Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fantastic cookbook!

Clean Food by Terry Walters is a fantastic cookbook. It is a great resource for those just starting the vegan lifestyle and includes some fantastic recipes. Many of the cookbooks that I have bought were hit and miss. This one is definitely a hit.

The first 35 pages of the book tell you how to eat a clean, balanced meal, gives you how-to's on cooking grains and legumes and defines, as well as, offers you the benefit of most ingredients that you will run into as a vegan. In the recipe portion of the cookbook, Terry Walter's, separates her recipes into their ideal seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and some recipes for just anytime.

The best part about the cookbook for me, and the reason that I recommend it to you, is that it gives you an understanding for what goes best with what. For example, aduki beans go best with winter squash and millet goes particularly well with corn (a bean and a grain that I had never heard of before I became vegan). When cooking with ingredients that you know nothing about, cooking can be very difficult.  This was what I struggled with the most when cooking. I have found this book to be a good resource to have.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vegan 'Pseudo' Chicken Parmesan

This is an easy, inexpensive way to make chicken parmesan. It is also the reason that I love Boca chicken patties. Cook for two.

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Tools: baking pan, saucepan

2 Boca Chicken Patties
1/2 package of whole wheat or rice spaghetti noodles
Jar of spaghetti sauce

Directions: Follow the cooking instructions on the pasta and Boca chicken patty box. When pasta is done, rinse pasta and the pan it was in. Place pasta back into pan. Turn stove onto medium and add sauce to the pasta.  I use just enough sauce to coat pasta. Separate pasta onto plates. In saucepan, heat more spaghetti sauce. When Boca chicken patties are done slice the patties. Top pasta with Boca chicken patty. Place sauce onto top of Boca chicken patty, amount used is to your liking.

Note: You can get "Boca" Chicken Patties in the health food freezer section of most grocery stores (I get mine at Kroger and/or Food Lion. I recommend "Newman's Own" Sockarooni spaghetti sauce, as I find it to not be as sweet as other sauces. You can use vegan cheese on this but I try to keep processed food to a minimum in my cooking. Bread and/or a salad are a good compliment to this meal.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vegan Chili

This is the easiest and yummiest vegan chili!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Tools: Large Pot (I use a cast iron dutch oven), measuring spoons, a mixing spoon, a glass, and  a colander.

15 oz can organic black beans
15 oz can organic red kidney beans
24 oz jar of chunky salsa (I use Pace's, medium hotness, chunky salsa)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Organic whole wheat or rice pasta (optional)

Directions: Thoroughly clean the beans in a colander (rule of thumb: they are clean once all the foamy bubbles are gone), place beans in pot. Add Salsa, cumin and cayenne pepper. Turn stove on to medium-high. Add enough water to keep moist (approximately 1 cup). Stir every 5 minutes checking to see if you need to add water (I usually keep a glass of water next to the stove just in case). After 10 minutes turn stove down to medium-low. Cook for 25 minutes.

Note: If too dry chili will burn to bottom of pan.
Serve atop pasta (optional, but good)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Zucchini-Banana Muffins

I love muffins so I am going to share my favorite muffin with you. You can substitute carrots for zucchini if you prefer.

Preheat Oven to: 350 degrees fahrenheit
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Tools: Muffin pan, small bowl, large bowl, mixing spoon, 1/4c measuring cup and unbleached muffin cup liners.

1/3 c Earth Balance buttery spread
1/2 c organic sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 tsp arrowroot powder
1/2 c unsweetened, all natural applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c mashed banana
1 1/2 c grated zucchini
2 c all purpose flour

Mix melted butter and sugar together in small bowl. Add applesauce, mix and then set aside.  In large bowl mix all dry ingredients.  Mix the butter & sugar mixture into the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the banana & zucchini.  Mix. Using a 1/4c measuring cup pour muffin mixture into muffin liners. Will make 12 muffins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. Done when inserted toothpick comes out dry.

In the beginning...

I guess my first post should be about how I began this journey.

The Kind Diet
Six months ago my inner self was telling me that I needed to make a change.  I wasn't sure what that change was but I new it must be a change that would better my health.  I am not sure exactly how it happened but I bought Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet. I started reading it and couldn't put it down.  It took me all of a day to read it and decide that this was the change that I was looking for.  I think that it was so easy for me to start this way of living because I was open to the change and excited about it.  I have never been the most healthy of a person.  I ate what I wanted to and had the usual health problems that come with that.  Since this was going to be such a large change for me I decided to go full out and not only give up animal products but also give up refined sugars, flours and most all processed foods.

The first three weeks were awful!
I went through an awful detox.  I broke out all over my face and scalp, I was constipated like crazy and sometimes my skin would give off this horrible odor.  I fought through it though because I knew that I was just cleaning out years of horrible toxins from my system.

I was right!
The fourth week everything stopped.  I began to show signs of weight loss, my face cleared up, I was no longer constipated and I smelled normal.  From  that moment on I have felt great. My family and friends can hear a change in my voice when I talk to them, no more doom and gloom.  My cats hang out with me more than they ever have.  I am just happy overall.  My body is telling me that what I am eating is right for me, FINALLY.

6 Months
Tomorrow is my 6 month mark, Dec 22, 2010. To celebrate this, I have created this blog.  I want to share what I know with you.  Becoming a vegan was in no way easy for me. In giving up most all processed foods (all but Earth Balance butter, Vegenaise, Blue Diamond Almond milk, Boca Chicken Patties and some other dressings) this process was very difficult. Most recipes I came across wanted to make vegan food taste like some kind of meat or dairy and included fake cheese or fake meat in every recipe. As I am not one who can just eat brown rice, a veggie and beans for dinner every night, I had to come up with my own recipes. So, as I come up with recipes or find new brands I will share them with you.