I am a vegan wife and mother to a meat eating family. I will share with you recipes I have tested and changes I am making to encourage my family to lean into a vegan diet.

Archive for February, 2011

Stewing Over the Oscars

I think Sunday is a great day for one pot meals.  I tried a recipe tonight from the Isa Chandra’s Post Punk Kitchen website.

Rustic Winter Stew Over Polenta

Even though it was a beautiful day here in Tulsa with a high of 75 degrees it is technically still winter.  So, why not make a winter stew…to enjoy while watching the Oscars.

It begins with Olive Oil (DeLallo is one of my favorites) 1tsp-2Tbs

One small onion, diced medium

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp Thyme, 1/2 tsp celery seed, salt and pepper

1/2 C. green lentils

1 1/2 C. baby carrots

2 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped

4 C.  vegetable broth

1 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in half

3 leeks, light green and white parts only, cut into 1 inch chunks

And 2 bay leaves

To make the stew, preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion in olive oil along with a dash of salt, for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, celery seed (I left this out because I didn’t have any), pepper and salt and saute a minute more.

Add the lentils, carrots, tomatoes and veggie broth.  Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. 

Add potatoes and leeks and simmer.  Cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes more.  Let sit for 10 minutes for flavors to meld.  Serve over polenta.  Start the polenta while the stew is simmering.

To make the polenta bring 4 cup veggie broth and 1 tsp salt to a boil.  Add oil and lower heat to simmer.  Add 1 cup dry polenta in a slow steady stream while stirring constantly with a whisk.  Whisk for 5 minutes until polenta is thickened.  Keep heat low and cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

That’s it!  It only took about an hour from start to finish. 

Recipe Review

My husband and I loved it.  It had so much flavor and the polenta added a great texture.  My kids were not as impressed as we were though. 

Oh, well, I guess I can’t win them all!  I will definitely make this again though.  I’m also going to look for more polenta recipes to try.

Eat Bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I’ve got to share this banana ice cream recipe with you.  (I’ve found that it actually tastes better if you sing the “Eat Bananas” song while you’re making it!  No…really, it does.)

This recipes is as easy as 1…2…3!

1st:  Freeze Bananas

 Let me tell you that when I go to the grocery store and buy bananas, I always buy 2 bunches.  We eat one bunch and let the other bunch ripen.

When they are good and ripe I freeze them to use in smoothies and to make banana ice cream. 

To freeze them you need to peel them first.  This is VERY important.  The first time I froze bananas I left the peel on and it was impossible to get to the banana.

 I also recommend IQF (individual quick freeze).  Which means lay them on a plate or cookie sheet and let them freeze for a little while before putting them in a freezer bag.  This is going to keep them from sticking  together and turning into one big solid banana block!

I also break them in half before I freeze them, because I usually only add 1/2 frozen banana to my smoothies.

2nd:  Add Bananas to a Food Processor

Blend them for 5 minutes. 

They will go through changes during the 5 minutes and you will doubt that the outcome will be good.

Trust me…

Wait for it, wait for it.  Ahh…after 5 minutes you will have delicious, creamy banana ice cream.

3rd:  Enjoy!

You’re going to love this!  You’re kids are going to love this! 

A great snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about.  You could give this to your kids for breakfast and they will think you’re the best mom ever!  (I mean they’re going to know that you’re the best mom ever.)

Superfood…Chia Seeds!

If you haven’t heard of chia seeds yet I’d be surprised. This is definitely something you should check out.

Chia seed is a superfood with so many benefits!

They are one of the most nutritious superfoods known! Chia is an edible seed that comes from a member of the mint family called Salvia hispanica, which grows in southern Mexico. It used to be a common crop centuries ago, but was nearly forgotten. Now, it is making a comeback and more readily available.

Chia seeds in their gel-like form.

Chia seeds are said to have:

2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that
helps transfer calcium into your bones,
2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
3 times more iron than spinach
copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids…

They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fiber.
Like flax, chia is highly ‘hydrophilic’ – the seeds absorb water and create a gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly – in under 10 minutes.

