Vegan Junk Food Find

Shopping today at Tendercrop,a grocery store in my area, I came across an interesting snack. I found some Dang toasted coconut chips, which are becoming a common site in many stores, but the chips I found were chili lime flavor. Spicy and sweet, they were tasty and interesting, and made from coconut. So they must be good for us, right? Well, you may be just looking for a tasty treat, but if you are trying to eat clean, and unprocessed, this is not the way you want to go. I know, I know, I’ve heard the hype about coconut being the “good fat” and plant-based, and if you eat it sparingly in it’s natural form, maybe it could be a good thing. But, these coconut chips are, after all, a processed coconut snack.

So, in the name of research, I had to purchase a bag to try them and see what the hype was all about.

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Coco-nutty Goodness

20160124_114124.jpgThey were crunchy. They were sweet. They were salty. And they were spicy and tangy. A tasty little treat, that I would recommend only if you want to indulge yourself. Seriously if you have no weight issues or no health issues it could be a good treat for someone. And maybe choosing such a snack once in a while wouldn’t be harmful. BUT…remember,  this is a processed product. It isn’t  coconut as nature intended. Ingredients in these coconut chips are as listed on the package : Coconut, Cane Sugar, Chile Lime Seasoning (Chili,Lime,Garlic, Onion, Pepper,Kaffir Lime, Citric Acid), Coconut Oil, Salt.

So, maybe not so bad. Now let’s break down the nutrients.

In a 1 oz serving you will get 155 calories,  10 grams of fat (8 of those 10 are saturated fats), 340 grams of sodium, and 13 grams of sugar. There are 3 one oz servings in a bag, and that measures approximately 1/4 cup. But have you ever noticed serving sizes and actually followed the recommendations?  And if a snacker is in the throes of mindless snacking, do you think he/she  would stop at one tiny serving? More likely the snacker would continue until the bag was empty. So then you must realize that all the nutrients and calories would be tripled during your intake. So…

465 calories

30 grams of fat

1020 milligrams sodium

39 grams of sugar

Is it worth it? It’s a personal choice,  but I say for me, it’s not worth it. Tasty? Yes. Substantial? No.

Would I buy this product again? No. For all the reasons I covered, such as calories, and nutrients, but the most compelling reason for me  not to buy this product again is the cost. $5.99 a bag. Honestly, I could buy a whole coconut in the grocery store for approximately  $1.50 and it would be fresher and most likely better for me.

As always I go back to my belief that the best foods are the foods that come from your own kitchen. You know how it’s prepared and you are in control of all the ingredients. Snacking could be as simple as a piece of fruit, a slice or two of cucumber or pepper (or any other veggie), or even a bowl of oatmeal.

Till next time, may you be well fed, healthy and happy!

Green Smoothy… Just Plants

So, my husband had fallen off the healthy eating track during the holidays and was beginning to feel bloated and heavy; losing the vitality and energy he had found while eating a lighter, cleaner and plant-based diet. He wanted to get back on track, and he usually does that by juicing for about a week, but he was feeling too lazy to drag out the juicer. I didn’t want to buy all kinds of juicing veggies only to have them wilt away and go bad in the refrigerator. And though I think juicing is fine for some, I like the idea of making a smoothy and enjoying the nutrition of the veggies/fruits as well as keeping the benefits of the fiber, which our bodies also need. So we comprised.

I washed and cut up an assortment of fruits and veggies, to blend in my Vitamix, and made him a smoothy drink he could consume  at lunch time and any other time of the day he wanted a veggie pick-me-up.20160104_073323 Baby bok choy, carrots, celery, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, oranges, pineapple and hemp seed hearts. I added about 2 cups Exeter spring water and then blended until all ingredients were liquified. My work station looked like this: 2016-01-07 12.45.50

Once all ingredients were liquified, I poured them into glass containers, plus a special tasting glass for the chef!20160104_081314All in all, the smoothy tasted pretty good. It did admittedly taste green, but once you become familar with the “green”taste,  I think it was pretty good. Next time I would definitely add some ginger and lime or lemon, for a little kick.

