interested in the details of this!  However, Luck and I like to keep a log of what we have eaten where in case we ever go back…and this is my log!***

Saturday consisted of:  arriving, eating at Chuck’s, and promptly sleeping!

Chuck’s: Salad bar for starters. There is an assortment of fabulous salads, including 2 with cabbage (I picked out the pieces of wonton in the pic to make it gluten free).  Yay for cruciferous veggies!  Dinner was Monchong (fish) with a cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime and tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans.  Luck had the salad bar and baked Mahi Mahi with basil.  Somehow, they managed to infuse the basil flavor throughout the fish. Served over rice.  Hula pie for dessert!  And some fabulously fruity island drink.

Duke's fabulous fish dish!

Sunday was our day to really sight see.  It was the only day Luck wouldn’t be working that we weren’t flying.  So we drove up to the North Shore, making frequent stops at sights.  It was a FULL day!

Matsumoto General Store: Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

Matsumoto Shave Ice!  So yummy!

The Grass Skirt Grill  in Haleiwa: I had the Ahi bunless burger.  Luck had the Ono burger.  Simple, delicious.

Gas station: Maui chips.

Side of the road: Pickle mango!

We made it back and showered in time to go to dinner with his boss, a co-worker, and their wives.  Dinner was at The Hula Grill: Nalo’s greens salad, mushroom risotto, and grilled asparagus.  Luck had a pupu platter!  Yum!  Oh, and that may or may not be a Mai Tai in the picture ;).

For lunch, Lucky came down during his lunch break to the pool where I was and we ate under an orange umbrella (the reason the lighting of this pic is odd).  He was in his nice work clothes and tie, and I was in a bathing suit.  I definitely got the good end of this trip deal!  He had a cheese pizza and I had this Asian salad.  I had them substitute avocado in place of chicken.  It was fabulous!  Don’t be shy about asking for subs.  Just because they don’t have hearty vegan options doesn’t mean they can’t easily make them!

Dinner was a reception for all of the people at the conference.  One of Luck’s co-workers didn’t go, so I got his ticket.  It was a huge buffet.  I must admit that it is very handy that a lot of engineers and aerospace types are from India. They always have a good variety of vegetarian foods for them!  The one thing I loved was a spaghetti squash dish. NO idea what it was!  But it was good and served with cabbage.  I ate it before I took a pic!  There was also a vegetarian fried rice, some purple SWEET potatoes (I KNOW!!!  Who knew?!?!  I mean, I knew of purple potatoes, but they are actually sweet potatoes!), a baked slightly purple potato, assorted fresh fruit with these coconut little squares, some tomatoes, cucumbers and feta (I served myself the feta, but opted not to eat it), and mango cheesecake and coconut pie.  I actually ate the cheesecake!  A few bites of pie were plenty for me.  But the cheesecake went down the hatch!  Yum!

Luck skipped his morning sessions of the conference so we could head to Pearl Harbor. However, we ended up getting there only to find it would be 4 hours before our tour.  SO…we left there and had breakfast at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Crab: Luck had crab cake hollondaise and I had a veggie omelet without the egg and cheese!  The waiter didn’t know what to do with me.  I basically got sauteed veggies and potatoes on the side.  It was greasy, greasy.  I tried to avoid as much of the grease as possible.  Nevertheless, got in a bunch of veggies and Luck’s fruit in my body!

Lunch today was a first for us!  Filipino food!  Don’t ask me what I had!  I couldn’t understand her. But it was vegetarian and yummy!  It had okra, green beans, squash, and who KNOWS what else, served with rice and some rice noodles!  Luck’s was barbecued chicken and pork skewers served with rice.

Luck had to go to a dinner meeting, so we decided we needed another trip to Duke’s to quickly eat off of their bar menu this time.  I had fish tacos, sans the tortilla.  Luck ordered calamari and fries.  We shared everything.  Except my pina colada, because Luck was heading to a long technical meeting. 🙂

We went to a fabulous breakfast place called Eggs and Things.  Such a beautiful view of Waikiki beach!  Luck had the local favorite, the Loco Moco. It was rice, brown gravy, a meat patty, and an egg on top!  I had potatoes and a fruit bowl with granola.  It had this delicious acai frozen center.  And of course the fruit all over the island was beyond delicious.

Luck had a business lunch that day and I went shopping and just ate fruit and another “shave ice.”

That night, we had the BEST meal of the island, hands down.  A Japanese recommendation from Melanie.  Sansei Seafood and Sushi on Waikiki beach.  We started with a yummy drink at the bar. Then we got escorted to the MOST beautiful view at our table.  

