March 6, 2009

Food Blog with No Food (part 2)

Don't worry, I didn't actually go without food from February 11th until now.  Actually, I ended 72 hours after I started.  I had planned to go longer, but a few obstacles stood in my way.  I'll get to those later.  First, the details.

In short, it wasn't much fun.  I felt like a zombie.  Except not a scary zombie.  More like a zombie that's too lazy to get up off the couch to eat some brains because he feels completely worthless.  That's how tired I was.  The hunger really wasn't an issue.  By day 2 I could feed lil O food without a desire to take a bite myself.  Really, the big issue for my stopping the fast was the feeling worthless part.

As for other physical symptoms, my urine was pretty odious.  Also, I dreaded going to sleep, because I would sleep poorly then wake up super early.  I guess you rest so much during the day that you don't need much sleep, which results in supreme boredom.  So, all these factors convinced me to stop on the third day since I really didn't have any motivation to continue.  I mean, I've been eating a pretty healthy diet for about 2 years.  That has to help with cleansing somewhat, right?

Apparently not enough.  The big event of the fast was on the morning of the third day.  I had decided the night before to end the fast in the morning with an apple.  So, I woke up at about 6:00 a.m. (2 hours earlier than normal) and grabbed an apple.  I like eating apples in slices, so I got my knife and cutting board ready, gave my first meal a nice sniff, then ran to the toilet to vomit up a bunch of green bile-ish stuff.  After three or four bouts of that, I turned to the sink and coughed up a bunch of mucus.  

Weird, huh?

Definitely not pleasant, but I did feel better after.  Although this does raise an interesting question.  I haven't been sick with a mucus producing cough in at least 2 years.  So, how long has that mucus been there?  It definitely didn't arrive after I started the fast.  Kinda gross to think about what else is stored inside my body.

I've heard that your first fast is the worst, and from the next one on all those stories about rejuvenation are more true.  I'll try it again sometime for sure, but I'll wait until I feel like being a zombie again.

February 11, 2009

Food Blog with No Food

I'm 28 hours into a water only fast.  Over the next few days I'll do my best to keep the blog updated with my progress.  I've heard a few bizarre tid-bits about fasting, and I hope to add to those.  In some ways, I'll be disappointed if something weird doesn't happen, such as my urine turning brown.  I'm really pushing for that one.  I'll definitely post about that if it happens. Although a picture probably won't accompany it since we mellow in this household.  Don't want to skew the results, ya know.  

For the background info:  I've never fasted in my life.  I may have skipped a few meals here or there, but nothing intentional.  I'm a complete novice, and I'm sure I didn't read up on the subject as much as I should have.  My initial spur for starting the fast was reading Alan Tillotson's One Earth Herbal Sourcebook over Christmas.  A truly great book.  My biggest issue with the book was the inadequate index, but, as I found last night, he provides the entire book online with a SEARCH FEATURE!  Awesome.  Anyways, there's a tidbit in the book on detox as a spring-cleaning type of activity.  It's not much, but you can read it about it here, just scroll down to the part on Detoxification First.  

I followed his advice, and ate only fresh fruit (2 apples, a pear, 1 1/2 bananas, and 1/2 an orange) for dinner.  My breakfast was a homemade granola bar (a super secret recipe from The Covert Cupboard subscription bakery we're opening in Kirksville, MO), a slice of mexican pizza (with refried beans, enchilada sauce from Veganomicon, corn, onions, and peppers), and a few apples throughout the day.  

So far, the insights are: my first night was the most difficult.  I instinctively wanted to snack, although I'm not really a big eater.  I mean, I love food, but I'm 5'3 and only weigh 105 lbs.  My wife and I split a meal at a restaurant then still bring home leftovers.  This morning I was hungry, but not excruciatingly so.  It was pretty identical to just feeling hungry.  That feeling lasted all day, but has subsided for the evening.  It's being replaced by a sensation of emptiness in my stomach, almost like it's sinking in.  On a grosser note, I took a laxative last night and tonight in the hopes of clearing out my colon.  Moving on.  (Get it?!)

Also, I haven't had a desire to eat a big meal or stuff myself.  Moreso, is the desire to eat an apple or granola bar or chips and salsa.  Just a snack.  My body feels kinda hungry, so I think, "I should eat something."  Then, I think, "oh yeah, I'm fasting.  Whoops."   In short, the most difficult part isn't the hunger, but breaking the habit of eating.

Finally, the only physical ailment I've felt is getting light headed when I stand up.  This has only started happening in the last few hours (about 24 hours into the fast).  I've read it goes away after the first day or two, and I sincerely hope that it's true.  It's just blasted inconvenient to feel as though you'll faint anytime you want to go somewhere.

Here's to hoping.


August 1, 2008

19 Loaves

Farmer's Market is tomorrow, and this time, we're coming prepared.  

11 baguettes from poolish
3 round loaves from poolish
3 whole wheat round loaves
2 oval loaves from poolish

All recipes from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  An incredible book to say the least.  

July 28, 2008

Long John Doughnuts

While we were visiting my parents back in Illinois, we had two full days of cooking and baking.  In all, we handmade cinnamon-raisin bagels, fajitas with flour tortillas, two round loaves of french bread, 30ish cinnamon rolls, oatmeal-raisin cookies, grilled pizza, zucchini brownies with chocolate mousse and black raspberry topping, and, finally, these long johns.  Looking back at that list even sounds ridiculous to me, but I swear we did it.  
The doughnuts were nice and fried (not oily) on the outside, but stayed sweet and doughy on the inside.  A nice combo, but at times seemed undercooked.  Depends on your preference, I guess, but we loved 'em.  Within 24 hours four people consumed all 17ish doughnuts.  
I had never deep fried anything in a ridiculous amount of oil, and it was a lot easier than I expected, as well as took way more oil than I expected.  In all, we used two 48 fl. oz. jugs of canola oil that amounted to 2 1/2 inches in the huge pot.  Also, these take a little chunk of time to make.  There's a 2 hour refrigeration time and the deep frying keeps you on your toes for at least 20 minutes, but it's quite worth it, as the picture below proves. 

