Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Everybody knows America doesn't have the healthiest diet in the world. This is a great show for anyone who think the SAD is awful and needs to change. I just watched the first episode and I loved it. Check it out here.
I loved that he focused on the schools first. "This is what I know. I know if you can get kids eating healthy, they'll keep it up." I've worked in schools and youth centers for a few years and the food these kids eat is horrendous. One youth center served carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for snack, because it counted as a grain, dairy, and a vegetable. It had frosting on it! I think one can safely assume that if something has frosting on it, it's not a veggie.
In this cafeteria, he finds boxes and boxes of pre-cooked, processed garbage. While helping prepare school lunch, he asked if the potato pearls were made of potatoes and one of the cooks said "I hope so."
This is an amazing show, and I can wait to see how it works out. Hopefully, Jamie Oliver can do as much good here as he did across the pond.

My Motivations

Before I continue with this blog, I should probably clarify my motivations a little bit.

For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with eating less animal products and more plants. Right now about 5 out of 6 of my meals are completely plant-based. I still have pizza sometimes, occasionally ice cream or other desserts made with eggs and butter, and I eat whatever my mom makes when I visit my family. I’ve stopped eating meat at home and I’ve switched to homemade almond milk instead of moo juice.


1. I feel better. My skin and hair are softer and my body feels lighter, even though I haven’t lost any weight. If I overeat plant-based food, I’ll be full but I won’t feel as blobby.

2. It’s fun. I love to cook and eat, and I see this as a fun challenge. I love learning about different ways to use food (I had no idea nuts were so versatile) and discovering new foods I love (hello oatmeal concoctions and fudge babies!). Vegan cooking skips all the parts of cooking I don’t like, like cutting and cooking meat. Never liked it, never good at it.

3. The ethical issue. I know this is a touchy subject, so here’s my take on it: I believe that God creating everything on Earth for the use of man. My religion teaches that God gave man dominion over the earth, but also the responsibility to take care of it. This includes animals. They’re here for our companionship, use in working, and yes, for our food. I don’t think eating animals is inherently wrong, but there’s a right and wrong way to go about it. I have a problem with packing thousands of animals into factory farms so people can eat way more meat than is healthy. The abuse these animals abuse is terrible, and in a society where we have an abundance of plant food to keep us healthy, I don’t think we need many animal products at all.

Truly pasture-raised meats are fine with me, but I can’t afford that stuff, so it’s way easier for me to just cut back. But I believe that animals foods, produced responsibly and in moderation, have a place in a healthy diet.

However, I’m not planning on taking the plunge and going 100% vegan. Why?

I’ve struggled with food and body issues all my life and I’ve been learning (Sloooowly learning) to eat intuitively, and at this point in the game, I feel that labeling or setting any hard rules, for whatever reason, will only complicate things and I’ll be right back in the old diet/stuff myself cycle. I’m learning to eat moderately and to take care of my body. If my body wants eggs from my Dad’s chickens, I’ll eat it. I’ll still eat my cccs until I can find a vegan version that’s just as good or better. I won’t completely cut anything from my diet forever until I’m ready, and right now, I’m not. I’m focusing more on adding right now; more veggies, more fruits, and more plant food. The subtracting thing is taking care of itself.

So even though I’ll be playing with lots of vegan recipes, this isn’t necessarily a vegan blog. I may post non-vegan recipes from time to time, but mostly this blog is about me learning, being healthy, and having fun. If I find myself ready to take the next step, I will. I’m just not in a place I can healthfully do that right now.

Happy Hump Day!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Body image booster shot

Sorry for the absence all weekend, but I'm up to my eyeballs in homework (four weeks till graduation!) and I've been hanging around with friends.
Almost every woman has "bad body days," when she just feels insecure about the way she looks, nothing seems to fit right, and she just feels lucky. During a homework break, I was cruising around the net and I stumbled on Beautiful You, and amazing site that celebrates real women of all sizes. That homework break turned into almost an afternoon, and it really made me feel better about my body.
I've struggled with bad body image nearly all my life, thinking I was always fat. I have been overweight, but I've never been unhealthy. Reading these posts and seeing pictures of beautiful models with figures like mine gave me quite a boost, and I hope it can do the same for you. Bookmark this one for a rainy day.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eezy Cheezy

I'm not sure how I feel about nooch. I know it's super healthy and is a great vegan source of vitamin B12, but the taste is a little weird to me.

