Hot Chocolate Can Be Vegan Too!?!?!

Check out this awesome recipe I found for hot chocolate over at Veggie and the Beast!IMG_20150117_085133

It was simple to make, and satisfied my cravings.  Once again, I tested it out on my non-vegan boyfriend, and surprisingly – he approved!  It had a more bitter taste but was still creamy and fulfilling.   It also took longer to make than I expected, but as I have gotten more accustomed to this vegan thing, I have learned to enjoy the process of knowing what is in the foods I am eating.

You should all head over to the Veggie and the Beast page and check out the recipe and give it a try.  🙂

My Stuffed Peppers Monster Creation

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Stuffed peppers is something I will try. This one I modified over many attempts back when I was a vegetarian.  Once again, I don’t like following all those directions.  If it’s simple, I’ll make it.

I cut open two peppers and peeled out the seeds.  I stuffed it with cooked brown rice, mixed veggies, tofu, and chopped onions that I had mixed together right before.

*Note: the brown rice I cooked first in the rice cooker while I went shopping – gotta love multitasking*

I poured some marinara sauce on top and put the extra/leftover filling all around in the crock pot, and cooked the whole mixture on low for 4 hours.  I added the diced peppers from the tops that I had cut off around as well as not to waste.  My non-vegan boyfriend loved the dinner and I had plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Vegan is getting easier as the days go on.  Success!

Attempt #1 At Making Vegan Cheese

So… I am no chef.  I am not a recipe builder and I (probably) won’t invent anything new and share it on this blog.  There are a MILLION other blogs out there that already do this.  As a new vegan, I am hoping to try new foods that I find online, document my findings, and do what works for me – all while sharing with the online vegan community.  I also don’t follow recipes exactly.  I don’t always have all the ingredients, and in general, such strict rules drive me nuts 🙂

I love cheese.  I can no longer eat cheese.  What will I do instead? Experiment with vegan cheeses.

I found one over at Jennifer’s Kitchen.  For the record – It looks FANTASTIC in her picture, please, check it out.  I’m sure mine would have came out like that if I actually followed directions…

I thought I was so smart. IMG_20150119_122215 I went to Whole Foods, bought the agar and the cashews (not salted) and I was good to go.  I came home, started putting everything in the blender, and realized I forgot the tahini.  I Googled a few things, and found one site that said you could mix equal parts of sesame seeds with olive oil to get a “tahini like” mixture – so I figured, what the heck.  I poured some sesame seeds in my mix, and a little oil, and figured It would work.

The cool part was that it came out solid, as you can see above, IMG_20150119_122247despite my feelings before putting it in the fridge.  It definitely needed to be a creamier mixture.  I should not have used that extra oil, and just tried a nut butter or gotten off my butt and gone back to the store!

I did rescue it.  Since I knew all the ingredients were delicious and vegan I wasn’t afraid to give this strange mushy stuff a try, and spread it on some mini toasts!  You know what?  It still tastes good.  Like a cold refreshing cashew spread.  Horray!

I have hope for this recipe and plan to try it again.  Next time I’ll use the actual ingredients on the recipe! 😀

 

Dear One Ingredient Chef…

IMG_20150114_134420_294Your Baked McTofu Nuggets are delicious.

I switched it up a little bit.  I used Almond milk instead of soy milk, and bread crumbs instead of cornmeal.  I also left out the onion powder.  I cut some of my squares thicker, and some thinner.  The thinner ones had a more satisfying crispier taste.IMG_20150114_134551_397  The actual process took about 20 minutes, since I had to dip all the squares and bread them, but I am sure I will be able to find a faster way if I need to.  Then of course the cook time was about 20 minutes.  So in 40 minutes I had some tofu squares.

Thanks for posting your recipes online.  This one is a winner for me! I will be visiting the One Ingredient Chef’s site more often for more ideas.

Day 10

Vegan life day 10! Here’s the status:

  • I know I want to be healthy. IMG_20150109_174203
  • I know I want to be happy.

I have found an inspiring community of instagrammers and bloggers to reach out to for ideas and motivation.  As you saw in my Instagram post, I have been posting pictures of my own food.  Taking photos of the food forces me to put more love and energy into preparing my vegan meals.

Look at this long list of things I have eaten in the past 10 days! It’s AMAZING how being vegan has forced me to add all this goodness to my life.  I can’t believe all that I have eaten!!

  • TangerinesIMG_20150110_203024
  • Dried Chickpeas
  • Veggie Burritos
  • Hummus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Mixed fruit smoothies
  • Blueberries
  • Cabbage
  • Lentils
  • Onions and PeppersIMG_20150110_160954
  • Potato Chips (I’m not sure about this one – only eating them when I have a craving)
  • Sweet potato chips (same as above)
  • Mangos
  • Naval Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Potato Leek Soup
  • Olives
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Kale
  • Stuffed Peppers (with tofu, onions, mixed veggies, brown rice & tomato sauce)
  • Guacamole
  • Indian food (white rice and chickpeas with a vegan sauce)
  • Lots of smoothies of mixed fruits!

