Tag Archive | vegetarian

Irish Stew

I’m not Irish, I don’t pretend to be Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, and I don’t play someone Irish on television. No offense meant to anyone who does celebrate it; it’s just not normally a day I acknowledge in any big way. But this year I made an exception. In menu planning for the week, I thought I would try to find a recipe for a vegetarian Irish Stew to make today. True to form, I also made a number of modifications either because I didn’t have an item, or because I prefer a different ingredient.

And so, here is the link to my Vegan Irish Stew. I wish I could say the photo was mine, but it was all gobbled up before I thought to take a picture! It’s got a whole bunch of yummy vegetables, along with soy curls and lentils for health protein and meatiness. The gravy was delicious and we sopped it all up with some crust bread.

I also made some cupcakes (not vegan) with green icing and green sprinkles… for the children! Yes, I enjoyed them, too, but I really made them as a treat for my son and grandson.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

IMDb: Irish Stew (1930)

8 Years

Eight years ago today is when I started on my plant-based diet journey. I remember the date so vividly because it was the day following my last chemotherapy treatment. I had been researching plant-based diets throughout my treatment and only just dabbling with trying to eat a plant based diet. During that time, many people were cooking for me, so I ate what was delivered. But I knew that once my treatment was done, I was trying a WFPBNO diet. (Whole Food Plant Based No Oil)

I had been reading every book I could find on the subject, as well as watching documentaries such as “Forks Over Knives”. In the beginning, I was still cooking some meat and fish, since I wasn’t making my family eat this way. I had to do this for ME, and I could worry about them later. My husband joined me in being meat-free a few years after. My son eats whatever I cook, but sometimes indulges in eating meat outside the home.

I dropped 20 pounds or so, without really tracking, measuring, etc. I just ate the right foods. I leaned more towards Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution diet (70% starches, 20% non-starchy veggies, 10% fruit) and that worked well for me. I had so much energy, recovered well from my treatments, and felt amazing. All that AFTER surgery, chemo and radiation.

Over the years, I am sad to say, my discipline waned. While I never ate any meat, I did allow cheese to sneak back in my diet, ever so slowly. Throw in some junk food, and the 20 pounds started coming back on. As I said, this is a lifestyle, not just a diet. It can’t be short term; it has to be a life-long habit, with few, if any, lapses. I will talk more about dairy tomorrow, but I’m making a renewed commitment to no cheese.

It’s been a great 8 years of trying new foods, international cuisine, and hundreds of new recipes. A lot of it was trial-and-error. I learned new cooking techniques, as well. My food processor became my favorite appliance. It’s been such a learning experience, and I am better for it on so many levels.

* * * * * * * * *

Here’s a new recipe that I tried today. I modified it quite a bit, but I think a further reduction of the oil is needed on the marinade. Overall, it was delicious although my boys didn’t think it was quite enough for dinner… Marinated Tofu Salad.

IMDb: 8 Years (2020)

Magic Kitchen

After spending the last five hours in the kitchen, it seems an appropriate post to talk about some of the latest recipes I’ve tried.

Since we have a three day weekend (yea!), I pre-made the Oh She Glows “Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal”.  We’ll have that for breakfast tomorrow morning, plus it will give me some leftovers for Ethan’s breakfast for the week.

Today, I also made the Oh She Glows “Our Favorite Veggie Burger”. This took some prep work (grating carrots, chopping onions and cilantro, mashing black beans), but overall wasn’t too time-consuming. I served these on whole grain rolls with grey poupon mustard. You can add cheese, if desired, and all the usual burger toppings.  David and I enjoyed these burgers, but Ethan wasn’t a huge fan. He doesn’t care for “seeds” (sunflower) or onions… He did eat most of it, but the dog enjoyed the remainder. The batch made 8, so we have some for lunch tomorrow. (Won’t Ethan be happy?)

With the burgers, I made a new recipe for “French fries“. With no oil.  The trick is to partially boil the potatoes first, and then bake with some seasonings.  Everyone enjoyed these super healthy “fries”! I might mix up the seasonings a bit next time (a little less paprika, a little more kick).

Last week, I also made three new recipes:

Smoky Lentil Soup was a recipe I found on the blog, Plant Based Christian. This was a yummy soup, and the best part was the simplicity of preparation. Eight ingredients (if you count the water), thrown into my Instant Pot.  Turn on for 15 minutes. It counted get any easier.

Oh She Glows “Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup“. This was a big hit… except for the fact that David doesn’t like sweet potatoes. I didn’t think they were too strong/sweet based on the way they cooked in the recipe, but he noticed.  Ethan is a fan of curry and I loved everything in this recipe: red lentils (my favorite kind), cauliflower, spinach, fresh ginger…).

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Oh She Glows “Tex Mex Casserole“. Everyone loved this one!  No complaints and definitely something to add to the rotation.  This dish has loads of vegetables and it’s the first time I tried out some vegan cheese (Daiya). Melted within the dish, you would never even know. I opted for spinach over kale, as always.