Still, I didn't want to give up on such a beneficial food; it has to taste good somehow.

I found a cheeze sauce recipe in a cookbook, but of course I decided to change it due to a lack of time, ingredients, and willingness to take orders.

It was really easy.

Eezy Cheez

2 C veggie broth (I used chicken broth because it's all I had)
1/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C nooch
1 t mustard (I think, I just squirted it in)
1 T lemon juice (or more, see above)
1/4 t salt
garlic powder to taste
pinch of thyme
cracked black pepper

Over high heat, whisk together broth and flour until smooth. Add all other ingredients and continue stirring with the whisk. After a few minutes, it will get thicken and get bubbly. Let it go for a little while until the bubbles have a hard time popping and it looks like...em, lava I guess. (maybe I should rename this recipe "Lava cheeze") Remove from heat and let cool a little bit so you can eat it without getting mouth blisters. It will get a skin on top; either remove it or whisk it back in.

Lousy photo courtesy of my lousy camera

I dipped in a spoon for a sample, and I was pleasantly surprised. Hooray! I found a way to make nooch taste good! It didn't taste like cheddar or anything...I really can't describe what it tasted like. Sort of a smoky, nutty flavor. It was darn good though. My brain ran away with ideas for pastas, nachos, a mexican and italian version, mac and cheez, soup, etc.

So what did I do with this delicious pot 0' gold?

I put it on toast. Everything good tastes good on toast. My boringness frightens me sometimes. Also, I wasn't very hungry, just needed a little something. Today was a stressful day, and I kinda took it out on the last of my Kella Kookies. And a bag of homemade apple chips.

My cheezy toast with green pepper, broc, jicama, and grapefruit.
I also got a little cup of cheezy sauce for dipping.

So get used to the cheezy sauce, because I have plans for it, big plans! Are you in Mynah bird? (Children's book called Big Plans. It's a goodie.)

I gotta go get Louka down from the window. Spyin' on the neighbors again, naughty kitty.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

C is for cookie...and crappy camera

First of all...I ordered the Blendtec! I looked at both the websites and decided this would be a better choice for me. I'm so excited! I've been saving for months and soon I'll be making banana soft-serve and soup and all kinds of cool stuff instead of limping along with this:

My WCB. At least it was free (thank you Freecycle!) but the stupid thing doesn't chop ice and I took the jar off yesterday to find a gaping hole in the plastic by the motor. No bueno.

I tried another cookie recipe today, but true to Kellapillar creative cooking, I used the recipe as a guide and ended up changing it quite a bit. I wanted something healthy, delicious and energy-packed to snack on at work and school, so I give you my latest kitchen creation, the Kellapillar Kookie.

This picture is terrible, but for some reason I can't get a clear picture out of my camera today. I need to play with the settings some more, but my camera isn't much better than my blender to begin with.

Still, they were delicious and got me through a day of running around after other people's kids.

Kellapillar Kookies

3 T natural peanut butter
1 T agave
1 T maple syrup
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C quick oats
1/3 C ground flaxseed
1/3 C raisins
1/8 C shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 C dark chocolate chips
2 T canola oil
1 t baking powder
1/4 t Real Salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
1+ t cinnamon (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. If the batter is too moist, add flour. If it's dry and falling apart, add applesauce. Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about ten minutes. Devour.

Even Sam, who is very leery of "vegan food" and healthified desserts liked them!

I'll leave you with some cute pictures of Louka's latest shenanigans.

This paper bag is her favorite thing in the world.

Her latest hobby: spying on the neighbors.

Kellapillar out.

Vitamix or Blendtec?

So I've been saving my pennies for a high-speed blender to replace my WCB (World's Crappiest Blender) and I'm trying to compare the Blendtec and Vitamix. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Three yummy lunches

I love coming home between school and work for a homemade lunch. I usually for for something light because I like to snack in the afternoon. Here are three lunchies I made this week:

A big ol' green salad with avocado, peppers, broc, and homemade carrot-orange-ginger dressing.

Carrot-orange-ginger dressing:

5 or 6 baby carrots, or 1 or 2 large ones
Up to 1/4 C OJ
2 t mac nut oil (optional)
ginger to taste

Blend until smooth. Add a little more oj to keep things moving.