Long John Doughnuts

4 c flour
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T whole flax seed, ground or 2 1/2 T pre-ground flaxseed
3 T soymilk
1/4 c apple sauce
1/4 t baking powder
2 T maple syrup
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c soymilk
5 T vegan butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 c soymilk
1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
3.5 oz  semi-sweet baking chocolate (or chocolate chips), melted

Directions: Mix the flour, 4 t of baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together the ground flaxseed and 3 T of soymilk.  After it's nice and goopy add in the apple sauce and remaining 1/4 t of baking powder and mix well.  When it's all combined, pour in the sugar and maple syrup and cream it, cream it real nice.  For the finale, mix the soymilk and melted butter into the sugary mix.  When all that's finished, slide the flour mixture on over to the sugar bowl and mix until it first becomes a homogeneous mass, kinda like pancakes, but way thicker.  No need to overmix.  It'll still be gooey, by no means a typical bread dough.  Mixing is all done, so put a dishtowel over the top of the bowl and seal it with a large rubber band or hair tie.  Put the bowl in the fridge for two hours and kick back on the sofa.  Maybe watch some cartoons, whatever.

Now that you're good and relaxed, it's time to get serious.  Flour your work surface and place a floured sheet of wax or parchment paper to the side.  Be light when handling the dough so it doesn't get overworked.  If you need to, imagine your hands belong the the gentlest masseuse this world has ever known.  Now, divide your dough in half and roll out one of the halves on your floured surface to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness in a long, flat rectangle about 4 inches wide.  When it's rolled out evenly, cut away the edges of the top and bottom so you have a flat edge, and place the scraps to the side.  This can be uneven, so the final cuts will look like a cityscape of sorts. 

Now, make the individual long johns however wide you'd like.  Mine were about 1 1/2 inches wide, I think.  Gently lift each piece up and place it on the floured paper.  You can slide a spatula underneath to transfer too.  Repeat this process with the other half of dough, and then put your scraps all together and roll them out and cut.  Whatever scraps result from this final rolling, turn into donut holes by rolling on the floured surface or in your hands, or if you'd prefer, just take all the scraps and make 'em into donut holes. 


Time to move to the stove.  Let the cut doughnuts rest and heat up 2 inches or more of oil in a high walled pan or pot.  The oil needs to be at 375ish.  I played around with temperatures from 360 to 380 and it didn't seem to make a big difference.  Have some metal tongs or metal slotted spatula nearby for fishing out the doughnuts after cooking, as well as a layout of paper towels or dishtowels for absorbing excess oil off the edge.  After the oil is hot, lift the donuts one or two at a time with a slotted metal spatula and slide them into the hot oil.  After 15-45 seconds they'll plum up and rise to the top.  After they've risen, turn them and cook for another 20ish and place onto a paper towel.  

Goodness you've done a lot of work, but we're not quite finished.  Mix all the ingredients of the frosting together, and when the donuts have mostly cooled, drizzle or spread the glaze over the top of the doughnuts (if drizzling, you can probably halve the recipe).  Eat leftover chocolate with a spatula or spoon. 


July 24, 2008


Yup. It's just granola. No frills here. Sorry if you wanted one of those snappy titles like Old Skool Granola or Cinnamon Nutmeg Almond Granola, which would still be fitting. But that doesn't mean this granola isn't incredible. This is the kind of granola that starts wars over the last bowl, the granola that Spain would set sail over vast oceans for, the granola that Sesame Street would create a new character, the Granola Monster, for.


1/4 c. vegan butter (melted)
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 T cinnamon
1/4 c. almond slices
2 T agave nectar
1/4 t nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 250 and combine all the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Spread the mixture in a thin layer over a walled cookie sheet and bake for about an hour, stirring halfway through the bake (so, 30 minutes-stir- another 3o-ish minutes). Let it cool completely before storing in a closed container. Congrats. You've made the perfect breakfast cereal.

July 11, 2008

Grilled Cookie


Grilled Cookie

Fire up the grill.
Make up your favorite cookie dough.  

Put a lightly oiled cast iron skillet on the grill to heat up for a few minutes, then pat down the dough.  It'll be patchy at first, but as it heats up the top will smooth out a bit.  Cover the grill and let it go.  It's generally done when the sides are a deep golden brown.  The texture is a bit like a cookie bar with a thick bottom crust.  

So far we've made your general chocolate chip cookie and a peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookie.  Both, obviously, were incredible.

July 6, 2008

Chickpea Salad

Alas, my 7:30-4:00 summer school schedule is over and our week-long stomach sickness has passed (mostly).   Life is sweet.  Our only responsibility is to take care of little O and our gardens.  So, here's our long overdue chickpea salad recipe.  It got me happily through many a quick lunch during the semester and summer classes (thanks Michelle). 

Chickpea Salad

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
2 T veganaise
1/2 t ground mustard
1/4 t dill
1/4 t basil
1/8 t celery salt
1/8 t garlic powder
1/2 C cucumber, chopped
1/4 C celery, chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste

Smash the chickpeas with a fork and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix it up.  

That's it.  You're done.  

Now spread it on some bread and top it with a tomato and some lettuce. mmmmmmmmm