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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pho Hoa Noodle Soup Restaurant

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."
 - Jim Davis

What an absolutely wonderful day, huh?  What?  Er... No?  Then I must ask what you've not done today to make it so.  It's mostly in your hands my friend.  Make it so.

Now it's time for my disclaimer.  I cannot attest that the broth base in their soups are vegetarian/vegan bases.  I suspect they are chicken (or beef) based soups, as applicable.  It's the one element of becoming vegetarian which I have been unable to side-step.  Where available, I always choose vegetable based soups.

Chucky's head gets bigger when he eats soup?

Mmm...  I had a doctor's visit earlier in the week and had to watch my culinary consumption prior to the appointment.  Where can I grab some killer soup for lunch as Tiffany & I were gallivanting about town in route to a most spectacular wine class?  "Pho Hoa!"  Yes, that's the ticket.

They have a most spectacular Hot & Sour Soup that kicks absolute arse.  Many fond memories of bowls consumed in the past drew me back to soup heaven (aka Pho Hoa).  I can't quite describe it besides exquisite in taste and overly generous in portion.  Sliced okra, bean sprouts, Asian vegetables, tomato, tofu and basil in a delicate broth.

Hot & Sour Soup with Tofu

I am almost certain that it's a chicken stock soup base.  However, inspection of the bowl shows little to no fat floating upon the surface of the broth.  I studied their web site but it offers no nutritional or dietary information.  Searches of others blog entries show when asked, they are told the soups are not vegetarian based.

If you are like me and permit animal-based soup bases where no alternatives are provided, Pho Hoa is well worth the trip.  Be warned however...  Their soups are gargantuan in size!!!  The "Individual Size" that Tiffany and I each ordered was perhaps four or five cups of soup.  I kid you not.  But, on the bright side it was chocked full of low-fat healthy ingredients.  An almost guiltless soup if only not for the soup base dilemma.

If you're going to slaughter or chastise me for my actions, please feel free to do so.  Leave a comment to right my wrong or to ease my guilt.  I'll clean the glasses and get some Q-tips to clean my ears.

Hi-dee hi-dee forgive-me-for-my-soup-based-exceptions-ho my friend.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old Ideas Don't Fade Away

"An ideal that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea."
 - Buddha

Greetings my friend.  I hope that this day finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.  It's yet another day to smell the roses, breathe the air, and to leave behind a better planet.

Today's mumbling?  Is it a rant, a rave, or recipe?  Today's is an idea from month's gone by.  An old idea but relevant to the present nonetheless.  Are you familiar with Subway restaurant's "$3 Breakfast Combo" promotion that is currently running?  If not, it's basically a 6″ flatbread breakfast sandwich and 16oz cup of coffee for only $3.00.  In our case, the local Subway franchisee allows me to substitute 6" honey oat bread instead.  Talk about yummy!

Current Subway promotion

"Yo!  Wait just a minute.  Hold your horses Chucky!  Aren't these high in calorie and include meat?"  Well... yes.  If you don't think outside the culinary box, I do believe so.  However ~ neither Tiffany nor I consider ourselves "vegetarian newbies" any longer.  We've experienced and "vegetatured" (vegetarian + matured) enough to know better.  We know right from wrong, good from bad, and acceptable to undesired.

Yes, there are certainly those time which Tiffany and I turn a blind eye and ignore fat or caloric content.  But these are the exceptions.  It's my opinion that all successful diets have a common denominator, the dieter is allowed to treat themselves to that occasional "treat".  The secret is being able to monitor and control these "treats".

Anyway... Back to the Subway breakfast sandwich.  I ordered mine on a 6" honey wheat sub roll.  It included egg white, provolone cheese, bell pepper and red onion before toasting.  Then I had the "Subway Sandwich Artist" add fresh baby spinach, tomato slice, pickled jalapeno and banana pepper slices.  No condiments or sauces necessary.

Mmm... Doesn't this look delicious?

The twist that Tiffany and I do?  We bring in the following items into the restaurant with us:  bottled hot sauce, fresh jalapeno slices, and slices of Wham (meatless ham).  When all is said and done, we've eaten a most delicious Subway breakfast sandwich, bypassed the meats, and are able to participate in the current restaurant promotion.  Not bad for a little plastic bubble headed couple, huh?

