Monthly Archives: August 2011

WIAW #6: Food Over Fear

Hey there! How’s your day going? I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. I know I say that a lot, but seriously, time flies! Does anyone else find that time seems to speed up as you get older? Sometimes I look at the clock and wonder where the last few hours went. To increase productivity and keep myself on schedule, I have my MacBook Air announce the time every 15 minutes. Bonus: I can change the voice whenever I want.

It’s also hard to believe that this is my last Wednesday of summer. Next Tuesday is registration, and then classes start the following day. Since this will be my senior year, I anticipate both my schedule and heart to be super packed. I feel the nostalgia coming on already!

In all honesty, I wish it wasn’t Wednesday because that means I am only two days away from getting my wisdom teeth pulled. I have a serious phobia of IVs, so I am terrified for my surgery. I have no clue what my eats will look like as I recover, but I have a feeling Vincent will be working overtime, blending smoothies, soup, and kabocha.

Anyway, that’s enough of that. Let’s take our mind off of school and surgeries by focusing on some delicious food. WIAW, thanks for turning my mind to much better more delicious things. I’m always honored to be apart of the party!

Breakfast was quite unconventional if I do say so myself. Instead of my usual oats, pancakes, or chia seed pudding, I had savory popcorn with nutritional yeast. Popcorn doesn’t sound like a great idea while I have big holes in my mouth, so I figured I’d get my craving out now. Was that TMI? Sorry.

I also had fresh fruit with cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder. I could eat this all day long.

For lunch I had a deconstructed salad (on a plate) and a purple sweet potato.

I am CRAZY about purple sweet potatoes! I mean seriously, absolutely, crazy in-love. I spent one day calling every store in my area I could think of to see if they carried them. I even searched online to see if I could get them sent to me. What we do for love…

If you ever see them at the store, pick some up! Sometimes they’re called Hawaiian sweet potatoes (or yams) or Okinawan yam. They’re white-ish/grey on the outside and purple on the inside. The longer you cook them, the darker the insides become and the sweeter the taste develops. I like to roast mine in tin foil (after washing and pricking with a fork, of course) at 400*F for AT LEAST an hour. If I have self-control and not nibble while they’re still in the oven, I bake them for an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half.

Since my dinner was pretty standard fare, I thought I’d show you what I made for my family, too. Last night I made a quinoa stir fry with bok choy, edamame, red bell peppers, and asparagus, all drizzled with a luscious coconut peanut sauce (be on the lookout for a recipe soon).

The key to delicious quinoa is rinsing it in a strainer before boiling. Cooking it in a little coconut milk (I’m talking the super creamy dreamy stuff from the can) or stirring some in right before it’s done doesn’t hurt either.

I am pleased to report that my family has been eating vegetarian (well, vegan all except for one) dinners for over a week now. Since their breakfasts are usually vegetarian (eggs or cereal with cow’s milk), I’d say my family is really embracing the whole plant-based diet thing. I couldn’t be happier!

However, since they’re still new to this and I don’t want to turn them off from vegan food, I’ve been making sure that every meal is exciting and full of flavor. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’ve been making different meals for them and myself.

My palate is tuned to find the sweetness and delicate flavor in minimally prepared foods. I would be completely happy eating a sweet potato (with almond butter and/or beans for nutrition) and a huge bowl full of steamed veggies for most of meals, but I know that might be a little to “plain” for my family right now.

Tuning my palate into the natural flavor of foods has opened me up to so many wonderful tastes. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a beautifully prepared sauce or complicated gourmet recipe. I do, I really do. But I’m a simple girl, and sometimes, like last night, all I really want is roasted veggies (eggplant fries and bell peppers are favorites right now) with vegan lentil “meatballs” dipped in tomato basil sauce and sprinkled with nutritional yeast. You can bet I always have steamed broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and carrots on the side.

Speaking of naturally delicious food, have you tried banana soft serve yet? All you have to do is freeze a banana (slices are best) and blend it in the food processor with a touch of almond milk until creamy.

In just minutes, you’re left with an awesome dessert that rivals the best of them. Seriously, sometimes I wonder why people even eat ice cream. Not only does banana soft serve taste amazing, but it also leaves me feeling amazing, too. There’s nothing like a sugar crash or upset stomach to put a damper on dessert. Why not feel energized and satisfied all while satisfying your sweet tooth?

