The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


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Recipe for a plantstrong pizza party, Days 16 and 17, Engine 2 Nationwide challenge!

I have had some requests for the pizza sauce and whole wheat pizza crust recipes from our Engine 2 pizza party last Friday, so I thought I would share them here! First, make sure you invite some good friends over to help you eat all of the delicious food you will be making. Next, set aside a few hours if you want to make your sauce nice and thick. You can go about your day, and just check on it periodically and get your crust rising while it simmers.

Jean’s Pizza Sauce (just a guideline, adjust the ingredients to your taste buds!)

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

A few large cloves of garlic, chopped

Crushed red pepper, a few shakes, or less if you don’t like spicy sauce

2-3 carrots, washed and chopped

28 oz can of low sodium crushed tomatoes

1 container of Pomi no salt added tomatoes (26.5 oz) or 2- 15 oz cans of no salt added diced tomatoes

1/2 of a 6 oz can of tomato paste

A few tablespoons of oregano

A couple of tablespoons of dried basil or fresh basil

Heat up your pan (I use a nonstick stock pot) and add the onions, garlic, and carrots, and sauté until soft. If they start to stick, add a little water or veggie broth. Next, add the oregano, red pepper and dried basil. If using fresh basil, add it just in the last few min of simmering your sauce so it stays fresh tasting. Next, add the tomato paste and heat it up and incorporate the spices. Add the crushed and chopped or diced tomatoes. Stir and let it simmer on low after you get it bubbling. After an hour or two, blend it with an immersion blender to make  it smooth. If you  don’t have one, then grate the carrots before you add them to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer a total of about 4 hours so it cooks down and thickens. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs. In the summer, we also add zucchini to the sauce. The onion and carrot will help sweeten the sauce so you  don’t need any sugar.

Pizza sauce

You can make your pizza party simpler by using pizza sauce from a jar if you  need to save time. It is  difficult to find  oil free sauce but not impossible. Classico fire roasted pizza sauce is the only one I have found locally that is oil free, but I doubt it is low sodium. Chime in if you have found one!

Scott’s whole wheat pizza crust:

2 cups warm water,105-115 degrees

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon yeast

1 lb , 9 oz whole wheat flour

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

1 tablespoon salt (I use about 1/2)

1 tablespoon applesauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

Mix the molasses into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and give it a few minutes to form a sponge. In the meantime, weigh out the flour. Add about half of it to the sponge along with the vital wheat gluten, then add the salt and the oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon gradually adding the rest of the flour.

Transfer the dough to a Kitchen-Aid or other upright stand mixer and mix, using the dough hook, on the lowest speed to combine the ingredients, adding more flour a little at a time if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. After a minute or 2, increase the mixer speed to 2 and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl, divide it into two, cover it with flour, place it on a cutting board, cover it with a plastic bag and let it rise for about 45 min or until doubled in size.

Stretch the dough onto a 14″ round pizza pan sprinkled with corn meal. I like to turn it upside down and slowly remove it from the pan and bake it for 450 degrees for about 6 minutes. I found a new toy recently that helped me stretch the dough. It’s a small wooden pizza dough roller I found at the grocery store and it’s my new favorite kitchen tool!

Top your pizza with whatever you like–  tomato sauce cashew cheez, hummus, fresh veggies, olives, spinach…the possibilities are endless!

Put the pizza back on the stone or back into the oven on the pan with your toppings and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 min or until it’s as crsip as you like.

If the making your own dough is too cumbersome or time consuming for you, you can purchase oil free crusts, although they are somewhat difficult to find. Ann Esselstyn recommends Sami’s bakery crusts, but I found the shipping cost to be a little high. They make a millet and flax crust that looks tasty. You can also use oil free pita or oil free tortillas. I like Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas.

Let your imagination be your guide, serve your pizza with a big salad and some fresh fruit, or have a salad pizza, and top your pizza with all of your salad fixings!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

pizza dough rising

pizza roller

spinach pizza 

E2 pizza11

E2 pizza 16

 

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Engine 2 nationwide 28 day challenge, days 11-15, Tear it down and build it back up!

