Food: Vegan Eating Day #5

I was very sleepy last night so I did not post my day’s meals in a timely fashion. Anyway, breakfast and lunch were repeats. *yawn* I’m ready for all the leftovers to be gone so I can start working on the second and third parts of this vegan eating diet. I have been mulling over whether or not to stay vegan for longer than 14 days, like until the end of the year or until I’m 150 lbs.

My girlfriend had to take the batteries out of the scale, as I had begun to obsessively weigh myself 2 or 3 times a day to see if I had lost any weight. Last time I checked, I had lost 4 lbs., which for some reason I have resolved isn’t enough. Lol. I might be a bit obsessive just maybe.

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Dinner was awesome. I rinsed a can of Goya black beans (since they’re soooo sodium heavy) and added key lime juice soaked corn, tomato and brown rice in a pot.  Heat.  Hot.  Diced avocado with coarse salt and two pieces of falafel from Alon’s and voila, a meal for two hungry carnivores.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #4

Everybody say “Rewind.” A repeat offender has emerged back into the diet. We’re getting rid of all the leftovers for the next three days so several meals will be repeated. Exciting times.
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Today for breakfast, I added agave nectar. For some reason the oatmeal was very dry on its own. It’s probably because we used blueberries and bananas instead of raisins, which likely warm up from the heat of the oats and release bits of sugar.

Lunch was a repeat of yesterdays dinner, soup, salad and toast. And then my girlfriend invited me to Varasano’s Pizzeria to look at other people’s pizza. That was so nice of her. 🙂

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For dinner I used the last bushels of kale and soaked tofu in pineapple juice and baked it off. Onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapples and pineapple juice all steamed in a pot. I actually enjoyed it. I don’t think my girlfriend enjoyed it. That made me a little sad. Today was weird. I’m not sure why but not being able to “eat my feelings,” is probably the best thing I could do to challenge my discipline and will power and figure out things more productively. Go figure.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #3

My favorite cereal was on sale today ya’ll. It’s never on sale and it’s always overpriced, sorta. It’s the Cascadian Farms organic granola with dark chocolate and almonds. Whenever I buy it, I usually eat a box in a day…two days if I’m being “moderate.” I bought two boxes and put them at the top of the cabinet all the way in the back so they can only be reached by chair. I will probably buy two more boxes while they’re still on sale. Jesus Christ they’re so good. Anyway…vegan eating blah blah blah.

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Breakfast: Baked pears and golden raisins with cinnamon.

Breakfast was amazing this morning. It was like eating dessert. It was also the perfect amount of carbs to fuel an intense workout session today with our trainer. My poor triceps feel like overcooked noodles; limp and pitiful.

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Lunch: grapefruit and Australian oranges, pita stuffed with romaine, avocado, tomato and hummus. Avocado is mayonnaise from heaven without all the bad oils and eggs.

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Equally yummy but unfortunately rushed…I had to go to work. I ended up not having enough time to pack dinner so I grabbed some raisin coleslaw to take to work to snack on until my girlfriend brought me dinner…which didn’t happen because she had to take my mom to the grocery store. And so I went to the grocery store and bought bananas and natural GMO free peanut butter. I wanted to buy almond butter but that stuff is absurdly overpriced. Guys, they had an almond butter for $21! It’s JUST nuts, pun intended. Needless to say, it stayed there. But the banana and peanut butter held me over until I got to this.

And dinner: arugula and strawberries with red wine vinaigrette, broccoli and red pepper soup and multigrain toast.

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The diet plan called for 7 grain but they didn’t have that and this bread has flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and several other seeds in it so I just went with it. Tomorrow we start, finish the leftover groceries plan. Once all the groceries are done we will resume the formal Furhman diet plan. For now, it’ll be Rian’s vegan, which is still vegan but my version of it.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #2

Yesterday it was my girlfriend who was “losing it” and today it was me. Although breakfast was actually quite yummy and lunch was not terrible, dinner was a sad, sad situation.

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Breakfast: organic rolled oats cooked in water and almond milk with walnuts and raisins and a grapefruit (not pictured).

I rather enjoyed breakfast. Even without the added sugar, honey or nectar or butter or milk that I typically use to “improve” the taste, the raisins added a nice sweetness and the walnuts some yummy nutty texture. The night before I prepped lunch, as it was extensive.
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Lunch: Chipotle sweet potato soup, raisin coleslaw and blackberries.

