31 Days to Veganize: Day 16

thiry-one-bigNightly Meal: Vegan Organe Chicken, Chow Mein Noodles, Veggie Stir Fry

 

Forgive the short post today, I have been poorly managing my time this week. Last night, I made Chinese for dinner. We enjoyed our meal so much from the restaurant the other night, I worked to recreate some of our dishes. Trader Joes has a delicious already made vegan orange chicken, and with that I made noodle and a sweetish soy sauce and mixed them together, and then I stir fried an assortment of veggies to go with the noodles and rice. It was pretty delicious and the family enjoyed it very much.

This is a little off topic, but I’ll bring it full circle and point to becoming a vegan. I can safely say that I am a runner. I don’t say that with pride, but with conviction. I run about 14 miles a week and have been consistently running for about 3 years. It took a long time for me to be able to call myself a runner. I don’t find myself to be athletic or geared toward sports, so to say that I do a sport feels a little out of place. Here is what I have learned from running, I have learned to push past the walls. Runners, while running, hit walls or mental blocks(running is all mental). A runner can easily talk themselves our of running and to start walking instead. It takes a lot of perseverance to keep running when faced with a wall.

I have felt this wall with changing my diet to becoming vegan. I am at that point where I have to keep moving, keep lifting one knee up then the other. I have to keep shopping, preparing, and cooking like a vegan. The wall will pass and it will soon feel easy and manageable.

See, full circle.

 

31 Days to Veganize: Day 15

thiry-one-big

 

Nightly Meal: Speghetti Squash with Marinara sauce

 

This has been a pretty good journey, with little ups and downs, as do all changes. Last nights dinner of spaghetti squash and marinara sauce was not such hit(with the kids), but such is life. Sometimes, we like things and sometimes we don’t. My kids are learning good lessons on expanding their palates.

As my journey to a natural lifestyle unfolds, I have found myself making lotions and candles. I have a good friend who has opened her kitchen up to me and shared with me her skills on making all natural moisturizers.

A lavender Lift Massage Candle, Chocolate Peppermint Lotion Bars, and Vanilla and Sandalwood Perfume Bars and Tubes.

A lavender Lift Massage Candle, Chocolate Peppermint Lotion Bars, and Vanilla and Sandalwood Perfume Bars and Tubes.

My lunch is in there too!

31 Days to Veganize: Day 14

thiry-one-big

 

Nightly Meal: We went out to eat to a vegan Chinese restaurant! So fun and good.

 

Last night we ventured out to an all vegan Chinese restaurant and I have to say it was pretty delicious. It’s pretty close to our home and beside the restaurant is a vegan cafe with vegan pastries. A dream come true.

We ordered “beef” and broccoli, vegetable chow mein noodles, and orange “chicken”. The textures were pretty similar to the real things and the sauces were delicious. The prices are the same as any ole Chinese restaurant and they served fortune cookies at the end too.

 

Green Wok Vegetable Chow Mein, Orange "Chicken", and "Beef" and Broccoli.

Green Wok Vegetable Chow Mein, Orange “Chicken”, and “Beef” and Broccoli.

31 Days to Veganize: Day 13

thiry-one-big

 

Nightly Meal: Vegan Tacos

To help me get back on track, I made my shopping list for the next 9 days or so and have been grocery shopping. The exciting thing is that my grocery bill was a lot less this time around and with the extra $ left over, I purchased ingredients to make my own lotion and perfume bars.

Meal Plan:

  • Lentil Loaf with baked squash and green beans
  • Bulgogi Tofu with rice and broccoli
  • Raw Onion Ring Sandwiches with sweet potato fries and a green salad
  • BLTA “bacon”, lettuce, tomato, and avocado with a green salad
  • Handmade pizza with “mozzarella” cheese and veggies
  • Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Jackets
  • Sweet Potato Tacos
  • Spaghetti Squash with tomato sauce
  • Mac N “Cheese”

I am excited about this menu. Some of the recipes I have tried and some will be knew. Keeping it interesting!

31 Days to Veganize: Day 12

thiry-one-big

 

Confession time: we went out to eat and I had a turkey and smoked mozzarella sandwich for dinner and today I had a cheese plate. I feel horribly guilty and my stomach isn’t much happier either.

I have decided to reset, get my grocery list together, and start this next week off fresh. Sometimes, we need to allow ourselves a re-do.

Tomorrow is a  new day and I am excited once again to continue on with this journey to becoming a vegan.

31 Days to Veganize: Day 11

thiry-one-big

 

Nightly Meal: Bulgogi Style Tofu with sautéed Asparagus.

Today was especially busy.

6:30 a.m.- running 3.5 miles

9:30-2:00- preserving jalapeños(pickled, candied, and a jam of strawberries and jalapeños)

2:30-3:30- board gaming at the library with the homeschool group

4:30-6:00- pick-up hubby and grab dinner and then head to OMSI for member night to become detectives at the new Sherlock Holmes exhibit.