Antioxidants
One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavor, odor or nutritional value. You can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.

Mild Taste
The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant which makes it easy to add goodness to your kids diet. That means you can easily combine it with other foods without changing the taste dramatically. I add these little seeds to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, sauces and lots of other foods.

The ‘Dieter’s Dream Food’
Chia has been called a dieter’s dream food because when added to foods, it bulks them up, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavor. Thus, someone can eat a typical serving, yet only consume about half the calories they might have eaten, because the food has been bulked up with chia. PLUS, the eater gets a bellyful of nutrient-rich superfood goodness, which hydrates and sustains them.

You can buy them prepackaged or in bulk. I buy mine in bulk from Whole Foods and they are really reasonably priced. These are definitely something you should add to your diet!

Taco Night…Kids Review

Today was such a beautiful day here in Tulsa.  Almost all of the snow has melted and the sun was shining bright.  After school we headed to the park to play.

When we got back home I wanted to have a dinner that was quick and easy to make since it was already 5:30. 

Which brings us to…taco night!

My daughter was aware that all items being used were vegan (except for the vegetarian meat crumbles), but my picky 6-year-old son had no idea.  I knew that this was going to be another test.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best!

I shredded some almond cheese (my first time using this and I highly recommend it.)

 A lovely ripe tomato.

Black beans for mine and vegetarian meat crumbles (not vegan) for everyone else.

 

Tortillas & taco seasoning.

Sour Cream.

I also shredded lettuce and put out salsa and a big salad.

Within 15 minutes dinner was ready. 

My son put together his own taco (which always makes it taste better to him) with the works. 

I was waiting for any kind of reaction by him after the first bite. 

Waiting, waiting…

Then I got what I was looking for, a thumbs up!

My daughter usually hates fake meat, so I was curious about her opinion too.

It was unanimous!  My husband and kids thought it was delicious.  It was so fast, easy and healthy.  We will definitely be doing this again.

A Kind Tulsan

My 6-year-old son was needing some new athletic shoes, so I took him Sunday and bought him a great pair of Nike’s.

He was so happy (it’s funny how new shoes make people of all ages a little happier.)  Sunday evening when he was wearing them around the house I noticed that he was limping.  I asked him why and he said his ankle was hurting.  His shoe was rubbing against that little bone on the outside of your ankle, (I’m not sure what it’s called.)  So, I planed to go on Monday after school to Trippets, a great little Tulsa shoe store and buy him a new pair.

While we were in the store, the nicest gentleman helped us.  He was somewhat older and had the best sense of humor.  It was obvious that he loved his job.  So, as I was looking around I told him about the shoes that hurt my son’s feet.  He went to the back and came back with a small heel shaped pad.  He said that sometimes you can put these under the shoe insert at the heel and it will slightly lift the heel which alleviates the pressure on the ankle bone.

Brilliant!  I had never heard of such a thing.  I told him that I had the Nike shoes in my car because I was planning to return them and he asked me to bring them in.

REMEMBER:  I DIDN’T BUY THE SHOES AT HIS STORE, and he knew this.

He put in the insert, put the shoes on my son and voila!  Happy kid.  Happy mom.

I thought it was so nice of this man to help us out.  He wouldn’t even charge me for the inserts.  I wish I knew his name. 

Before leaving my daughter scored a new pair of sandals and I left feeling like I will now be a loyal shopper at Trippets.

The people here are another reason why…

I Must Be Italian!

I wish I was Italian.  I’m not???  Really?  I have a recipe that I have adapted from “Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It”  It so easy and delicious.

First, pour a glass of wine and sit back and read this recipe…no, wait.  You should probably save the wine for your Italian appetizer.

On second thought…just have a glass now and one later!

Okay, so it doesn’t have to be this wine, but it is one of my favorites.  Monte Antico.  It’s a blend from Italy and I highly recommend it.  (very affordable)

The recipe is for Bruschetta.  It makes 12 servings, but I always double it because my family just eats it up.

1 loaf wide, crusty Italian bread

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

5 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice (It’s very important to use ripe tomatoes)

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix all these ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for about an hour for the flavors to blend.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice bread in about 1/2″ slices and arrange on baking tray.  Brush with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and bake for about 5 min.

