Sunday, November 04, 2007

Well, I'm four weeks now eating almost entirely vegan. There have been a few instances where I have failed to read the label on something only to find out later that there was something non-vegan in the product and twice, over the last four weeks, I have enjoyed a bowl of popcorn with real butter on it. We have tried some wonderful new recipes that the entire family thoroughly enjoyed and asked me to make it again.

Something I have gotten very good at is reading labels! There are things in food that you would not suspect! Which is why we just shouldn't eat processed food to begin with. I'm learning more and more to prepare, prepare, prepare. It's the best way to eat whole foods, foods that haven't been processed away from their original state.

Something I have made a few times that the kids keep begging for is baked potatoes and yams. I cut up several potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks, along with one large yam. I dowse olive oil on it and liberally sprinkle oregano, basil, and garlic salt all over, then mix. I bake for about 45 minutes or so until browned. That yam just adds a nice flavor and of course, the extra nutrients. No matter how big a pan I make it is always entirely gone 10 minutes after coming out of the oven.

My friends have been quite supportive, in fact we are getting ready to go to dinner at some friends that are making us a vegan oriental meal. I've learned that when I go somewhere I almost always offer to bring something vegan so people don't have to feel put-out and at the same time we have something good to eat and share a meal with friends.

I think the thing I enjoy the most is how I feel. I feel lighter, no stomach aches, etc. I was having stomach pains quite often after eating cheese, usually in large doses such as pizza or something like that. My family loves the vegan pizza that Kev has made a couple of times so maybe here in the next week I will post the recipe.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Things are going pretty smoothly. It helps that we are cooking and preparing interesting meals rather than just randomly taking cheese and milk out of our diets.

Martin and I have dreamed for quite some time of having a coffee shop in which we also serve soup, bread, and pasta. We are slowly building up our collection of "winner" soups and tonights meal is definitely getting added to the pile! We might even do a vegan coffee shop! That would be interesting:) So this recipe came from The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.

Tanya's Curried Squash Soup

1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups cauliflower
2 cups yams, chopped
2 cups squash (any kind), chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
1 leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp soy sauce

In a large soup pot on medium heat, saute the onions in oil until translucent. Add the cauliflower, yams, squash, potatoes, and leeks and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Add the stock, coconut milk, curry, turmeric, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 or all of the soup until smooth, return to pot and reheat. Makes 4-6 servings.


I fed six people and it was all gone but everyone was quite satisfied. No left-overs!! We did figure out that it needs a bit of salt to make it REALLY good. I'm always tickled when I can get so much nutrition in a meal that my kids gobble up. And the plus side is that it was a fairly cheap meal.

The non-vegan members haven't complained yet. Don't even think they are noticing that they are eating vegan, teehee.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Well, I'm going to give this vegan thing another shot. Kev has made the choice to remain vegan for life and through that I am slowly learning how to cook vegan and to have more interesting food choices than the first time I did it. I've been cooking all vegan dinners for the past 8 weeks or so. A gal that I'm doing yoga teacher training with is also vegan so I've been picking her brain.

I will blog about feelings, recipes, etc. and maybe it will be an inspiration for others to live a more healthy lifestyle. Like I said before, lots of people have asked me, "What the heck do you eat?" so I may list an entires day worth of meals once in a while to give people an idea of how vegans, or even vegetarians, eat on a daily basis.

Last night I happened to make a recipe from a vegan cookbook that ended up tasting exactly like a non-vegan recipe that I make quite often. Calista didn't even realize that it was a different recipe. The interesting thing is that it had TOTALLY different ingredients. Even Martin gobbled it up and he is the only meat eater in our family. A friend of Kev's, who isn't even vegetarian, RAVED about it so it is proof that vegan eating doesn't have to be bland and boring. It was a time consuming recipe but there are plenty of others out there that aren't.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mandarin Pasta Salad

Okay, here is one that my sister-in-law, Lizz, made for us when we were in Grand Junction, that came from Pampered Chef. I made it the other night, forgot how good it was. Again, no complaints from a single family member and it got eaten up! The recipe actually calls for chicken but we just leave that out so I won't put it in the ingredient list.

