Got Greens?

It’s Week 2 of the Vegan Month of Food, a.k.a the Vegan MoFo! I hope to have several new recipes to share this week!

I recently made a smoothie for my loves and thought I’d document the process. I’m not one for following recipes well, especially when it comes to smoothies.

This particular smoothie was made with spinach, oats, bananas, and blueberries. I added a little almond milk too.

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This was tasty! My husband and boys LOVED it! My husband was leaving for a meeting so I added the oats to give it more substance.

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Isn’t it pretty! What are your favorite things to add to a smoothie?

Progress Report: Unprocessed Challenge

This week I’ve been only eating unprocessed food. I’ve enjoyed some really good food but I’ve also let a bad attitude get in the way a few times.

I miss my toast. I decided not to eat bread at all, even my sprouted grain bread, because I was eating it way too often. It would find its way into breakfast, lunch, snack and dessert some days.

Eating processed food was really more of a habit than hunger. When I’d give my son a handful of animal crackers I’d normally eat a few too but not this week.

A few things that helped…

  • Having food already cooked and ready to eat.
  • Cutting fresh fruit and veggies for easy snacking.
  • Hummus!
  • Supportive husband and friends, and public accountability.
  • Cooking delicious food so you don’t feel deprived.

So what have I been eating this week…

If you remember on the weekend I cooked black beans and quinoa. I heated them up together in a bowl and added chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and onion powder. I laid them on a bed of greens, added salsa and mashed up half and avocado. A few squirts of lime juice and it was delicious! It reminded me of a salad from Chipotle. When I mention eating a bean and grain bowl this is what it is like sans greens. I love it with tortilla chips but not this week, roasted corn would be amazing in this.

Yesterday I cooked Minestrone Soup, one of my husbands favorites. I changed teh recipe a bit but we didn’t miss any thing I left out. I competely forgot about the green beans, too bad a have some in the freezer ready to go. I left out the noodles and veggie broth since they are both processed. The soup simmered for hours and tasted great. There was hardly enough left for my husband to take to work. Maybe if I wouldn’t “quality” check so often there would have been more. 😉

Fresh veggies and Jalapeno Hummus! Easy, delicious, unprocessed!

Smoothies! Who doesn’t love smoothies? We have been eating these for our after dinner snack/dessert. My husbands favorite this week was made with frozen bananas, frozen cherries, and a little almond milk. I like frozen banana, a few frozen cherries, a little peanut butter, a little cocoa powder and almond milk. You can make them with whatever you have, for a tropical flavor add frozen mango and/or pineapple.

Earlier this week I ate leftover Enchilada Soup. This time I made it with millet instead of rice. It was tasty.

There are really a lot of options when it comes to eating unprocessed. Some recipes can be slightly adjusted to become unprocessed. A few other things to consider are…

The Best Chili Ever

The Happy Potato

Avocado Chocolate Mousse, if made with date paste it becomes unprocessed

Stir Fry

How have you been doing? Is it difficult for you to stick with it? Do you have any tips or recipes for the rest of us? Leave a comment below and encourage someone else with your journey.

Did you know that My Plant Based Family is on Facebook? To hear more about what’s going on in my kitchen check it out.

Eat the Rainbow

If you try to investigate a plant-based diet you will run across a lot of information. Basically it is eating food from plant sources most of the time. Dr. Pam Popper, of The Wellness Forum,  says if you choose to eat meat only have it 2 to 3 times per week, and make sure it is organic.

The Plant Based Dietitian's Food Guide Pyramid

I think it is easier to think about all of the food I can eat, as opposed to all of the food I can’t eat. I’m a fan of Julieanna Hever MS, RD a.k.a. the Plant-Based Dietitian; she developed her own Food Guide Pyramid that is pictured above. She often says to “eat the rainbow.”

Yesterday morning was a busy day in our house. After lunch I was thinking about what I had eaten that day

  • Coffee
  • Peanut butter and jelly (all fruit) sandwich on 9 grain bread
  • Black bean and brown rice burrito on a whole wheat tortilla.
  • A butter bean cookie

None of these foods are bad for me but I’m missing some color here. Almost everything I ate was brown. I’m sure I’m missing some very important antioxidants. I think I’ll dive into that bowl of strawberries I have sitting in the refrigerator. I had already planned broccoli and spinach for dinner. Carrots and red bell peppers dipped in hummus are an easy snack.