That’s it. Enjoy.

You know, before I became a vegan I used to put butter on my Italian bread and I thought that eating it any other way would be a disappointment, but I was totally wrong.  Olive oil is so good and so much healthier.

Toasty house=toasted cereal

Today in Tulsa it looks like this…

Too cold to go out anywhere. I opted to stay inside where it’s nice and cozy and make homemade cereal. I adapted this recipe from Bendan Brazier’s book “Thrive.”

Toasted Apple Cinnamon Cereal

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine the following ingredients in a bowl.

1/2 apple, diced

 

 

1 cup oats

 

1/2 cup diced almonds

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup protein (I used Vega vanilla chai protein)

1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground stevia leaf

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup hemp oil

1/4 cup molasses

2 tbsp apple juice (I used apple, kiwi & strawberry juice because I wasn’t paying close enough attention at the store!)

Mix all ingredients well.  Spread on a baking tray lightly coated with coconut oil. 

 Bake for 1 hour.  Let cool.  These can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:

1/2 apple, diced

1 cup oats

1/2 cup diced almonds

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup protein

1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground stevia leaf

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup hemp oil

1/4 cup molasses

2 tbsp apple juice

DRUMROLL…

I thought it was delicious!  My kids and husband tried it and all three gave it a thumbs up!  This recipe required quite a few ingredients, but well worth it.

Why I Became a Vegan

A little over a year ago I decided to learn about where our food actually comes from. I started by watching the video: Food, Inc.

After seeing this movie, I felt the need to learn more, so I read the book: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Before I had even completed this book, I was a vegan. I had never heard of  factory farming before and I found it extremely disturbing.  I think I wanted to believe that the animals in the meat department at the grocery store were raised on family farms.  Now I know that less than 1% of the animals killed for meat in America come from family farms.  I felt so happy about my decision, but I was still living with people who hadn’t read the book and didn’t fully understand why I had made such a switch in my diet. 

I began to share some of the information I learned with my family.  They were quite resistant to change initially, but as time has passed, we have made gradual changes to lean away from animal products.

The next book I bought was: The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.

I really enjoyed this book and love her website also.  (The link is listed on my blogroll.)  She talks about leaning into vegetarianism or veganism if you’re not ready to completely take the plunge.  So, that is how I classify my family, they are leaning into it!  This book also offers a lot of great recipes, many of which I have tried.

I was a happy vegan for about 4 months when I began eating cheese and eggs (when they were in baked goods.)  Which means I was no longer a vegan, but a vegetarian.  I felt guilty about it, but would just push it out of my mind.  I felt more bloated and just not as “good” eating these things, so I made the decision to go back to a vegan diet.  And that’s where I am now.

I plan to use this blog to share new recipes that I test out and I’ll let you know how my kids like the dishes.  I want my kids to be healthy and feel great and I think that avoiding animal products has so many benefits.  I’m excited about seeing where this food journey takes our family.

Football, Guacamole and Sweet Potato Fries

Welcome to my blog! Today is an example of how I incorporate my vegan lifestyle with my non vegan family. When I started my day today I wasn’t really planning to make any Superbowl snacks, but my 12 year old daugther started craving certain foods to eat while watching the game. She thought it would be great to grill hamburgers and have chips and queso during the game. Because I am the only vegan in the house, I immediately start thinking about what I can make that will work with the theme and meet my dietary needs.

So, we made guacamole!

It was delicious and easy to make.
Ingredients
3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
Directions
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

While I made cheeseburgers and queso for my family, I had this guacamole with tortilla chips as a starter. For dinner I had a vegan Boca burger (delicious) with sweet potato fires that I made.

Ingredients:
•3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1 tsp cumin
•dash cayenne pepper
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/2 tsp salt or seasoned salt
Preparation:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices.

Place potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done.

I really like to eat these plain, but you could serve with ketchup, a ranch dressing dip or barbecue sauce. Enjoy your baked sweet potato fries!

I highly recommend both of these recipes, filling and delicious!

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