I lisIMG_20150111_180731ted everything out to show what a variety of fruits, vegetables, and vegan options there are.  This is not a starvation lifestyle by any means.  I have been completely satiated every day, except for day 6, when I stayed up later than usual watching movies and ate Cheese-Its (NOT VEGAN!!).  But you know what?  I am not going to let that get me down.  One day out of 10 I had one mistake, and a minor one at that.  I am proud of my accomplishments and I feel great!

New Instagram Inspirations

Using Instagram has motivated me as a new vegScreenshot_2015-01-14-13-36-04an.  I was searching for a community, and I found it.   I get to scroll through pictures of fruit and veggies all day and be inspired.  People also share recipes and great ideas, and it makes me want to keep eating healthy.  If they are eating healthy, I should too!

What’s even better is that my Instagram account is ONLY for vegan ideas, so there is nothing clouding the motivation.  I feel no obligation to scroll through my friends lives, as I have Facebook, email, and real interaction (gasp!) to update me on the ones I love.  This Instagram is purely motivational.

Granted, I want my motivation for eating vegan to be health and energy, and not a trend (don’t worry – it’s not!), but sometimes I need a little inspiration.  Instagram is the perfect outlet, and I’m posting photos of my own on a daily basis!

Today is day 8 and I am still going strong.  I am about to cut up a bunch of oranges for breakfast and scroll through beautiful fruit photos!

Blogs, Blogs, and more Blogs!

I said I wasn’t going to blog every day, but being a new blogger is just too much fun. Not to mention, I have spent most of my morning reading through a bunch of other blogs, looking for recipes and ideas. I plan to share those that I end up trying in the future.

One site that really caught my eye was the One Ingredient Chef 

I was reading the One Ingredient Manifesto after signing up, and it pretty much sums up how I feel about processed foods being unhealthy and everywhere, ingredient lists being long, and how we can move towards better health with simplicity and more vegetables.

I’ve also been into some great books lately: Whole by T. Colin Campbell, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig.

I am excited to see what other great things I can learn about nutrition and health – and what I can learn to cook with the help of all these blogs!

The Vegan Has Landed

For the last few years I have been an on again off again vegetarian. I know for a fact that I feel better when I am a vegetarian. The “off again” part comes from my taste for steak and meat dishes that I have eaten for the past 26 years of my life. It also comes from the fact that trying to live on a vegetarian diet correctly is difficult. Everyone has their own idea of what is correct and what isn’t, so here’s mine: If I am a vegetarian peppersand eating all sorts of chips, bagels, refined grains, and pastas, then I don’t want to be a vegetarian – I’d rather just eat the meat; If I am a vegetarian eating large salads, fruits, and limiting my refined carbohydrates and added sugars, then I am happy.

 

It’s a challenge to balance being a vegetarian and social obligations, including work and holidays. Also being on the run, and not just constantly eating granola bars (which I don’t approve of), is hard too! Especially when you are hungry – you should never starve yourself! I crave bagels, and those large soft pretzels when I do this. I just don’t want to be a vegetarian for the wrong reasons. I don’t want to be a vegetarian to indulge in highly processed goods that cause me to crave them again and again, and enjoy them not only for their taste, but also because they are acceptable and easy to fit in my bag – with minimal preparation.

 

Everyone I surround myself with eats meat. I’ve heard that you are an average of the five or so people closest to you, but I disagree – at least in my eating styles. I don’t have any vegan or vegetarian friends, but I do love the people close to me and I’m not giving them up! So keeping up this lifestyle, especially when those I live with make different dinners, is another challenge entirely.

 

On Christmas I got a Ninja Blender. Normally I don’t like blending things, because nothing ever gets blended correctly. Also I don’t like cold drinks in New England freezing winters. I asked for a blender anyway, and I got it. This was part of my latest plan – to be vegetarian again!

 

Not only have I been vegetarian since using my blender a few days after Christmas, but I have just switched, only 5 days ago, to a fully vegan diet.

 

All of my circumstances are still the same. I still have the same friends, and live with the same people, who eat differently. Friends and strangers alike ask me about my eating style (not just now- but before when I was vegetarian as well), and sometimes it’s exhausting sticking up for myself. People ask me “how” and “why” and although I have read many books, and taken nutrition and biochemistry courses, it’s hard to get the facts straight when explaining to friends. They start with a simple question, I answer, they challenge, I answer, they get deeper and deeper into questioning me as though I am supposed to be a world renowned nutritionist, and eventually I throw my hands up and explain that I really don’t know all the answers. I just know that I feel better when eating this way. And then somehow my explanation is not academically or socially correct.

All this because I packed my own meals, didn’t eat the main dish, or asked for a vegetarian option. See how it can be challenging?

 

Here I am again, but this time, being more extreme. Being vegan will help me rid myself of those cravings. It’s already been 5 days. I am fine. I am more than fine. I am happy, well rested, and motivated. I am motivated to find a new community of people to share my journey with, both on the web and in person.