Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Bean Extravaganza


2 cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 to 1 1/2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth 
1 tablespoon liquid aminos 
1 teaspoon salt-free chili powder 
2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped 
1 bunch green onions, chopped 
1 can water chestnuts, drained (We didn't use water chesnuts...not a fan!)
1 cup corn, fresh, frozen, or canned 
2 bell peppers, any color, seeded and chopped (We used red...)
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped 
1 avocado, peeled and sliced 
3 cups cooked brown rice 
Salsa or tamari to taste 


Heat the beans with water or broth, liquid aminos and chili powder. Place the chopped vegetables and cilantro in individual bowls. To serve, place several big spoonfuls of brown rice onto large plates and ladle beans on top. Add generous handfuls of chopped vegetables, cilantro, and avocado on top of the beans. Add salsa or tamari to taste.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Engine 2 Recipe Video

This has probably been one of the most helpful books in our switch to a plant based diet.  This video is a good "intro" to some of the amazing foods that can be prepared!  It was also inspiring to watch as I meal plan for the week!

No Oil: Not Even Olive Oil!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recipe: Plant Strong Potatoes

I used:
2 large baking potatoes

1 chopped yellow squash
1/2 c chopped broccoli florets
1/2 diced onion
1/2 diced red bellpepper
8-10 large baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/2-3/4 cup veggie broth
2T white wine
Seasonings:  I used Mrs. Dash, garlic powder, Tony's, tsp of Roux mix to thicken it...

Sauté veggies until they start to soften.  Add seasonings, stir.  Add veggie broth to saturate vegetables, and make the whole pot "liquidy".  Add wine and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Bake potatoes in 350*oven for an hour, wrapped in aluminum foil.  Slice potatoes, and stuff with veggie mix.  These were so filling!  I added salt at the end, so it wouldn't be too salty. I also sprinkled mine with about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and mixed it up.  Will make these again soon :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recipe: Fluffy Pancakes

McDougall's Starch Solution:  "Fluffy Pancakes"


1.5 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
Dash of Salt
1 T Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 C mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 C soy milk or rice milk
1/2 C sparkling water (I omitted this)
1 T Sunsweet Lighter Bake (I used 1/4 c applesauce here)
1 T fresh lemon juice

Mix together the whole wheat flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the Egg Replacer with 1/4 c warm water until frothy.  Add the bananas, mixing well.  Add the milk, sparkling water, Lighter Bake, and lemon juice until well mixed.  Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined.

Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.  When it is hot, ladle pancakes onto the griddle. When bubbles form on the surface, use a spatula to flip them over.  Cook until lightly browned.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve immediately.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Plant Strong Pitas

-3 Ezekiel brand pitas
-Cannellini bean spread (process 1 can of NSA beans, garlic powder, celtic sea salt, lemon          juice, sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and a few splashes of veggie broth to thin!)
-Sauteed red bellpepper/onion/mushroom
-Chopped baby spinach, green onions, and cilantro

Preheat oven to 375*.  Lightly toast pita bread and remove from oven.  Keep oven on! Spread hummus, or any other homemade bean spread over pitas.  Be generous!

Top with cooked veggies, and place pitas back in oven to heat the beans/veggies.  When warmed, top with greens!  Fold pita over and enjoy :)  This would also be great with guacamole and freshly chopped tomato!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meal Plan: May 19-25

Lunch:  Out!  (Mexican-bean/rice burrito with salsa, guacamole salad)
Dinner:  Curry couscous, sauteed mushrooms, roasted potatoes

Lunch:  Red Beans and Rice
Dinner:  Veggie Wraps, Roasted squash/zucchini, and Fruit Salad (grapes, pineapple, berries)

Lunch:  Mini Ezekiel English Muffin Pizzas, corn
Dinner:  LO Red Beans and Rice

Lunch:  Boca Nuggets; Fruit, Salad, Mac N Cheese (with nutritional yeast)
Dinner:  Breakfast!  (hashbrowns, sauteed mushrooms, FF muffins, fruit salad, buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup)

Lunch:  Edamame, Miso Soup, Ginger Salad
Dinner:  California Quinoa Salad, Roasted Veggies

Lunch:  Veggie Lasagna, Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Dinner:  Veggie Alphabet Soup with homemade bread

Lunch:  LO Lasagna, Salad
Dinner:  Fruit/Veggie Tray with PB and J Sandwiches (easy!)