1 tsp finely chipped and peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. orange juice (I used the juice of one fresh orange)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
2 tsp sugar

8 oz. uncooked bow-tie pasta (I couldn't find any so I used a different shape pasta)
1/2 sliced cucumber
1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
1/2 c. coursely chopped red onion
1 pckg. fresh baby spinach leaves (6 oz)
1 can mandarin orange segments, drained
1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted

1. For dressing, mix all ingredients together and stir
2. For salad, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold running water. Place in large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, slice cucumber, dice red bell pepper, coursely chop onion and add to salad along with rest of ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tuscan Bean Soup

Okay, I am such a liar, lol! I haven't been on the computer much but I have a chance now to post a scrumptious recipe. As I said before, our family loves soup, so here is another winner. I didn't have a single complaint on this one and the ENTIRE pot was gone when dinner was over, and it is packed with nutrition.

Tuscan Bean Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
2 small- medium onions or one large one, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
2 large zucchini, sliced
14 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp pesto
3 3/4 C. vegetable stock
14 oz. can of navy beans, or any white bean, drained
salt and ground pepper to taste
For the base:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb fresh spinach

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onions, carrots, crushed garlic, celery and fennel and fry gently for about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and fry for a further 2 min.
2. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, pesto, stock and beans and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 25-30 min., until the vegetables are completely tender. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the spinach for 2 min., or until wilted. Spoon the spinach into heated soup bowls, then ladle the soup over the spinach. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with ground pepper.

When I made this I used a little bit more pesto than it called for. The fennel really gives it a nice flavor too. I also served mine with multi-colored spiral noodles, per Calista's request. She ate hers with the noodles instead of the spinach. I also made multi-grain bread with it, yummy!! Everyone asked me to make this a LOT more!

Oh, and it only took me about 15 minutes to make this one and about ten minutes of just simmering before we ate it, a HUGE plus for busy families!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Wow, I haven't blogged on here for a while, maybe because I haven't been doing much cooking lately:)

I give up trying to make this a completely vegan blog. Maybe it is like when I went vegetarian and my entire family wasn't entirely on board; I found it hard to cook for both a vegetarian and the meat lovers. Eventually, my family went vegetarian at home so it made it really easy. Once in a while my husband will cook a steak at home but he doesn't expect me to handle and cook the meat. Well now I am finding it hard to cook completely vegan when there are too many dishes that my family LOVES that have cheese in them. So I will commit to cooking 2-3 vegan meals a week and the rest lacto vegetarian meals. I will mostly post vegan recipes but once in a while don't be alarmed if there is cheese or milk in the recipe. I don't do eggs so there won't be any of those.

I promise to post at least two recipes by Sunday :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thai Lentil Soup

Well, I blew it with the vegan thing on Wednesday. Tristan begged me to make eggplant parmesan so I did. My kids love it, especially with gooey mozarella cheese. Maybe I will have to go in search of a vegan style recipe for that.

We are big soup lovers in this family, and we also love Thai food, so I tried a thai soup that was fabulous! All vegan of course! I'm going to give you the recipe doubled, as most of the people (I think) that read my blogs have more than one or two members in their family. This recipe fed my family of five with only one bowl left over.........perfect! I made a few adjustments, as noted.


olive oil

1 large red onion (recipe calls for two without doubling but that was too much for me)

1 bird's eye chilli, seeded and finely sliced (couldn't find so I used a red jalepeno)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 - 1 inch pieces of fresh lemon grass, outer layers removed and inside finely sliced (again, couldn't find at my local grocer so I used fresh ginger instead)

2 c. red lentils

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp paprika

2 cans coconut milk (I used the lite to save on some fat and calories)

7 cups water

juice of 1 or 2 limes

3 spring onions (scallions), chopped (I used an entire bunch of green onion, is that the same?)

1 cup fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in large pot and add the onions, chilli, garlic and lemon grass (or ginger). Cook for 5 minutes or until onions have softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the lentils and spices. Pour in the coconut milk and water, stir. Bring to boil and let simmer for 40-45 minutes, until lentils are soft.

3. Pour in lime juice and add the spring onions and cilantro. Serve.

I served the soup with fresh rolls, very easy to make but a little time consuming. Thanks to Tristan who stood and rolled for 1/2 hour. You just take rice wraps and soak them in VERY warm water for about 20 seconds or so. I have a cast iron skillet on the stove with 1 inch water that I occasionally turn on to high to keep water really warm. If it is not warm enough it won't soften the rice wrap enough. Lay them down and place small piece of lettuce, little bit of rice, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, and cilantro. Roll like a tight burrito and serve with asian sauce of your choice. My sauce consists of about 1/2 red chilli sauce, 1/2 sweet seasoning (found in the asian section), and a little soy sauce. I know I had a lot of trouble finding the sweet seasoning down south so you might have to go to an asian grocer for that.

