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.

Posts tagged ‘vegan’

Keen on Quinoa

One of my favorite grains is quinoa, pronounced keen-wah.

If you have never had it, then I suggest that you put it on the menu.

What is Quinoa?

Although technically a seed, quinoa is commonly referred to and used most often as a grain.

One cup (cooked) quinoa contains eight grams of protein, nearly twice the amount found in other grains.  Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it provides the body all nine essential amino acids.

There are many, many quinoa recipes, but one of my favorites is:

Quinoa with Basil and Pine Nuts

What you need:

1 cup quinoa

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 generous handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse well.  Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, heat the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat.  Toast until the nuts are just starting to turn golden, about 6 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent burning.  Transfer to a serving bowl to cool.

Add the quinoa to the serving bowl with pine nuts and fluff with a fork.  Add the olive oil and basil, stir to combine, and serve.

This is so yummy and really great if you grow your own basil and have an abundance.

Vases and Veggies

It is spring break for my kids so I took them this morning to their Nana and Pops house for a visit.  I always miss them when they’re gone, but it is nice to get a little “me” time.

After dropping them off, I headed off to visit  a few thrift stores.  I love going and looking for home decor items or dishware.  I have been collecting a variety of dishes in different shades of white.  I love the way they look together.  I went to three different store and found two items.

I saw this white bowl and thought it was so pretty.  I knew that I had to have it.  The price tag said $3, but it happened to be half off so I paid $1.50. 

I also found this vase.  I love the color!  The original price tag on the bottom says $48 and I got it for $6.50.  I love bargains!

I also came across the cutest child’s wooden rocking chair in really good shape for $4.98  I almost bought it, but I think my son is too big for it and I don’t know exactly what I would do with it…but, the fact that I’m still thinking about it tells me that I should have bought it.

After my “alone time” thrift shopping, I was starving.  I called my husband and we decided to meet at a cafe here in Tulsa called Cafe Samana.  It’s known for having many vegan options on the menu.  Not something I find too often.

The restaurant walls were covered with art by a local artist.  Each table had a different set of salt & pepper shakers and every place setting had silverware wrapped with a cloth napkin with various patterns and colors.  It was really fun.

After we studied the menu for quite some time, we decided to start with the hummus and veggies as an appetizer.  (No picture though, because I was so hungry!)

I ordered the Roasted Veggie sandwich with a side of asparagus.  The sandwich had balsamic mushrooms, onions, peppers & pesto mayo.

My hubby ordered the B&B salad.  It had mushrooms, onions, roasted red peppers, fresh basil & bleu cheese.

He also ordered a side of Chicken Salad (remember he still eats meat) which was roasted chicken tossed with grapes & walnuts in chipotle dressing.

We were both really happy with our choices.  I will dreaming about that sandwich tonight!  My husband said the salad was delicious and the chicken salad was spicy, just the way he likes it. 

From where I was sitting in the restaurant, I had a clear view of the desserts.  They were featuring two cakes today, Mango and Sweet Potato.  The waitress was really nice and suggested that we try the Mango, it was her favorite.  I was really excited, because it’s not often that I see vegan dessert in a restaurant.

Oh my word!  I love this restaurant!  Is it too soon to come back tomorrow?

Spring Break Has Sprung…

We left school Friday afternoon with smiles on our faces.

Spring break has sprung…

We headed to straight to  Cherry Berry.  It’s a self-serve frozen yogurt bar. 

We weren’t the only ones who wanted to kick off spring break with frozen yogurt.

You fill a cup with your choice of frozen yogurt (they have a dozen different kinds) and add as many toppings as you like.  They have things such as nuts, crushed graham crackers, m&m’s, marshmallows, oreo cookies, coconut, chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi and so much more.

You have to be careful because they charge you by the ounce.  After you fill your cup with goodness, you place your cup on a scale and pay 39 cents per ounce.

I was hoping that they would offer a dairy free option.  There was a poster on the wall that listed several sorbets that Cherry Berry offered, but this location had none.  I asked one of the employees about it and they said they will be receiving “valencia orange sorbet” on March 20th.  (Which by the way, has 90 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g carbs, 0 g protein)Yea!

So I filled my cup with blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, coconut and walnuts.  Yum!

My kids filled theirs with the usual “kid favorites.”

Happy kids…

Empty Bowls!

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Happy Fat Tuesday!

I think it’s only fitting to eat real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice on Fat Tuesday.  This recipe is so good and has quite a kick!

Before you Begin:  Open a bottle of wine or a cold beer to enjoy during the preparation of this recipe.

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Start with 1 lb. of dry red beans

Cover beans with 2 inches of water and soak overnight.  Or, bring beans to a boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, and soak for at least one hour.  Drain beans and rinse.

Put the beans back in the pot and cover them with water 2 inches above the level of the beans.  Put over high heat to begin cooking while you prep the other ingredients.

You need to chop the following vegetables very finely and the easiest way to do this is using a food processor. 

Chop 4 cloves of garlic

1 very large onion (about 2 cups chopped)

4 ribs celery

1 large bell pepper (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)

Add the remaining ingredients:

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4-1 teaspoon red pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped chipotle pepper in adobe sauce

1 Tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce

1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

When the beans reach a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  Stir occasionally.  Cook until the beans are very tender and falling apart.  This will take from 2-3 hours.

Add the salt to taste and cook for at least 10 more minutes until the beans are disintegrating and the sauce is thick.  Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.


My husband and daughter really liked this dish, but it was too spicy for my 6-year-old.  He ended up eating a “Fat Tuesday peanut butter and jelly sandwich with pretzels and grapes.”

“Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler” or should I say…let the good times roll!

