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Meatless Mondays: A Retrospective

I wrote a post months ago about having to say no in order to say yes to myself. Well, I am doing it again. I have been working extra hard lately and tonight, I will nourish myself and rest. I also thought about something special to share. I have made many vegan dishes–mostly cooked but several raw vegan. I had many favorites like African peanut stew, Raw No Bake Brownies, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, Sweet Potato Enchilada Bake, Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo and Raw Taco with Cashew Sour Cream.

I look back and think how proud I am that I pushed myself to find and cook these recipes. I didn’t just rely on salads (but I have made plenty of those!). I can’t believe it took this long to become more creative with my cooking but mostly I am grateful that I used this as a way to take better control of my health.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings as I start to prepare more raw meals and watch food play a much bigger role in my healing.

 

 

 

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Meatless Mondays: Easy Vegan Taco Bake

In our effort to do more gluten-free vegan dishes, I chose a vegan taco bake dish from buildyourbite.com. It was a relatively easy recipe that also did not use oil which I am also trying to get away from cooking with so often. Outside of the flavor of the dish, squeezing half a lime over it provided just the right amount of acid. I am so glad the recipe called for it. I would definitely bring this to our next vegan potluck. We also ate some broccoli to make sure we got our greens in tonight. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of tortilla chips (13 oz)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of salsa
  • sliced lime, for serving

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Directions

  1. In a bowl, add drained black beans, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and the juice of ½ of a lime
  2. Stir ingredients until well combined
  3. Get out a 9 X 13 casserole dish and lay down an even layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon evenly half of the bean mixture over the tortilla chips
  5. Cover with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  6. Add 1 cup of salsa, spreading out evenly
  7. Repeat steps of chips, beans, nutritional yeast, and salsa
  8. Top with remaining tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until browned
  10. Serve hot with fresh lime juice squeezed on top
  11. Be sure to reheat any leftovers in the oven for best results

This was such a life-saver tonight as allergies are currently sapping my energy. I am going to have to look into more recipes from buildyourbite.com.

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Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck Cookout

This past weekend, Hubby and I went to another vegan potluck at a friend’s home. This time, it was a cookout complete with barbecued seitan ribs, corn on the cob, garden burgers, potato salad, pesto pasta salad, fresh cantaloupe slices and ice cream. Hubby even baked his chocolate chip cookies again.

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Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Since it was basically the same group, we had an amazing time yet again. I was pretty wiped out from attending 3 events and cooking before we even got there but we looked forward to seeing everyone and of course, it was all worth it. I also realized I had never been to an all-vegan cookout, either. We were all outside, talking, laughing, eating at picnic tables and watching the children run and swing. There’s really not much of a difference.

There’ s comfort in going to a place where you don’t have to explain why you eat what you do but by far, the comfort is always because of the people.

And the connections.

As I’ve written here many times before, it never stops being about the people and the connections.

 

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Meatless Monday: Vegan Pesto Pasta with a Honeydew Lime Smoothie

Tonight, I decided to do things a little differently. Hubby and I are big smoothie lovers and I realized I’ve never featured any on my Meatless Monday posts. I decided to make pesto for the first time, too. I definitely had become a little too dependent on tomato and vegan Alfredo sauces so it was time to change things up. I got the recipe from greenevi.com and the Honeydew and Lime Smoothie was inspired by a YouTube video from Health with Kisha. I don’t remember her exact recipe but I remembered Honeydew melon and limes and I figured I could adjust according to my own taste.

We used a container of honeydew that was 1.17 lbs, the juice of 3 limes and blended it with ice.

Here’s Hubby hard at work juicing the limes for me:

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We used organic red lentil penne pasta for our vegan pesto pasta. We love the Explore Cuisine brand for red lentil and black bean spaghetti.

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Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • Pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of pine nuts
  • 1 cup of fresh basil (tightly packed)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, pepper
  • ½ lemon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare your pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile roast pine nuts in a skillet until lightly toasted.
  3. Add basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix pesto into pasta and add cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
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Pine nuts toasting
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All the ingredients. I blended them instead of putting them in the food processor but the pesto still came out great!

Hubby has already said he wants to me cook everything again next week. I fell in love, too. The honeydew and lime smoothie was incredibly refreshing. I can see making that regularly especially when summer hits.

Let me know in the comments if there are any new plant-based recipes you have tried or want to try.

 

 

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Meatless Mondays: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower ‘Wings’

I have been craving buffalo cauliflower ‘wings’ for a few days now. I’ve made them before and this time hubby baked them. This particular recipe came from gimmedelicious.com. We decided to pair it with spinach and Yukon gold potatoes (not pictured–we have it on the side). The only things I do differently is bake for 15 minutes longer to achieve the level of crispiness I enjoy and use a Texas Pete Wing Sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower approx. 4 cups of florets
  • 1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour can sub gluten-free rice flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup Frank’s red hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter for vegan: use earth balance buttery spread

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Before Baking
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After baking the sauce into the ‘wings’

Instructions

  1. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or grease very well with oil. Preheat your oven to 425-450 F depending on your oven.

  2. Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.

  3. Mix the milk/water/flour and spices in a medium mixing bowl (set aside the hot sauce and butter for later). Mix until the batter is thick and is able to coat the cauliflower without dripping.
  4. Dip the cauliflower in the batter. You can do this one by one or in batches. shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet. Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, flipping the florets over halfway through to get all sides golden brown and crispy.

  6. While the cauliflower is baking, get your buffalo wing sauce ready. In a small saucepan low heat melt butter and mix in hot sauce. Remove from the heat just as it starts to melt. Stir together and set aside.