We had a carpaccio tuna (yes, raw sushi!), a crab salad hand roll with mango, and then the dish to die for: butterfish in a miso sake glaze.  Too bad we only got a few bites each.  Unbelievably good!

Our last full night on the island was a really fun Luau!  Most of Lucky’s coworkers went and we had a lot of fun.  It wasn’t touristy or cheesy, just a really fun time.  They had all sorts of entertainment for us, including a 13 year old doing amazing fire tricks.  And they had dancing representing all of the Polynesian islands.  I did not want any of the meat at all and opted for them to bring me extras of the salads that were waiting for us at the table when we got there.  Some marinated cucumbers and papaya, a tomato/salmon raw dish, and seaweed that was really yummy.  Plus they had all kinds of fresh fruits on the table.  Plenty to fill up on, for sure!

I passed this plate along to Luck, though I did eat that white potato….don’t let it fool you.  It is a white sweet potato!

Our last lunch was at a place named Il Lupino.  We split 2 salads.  One was an arugula salad with pear and marcona almonds.  The other had no lettuce, just mango, avocado, marinated mushrooms, some tomato, and some marinated onions.  It was all drizzed with a balsamic dressing.  So good!  It needed some variety in texture.  I’d love to make a version of this at home.

The last night, the food was good, but the view was amazing!!!  This was at Haleiwa Joe’s, the Kaneohe location.

As you can see, I did not eat vegan on this trip.  I was definitely plant based for the most part, but had dairy a number of times and fish probably 5 times or so.  I had some no-no’s for me like ice cream and cheesecake.  I even had a few bites of food with gluten in them.  Each time I ate gluten, my stomach felt it immediately.  HOWEVER, (and this is big to me) I never felt sick from anything else!!  That is right, all of the sugar, fish, dairy, alcohol, etc…and I was feeling great!  What an amazing thing for me!  To think that this time last year, we went to San Diego.  I was on all of the meds and trying to eat healthfully.  Yet I had chronic stomach aches!  Looking at what this diet has done for me makes me silent in gratefulness.  I truly have no words.

Thank you, God, for bringing me to this place at this time.  I am so, so blessed!  All of the foods I have given up and replaced with plant based ones are paying off.  And I am grateful!  And most of all, I am excited that I can take a week off here and there and be okay!  Oh, and REALLY?!?!  I got to go to Hawaii?  Who gets to do that?  Especially on a business trip where most of the expenses are covered!!  Lucky and I were like honeymooners.  It was so amazing to get away together and see God’s beautiful creation.  Everything we saw made us pause and reflect on His goodness. His beauty is evident through this gorgeous earth.  We are blessed!

Airplane survival!

23 Apr

How do you eat on an airplane???  Here is how I did!  Don’t let anything stop you from eating how you want and need to.  All it takes is a little planning.  I stopped by World Market, used stuff from my fridge, and had some treats given to me by our sweet neighbor, Sarah.  It worked out perfectly!  Gluten free, vegan, tasty, and I felt great when we landed.  I have NEVER eaten veggies on a plane before.  They were quite delicious!


Here was my ammunition: Chipotle lime cashews, little containers of hummus that don’t need refrigeration (from World Market in their section with cute little picnic foods), raw veggies, pistachios, Larabar, rice crackers, and some dark chocolate.  I had more in my bag, but this was what I pulled from for lunch.

Here is my cute little napkin of food.  I love taking the time to make my food look cute before I eat it.  It is so much more enjoyable to me!

And here are some of my remains.  So satisfied!

If you have any tricks or tips to share about eating healthy on plane rides, please do!  It isn’t easy with food restrictions because you can’t just get on and eat whatever.  Plus, this airline didn’t even pass out peanuts or crackers or anything!  You had to bring your own food for the nearly 7 hour flight or else pay out the wazoo!


Thai Pizza and Meal Planning

15 Apr

If you are my Facebook friend, it is likely that you saw this pizza there.  For our weekly pizza night this week, I decided to change things up a bit for me and Luck.  BOY am I glad I did!  I believe this one is in the running for my favorite pizza ever!

For us, pizza starts with this fabulous mix.  You can make it with egg replacer and no dairy, so it is vegan!  It has the best taste and texture ever!  I am going to be attempting to recreate this. I have a sneaking suspicion it will be a lot cheaper that way.  But that is for another day!

