Posts Tagged ‘Vegan’

The INAUGURAL Talking About Our Thursday Food Choices

So, on my The RA Vegan facebook page, we’ve been talking about making healthy food choices.  It’s a constant theme in my life, to be honest.  I mean, things are certainly healthier since I became a vegan, but you can still be a junk food vegan.  (The day I found out oreos were vegan was NOT a good day!) In the discussion it was brought up that I’m not the only one having these issues which got me to thinking……  So very much like ‘What I Ate Wednesdays’ (WIAW) we’ve decided to have  ‘Talking About Our Thursday Food Choices’ (TAOTFC – LOL).  So, every Thursday I’ll write a post about what I ate that day.  (Or, in the event of being super busy, on Friday.) On the facebook page we’ll discuss our choices through pictures or posts or whatever we decide to use to share.  That way there is 1) Some accountability and 2) we can get some ideas about what others are eating!  You can share on your blog or through facebook; or you can just read.  Whatever you’re comfortable with! I have to admit that knowing that I would be doing this tonight *did* make me think more about my choices.  When I did WIAW I would often decide ‘well, I just won’t count today’ and would eat something crazy.  Today I had no choice!  That said, this is NOT about shame.  If you eat 5 soy ice cream sandwiches then oh well.  Not judging here. For breakfast I had leftover pizza.  This is homemade pizza on wheat crust with sauce, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and vegan mozzarella from Trader Joe’s.  I often don’t eat much for breakfast but I ate 2 pieces of this.  Interestingly, after one piece I thought ‘I don’t need another’ but I still ate it.  I got about 3/4 of the way through the piece and decided I was done.  Next time I’m hoping I can listen to that inner voice earlier!

pizza

Then I packed my lunch for school.  As you can see, it didn’t take much!  This is leftover Easy Red Beans and Rice and 2 clementines.  I have started taking time to sit in the teacher’s lounge with others and eat the last few days.  Typically I eat at my desk, working, but really that’s not the best thing for my emotional health.  When I went to get up after just a few minutes today (I had eaten very quickly) one of the women I eat with told me to ‘sit down.”  She was right.  I need to take some time to talk with adults during the day; to think about my needs. packed lunch Not long after, though, I realized that this wasn’t enough food and went into the stash of food I keep in my desk.

2013-01-10_13-49-49_412  There was only about 2 of these left but they were definitely good!  Then I taught the rest of my day.  On my way to work with one of my special girls I enjoyed 3 of these macaroons.

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YUM.  I got these for Christmas and I’ve enjoyed every pack.  Truth is, that every pack seems to be getting better!  After working with my girl and a quick trip to the thrift store (as my 13 year old said, at 7 am, that he needed more track pants.  Seeing as how I couldn’t handle this request at 7 am, I handled it at night!) I came home to an amazing dinner that Mark made.

saladlasagnabrownie

Salad, Vegan Lasagna, and a gf/vegan brownie topped with strawberries!  (There might also have been a piece of vegan garlic bread in there that I didn’t get to photograph!)

So, all in all not the worst day or the best day.  I need to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods.  I have already put the leftover salad in a container to take for lunch tomorrow, and have a container of pomegranate seeds to take in my lunch as well.  I feel like the snacks I had in my desk weren’t bad, but I think maybe I should pack more in my lunch so that I have better options like some extra fruit.  And today had more vegan cheese then I think I’ve had in the last 6 months; It just worked out that way.  That won’t be normal.

So how was your day today. both food-wise and non food-wise?  I hope it was a positive day and that, whatever food choices you made, you don’t beat yourself up about any of them.  Each moment is a chance for a new beginning!  (Now I need to stay out of the brownies as I put them away!)

Meals out in the second half of 2012

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As I told you in my last post, there were a lot of reasons why I didn’t post for the second half of 2012.  But I *did* eat and had always intended to share these meals out with you.  Since I don’t see myself going back and doing in-depth posts about each of them, here are some highlights.  (This makes me feel better and lets me, with clear conscious, move on to 2013 posts!)

On a trip to Ocean City MD I shared a great night with my family and some close friends, and found a new place that wants to accommodate vegans.  My friends were staying at the beach and had emailed the owner of Crazy 8’s to ask if they could handle feeding a vegan.  They were very honest about not knowing exactly what that would entail but made it clear they wanted to accommodate.  There were several choices but I went with a veggie wrap without cheese and with homemade guac added.  Wow.