We got lucky at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and scored on a couple of boxes of pre-made soups. Although they have tons of sodium, we’re splitting them between the two of us and cutting the sodium intake in half. It was delicious! The raisin coleslaw took some getting used to. I do not like coleslaw. I like my cabbage cooked down to the last drop of nutritional value and smothered in bacon fat…certainly not raw. The raisin coleslaw is a combination of shredded cabbage, carrots and apples with a pureed apple juice, raisin, potato and mustard sauce. After the 7th crunchy bite, I actually became fond of the slaw. My girlfriend never arrived. And the blackberries were terrible, tart demons puncturing our palettes with each acidic explosion of juice.

Then it hit me. I wanted something crunchy and salty. I wanted Stacy’s Pita Chips…very badly. I resisted and ate a banana. That pissed me off for about an hour until it was time for dinner. I took a picture but apparently my phone was not comfortable with my intentions to upload a struggle plate* to my blog so I don’t have it. It deleted itself.

Dinner wasn’t that bad. It was just a weird combination, which was partially my fault. Today’s meal plan called for “Dr. Furhman’s Anti-Cancer” soup and a baked potato with tomato sauce but nobody has time for that. It required like 8 zucchini stalks and 12 carrots and all these other ridiculous amounts of produce, so I swamped it out for fiber. Furhman says you should try and eat a cup of beans everyday so I made black beans and brown rice instead and a baked potato with tomato sauce. Yes, it was odd but not terrible tasting. After dousing it in ridiculous amounts of hot sauce, it was good. Three hours later I got hungry again and ate more coleslaw (on these meal plans you can have unlimited amounts of raw and cooked veggies).

Tomorrow’s menu sounds so much more appetizing and I definitely look forward to it. Thank Bacchus. I want some wine. 😦

*struggle plate- a plate that is struggling; plate that looks unappetizing; not plated correctly; on Styrofoam or still in a pot.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #1

Several years ago a dear friend of mine passed on a book regarding the health benefits of her vegan lifestyle by Dr.  Joel Fuhrman called “Eat to Live.”  I read it, completely amazed at facts like romaine lettuce and broccoli have more protein than beef sirloin and on and on it goes about vegan/vegetarian diets and life span and overall quality of life and how much better it is when you’re vegan.

I went vegan for a month afterwards; not necessarily clean however; there were a few bags of kettle fried chips in the mix and some zucchini that got drizzled in olive oil before broiling, but overall it was fair. I lost a lot of weight and for the first time in nearly 7 years, I didn’t have any aches and pains in my lower back or ankles. It was wonderful.

Since then I’ve become some what of a major foodie, neglecting to incorporate the salads of the past with the fried pork belly of the present and the aches and pains have returned so my girlfriend and I have decided we’re going to do this for 14 days.

$125 later on half organic and half non-organic produce and beans, I want to determine how much weight can one lose in 14 days on Furhman’s diet plan and how long $125 worth of groceries can last.  With produce, we have to eat it all and fast, otherwise it will rot and no one wants to see their money thrown away, especially not when it’s all we can eat.

With that said, I’ve decided to document my experience on Dr. Furman’s Eat to Live diet plan.

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Breakfast: strawberries, oranges and grapefruit

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Lunch: Romaine lettuce with diced apples, walnuts, golden raisins and tomatoes with fresh squeezed orange juice.  Wheat pita pockets stuffed with kalamata olive hummus, tomatoes and more lettuce with a small sprinkling of coarse sea salt and sliced kiwi and banana.

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And Dinner, which was insanely filling: Steamed chard, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini and onions.  The worst salad ever, mixed greens and shredded pear with lemon juice and an acorn squash, baked and filled with pineapple juice soaked dried apricots, raisin, cashews and pineapple chunks sprinkled with cinnamon.

At the very least I intend to capitalize on this opportunity to taste and smell foods with aromas that I will frequently find in wine.  I will also take this opportunity to put more focus on my eating and health as this shit is hella time consuming and everything must be prepped in advance to avoid the unfortunate grab of the chips.  I must say, I’m not hungry but I will also say, I really really want a piece of multigrain toast with butter.

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Food: Bucket List-Bacon Caramel Donut

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A few weeks back Creative Loafing released a “100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die” list that features 100 breakfasts, salads, meat entrees, desserts etc. around the city that everyone should try while they’re alive.

I’ve had a few of them already like the salivating “Farm Egg” from Empire State South and the Super Food Salad, also from Empire. Or the roasted bone marrow with tuna tartare and quail egg from The Spence and of course Krispy Kreme donuts. But clearly we have a long way to go so yesterday we started.

My girlfriend surprised me with a dozen donuts from Revolution Donut Shop in Decatur. Its featured item is the caramel and bacon donut (from the Breakfast segment). She also got plain glazed, chocolate covered yeast and cake, an apple turnover, a cinnamon sugar donut, a peach stuffed donut, and a blueberry glazed donut.

