Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Living the Vegan Life - Day 3

Another successful day!

For breakfast it was Cheerios once again, I promise tomorrow breakfast will actually be a vegan recipe!

For lunch I made a Mushroom, Onion and Spinach Tart with 'Goat Cheeze' was so good! I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, it paired well with the macadamia nuts in the 'goat cheeze', so yummy! It seemed like a rich meal, but really wasn't, so healthful! Normally I am not a fan of substituting one food for another, but in this case it really worked well, I didn't feel that the tart needed cheese because there was something similar to it, and tasty!

Dinner was Enchiladas, and to quote my sister, were bomb! The sweet potato, black bean and spinach filling was spot on, I couldn't even taste to spinach ;) and with the avocado sauce on top, the cheese was never missed! The spice factor was just perfect as well; when I eat Mexican food I expect spice, and these babies delivered!

Dessert was Chilled Strawberry Almond Butter Soup, this was the first recipe that pretty much no one but me enjoyed, I thought it was great! A perfect ending on a warm summer night, the juicy strawberries with the creamy almond butter went great together, I will definitely be making this one again!

I spent several hours this afternoon in the kitchen, prepping and cooking and baking away many vegan dishes, I can't wait to share more! I realized that I haven't shared any photos yet, I will work on remedying that! In the meantime, here are a few I snapped today:

The grocery list I made for the week. Yikes there is a lot! It was a pretty hefty grocery bill as well, but really, what cost is your health?

                           I made out a meal planner using a word template, planning out each meal for the week. I haven't gone by this strictly, as with last night, things happen and you never know where you might end up for a meal. It is a great guideline and keeps me on track, seeing it all laid out in front of me helps me with perspective, and is great for looking forward to trying out specific meals.

For me, eating vegan means trying out new foods. Here are some very different, yet very yummy itemsI've been commonly working with this week:
Quinoa is a super-food, it is a complete protein source, and is also gluten-free.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds. Much like peanut butter is made from ground peanuts, Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. It's commonly found in hummus, and adds a great nutty flavor to sauces, spreads and the like.
Vegan crackers: I found these at Fresh & Easy, they are vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, kosher and organic...and actually tasty, too...for real! It's nice to have some item that are ready-made, making snacking easy!
Nutritional Yeast: that's the yellow stuff in the baggie. Nutritional yeast, when combined with certain foods, takes on a cheesy taste, helping make everything from macaroni and cheese to alfredo actually taste cheesy! I don't really know too much else about it, other than that it is good for you. :)
Coconut Oil: This is pretty much the healthiest oil on the market today. It comes in a solid form but cooks exactly like any other oil. It's much pricier than other oils, but is so much better for you. Again, what is your health worth?
Chia Seeds: I've learned that with the author of the recipes I'm using this week, chia seeds are a staple! Everything from granola to oatmeal gets chia seeds. They are rich in Omega-3's, help benefit diabetes sufferers, they help reduce blood pressure, they help make you feel fuller faster and best of all, they help aid in weight loss by reducing food cravings! No matter where this food journey takes me, I will definitely be incorporating chia seeds into my daily diet!
Brown Rice Pasta: made from nothing but brown rice and water, you can't get my more healthy than this pasta! It is organic and gluten-free as well, something I'm learning to look out for, and choose when possible. 
Almond Butter: I love this stuff so much, I am actually starting to prefer it over regular peanut butter! So far the creamy almond butter from Fresh & Easy is my favorite, there is only one ingredient: roastedalmonds. SO good!                                       

I came home this evening to a house full of bunco players, with loads of snacks laying all over, including one of my all-time favorites, licorice! It was pretty hard to just sit there, with all that junk food staring back at me, and not eat any. I may have been more tempted to cheat, but my family was all around, and probably would have tackled me to the ground lest I fail my challenge! My mom was great about getting it out of my sight quickly, but it was a good lesson in discipline and self-control; I'm not eating vegan because of convictions or food allergies, I'm doing it for me health, and eating candy certainly does not qualify.
My hope for this challenge is that by the end of the week, I will love eating vegan so much that I will incorporate it into my daily diet, being aware of what I put in my body, and reaching for the healthy options, rather than the convenient ones. I hope that my body will be so cleansed from all the chemicals, preservatives and all around junk that I will no longer crave it, that I will want to continue eating foods that nourish and fuel my body, enjoying new and interesting flavors and foods along the way. 

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