It has been a little crazy around the Hayes house the last few days. We’re still in the midst of tearing down damaged parts of our home and putting them back together better than before. Well, we’re not exactly doing it. Some qualified professionals are since anything we do ourselves usually has to be redone later!

Tear it down 4

Tear it down 5

All this craziness has made me think about how when we began our plant based journey to change our diet and improve our health, we had to do the same thing— tear down and discard all of our old ideas about what healthy eating is and build new ones along  with gathering a new arsenal of foods and recipes to begin building up our health!

I feel so happy and honored that I have been able to make so many new friends in the course of our journey and we got together with many of them this past Friday evening to enjoy plant strong pizza. We were 18 strong and we had folks of all ages, from age 2-60+. The wonderful thing about this lifestyle is that it is never too early or too late to begin learning about preventing and reversing disease through plant based eating.

My niece Amanda came with her 2 boys and her oldest often asks her why people eat junk food! Their favorite food is salad and they love bean burritos. I am so proud of her for involving them in preparing their food and getting the off to a great start.

E2 pizza7

We also have some members who are retirement age and it’s exciting to see  them come  to our gatherings with open minds to hear new ideas and  experience new foods. A plant based acquaintance on engine2extra told me a story about her father last summer. He came to plant-based eating in his late 80’s and was feeling so great after his first month, that he e-mailed all of his friends  to share his  good news. One of them replied back that it was too late for him to change and for the diet to do any good at his age. He became furious and held  fast to his  stance that he knew he was doing the right thing and that he would continue to have wonderful benefits.

That is my wish for our new Engine 2 friends, that they will experience such wonderful benefits in these 28 days  that they  will not be deterred or discouraged from this path!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

E2 pizza 3 E2 pizza 13 E2 pizza 16 E2 pizza E2 pizza2 E2 pizza4 E2 pizza8 E2 pizza12 E2 pizza14 E2 pizza15 E2 pizza17 E2 pizza19 E2 pizza20

E2 pizza9 E2 pizza11E2 pizza18

E2 pizza10


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Engine 2 nationwide challenge, day 4, “I’m going to eat a ton of these potatoes, because I can!” -The Plant Based Husband

I was really tired tonight, and didn’t want to eat out since we just ate out yesterday. I stood in the kitchen and grabbed things out of the cupboard trying to come up with some kind of concoction. I wanted to make rice and beans, but I only had chickpeas and cannellini beans. So I gave up and left my fire roasted diced tomatoes, beans, and BBQ sauce on the counter and sat down to finish some work and watch you tube videos. I happened to be watching Potato Strong’s channel and I thought, BAKED FRIES, one of the easiest and most delicious meals on the planet! I was also dying to try the BBQ sauce we bought on our field trips to Whole Foods Market on our way home from Philadelphia the other day, so I crumbled up some tempeh and poured some Bone Suckin’ Sauce on top to heat it up to have on the side.

Next I sliced some Yukon gold potatoes and a sweet potato into wedges, no peeling required, topped them with extra spicy and Southwestern Mrs Dash, garlic powder, and onion powder, and sliced a yellow and green pepper and an onion and threw them around the potatoes on the silicone baking mat. The fries baked at 450 degrees for 30 min with no turning or fussing and while they were baking, I put a couple of handfuls of prewashed chopped kale in a pan with veggie broth and lemon zest and put some fresh broccoli in a pot to steam.

Potato fries going into the oven

Potato fries going into the oven

My husband came home to the aroma of potatoes baking in the oven and was excited and said, “I’m going to eat tons of these because I can!” He proceeded to tell me how he loves it when we eat a ton of potatoes and then laugh about how much we can eat. Yes, this is a romantic moment in the Hayes house, a couple of plant based nerds having fun eating potatoes and  laughing about how much we eat!

