banana oat bran muffins

Well, since is down for the time being, I thought I'd go back to posting recipes here for a bit.  No pictures of these, but it's a totally awesome and flexible recipe that we use a lot (more than we should) lately.  I got the original idea from Mary McDougall here:

We've made lots of variations on her simple, nutritious muffin recipes (sometimes with additions that make them a bit less healthy, but still vegan and without added fat).  Last night I wanted to make some bars to travel with my partner on the road trip she's going on today.  So I just poured the batter into a square baking pan and they came out great! They're like muffin bars - but they'll travel a bit easier than muffins, thanks to their shape.  These aren't super banana-y, but they have a wonderful flavor.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bran cereal (measure before blending, then crush in blender)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 banana chopped into little chunks
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

In a blender, put 1/2 of banana (or more if you're going for more banana taste)
about 1 c orange juice 
about 3/4 c nonfat soymilk
1/8 tsp coconut extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
(if you don't have extracts, they can be omitted, but they do give it a nice flavor)
      *you need 2 cups of liquid total, so adjust amounts as needed if you add more banana
Blend till liquified and pour over dry ingredients. Mix till combined , but don't overdo it.
Add water as you're mixing, if needed. Batter should be thick but somewhat pourable.

Fill muffin tins or square baking dish evenly and sprinkle the top with whole oats.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.

and.... Go forth and be creative! 2 cups flour (ww or oat), 2 cups bran (or other cereal), 4 tsp baking powder and 2 cups liquid are the only requirements!


So gorgeous! My love woke me up this morning to tell me it was snowing! I couldn't believe it.  I headed outside and have been wondering at it all day!  I went out this morning and took some pics - some of which turned out pretty well.  It was bitter cold there for a while though and I have to say, I am super grateful for our warm house.  Here are some of the pics of this rare and wonderful NOLA occurrence! (You can see them all on my flickr page:

me and claudia by you.
french quarter bench  by you.

snowy iron by you.

snowy flowers by you.

Jasperfields in NOLA Snow by you.

A New President - A New Blog

I haven't really been able to put my thoughts and feelings about Obama's election into words yet.  Suffice it to say for now that I am overwhelmingly relieved and deeply inspired.  My faith in the people around me has been shored up, fo sho.  I look forward to the coming years and to being an American in a country that elected this totally awesome man.

My girl and I have started a blog devoted entirely to eating McDougally so I won't be
posting that kind of stuff here anymore.  Please visit us at:
We'd love to get comments or emails from you with any feedback or ideas - or with
your own experience with the McDougall program.  We've got some great, easy recipes
there too so come check us out!

Political Pumpkin Fiasco

Ok, so I was completely excited to find the website - which had stencils for carving Obama logos into halloween jack o' lanterns.  I looked forward to it for a week - I even changed my twitter avatar to the 'yes we carve' obama pumpkin symbol.  So the time came - sunday night... chores and studying finished, it was time to dive into our 'yes we carve' festivities.  I thought I might try a stencil of Barack's face - perhaps the iconic Shepard Fairey "HOPE" piece... but decided with only one pumpkin that I should err on the side of caution.  So I picked simply, VOTE with the O as Obama's campaign logo.  I thought it would be cute to carve an evil pointy-toothed smile under it, just to give it a bit of halloween spooky flavor.  So I did.  And I was all proud of it when I finished - ready to send off my picture to the 'yes we carve' website.  Then we took our pumpkins out to the night porch and lit them.  I looked down and suddenly realized I had inadvertantly (but unmistakably) created a pro-GOP pumpkin!!! (although the O logo created a bit of a mixed signal).  To my true horror (happy halloween), I looked down and saw "VOTE W".  Holy SHIT!  I gave a terrified scream that echoed through the peaceful stillness of my neighborhood at midnight.  I then proceeded to scoop my pumpkin up and dash inside to try to turn my pumpkin blue.  Toothless... but blue.  Phew.  A true fright.


NO! Don't Vote W!!! by you.

Toothless Blue Grin:

toothless but blue! VOTE O!!! by you.


Obama: Our Next American President

NPR did a poll on Twitter during the debate tonight in which they asked tweeters to rate Obama's and McCain's answers as the debate took place by tweeting their ratings, 0-10.  Then they did a plot of the responses.  Below is a screen shot of the results.  0 is at the bottom of the screen and 10 at the top.  Orange dots are Obama and blue dots are McCain.  7.872 was Obama's average. 2.325 was McCain's. Geauxbama!