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My daughter and I took a vacation to Connecticut to see some friends and they introduced me to all sorts of wonderful food!  Soups by The Soup Girl and Wendy’s Bites from Shayna B’s.  Not to mention the fresh Sun Gold tomatoes eaten right out of their garden and the amazing take-out they got for me.  I don’t even know where these pictures came from, but I know they were wonderful!

pizza cupcakesdairy free ice cream

We also ate at 2 vegetarian/vegan restaurants while in CT.  The Red Lentil in New Haven was a fabulous upscale place with lots of choices.  Vegetarian with vegan options and some gluten free options.  Unfortunately it looks like the New Haven location has closed.  Bummer, but it was a great meal!

020021024025028029 (Can you tell I really liked the desserts??)

After a trip to visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford CT we had lunch at Fire and Spice Vegan restaurant.  It was a small place with an even smaller staff and, unfortunately, we entered right after a huge party who didn’t have a clue what they wanted.  This meant it took a long time to get our food, but it was quite good and the staff were really apologetic.

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Fall found me mostly at home, so no restaurant meals to speak of.  But winter break found us on a few outings.  This was my second visit to the Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville MD, but the first for my family.  I’m the only vegan, but my son is gluten-free so I was happy to see that they could easily accommodate that.  (A funny story:  I told the waitress that my son is gluten free but that he’s ‘not adventurous’ because I was looking for things that were not spicy.  She thought I said ‘he doesn’t eat vegetables’ and was a little concerned that I had brought him to a vegan restaurant!)

These photos are pretty rough but I don’t like using my flash in restaurants and it was nighttime, but you can see the yummy goodness!  (Obviously I made a mistake and used my flash for the ‘chicken wings’ – best picture though!)

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And we’ll end with a restaurant we found in Tom’s River NJ through Happy Cow on my phone.  Via Roma is a small Italian place with an extensive menu that includes a full gluten free menu, a full vegan menu, and a gluten-free & vegan menu!

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This calzone was amazing.   And this is the small; I still had to take half home!

Ok.  I feel better now.  I’ve shared all the restaurant meals I had intended to share and now I feel better!  I can move on to 2013 with no guilt.  🙂

Where have you had amazing meals out?  Especially vegan meals!

The Sea Star in Chincoteague Virginia

Some time ago, through using Happy Cow, I discovered that there is a small restauraunt in Chincoteague Virginia with vegan options.  I was intrigued, since that’s only 45 minutes from me.  But I haven’t been to Chincoteague since I was 15 and need I say, I am *way* over 15!

So today when we dropped T at a week of sleep-away space camp the rest of the family decided to go out to dinner before we started home.  Now, I didn’t even know Mark had put the Happy Cow app on his phone, but I shouldn’t be surprised since he’s pretty darn supportive.  As we waited to be dismissed from the social event that started the camp, Mark suggested we hit the Sea Star in Chincoteague for dinner.  Who am I to resist a cool place with vegan options??

This is one of those places where you walk up, order and pay, and then wait for them to call your number for food.  There is a whole “vegetarian” section of the menu with four sandwiches specifically marked as Vegan.  I chose the Malibu, a whole wheat wrap with hummus, avocado, tomato, sprouts and lettuce.  That little wrapped thing in front of the sandwich was my pickle and it was darn good.  The drink is an unsweetened passionfruit mango tea, and the chips in the back are not mine.  They, actually, included dairy but I liked reading the package as they were made by a very small company in Virginia.

Mark and E waiting for their food

My unwrapped meal

Yum

After dinner we walked around the funky little town some, checking out the “Misty of Chincoteague” statue before we drove down to wildlife refuge that is the beach.

It was a nice evening for the three of us, and definitely a place I’d go to again.  Since I’m not a local it may only be a place I’d go to in the warmer months when I could comfortably sit outside and eat, but it’s worth the drive for the cool feel and good food!  This is not fast food, though, and you have to wait while they make everything to order.  But that gave me more time to listen to the gulls!

Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake

It’s hot out.  It was hot out yesterday and it’s still hot out today.  Unlike yesterday, however, I wasn’t wearing a heart monitor so I could get in the water.  Today’s water adventure took place at Assateague National Seashore, one of my very favorite places on earth.

After about 4 hours in the sun jumping waves, walking, and watching ghost crabs, we were ready to go home, after a quick stop for ice cream for the others in my family since I’m the only vegan.  You might think I would be jealous.  Nah.  I had this to come home to:

And this is a Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake.  Long name but darn good drink on a hot day like today!

Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake  Serves 2 (one if you’re really hot!)

1 cup fresh watermelon, chopped

1-2 cups coconut milk ice cream, coconut flavor

1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 frozen bananas, broken into pieces

In your blender contraption (mine is a Vitamix) put the watermelon, the ice cream, and then lime juice.  Blend it until mostly combined.  Then add the frozen bananas and watch the color change a bit and things get nice and creamy.

Very quickly mine became

I wasn’t jealous of that ice cream stop at all.  This was good!

I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.  This is definitely better for you than a traditional milkshake with all the fruit and you could make your own coconut ice cream to decrease the sugar even more!

Stuffed Chard Rolls (Gluten Free & Vegan)


The holiday weekend was a mix of good and bad at my house.

We had some people over to swim and enjoyed a fabulous meal on Saturday, which was good.

The riding lawn mower died on Sunday and required the purchase of a new one, which was bad.

The electricity was out for 6 hours on Monday, which was bad.  But it came back on around noon, which was good.  But then the water pump wouldn’t work and so we had no water which was, definitely, bad.

Luckily we have lots of amazing friends and family who all offered to let us come to their homes to shower.  (Because, after 4 hours under the house trying to fix the water pump, Mark *really* needed a shower!)  Our friends made us a fabulous meal which made us forget about the fact that we were without water, which was good.

So when Tuesday came along Mark had to stay home from work to wait for the plumber, which was bad.

But after the plumber left Mark went to the farmer’s market since he wasn’t working, which was very very good.

Because it meant he made this:

He said the chard at the farmer’s market was so amazing he had to have some!  Now, remember, I’m the only vegan in my family.  But everyone loved it.  I am one lucky woman to have this man cooking for me!  You should have seen my eyes when I put the first bite in my mouth.

Mark’s Stuffed Chard

1 small zucchini

1 small onion

1 carrot

1 cup cauliflower

1 bunch chard

3 cups cooked rice

1 14.5 oz. can beans (rinsed)

2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. vegan & gf  Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350*
Bring a pot of water to boil for chard blanching
Spray baking dish with cooking spray
Cook rice as directed on package. Set aside
Finely chop the zucchini, onion, carrot, and cauliflower
Sauté the chopped veggies about 5 min in the olive oil
Mix veggies, rice, beans, and 1 can of tomatoes. Set aside
One at a time, blanch chard leaves so they can be rolled (about 15 seconds), then rinse with cold water to
stop the cooking
Spread leaf out flat and put in as much of rice mixture as you think will fit without splitting leaf
Roll mixture in leaf and place seam down in baking dish, repeat till dish is full
Mix other can of tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and pour over rolls
Cover pan with foil
Bake for 30 min

The mixture is a little loose but tastes fabulous!

Mark used canary beans and sticky rice but we don’t think either is a requirement.  We ate this with some sourdough bread also bought at the farmer’s market and it was a fabulous meal to come home to after a long day.  Because my school doesn’t have air conditioning, which is bad on a hot day like today.  But as I said, the goodness of this meal made up for everything!

Thank You Disney’s Vegan Chefs

This is a thank-you post about my trip to Disney.  Now, there are a lot of people I could thank on this trip.  I could thank Mark, who pushed me to see it was a good idea.  (I am the practical one sometimes.)  I could thank the people who safely saw us to our destination and got not only our luggage to the room but the groceries I had ordered through garden grocer.  Because having those groceries in our room really helped.But the people I most want to thank are:

Jesus, Ani, Bob, Angie, Kim, Eugene, and Josh 

You see, those are the amazing chefs who cooked for me.  Who came out of the kitchen and took the time to talk about what they could prepare for me and for T on this trip.  None of them are specifically vegan chefs, but the moment I asked them to cook for me they became MY Vegan Chef!