You can make fresh rolls with about any kind of vegetable. I usually use rice noodles instead of rice but I actually liked the rice better. I also usually use basil or mint, not cilantro but either one is good, just a slightly different taste.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

back to vegan

I didn't really blog on here much, didn't seem anyone was reading it and it seemed like every day was the same. I haven't felt quite as good since I went back to my dairy so I'm going to slowly ease off the dairy and move toward vegan full time.

The one thing I was having a really hard time with was the lack of cream in my coffee. I have discovered that I like the coffee black just fine so this week I am committing to black coffee in the morning and little to no cheese. I haven't been eating much cheese but I want to pretty much cut it out all together. Maybe a few times a year for a special occasion or something would be fine. I haven't really been too focused on whole/raw either and have been eating more of the processed soy products. So back to whole/raw, lots of veggies and whole grains.

Thanks to Cara, a fellow unschooler, who posted a really great blog site, I have gotten some GREAT vegan lunch ideas. If you want to check it out go to Jennifershmoos site, the author of a book called The Vegan Lunchbox.

The other thing that has changed is that I have been doing yoga 3-4 times a week. I feel GREAT in that respect. I'm feeling stronger and more in balance. I have also been walking at an indoor track, at least until the weather warms up and I can jog outdoors. I really want to treat my body better, physically. I have let that go since having three kids; not that my body looks bad, just that I'm not keeping it strong and balanced. I hike a lot in the summer and then do nothing in the winter.

So what I am going to do is try a new vegan recipe, at least a few times a week, and then share it with you on this blog. Maybe it will inspire more people to not eat dead animals because you will see how GOOD non-meat food can taste.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Well, I am just finishing up my third week of this vegan thing. There isn't really much to blog about, kind of the same thing every day. I am getting to the point where I almost gave up this week because I am CRAVING cream with my coffee. The soy creamer is just not doing it for me! I am really not missing the cheese, mostly because my face is so clear and, since that is the only thing that has drastically changed, it must have been the reason for my breakouts.

I am mostly proud of myself for setting a goal and I am so close to achieving it. I rarely follow through on things so this is huge for me! Just facing a challenge and sticking with it has done so much for me. I won't be continuing to eat vegan for a lifetime but I have changed a lot of bad eating habits and am better for it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Humming along....

Well, I've almost finished week 2. I was very excited this week to discover Earth Balance, a great substitute for butter but it is not hydrogenated and tastes better than margarine. It makes my toast so much more enjoyable! I also got some soy creamer which is a little thicker than just soy milk and that has made my coffee much more enjoyable. So, all in all I am doing pretty good on this vegan thing.

I pulled some new recipes off the internet that I am going to try this week so that will make my diet a little more exciting. I seem to be eating the same things over and over again, reminds me of when I first became vegetarian. So many of my own recipes have dairy so time to branch out a bit. Calista wanted potato salad for dinner last night so I made her some. I didn't think it was going to effect me but I was salivating! I love potato salad! It made me realize that I really don't think I can live vegan for life but it certainly has changed a lot of old habits. Instead of grabbing cheese when I need a snack I've been grabbing the nuts, seeds, apples with almond butter, and hummus; certainly healthier than cheese. I've dropped a total of 5 lbs and still seem to be climbing down. I also know that I can't do soy lattes for good either, I just enjoy them with regular cream far too much! Maybe I will end up with a milking cow some day :)

Kev gave up. He just decided that he loves his cheese too much. He says "I'm half vegan", with a funny grin on his face. He's gotten turned on to Health Valley products, lots of vegetable soup, lentil soup, and chili so he is still eating a little healthier, although he has always been my child that is interested in health and nutrition and does a lot of reading up on things and eats very good. He loves all my "weird" foods too like the soy products, soy milk, almond milk, hummus, pesto, and lots of vegetables.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Finished week 1

Well, that week went by fast! I'm getting pretty used to this vegan thing. I have dropped three pounds so that is definitely a side benefit. My face is completely clear so I now know that it possibly had more to do with the high fat in my diet than it did the coffee. Time will tell if my face stays clear or not.

Kevin gave up for a day and then went right back to vegan. Don't know if he will make it through the rest of the month or not. He finds it very easy to do at home, where there is lots of available vegan food, but not so easy to do when he is with friends. I'm feeling better and shedding these last ten lbs is worth it for me and makes me not miss the dairy as much. I am missing the butter on my toast in the morning more than anything else. I feel so much "lighter" and am eating much less bulk and feeling so much more satisfied all the time. Pretty much everything I put in my mouth has nutritional value, which is probably why I feel so satisfied. I am not eating "empty calories".

