Thanksgiving Dinner – All Set

There are so many recipe ideas out there for a vegetarian or vegan to make for Thanksgiving.  I have merely scratched the surface of what is available, so I hope you will explore more recipes out there or even create some of your own.  I have narrowed down my meal planning and I am sure there will be various side dishes that require very little preparation.

My mom makes a very good homemade pumpkin pie and apple pie, so I won’t worry much about making these items.  I may even be lazy and visit my favorite bakery and pick up a delicious pie.  I still consider myself a vegetarian so stopping by and purchasing a pumpkin/custard combo pie is definitely an option.  Maybe even a cherry pie with some ice cream may be in my future.

My menu is looking pretty good and I only need to buy a few ingredients a day or two ahead of time. This is great, my refrigerator will not be over stuffed with food like years past.  It’s going to be nice to have a creative meal, all plant based, with an easy clean up and no carcasses in my fridge or trash can.

So, to sum it all up, here’s the menu

  • Chunky Sweet Potato Bisque
  • Lentil & Mushroom Shepard’s Pie
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Cranberry Slaw
  • Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts
  • A few surprise side dishes that will appear on the table (no meat)
  • Desserts made from pumpkin, apples and maybe cherries

Not bad for my first Thanksgiving as a new vegetarian. I’m so excited.

Have your heard about Forks Over Knives?

My boyfriend and I watch a variety of documentaries covering a wide range of topics. As I started my travel down this road of becoming a vegetarian, the documentary that really pushed me off the edge was Cowspiracy.  Yes, that’s the name and it is not a typo.  The one before Cowspiracy that accelerated my journey, was Racing Extinction and before that I had watched Food Inc. All of these documentaries raised major questions about what we are doing to our food  (plants and animals) and our environment.  Being an animal lover I really had to step it up and not just love some of them, but all of them – the four-legged, the two-legged, and the ones with fins, gills, and shells too.

So, now that I have jumped off the bridge, fallen head-first into being a vegetarian and now swinging towards becoming a vegan, I needed to step up my nutritional understanding.  My very dear friend mentioned this website to me for recipes and meal plans called Forks Over Knives (FOK), so I gave it a look.  It’s a great site. Even better was finding the documentary behind the concept and development of Forks Over Knives on Netflix!

So, a few Saturdays ago, I logged in Netflix and watched the FOK documentary and it was very well done and inspiring for people who have medical struggles, to see how a whole-food, plant-based diet can change lives.  I REALLY recommend watching it.  But I didn’t stop there, I went on the hunt for the FOK cookbook. I did find it on Amazon, but when it comes to books, I like to touch and feel it, browse through the pages and get inspired.  Next stop … Barnes & Nobel … low and behold they did have a couple of copies of the FOK cookbook and one of them came home with me.

I now have a new cooking tool to play with.  Some of the recipes are a little more complicated, but others are simple.  I love the idea of making my own vegan sour cream, pesto, and salad dressings.  These are items that I frequently use at home. The problem with purchasing these pre-made items is there is more in the container than I can use in a reasonable amount of time or before it spoils.  I like knowing I can make smaller portions at home of my favorite dressings and condiments and not have so much food waste.

One thing you realize pretty quick when buying organic fruits and vegetables is they are not cheap. So, you have to be thrifty, aware of how much you buy and how much waste you create.  If you don’t manage your purchases and usage, you can end up costing yourself a lot of extra money.  Or should I say, waste a lot of money.

So, if you are looking for something to expand your knowledge about a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet give Forks Over Knives a watch.  I think you will find it inspiring, informational, and enlightening. The WFPB concept has been around for a while, and I think more and more people are going to move in that direction because it is just proving to be a healthier choice and a means of getting off the pharmaceutical drugs that just add more toxins to our bodies.

Live clean, live well

… Tracy

 

 

 

Aquafaba?

I took a vegetarian cooking class recently and the demonstrator mention aquafaba.  I had no idea what she was talking about so figured, I would Google it later.  Well, I learned something new today, aquafaba is the liquid from a can of beans.

I also learned that if you are vegan or working towards becoming a vegan, you can use this liquid as an egg replacement. For recipes where eggs are needed to bind or add moisture like in cookies and cakes, using 3 tablespoons of aquafaba can replace 1 egg and liquid from chickpeas and white beans usually works best due to its neutral color.

So, just a little tidbit of information for those working their way to becoming a vegan.

 

7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

People become vegetarians and vegans for various reasons. If you have changed your diet lifestyle for health reasons, your body will benefit from it. If you do it for animal compassion reasons, your heart, soul and body will benefit from a plant based diet. If you are a vegan or vegetarian because of global climate change reasons, all of the above applies and the planet thanks you.

