Thursday, February 24, 2011

Black Bean Salad

I've gotten into the habit of keeping bean or lentil salads in the fridge at all times, because they're easy to make and really handy to have around. I make a big pot of beans, use about 2/3 in a salad and reserve the remaining 1/3 for use in other recipes. I generally use the same "recipe" for any bean salad, which involves soaking some diced onion in a shallow pool of apple cider vinegar, adding a chopped bell pepper, then tossing in some olive or hempseed oil, sea salt, herbs of choice, maybe some celery, and finally the beans. Switching up the beans and the herbs allows for some variety so it doesn't get too boring eating bean salad all the time.

For my black bean salad I soaked some diced onion in the vinegar for about 10 minutes, added some orange bell pepper, poured in some olive and hempseed oils, and then sprinkled in some cayenne, sea salt and a couple teaspoons of cumin powder. Then I tossed in the black beans (about 4 cups) and a couple handfuls of chopped cilantro.

I was concerned that the Mexican flavors might go weirdly with the apple cider vinegar, but it tasted alright to me. You could always just use lemon juice instead, I just didn't because I use lots of lemons in other foods and am trying to use more apple cider vinegar in my cooking.

As for the cilantro, I find that it's one of the few relatively affordable herbs available at this time of year, provided you buy a gigantic bundle. I used about a quarter of my cilantro in this recipe, and the rest I'll be using to make cilantro pesto with almonds, basically the basil cilantro pesto from Veganomicon without the pricey basil.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soba Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

I had a really nice dinner tonight, and it was very simple too. I got some vegetables to roast, and decided to throw a sweet potato in there since It's been a month since I started this diet and I think a few bites of sweet potato here and there should be okay to add back in. So I roasted some eggplant, a sweet potato, red pepper and garlic, which I served over 100% buckwheat soba noodles tossed in oregano and sauteed red onion with canned artichoke hearts. I hated these buckwheat noodles when I first bought them, not least because they were something like $7 for a small bag but also because they taste like buckwheat. They're a special kind of soba noodle I've only seen in one health food store - regular soba noodles are made with both buckwheat and regular flour, so they're not allowed on the diet. Another problem with the pure buckwheat ones is that they have a habit of sticking together in a giant clump. But I'm starting to like them, partially because I've gotten used to the taste, and also because they have a beautiful dark mauve color, which looked really pretty with the red and orange veggies I had tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will have some of my leftover vegetables with regular cooked buckwheat instead of the noodles, and see if my tastes have adapted enough to tolerate the stuff. Really though, the dish was very pretty, and if I had a camera I'd take a picture. Maybe by the time some desperate candida-dieting vegan stumbles upon this blog a couple years from now, I'll have added photos! Until then, you'll have to make it yourself to see.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunflower Seed Sushi

For dinner tonight I made these "sushi" rolls from the Vegetarian Times magazine. They're like your regular vegetable and avocado rolls, but with ground soaked sunflower seeds standing in for the glutenous rice. I stuffed mine with avocado, yellow pepper, carrot and steamed asparagus. I don't have a sushi mat so I did without, and they came out a little fat but still pretty good for someone who has only ever made sushi once before.

I did like the sunflower seed "rice," but I wasn't crazy about the final product. I think it was the collards that did it for me. The raw and chewy leaves really overpowered the nori, so I'll try making them again without the collards and just serve immediately to keep the rolls from getting soggy without them. I served them with a simple soup made with sauteed minced garlic and kale, vegetable broth, water and dark miso.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recipe Suggestions

I spent a little time today looking through some recipes, mostly thinking about what I'd make if I could eat xyz and not be on this diet. I did, however, find some things I'd like to make sometime that are doable on the anti-candida diet.

Red Lentil Thai Chili - from the Post Punk Kitchen blog, would have to be made without sweet potatoes, or much later on into the diet if you want to follow the recipe exactly. I'd just serve it with quinoa.

Other recipes I want to try are from the cookbook Veganomicon. The recipes might even be online somewhere if you search for them, since I'm aware not everyone owns this cookbook. I haven't tried any of these, but I hope to soon!

Chickpeas Romesco (p.123) - would have to leave out the sugar and red wine vinegar, maybe sub apple cider vinegar instead?

Manzana Chili Verde (p.171) - without the potatoes, which I've never put in chili anyways so I won't be too sad to leave them out.