Wow!  Almost done now.  Just needs hot sauce.

I've said it before, will say it now and will certainly say it again... Think outside that culinary box.  Around 350-calories.  320-calories for the breakfast sandwich and adding 35-calories for the Wham slice.  Note:  On these days that Tiffany & I dine out, we strive to include reduced-calorie lunch (or dinner) to offset the "treat".  Today's lunch and dinner will be of a reduced calorie nature.

Hi-dee hi-dee why-not-go-visit-a-local-restaurant-today-ho my friend.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1 - 2 - 3 - 4. Is It Pictures That We Adore?

"How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, 'I could have done that!'"
 - Anonymous
Hello everyone!  May your day be picturesque, productive and absolutely perfect.

1.  Grill your diced veggies.  I used potato, zucchini, and yellow squash.

2.  Grill corn tortilla shells and add veggies, tomato, cilantro, cheese, 0% fat yogurt, jalapeno, and lime juice.

3.  Eat and enjoy!

4.  You've done it again!  Think outside that culinary box.

Hi-dee hi-dee that's-all-folks-ho my friend.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yum-Yum Snackin'

"I'm at the age where food has taken the place of sex. In fact, I just had a mirror put over my kitchen table."
 - Rodney Dangerfield

Greets!  As you go through this day, remember that yesterday was the day that you thought could not get any better.  Prove yourself wrong my friend.

Choosing better snack choices

What's on Chucky's little plastic bubble mind today?  How about healthy snacking and the evolution of a maturing vegetarian.  Really deep stuff, huh?  Not really.  Just a few fluff words and a couple of pretty pictures.  Yeah... That oughta do it.  <grin>

A year or so ago it was meats, cheeses, greasy potato chips and just about anything to be had in bulk at either Costco or Sam's warehouse clubs.  The bigger the bag, the better.  And, guess what?  I did a pretty good job at cleaning the bags empty.

Then came the beginning of our vegetarian life (October 1st, 2010).  Yes.  Things got better.  Away went the animal flesh products. I thought that I was eating better.  I suppose that I was.  But ~ Why no weight loss?  I made the cardinal vegetarian newbie sin.  I simply substituted starchy foods for previous meat proteins.  Yes, less chemical, hormones, steroids, and other man-induced substance in my food chain but not healthy food to eat in bulk.

Now comes the current attack to the waistline.  Less cheese.  Less chips and processed grain-based product.  What are my snacks of choice today?  Pickled veggies, fresh veggies (baby carrot, celery, and snap pea), fresh fruit (blackberry, strawberry, and grape), seeds (pumpkin, edamame, and sunflower), peppers (Greek, jalapeno, and sliced banana pepper), tabbouleh, unsweetened whole grain snacks (Weet-Bix and shredded wheat pieces), etc.  You can see where I am going.

My goal is natural, raw, organic, unprocessed and naturally sweetened snack choices.  And, of course, all in strict moderation.  Watch and monitor the calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol.  Also reduce the quantity and allow the highly complex carbohydrates to work their low glycemic magic.

Nope.  Not ashamed to be eating this stuff.

And how goes it so far?  I've only recently wised up and began smelling the goodness.  Let's give it some time but I'm banking on myself succeeding, naturally.

Hi-dee hi-dee am-I-choosing-the-best-snack-choice-which-I-eat-ho my friend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vegetable Soup

"I'm sick of 'Soup of the day'.  It's time we made a decision.  I want to know that the 'Soup from now on' is!"
 - Mitch Hedberg

Hello everyone!  Peek your head outside the front door.  Is this not going to be a most wonderful day, or what?

A Vegetarian Tale - Vegetable Soup

Today's blog?  How about a rave review of someone else's blog for a change?  Specifically... how about I share what another blogger has shared with me, a most wonderfully delicious Vegetable Soup recipe?  Jill over at A Vegetarian Tale turned me onto this soup.  Here's the link to her wonderful blog site, A Vegetarian Tale.  Here is the Vegetable Soup recipe of which I brag and offer both my kudos and thanks.