Broccoli and Spinach with Pasta

This isn’t about perfection and I will not obsess about my food color. “Eating the Rainbow” is just one tool to help add variety to your diet.

If your like me and not always loving eating your greens it is very easy to hide them in a smoothie.

Tropical Smoothie with Hidden Greens

This smoothie has kale, parsley, bananas, blue berries, cherries, mango, pineapple, and orange juice. It was yummy, filling, and full of colors.

Are you eating your colors?

What to Eat…Part 3

When I started eating a plant based diet it was important to be satisfied with my food. I could not eat this way and feel hungry all the time. I also don’t like bland food so I decided to make hearty and spicy dishes. I’m not the kind of girl who can eat a salad everyday for lunch. Typically I’ll have maybe one or two salads a week, in the summer when it is too hot to cook here in Arizona I eat more salads.

So if you a beginning to eat a plant based diet and you’re starving all the time you are doing it wrong. Eat more and eat more often. I often eat toast or a smoothie for a snack between meals. If you can chomp on baby carrots mid afternoon and be satisfied God bless you, but for the rest of us eat something else. Tomorrow I’ll share a yummy vegan muffin recipe that makes a great snack.

Today’s Meal Plan

Smoothie

Breakfast: Smoothie

Smoothies are make a great breakfast, they are easy, fast, and portable. Smoothies can be made with whatever you have on hand. No one in my house will refuse a smoothie.

Today’s Smoothie (My smoothies vary every time I make them)

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 2 peeled bananas
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 cup plant milk (I use rice milk)
Do
  1. Blend flax seeds in a blender.
  2. Add everything else and blend until smooth adding more liquid if necessary.
Serve

Serve this in a tall glass or insulated cup if your on the go. My smoothie made about 30 ounces so you can adjust the recipe accordingly.

When I have fresh fruit I use it instead of frozen but this time of year frozen is typically priced much better than fresh. I buy big bags of frozen berries at Costco. When strawberries and blueberries are in season I buy a lot and stock my freezer. Mango, pineapple and raspberries also make delicious smoothies. When I have orange juice I’ll add it instead of milk. Smoothies can hide veggies as well. The spinach in this smoothie is undetectable. Try adding kale, parsley, or chard instead.

Lunch: Baked Potato

I love a big baked potato. You may need to retrain your taste buds to enjoy a baked potato without butter, bacon, and sour cream. Before removing dairy from my diet I didn’t realize that I could enjoy a potato without it.  Earth Balance Spread is a great transition food that will help with that dairy addiction, they also have a soy free variety. Earth Balance tastes and looks like butter. You can substitute it for butter in any recipe as well.

Aside from Earth Balance Spread other toppings include steamed veggies like broccoli, vegan chili, salsa, nutritional yeast, and soups. Yesterday my husband had a baked potato for lunch topped with leftover Potato and Broccoli Soup. He said it was great and wanted to have it again next week.

Dinner: Chili

I just mentioned that Chili makes a great topping on a baked potato but it also taste great on it own. There are several vegan and vegetarian chili’s on the market but it is really easy to make it on your own. This never tastes exactly the same because it varies based on what ingredients I have and and how hot the pepper are.

Ingredients
  • 3 cans of beans OR about 6 cups of cooked beans
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes OR about 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can diced green chili’s OR your choice of fresh peppers
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (add more to suit your taste, we use 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
Do
  1. Add beans, diced onion, tomatoes, peppers, and tomato sauce to a large sauce pan and cook until onions, peppers, and tomatoes are cooked.
  2. Add spices to suit your individual taste preferences. 
  3. Heat until extra liquid, if any, has cooked out. 
Serve

This chili is great on a cool day, it is hearty and filled with fiber. Cornbread or crackers make a great accompaniment. Chili also freezes well so make a big batch and save some for a rainy day.This chili is on my stove right now, I used pinto beans, kidney beans, and black beans. Yum!