Spinach Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes (p.191) - Okay, so this is probably an annoying suggestion because pasta is a no-go, but I want to try making this with quinoa pasta or perhaps some brown rice pasta, which I'm considering adding into my diet soon in moderate amounts. Hopefully I can find artichoke hearts in oil without vinegar/brine? If not I may have to steam my own and alter the flavor a little bit.

I'm sure there are other recipes in this and other books that can be adapted for the anti-candida diet, but preparing absolutely all my food entirely from scratch is getting a bit tiring, so I'm trying to keep it simple instead of trying out too many exciting recipes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lemon Ginger Tea

I've always been a big fan of making this tea in the evening, when I want a nice caffeine-free mug of something hot. A few nights ago I made some, thinking I'd need to add some xylitol to balance the sharp flavors of the lemon and ginger, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was delicious without any sweetener at all! Not only did I get to drink my favorite tea, but I also got a great boost in confidence about my progress on this diet. It used to be that I couldn't fathom the thought of drinking unsweetened tea, perhaps the result of too much time spent in the south. Now, I am able to enjoy the most pungently flavored tea without adding any sugar. I'm taking this as a sure sign that my taste buds are coming back to life, and my addiction to sugar is subsiding. Lastly, I should note that this is an ideal tea to drink because of the digestive benefits of ginger. Great to have after a meal.

To make it, just wash and slice up a whole lemon, and about a small thumb's worth of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced thinly). Boil lemon and ginger in about 3 cups of water for a few minutes, strain and drink.

Basic Lentil Salad

I've been keeping to this diet pretty well by making lots of relatively simple salads, switching around my main ingredients each time so I get a bit of variety. On any given day I'll have two different salads in the fridge, which I'll have with some steamed vegetables to make a nice and colorful meal. I have started making this lentil salad, which is really tasty and also really simple.

After I've soaked some green lentils overnight (2 cups maybe), I cook, drain and rinse them. While they're cooking, I dice up half a red onion and let it soak in a generous splash of apple cider vinegar, in the bottom of the big tupperware container I plan to store the salad in. I chop up half a green pepper, maybe some yellow pepper if I have some, and a small handful of parsley. All of that goes into the container as well. I pour in a splash of hempseed oil (or olive) and mix everything around, and finally I add in the cooked lentils once they've cooled a bit. I usually keep some cooked chickpeas sitting around in the fridge, so I'll toss a handful of those in too if I have them. Mix it all up, stick it in the fridge, and let the flavors combine. An easy and tasty salad you can make with just about any kind of bean!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Less Boring Asparagus

I've been having steamed asparagus every day with coconut oil, and although it's good, I'm getting a bit bored with it. Today I steamed the asparagus as usual, and while that was going I sauteed some minced garlic in olive oil. Then I added my asparagus into the pan, and seasoned it with nutritional yeast and a generous sprinkling of dried oregano (since oregano's supposed to be great for battling candida). The grapevine has told me that nutritional yeast is okay despite being yeast - if you have information contrary to this, or know anything more about the issue, please let me know!

This dish is a little more interesting with some buckwheat noodles thrown in, but I prefer to go without as my daily asparagus portions are designed to make sure I keep my diet mostly veggie-oriented.

Apple Quinoa Porridge

I'm starting to get really excited about enjoying foods without any added sugar or sweeteners. When I started on this diet, I allotted to myself one small packet of xylitol per day, rationed out between my morning porridge and my green tea. Lately I haven't been using any (although I'm still not crazy about the unsweetened green tea). Since I've been almost 3 weeks on the diet, I decided to have 1/4 a granny smith apple this morning. I had a serving of leftover quinoa in the fridge, so I poured some unsweetened almond milk over it, and added two decent sized spoonfuls of raw almond butter. Popped that in the microwave for a minute and a half, then added the granny smith, chopped up, and some cinnamon. Delicious! The almond butter really helps give it some flavor and make it a nice filling breakfast.

Quinoa Confetti Salad

I found some unsweetened soy yogurt recently and decided that I was going to splurge and get it even though there's a trace amount of sugar in it. I used it to make this salad:

Essentially I just mixed together 2 cups of cooked quinoa, a shredded carrot, a julienned orange pepper, half a red onion, one chopped stalk of celery, 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, a few dashes of dried dill, a handful of chopped parsley, and a sprinkle of dried kelp. I mixed in about 1/3 cup of my unsweetened soy yogurt. Then I ate it topped with diced avocado, with some sauteed garlicky kale. It was pretty tasty and very colorful. I'd recommend not adding too much of the yogurt at once because it will get soaked into the salad when it sits in the fridge. Just a little bit will do, and you can add a little more with each serving. The kelp was interesting but not really essential - some sea salt would do just fine, or no salt at all if you've cut salt out completely.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The ultimate vegan student food. I assume most vegans have an ingrained knowledge of how to make dahl, but here's my loose recipe. It's probably completely inauthentic, but I think it's tasty and filling enough.