I know, I know.  There are millions of great vegetable soup recipes.  Well folks... this is one of them!  I love the simplicity, the health and the absolute 2-die-4 taste.  Make some yourself and you will most certainly agree.  

Me?  I substituted garbanzo beans for the mixed beans only because it's what I had on-hand.  I also substituted 2 tsp dried for 2 Tbsp fresh thyme and 2 tsp dried for 2 Tbsp fresh parsley.  Again, I hadn't any fresh herbs on-hand.

Nutrition per 1 cup serving

I'm a nut for soup.  I could eat it every day.  Mmm... I had a bowl yesterday at lunch and Tiffany will be packing me another for lunch today.  Thank you Jill!  This recipe is most definitely a winner.

Hi-dee hi-dee click-and-explore-the-blogosphere-today-ho my friend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Only In America

"Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one."
 - Mark Twain

Hello everyone!  I hope this day finds you in excellent health and good spirits.

If an American citizen, I hope that you're at least vaguely familiar with the new upcoming Menu Labeling Law to take effect next year.  If not defeated, killed, watered down, or otherwise shut-down by our illustrious Congressional leaders in Washington it will require all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to post food calorie counts on their menus.

I know, I know... there are already some states well ahead of the federal government with laws already on the books that meet and/or exceed this forthcoming federal legislation.  But not so in my home state of Florida.  You remember Florida don't you?  You allowed us to choose your president a few years back.  We performed experiments showing sixth grade school children were more capable of using our punch card voting booths than their parents and grandparents were able.  Yeah... That's us!

Why am I bringing all of this up today?  It's because of a news report I heard over the radio this morning.  Restaurant chains are scrambling to change their recipes to reduce fat and caloric content.  If memory serves me right, Subway was reducing mayonnaise on some of their signature sandwiches to make the numbers look better.  Oh yes!  Kudos to Starbucks.  Guess what they're doing?  They are reported to be preparing smaller sized cupcakes and donuts on their menus.  What a civic contribution, huh?

Why do we need to legislate this type of action upon our most cherished national treasures... McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, KFC, etc.?  Politically speaking, I probably like government regulation less than the average citizen but I'm sad to say that I understand the need.  The corporations are too greedy to post this valuable consumer information without being mandated to do. And the consumer is too stupid to calculate the health difference between a doughnut and a whole grain slice of bread.  Sorry America... it's true.

I've also read where studies show that placing calories upon a menu doesn't actually shift the consumer onto healthier choices.  Can this be true?  I hope that it was a study bought and paid for by someone against the legislation and is not factual (intentionally biased).

Me?  I cherish, love and applaud the thought of simply having "truth in advertising" when I view a menu to make my selection.  And, I fit outside of that study's bell curve because it will make a difference to me.  Why not post fat, sugars, cholesterol and other consumer beneficial information as well?

I cringe when I realize that I am actually on the side of forced legislation but healthcare is a national epidemic.  I say this because I am one of those cited statistics.  I have lots of ailments due to nothing short of historically poor nutritional choices.  I am one of those individuals who causes your health care premiums to rise.  However, I am also one of those persons who is smelling the roses and trying to do something about it.

That radio news story simply had me laughing with tears inside.  Does corporate America care about me or my health?  Hell no, they don't!  Why should they?  They're only out to make a buck.  When my life ceases and extinguishes due to poor health, there will be someone's child to take my spot on the food chain of unhealthy dietary consumption.

Thanks for allowing me to vent.  Now... get back to that McDonald's hamburger.  Okay?  It's getting cold.  Me?  I'm having some seitan or tofu.

Hi-dee hi-dee why-is-our-species-so-stupid-and-ignorant-ho my friend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think Outside The Culinary Box

"Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world."
 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Greetings my fine friend.  Most magnificent and wonderful things will be bestowed upon you today.  And, all you have to do is to treat others as you would like to be treated and offer a smile to a stranger or two.  And if I am wrong?  What's the worst that could happen because you will have left a positive mark on this world of ours today.  Agreed?  Let you and I make this a win-win day.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Life as a vegetarian (or vegan) is easy!  Don't approach things from the "what I cannot eat" perspective.  Instead, why not look at the healthy and delicious things that you CAN eat or have yet to conquer!  Yes, think outside the culinary box.

