Monday, November 7, 2011

My Monday Lunchbox - End of Summer Stewing

Happy November, everyone! (yes, this is my first post of the month...) After a month of almost non-stop posting, I have to admit that I needed last week to recuperate. That may explain the pause in blog entries. The other reason I have remained relatively quiet is that I have been trying to get into the groove of my short-term diet switch - omitting grains and sugars (including fruit). I won't go into the WHY (TMI?), but you can get a picture of the reasoning behind the anti-candida diet on Diet, Desserts and Dogs.

If you thought a vegan's diet centered around vegetables, let me tell you that without bready products in one's life, it really puts vegetables at the forefront. This past week has included more greens, beans and nuts than I can remember. Kale and cabbage have been lunch staples. Mung beans and chickpeas have featured prominently in curries and dips. And, well, almonds and sunflower seeds have filled in all the rest. More than once already I have found myself in a bind, without food I can eat, and no way of obtaining it for hours. But I've also had the delight of thinking outside of the box, not relying on my usual go-to items to fill me up (no more three-apple days).

Because it is hard to imagine this seemingly limited array of foods satiating and nourishing a human being, I thought I would provide a little snapshot of today's lunch (figuratively speaking, as I was much too lazy to snap a real photo). Meals at the moment are indicative of the time of year - summer is in recent memory, with eggplants and peppers still in play, but increasingly root veggies, winter squash, and hardy greens claiming center stage.

Changing Seasons Stew
1 small eggplant, diced, salted, and allowed to sit for 30 minutes
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 small sweet potato (this is a limit food, sigh)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
spritz of olive oil
oregano, thyme, and basil to taste

1. Coat bottom of a pyrex casserole dish with olive oil. Sprinkle half of the onions, then layer eggplant, sweet potato, chard, and remaining onions. Add herbs with each layer. Pour in vegetable broth.
2. Place in a 350F oven for at least 45 minutes, until sweet potato is cooked through. Serve with some mung beans.

Curried Mung Beans
1/2 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight
3/4 cup water or vegetable broth

2 tsp curry powder
1/4 onion, diced
1-2 tsp olive oil

Salt to taste

Heat oil and onions in a small sauce pan over medium heat until onions begin to turn translucent. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Cook mung beans for 30 minutes or so until soft. Add a curry powder, or a mix of turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and ginger, plus any salt you feel you need. Enjoy (perhaps with millet?)

So, this is ridiculously easy to make; and mung beans are so good for you. Considered in Ayurvedic traditions as cleansing, nourishing, and balancing, mung beans are probably one of the most appropriate vegan protein sources while on this diet.

Mmm. I also have a supply of soaked raw almonds, raw cabbage salad with pesto, and some carrots...just in case! Be sure to check back to see how I'm faring on this regime; what new substitutes I find for sugary desserts; and what's new in the sustainable agriculture realm (yeah, don't forget that part!).

And for more healthier recipes, check out Wellness Weekend.

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