6-9- OMSI

9-10- catch up on Project Runway

10- blog post

Here is what I have learned regarding veganism. It’s too soon for me to go out to eat, unless the restaurant is specifically a vegan place. For me, it’s too tempting to eat something that resembles my old way of eating. For example, I had a turkey and smoked mozzarella with cranberry sauce sandwich. My stomach was so mad afterwards. So the moral, take more time to better settle into a change before allowing temptation to present itself.

 

31 Days to Veganize: Day10

thiry-one-bigNightly Meal: Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Yesterday, I had a really busy day. On the menu, Tomato Basil Cream Pasta. I literally had 15 min.s to get dinner on the table so that we could all eat together for 10 min.s and then my hubby was off to take our son to youth group. I knew it was going to be this way, so I prepared the cream sauce ahead of time so I could heat it up quickly and I even boiled the noodles two hours early so they would be done too.

This recipe was good, I enjoyed it. The kids, again, were not a fan.

I’ve noticed quite a few recipes require a high speed blender, like the Vitamix or a Ninja. Manipulating foods is important business. I have a Vitamix and use it 2 or 3 times a day, most days and this was before we switched to vegan. I love my blender and it has become an investment piece in my kitchen. This is the model I have, I really enjoyed the instructional video and the cookbooks that came with it. The multi speed is important because, for sauces especially, you need to start at a slower speed to adjust the liquid in the recipe. Also, the Vitamix runs so quickly, that it can make and heat up soup. Amazing! I highly recommend investing in one. There are ways to save too, Costco will have them periodically for smaller prices.

 

31 Days to Veganize: Day 9

thiry-one-bigNightly Meal: Vegan Satay Veggie Pizza

 

Day 9…are you tired of hearing about becoming a vegan yet? I’m am, lol, I suffer from a short attention span.

Satay Veggie Pizza

Satay Veggie Pizza

 

 

Last night, I made this vegan satay pizza for dinner. This recipe has a Thai essence in the sauce, the base made with peanut butter and spiced up with a little chili pepper. The toppings I chose were pineapple, chickpeas, red peppers, green onions, and snow peas. It was tasty, the kids weren’t a fan, so I’m not sure we will do this again for awhile.  They did try it, slowly they are maturing and learning to be opened minded.

31 Days to Veganize: Day 8

thiry-one-big

 

Nightly Meal: Vegan Mac n Cheese, green salad, and Roasted Vegetables

 

Yesterday, I made this mac n cheese from Veg News and it was, hands down, the best mac n cheese I have had, ever! The texture was just right, the flavor was spot on. Everyone loved it and it will become a staple in my recipe index. I found this recipe to be inexpensive and easy to prepare. This dish would also work well for a potluck and can easily be made gluten free with a switch from wheat noodles to rice noodles.

Helpful tips:

  • To get the “cheese sauce” the right smoothness, a high speed blender is a must. This will be a disaster if it has chunks of under processed cashews in it.
  • If you want to cut corners store bought breadcrumbs work just fine sprinkled on top. I did this, without melting butter with the crumbs too.
  • Make sure you make the veggies small dices so that they will be covered with the cup of water during the cooking process.
  • This dish can be prepared during the day and then baked right before dinner.
  • If you are not a vegan and want to try, swap the margarine with real butter.

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give this dish a try. I wish I took a picture…

 

 

31 Days to Veganize: Day 7

thiry-one-big

Nightly Meal: Leftover Tamales and Raw Bread with Hummus

This is week one of the 31 Days series and I have to say, it’s going pretty well. My hope is that I continue strong and with interesting content.

Today, I wanted to say that to have the option of what type of food I choose to eat and what I feed my family is a rare gift. Most of the world is limited to what is available at the market or garden(if they have one), because selection is limited to the season in which items grows. Where I live and for most people in America, we are abundantly blessed with choices. The choice of quantity and quality are effortless. Effortless, because we can walk into a grocery store and there are isles and isles of food boxed, frozen, fresh, or baked and it’s in one place. This is not the norm in most of the world. So, all that to say, I never want to forget that my choice to have a different or restricting diet is a blessing. A gift.

On a lighter note, here are a few pictures of my kitchen over the weekend.

 

Making Pumpkin Tamales

Making Pumpkin Tamales

 

Roasted Carrots Beets and Eggplant

Roasted Carrots Beets and Eggplant

 

Facon(my sons cute nickname for vegan bacon), eggs(still had a few left), boiling chickpeas for hummus and salad topping, and pinto beans for a bean dip.

Facon(my sons cute nickname for vegan bacon), eggs(still had a few left), boiling chickpeas for hummus and salad topping, and pinto beans for a bean dip.