At some point over the weekend, I will be grocery shopping (no Whole Foods trip this time!  Boooo)  and I plan to try to make this soup!  A "Peasant Style Kale and Potato Soup".  Will veganize and omit oil!  Can't wait to try it!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meal Plan: May 13-May 20

-Lunch:  mini English Muffin Pizzas; kale salad; berries
-Dinner:  Miso Soup, roasted veggies, sliced apples/pears, WF bread

-Lunch:  Buffalo Mock Chicken; WW crackers, berries
-Dinner:  crock pot Pinto beans, Mexican rice, Guacamole Salad

-Lunch:  Plant Strong Veggie Wrap, California quinoa salad, banana
-Dinner:  Mandarin Chicken and brown rice(Gardein), steamed broccoli, edamame

-Lunch:  LO Mandarin Chicken, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Edamame
-Dinner:  Veggie Burger on WW bun, roasted potato wedges

-Lunch:  Riblet, Sweet Potato, Carrot/Apple Salad
-Dinner:  Red Beans and Rice, Veggies and Fruit

-Lunch:  LO Red Beans and Rice
-Dinner:  Garden Veggie Lasagna, salad

-Lunch:  Gardein Chicken Strips, Nutritional Yeast Mac N Cheese, Sweet Potato
-Dinner:  LO Lasagna and Salad

-Lunch:  Veggie Minestrone Soup, bakery bread
-Dinner:  Veggie Pizza, Salad

Easy Lunch Idea: Mini Veggie Pizzas


Ezekial brand English Muffins, cut in half
1 can of fat free (or  low fat) pizza sauce
Nutritional Yeast

If muffins are frozen, defrost in microwave until they are thawed.  Add a layer of sauce, and then let your taste buds do the rest.  If your kids are like mine, they are more likely to eat foods if THEY help make it!  So-have the kiddos top their pizza with topping of their choice.  Top the pizzas with nutritional yeast to get your B12 in :)

Bake for 15-20 minutes until veggies are hot and slightly cooked.
These were a great Plan B lunch.  Paired with a big kale salad and fruit, it left me very full and I got my veggies in!

Yay for no cooking!
Happy Mother's Day :)

Kids=corn and mushroom
Ours=Mushroom, red bellpepper, baby spinach
All topped with nutritional yeast!

My Lunch :)  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What I'm Reading Now

Ok...I am ABOUT to be reading it! LOL  As soon as I am done with Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease...I am thinking I will do one post after I read both of them.

I am really excited about this book!  I am a huge believer in carbohydrates and starches.  It makes me sad to see friends go "low carb" in an effort to lose weight.  When eaten correctly (simple vs complex) they can fuel your body, keep you full, and help you shed pounds.  

Also, after the new Paleo hoopla, i'm excited to see something that backs eating starches/carbs/grains.  Rice, potatoes, beans, corn, sweet potatoes...Yes Please!

ANNNNNND....a video :)

Easy School Lunch

Field Day Lunch!
Granola bar, blackberries, carrots/yellow pear tomatoes, applesauce, lemonade

Whole Foods Grocery Haul

Instead of cheese=nutritional yeast!  Also gets B12 in :)

Love these individual containers!  Perfect for when you only need a splash or two for sautéing!

Finally found a baked tortilla chip that is wonderful!  

Kombucha!  Love this for times when I feel my digestive tract is lagging or if i've eaten junky.  It is a fermented tea.

LOVING Ezekial brand foods!  They are made from sprouted grains, and found in the frozen section.  

This was suggested in one of the Engine 2 recipes (the sausage one, breakfast tacos)
This is a soy-based substitute product, but is low fat, so it fits the "plant strong" bill :)

Ok-not "plant strong"...has Veganaise, but is so delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love it on crackers for lunch.

Love my produce drawers!  

I have been missing my salad dressing with EVOO :(  Found this at  WFM, and was hoping it would taste decent.  It is awesome!!!!!  No added oils!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Plant Strong Cinco de Mayo ;)

Whole Wheat fajita sized tortilla
Sauteed Mushrooms
Roasted red bellpepper
Baby kale
cilantro and guacamole (underneath all that! LOL)

Holy cow-this was awesome!  Kept me full, and was so tasty!  I think cilantro is my new favorite herb!

Because People Have Asked :)

How did we go from being a fast food dependent family, to one who eats a grocery cart full of produce every week?  I've been thinking back and making a mental "timeline" of my weight loss journey, and how i've changed my diet slowly...Where I am now was not part of my original intentions, but I am so glad that my course was veered in this direction :)

I know I should eat better, but do not care...I weigh nearly 200 lbs!  Kyle and the kids eat what I cook.  Usually meat at EVERY meat, chicken, turkey, fish, shrimp...yeah :/

January 1st-June 2011
Make the decision that I am tired of carrying my "baby weight", and begin changing my diet.  I cut back red meat to 1x a week, lean meats 3-5x a week, and limit my dairy (especially cheese).  I cut processed foods/fast foods to about 3x a week.  I go from weighing 180(size 14/16) to 138 (size 6/8).  Early June, Kyle was hospitalized with a "cardiac event", complete with lots of meds and a catheterization to check out his arteries (which were clean-yay!  Diagnosed with Prinzmetal's Angina)

July 2011-February 2012
Decide to cut out red meat, and eat less chicken.  Eat more seafood and begin juicing to get nitric oxide from veggies...Begin eating more plants, but still eating some processed and restaurant food.  Holding steady between 135-138 lbs, but weight does not budge. I am stuck at this weight for about 6 months!  Begin a "Biggest Loser Challenge" at the jr. high that I work at.  Kyle begins working out to strengthen his heart, and ups his intake of protein (because-don't you know, you NEED eggs and whey protein to bulk up!  and I need to eat low-fat yogurt and egg whites to lose weight...NOT!  So glad we learned our lesson :)

