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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A New Reason to Love Sandwiches

This past weekend has been a whirlwind for me. It was both of my parents' birthdays (my dad's on Saturday and my mom's on Monday), so of course I was running around like a mad woman from all the baking, cooking, and gift buying I was doing. I'm so happy to finally have a chance to sit down and make a much needed blog post.

With two birthdays within a few days of each other, cake is the inevitable enemy that is bound to be staring you in the face, screaming, "Eat me, bitch, you know you wanna taste my sugary goodness!" And the fact that I made both cakes from scratch made it even harder for me to resist the temptation. For my dad's birthday I made a decadent version of his favorite banana cake recipe that his mother use to make for him, every birthday. After we sang Happy Birthday and cut the cake, I watched my mother and father slump into a state of euphoria as they ate the cake. I looked down at the cake, which was right in front of me, and I couldn't help but take a whiff of the fresh, banana sent. At that moment, I past the point of no return. I gave in and cut myself a tiny piece (about 3 forkfuls), and it was worth every creamy calorie. My rule is that if they're something you really want to eat, and I mean really want, live a little and give yourself a taste, but don't make treats a regular thing because then you'll just crave sugar 24/7.

For my father's birthday present I made him all of his favorite foods: lasagna, chicken parmesan, fettucini alfredo, and garlic bread. Needless to say, I was in the kitchen the entire day. I didn't want to skimp of flavor for my dad's special day to suit my dietary needs, so I made a separate dinner for myself. The lasagna was my dad's favorite, it was spinach and mushroom, and he said it was the best he ever had. Success.

For my mom's birthday cake I made her favorite, strawberry shortcake cake, from scratch. The cake looked and smelled absolutely intoxicating, but I didn't let myself have a piece. I didn't want my tastebuds to get use to the sugary and buttery treats that I was surrounded by, but that doesn't mean that it was easy for me to sit back and watch my family eat and praise the cake. As my mom finished her second piece (it was her birthday, she's allowed!) she noted, "Kathleen, you've truly out-done yourself." Hearing her satisfaction was better than any piece of cake. My family also told me that I should open up a bakery or café. Sigh, wouldn't that be a dream come true.

Amidst the busy weekend I still managed to eat healthy, and yesterday I had a lunch that was so delicious and filling, I just knew I had to share.

As you well know, I am all about eating whole grains, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally buy sprouted grain bread. If you do not know what sprouted grain bread is, it is made from sprouted whole grains, not flour, and because it is so unprocessed, it is extremely high in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Sprouting grains is the act of growing them, so when you eat sprouts you are eating something that is alive. Even though these sprouts are made to make bread, the bread is very low of the glycemic index, meaning it won't make your blood sugar levels spike like white bread does. Those live grains and legumes are actually much easier for the body to digest, making this the ideal bread when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I got mine, Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread, from Whole Foods (in the freezer section because you have to keep the sprouts alive in order to get the full nutritional value), but you can go on their website to find a retailer near you, or shop online. Food For Life is a quality and organic company and they have a wide variety of products that you should really check out.

But back to my lunch! I went on that rant about bread because I used it to make a veggie sandwich that was absolutely delicious. Usually when you go out to a café or chain restaurant that sells a veggie sandwich, they use thick slices of cheese and a creamy, dressing-like condiment, completely defeating the pursue of a vegetarian option being the healthier one. Obviously you can add cheese to your veggie sandwich, but it should be a low-fat kind, and only an ounce. If you don't use cheese, then you can use some low-fat dressing or light mayo (I always use veganaise), but putting both on your sandwich will rack up the calories and fat faster than you can say Kirstie Alley. If you use cheese, I hope you like mustard because it is the healthiest condiment in town. I usually do a mix of veganaise and mustard on many of my sandwiches, a kind of faux honey mustard. But besides that, you can load up your veggie sandwich with any kind of vegetables you want, the more the merrier, as long as you can fit it all in your mouth!

Classic Veggie Sandwich
  • 2 Slices Ezekiel sprouted whole grain bread
  • 1 Tbsp Veganaise
  • 1 tsp Spicy brown mustard
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Spinach (or romaine, spring mix, etc)
  • Micro-greens (optional)
1. Let loaf of Ezekiel bread defrost on the counter for a few minutes, but not completely. After about 5 minutes, remove two slices and let those finish defrosting (you could also use a toaster to defrost/ toast slices). Return loaf to freezer.
2. Add veganaise and mustard to one slice of bread. Top with spinach, cucumber, tomato, onion, and micro-greens. Viola!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total: 10minutes

Nutrition: (One sandwich) Calories: 290, Total fat: 10g, Sat. fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 311, Total carbs: 39g, Fiber: 9g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 10g

Simple and delicious. I had a whole bell pepper, sliced, and a half of a cup of black beans to go with this lunch. Protein, vegetables, complex carbs, healthy fat, and fiber. What else do you need for a healthy lunch? That's right, nothing!

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