It's too simple to maintain status quo.  To continue eating non-human animal flesh, to continue a downward spiral of health, to continue an inconsiderate eco- footprint on this planet, to promote the "me, me, me" mentality, and so on, and so on.  But it's truly equally easy to improve you inner-self, eat better, eat healthier, make this a better world than which you found it, and so on, and so on.

When I read a carnivorous cookbook or watch a television advertisement for McDonald's, I don't see what they are trying to sell to me.  I'm not buying it!  I no longer consume non-human animal flesh, simply by choice.  So, what do I see?  Instead I see the challenge to find an alternative food product that is vegetarian based.  Tacos don't require ground beef or shredded pork.  Why not use tofu?  Or seitan?  Or diced grilled veggies?  Or hummus?  Or mashed potatoes?  Or brown rice?  Or quinoa?  Okay, okay... You get the picture.

Don't tell me that you can no longer eat something because you have chosen to go the vegetarian (or vegan) route.  Instead I challenge you to find (or create) an alternative item.  Google it.  Buy a vegetarian cookbook.  Visit a blog site.  But stop saying, "I can't eat and enjoy that any longer.  I've become a vegetarian."

Take my challenge and you have opened a culinary world that you could have never imagined.  Yes, there will be mistakes and "experiments" along the way.  But, the same would have held true in a carnivorous lifestyle too.

In these past nine months I have tasted some of the most delicious, nutritional and exciting foods that my palate has ever experienced!  When people find out that I become a vegetarian and say, "Oh, you're a vegetarian now.  What do you eat?"  I respond back, "It's not so much what I can't eat but rather what I do eat.  I can eat so many, many more things than I chose not to eat!"

I apologize if I have bored you today. But, I sincerely hope that I've got your mind to thinking.  Maybe after you've turned off your computer monitor you will go revisit that old cookbook collection of your mothers?  Or maybe you will Google something you have been yearning from carnivorous days gone by.  Except... This time when you're reading the recipes you will begin to think how you can make the basic dish without use of carnivorous meats (or animal-based products).

Join me!  Become a free-will thinking human being once again.  Stop restricting yourself to the status quo and begin living life once again.  Except this time as a vegetarian (or vegan).

Hi-dee hi-dee surprise-yourself-in-the-kitchen-this-week-ho my friend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Healthy Can Be Quite Affordable

"Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?"
 - Cicero

Hello everyone!  I hope that this day finds you healthy and well.
I'll warn you now.  This is another one of my "what am I going to write about today" blogs.  Come on... They're not that bad are they?  On second thought... Don't answer that please.

What is this?  Why does Chucky show this image to me?

Okay, it doesn't take a brain scientist to conclude that the above includes the following items:  2 bottles of P.K.N.T. Carménère wine, a bag of habanero peppers, a 5-ounce bottle of hot sauce, a container of fresh blackberries, 5 tomatoes on the vine, and 11-ounces goat cheese.

"But why the picture Chucky?"  Will you take the "how much did Tiffany and Chucky pay for all of this" challenge?  As a twist to this puzzle, I will tell you had we not tossed in the blackberries it would have cost us and extra two bucks ($2.00 USD).  "This simply doesn't make sense Chucky."  But it does with a coupon.

Would you believe $27.00 for ALL of this beautiful and healthy food at Eat More Produce?  We had to toss in the $3.00 blackberries in order to make that magic $5.00 off of $30.00 or more price-point.

"Okay, so I get it.  You only paid $27.00 for all of this. Yes, that's an incredible price but what is your point Chucky?"  My point being that enjoying the life as a vegetarian (or vegan) is most affordable and achievable.  Contrary to what I frequently read when people are considering an improved lifestyle, it is NOT an expensive task.  Actually, money stays in your pocketbook on two accounts:  (1) vegetarian/vegan food sources are cheaper than carnivorous meats and (2) your long-term healthy cost will most certainly be lowered.