After tasting his smoothy, my husband thought it was a bit sour…or needed sweetness. His tastebuds had quickly reverted back to his desire for sugar during his holiday feasting. So, I had to add two more oranges, a carrot and 4 pitted dates to the mix; reblended and let him taste again. This time it tasted better for him, and he was set to begin his day with getting back to healthier eating.

I took a bottle of smoothy  to work with me for lunch, just in case I didn’t get to stop and eat my packed lunch, and I was surprised at how full and satisfied I felt, and it kept me going until supper. I would definitely suggest anyone else do the same, but tailor it to veggies and fruits that are personal favorites and be mindful to add a variety of colors…not just greens and even taste as you go along. I have at times added a handful of dry old-fashioned oats and a tablespoon of hemp seed hearts  or almonds to add some heartiness and protein. Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, the thing I like best about this smoothy is no added chemicals or thickeners or preservatives…just plain  good food!!

An Introduction; How I got to be where I am at today…

Vegan Mami's Good Food Kitchen

I have been in love with food and cooking for a very long time.As a child, I would beg my mother to let me look at her cookbooks. Even before I could read, I would spend so much time looking at page after page of pictures of beautiful food. And when I did learn to read, I would devour every word in every recipe. My favorite types of cookbooks where the wordy ones that told stories and and explained why and how something was cooked using a certain technique, and explained how it was served.

When my mother felt I was old enough to try cooking a recipe, she would read the recipe with me and then offer her support while I tried my hand at it, sometimes the experiment was just as new to her and I could sense her trepidation, and yet she never discouraged my exploration. My…

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Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato

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Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato

 

Yesterday, when I punched out for the day from work, I knew I wanted to make my husband and I something hot and filling for supper. We needed a change from the rice and beans we have been having lately, even though the recipes we’ve been coming up with have been so, so, so, GOOD!  Spinach and mushrooms kept popping up in my mind, and naturally a warm,fluffy, perfectly baked russet potato kept inserting itself  into the equation.

So, I stopped into the grocery store to buy fresh baby spinach, white button mushrooms, and two of the biggest, handsomest russet potatoes I had ever seen in my life…maybe they just looked sooo good because I was truly hungry! How I escaped the grocery store without buying half of the store is still a mystery to me, because everyone knows you should never shop while hungry. And I know better from experience. Hahaha.

Once home, I preheated oven to 350 F, and placed my well scrubbed russet beauties in the oven on top of my pizza stone, and let them roast lazily as I prepared the stew.2016-01-03 14.08.16I prepped veggies next. Chopping 1/2 large white onion, 2 large cloves garlic,12 oz. White button mushrooms and 8 oz washed spinach. I measured out 1 cup frozen green peas.

Next I sautéed the onions and garlic in a couple teaspoons of water (to keep the fat low), in my favorite soup pot. Then added the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them saute until they released their delicious mushroom juice. At that point I added2016-01-03 14.15.15.jpg2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup of low salt mushroom stock, 1 tsp thyme, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. I let it all come to a boil, then turned the pot down to low and let it simmer covered, for 25 minutes. Then I added the spinach and peas to the pot, and bought the stew back up to a boil.2016-01-03 14.10.59.jpgThen I tasted the stew for seasoning, adding more of anything I might think it would need…it tasted perfect…well…maybe it needed just a touch more salt.

For the finish of the stew, I dissolved 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 4 tablespoons cold water and stirred it into the stew, until the stew thickened. If I had wanted a thicker sauce-like stew, I could have added more arrowroot slurry; but I was happy with the way it was.

I sliced open the baked potatoes and layed them in a shallow bowl and then ladled the stew over them. So sublime! So warm and filling! So very delicious!

Once again, I find my food philosophy to be so true. The simplest and most basic preparations can be the most satisfying and most delicious! And it’s a bonus that it happened to be nutritious too!