Oh, and did I mention banana soft serve is totally customizable? I like to add in a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and a dash of cinnamon after everything is well-blened. It’s like eating healthy chocolate ice cream—but better!

As much as I love banana soft serve, I do have a special place in my heart for So Delicious Sugar-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream (mint chip, of course). It’s definitely decadent and rich (not to mention expensive!), so I usually only take a few spoonfuls at a time. The nutritional stats are pretty awesome, too. (Side note: is anyone as excited as I am about the release of coconut milk greek yogurt? I keep bugging my local Whole Foods about when it will arrive. I can’t wait!)

Did you have your wisdom teeth out? If so, do you have any advice for me or any food recommendations for recovery? Also, what’s your most unconventional meal? Do you have a favorite treat that tastes so good you’d swear it was something else? Lots of questions today!

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Take THAT, Gluten

I have what you’d call a “Type A” personality.

I am outgoing (but an introvert). I like to lead. I am a perfectionist.

I like to challenge myself, even if I do it subconciously. And usually, I don’t take no for an answer.

Case in point: even though yoga is a totally relaxing experience for me, I take ever advantage to try to rub up against my “edge.” Attempting binds? Sure. Lifting my toes or heels in buddah sqat? You better believe it. Extra push ups? Without a doubt.

Me (in black) doing acro yoga last summer

Even though I certainly brought my thighs to their edge today in yoga, it was what happened afterwards that was the true challenge. As I steeped into the showers immediately following my practice, I realized I had forgotten my towel. I was hot, sweaty, and itching for a shower ASAP. I like to get my sweat on, but I also like to get it OFF my body. If the toxins are coming out, they are surely not staying on my skin. No sir.

And as for the shower? It was going to happen. I wasn’t taking no for an answer. Luckily, I found a small towel in my bag so it wasn’t a total dilemma. You better believe it was a challenge though. Have you ever tried drying a soaking wet body with a washcolth? Let me tell you, it’s not fun, but I did laugh at myself multiple times. Sometimes you have to get creative.

My words of advice? Don’t try this at home. I was able to dry myself enough to get into clean clothes, but my hair was helpless. I kept squeezing out buckets of (fresh, nicely smelling) water.

**

My second challenge of the night was getting my family to like vegan cheeze sauce. They’ve taken to the other vegan meals I’ve made them, so I finally decided to take the plunge and introduce them to the wonders of nutritional yeast. I took a total gamble by using a tofu + nooch sauce rather than a creamy cashew sauce, which I’ve heard non-vegans take to well.

As I combined ingredients, I did some serious praying. Fortunately, one lick and I knew my prayers had been answered. It was delicious! When my grandmother walked it in door, she took a little spoonful and proclaimed how creamy and flavorful it was. I sighed in relief.

Everything was going well until I decided to put the bowtie pasta, vegan cheese sauce, and peas mixture into a casserole dish in the oven. When I took the casserole out just 15 minutes later, it was steaming hot. However, the saucy pasta had transformed into a thick mixture. “What gives,” I thought to myself.

And then I knew what it was. Gluten, my arch nemesis, had made the pasta so starchy it absorbed all the moisture. Sorry, Gluten, but you ruined the dinner I made for my family and don’t make my tummy happy; you just don’t have a lot going for you.

Don’t worry, though. This pasta is absolutely fantastic with brown rice (or other gluten-free) pastas. No gluten means no starch so the pasta stays creamy no matter how you choose to serve it. Gluten-free is how I prefer things anyway. However, if you are of the whole wheat persuasion, I recommend using less pasta or doubling (or tripling!) the sauce. Just be careful and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Gluten is a tricky little guy!

Vegan Mac and Peas (aka Mac&Cheese)

  • 1 16-ounce package Brown Rice Pasta
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • **Optional: 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for 5 hours) + 1/4 cup water, blended in a Vita-Mix for a creamier and a little more decadent sauce
  • 1 16-ounce block firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard (I use Organicville)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional), for color
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • smoked paprika, for topping
  • 1/2 cup brown rice or panko bread crumbs (optional), for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on package, adding the peas in the last few minutes of cooking to take the chill off. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a Vita-Mix or food processor, blend cashew mixture (if using), tofu, almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, salt, turmeric, and olive oil until creamy.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together drained pasta, peas, and cheese sauce until well combined.
  5. Pour into a large casserole dish. Top with smoked paprika and bread crumbs, if desired.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.

