Subscribe to Chucky - The Fat Vegetarian by Email Subscribe in a reader Chucky - The Fat Vegetarian: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Never Too Late To Begin Life

"We learn from history that we do not learn anything from history."
  - Author Unknown

Happy Leap Day!  I offer greetings, salutations, and wishes of the warmest kind towards you.  Are we about to conclude yet another month today?  Well then, let's simply make it an absolute terrific one shall we?

Whew!  It’s been 29-days with a new posting every single day.  I don't know whether I'll soon have another month with a new daily blog post each and every single day.  Hmm... What to post this final day (Leap Day) of February 2012?  Here’s a post that I never actually posted onto my own blog site.  I wrote it back on December 19th, 2010 as a favor to a fellow Blogosphere resident, Anne at Finding Your Zen Pulse.  I thought it would be a little nostalgic to share it here with you.

Here 'tis...

Hello everyone!  Today it's time for something a little bit different.  Anne (Finding Your Zen Pulse) asked if I would do a guest post and I'm very happy to share my story.

Let's look back.  Ugh... er...  Look back in time, not look at my back.

My pseudo name is Chucky, my wife's pseudo is Tiffany, and our spoiled shepherd-chow mix has been deemed "The Seed".  My story begins during the last week in September 2010 when Tiffany asked if I would will be willing to participate in World Vegetarian Month (began October 1, 2010).  I think Tiffany practically slipped on her wedding gown when I responded, "Yes, let's do!"

It could be argued that the story began the day that I was born.  Now, this is a very long time ago folks.  I won't share my age but let's just say that I can remember when water came out of a tap!  I can still remember seeing my first aluminum can, my first plastic bottle, disposable ballpoint pen, disposable lighter, and my first 8-track player!  Now, why won't I begin my story that long ago?  Because life never really began until Chucky and Tiffany began trekking down the righteous pathway of vegetarianism (lacto-ovo vegetarians - egg and dairy acceptable).

Middle-aged, overweight and a plethora of health related issues.  Sleep apnea, lymphedema, high blood pressure, acute obesity, high cholesterol - just to name a few.  I am a walking corpse and need to do something about it.  I believe that Chucky falls into that "dude-you-better-do-something-about-yourself" category?

Now that it has been 78-days meat free, what am I able to share with you?  First and foremost, both Tiffany and I feel incredible!  It's hard to explain but there is certainly more zip in our step, more taste on our tongues, and a truly wonderful feeling in our heart and mind.  I could not fathom going backwards to a carnivorous lifestyle.  It's just been too easy so far.  If I never lose an ounce or eliminate an ailment, I shall have had no regret for becoming a vegetarian.

Yes, there are items that I can no longer indulge.  As are there foods that I have yet to find an acceptable vegetarian substitute for.  But, let me assure you that there are many, many more things that I am able to consume than those which I am not.  It's simple really.  Look at a dish or plate and ask yourself, "How can I make this without using the meat?"  You simply have to think outside the culinary box. 

Miso, tahini, and tofu.

Anne asked me to share a recipe.  I immediately thought of the one vegan dish that I have made and remade countless times so far.  This would be Mock Cheese Spread.  It's amazing stuff!  I could never eat that Crock Cheddar Cheese Spread due to the calories.  But now I can using this low calorie vegan recipe.  Absolutely to-live-for (note the pun)!  I cannot tell you how many batches that I have made.  It's always kept on-hand in my refrigerator.

It's been a beautiful and wonderful stride down the pathway of vegetarianism!  Foods that we would not have otherwise experienced.  Knowing that we no longer consume mass quantities of growth-hormones, steroids, and mercury which are resident in the animal food chain.  It took a couple of weeks before our bodies detoxified and the feeling to kick in but we're there.  We are marching onward.  Pounds to drop and ailments to erase in the healthy vegetarian land ahead of me.

Why don't you consider to walk the pathway along side of us?  There is plenty of room and every reason to do so.  I can assure you that it's easier than you think.  Don't believe me?  Then do me the favor of locating a local vegan or vegetarian restaurant to dine.  Try the food and tell me that it's nothing less than superb and truly delicious.

Thank you Anne for allowing me to share my thoughts.

