Vegan Comfort Foods

Sometimes you just want those good ol’ comfort foods. Well, I found a recipe for lentil sloppy joes from Chocolate Covered Katie that looked pretty good. I don’t know that I’ve really ever eaten lentils before. If so it’s only been a couple of times. Anyway, I had some lentils that I bough at Whole Foods a couple months ago and decided this would be a great time to use those. They were an Autumn Blend and included a colorful mix of different types of lentils.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

I mixed up the recipe kind of like the directions said…haven’t I mentioned before that I don’t follow recipes very well? I didn’t really measure the spices, just dumped them in. I’d say I erred on the side of not as much instead of too much. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of cumin so I only did a shake or so of that. It tasted pretty good, but I doctored a bit more by adding some barbeque sauce and a little yellow mustard. I also wondered if it would appeal to me even more if I made it like I would normally make my sloppy joes. I also wondered if my family would be willing to give it a taste if that were the case.

Since the lentils were a mix, I think that some of them were cooked more than others. Some were a bit more firm, but I kind of liked that.

Since I was having sloppy joes I thought I “needed” some kind of taters. So, I dug out the french fry cutter that my grandma gave to me and tried that out. I cooked the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes (I love my Pampered Chef Micro-cookers). Then put them in a pan and broiled them for a bit. They could have stood to stay in a bit longer and get a little more crispy, but I was getting impatient.

I was very pleased with this meal. When I first started mixing it up I was a little unsure. And kept thinking that was a lot of lentils to waste if  I didn’t end up liking it. I will be adding this to my mental list of meals to make again. Although, it may not taste exactly the same the next time.

What vegan comfort foods do you love? I’d love to hear some more ideas. Especially if they are something my non-planted based, rather picky family might eat!

Juicing: Day 3 Update

I made it to 3 days! Yay! I have considered ending the fast today. I posted about those decisions last night.

Here’s a look at what I “ate” yesterday. I’m sorry, but I didn’t write down what I juiced so I don’t really remember which things were in which drink. Here’s breakfast:

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Lunch:

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Supper:

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I also drank a cup of decaf hot tea last night.

When I weighed in on Day 3 (first thing in the morning), I was down another 2 lbs. For a total loss of 4.6 lbs. Yahoo!

I’m now into Day 4. For breakfast I am drinking more juice because I already had one made. We’ll see what happens at lunchtime. And, for those who haven’t figured this out…I’m very indecisive.

Decisions, decisions…

Well, here it is…the end of Day 3 of my juice fast. I started out with intentions to fast for 7-10 days. Now I’m not sure what to do. Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. As of this morning (2 days of fasting) I was already down almost 5 lbs. This is fantastic! I am now in the 180s. I’m guessing I will be down some more when I weigh in tomorrow morning. I was hoping to use this time to jump-start some losing…and that’s obviously happening.

2. I have not had a lot of the “side-effects” that many seem to have such as headache, feeling sick, body aches, fatigue, etc. I believe much of the reason for this is that I have already cleaned up my eating habits quite a bit in the last 6 months. I’m thinking that I didn’t have as much detoxing since I’ve not been eating much processed food, dairy, eggs, meat, etc.

3. I do feel much better. I feel a lot less bloated.

4. I’m ready to eat…and what do I want to eat? I want a big plate of veggies and maybe some quinoa or beans or something. So, at least I’m not craving junk!

5. A small factor: I’ve juiced a majority of the produce I bought earlier this week. And that gets EXPENSIVE!

Okay, so I don’t want to be a quitter. I really went into this not knowing what to expect. I’ve read about the experiences of others, but each person is different. Right? Well, I really feel like I’ve done a good job at sticking with this. It has made me realize how hung up on eating I have become. Some days I get tired of thinking about food, but also eat more than my fair share. I realize that I do a lot more grazing than I think I do.

I am proud of the ways that I have changed what I’ve been eating over the past 6 months. Again, this is something I never, EVER thought I could (or would) do! I am proud that I have done 3 days of a juice fast! I don’t really feel like a quitter, I guess. Just changing the plan…which was not something that was set in stone anyway.

I can honestly say that I don’t want to quit because I’m hungry. Yes, I’ve been hungry more often than usual, but that is actually a good feeling once in a while. I don’t mind the juice. It’s not extremely tasty, but it’s not horrible either. I suppose I just feel like this has done my body good and that I’m ready to go back to eating healthy. I’ve realized some areas where I need to be careful, so I will continue to work on that.

I will probably do a juice fast every so often…maybe just for a day or two. I may even replace a meal here and there with juice. I am ready to go back to eating right and I think I will enjoy that food now even more than I did before.