February 2012-April 2012
Watch the documentary "Forks Over Knives", and it is like a slap in the face!  (A good one! LOL)  Begin to read more about Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr. McDougall and how a plant based diet and prevent major diseases)  Load the iPad with vegan cookbooks, and change our shopping habits yet again!
Consume no meat (red meat, turkey, chicken, nothing)  Kyle and I occasionally eat sushi.  Begin to phase out dairy.  Have not eaten cow's milk or cheese, butter, or yogurt.  (Miranda is still addicted to plain biscuits, chocolate and ice cream, but has cut WAAAAAY back :)  1-2x week or so)  Weight drops from 135 to 125, and is holding steady.  I eat constantly, too! :)

May 2012
Read "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and the "Engine 2 Diet", and make the decision to cut oils from our diet.  Learning that olive oil, coconut oil, pecan oil is NOT what we need for healthy hearts!  It also made me realize that I need to quit kidding myself and thinking that "everything in moderation" is ok.  We use vegetable broth and lots of seasonings on our foods, and saute them in their own natural juices.  Phasing out ALL dairy (even the yummy caramel chocolate bars that are my favorite...oh-and chocolate ice cream from Dairy Queen...and the plain McDonalds biscuits that I love)

As Kyle and I were talking today, we asked ourselves "how are we doing?".  My response was that we aren't perfect, but we are doing better than we were yesterday.  And next week, we will be better than today :)  I am so thankful to be married to someone who thinks like me in so many ways.  I am thankful he supports me (in my diet, and so many other areas)  I am happy to try my hardest to provide plant based meals to my family, because after all the studies and research i've seen, I can't NOT do it!!!

John McDougall MD on the Perils of Dairy Products

Over the last few weeks, it has been so tempting to slide back into eating small portions of dairy and lean meat.  I came across this video today on the Engine 2 Diet Facebook Page.  Dr. McDougall is amazing!  I was glued to the presentation (it is about an hour long!)  He is such an excellent speaker.  He makes this research easy to understand and his visual aids are very helpful.

It was a great reminder of what I knew and what i've read over the last few months.  Dairy is NOT is just another reminder that we are responsible for our own health.  Our government health organizations and the medical community for the most part are not presenting us with accurate information.  It is infuriating to see the "3 a Day" dairy posters plastered all over my school (I am a teacher), and see that strawberry/chocolate/vanilla milk are the only *free* options available to our students.  (Water is $1 a bottle, and when we have about 50% receiving free or reduced lunch, well you get the picture)

Anyway-great video, great speaker, great information!!!

Meal Plan: May 6-12

Lunch: Whole Wheat Wraps (guacamole or homemade hummus, baby kale, cilantro, roasted red bellpepper, sauteed mushrooms) and roasted garden veggies (squash/zucchini) 
Dinner: Whole Wheat penne pasta bake with sun dried tomatoes and side kale salad
Lunch:  Rip's Big Bowl (yes-i'm craving this and plan to bring it to work with me LOL)  I think this meal will be a "whatever I feel like" kind of meal :)
Dinner:  Black Beans and Rice, Guacamole Salad
Lunch:  Leftover beans/rice, fruit

Dinner: Stuffed bell-peppers, salad, baked beans
Lunch:  Peanut Butter Sandwich, banana, and baby carrots
Dinner: BBQ vegan riblet, baked sweet potato, and Cali Quinoa Salad

Lunch:  Baked Sweet potato and LO Quinoa Salad
Dinner: Mushroom and Herb Couscous, roasted garden veggies
Lunch:  Fajita Veggie Baked Potato
Dinner: Baked Tofu Nuggets, roasted potatoes 

Whole Foods trip!  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My New Favorite Cookbook!

I got this on my iPad for $4.99 at Amazon, and was so excited to see SO MANY recipes that looked good and easy to make.  Some of the major downfalls that I have found with buying vegan cookbooks is A-they are vegan, but not always healthy (ie-lots of oils, meat substitutes, etc).  B-they call for crazy ingredients that I have never heard of..i'm new to this game! LOL and C-they take for-e-ver to prep/fix/cook.

This cookbook avoids all of those!  The recipes are all "low fat, whole food, plant based" ingredients, and the cover claims that the recipes can be "on the table in 30 minutes or less".  It also covers all aspects of cooking (breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothies, dressings, salads, soups, etc)  I am so excited to meal plan for next week!  Stay tuned for recipes and pictures :)

Engine 2 Breakfast Tacos


Fajita size whole wheat tortillas
2 cups of frozen, shredded hashbrowns
1/2c Gimme Lean sausage, crumbled and browned
Jarred organic salsa (we used mild)

Heat tortillas in microwave until warm.  In a skillet, heat Gimme Lean brand sausage until browned.  In a second skillet, lightly spray with cooking spray, and heat hash browns.  Top tortillas with hash browns, sausage, and spoon salsa.  Wrap and eat :)