Their strengths: Deliciously sweet glazes and fresh fruit for the fruit based donuts. My favorites were definitely the caramel bacon, all sweet and salty and yeasty, the textured cinnamon sugar donut and the blueberry glazed that reminded me of a fruity roll.

Their weakness: The donuts are MAD THICK yo; too thick actually. I would love it if they toned down the dough action and made them slightly more delicate. Maybe they make them so thick to add balance to the richness of the glazes…but still, skinnier donuts please. Nonetheless, one down and like 80+ to go.

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Food: Free

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Atlanta food lovers who are on budgets! Uncle Maddio’s Pizza, a Moe’s concept pizza place, will be giving away 9 inch pizzas until Friday with flyers they actually have posted outside the restaurant. Today they hosted a pizza party complete with free pizza, wine, beer and beverages and EVERYTHING on the menu was free (the pizzas, salads and paninis).

While nothing will ever compare to my beloved Neopolitan inspired pizza from Antico, no bs, it was actually good. And not because it was free but because it was good. I like the thin, crunchy crust and the abundance of topping options.

I got the Steak and Blue: angus steak, mozarella, blue cheese crumbles, olive oil, basil, tomatoes and balsamic glaze. Yes, I know. Go get you some of that!

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Wine: Vino de Pago Tasting

Ansley Wine Merchants & Bantam and Biddy Present:
Vino de Pago Status: 
A Tasting of Spain’s Finest Wines
Ansley Wine Merchants would like you to join us for our exclusive tasting of the wines of a Vino de Pago winery, Chozas Carrascal. Chozas Carrascal recently achieved Pago status in October 2012 and is now a part of an elite group of less than 14 designated Pago wineries. Vino de Pago is classification unique to Spain and has only existed since 2003. It is given to top wineries who have produced superior wines and demonstrated excellence vintage after vintage. They can only source their grapes from their own vineyards, ensuring quality. So think of it like this, instead of designating an entire region, as is done in France with AOC’s, individual wineries receive Pago status and function as “mini appellations”.
Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Time: 6:30 PM

Location:
Bantam & Biddy
1544 Piedmont Rd.
Suite 301
Atlanta, Ga, 30324

Cost: ONLY $10* (for 5 wines and tapas)
Special discounts offered ONLY on the evening of the tasting.

*If you choose to stay for dinner, Bantam & Biddy will factor in the cost of the tasting into your final bill, making the tasting completely free.

The Wines:

Las Ochos 
Tinto D.O. Pago
2008
$19.99
This wine contains eight different varietals!  It has very dark and full-bodied aromas of balsamic and dark fruits and is exceptionally well balanced for such a big wine.

Chozas Carrascal
Cava Brut Nature
$19.98
Rich concentrated fruit with citrus and honey and pin point bubbles.

Las Dos Ces
Tinto Barrica
2010
$11.99
Bright red fruits and luscious texture in an everyday food-friendly wine.

Las Dos Ces
Blanco
2011
$11.99
 Traditional white Spanish blend in a fun, modern style.

El Cabernet Franc de Chozas Carrascal
D.O. Pago 2009
$36.99
A 100% Cabernet Franc made from grapes grown on the lowest yielding vines at the estate.  An expressive wine with a big personality.
You do not have to RSVP.  See you there; palate’s ready!
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Travel: The United States of Georgia

So over the weekend I had the opportunity to see just a spec of how truly fantastic and gorgeous my state actually is. A one hour trip to Dahlonega revealed all.  Dinner in downtown Dahlonega at Piazza with a bottle of easy drinking Chianti from Banfi.  Wine prices were stellar, only $26 for the bottle.  What a mark up!  I was so proud, my student/girlfriend correctly guessed the vintage of the wine based on some information I gave her about the color of the rim and its connection to age.

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The pizza, a concoction of spinach, roasted garlic, prosciutto, pepperoni, mozarella and ricotta was pretty good too.  For the price it was fantastic but of course it was no Antico.  Breakfast at the B&B proved lovely as well.  I loved her place settings and the mug of Bavarian chocolate.
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Cream cheese pancakes are the truth…and we love kielbasa. But in no way do these compare to Elaine’s pancakes with orange steeped blueberry compote from the B&B in Savannah. Those were/are still the best.

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Full and ready for take off, we decided to celebrate our small vacay and her finishing her first major medical school exam with a bottle of Special Club Champagne. Special Club is a designated group of small wine growers in Champagne who select their best lots every year for bottling of a vintage release, this is a 2006. Yes, those were coffee cups but with the lemon and vanilla almond macaroons, it was a showstopper.

