Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Year Review

So, it has been one year since I embarked on a vegan diet.  It has been a good year. Eating at home is a breeze. Processed foods were not a big part of my diet to begin with, now I eat even less.  I have used some
Tacos and Refried Beans
mock meats and cheeses, but they are not the mainstay of my diet.  I will eat less of them this year.
Noodles and Vegetables
There are still plenty of recipes to make, some are modifications. Non dairy milks are great.  I do not crave meat at all.  The thought of eating a slab of meat is kind of gross.  Sometimes I would like some comfort food with ground meat and cheese, but that is rare.
Thousand Island Dressing
Tommy and I definitely eat out less often.  That is good for the waistline and the pocket book.  Eating out is still the hardest part.  It is frustrating to peruse a menu and see nothing I can eat on it.  The farm to table type places are the worst.  They put bacon in everything.  Some places will easily make a nice dish for me, others do not do a good job.
Noodles with peanut sauce, scallion pancakes
 Brunch is the hardest meal because everything is egg based.  Eating while travelling is tougher.  I have had two veggie sandwiches that had cheese on them.  It wasn't on the menu and we were on the road with the limited options. I am sure that will still happen every now and then.
Oatmeal with nuts and fruit
Health wise, I feel good.  My cholesterol dropped almost 30 points and it was high before. I lost a few pounds and gained a lot of muscle.  I made weight training a priority at the gym and it really paid off. When I had the Bod Pod analysis done, I gained 7 pounds of muscle.  Although the scale hasn't moved much, I am smaller and my clothes fit much better.
Lentil Soup with Rutabaga Croutons
Tommy has been a wonderful sport with this.  He eats vegetarian most of the time.  He likes a little cheese on most dishes.  I buy him some meat, especially if I am making a dish with a lot of veggies that I do not like.  He is also good at picking out the things that he doesn't like.
Mango Salsa
I have found that smoothies and oatmeal make the breakfasts.  You can add so many different ingredients to them to keep it from getting boring.  I snack on fruit and nuts most often.  I have to be careful with bread because I mindlessly eat it.  We have had lot of soups and
Spicy Lasagna
salads. One dish meals are common for dinner.  Stir fry a protein (beans or tofu) and at least 2 veggies and serve over a grain. I try not to make to many desserts, but we have had cookies, cakes and pies.  Earth Balance and bittersweet chocolate are a great team.  It took several tries to get good pancakes, but I have yet to find a good French Toast recipe. But I will trying.  I have made lots of hummus, pesto and guacamole. I make bread about as often as I did pre-vegan. We are enjoying a whole wheat loaf now.  
Portobello Mushroom with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
I claim the year a success and looking forward to another meat free year.
Quinoa with veggies and  curry sauce

Tofu steaks, bulgar wheat and asparagus

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Christmas Eve

So I am still a little behind in posting stuff. This was our Christmas Eve meal.  We had a smaller meal this year.  We wanted it to be a little bit simpler. In years past, I might have made a dozen or so dishes.  I would start cooking early and we would eat from each dish after it was made. So we would end up eating small plates all day long instead of a sit down dinner.  I brought out the good china and we sat down for a low key meal with champagne.

This was a slightly sweet stew made with fruit and veggies.  The base was a mix of stock and mango nectar.  The main ingredients were seitan, pearl onions, carrots, dried apricots, and prunes.  It was seasoned with cinnamon, garlic, cumin, cardamom and saffron.

The stew was served over mashed sweet potatoes.  For a salad, we had leftover Apple Slaw from the holiday parties.
Vegetable Bread
On the side, we had some Vegetable Bread.  This white bread was baked with sundried tomatoes, green bell pepper and onions.
The dessert was a Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing.  The cake was sprinkled with coconut and topped with dried mango pieces dipped in white chocolate, crystallized ginger and dried cranberries.  The white chocolate was not vegan, but was something I had on hand that needed to eaten.  I have just about cleared out all the nonvegan items in the house.  

River hopes that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is starting out great for you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Holiday Parties

I know it is a little late, but I just getting around to posting the food from the Holiday get togethers we did.  While in the past we have thrown huge events, this year I just did a facebook announcement for folks to stop by on three different days during one weeks. I made dishes each night. Sparkling wine is always our go to drink during the holiday season.  I did a Sparkling Cranberry Rose cocktail the first night.  This was made with Prosecco, cranberry juice and sugar.  it had a beautiful fuchsia color and a crisp taste.
Spicy Pistachios

 The food items began with Spicy Pistachios seasoned with coriander, cloves and red pepper.

A green salad with carrot, raisins, strawberries, mushrooms and celery   to mix in.
Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread made from a french loaf.

Cheese and Herb Mini Peppers.  These were not vegan.  They were made with goat cheese mixed with chives, basil, and tarragon and stuffed in mini sweet peppers.  Since we were inviting guests over, I provided more options in addition to the items I ate.
Real cheese

The second night started with Cheese Decked with Fruit.  I made two versions, one with cheddar and one with vegan cheese.  The cheese was topped with raspberries and walnuts, then drizzled with honey.
Vegan Cheese

I made an Onion Dip using vegan sour cream and mixed with fennel, onion and herbs.  I had fennel, green onion,  radishes, carrots, cucumber and zucchini for dipping.
Onion Dip

The Spinach Spread was made with vegan cream cheese, lemon pepper, spinach, onion, roasted red pepper, Beyond Meat chicken, and vegan sour cream.  This item was spread on nut crackers.
Spinach Spread

I made  big loaf of Focaccia with Grapes that was vegan.  As an accompaniment, I made a baked Brie and Artichoke Spread.

On the last night, I started with Whole Wheat Biscuits and made sandwiches with them.  Some had ham and some had a vegan lunch meat. Real cheese was on the ones with meat and fake cheese for the fake cheese. An apple jelly was spread on top and a Cranberry Relish  was spread inside.

I made some easy rolls from premade frozen whole wheat pizza dough.  They were rolled in a mixed on poppy and fennel seeds.

Next was a Grapefruit Miso Salad made from romaine and spinach with chopped yellow pepper, tomato, mushrooms and grapefruit sections.  The dressing was made from miso paste, rice vinegar and olive oil.

We had an Apple Slaw made with red cabbage, red grapes, apples celery and almonds.  An Apple Cider Vinaigrette was used to dress it.
Apple Slaw

The final item was some Lemon Braised Baby Broccoli.