Thursday, March 31, 2016

Vegan for Lent

Miss High School and I went vegan for Lent this year. We've dabbled in veganism before and I do a lot of vegan cooking but we hadn't gone 46 days in a row before. Yes 46 days..I thought Lent was 40 days?!  (Apparently there are some Catholic loop hole days during Lent but we're not Catholic so we did the whole 46).   It wasn't that bad. Honestly, it was pretty easy and I enjoyed my meals. I tried to document some of the things I ate/cooked during this time.   
Taco "meat" and black beans with green beans, crushed tortilla chips and vegan sour cream.
Good old stuffed spaghetti squash with veggie sausage, spinach, peppers and Healthy Homemade Marinara Sauce.
For breakfasts, I often had my Cheatin' Overnight Oats.
I discovered this yummy spreadable cheeze product.   It helped whenever I was in the mood for cheese!  It can be heated up for queso eaten cold as a spread.
Here's a sandwich that I made for Miss High School.  Ezekial bread (or toast-even better), hummus and veggies.
Quesadillas made with the Heidi Ho spicy cheese spread.
Cauliflower "steak" with mushroom gravy.
My version of a tuna melt=chickpea 'tuna' on bagel and Daiya cheese shreds on top.  Daiya cheeses are pretty good and easy to find at the supermarket. I use them in my Buffalo Chickpea Dip.  They make some decent vegan pizzas too.
Chao slices were the best tasting vegan cheese products that I found.  These melt really nicely too.
I experimented with smoothies some mornings.  {Banana Date Smoothie}
Tofurkey wrap with hummus and veggies.
About to take a bite.
I made our favorite Vegan Caesar salad when we were craving it. I made it again on Easter and it was a hit.
Zoodles with marinara and veggie meatballs.
I thought going out to dinner was going to be a challenge but it wasn't too hard.  I had veggie fajitas one night, skipping the cheese and sour cream but going deep on the guac!
This was College Girl's birthday dinner, we started with the Med Plate-falafel, baba ghanoush, grilled asparagus, baby beets and pita..
My meal was a spicy lentil khorma with butternut squash and oven dried grapes. I was not feeling deprived at all!
I had a weird craving for a cheese steak one day and made one out of Italian seitan in a wrap that was so good.
Chili, always chili!
Smoothie snack at the mall.
This was a cute cafe near our house and their version of avocado toast for breakfast.
Snacks were pretty normal for me, hummus and veggies.
Baby carrots with almond butter--sounds weird but it's good. I also like them with spicy mustard.
Can't forget my beloved Buddha bowls-this one had veggies, tofu and quinoa topped with hummus.
Rainbow Carrot noodles with veggie sausage sauce.
Another Buddha bowl.
Mexican Buddha bowl with red cabbage and avocado.
Avocado toast on repeat.
I made No-Chicken and Dumplings one night when Miss High School requested them.
Frozen smoothie bowl topped with fruit, coconut and pepitas.
This restaurant didn't have that much that I could eat on the menu but I would have been happy with just this bread and wine.  I ended up getting a salad and fries but that bread....
Chop & Toss salad from the mall.
Spicy veggie wrap and a soy cappuccino for breakfast, yes please!
By St. Patrick's Day this was old hat to us.  I made a1 Hour Vegan hepherd's Pie that was so tasty.
Miss High School veganized an Irish soda bread recipe that was so good, we made it again for Easter.
And last but not least, Vegan Irish Potato Candy.

To educate myself a little more on the benefits of a plant based diet I watched some documentaries. Two I had seen before (and highly recommend!) were:
 A new one for me was:
I snapped some pics of the screen while I was watching it thatcontrasted an omnivore diet vs a vegan diet based on their carbon footprint.
This statistic really hit home with me too, it's what a vegan diet saves per day per person!   I'm not trying to convert anybody but if you're at all interested in learning more, these documentaries are a good place to start.  I thought it was fun to try and veganize some favorite recipes. I really enjoyed the challenge!
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

{Recipe} Crock Pot Lentil Sloppy Joe's

I was never a big sloppy joe fan but when I saw Jessica from Barefoot By The Sea's recipe for Lentil Sloppy Joe's, they caught my attention!   I had some lentils in the pantry and needed to start using them up.  I have had mixed luck with cooking my own lentils but this sounded foolproof.  I also wanted to make them in the crock pot.
One reason I didn't like sloppy joe's as a kid was that they were too sweet for me. This recipe is more savory so if you like a sweeter sloppy joe, feel free to add more maple syrup and some catsup.
Crockpot Lentil Sloppy Joe's:
Ingredients:
1 cup dried lentils (red or green-I used some of both)
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper(any color), chopped
1/2 cup-1 cup shredded carrots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1-2 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce (vegan if making vegetarian)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp oregano
salt & pepper to taste
 {3/4 cup green & 1/4 cup red)
1) Start by rinsing the lentils.
 2.) Combine all the vegetables and rinsed lentils in the slow cooker.
 3.) Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup and seasonings.
4.) Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
 5.) Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
 6.) Serve on toasted whole wheat buns or bread of your choice (lettuce wraps work too!)
We had ours with homemade sweet potato chips.   So good!

*Inspired by this recipe.
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