Had homemade guacomole and salsa tonight, mmmmmmmm! I joined a couple vegan lists on yahoo groups and hope to pull some new recipes off of them tomorrow. I tend to get stuck in a rut with the same ol' recipes and need to spice it up a bit.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Day 5

Well, we are into the 5th day now. Things aren't as easy as we thought they would be. I thought Kevin was more gung ho than me but he is ready to go back to his normal lacto-ova vegetarian self. He is waiting for me to cheat so he can throw his hands up but I'm not budging. I'm not finding it as easy as I thought I would but it is not terribly bad. The things I am missing the most are the butter on my toast in the morning, the feta on my salads and certain things that have egg in them, including my soy meat products.

Probably the thing I am having the toughest time dealing with is my decision to give up my coffee. At this point I am not sure whether I am willing to give that up permanently. It is not just the constant throb in my head this week but it is the ritual. Somehow it is just not the same with tea, can't quite put my finger on it. My jaw pain is actually worse, can't explain that one. My face has certainly cleared up but it may have more to do with the cheese. I have lost 2 lbs this week, which I was expecting since I have virtually gotten rid of almost all fat and sugar in my diet.

So....................I got interrupted while blogging and I broke down and made myself a soy latte. Aaahhhhhhhhh, that's all I can say!! Funny thing is that while I was making that Kev called me. He is with a friend and they stopped by Subway. I pick up the phone and he says, "Moooommmm, I can't eat anything", in this very pathetic voice. I gave him some suggestions, such as no cheese and instead of mayo put oil and vinegar on it. That didn't sound good to him because he LOVES Subway and he likes it the way he likes it, ya know! I asked him if he was giving up on me and he says, "Ya, I'm getting close." I told him it is more important to enjoy your food and just live a healthy lifestyle. I'm thinking he is going to have that sandwich :) I think he is doing this to be supportive of his mommy. He believes in the lifestyle but sometimes it is much easier said than done. He has been hackling me about my coffee and telling me how unhealthy it is so I guess we are even :)

Well, I am going to get through this month. It is a good challenge for me, especially in the art of discipline, something I am not very good at. As to what I am eating.............lots of soups and salad (with oil and vinegar), nuts and seeds, dried fruit, beans. It is a lot easier for me to get all my veggies when I make soup and it is VERY cold here this week so it warms up my bones! I love hummus, pepperoncini's and the sort so I have been eating a bit of that. I like to snack on organic chips and salsa. Kev has been juicing quite a bit, with carrots, apples, and oranges. He LOVES beans and rice so I have made that a couple of times for him. He also likes mashed black beans with strips of tortillas or pita.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Day 1

Well, we made it through our first day. It wasn't quite as easy as I had anticipated but we will make it. I wasn't stalked up on the appropriate groceries yesterday, which is why it was a little more difficult. We went to the store last night and got a few things to make it a little easier.

Yesterday I had toast in the morning; pita, hummus, olive tapenade, and bell peppers for lunch; chips and salsa for a snack, and tofu with peanut sauce and vegetable soup for dinner. I didn't have my coffee in the morning but had green tea instead. I was doing well all day, with no headache until early in the evening. The headache lasted through the night and is still throbbing a little. I broke down and took some Tylenol, as it makes me a little nauseous to have a headache. It freaks me out a little that an addiction to caffeine can make you have withdrawals like this. Makes me not want to touch the stuff again but I just enjoy it so much. We will see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks when it is cleaned out of my system.

I started this morning with organic multi-grain pancakes with peanut butter and syrup, an orange, and green tea. I made the pancakes with egg replacer, which is basically potato starch and cellulose gum. It replaces the egg in a recipe. I also used almond milk instead of regular milk. I could have used soy milk also but I am out. I could hardly tell the change except for a very slight difference in texture due to the egg replacer. I need to buy some more almond butter also because the peanut butter that my husband likes is full of hydrogenated oils and I know that peanuts have high levels of pesticides. Almond butter is more flavorfull anyway.

I am surprised at how well Kevin is doing also. He has been doing quite a bit of research on the vegan lifestyle and is starting to get quite passionate about it. He was preaching to his Dad about it last night.............too funny! This lifestyle may stick for him. I may feel differently about it after a few weeks, but at this point I am prone to say that I will be drastically changing my eating habits but I think I will still have a little egg and cheese on occasion. What this is doing for me is that when I am getting ready to eat I am thinking about what my healthiest options are v. what tastes the best. Not that I don't want my food to taste good but I am more concerned with getting the proper nutrition that I need.