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So we sat by the pond with our army of gnat buddies and sipped and giggled.

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30 minutes later we took a hand drawn map headed towards Amicalola Falls but got sidetracked here at another winery. A Tuscan masterpiece deadsmack in the Georgia countryside. Say what?

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There were rolling hills covered in vines and a small community of Tuscan style homes nestled in the forests  behind the vineyard.

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It’s lovely and for a moment you almost feel as if you’ve traveled abroad…although we almost traveled down the road of no return. A house was for sale and we opted to check it out. The door was unlocked BUT the owner was home. Luckily he wasn’t afraid of the two girls who just walked into his house somewhat unannounced. #hotmess

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These two lucky escapees fled to Amicalola Falls state park to go hiking. My girlfriend wanted to see bears. I did not want to see bears. We did not see any bears. Yay for us.

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There isn’t much I can say other than go here now…or this weekend or whenever you have 4-7 hours to spare for nature.

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It’s breathtaking. It will make you stare. It will challenge you. You will climb 175 stairs to see this 600 ft.  drop of magnificence.  You will be in awe that you are standing in Georgia and you will realize that Georgia is beautiful.

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Then you will climb an additional 425 stairs to see this fantastic vista from the top of the waterfall.   “The view is certainly different from the top,” she said.

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Whoever was in this car 50+ years ago maybe got too over zealous about being at the top and crash landed to the bottom. Eeriest and creepiest part of the trip seeing this old vintage truck crashed and rusted on the side of the mountain.

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But the sun was out and shining brightly.

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A beautiful day to wash away all the stresses of the city and enjoy a little cool mountain breeze.

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Wine: Wolf Mountain Winery

My girlfriend and I decided to take a one day vacay up to Dahlonega to visit Wolf Mountain winery.
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If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit a winery, I highly recommend the excursion. It’s only an hour and half outside of the city limits and before you know it you’re surrounded by plush mountain ranges and acres and acres of bright green forests. Not to mention there are about 6 wineries here, all with tours, tasting flights and cuisine.

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We opted for the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Thematically it paid tribute to California cuisine, which essentially is a hodge podge of Asian flavors and spices. This extensive, piping hot buffet will cost you a meager $30, and it’s worth every cent.

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Here’s the chilled tomato soup with avocado cream. I’m not a soup fan so it was no surprise that I had never had chilled soup but the cold creaminess coated my mouth and readied me for the feast ahead.

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On this plate is Mongolian braised barbecue short rib, fried egg over a spicy polenta cake, a mixed green salad with jicama (mexican yam/turnip), fried duck and shrimp and tilapia in a red pepper sauce. There was also a diced grilled pork tenderloin spiced with star anise and bamboo shoots, curried jasmine coconut rice with golden raisin and crispy fried duck,  and stir fried cabbage.

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And my favorite part of every meal: dessert. There was a pistachio mousse with toffee and chocolate crumbles (not pictured), caramel cheesecake, raspberry key lime pie and lemon bars. Butter, butter, butter. Yes!

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It all washed down beautifully with a couple of glasses of Wolf Mountain Demi-Sec Sparkling. They also poured us two glasses of the Blanc de Blancs Brut (on the house) because we sell the wine at Ansley. That was pretty sweet.
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Unfortunately my brain mixed up the times so we missed the guided tour, but luckily my CSW classes allowed me to give my girlfriend our own tour. First we learned about the importance of vintage. As you can see from the sky above, 2013 is an unfortunate vintage for Georgia. With all the rain, the concentration of sugars in the grapes will be diluted, photosynthesis will be minimal and phenolic compounds (all the good stuff you smell and feel on the tongue), will either be unbalanced or uninteresting.

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Lucky for Wolf Mountain, I didn’t notice any fungus or mold growth on the grapes, which essentially can devastate the grapes, unless your intent is dessert wine…which I highly doubt with Cabernet Sauvignon (as shown here).

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Cabernet Sauvignon? Isn’t it red? Why yes, yes it is. But all grapes start off as flowers, which pollinate and bloom into highly acidic, hard, green berry sets. During the summer months, veraison happens, which is the softening of grapes, the reduction of acid and the production of sugar. It’s most dramatic with red varieties, and soon these grapes will turn red.

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Grapes at this stage taste terrible. Sidenote: Only Muscat varieties taste exactly the same as they do pre-fermentation.

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That’s my girlfriend goofing off. She’s still a good student though. 🙂

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Georgia red clays.

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Wolf Mountain has some seriously beautiful grounds.

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And some lucky soul lives in this house below with all these gorgeous vineyard views. They need to rent it out.

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The air is as fresh as it comes.

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We will be back.

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