Hi-dee hi-dee healthy-road-to-travel-ho my friends!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wine Tasting - Martin Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah 2008

"I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury.  On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens."

Hello everyone!  I’m hoping that you have nothing short of a truly wonderful day.  This is what I have planned and I encourage everyone to simply join me.

Petite Sirah?  Is that even a recognized grape varietal?  Yes my friend, it is indeed.  It's the offspring of the Sirah (aka Syrah) and Peloursin grape more appropriately called the Durif grape (named after botanist François Durif who discovered this gem varietal).  Until we uncorked this bottle today, I cannot honestly say remember its taste.  The fact that it's related to the Sirah grape tells me that I am in store for a big bold red wine.  Umm!  Let's get started shall we?

Chucky's Point Score:  95
Tiffany's Point Score:  94

Martin Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah 2008

Grape Varietal(s):  100% Petite Sirah
Price:  $24.99 approximate retail
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol:  15.5%

Tasting notes as follows. 

Chucky's Tasting Sheet

Chucky's Notes:  "Phenomenal dark luscious fruits on the palate gradually perform a crescendo in my mouth.  WOW!  Absolute killer wine.  Very lingering and nice windows.  Perfectly balanced as the taste delivers upon the aroma.  I don't know whether it's the Martin Family Vineyard, the Petite Sirah grapes, or if 2008 was a phenomenal year but this wine is INCREDIBLY delicious!  Love, love, love it!" 

Tiffany's Tasting Sheet

Tiffany's Notes:  "If I could fit into this glass I would dive in!  This delivers a huge punch of super bold dark fruits on bouquet and palate.  Low tannins and bold fruits make this an extremely super smooth wine.  Cannot remember last time I had a Petite Sirah but I'm anxious to sample some more!  Love it.  Love it.  Love it!"

From the label:

Martin Family winery is located in the heart of beautiful Dry Creek Valley.  We hand craft small lots of premium wine utilizing time honored techniques that create the very best the Valley has to offer.  Our Dry Creek Petite Sirah has intense inky black color, robust aromas of ripe cherries and plum and rich, ripe, full black fruit and dark chocolate flavors.  Pair with hearty stews or roasts.  Drink now through 2012.

Shall I call this a 94.5-point rated wine?  It's amazing how closely Tiffany and I rated this vino selection.  In addition, our words and descriptions are eerily close.  One thing for absolute certain, Tiffany and I both LOVE this wine.

It's big.  It's bold.  It's very fruit forward.  A smooth elegant taste delivers an almost perfect balance to the palate.  Each sip retains much delight upon the mouths taste buds moments after initial interaction.  If there is but a single flaw with this wine, it ultimately goes empty.  

Hi-dee hi-dee petite-does-not-necessarily-mean-small-ho my friend.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wine Tasting - P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Merlot 2008

"I was in love with a beautiful blonde once.  She drove me to drink; that's the one thing that I'm indebted to her for."

Greetings!  I toast a glass of vino at you and share wishes for your wellness.

Several weeks ago when in Eat More Produce we knew that they had sold out of the P.K.N.T. Carménère some many months ago.  However, Andy pointed out that a few bottles of the Merlot could be had over next to the potato in a wine display.  Guess where Tiffany and I headed during our last Eat More Produce trek?  Psst... The evidence is in the photograph below.

Chucky's Score:  86
Tiffany's Score:  91

P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Merlot 2008

Appellation:  Rapel Valley, Santiago, Chile
Grape Varietal(s):  85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carménère
Retail Price:  $7.99 each or 2 for $14.00 at Eat More Produce, February 2012
Vintage:  2008
Alcohol:  13.5%
Calories:  94 per 4-ounce

Tasting notes as follows.

Chucky's Tasting Sheet

Chucky's Notes:  "Complexity and dryness on the palate delivers a most delicous aftertaste.  Ample tannin equates to a well-balanced Merlot.  Smoky strawberry notes linger in my mouth.  Very delicious and quite elegant."

Tiffany's Tasting Sheet

Tiffany's Notes:  "What a wonderful blend of my favorite grapes!  Love the read and dark fruits on bouquet and palate.  This is a super smooth Merlot!  This wine has the perfect balance all around."
From the label:

"Perfectly balanced, this soft and delicious Merlot is crammed with plummy red fruits.  A touch of tannin enables good structure and adds depth and weight to end a luscious finish.

