(Happy-Go-Lucky Memoirs of a Foodie and her Husband)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homemade Vegan Chipotle®

If you’re following any of my albums over on Facebook, you know that during June -- with an aim of losing weight, getting healthier, and rebooting our food habits -- Husband and I are endeavoring to eat a 100% whole grain, low fat, low salt, low added sugar, vegan "diet.”  I put the word diet in quotes because this isn’t some quick fix that we will use only until we get to our goals and then go right back to the way we were eating before.  The word diet, for us, means a maintainable lifelong eating plan, not something temporary.  And while we won’t stay 100% vegan forever, this is meant to be the catalyst that lands us on the path to what will be our permanent practice: Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet.

All of the parameters that we have set for ourselves (including ending up on the Nutritarian plan in the end) come from listening to Penn’s Sunday School and following Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau, and Matt Donnelly’s weight loss journeys as close as possible (there's plenty of mainstream media on Penn's weight loss if you want to Google it).  They haven’t given away all the information that Ray Cronise taught them, but after listening very carefully to every podcast I could find where the guys talked about the “cult” diet, using my wits, knowledge, and experience to piece all the concepts and methods together as best I could, and reading every research paper, website, article, and other writing they mentioned – I am pretty sure I’ve got it mostly figured out; certainly enough to be doing the trick and not feeling any negative effects.  I tested it out on myself for one week, and lost 5.6 pounds in only 6 days, as I said, without being hungry or feeling deprived.  So now we are doing it for real.

Anyways, over to the right, you will see a link to my Facebook album (“One Month of Veganism”) where we are documenting our dinners (as well as some breakfasts and lunches).  Please note that I said “endeavoring” in that album description – there have already been, and probably will be a couple more, “slip ups” where we break the rules.  ;)  But still, it’s working….really well.  And the food is a.m.a.z.i.n.g!  Just look at all those pretty colors - seriously!!  I for one haven't yet missed what we're avoiding.  I feel very satisfied and perfectly happy.  In any case, results are being kept track of and will be announced when the month is through.  So stay tuned.

Finally, the reason I started to write this post today was to publish what we did over the weekend to create at home a meal from Husband’s favorite fast food restaurant, Chipotle.  Some people at work asked for the “recipe,” too, and it was so good, that I figured I should share it with anyone who might still be following this recently sadly sparse blog.  So here goes....

I thought I would be very cute and on Facebook described it as: 

noun chi•fot•le \chə-ˈfōt-lā, chē-, -ˈfȯt-, -lē\
: all of the components needed to make a vegan Chipotle® rice bowl, except here they are homemade. 

Clockwise from top right: cilantro lime brown rice,
black beans, tomato salsa, corn salsa, fajita veggies, and hot salsa.
Yes, it’s a lot of separate components, but the only part that individually took more than about 5-10 minutes was the hot salsa.  The other salsas were quick, as was the fajita veg.  It looks like a lot more work than it is – and that’s what Chipotle the restaurant relies on people thinking, so they’ll just go in and buy it instead of making it at home.  In the end, we easily had enough food for 3 or 4 meals.

Unfortunately, I don’t have exact measurement for everything (except the hot salsa recipe which Husband got from the comments in this website post).  Here is the best we could recollect after the fact not having written anything down as we went along:

Brown Rice
Cooked as normal but with a little lime juice and some cilantro.

Black beans
Straight out of a can, rinsed.

Tomato Salsa
Chopped up tomato, tomatillo, and red onion, plus a little lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper.  This salsa is not cooked – just mix it all up.

Corn Salsa
Corn, red onion (chopped), and poblano pepper (seeded, veined, and chopped), sautéed in a pan with a teeny bit of vegetable oil, then add some cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Fajita Veggies
Red peppers, green peppers, and yellow onion, all cut into strips, then sautéed in a teeny bit of vegetable oil with cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cilantro (mix of spices concocted by Hubby - and it turned out great!).

Hot Salsa (made by Hubby)
  • 4 Tomatillos
  • dried Arbol peppers (I think we used about a 1/2 ounce – use more of less depending how hot you want it.)
  • Cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tabasco® sauce (we didn’t have Tabasco® on hand, so we just used the closest hot sauce already in the fridge) 
Boil the tomatillos until they are soft.  Put them in the blender with the stemmed and seeded chiles (Hubby didn't soak the chiles like the linked recipe says to - it wasn't necessary).  Add some of the water you used to boil the tomatillos.  Add garlic cloves.  Blend that mess up.  Add some dried cumin, salt, and pepper (guesstimated amounts).  Add a couple dashes of Tabasco and stir it up.

Obviously, because we are eating Vegan for now, there is no sour cream, cheese, or meat.  We also didn't bother with any vegan protein other than the beans, because when we do go to Chipotle, we don't ever get the Sofritas (even when avoiding animal products).

Here is what it looked like in our work lunch containers, and after mixing it up (granted, in the mix-up photo, I had already eaten a bunch of it, so it looks a little light on the veggies - it wasn't):


The only thing I forgot?  To make guacamole!!   Next time....

....because, as Hubby will attest, my guac rules (and chips made with my Homemade Corn Tortillas are awesome).  =)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Miscellaneous Chicken Dinner

Tonight I decided to concoct a totally random meal employing my fun and much-loved method of "what's around and needs to be used up or is leftover from other recipes?"  Having no idea what to call it, because I am guessing it's pretty unique, we'll just go with: Miscellaneous Chicken Dinner.

This will be a quick and dirty post, listing my steps as pictures, with what I was doing in the photo captions.  It was pretty straightforward and took about a half hour total.  Here we go....

First I minced 4 cloves of garlic, sliced a half of a large onion, and chopped about 6
or 7 dates.  I put it all in a pan with probably a tablespoon of safflower oil,
and some salt and pepper.  Then I started to cook it down over a medium flame.

Next, I tossed in a mostly full container of pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms,
and let it continue to cook down.

Then I took out the veggies, added another half tablespoon or so of oil,
and put in 6 chicken thighs.

I browned the thighs on both sides.

Now comes the wine, which had been sitting around in the fridge for a bit.

As you can see, by now the pan could use some serious deglazing.....

....which I accomplished by bringing the wine to a boil
and scraping the bottom of the pan with a whisk.

Once the pan was deglazed, I put the chicken back in....

....and dumped the previously cooked veggie right on top of the chicken.

Finally, I decided, why not throw in a sliced apple?

I stirred it in and let the whole thing simmer for somewhere around
10-15 minutes, until the chicken was cooked through,
at which point I uncovered the pan and let the sauce thicken a tad.

This is what it looked like all plated up on a bed of white rice.
It was pretty gosh darn yummy, although, I do think I could have used a bit more salt and pepper.  I will probably add that when I eat the leftovers for lunch later this week.