The next thing you do is grab a jar of this good stuff (or your own pad Thai sauce!).

Original Pad Thai Sauce

Smear it all over you unbaked crust.  Then top that baby with:

Chopped cilantro

Chopped peanuts

Sliced red, yellow, and orange peppers

Chunks of avocado (not very Thai…but oh, so good!)

Chopped broccoli (This is a total optional ingredient.  I did it to get my cruciferous veggies in)

Bean sprouts (I can’t eat sprouts bc of Lupus…but please, add these!  It sure would be delicious!)

Bake and enjoy!

And now……our meal plan for the week!

Sunday: Sauteed zucchini and tomatoes over pasta with kalamatas (in a former life, this would include feta).  This meal was something Luck and I would make a lot in college.  Kinda random, I know.  But it is SUCH comfort food to me.

Monday: Gretchen is making this: Greek Lemon Soup only with chick peas in place of chicken!  Yum!

Tuesday: Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodles, only with rice noodles (think Thai noodles)

Wednesday: Tostadas, baked potatoes, or leftovers

Thursday: BIRTHDAY BOY (hubby) gets to pick.  I have even offered steak.  So far, he isn’t sure.

Friday: Celebrate his birthday with  my family.  My parents are making the best ever in the whole world gluten free fried shrimp.

Saturday:  Oh, well….I think I am gonna take a little break from the kitchen 😉  I will report back with pics.  And hopefully some new food inspiration!

What are YOU making?  After you leave that in the comments, then hop on over to Nutritious Eats and share your favorite vegetarian/vegan recipe!  And pretend you didn’t already see this one!

Cilantro lime quinoa and black beans!

12 Apr

Some of you are blessed to know our friend Christi.  She and her hubby and kids are just precious people.

A few weeks ago, Christi brought us a most fabulous meal!  I couldn’t WAIT to make it and share it with you!  She created this from a recipe, but I think she changed it sufficiently enough to call it her own.

**I was trying to be all fancy (alla, Pioneer Woman) and take pictures throughout the process.  But my camera decided to bite the big one halfway through. I lost all of my beautiful pics.  The ones here are from my phone and are pretty crappy! Sorry!  Maybe I need an iphone so that my phone camera is at least decent.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, dear hubby.**

This dish reminds me of the fabulousness of Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice with black beans and the brightness of tomatoes with the sheer bliss of creamy avocados.  Yum, yum, yum, and yum.

Bowl of limey goodness.  Or Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Black Beans with Avocado and Tomato

1 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (you HAVE to rinse it first!  Otherwise you risk it being super bitter!

2 cups veg broth

2 cans or 4 cups of cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (I made my crockpot Cuban black beans)

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (more or less according to your taste)

2 fresh avocados, pitted, peeled and diced

Fresh lemon juice to prevent avocado from browning

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Juice of 3 limes

Zest of 1 lime

What to do:

1. After your quinoa is rinsed, place in a pot with 2 cups veg broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and let it simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. While it is cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients.  This is a quick dish and should be finished not long after the quinoa is cooked.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, and cilantro.

3. Dice avocados and drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside.

4. Fluff quinoa with fork and add to bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add lime juice and zest; toss to combine. Top each serving with avocado pieces and dressing.

Look at these beauties!  YUM!  Tastes like summer!  Btw, I made a triple recipe.  So don’t be alarmed at the quantity here.

Here is where the real magic happens.  When that fresh lime juice and zest meets the quinoa, black beans, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Then serve with a big ‘ole bowl of fruit.

This dish is great as a main dish.  It would also be a great side salad for a potluck or a perfect dish for a picnic.  Enjoy!  And then let me know if you make it!

Happy Easter! And a meal plan for the week!

8 Apr

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Remember that awesome Christmas card photo you got of us this year?  Wait, you don’t?  Hmmmm……  (Am I going to convince Luck to let me buy cards again next year? Probably not.  The pile of them in our side table is not helping my cause.)

Well, I didn’t send them because I want to wait and post a pic of our family for Easter!  Right!?!

Even though it is THE celebration of the year for Christ followers, it is also still a Sunday.  Which for me means the day to get organized for the week.  So here is our meal plan:

Sunday:  What, I need to feed these people dinner?  Oh shoot! Better get on that!  Probably peanut butter in some fashion.  Tonight, I will make my crockpot black beans overnight so that I can save money this week.  The cans are not as healthy and cost a lot more per serving.