Perfect partner to lamb, game, and most other meat dishes."

In retrospect, Chucky was perhaps a little harsh in judging this selection.  86 isn't a bad score but I look back after enjoying a couple of glasses having lots of guilt.  It wasn't that I did not thoroughly enjoy this wine selection.  The wine tasting just happened at the wrong time perhaps?  Believe me when I say that it should probably be an 88-point score or more.  Tiffany is much closer to hitting the tasting sheet review target.

We both immensely love this wine.  When judged in conjunction with their Carménère offering, P.K.N.T. Silver Collection ranks up as some of the finest vino for your hard-earned dollars.  We both noticed the blueberry and cedar on the nose and in the taste.  It was a remarkably complex wine with a plethora of well-balanced tastes.  After our wine tasting this afternoon and dinner tonight, Tiffany and I find our bottle empty.  It's funny how that seems to happen, isn't it?

Hi-dee hi-dee P-for-Perfect-K-for-Komplex-N-for-Not-Gonna-Share-T-for-Tasty-wine-ho my friend.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is a Multi-Enzyme Capsule?

"The best vitamin for making friends:  B1."
 - Author Unknown

Greetings and well wishes my friends!  May this be a glorious day only to be outdone by the next.

Tiffany and I visited both the St. Augustine Premium Outlets and the St. Augustine Outlets today.  Over 150 different outlet stores in two separate malls, each on a different side of I-95.  But I wander yet once again.

What I wanted to say was that we bought a bottle of multi-enzymes from the GNC outlet store.  I think that the last bottles of multi-enzymes were from The Vitamin Shoppe but this time GNC happened to be convenient and reputable (as is The Vitamin Shoppe).

Multi-enzyme supplement

I know the basic reason that Tiffany and I have been taking enzymes for so long.  We've been taking them daily for a few years so far.  We learned about it when we first purchased our Blendtec high-speed blender and began to "juice" our vegetables.  For example, every morning Tiffany makes both of us a fresh "green energy starter" using 1 organic carrot, 1/2 organic celery stalk, and 3 organic kale leaves.  She includes just enough water and ice cubes to allow the concoction to blend.  It's  better than "juicing" because you actually swallow and consume the entire vegetable product.  A traditional juicer separates the pulp from the liquids.

GNC Multi-Enzyme Formula Description

Thus the purpose of the enzymes.  To break down the molecular parts of the foods that we consume to allow the maximization of nutrients in our bodies.  Without the added benefit of a enzymes, some portion of our digested foods simply flow through our bodies without actually taking advantage of every nutrient.

GNC Multi-Enzyme Formula Supplement Facts

Now for the crux of this blog post... What exactly is in my GNC Multi-Enzyme Formula capsule and what is each ingredient supposed to do for us?   Let's find out shall we?
  • Multi-enzyme Blend – 296 mg
    • Amylase – 7,000 DU (Alpha-amylase Dextrinizing units) 
      • converts starch into sugars
    • Protease 4.5 – 15,000 HUT (Hemoglobin Unit Tyrosine base) 
    • Lipase – 250 FIP  (Federation Internationale Pharmaceutique units)
    • Glucoamylase – 11 AGU (Amyloglucosidase units) 
      • breaks down complex sugars into simple sugars
    • Protease 3.0 – 15 SAPU (Spectrophotometric acid protease units) 
    • Bromelain – 300,000 FCCPU (Food Chemical Codex Papain units)
      • digests proteins
    • Lactase – 500 ALU (acid lactase units) 
    • Protease 6.0 – 2,000 HUT
    • Papain – 280,000 FCCPU
      • breaks down proteins
    • Cellulase – 100 CU (Cellulase unit)
    • Malt diastase – 125 DP (degrees Diastatic power)

NOTE:  This is a 4-foot plastic bubble-headed layman interpretation of enzyme benefits.  When reading this, please remember that even you can become a rocket scientist, doctor, or physicist on the Internet.  You, my friend, have now just been disclaimed.