“No Pizza Eater Left Behind!”

Today was busy, busy, busy.  We usually plan our schedules so that Sunday is a relaxing family day.  A day to enjoy each other without the stress of “the schedule.”

But, it doesn’t always work out that way. Today was a busy Sunday and at the end of the day, I didn’t want to cook. Maybe you can relate.

So, I trotted off to Whole Foods.

I came out with some frozen pizzas and cookies.  Real healthy huh?

 Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza

A thin whole wheat crust layered with a garlic pizza sauce and Daiya (dairy free cheese).  The toppings included vegan Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and fire roasted veggies.

I had high hopes that this was going to be delicious.  It came out of the oven looking so tasty. The crust was perfectly crisp and the taste was good.  It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had, but I thought it was good.  I would definitely buy it again.

My husband and kids liked it too.  It is a frozen pizza that you can feed your family without feeling guilty.

The cookies: Hail Merry Blonde Macaroons

These are raw macaroons and let me tell you, they are so yummy.  I highly recommend picking these up next time you’re at the store.  My hubby and kids loved them too.  Four thumbs up from this family!

What ended up as a vegan junk food night was fun because we were trying new foods and sharing our opinions about the flavors. 

We just really love food!

Hot Breakfast…Cold Morning

Yesterday morning the temperature was 28 degrees, but it felt like 16 with the wind chill.  It was freezing! 

It also happened to be my son’s first soccer game.  He is 6 years old, so even though I knew I would be feeling miserably cold I also knew it would be one of the cutest things ever.  And I was right!

He looks really cold!

Before we went to the game I wanted to start him off right with a solid breakfast,so I made him my favorite breakfast.


Oatmeal is so simple, yet so good for you.  I love it on cold mornings with a cup of coffee.  You may be thinking that everyone knows how to make oatmeal…which is what I thought too.  But, you can actually take oatmeal to the next level.

That’s right people!  The next level.

I used to think oatmeal was good, but kind of boring.  I had not learned how to add things to change-up the flavor and texture.

So, yesterday morning I made peanut butter, pumpkin butter, and banana oatmeal.

For one serving:  it starts with 1/3 cup of Quaker Oatmeal (not the 1-min oatmeal)

Add to a saucepan, along with 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of almond milk.

Heat over med-hi heat and add 1/2 sliced banana

Stir while the mixture is heating and the bananas will become kind of whipped.  It only takes about 5 minutes or less for the oats to cook.  When they are done, turn off the heat and I stir in 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds.

Pour into a bowl and then add your favorite toppings.  I added 1 Tbsp of pumpkin butter (so yummy) and 1 Tbsp of peanut butter.  As a final touch I added 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds (I like having something crunchy in my oatmeal.)  My little guy also wanted a few walnuts on his.

Yummy oatmeal and a happy soccer player!

Walnut? Pecan? Does it really matter?

I love to eat pita’s stuffed with vegetables for lunch.  Along with the veggies, I usually add a spread such as Vegeniaise or hummus.  But, I was reading through the cookbook Veganomicon (which is fabulous) and I found I recipe that I had to try!

Walnut-Mushroom Pâté

I did have to modify her recipe because of the ingredients that I had in my house.

Begin by heating 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add 1 C. diced yellow onion.

Sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent, then add 3 cloves of garlic.

Sauté one minute more, then add 1 tsp. dried thyme (I didn’t though because I didn’t have any), 1 tsp. dried tarragon, 1/4 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook for another minute.

Next, add 1 lb. of cremini mushrooms, chopped.

Cook for 7-10 minutes, until they are soft.

While the mushrooms are cooking, place 1 cup of walnuts (or pecans, which is what I used) in a food processor and process until they are very fine.

Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the nuts in the food processor.

Now add 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cannellini beans (I used Great Northern), and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.

Blend until smooth, adding 1 Tbsp. of veggie broth at a time as needed. 

Continue to puree until the pâté is a smooth, thick and spreadable paste.

Put into an airtight container and chill for at least an hour for the flavors to meld.

What you end up with is so yummy.  It’s delicious on crackers or crusty bread.  It would be great to serve for guests or you can do what I did and spread a thick layer inside an Ezekiel pita and stuff with greens and veggies.  It was so good and a nice change from hummus.

Long Lost Friend

Being a vegan is great for so many reasons, but in all honesty there are some things that I do miss from my non-vegan diet days.

One of them being queso. 

I rarely have non-vegan cravings, but I do have fond memories eating queso.  The ultimate junk food!

I had resigned myself to the fact that those days are over and I have given up that pleasure for many excellent reasons. 

So, I moved on…

Then I was reading the March/April issue of VegNews and I came across this:

They claim that this Food for Lovers’ queso is busting with green chile flavor in a smooth, cheesy sauce.  The husband and wife team who created this originally posted it on their blog, but it quickly became so popular that they decided to bottle and sell it retail.

The label claims that it has:

no fat

no soy

no dairy

no nuts

no cholesterol

I went to my local Whole Foods here in Tulsa and picked it up hoping it would deliver the flavor I have missed.  There are some vegan cheeses that have a very funky flavor, so I was keeping my fingers crossed.

My husband was home and I told him that we were going to try this vegan queso and he was very pessimistic.  I followed the directions and heated it in the microwave.  I gave my husband a blue corn chip to dip and gave him instructions not to tell me his opinion until I had formed an opinion of my own.

So, we’re in the kitchen chewing and looking at one another.  Then he says, “You want my opinion?”  I said sure, and he said it’s really good!  I completely agreed.  It’s pretty spicy.  There was no “off’ flavor.  It was delicious…and may I remind you fat-free!

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.

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.

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