Surviving Fruits and Vegetables for 39 Days

Day 13 and 14 – Beans and Oats

The answer to our protein prayers!




We decided to lump pinto beans, lima beans, kidney beans, etc., into one catagory of beans. My mom pointed out that the nutritional value and calorie intake were so similar that it was hardly worth the distinction. Hey, it’s our game!

We put some Red’s Nine Grain oatmeal on the stove for breakfast and sweetened it with blue agave on day 14. If we can get walnuts in the mix, we’ll have a perfect breakfast! We haven’t gone crazy on the beans like I thought we would, but as this game drags on, I can definitely see more beans in our future.

The game has been taking a psychological toll on us. This was so much easier when we could pick the food. Although, having foods forced on us has made me shift my thinking about certain foods. I’ve especially had a change of heart about cranberries. I drink cranberry juice every day and carry cranberries around for a snack during the day. Squash is another surprise for me. It would have definitely come late in the list if I’d had my choice, but it’s been a lifesaver as a main ingredient for our meals.


Day 11 and 12 – Oranges and Yams





Oranges and…. Yams!

Sorry we’ve been offline for a while. I hope we didn’t lose the interest of all three of you, but we’re back now! On day 11, oranges came up and, not being orange people, we weren’t all that excited about the food choice… until Sonja mentioned orange juice! I immediately went to the fridge and poured a glass of orange juice and sipped it slow. I’m sure there are ways to spice up our current food list with oranges, but we’re just too dang tired to be creative. We need a protein boost to get the creativity back. Day 12 gave us yams. I thought Sonja loved yams, which was at least some comfort for me. But it turns out she’s as underwhelmed as I am. We don’t see any yams in our immediate future.

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
~ George H.W. Bush

Well, unlike President HW, I love broccoli. We steamed some broccoli and it was fantastic. There’s something about steamed broccoli that makes me feel like I’m eating the healthiest thing in the world, probably because it’s our first greeney (I don’t count avocados and grapes) on the list. We mixed up the squash, rice and carrots with broccoli and had a pretty decent soup. It’s great raw for dipping too. I’m looking forward to chickpeas so I can get me some hummus for my raw carrots and broccoli.

Day 10 – Broccoli


  Broccoli consumption has grown 940% in the last 25 years!

Our random food for this morning was broccoli. Welcome to day 10 of Veggie Survivor. As each day goes by, the impact of a new food lessens and the desperation for variety diminishes. Still, it’s nice to get a good crunch companion with the carrots. One of my all time favorite raw veggie trios is broccoli, carrots and cauliflower with some Ranch dip. Now I have two out of three, but no dip. I also like cooked broccoli with melted cheese over it, but that ain’t gonna happen either. I’ll probably just steam some broccoli tonight and not get too creative with it, but it’ll be a nice addition to the meal.


We cooked carrots in garlic, onion and pepitas last night with brown rice and salt. I also cut some avocado wedges (again) to go along with the dish. It’s beginning to feel and taste more and more like we’re having an actual meal every day. We chose Cilantro as our food modifier yesterday and Sonja made up a wicked batch of guacamole. We sat on the back porch eating our rice chips with guacamole and it felt normal and comforting. For a few seconds, I was close to convincing myself that we weren’t living on nine foods. It was even more comforting to know that I can whip up some guacamole and chips anytime I want.

I forgot to mention our food modifier choice from two days ago. We chose agave, and no, not because we wanted to have tequila. Agave is a butt-kicking sweetener. Agave nectar is a vegan alternative to honey that’s sweeter than sugar and dissolves easily in hot or cold drinks. We’ve used it sparingly, but I’m thinking about trying my hand at grinding some pistachios and almonds and mixing it with agave for a dessert. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Here’s a recap for our first 10 days:

FOOD                                   MODIFIER
1.  Avocado                           Salt
2.  Almonds                           Tea Leaves (Tea)
3.  Cranberries                       Lime
4.  Grapes                              Vanilla
5.  Blueberries                       Olive Oil
6.  Squash                             Garlic
7.  Rice                                  Onion
8.  Pistachios                         Agave
9.  Carrots                             Cilantro
10. Broccoli                           Ground Pepper

10 days down, 29 to go…

Day 9 – Carrots


Crunchy, Roasty and Nutritious!




We got carrots! That’s one more ingredient closer to minestrone soup. And don’t they have small chunks or shreds of carrot in veggie fried rice? Yup. I munched on a raw carrot (peeled, of course) a little earlier and really enjoyed the crunch. We added cilantro as our food modifier today, so we’ll be adding that along with carrots to our squash, rice and avocado.