Wrap with whole wheat torilla, chickpeas, salsa, avocado, spinach, and fresh chives.

And the lunch of the week:

Sesame maple ginger glazed tofu on a humongous salad!

I got this recipe from the incomparable Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga! I loved it so much, I think it might be my lunch tomorrow too.
But go check out Averie's blog; it's one of my very favorites and her recipes are out of this world. I recommend the peanut sauce with zuke noodles and the raw cookie dough balls. Also, Averie is an amazing Yogini, so if you're looking for a side of yoga tips with your dinner, she's your girl.

Recipe is here.

Ok Kella, less blogging and more homework. Four more weeks till graduation.

Happy eating!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Redefining 'instant' pudding.

Some days just call for a warm, creamy dessert. However, most of those days also call for loafing on the couch with a good book and not slaving over a hot stove. What to do, what to do...

Instant banana pudding of course!

This healthy, naturally sweet treat is perfect for dessert, a snack, or even breakfast! Just what I needed tonight. I have a ton of homework and nearly every dish I own is dirty, so I needed something quick. Here's what to do:

Smush a banana in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until melted. That's it.

Top with peanut butter, chocolate chips, mix in cocoa powder, do whatever you want. I topped mine with chocolate chips, dates (I love dates; they taste like caramel!) and homemade "mounds bar" filling. (Great way to use up pulp from making almond milk)

I'd better hop to that homework. Have a great Monday!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oat to Joy

I was going to get up and make a yummy brunch, but I was almost finished with an awesome murder mystery (Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag. Read it.) and couldn't put it down long enough to make anything.
Instead, I went with my breakfast standby for when I don't have the time or desire to cook: Oatmeal. I'm not talking the colorless sludge you'd find in continental breakfasts at three-star hotels, I mean scrumdidilyumptious, dessert-inspired oats that pack an energy punch.

Chocolate cherry oats

I love oatmeal because it's cheap, filling, nutritious, and above all, versatile. I just mix one part oats with two parts water, nuke it for a minute or so, then play with mix-ins. I almost always sweeten my oats with agave, stevia, or non-gmo xylitol and I add a little almond milk it I want it creamier. Here are some of my favorite combos:

Cinnamon roll oats: raisins (cooked with oats), cinnamon, a swirl of agave (not mixed in) and a dollop of whipped cream (or cashew cream, or coconut cream...)
Reese's oats: cocoa, a big scoop of peanut butter, and sometimes chocolate chips
Almond Joy oats: cocoa, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, Artisana coconut butter (optional)
Cookie Dough Oats: vanilla, chocolate chips (optional) and chunks of Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Bites (recipe later)
Trail Mix oats: Dried fruit (cooked with oats), chopped nuts
Banana nut oats: banana (sliced on top or mashed and cooked with oats), chopped nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Tropical Oats: Sliced banana and other tropical fruits, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon.

These are only a few of the amazing combos I come up with, but oatmeal is my breakfast probably four days a week. Try these out and come up with your own. If you get any more great ideas, let me know!

Happy last day of spring break :(


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Springy brunch!

The first day of spring should be a national holiday. I despise winter, snow, cold, and anything of that sort (what am I doing in northern Utah?!) so the first day of spring is a big deal for me.
After a morning walk, I came home and got busy in the kitchen making this pretty spring brunch:

Delicious whole-wheat banana pancakes topped with fresh fruit, agave and homemade pb-maple spread!

That's quite a mouthful. In more ways than one.

I love banana pancakes, so I used a variation of CCK's apple raisin pancakes (which are amazing by the way), and here's what it ended up looking like:

Nummy 'Nana Pancakes:

1 C whole-wheat pastry flour
1/8 oats (or just throw in a handful like I did)
2 T ground flaxseed
2 t baking powder
1/4 Real Salt
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
1 smashed 'nana
1 C water

Mix, pour on the griddle and flip when they get bubbly, and remove when cooked through.

Mix a little pb with some cinnamon and maple syrup, and spread on top. Sam took one bite and exclaimed "These are delicious!" Well, it came out more like "'Ees are 'elishis!", then he asked for more. He's usually not a fan of whole-wheat pancakes, so this recipe is a keeper. Of course, anything tastes good when you cover it with pb and maple syrup.