This is not only my opinion but simple fact.  Tiffany & I eat healthier and more diversified than ever before.  And for less.  We laugh and smirk to ourselves when we go into Costco and see those poor carnivorous souls cost-comparing items in the meat counter.  It's an expensive price a carnivore pays for their meal.  The cost to the environment, the cost to their pocketbook and the cost to their health. I often reflect back and wonder why I lived that way? I suppose that I simply did not know better.  Nor did I realize that living life is cheaper and more affordable now.

Hi-dee hi-dee keep-the-change-in-your-pockets-and-save-an-animal-or-two-along-the-way-ho my friend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wrap Planet, Winter Park, Florida

"It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it."
 - Julia Child

Greetings, salutations, and every expression of my warmest wishes at you this fine day!  Let's push any grey clouds aside and continue on with this most wonderful life, okay?  We only get but one life (although some people find two).

Wrap Planet store front (as seen from parking lot)

What is this culinary mecca of smoothies, tacos, wraps & salads?  It's a hidden gem nearby Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida called "Wrap Planet".  Thank you Groupon for assisting us to find this gem!  Since using that Wrap Planet Groupon, Tiffany & I have been back to visit many times.  And Olga, the owner, and her culinary creations have quickly made this one of our favorite places to eat.

Olga taking Tiffany's order

We bought our Groupon and were so excited entering the first time.  We had taken a sneak peak at their online menu and fell in love with what we were reading.  The combination of ingredients sound simply scrumptious, let alone the enormous variety of choices are amazing.  And, if you ask Olga she will prepare you are wrap customized to your personal preferences.  But, I ask why?  If you can't find something on the menu that tempts your palate, then you are living on the wrong planet my friend.

Broccoli, Carrot and Mushroom Soup
Cabbage, Carrot & Green Lentil Soup

Oh yeah... Talk about "hidden" gems?  Wrap Planet is the model for which the expression was created.  Exactly as their web site and menu describe, it is located right across from Rollins College, behind the 7-Eleven and next door to the UPS Store.  Sneeze or blink as you're passing by the small parking lot entrance and you will miss it.  Trust me however ~ If you pass them by, your turnaround to find them will be well worth any and all effort!

Olga (owner) exemplifies some key traits that Tiffany and I love to see when dining out.  She is unable to hide her love of the culinary arts and pride in the business that she has built.  You can see it clearly in her shop, on her menu, in the tastes and when she speaks.

PESTO-licious Wrap:  tofu, white rice, black beans, & pesto sauce
Rocking Rollins Wrap:  tofu, guacamole, pumpkin seeds, steamed veggies, lettuce, & ranch dressing
Wrap Planet offers three (3) vegetarian wrap options:  tofu, mashed potato, or steamed veggies.  For us vegetarians (or vegans), Olga encourages you to simply speak up.  Wrap Planet is accommodating besides being healthy 'n delicious.

Tiffany & I have only but began exploring their diversified menu.  So far we have been lucky enough to experience and enjoy:  Rocking Rollins wrap (substitute tofu for turkey), Big Bali wrap (substitute tofu for grilled chicken), Mayan Delight wrap (tofu), PESTO-licous wrap (tofu), Chow Mommy wrap (tofu), taco (mashed potato), and taco (tofu).  I cannot speak for Tiffany but my favorite so far?  That's easy!  All of them.

If the name of their wraps sound intriguing, check out their menu which describes the ingredients (and choices).  You will clearly see why Tiffany and I have a dilemma deciding what to order each time we visit!

I can't wait to work my way through their menu.  And like Olga pointed out, should we make it through them all or want a change of taste, we can customize the wrap by making substitution(s).  Remember, it's not a dining establishment of choices... It's a Wrap Planet of choices from which to pick!

Hi-dee hi-dee yes-Virginia-there-really-are-some-culinary-gem-establishments-out-there-ho my friend.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wine Tasting - L'Orval Chardonnay 2009

"Drink a glass of wine after your soup, and you steal a ruble from your doctor."
 - Russian proverb

Drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee drinkin' wine!  Guess what Tiffany & I did today after running some early morning errands?  This afternoon's selection was a $5.00 bottle of wine that we purchased from Eat More Produce.  Coincidentally, Eat More Produce was on the itinerary this morning. We bought two more bottles of P.K.N.T. Carménère among other items.