Can you tell I’m sort of trying to convince myself here? I need to just make up my mind and get on with it. I do have juice made for breakfast…or maybe I will drink that now (I’m rather hungry). And then I will just ease back into eating. Smaller meals, that are mostly veggies for now.

Juicing: Day 2 Update

Breakfast:
1 small grapefruit
pineapple
handful of kale
1 orange

Here it is before I stirred it. I thought it looked very pretty!

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This was good, but a little too tart for me (I’m guessing from the grapefruit). I actually don’t like grapefruit, but I had some that needed to be used. I think my 4-year old (he’s the one in the picture)  liked it better than I did.

Lunch:
1 1/2 cucumber
lots of spinach
couple handfuls of grapes
1 lemon
2 apples
2 carrots

This was pretty good too and it made enough for 2 servings. So I will have one later for a snack or for supper.

The hardest part is fixing meals for the family. This morning my boys wanted toast. I have homemade bread here and I LOVE toasted homemade bread. For lunch they had some popcorn and apples. Popcorn smells pretty good too.

I’m starting t realize how many times throughout the day I just “pop” things in my mouth without really thinking about it. Couple kernels of popcorn here, some nuts there, a taste of this while cooking, a taste of that while making food for someone else.  All these little bites add up over time.

Supper: I had the 2nd serving of the one I made for lunch.

I’ve basically used this post as a journal throughout the day.

Tonight I had chorale rehearsal and afterwards there is a group of us who always go out to eat Mexican. I enjoyed a nice, tasty glass of water. Ha! Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s another reminder that so often we make things about the food, when in reality it is about those with whom we share the meal! I still had a wonderful time and greatly enjoyed just spending time with everyone.

So…Day two is done. I’m off to bed, and will tackled another day tomorrow.

Juicing: Day 1 Update

Yay! I made it through one whole day of juicing. Oh, and I also had a cup of orange spice hot tea. It’s an herbal tea, so hopefully it’s “allowed”. Actually, I’m not really following any particular diet, so I guess I can just make up my own rules.

I started the day with a fruit-based juice with a bit of spinach thrown in. It tasted pretty good and was a good way to get started. For lunch  I had a veggie-based juice which included spinach, cucumber, celery and some other veggies that I have already forgotten. I think I will have to go easy on the celery. It adds a rather strong flavor that is too much for me. I also added an apple for a touch of sweetness. For supper I had another veggie one with a red beet, some carrots, cucumber and some other goodies. I guess I should be writing this down, huh?

I was not overly hungry anytime throughout the day. Yes, I did have some hunger pangs, but that’s not always a bad feeling. I was pretty satisfied after drinking each “meal”. My husband looked at me during supper and asked if the juice tasted good or if I was just drinking it. LOL! I told him it wasn’t horrible. Actually, the supper one was pretty earthy tasting, which I’m assuming is from the beets.

I’m sorry, but there are no pictures from day 1. I will try to do better.

Oh…I am down 2.6lbs (as of this morning). That’s in about 12 hours. Only 2 more pounds and I’ll be back in the 180s!!!

And now, on to Day 2!

Weigh-in Wednesday and Juicing!

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As you know from previous weigh-in posts…I’m getting a bit frustrated! I’m ready to see the scales go down!!! I weighed in this morning at 193.6. That is down 1.4 lbs. Yay!

I have a new goal for the next 7-10 days. Juicing! I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The man in the documentary did a 60 day juice fast. I do not plan on going to that extreme, but I figure 7-10 would be beneficial. I’m hoping this will jump-start things a bit. A cleanse with some weight loss (hopefully) and then I plan to go back eating plant-based.

I went to the grocery yesterday to stock up on some fruits and vegetables. Here is what I got:

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I already had some other things that can be used too. I’m not sure how long all of this will last. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but I guess it’s not really that much more than buying food for the way I eat normally.

I had a fruit-based juice for breakfast. It included spinach, oranges, lime, grapes, cucumber and pear. I think that was it…forgot already. I just kind of threw some things in and hoped it worked out.  It was actually very tasty!

For lunch I’m having veggies: spinach, apple, carrot, celery, cucumber, and a tiny bit of ginger. Again, we were just adding things to it. It doesn’t taste too bad, I wouldn’t say delicious, but it’s something I can drink.

So far, so good…we’ll see what I’m saying after another day or two of just juice!

If you’ve juiced and have a favorite combination I would LOVE to hear it!

Quinoa Patties

Well, tonight was pizza night. And if you remember my previous post about pizza, you might guess I needed a different choice for supper tonight.

I’ve seen some recipes around Pinterest for quinoa patties. Many times these include eggs (as a binder). I saw one that was a vegan recipe and it used quinoa and mashed potato.