Does Chucky or Tiffany know exactly what all of this means?  Truthfully?  We haven't a clue.  But one thing that I certainly do know is that each of these ingredients breaks down a more complex into a simpler product.  Thus, the term "digestion" comes to mind.

Who knows?  Maybe you should look into taking enzymes to maximize your nutritional intake?  I cannot say that it's worked for miracles for Tiffany and I but we certainly feel better taking them.  It's not voodoo.  It's based on physics, chemistry and science.

Hi-dee hi-dee health-to-you-ho my friend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wine Tasting - Martin Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2007

"There are no standards of taste in wine, cigars, poetry, prose, etc.  Each man’s own taste is the standard, and a majority vote cannot decide for him or in any slightest degree affect the supremacy of his own standard."

Greetings everyone!  May the sun shine upon your attitude and may your actions reflect the same.  Your day is probably going to be what you make it.  Make it great.  Make it good.

Why do we tend to overlook Zinfandel?  Our wine cabinets have many, many varietals but few "Zins".  After this tasting, I venture to say this may soon change!

Chucky's Point Score:  93
Tiffany's Point Score:  92

Martin Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2007

Grape Varietal(s):  100% Zinfandel
Rating:  x points Wine Enthusiast
Price:  $17.99 at Total Wines & More in August 2010
Vintage: 2007
Alcohol:  15.0%

Tasting notes as follows.

Chucky's Tasting Sheet

Chucky's Notes:  "An unequivocal wow!  The bouquet matches the taste on my palate.  A truly well balanced wine with a jam jar wallop of deep dark chocolaty tastes.  Incredible!  This is truly killer stuff!"

Tiffany's Tasting Sheet

Tiffany's Notes:  "Wow!  My kind of Zin!  Can I jump into the glass and swim around in it please???  This wine explodes with a bold cherry and peppery bouquet that delivers on the palate.  Love watching the thick clingy windows slide down the glass!  Each sip smooths out into a bigger bolder fruity punch."

From the label:

Martin Family winery is located in the heart of beautiful Dry Creek Valley. We hand craft small lots of premium wine utilizing time honored techniques that create the very best the Valley has to offer.  Our Zinfandel is classic Dry Creek, dark color, fresh cracked black pepper spice aromas, ripe raspberry and blackberry flavors.  Pair with BBQ pork or meat lovers pizza.  Drink now through 2010.

This Martin Dry Creek Valley selection was simply incredible!  Talk about a deep dark luscious wine that will grab you by the tongue and swing you around in ecstasy?  This wine is it.  I haven't checked lately but I would venture to guess that this same bottle of vino purchased today will be much more than $18.00!  Psst... probably worth the current asking price.

If I never uncork another bottle of Martin Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 ever again, I have no regrets as I was fortunate enough to enjoy this one.  If you love BIG bold smoky peppery red wines, this selection is for you (and Chucky & Tiffany).

Hi-dee hi-dee Chucky-and-Tiffany-willnever-tire-of-vino-ho my friend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wine Tasting - Odfjell Armador Carménère 2010

"I’m only drinking (white) wine because I’m on a diet and I don’t eat."

While walking around Eat More Produce, Andy announced to Tiffany and I, “I’ve got a new Carménère."  "It’s over there (pointing toward the wine room) and it’s most excellent.” First, I was absolutely impressed that Andy remembered us as the Carménère drinkers.  Second, I had already spotted the new wine gem when I perused the wine room.  Every day is different at Eat More Produce.  They’re not a wine warehouse and they turn (sell) an awful lot of wine.  When it’s on the shelves, it may never be found on their shelves again once it’s sold out.

I love this!  Each visit to Eat More Produce is like opening oysters.  What pearls are sitting in that wine room this day?  As tempting as it may be to purchase our wine by the case, I simply love the variety too much to tie my hands at two or three basic wines.  Life is too short to stop seeking variety vino extraordinaire.
Chucky's Point Score:  89
Tiffany's Point Score:  91

Odjfell Armador Carménère 2010

Appellation:  Maipo Valley, Chile
Grape Varietal(s):  100% Carménère
Rating:  87 points by Josh Raynolds, May/June '11
Price:  $11.99 at Eat More Produce, February 2012
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol:  13.5%

Tasting notes as follows.