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I also made the vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Torte that we all love. I took this to work once to rave reviews by everyone! As a reminder, I replaced the tofu with coconut milk vanilla yogurt. I think I’ll go have some now…  🙂

*****

IMDb: Magic Kitchen (2004)

Feeling Minnesota

As part of the Facebook groups and other blogs and forums I follow, I often hear about how people struggle with getting good food choices when the visit friends or family. It seems that the majority of them do not feel supported with their lifestyle choices. I have to say, quite honestly, that I have never experienced that! I have been blessed by family and friends who go out of their way to make sure that they have choices for me. They ask ahead of time, they research on their own, and they challenge themselves to make healthy options (sometimes vegan, but minimally vegetarian) for me. And they never make me feel guilty — they always seem genuinely happy to do it for me.  What more could a girl ask for?!?!

This past weekend, my husband and I traveled to Minnesota to visit friends. We had so much good, healthy food! Smoothies, oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.  Delicious salads, black bean burgers, quinoa & spinach cakes… the list goes on. And luckily, Minnesota seems to be ahead of the Pennsylvania curve when eating out. Many healthy options on the menus. The whole culture seems much more focused on organic and healthy choices. We bought some wild brown rice to take home (who knew Minnesota grew rice…?) but had to walk away from a few other things, as they would likely be confiscate by the TSA. I took a lot of business cards, though, and may just have to order some of this stuff at home.

A new salad dressing recipe from my friend, Gina:  Apple Jalapeno Jam (or any jalapeno jam) with a little bit of balsamic vinegar.  Mix that up and toss in your salad.  Delicious, and easy!!  (The jalapeno jam was one of the things I wanted to purchase, but will have to order online when I get home, or look locally.)

I’m really enjoying my long weekend in Minnesota. I’ve learned a lot about the area and have just enjoyed some relaxing time with my hubby and friends. Today I celebrate my 52nd birthday! I treasure each and every one of them, as you can never be sure you’ll have another.  Thank you, all, for the birthday wishes!!

*****

IMDb: Feeling Minnesota (1996)

The Secret Garden

As you may remember, my husband bought me an “Aero Garden 7” for Christmas.  I assembled the kit a few weeks ago, but never got around to planting my herbs until today.  The instructions had said “no well water”, so we needed to buy some distilled water, and it took me a while to get back to it.

The Aero Garden 7 is pretty cool.  After assembling (very simple), you add water and nutrients, insert the grow pods and cover with the bio-domes, and plug it in.  It will alert me when I need to add water, when I need to add nutrients (every 2 weeks), and when I need change the light bulbs (every 6 months).  The lights turn on and off based on a schedule determined by whether you are growing herbs, veggies, salad greens, or flowers.  It was pretty easy to put together and so far seems pretty idiot proof!

My herb garden includes cilantro, two kinds of basil, dill, mint, parsley and chives.  I’ve tried to grow herbs in the past, but have only had success with basil.  I’m feeling good about chances with this.  Here’s the garden with the pods and bio-domes (very high-tech!):

photo (34)

The light is pretty bright… maybe it will help with our vitamin D during this gray winter!  🙂

*****

This weekend I tried two new recipes….

Cajun Corn Chowder from the Happy Herbivore Light and Lean cookbook.  This has definitely become my new favorite cookbook.  I have enjoyed everything I have made from it thus far.  The Corn Chowder was super easy, and since it only makes a single serving, I doubled it with no issues.  Who doesn’t love easy AND enjoyable for lunch.

The second recipe was from my Vegetarian Crock Pot cook book.  I made pasta fagioli soup.  It was pretty easy to throw together and only took a little over 3 hours in the crock pot.  David really enjoyed; Ethan dug for the pasta, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes ( which I added to make it a little more hearty), leaving the zucchini behind.  I tried a new brown rice pasta that I probably wouldn’t use again, but otherwise, it was a big success.

*****

The Secret Garden (1993) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108071/

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

The 4-day holiday weekend was great.  I enjoyed time with family and friends, relaxed, and enjoyed so many things that are great about this country.  But alas, it was back to work today.  Not that it wasn’t a good day, but another day off would have been nice…  It was actually a pretty quiet day, since so many other (smarter) people did take the day off!

I can’t complain too much, though, as I had scheduled a much-overdue massage after work.  I had a gift certificate from a friend from way back when, at the beginning of my treatments (thanks, Karin!).  I never went for it during chemo or radiation because I thought the benefits would not last very long.  Of course, I finished treatments in March, and had my portacath out in May, so what took me so long???  The massage felt especially great on my feet and legs, where I have had the most discomfort from the Femara, and it always feels good to have the knots in my back worked on.  I’m actually a little sore (she was a brute!), but in a good way.

My garden continues to thrive and for dinner tonight we enjoyed pumpkin flowers!!  I think this is the first time I have had these since my childhood.  I noticed this morning that my pumpkin patch was covered in orange blooms, so my dad picked them and mom cooked them for me.  All ready to go when I picked up Ethan after work/massage.  They were as delicious as I remember!  Even Ethan enjoyed them.  We ate plates full of flowers, and there are still a gazillion flowers on the vines. Plenty left for Halloween.  🙂  The pumpkin flowers are most definitely vegetarian, but not so much vegan… dipped in eggs and then flour before being fried…  Good stuff!

I definitely want to continue reducing my intake of any animal protein (including dairy and eggs).  I am only on chapter 4 in “The China Study” and there have been a number of good reasons for reducing (well, eliminating) animal protein.  But more on that tomorrow!