First I soak some red lentils for a few hours. When I'm ready to start prepping, I dice an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic and saute it in 2 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Sometimes I add some diced green pepper. Next I add a dollop of red curry paste, which I've found really works better than the mad assortment of random Indian spices I used to use (note: I have no idea how to make proper Indian food). Once I've stirred that in and let it sizzle for a moment, I add my lentils (1 part lentils to 2 parts vegetable broth - usually I'll make about a cup of lentils). Then I cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Often I will just eat this as is, but if I'm feeling less lazy I'll eat it over some quinoa with some chopped parsley on top, maybe with some garbanzos mixed in. I also prefer to serve this with some steamed greens of some variety, because red lentils are just so ugly and beige looking when they're alone on the plate.

Red Curry

It's currently freezing outside, and has been snowing for a few days. As I'm unable to eat the foods I usually make to warm up - oatmeal, baked potatoes, coffee, milky tea - it's been a bit difficult. That's why I'm so happy I can eat red curry. As I was unable to find any curry paste without salt, this is the one food I've been eating that does have some added salt in it. Making my own curry paste just seems too tall an order what with all the other food preparation I have to do for this diet.

You will need:
1 onion, chopped
Some garlic cloves
Assorted chopped vegetables
A handful or two of cooked garbanzo beans
Red curry paste
1 can coconut milk

Again, this is quite a loose "recipe." To make this dish I simply wash and chop whatever vegetables I have on hand. My favorite ones to use are broccoli, cauliflower, baby bok choi, bell peppers, and zucchini. Of course I love adding a cut up baked yam at the end, but those are still not allowed! I dice an onion and fry it in 2+ Tbsp olive oil with a few cloves of minced garlic. I use a small wok, but any wok or large pot will do. I add the veggies and saute for a couple minutes on medium-high heat, then spoon in the red curry paste. I usually use half a 110g jar per 400g can of coconut milk, but it's really a matter of personal taste, and different brands will have different suggestions printed on the label. Be sure to spread the paste around in the oil and let it sizzle in the oil for a minute while you open up your can of coconut milk. Slowly stir in the coconut milk, and turn the heat down to low. Mix in garbanzos. Cover and let the veggies finish cooking by steaming in the coconut milk for 5-10 minutes. Serve over steamed quinoa.

Note: you're supposed to add about a Tbsp of sugar into the mix to get the flavor right, but obviously the candida diet forbids that. I have found that it's okay without the added sugar, although it does lack a little something. I suppose you could use xylitol if necessary, but I haven't bothered trying that. Instead I sprinkle in some cinnamon just to give it a bit of a different flavor.

Progress Report

I have been on this dang diet for 2 weeks now and am getting the hang of things. I've kept up with the amaranth and quinoa, using both to make porridge in the mornings (with almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, almond milk, and a small amount of xylitol), and using some quinoa where I would usually have rice. I tried adding kasha into the mix, but the flavor was much too overpowering for me so it's hiding in the back of the cupboard for now. I've been eating lots of steamed broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus with coconut oil. I have made the occasional red curry, and am currently experimenting with making cookies, but mostly I have been keeping it simple, partly out of laziness and partly out of a concern that I might accidentally eat something traif if I go too wild and get too complicated. Mostly I just keep some salads (tabbouleh, lentil salad) and dahl in the fridge so I always have something at my disposal. Rinsing, soaking, and cooking so many ingredients before actually using them to prepare a dish is quite frustrating, but I am getting the hang of it. Thank goodness I am a graduate student, so I spend most of my time reading at home anyways and can sit around waiting for things to soak and cook. I have been getting the occasional (but also extremely difficult to bear) sugar cravings, which make me incapable of thinking about anything but cake and donuts, which is unusual because I've never had much of a sweet tooth. Otherwise, though, I am enjoying the minimalist diet, and have found that my sense of taste is improving. Food is becoming bearable without any salt, my dear old friend and always my greatest vice. Whereas I used to douse things in hot sauce, now even mildly spicy foods seem much much hotter than they did before. All in all, it is an interesting exercise in healthy living. Do miss the alcohol though.