Monday: Nutritious Eats Black Bean Burgers  using those beans.  (Luck says we should have these more often.  Weekly even.) I will also make her Spicy Lime Cilantro Slaw without oil and served on the side or on top.  Fruit, as always.

Tuesday: Leftovers from Easter Sunday (shrimp for the family, vegan potatoes for all of us, roasted broccoli and cauliflower)

Wednesday: OH MY!  I will blog this recipe. I am making a quinoa, black bean dish.  So yum!  Making it for us and the Hokensons and our neighbors who just had a baby!

Thursday: Baked potatoes with veggies for me and cheese for the kids.  Luck sometimes does cheese, sometimes doesn’t.

Friday: Pizza night!

Happy Easter, friends!  What are YOU eating this week?  Wanna share a great recipe?  Come on….you know you want to join in!!!!!!

Meds update and PIZZA NIGHT in the Smith casa!

8 Apr

I have now been off of my sleeping pill completely for 9 nights!  Several of those nights were terrible, several barely okay, and several pretty darn good!  I am going to continue to stay off of it for now.  When I have insomnia, I am not wide awake.  I am just barely asleep.  It is odd.  But I can remember all night long, which means I am not resting very much.  I also feel like a medically induced sleep time can’t be all that restful, either.  So I am still pressing to get off.

Today, I cheated on my diet.  I had shrimp.  We are going to Hawaii soon and I want to see if seafood will make me sick. So far, I feel pretty horrid. But it could be a number of things.  Mostly, it could be the fact that I was feeling badly the moment I woke up and hardly got out of bed before church.  I have now taken a 2 hour nap hoping I would sleep it off, but alas, still have a terrible stomach ache and would really like to go get it pumped.  Maybe I will remain vegan in HI, afterall?

Food?  Did I mention food?  What about yummy, vegan food?

Our family has  a little tradition.  Most every Friday night, we make pizzas, sit in the living room, and watch America’s Funniest Vidoes.  Do you watch this?  You should.  Sometimes we are all laughing so hard we have to stop and breath.  I don’t think an episode has ever come on where we didn’t have to do that at least once.  This is the only meal all week that we eat in front of the tv.  I hope the kids look back on their childhood and remember this with a smile. I know I will!

I can’t even tell you how often people ask me how we eat pizza!  So today, I am going to show you!  Now, I didn’t plan ahead for this.  No special veggies were purchased.  This is just a run of the mill pizza night.


Crusts (We have been experimenting with which crusts we like the most.  Chebe makes the best, however.  So we often buy the box and adapt it to be vegan.  Otherwise, we use the frozen Chebe (not vegan) or Bob’s Red Mill or something else. Some day I will perfect a homemade gf crust.)

Pizza Sauce (We like Muir Glen Organic Pizza sauce.  Buy the jar or can, use what you need, then divide the rest into baggies for about what you will need each pizza night.  Freeze. On pizza night, thaw one baggie!  This way you get the fancy sauce without spending too much each time!  Thanks to the lovely Jen Murata for this tip!)

Mozzarella cheese for Luck and the kids

Veggies:  Broccoli (you can use raw or cooked and leftover from the week), asparagus (raw and diced), kalamata olives, orange, yellow and red peppers (raw and sliced), fresh or canned tomatoes (diced), artichoke hearts (buy them at Costco, rinse with warm water, patted dry with paper towel, then cut into chunks), sun dried tomatoes (Costco!  Rinsed and patted dry with paper towel, then cut into slices), jalapenos (just a few chopped up and sprinkled over pizza), avocado chunks.

Spread your sauce on your pizza.  Add cheese.  Add as many veggies as will fit.  We make the kids pick one veggie to put on their pizza.  Dani chose olives this time and Reid chose broccoli.  Bake.  Then watch a funny show and laugh a lot.

***When we first started this, the kids had pepperoni.  Slowly, we stopped buying it.  They used to whine.  Now they don’t.  Then we started making them pick one topping.  As you can see, they don’t have to eat much.  But guess what?  Thy have gotten used to it and don’t whine any more!  In fact, they pick their topping quickly now!  I am excited to see them make the transition to healthful food with us.  We are not forcing them, just gently leading them. And it is WORKING!  People, make small changes with your kids NOW!  You won’t regret it!***

My vegan pizza is on bottom, Luck's vegetarian is right above, Reid's with a bite of broccoli is on the top left, and Dani's with olives is on the top right.

I love a little jalapeno on my pizza because it adds kick. And no pizza night is the same without a little hard cider for me and beer for Luck. It is such a fun way to unwind on a Friday night!