(For those of you who don’t know not only am I a vegan  for health reasons but T, my 12 year old, is intolerant to wheat and potatoes/sweet potatoes.  There are a few other things but those 2 are the biggies.)

Each place we went the chef would come out and talk to us.  T’s needs & wants would be discussed first because I’m the mom so, you know, I want to make sure the kids things are done first.  Then we’d get to mine.  On property, with only one exception, every situation was fabulous.  The chefs mentioned above were from some of the nicer restaurants on property but also from the food court at our hotel.  A hotel, I might add, that was a “budget” hotel.  Didn’t matter where, the chefs were phenomenal.  Ani told me she appreciated the chance to make me something different.  Angie sent us out a special appetizer tray to try.  And when we suggested something that would be easy to veganized to Eugene he said “I can do better than that.”  And he did.

So a huge thank you to the chefs who made my stay easy and who prepared this amazing food for us.  I will say that I was often too hungry from walking so much to take a picture, so not all things are here and these are in no particular order.

And one more quick thank you to the un-named people who bake at Baby Cakes Disney.  Because of you I got this fabulous photo:

Yep.  He was THAT excited!  His favorite was the pumpkin chocolate chip bread.  Mine were the cookie sandwiches.  No pictures of those.  I was too busy stuffing my face!

Vegan Food For Non Vegans: The Basics for Lunch

So it’s only been, what, 2.5 months since I started this series?  On January 30th I published The Basics for Breakfast specifically aimed at feeding non vegans vegan food.  I also said I’d write others.  Sorry it took me so long to get to that point!  The simple premise of this series is that sometimes we need to go back to the basics for a variety of reasons.  Like me you might be the only vegan in your circle and be in need of some things to convince them that you don’t only eat grass.  Or you might be a new vegan looking for some ideas.  Or your situation may be entirely different.  But here are some basic ideas about easy lunches that are vegan.  Not all of these will appeal to you and, yes, some of these may include vegan convenience foods.  But I have found that when attempting to transition from a SAD (Standard American Diet) it sometimes makes the change easier if you have some foods that remind you of your old way.  And one note:  These foods can certainly be eaten at times other than lunch.  I just needed a jumping off point!

Basic Lunch Ideas

  • Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich.  I know, I know.  But there is a reason this is a classic sandwich!  My son likes soy nut butter and jelly, and my daughter prefers just peanut butter on a bagel.  Vegan food doesn’t have to be “crazy food.
  • Pizza!  I mean, who doesn’t love pizza?  There are some good pre-made ones out there plus you can easily make your own without cheese.  Just put lots of topping on and forget the cheese!  Or there are some decent vegan cheese subs out there.  I am not a huge fan but daiya is pretty good.  You can also go a little crazy here.  Why just put tomato sauce on crust?  Why not hummus?  Or salsa?  Or vegan pesto?  The possibilities are endless.  I often make my own crust but my local grocery store makes a nice one that is vegan in the refrigerated section.                                                      
  • Soup, and maybe a sandwich.  I mean, how easy is that.  There are some good canned vegan soups out there or you could easily make your own.  Many tomato soups are vegan as is (check the label!) and, when made with nondairy milk, are good.  I love gazpacho (cold soup) in the summer time and I’ve found soup to be one of the easiest things to make.                                                                                                 
  • Things with vegan hot dogs.  Can I admit that what I miss the most from my SAD days are things like hot dogs and marshmallows?  Not exactly the healthiest thing.  And so I don’t eat very many of them any more, even the vegan variety.  But when I was making the transition I ate more vegan hot dogs.  Sometimes in a bun, sometimes mixed in with vegan baked beans.                                                                                                    
  • Green Salads.  If you make a big salad, put some nuts and other stuff on top, most people will be ok with that for lunch.  I like nuts, dried fruit, and lots of different veggies.       
  •  There are also rice salads, quinoa salads, bean salads, pasta salads…there are so many possibilities!                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Wow!  This vegan lunches one is proving to be the easiest one yet!  Add some fruit and some sorbet and you’ve got a great vegan lunch that most non-vegans would be a-ok with!

All these photos are mine though not all the recipes are.  You can look through all my recipes on my pinterest board if you’re interested.  But my point wasn’t specifically to push my recipes but to give you ideas and thoughts.  What works best for you for lunch that would work to convince non-vegans??