All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017
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So – my last post was a month ago. It was my Clean Cooking & a 21-day Arbonne Healthy Eating Detox – Vegan or Vegetarian Style post describing a 21-day detox/cleanse I was launching on. I never posted about it again for a few reasons: the fact that the recipes from the Arbonne site made GINORMOUS quantities & I ate the same thing for days & because I just had no passion for cooking while on it. I ended it two days earlier than my 21 day goal because – Superbowl party. After nearly 3 weeks of deprivation – I lost 4 pounds. 4 miserable pounds. I should not complain because one friend of mine lost nothing & another gained 4 pounds. So – that cleanse is what you make of it but it was a great jump start to shock me out of deeply-entrenched habits. Now – I am obsessed with TEA and pay way more attention to what I eat & where calories are coming from. Which brings me to my day yesterday.
I was at the mall exchanging a birthday gift & realized it was lunch time & that I was hungry. My choices were mainly a sushi spot & the Cheesecake Factory. Since I no longer eat fish, I Googled the Cheesecake Factory’s menu to see if they had any HEALTHY (reading – low in calories) options. The Cheesecake Factory is notorious for shockingly caloric options (see HERE) and I did not want to eat a 2000 calorie lunch – as I am still trying to keep my daily calorie intake to about 1200. I was pleased to see a skinny cocktail menu and a super food menu. So – I went in and I ordered a skinny margarita & the vegan Cobb salad. I got the Cobb because I did not want to eat any of their 490 calorie “skinny” menu items. I thought I would be really good & get a salad with proteins (garbanzos & quinoa) and the healthy fat avocado.
The drink was small but tasty & only clocked in at 150 calories. Very happy with that. The salad was not gargantuan, not over-dressed & was quite good. Looks good, right? Looks healthy. Proud of myself, I considered ordering a second cocktail as I entered the stuff I had just consumed in My Fitness Pal. It was then that my world came shattering down around me. That fucker of a salad had 1210 calories!!!!! 1210!!!! I could go to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac, medium fries & a medium NON-DIET Coke for under 1100. Don’t believe me? Look HERE on McDonald’s own site. How the FUCK is THAT possible??? A salad? Without a creamy dressing or any cheese or meat or bacon or croutons or fried wontons or ANYTHING naughty? Avocado is fatty but it is not cheese & bacon fatty! It is not BIG MAC fatty! And that photo shows the salad with dressing on it. It really was NOT soaked in dressing. I was SO freaked out! I felt SO cheated! For 1200 calories I could have gotten pizza & wine. Or almost anything on the menu. Seriously. What the fuck? So – almonds & sunflower seeds in addition to avocado & boom! An ass like Kim Kardashian. I felt like I had undone 3 weeks of deprivation with one Goddamn SALAD! Ugh. I complained about it all fucking day. And I am complaining now. I will never EVER enter the CottageCheesecake AssFactory again. I swear it.
So – driven to compensate for that outrageous lunch – I made this VERY healthy stew today. I used a bunch of sketchy veggies cresting their use-by dates & it came out delicious. You can add or remove produce to suit your tastes. I only used bit of olive oil to roast the veggies & that was it. You could eliminate even that by NOT roasting them & just throwing them in the pot to boil. Your call.
I served myself a hearty portion of this stew today over a very carefully measured 1/4 cup of mixed ancient grains. Truth be told – this stew does not need a grain to make it satisfying so – serve it naked or over the grain of your choice.
Spicy Vegan Roasted Cauliflower & Carrot & Turmeric Stew
Makes a LOT – enough to feed 6-8 (even without a grain)
1 head cauliflower – cut into bite-sized florets
10-15 carrots – chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion – chopped
1 red bell pepper – cut into matchsticks
2 jalapenos – chopped (optional)
2 (15 oz) cans of garbanzo beans (drained)
2 (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
10 garlic cloves – chopped
10 oz broccoli (VERY optional – I only used the broccoli rabe I had because it was wilting)
1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you like)
1 BS ground cumin
1 TBS ground coriander
2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom (LOVELY but can be omitted if you cannot find it)
4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
Chopped parsley or cilantro as garnish
If roasting the vegetables:
Heat the oven to 475.
Toss the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, onion & jalapenos in a light coating of olive oil & some S&P. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Add them to a large stock pot with the remaining ingredients & cook until the veggies are all tender & the stew thickens a bit.
If not roasting them – just throw them in with the remaining ingredients & cook until the veggies are all tender & the stew thickens a bit. Add water to thin it if it gets too thick. Cook it down if it is too watery. Season with S&P & garnish with parsley or cilantro.