Hi! Happy Weekend to ya. Anything exciting going on that I should know about? Things are good ’round these parts; lots of studying, kid-wrangling, weight lifting, recipe browsing, reading, The Shield watching, cooking, and of course eating going on. Yesterday afternoon we decided to surprise the kids with a trip to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda 2. Last time we took both tots to a movie we ended up leaving early because my youngest decided to start acting as obnoxious as humanly possible about half way through the flick. I basically spent $40+ on half a movie and a junk food-induced tantrum that lasted the entire car ride home (*cringe*). I haven’t consumed soda in years and I don’t buy it for the kids, but I used to let them share a cup maybe twice a year under extremely special circumstances. It was after that movie theater debacle that I decided I was never going to give it to them ever, EVER again. Liquid crack-cocaine, that stuff is. Truly the devil’s brew. Anyway, yesterday we opted for the dollar movies and a purse full of snacks from home (dry roasted edamame and baby carrots for me, homemade snack mix and WATER for the kids), and everyone stayed happy from start to finish. It was a good time.
Matt over at No Meat Athlete has an amazing post up called The Only Healthy Eating Guide You’ll Ever Need- a definite must-read! I’m already reading 18 million books at the moment, but I’m going to add Michael Pollan’s Food Rules to my list, asap. The more I educate myself about where my food comes from, how it’s made, what different ingredients do and how they’re derived, how my body processes and responds to different types of food, and how nutrition relates to overall health, disease risk and wellness, the more closely my food philosophy aligns with Mr. Pollan’s. I’m grateful to have his intelligent, observant, beautifully written, research-based point-of-view at my finger tips, because what he has uncovered about factory farming, the industrialization of our food system (butane on chicken nuggets? industrialized organic, anyone?), the hidden agendas that make changing the food industry nearly impossible, and the scary reasons why our obesity, cancer and type II diabetes rates continue to climb is like GOLD to me. His work leaves me feeling empowered, wanting to cook for myself and my family as often as I can, wanting to grow my own food, and with a strong desire to advocate for change. The China Study gives me that same feeling. Matt’s post is a good summary of the most important points from these books. Definitely check it out! For further reading, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and (from what I’ve read so far) The China Study just might change your life. (They’ve definitely changed mine!)
How about some food pics?
Yesterday I made some Strawberry-Carob Overnight Oats that turned out fantastic! I’m still using plain old cow’s milk Greek yogurt for things like this, but am constantly on the lookout for a non-dairy yogurt substitute that tastes good and doesn’t cost $18. (Suggestions are welcome!)
In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup each yogurt (use soy or other non-dairy yogurt for vegan overnight oats), old-fashioned oats, almond milk (I use plain unsweetened), 1 T. carob powder, 1 T. chia seeds and a little agave nectar.
Stir in a handful of sliced fresh strawberries and mix again.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, top with some cacao nibs (chopped nuts, goji berries or other dried fruit would also be tasty!) and drizzle with more agave nectar (you could sub pure maple syrup or honey for agave).
Easy, quick, healthy, YUM.
It was berry good. (ba da bum chhh!)
Next week I have plans to make my own version of The Fitnessista’s Breakfast Cookie! I’m pretty excited, which is no surprise.
Leftovers have made for tasty lunches the past two days. Yesterday I heated some leftover vegan mac & cheese with lightly sautéed broccoli, spinach and chopped red bell pepper and topped it with a dollop of hummus.
Today I feasted on leftover Black Bean Cocoa Quinoa tossed with wilted spinach and topped with cayenne pepper, chopped tomato and avocado.
Last night I tried vegan cheese! I picked up a pack of Daiya cheddar shreds to test on a cheese-less whole-wheat roasted veggie pizza.
(B tore up that Amy’s spinach pizza!)
The verdict? It was good! You know what the taste reminded me of? Spray cheese… but in a good way, if that makes any sense at all. I definitely won’t be buying Daiya regularly (that little bag was $7!), but it’s a nice option for when I need a little extra cheesy goodness in my life. It melted nicely and had the texture of regular cheese. I’m going to try a soy cheese next time and see which one I like better.
A sprinkling of nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper kicked this pizza up a notch, and it ended up being a really satisfying meal.
I used a vegan “ranch” dressing on my salad, and it was pretty tasty.
It didn’t really taste much like ranch dressing, but it was a good, creamy, non-dairy alternative and I liked it. I’m definitely going to experiment with making my own dressing in the future! I also want to start making my own hummus. You know what? Screw that. I talk the talk but dammit, lets do this already! When I’m out of salad dressing and hummus, I will make my own and stop buying it from the store. Stay tuned for adventures in hummus and salad dressing making. I know, I know… it’s too much excitement for one blog post!
Next week’s menu is ah-mazin‘. I’m embarrassingly stoked about it! It includes a vegan “cheese”-stuffed burger, vegan (and noodle-free!) lasagna, dairy-free stuffed shells, and vegan chicken-fried “steak” using homemade seitan, complete with homemade vegan gravy! I will post the complete line-up with links to the recipes tomorrow. We’re takin’ this vegan cooking thang up a notch!
What are you up to this weekend?
Tomorrow morning = carrot cake pancakes!
See ya tomorrow,