SONJA STAYS ON THE WAGON! [This part from Sonja]

ACCCKKK! Day 9…I want PIZZA!  I’ll live with carrots. Our youngest is on spring break this week and got drive through burritos today for lunch. Apparently HE’S not doing veggie survivor. A tear trickled down my cheek in the car, it smelled so good.  It was my favorite drive through taco stand. I almost didn’t make it through. He is wiry but I think I could have taken him down for the deliciousness of the forbidden burrito. You don’t have drive through taco stands on deserted islands in real veggie survival situations. Dang those taco stands. Last night with the addition of rice, I tried my hand at a rice-y/squash-y casserole topped with a new found item, almond cheese.  Almond milk, pretty tasty (especially with blueberries!). Almond cheese, a little suspect. Long and short, it took almost 2 hours of prep and cook time, several rounds of playstation rock band and it is now in the bottom of the trash. Last night I went to bed a little hungry, a lot bitter. But today I get carrots. I was hoping for Pizza, but I’ll take carrots. I’m going to go off now and see if I can put together a culinary masterpiece involving rice, carrots, onion, garlic, squash, grapes, I am sick of avocado so that won’t be in there tonight, and nuts and cranberries… hmmmmm sounds like maybe a stir fry or perhaps something Indian…look out Greg!


Day 8 – Pistachios









Our random food generator brought up pistachios this morning. Meh… I like pistachios but they only serve to reduce the almonds. Not sure what I’ll even blog about tomorrow, but I don’t suppose every food we get has to be a news maker. Maybe I’ll come up with a pistacio crust for something. Yeah, that’s it! Pistacio encrusted avocados…


I sat down to a plain ‘ol bowl of white rice for lunch. I added a little salt and that’s it. Just a bowl full of starchy goodness. We had the same squash and zucchini chips from the night before but added brown rice spaghetti to it. It was a little disappointing at first, but the meal got better the more things got mixed up on the plate. Our food flavor modifier was onions, so we sauteed that up with the garlic. Tonight we have ground pepper (and pistachios) to add to the mix. I’m in school tonight, so not sure what culinary attempt Sonja is going to make. She is currently threatening to takes the kids to McDonalds and have a fish sandwich while she’s there. We’ll see if she can resist the temptation or not. As for me, I think if I can get three or four more big-time foods under my belt, I’ll have sailed past the danger zone. Here’s hoping for a good choice tomorrow!

Day 7 – Rice


  Rice is the main food source for almost half of the planet.




Boom, baby! We got rice! Sonja, who has been complaining about how hard this has all been, was a little disappointed that we got rice this early on. I guess she’s gotten used to the torture (the food, not our marriage). However, we are going to cheerfully accept whatever comes our way and go with today’s pick. Besides, there are still bad choices ahead for us. I know yams are still out there somewhere.


With the introduction of squash yesterday, we were able to do a little cooking for the first time. Well, I did make the avocado bisque, but it shouldn’t count as cooking if its inedible. We chose garlic as our food modifier and since we chose olive oil the day before, we sauteed some garlic then took the oil and garlic and poured it over zucchini and squash chips. A little kosher salt and a sprinkling of pepita seeds and we were ready to bake it in the oven. Sonja had hit her avocado threshhold, but I’m still hanging in there with the green veggie/fruit. So, I cut up an avocado into wedges to dress up my dish and we topped it off with some squeezed lime juice over the whole concoction and ended up with a great meal. We were looking into making butternut squash pasta tonight, but with the introduction of rice, we wil probably pick up brown rice pasta instead. Still, Sonja would like to give butternut squash pasta a try at some point. Could be fun!

Day 6 – Squash



Welcoming our first actual veggie into Veggie Survivor




Again, not beans or rice today, but at least we got something we can sauté. Squash, zucchini and pumpkin seeds are now on the menu. Yesterday, I chose garlic as my flavoring food, but then backed out when I realized I couldn’t sauté the garlic. So we chose olive oil instead. We couldn’t use olive oil on anything, but today we’re choosing the garlic. I’m looking forward to some zucchini sauteed with garlic along with a dash of kosher salt and a splash of lime; maybe even a few avocado slices to round it out. Thank goodness for the arrival of a vegetable!

~ Lynyrd Skynyrd

Blueberries… not as bad as I thought after a little talk with my mom. She suggested almond milk, vanilla, and blueberries in the food processor mixed with some ice for a “shake”. The result? Fantastic! My shake was very satisfying with enough sweetness to keep me coming back for more. Thanks, Mom! She also recommended I try making avocado soup using avocados and almond milk. It looked beautiful. However, the sweetness of the almond milk could not be overcome. I used a healthy amount of salt, but no dice. I was hoping for my first hot food of the game (besides tea), but I’ll have to wait for this afternoon’s squash delight. It’s strange. I’m not really hungry. I guess I just have a culinary restlessness. The squash will help and we will add some roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to the mix tonight which happen to be one of Sonja’s favorite foods.