So who else is excited for spring? Here in Utah, many people are mourning the end of ski season. Are you a snow bunny or a spring baby? Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?


Friday, March 19, 2010

I heart cooking.

I didn't mean for this to be a post, but I these are the thoughts running around in my head as I organized all my new recipes.

I love to cook. I love hunting for the perfect recipe, shopping for ingredients, not following the recipe at all, mixing everything together, playing with different appliances and toys in the kitchen, putting it all together and sampling the final product. Sometimes, I'm the only one who likes my creation. I guess it's kinda like being a parent. Other people might think you're little child creations are odd, but you find them delightful.

I’ve never much liked cooking meat because it’s just a hunk of meat; not much to do with it. It’s a very impersonal thing to cook. You can cut it up or put stuff on it, fry it, bake it, whatever, but it’s just a dead thing that won’t take on much life in the pan, in your mouth, or in your soul. I like to work with live, colorful, versatile foods that taste amazing and make me feel good.

I’m not vegan, but I love vegan cooking because it feels good, feels kind, and I’m up for a challenge. I’m especially interested in raw cooking, because it’s constant grocery shopping for fresh ingredients and lots of chopping and mixing; my very favorite parts!

I'm going to make a fruit run and maybe hit up Good Earth for a few things. Another day, another culinary adventure!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adventures in Veganizing: My Famous CCCs

I love chocolate chip cookies, and I'm very proud of my ability to go from "Hmmm, I want cookies" to "wow, these taste great" in ten minutes, without consulting a cookbook. My handy dandy Kitchen Aid mixer does a lot of the work though.
I made an experimental sized "mini-batch" to veganize. I used my original recipe, but replaced the butter with vegetable oil and the egg with soy flour and water, which is only one of many egg replacements I need to try.

I threw all this into my mixer, in this order:

1/4 C vegetable oil (instead of butter)
1/2 T soy flour and 1 T water (instead of egg)
1/4 C beet sugar
2 T brown sugar
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C rolled oats
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 Real Salt
1/2 baking soda
Chocolate chips (I never measure these, I just turn the mixer on and pour until it looks like enough!)
Here's what I got:
The dough was really crumbly and the oats and CCs weren't sticking. I love sampling cookie dough, but I could taste the soy flour, which was a huge turn-off. It tasted like I'd blended sprouts into the dough.
I managed to smush the dough into balls and laid them out:

I baked them at 375 F for about 8 minutes (I don't use timers either; I just kinda sense when they're done) and took them out when my apartment started smelling wonderful. They looked pretty good, not as flat as usual. Time for the taste test:

With homemade vanilla almond milk

They were delicious! No more of that nasty soy flavor. They were a little chewier than the originals (I actually liked it) and were surprisingly satisfying. Next time, I'll definitely try a different egg replacer, and maybe fiddle with the wet/dry ratio to make the dough stickier. If I want dough though, I can always make make raw vegan cookie dough bites, inspired by CCK's fudge babies and Averie's balls (teehee)

Before I wrap this up, I'd like to introduce you to my little family:

Hubby Sam, Louka, and Ruby the Rat. My best friend with my favorite little furballs.

Now I'll make like a hockey player and quietly gather my things and sign out:)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going green for St. Patty's Day!

I decided to move past the usual dyed-green pancakes and eggs, and instead celebrate with a tall glass of WONDERFUL green smoothie!

Even my husband loves them. Here's what went into this one:
Add Image
St. Patty's Green Smoothie:

1/2-1 banana
2 or 3 big, fat strawberries
up to 1/3 C almond milk
1 spoonful OJ concentrate
Big handful of spinach

Blend the fruit and milk first, then add the greens and frappe until completely smooth.

Drink up!

The weather's been beautiful this week, so Sam and I hit the park for a beautiful spring walk.

Ok, so everything was still brown and dead, but it was still a ton of fun.

And I never had a broken bone!

How was your St. Patrick's Day? Do you have any fun traditions?



I spend enough time reading fun blogs, I thought I should create one of my own!
So I'm McKella, and I'm a happily married twenty-something living in lovely Ogden, Utah. When I grow up, I want to be a mommy and write books.
This blog is about my life. I'll document my journey to veganism, fun things I do, places I go, and anything else I feel like writing about.
Happy reading!