Chucky's Tasting Sheet

Chucky's Notes:  "Oh, I love me some Carménère!  Deep dark red fruit tastes elegantly cover my palate.  Incredible tannins smooth to a luscious and lingering after taste.  Taste matches the aromas ~ nice!  It’s very well balanced.  I want to do a triple somersault swan dive into my glass!  Can I have more please?"

Tiffany's Tasting Sheet

Tiffany's Notes:  "Wow!  Another gem of a Carmenere!  The dark fruits and herbs on the nose definitely deliver on the palate.  The dark fruits and eucalyptus compliments each other nicely!  Very smooth fruity wine!  Can’t wait for my second glass and the third!"

From the vintner's web site

From the label:

In the bygone days of the sail ships, wine provided a safe drink for long voyages.  Today Dan Odjfell, a Norwegian Armador (shipowner), perpetuates this legacy by making wines to sail from Chile across the seven seas.

Intensive aromas of black fruits and spicy notes, followed by licorice. The palate is long and refreshing with soft, ripe fruit and tannins a touch of spices.

Vintner's product sheet

Outstanding.  Simply outstanding.  Andy and Troy at Eat More Produce are practically giving the wine away at these prices. 

Tiffany and I were drinking the same wine, experiencing the same tastes, and enjoying the same characteristics with this Carménère.  We stared at each other dumbfounded as we shared our review sheets. This time I go first with my tasting sheet. Then Tiffany goes and we alternate back and forth.  We taste our wine, take our notes, and share our experience.  Our tasting notes validate our observations and re-affirm our individual and mutual analyses.

This is a superb Carménère worthy double that which we paid.  Psst… Please don’t tell Andy or Troy at Eat More Produce, okay? 

Hi-dee hi-dee big-bold-fruit-forward-red-wines-rock-ho my friend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wrap Planet 2-4-2012

NOTE:  It is with much regret (but many happy memories) that I must report that Wrap Planet is now out of business.

All normal people love meat.  If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say ‘Yo Goober!  Where’s the meat?’  I’m trying to impress people here Lisa.  You don’t win friends with salad.

I extend oodles of happy thoughts to you my friend!  May a plethora of joy envelop your whole being this day.  May you take this with you, spread it, and proliferate the feeling onto others.  It’s a wonderful planet, belongs to no-one and is loaned to us all.  It’s not truly your property to abuse, destroy or ruin.

No disrespect to Mr. Homer Simpson but you can certainly win friends with a Wrap Planet salad!  One look at the Caesar salad with tofu below and you’re taste buds are certainly to fall into love.  Trust me, it tastes even better than it looks.  Olga’s is not the traditional Caesar dressing recipe.  It’s a wonderfully unique making of her own.  If anyone understands the science of herbs and taste, it’s Olga at Wrap Planet.  She may be so humble to think not but I beg to differ.

Original Caesar Salad – tofu, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese,
low-fat Caesar dressing topped with tortilla chip croutons

My every attempt to duplicate or replicate her recipes has been absolutely futile.  The sauces and soups at Wrap Planet are a few notches above what you might expect and keep me coming back again and again.  Not a bad predicament actually.

The day of these photographs has Tiffany and Chucky sharing a Rockin Rollins Tofu wrap and a Caesar Salad with Tofu.

Rockin Rollins – tofu, guacamole,  pumpkin seeds,
steamed veggies, lettuce, ranch dressing in a wheat wrap

Wrap Planet certainly is hard to find the first time that you visit.  But once you arrive you’ll have no regret and it will not be your only visit.  When on Fairbanks Avenue look for the 7-11 and the UPS Store.  Wrap Planet is hidden in the parking lot enclave between the two.  If you miss the turn into the parking lot, simply go around the block and you’re in like Flynn.

Psst... the red arrow is a clue to the direction, okay?

I keep posting blogs about the place because it’s simply that good.  Excellent prices, generous portion, fantastic service, and an endless menu selection.  Remember ~ it’s not fast food.  It’s healthy good food.  Everything is made fresh to order and is not sitting under a heat lamp or inside a cooler waiting upon your arrival.

Hi-dee hi-dee Tiffany-and-Chucky-will-keep-returning-and-returning-ho my friend.