Have fun with your food and enjoy!

Engine 2 day 4


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Ready to rock plant steady? Educate, immerse, and enjoy!

You’ve tried out a plant based diet and decided it’s for you, but you feel like you still have so much to learn! You may feel like you need to learn everything you can as fast as you can. That excitement will help you maintain your new lifestyle, but don’t wear yourself out. There is so much information and it can be confusing at times. Is coconut oil good for you or evil? Should you eat nuts or avoid them like the plague?

I think one of the most important things in educating yourself about healthy plant based eating is to consider the source. Don’t trust the latest news in the newspaper or the nightly news until you check it out. Often these highly lauded announcements that “research says” are often poorly designed studies funded by the food industry. I don’t have time to evaluate each study for its own merit, so I look to reputable people I trust like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. John McDougall to help me evaluate the latest nutrition information. My first year eating a plant based diet, I bought some wonderful books that have helped me in my quest to learn all I can. Some of my favorites are “The China Study,” “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” My Beef with Meat,” and “The Starch Solution.” There’s no hype in these books, just good solid science and I also appreciate that many of the books contain wonderful recipes. After all, if you’re going to recommend that people change their diet, they need tools to help them with the “how.” pb books I also found a lot of wonderful educational videos by the authors of these books to augment and reinforce what I was learning in the books. Lectures by Dr Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr Barnard, and Dr. McDougall can be easily found with a quick google search. Some of them even have YouTube channels. Not only are these knowledgeable experts well versed on their topics, but it is a joy to hear them speak. Their passion for healthy living shines through. They make the information understandable, interesting, and yes, even entertaining! Here is one of my favorite videos from Rip Esselstyn:

The last thing we did to immerse ourselves in our new lifestyle was to attend educational retreats. My husband was having some trouble completely getting on board with our new lifestyle. He had worked as a chef and wasn’t quite sure about how to cook without his old ingredients. When I told him about Dr. McDougall’s 10 day program, I was very happy and surprised when he expressed interest. The program turned out be very cost effective even though I was worried at first it might be too expensive. After learning the tools he needed to succeed on a plant based diet, he was able to eliminate 9 of his 10 oral meds and greatly reduce his insulin doses which saved us a ton of money and more importantly improved his health. During the 10 days, he attended lectures about the science behind plant based eating and health, went to the grocery store to learn how to read labels, attended cooking demonstrations by plant based chefs, met Jeff Novick, Registered dietitian and Grateful Dead fan and even went out to eat with the McDougalls to learn how to order healthy plant based dishes without oil. There were also opportunities to participate in exercise sessions and yoga. He didn’t suffer too much at this program since it was held at a very nice resort in Santa Rosa, CA. They had wonderful feasts at every meal and were encouraged to take leftovers to their rooms in case they got hungry. He also got to hike in a redwood forest and looking back at his photo with the redwood tree, I hardly recognize this man from 2013!

June 2013

June 2013

April 2014

April 2014

The same summer Scott attended the 10 day McDougall program, I decided I would go to an event called Plantstock in Claverack NY at the Esselstyn farm. I had been involved with the Engine 2 program and this weekend long retreat was being lauded by the folks on engine2extra.com, as a magical weekend of fun and learning. I found a friend from engine2extra to share a room with at a local motor lodge and it really was magical and fun! We heard speakers like Dr. Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, Rip Esselstyn, Jane and Ann Esselstyn, Doug Lisle and more! I met so many wonderful people who had transformed their lives with plant based eating and all outdoors under a giant tent right on the lawn of the farmhouse. I enjoyed it so much that my husband decided to join me for Plantstock 2014 and it happened to fall on our anniversary. It was a great way to celebrate! There are several Engine 2 retreat weekends held throughout the year around the country and even a week long event in Sedona Arizona and the dates for 2015 should be announced soon! Here are some highlights from the last 2 years.