Day 5 – Blueberries


  “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”  ~ Job 1:21 (KJV)




Blueberries are high in anti-oxidants and contain a variety of micro-nutrients. The flower of the blueberry represents prayer and security. Blueberries are also beneficial for… Dang it! …I got blueberries!!

Man! I was hoping for some rice. I suppose I can put some blueberries, cranberries and grapes in a bowl for a delicious fruit salad. Did I mention I was hoping for rice? I do like blueberries, but they are definitely not a game changer. It’s not like I’m gonna rush down to the grocery store this morning so I can have blueberries. I’m not even sure I’ll know what to blog about concerning my blueberry day today.


Sonja and I decided to take a trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, Arizona yesterday. I had expected it to be a glorified nursery, but I was almost overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of the experience. The Grand Canyon is the iconic symbol for the… well, Grand Canyon State, but in almost 20 years as an Arizona resident, I have never been to one location that represented everything about Arizona as well as Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Find out more about the arboretum at One of my favorite experiences was visiting their herb garden and doing a little spice pinching. Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Savory and Peppermint. Amazing scents walking through that garden. Ironically, I chose vanilla bean as our spice yesterday so I could run to the store and pick up some almond milk with vanilla. What a God send!

On our way to the Arboretum, Sonja suggested we stop by a shop in the community of Gold Canyon. She works as an interior designer in the area and a few of her clients had been talking about a place called Wine Canyon. We dropped in and discovered that they sell wine kits that feature wines from all over the world. The kits we saw ranged from $100 to $180 and for an extra fee of $55, Wine Canyon will make the wine for you at their location. Each kit produces 30 bottles of wine. We stopped back by on our way home from the Arboretum because they were having wine tastings, and I have to say, our choices were very good. If you do the math, its a very economical way to get some great wine and bottling the wine and creating the labels yourself looks like a lot of fun, too. You can find out more at

We also picked up some red grapes on our way home. Not much of a compensation after passing so many Mexican food restaurants throughout the day. But any variety is good at this point. Besides, my grandmother Marie is a notorious grape pusher. She seems to get pleasure out of sending grapes my way. Why not? What else am I gonna eat?

Day 4 – Grapes



  No, I did not cheat the system on day four!

You take the good with the bad, I say. I couldn’t believe my good luck hitting grapes so early in the game. I was sure I wouldn’t get wine for at least 30 more days. Instead the versatile grape has entered our lives on day 4. Sonja and I are heading out of town this morning on a little Arizona adventure. Perhaps a little vino this evening will take the sting out of passing so many good restaurants on our road trip.

~ Fools Rush In

I’m popping cranberries like m&ms. I’ve always had such a deep aversion to cranberries.  It must be that gelatinous thing that always gets put on the table at Thanksgiving. I’m truly surprised at how much I like cranberries. Of course, the juice is still pretty tart for my taste, but cranberries and almonds? Forget about it! What an amazing combination! It almost had me convinced I was eating cereal (sans milk) yesterday morning. Pairing almonds with cranberries has also helped tone down the avocado action around here, which I’m grateful for. Don’t get me wrong, I still love avocado. But when one lives almost exclusively on avocados… well, you get the idea.

Cranberries were on the list in our last game, but they came so late on the list that I could safely ignore them. The introduction of cranberries this early in the game may end up being one of the most significant permanent changes for me in this experience. I don’t know that I’ll become a cranberry fiend, but I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at cranberries from now on.

Day 3 – Cranberries

  Not the 90s band from Ireland…

Sonja was thrilled with our next random choice. Me? Not so much. But I dutifully went to the grocery store this morning and picked up cranberries and cranberry juice and popped a few cranberries on my way home. Wow! That’s some tart, especially the juice. Well, its different, but I’m amazed at what I can get accustomed to when its all I’ve got.


What a textural contrast to the avocado! Yesterday’s draw got me very excited about the possibilities. Almond slivers, almond milk, almond butter… and then – we had to think through the implications. We’re trying to stay away from sugar ingredients as much as possible. Sonja and I agreed that derivatives were okay, e.g. apple juice without having to crush our own apples (That’s going to be the next round) but we still want to keep the derivatives as pure as possible for this round. So, no almond butter. Almond milk may work for us though. I haven’t checked the sugar content yet.

I ended the day with a whole salted avocado mixed with a handful of almonds and some tea. That’s it. Two foods, two spice/seasonings. With todays draft of cranberries and our pick of limes for today’s seasoning, we’ll start to get into some minimal food combinations tonight. If we get a green leafy tomorrow, we could have the start of a fairly decent salad. In past games, we would’ve already had rice and beans by now. Every time I think about my exclusive diet of avocados, almonds, and cranberries, I start to get a little more desperate and anxious for tomorrow’s pick. Are we going to get rice or pinto beans? Or will the fates hand me chickpeas or raspberries? We’ll see. Time for some unsweetened tea.

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