Chucky's Point Score:  88
Tiffany's Point Score:  86

Lorval Chardonnay 2009

Appellation:  Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Grape Varietal(s):  100% Chardonnay
Retail Price:  $5.00
Vintage:  2009
Producer:   Imported & bottled by L'Orval Wines, Fort Stockton, TX
Alcohol:  12.0%
Calories:   84 per 4-ounce

Tasting notes as follows.
Chucky's Tasting Notes

Tiffany's Tasting Notes

The label reads as follows:

"A soft gold-colored wine.  Honey flavours give way to pineapple, pear and vanilla."

If I had to point to a Chardonnay expert in this family, Tiffany gets the acclaim.  She noted the pineapple and vanilla notes of this selection without previewing the label.  I noted the pear on the nose and on the palate but, all in all, her tasting notes reflect a more accurate synopsis.

We both fell in love with this wine and wish we could jump into our bathing suits and take a dive into each glass!  Only $5.00???  Amazing, simply amazing folks.  I would have not hesitation or reservation serving this Chardonnay to my guests.  Yes, even guests that I like.  If you love Chardonnay, this is a classic French one.

Hi-dee hi-dee we've-found-yet-another-extraordinary-valued-Chardonnay-ho my friends.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bad, Bad News to Share with You

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
 - Galileo Galilei

It is with sadness that I share this blog post with you today.

My better half Tiffany makes the cover!

I have to be honest with you.  I consumed animal flesh last night for dinner!  Give me some credit because I made it two-hundred fifty-eight days without doing so (to the best of my knowledge).  Until last night my only waiver was the occasional meat-based broth where vegetarian options were not available.

Has Chucky given up on his vegetarian experiment?  Have I rejoined the ranks of the animal flesh consuming carnivores?  Is the weekend about to be packed full of BBQ ribs, pork roast, lamb shank, hamburger, fish filet, fried chicken and bacon?  What about Tiffany?  Has she waiver from the path of vegetarian righteousness?  Have I pried my Veg emblem from the family chariot?  So many questions and such a little blog to answer them all.

Okay... here's the scoop.  I went out to eat last night and ordered a chicken dish.  However, I asked to substitute hummus for chicken.  They delivered it to my table and I initially thought it might include chicken.  "No.  That's crumbled blue cheese I am seeing.  That's not chicken." I said to myself.

Guess what?  It was pieces of chicken (white meat) in my dish!  "O-M-G!  I just took a bite of chicken, Tiffany!"  "Are you sure?"  "Yes.  I remember what that animal flesh tastes like and this isn't hummus."

Was I furious?  Did I get upset?  No.  It was nothing more than an honest mistake and they were sincere in their apologies when I returned the plate to be fixed.  Which restaurant was it?  That's not relevant because it was nothing more than a mistake.  This establishment goes over and beyond to populate their menu with healthy non-animal flesh meal choices (hint?).

So, if I had to venture a guess I would say that I might have consumed about 1/8 ounce of white chicken flesh, if even that much.  One bite and my conscious quickly identified the foreign substance upon my palate.  I impressed even myself.  Amongst the sauces and vegetables of my meal I was able to distinguish that animal flesh.

Am I allergic to animal flesh?  No.  Am I able to devour animal flesh like a ravenous carnivore?  Yes.  I simply have improved my lifestyle such that I no longer desire or want it.  I certainly feel healthier these past 258 days and am certain that my body appreciates the change.

So the moral of this story?  The purpose of my blog entry?  To be perfectly honest, I simply did not have anything to write and this seemed like an amusing entry.

The picture above?  Remember that Shape magazine that I said had Jillian Michaels on the cover?  Well... Guess what?  I was wrong.  How could I be so wrong?  It was my beautiful wife and vegetarian partner Tiffany who made the cover!  One day Tiffany shall surprise you and post an entry on this blog.  She does exist.  She does, I tell you.  Tiffany... I love you!