Lisa and I Plantstock friends dr essey tables at plantstock

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So, do you have to spend a lot of money on books and retreats and cute t-shirts to immerse yourself in the plant strong lifestyle? Absolutely not! Dr McDougall has his entire plan on his web site for free with tons of great recipes and Engine 2 is starting a Nationwide 28 day challenge in 2 days on January 12th and you can download all the information you need for free, including a free ebook with guidelines, recipes, gorgeous photos and even exercises to help you dive into a plantstrong lifestyle!

Soak in all the plant based information you can, decide you CAN do this  and rock steady!!


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Day 13, Fall 2014 Engine 2 diet 28 day challenge, Pizza party!

Busy day today– dentist, shoulder therapy, shopping at the farmer’s market and Wegmans, cooking frenzy and then a small crew from Engine 2 came over for dinner. As always, the company was fabulous and the food was fresh and delicious. Bernie shared a great idea for planning ahead and ensuring she has great lunches. She made her salads for Monday through Friday in mason jars and put them in the fridge and her Friday salad was as fresh and delicious as the one she had Monday! I can’t wait to see her pictures of her salad in a jar. She is our newest member along with Robin and they are both doing great and feeling great! Gail saved the day for me by helping me chop many veggies and had she not come, the Thai carrot soup would not have happened. The puppies were also very glad to see her! So, yes, you can still have pizza parties when you eat a plantstrong diet, and NO we do not eat like birds around here!

Breakfast- Oats with banana, blueberries, raisins, grape nuts and almond milk.

Lunch- Veggie sushi and a banana at Wegmans

Supper- Engine 2 feast: I made whole wheat pizza crusts using a Happy herbivore recipe and I used white whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour, home made sauce and Virginia and her son Robin assembled 2 pizzas for us. One pizza had basil and fresh tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper and hummus and one had spinach, onion, red bell pepper and hummus on 1/2. Gail prepped the veggies for Thai carrot soup from “My Beef with Meat,” and we added jasmine brown rice to it. Gail and I also made corn tortilla chips with fresh lime juice and chipotle seasoning since we knew Edie was making home made salsa with corn. Virginia made a veggie medly with chickpeas and great spices, and Bernie brought pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries that went great with the watermelon and berries we had. I also steamed some sweet corn and also some kale with garlic powder and fresh lemon juice.

Basil pizza  chips Corn Dessert Doc and Robin 2 Docs veggie medley  Gail sous chef bernie  ScottSalsakaleEdie reading labelspizza half hummus  Spinach pizza Thai soup with rice Thumbs up from Gail


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Day 1, Fall 2014 28 day Engine 2 challenge in Northeast PA!

My friend and fellow blogger from A Year of Going Vegan suggested I repost my day in meals that I am sharing with my Engine 2 diet group in Northeast PA for each day during our 28 day challenge here on my blog.  So here is day one, a day late. Our challenge started yesterday after we met Sunday to share success stories of folks who have been eating this way already and share tips and ideas with new folks. Here goes!

Happy Day 1 of our Fall 28 day challenge! Hope you all had a great food day and a great all around time on this sunny day! We had our brunch and slide show today for our Appalachia Service project  group to show everyone our work from last summer and invite new youth and adults to join us in the summer of 2015. Thanks to my sister, Bonnie, and our leader, Sue, we were able to eat some great healthy foods and not feel left out from the celebration. Looking forward to hearing about how you are doing as this challenge progresses!

Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries, blackberries, cherries and strawberries and herbal tea

Brunch: Great plantstong waffle made by Bonnie with oats, flaxseed and other great ingredients. I need the recipe! We also had fresh fruit salad, and carrot muffins Bonnie made.

Snack: Not the best choice, a chocolate muffin from a Happy Herbivore recipe I made for the brunch, mistake was bringing leftovers home.

Supper: Salad with spinach, romaine, carrots, chia seeds, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and a pizza with a whole wheat crust I made from a Happy herbivore recipe topped with hummus and tomato chutney with caramelized onions, recipe in the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook.

Tomato chutney pizza