  7. Once the cauliflower is done its first bake in the batter, remove them from the oven and put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly. Return cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until reached desired crispness. Serve with ranch, blue cheese, or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

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Meatless Mondays: Sweet Potato Quinoa & Enchilada Bake

I have been holding onto this recipe from shelikesfood.com for a few weeks. I have never cooked with enchilada sauce so I was excited to try. I also have been a little rice and potato heavy so getting back to eating more quinoa seemed like a good idea. I definitely took longer than the prep time indicated but I dice vegetables slowly.

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Diced veggies: red and green peppers, onions and zucchini
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Sweet potatoes ready to bake with a little salt, pepper and olive oil
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All veggies with salt, pepper and olive oil ready to bake together
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All veggies with quinoa, black bean, corn and spices sprinkled with vegan cheese

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 4 cup cubed sweet potato, about 2 large ones
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup grated cheese, divided (I used vegan cheese)
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: cilantro, red onion, tomato, avocado, jalapeno

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.  On a large baking sheet, toss together the cubed sweet potato with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bake sweet potato for 20 minutes.
  3. While sweet potato is baking, add all the diced bell peppers, zucchini and onion to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Add the vegetables to the sweet potatoes, stir and make sure they’re in an even layer.  Place back into the oven 10 minutes.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.  Place the sweet potatoes and veggies into a large baking dish and stir in the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, 3/4 cup of the cheese, enchilada sauce, spices, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Top with the remaining 1/4 of the cheese and place back in the oven until heated through and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All done! I let it bake for 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

Hubby and I loved it! We chose to garnish it with avocado. It blended together well and it came out light.  While we were eating it, I thought it would be interesting to add mushrooms, too. I definitely look forward to making it again.

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Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck!

Back from my two-week hiatus! It was good to take a break but now it’s time to get back to sharing these recipes, my writing and plant-based wellness journey. Saturday night, Jeff and I went to a friend’s house for our second vegan potluck. Our group consisted of two other couples and their combined 8 children. Since we don’t have kids, it’s lovely to visit a home filled with the warmth of laughing, playing children.

We had our first vegan potluck in December and it was such a hit, we decided to do it again. It was comforting to be around other plant-based people, share new recipes and just have some fun!

This time around, we brought shepherd’s pie and salted chocolate chip cookies made with quinoa flour (delicious!). There was also mac and cheese, Watergate salad (a marshmallow dessert), veggie kebabs, cupcakes with chocolate frosting and hummus and tortilla chips.

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Mac n’ Cheese. We all loved it and it was gone in a flash!

 

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Our shepherd’s pie!
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Watergate salad. I don’t eat marshmallows but everyone else enjoyed this vegan version of this colorful dish.

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Hubby standing proudly over his bowl of cookies!

As with all gatherings of friends, the best part was the company. Three different couples sharing their lives, a meal and and hopefully more of a future.

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Meatless Mondays: Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup

Tonight, hubby found the recipe on a website for No Meat Athlete. He and I are considering following their meal plans for a week to accelerate the process on our wellness journey. Plus, the site is full of whole foods plant-based recipes which I would like to cook regularly. It’s so easy to fall into the vegan junk food or takeout trap. It’s delicious but ultimately costly and more calorie laden than cooking at home. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1-2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Dry Rosemary
  • 1 cup any Tomato Sauce
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 can (15 ounces) or 1.5 cups cooked Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Kale (about 8 leaves), preferably Lacinato (Dinosaur), torn into bite-size pieces, coarse stems removed
  • 4 ounces Whole Wheat or Alternative-Grain Linguine, broken into 1 to 2 inch lengths (or choose a bite-size pasta)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil, if using, in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. If not using oil, add a few splashes of water as needed to keep ingredients from drying and burning.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and chickpeas, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the kale and after about 5 minutes, add the pasta and stir occasionally. (This assumes your pasta will take 7 to 8 minutes to cook. If you’re using pasta that takes 12 to 15 minutes, add the pasta when you add the kale.)
  5. When the pasta is al dente, remove the soup from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with the remaining teaspoon of fresh rosemary and optionally, a drizzle of olive oil.

We loved it.. not oily and filling for sure! So glad we chose to sign up for these recipes!

 

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Meatless Mondays: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Today we were supposed to be celebrating New Year’s at my brother-in-law’s and bringing a dish. I didn’t buy everything I needed for soup joumou for Haitian Independence Day so we stuck with Vegan Shepherd’s pie from the minimalistbaker.com. I will definitely do a vegan soup joumou in the near future. It came out well, I might have let it bake a little long but I love how crisp the potato crust gets on top. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
FILLING
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (DIYor store-bought)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
MASHED POTATOES
  • 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thoroughly washed
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

  1. Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
  2. Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add add desired amount of vegan butter (2-4 Tbsp), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparable sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close!).
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
  6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
  7. OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
  9. Place on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
  10. Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.

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Meatless Monday Christmas: Chickpea Flour Omelette

This morning our family gathered for breakfast and opening of presents. I decided to look up vegan breakfast options that aren’t smoothies/oatmeals. We found the Chickpea Flour Omelette recipe from strengthandsunshine.com.

INGREDIENTS

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the greens and optional veggies.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add more water if too thick. It should be pancake batter consistency (but not too runny).
  3. Meanwhile, heat a lightly oiled non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter in the pan like you’re making a pancake. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for 3 minutes until the edges dry and bubbles form on the surface.
  4. Now add the greens and/or veggies to one half of the omelette and take a spatula to fold the omelette over in half and cook uncovered for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove and transfer to a plate before topping with ketchup, salsa, hot sauce, etc.!

We used the Follow Your Heart brand for the egg replacer and used salsa on top. Next time, a little more salt and green peppers will be added. The consistency reminded me more of a Southwestern chickpea flour cake than an omelette. I was happy to have this option and will cook again soon.