Recent McDougall Successes

Well... we're sticking with McDougall and still discovering ideas to make it enjoyable.  I've lost 10 lbs so far and my girl has lost 13.  I've had a few tough moments... such as my persistent craving for chocolate cake over the last 3 days.  But I've gotten through it with my loving partner's support (and the absolutely delicious pumpkin cookies she baked to soothe our sweet teeth).  You can find the recipe for those amazing goodies here.  She followed this recipe except that she omitted the 3 cups of oatmeal and we were very pleased with the result.  Unlike the fat free oatmeal cookies we made last week, these were soft and moist and not so dense that they felt like health bars.  When freshly baked, the outside was a little crisp while the inside was soft and moist.  When we put leftovers in a tupperware, all the cookies turned soft.  They were still scrumptious but I recommend serving/eating them freshly baked for optimum yumminess. 

Tonight, we did a crawfishless crawfish boil.  We put some Zatarain's crab boil seasoning in a big pot of boiling water and loaded it with small red potatoes, whole artichokes, whole garlic fists, 4 ears of corn and a bunch of whole musrooms.  It was like all the great "side items" that get boiled with the crawfish or crabs - minus the crustaceans themselves (hence it was both vegan and McDougally).  It turned out GREAT.  And it was so much fun! 


A few days ago, I sliced up some sweet potatoes and layered them in a baking dish with Bulls Eye Original BBQ sauce.  I didn't cook them long enough and I used too much BBQ sauce - I should have diluted it by mixing it with some veggie stock or something.  But it was good - and with the missteps fixed, would be fabulous.  Dr. McDougall suggests bottled products in his books, that have no oil and can be used (sparingly, he suggests) on his eating program.  Bulls Eye Original is one of those.  It's oil free - though I'm pretty sure it does have sugar in it.  Anyway, BBQ sweet potatoes are pretty damn yummy.


So we're sticking with it.  10 pounds in 16 days feels pretty great to me.  And I have to say that now I really am starting to feel better too - which is what it's all about.  Oh! and we found a nonfat soy milk - which is totally great.  Westsoy now has a nonfat soy - though not unsweetened - the total calories per serving (70) are the lowest we've seen and best of all of course, 0 of those come from fat.

Off to bed.
Bon appetit!

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    the hum of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC

Another winning McDougall meal

McDougall is still going well.  We've definitely had some bombs - learned we don't care much for at least 2 winter squashes - and that we don't like amaranth - an ancient grain that really should be extinct because it's like eating sand - teeny weeny little grains of sand that roll in your mouth like... well - I'll stop.  All I can say is ick.  But tonight's dinner was definitely super yummy.  I think it's ranking number 2 on my list of top meals so far.  Till now, we haven't really made anything with potatoes (a staple starch on the program).  We've been discovering new things (some we love like quinoa and others we don't - see above) - and we've been eating lots of brown rice and enjoying it.  So tonight we finally pulled out the potatoes and did a totally basic stir fry kind of thing - that was nothing short of mouthwatering.  My love got us this beautiful new bamboo cutting board for a bargain today at TJMaxx cuz all we had was a tiny plastic one and we're doing far too much cooking now for that to suffice.  We also bought an awesome new non-stick deep skillet.  We needed a high quality no-stick pan since we can't use oil to cook.  And we wanted to be able to brown hashbrowns and stuff.  This one worked perfectly tonight. 

 new bamboo cutting board by you.

seasoning in our new pot by you.

scrumptious mcdougall potatoes by you.

Here's our scrumptious McDougall Potatoes recipe:
Pour some vegetable broth and some water into non-stick skillet
Add chopped onions and green peppers, garlic powder, a few splashes of redwine vinegar, basil, salt and black pepper
Slice red potatoes thinly, cut yellow squash and red bell peppers into strips and slice white mushrooms
Add potatoes to pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring often
Add the rest of the vegetables, adjust seasoning and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often
That's it!  It's totally basic, but just completely tasty.
Oh yeah and when it was done, I wilted some spinach leaves on top which just added a lovely splash of bright green color to the dish.


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    silence of our old new orleans house