This led to some playing around. Instead of mashed white potato I used a sweet potato. I cut this into small chunks and cooked it in the microwave until it was soft. Then, I mashed it with a fork.

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I chopped up some mushrooms pretty small and cooked those a bit. I also chopped up some kale and cooked that down. I could have saved some dishes by doing this in the same pan, but I wasn’t sure I would use all the kale (and I didn’t).

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Meanwhile, there was a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove.

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I stirred the sweet potatoes, mushrooms,some quinoa and some kale together. Sprinkled in some salt, a little parsley and a bit of rosemary seasoning. And stirred it all together.

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Then I grabbed a handful and pressed it into a ball and then flattened into a patty. Obviously there are no pictures of this messy step…hehe! Then I dropped them into a hot skillet coated in a bit of olive oil.

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I fried for a bit on each side and then carefully flipped them over. Most of my ingredients were already hot, so this was mostly to brown up the outside. I was pleasantly surprised that they held together quite well when I flipped them. Especially considering there isn’t much of a binder in them. Well, I guess the sweet potatoes did a good job there.

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I made myself a little sandwich. I used a sandwich thin, a few slices of avocado and some brown mustard. A nice crunchy piece of lettuce or even some cucumber slices would have been good too, but I didn’t have all that tonight.

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It was pretty tasty. These were just a tad on the “smooshy” side. I’m trying to decide what I could add to firm them up a bit. Maybe some oatmeal or breadcrumbs? Or maybe I should have put a bit more quinoa?

I’d be willing to try these again…and of course they will probably turn out completely different. My problem is that I don’t tend to use a recipe and I didn’t measure anything, just eye-balled it.

Quinoa

I have noticed that quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) seems to be more recognized lately. I had never heard of it until a couple years ago.

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What is it?
Many refer to it as a whole grain, but it is actually a seed.

 Why use it?
Quinoa has a very high protein content (see, I’m getting good protein!). Not only is it a protein, but it contains all 9 essential amino acids. That means it is a COMPLETE protein.

Are there any other benefits?
Yep! It is also gluten-free and cholesterol-free (plant foods don’t have cholesterol).

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition Data for 1 cup: 222 calories, 4g fat, 5g fiber, 8g protein

How do I use/cook it?
Cook it as you would rice. 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Or you can use broth in place of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Let cook 15-20 minutes untill all the water is absorbed.

Quinoa can be used in place of most grains. I like to mix veggies in mine.  Today I had quinoa, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and edamame with a bit of rosemary and salt and pepper.

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Yesterday I had quinoa, black beans, avocado with cilantro, chili powder and taco sauce.

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I have also seen breakfast recipes using quinoa and fruit, but I have not tried that yet.

Have you tried quinoa? If so, what is your favorite way to eat it??

Colorful Food

I know in my head that plant-based meals are usually much more colorful than the Standard American Diet (SAD).  This became more obvious while looking at my boards on Pinterest the other night. I started a new board for plant-based recipe ideas and was moving things from one board to another. It was easy to find the plant-based recipes because they were so colorful.

I mean, really, look at that beautiful bunch of veggies. I ate these with a little bit of spaghetti and marinara sauce. They were DELICIOUS!!!!

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I also made some bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking I love this cookbook. Just mix it up and when you’re ready to bake it you only have to spend a few minutes prepping it! Also…no kneading. They also have a healthier cookbook. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. I made the dough into more of a focaccia-type bread. I figured it wouldn’t take as long to bake that way.

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Several of those pictures (plant-based) on Pinterest would have looked completely unappetizing several years ago. Now, however, they look so delicious. Much more so than the boring, bland looking pictures of the other board. Why would we not want to eat all these beautifully colored fruits and vegetables? I am so glad that I have learned to like a wide variety of new foods the last couple of years.

Vegan Blueberry Bundt Cake

I have been following Happy Herbivore’s blog for a few months. I have really enjoyed her posts. Her recipes use ingredients that are not hard to find. Another great thing about her recipes is that they don’t have a mile-long ingredient list.

I recently ordered her newest cookbook Happy Herbivore Abroad: A Travelogue and Over 135 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes from Around the World I have bookmarked quite a few recipes that I want to try. The first one I tried was the Blueberry Bundt Cake. It was super simple, mixed up quickly and tasted delicious. I love the orange glaze that goes on top. I may even add a bit of orange juice and orange zest to the batter next time.

Blueberry Bundt Cake

Blueberry Bundt Cake

I think this would also be good with cranberries in place of the blueberries. Be sure to check out the other recipes in this wonderful cookbook.