Hi-dee hi-dee don't-let-the-little-mistakes-in-life-upset-you-ho my friend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eggs Florentine Pizza

"Pizza is a lot like sex.  When it's good, it's really good.  When it's bad, it's still pretty good."
 - Author Unknown

Tiffany and I enjoyed a most delicious breakfast pizza the other night.  Yes, that's right.  A breakfast pizza for dinner.  But ~ I'm sorry that I can't share the recipe.  It's not mine.  Tiffany found the recipe on page 178 of the May 2011 issue of Shape magazine (US).  If it helps you find it at the library or in your archives, it's the issue with Jillian Michaels wearing a white bikini on the cover.  NO, not that I noticed the cover.  Er... I was told she's on the cover.  Yeah... That's the ticket!

Eggs Florentine Pizza with Reduced-Fat "Hollandaise" Sauce

I can't share the recipe but was able to find it online. I found it on someone's blog that copied the recipe word-for-word.  The site even used the same photograph from the Shape magazine article!  I have decided not give you the URL link in case its egregious copyright infringement.  Two bad's do not make a right.  I have e-mailed the recipe author requesting permission to share but did not hear back from him.

I suppose I can share the basic ingredients that I used:  baby spinach, garlic, ginger, mozzarella, and eggs.  It's accompanied by a sour cream based "hollandaise" sauce.  But, I can share my photographs and assure you that finding a copy of the magazine will be worth the effort.

Chives lay aside "pre-egg" pizza

Chef Theo Kalogeracos created the recipe but Google searches did not link me to a copy of the recipe.  Sorry... But, I did try.

Tiffany and I immediately fell in love at first bite.  The combination of flavors is nothing short of incredible.  Hey!  If you can't find the exact recipe, perhaps my pictures will allow you to "wing it"?  After all, pizza recipes aren't really that complex except perhaps for the crust.  I used Kronos-brand whole grain pita bread as the basis for my pizza.

Ready to slice and add hollandaise sauce

Enjoy the pictures and allow your mind to experience a taste on me.  Bon appétit.

Hi-dee hi-dee gawd-is-this-a-delicious-pizza-ho my friend!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buffalo Seitan Sandwich

"Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces."
 - Jack Benny

Wonderfully warm wishes abundantly flowing from me to you.  This is my wish this day.

Buffalo Seitan Sandwiches

Do you have a Publix supermarket near where you live?  Probably not because they are a Southern chain located in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.  But necessary to preface this blog entry is a television commercial that they are currently airing.  It's to introduce their new Buffalo Chicken deli sandwich.  It's basically four fried crispy chicken tenders slathered in Buffalo wing sauce, laid over Swiss cheese slices on a sub roll, and sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese.  No, nothing that I wish to partake due to its carnivorous nature.

Seitan cutlets placed onto the grill

However, seeing this commercial invoked memories of Buffalo wings consumed years gone by.  It's not so much the chicken that made these special as it was the slathering of hot Buffalo wing sauce.  Celery sticks with blue cheese dressing on the side and pitchers of ice cold beer in front of me.  No, it was not the chicken but the flavors, ambiance, and good times from the past I remember.

Seitan cutlets from off of the grill.

Seeing these commercials prompted me to ask why I could not make such a sandwich.  Hmm... but what shall I use in lieu of animal flesh as the basis for my meal?   I was originally thinking that Quorn brand vegetarian chicken cutlets would make a wonderful substitution before contemplating seitan.  Yes, why not use sietan to douse into Frank's Hot Buffalo Wing sauce?  I can make chicken flavored seitan but I've got to get the texture closer to fried 'n crispy as I am able.  I decided to place the seitan onto the grill to help with the texture.

  • Seitan, chicken flavored
  • Frank's Buffalo wing sauce, to coat
  • Swiss cheese slices (for fewer calories, I chose not to use)
  • Blue cheese, crumbled
  • Roll or bun, the healthier the better of course
  1. Make seitan and boil for approximately 45-minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.
  2. When cooled, cut into chicken cutlet size pieces.  Grill both sides until slightly browned.
  3. Slice seitan cutlets according to roll or bun size.  Douse in hot wing sauce.
  4. Lay onto roll, sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and enjoy.
The final product?  Let's call it Buffalo Seitan Sandwich.  Chicken flavored seitan doused in hot wing sauce, laid upon a healthy bun, and sprinkled with blue cheese.  I'll let you know how it tastes when I eat it.  But, how can this really go wrong?