People stop eating meat to lose weight, gain energy, reduce heart disease risk, and lots of other reasons. What happens to your body when you go plant based?

Source: 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

Cleaning Out the Pantry

Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been stocking up on all kinds of fun stuff in my pantry  Some ingredients I have purchased from the bulk section of the grocery store and other I have purchased pre-packaged.  I am going to share with you some things I have learned, the hard way.

If you are in your beginning stages of becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, I am sure you are experimenting a lot with various recipes.  You have probably bought all kinds of spices, flours, sugars, and seasonings in this experimental phase. I am going to say STOP NOW. Why, because you are probably wasting money by purchasing too much of one thing or another.

For instance, I started going down this curry road of creations.  I went and bought so many variations of curries to find out that some I like, others I do not like.  But now I have this shelf of curry powders that I may never use again.  I have also purchased bags of flour and if you don’t use it quickly enough you will have tenants move into your flours.  If you don’t store them in air tight containers you will have the makings of a science project, for a young boy or girl, who has the desire to become an entomologist when they grow up.

I recently cleaned out my pantry and ended up throwing out pasta galore, baking flour, corn flour, chickpea flour and some sugar.  I invested in some mason jar bottles, of various sizes, and will be storing future dry goods in them.  However, I have just cost myself about $500 in wasted food because 1) I purchased more than I needed and 2) did not store them properly.

So, words of wisdom, from lessons learned …

  • If you are just starting out, go slow on stocking your pantry
  • If you are experimenting with various recipes, buy from the bulk section from your grocery store
  • Just buy what you need for a single recipe
  • Store your dry goods properly, keep those bugs OUT
  • Spices do not last forever, so only buy what you use often in large quantities or in bulk (by weight) – I DO NOT mean COSTCO bulk
  • Onion Salt does not last long at all, especially in humid temperatures, you end up with onion rock
  • Storing rice with a few bay leaves in them help to control the “bug” population from establishing itself

Lessons learned from a new vegetarian …

-Tracy-

Top 10 Pantry Staples for Veg Home Cooks | Vegetarian Times

I’ve been on my vegetarian journey now for just about 9 months and I am still learning a lot about common items I should have in my pantry, from what spices are commonly used, the various grains and their nutritional value and making sure I get enough protein in my diet.

Recently I started training for a marathon, thanks to a dear friend, and have really come to realize the importance of adequate calorie intact from protein, carbohydrates and even sugar for energy.  Since I am not taking in meat protein having the levels needed for energy, muscle recovery and development is even more important from a fitness perspective.

This article is from Vegetarian Times, a magazine that I subscribe to and I hope you will find the information useful.

A well-stocked pantry means a nourishing meal is never more than a cupboard (or freezer!) away. Short on shelf space? We asked cookbook authors and nutrition experts 
to help us narrow down our list of the most versatile ingredients for your kitchen.

Source: Top 10 Pantry Staples for Veg Home Cooks | Vegetarian Times

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Blueberries

I am a big time fan of blueberries and the link below provides you with 5 reasons why they are good for your health and wellness. It’s also a bonus that they taste just so darn good too.

Blueberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but low in calories. Here’s why you should be eating more of them, plus links to recipes.

Source: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Blueberries

This entry was posted in FYI.

Enjoy your day …

Good morning from the Maldives

Day 6 – Raw Diet

We are coming to the end of our raw diet challenge and I must say I’m looking forward to enjoying a cup of coffee, an omelette, and some banana pancakes. Like any challenge, it’s great to know when you are almost done with it and get back to some normalcy. I look forward to experiencing some of three local flavors as well. Just hope my stomach can handle any exotic spices they might use here in the Maldives. 

Today’s lunch we got to enjoy the flavors, once again, of the beet root and mango soup. This is going to be one of my favorite dishes, for sure, and I need to see if I can replicate the recipe once I get home.

We also had a veggie canniloni with red pepper puree and finished our lunch with a raw apple crisp, one of the signature desserts on the wellness menu here at the resort.  They top it off with their house muslix and this is full of protein and does a body good. 

Day 5 – Raw Diet

I think today’s meal was my favorite by far. The presentation of each portion of the meal was just beautiful and the flavor just spot on.

To start we had a very delicious avocado, cucumber, tomato tartar appetizer followed by a veggie lasagna with a passion fruit puree drizzled on it and to finished lunch we had a raw chocolate & peanut butter mini pie on a date crust. I love chocolate so this was a dream to eat after 4 days without any sugary goodies in my diet. 😍