Addendum:  Verdict?  Delicious!!!  I'm having another sandwich for lunch today.

Hi-dee hi-dee adapt-from-what-you-see-and-yearn-ho my friend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wine Tasting - P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Carménère 2010

"A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover."
 - Clifton Fadiman

May you be blessed with as pleasant a day as you are capable to have.

"Oh goodie!  A Carménère!"  Well, perhaps not my exact quote when Tiffany picked out today's wine.  But... it was along these lines nonetheless.

Andy over at Eat More Produce had recommended this selection.  Andy has been godsend when choosing the wines they purvey.  I don't know how they are able to offer such nice wines at such great prices!  Maybe Andy & Troy moonlight highjacking semi-trailer trucks that transport wines & spirit?  Well, probably not since their business is so hopping and they barely have time to breathe, let alone stay out at night stealing wine.

Chucky's Score:  90
Tiffany's Score:  93

P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Carménère 2010

Appellation:  Santiago, Chile
Grape Varietal(s):  Carménère
Retail Price:  $7.99 each or 2 for $14.00
Vintage:  2010
Alcohol:  13.5%
Calories:  94 per 4-ounce

Tasting sheets as follows.

Chucky's Tasting Notes

Tiffany's Tasting Notes

The back label reads as follows:

"A unique Chilean wine variety that is almost black in color.  Aromatically it shows exotic spices together with fruity and juicy blueberries.  On the palate, loud tannins that succumb in a long velvety chocolate finish. 

Although soft enough to be enjoyed on it's own, this wine goes superbly well with TexMex and spicy foods.  Combines superbly with burgers."

This wine?  Wow!  The bold red fruit aromas forewarn every cell in the brain via your nostril.  And if that were not enough, your palate will forever be indebted upon the first sip.  Yes... it's that good!  Serve it to your dinner guests and they will think that they are drinking a $30 to $45 bottle of wine.

I would go on and on but the tasting sheets speak mounds.  Besides, the less that I elaborate, the less you need to read.  The less you have to read, the more time you will have to seek this little treasure out from your favorite vino purveyor!

Hi-dee hi-dee umm-there-is-still-some-remaining-in-the-bottle-as-I-write-this-blog-ho my friend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Name That Seitan!

"Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."
 - Author Unknown

It is my honest wish that each of you is treated equally, if not even better, than those who you encounter this day.

What in the world is this stuff?

Do you like puzzles?  Well... I do, sometimes.  Your job is guess what this seitan is or shall become.  Take a close look and let some ideals form in that mind of yours before proceeding below.

I am unable to take any credit whatsoever for the recipe. Wish I could however because it is simply wonderful.  So darned easy to make and as delicious as advertised.  I am happy to extend full and appreciative credit to Jill over at A Vegetarian Tale blogsite.  From there credit by extension goes to Vegan Dad over at the Vegan Dad blogsite.  The specific recipes are Jill's and Vegan Dad's.  They are slightly different and I chose to make Jill's version.

Rolled in foil to be steamed

The verdict?  Wonderful!  Truly wonderful.  Both Tiffany and I were impressed by the total simplicity and ease to make these breakfast sausages.  The taste?  In a word, "Wow!"  We had recently purchased and tried Cedar Lake's Breakfast Sausage in the can from Hoover's Essential Health Market.  They were delicious and we recommend them but these have a more genuine texture.  The Cedar Lake links are simply more processed and more peppery.  Vegan Dad's Breakfast Sausages have a more true texture and more authentic taste.  Tiffany and I added a teaspoon of crushed red pepper into Jill's recipe to meet our desire for more heat.

After steaming

After grilling

If you love breakfast sausage, do yourself a favor and visit Jill's blog site to grab the recipe.  It's simple, unbelievably easy to make, and so absolutely delicious.  You'll thank Jill and Vegan Dad for it!

Nutrition in 1 link (24 links per batch)

Hi-dee hi-dee the-blogosphere-has-some-recipe-gems-out-there-ho my friend.