Even though dinner didn’t go as planned, I wasn’t giving up yet. No sir-eee. Gluten wasn’t winning this one.

Gluten definitely worked in my oey, gooey peanut butter blondies. Oh yes.Take that, Gluten.

So, my friends, the moral of the story is to stick to your guns and never give up. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would have just made the dish again with gluten-free pasta. But instead, I decided to show gluten what I made of. However, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t get my family eating gluten-free if they could stand it. One step at a time. ūüôā

Are you Type A? Do you cook gluten-free? If so, what’s your favorite thing to make? And have you ever had a recipe that started out amaing but somehow something went wrong?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Peanut Butter Cookies for Breakfast (Vegan & GF!)

Hey chickadees! How was your weekend? Mine was fab. Here’s just a taste of what I did:

  • played honorary Whole Foods employee (aka talked other customers into buying products I love hehe)
  • ¬†rediscovered an awesome blog (have you checked out Sketch-Free Vegan yet?)
  • danced my heart out at Zumba with my mom
  • yogaaa ‚̧
  • watched A League of Their Own (I LOVE this movie; my late grandmother was actually on one of the first women’s baseball teams!)
  • eating lots and lots of roasted kabocha (hello again, orange glow)

Oh, and did I mention I baked? Yessss sir ma’am. ¬†I’m back in the kitchen, and it feels so good. I’ve even decided that I want to make a commitment to bake regularly during the school year. Baking relaxes me like no other, and it also brings smiles to the ones I love (aka family, friends, and random other students)—win, win! I will try to bake something and bring it into school a least once a week. Small gestures really make a difference!¬†

Anyway, on to yesterday’s adventure. One of the things I baked (un-baked? baked without baking? i don’t know) was soft + crunchy peanut butter cookie dough cookies. They’re all the fun of eating cookie dough (actually, you can whip them up faster than dough!) with the taste and a little crunch of peanut butter cookies. I loved being able to try these because they were right up my alley of healthy treats. They are vegan, gluten-free, and added sugar-free. Plus they’re made with cereal so that means you can have them for breakfast, right? I love a treat that’s healthy enough for breakfast but tasty enough for dessert. Sounds like another win, win to me!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Crunch Cereal Bites

  • 1/2 cup raisins¬†
  • 1 cup crunchy GF cereal (I used Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Gorilla Munch–Puffins would be lovely, too)¬†
  • 2 TBS peanut butter¬†
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon¬†
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)¬†
  1. Blend raisins in food processor until crumbly. 
  2. Add in GF cereal, peanut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract (if using). Blend until the mixture is well-processed and comes together. 
  3. Form mixture into small balls using hands. Press into cookies and top with extra cereal puffs, if desired. 
I think these would be especially delicious served in a bowl of fresh fruit with a generous drizzle of cold non-dairy milk.
Personally, I think these cookies taste like a delicious cross between oatmeal raisin cookies and peanut butter cookies. If you’re going for more of an oatmeal raisin feel, try using 1/2 cup rolled oats instead of cereal.
After his taste test, my uncle Pasta said he detected chocolate undertones. There’s no chocolate in these cookies, but I can’t say tasting like chocolate is ever really a bad thing. And hey, go ahead and add some cocoa powder or chocolate chips if you’re feeling decadent.
How often do you bake for your family and friends? Do you ever have cookies for breakfast? Fitnessista breakfast cookies count! 
Have a lovely Monday!
Mandiee

When is Counting Appropriate?

Hey hey hey! It’s another Friday (actually, my last Friday of summer thanks to having my wisdom teeth out this time next week), so that means it’s time for midday hot yoga and Starbucks.

Class was so flow-y and amazing today. I’m a huge fan of the energy from three flows, but sometimes it’s nice to just do two and have more time to explore. Well we definitely explored! I really felt every pose and dug in deep. We probably spent a full 30 minutes on just one flow. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Me (in black) doing acro yoga last summer

After class, I overheard a conversation about vegan and gluten-free baking. I’ve heard about this woman’s (let’s call her J) crazy delicious baking before, but never had the opportunity to talk to her myself. Luckily, today the stars aligned and I was able to ask her a bit about it. She even asked me if I would like some homemade vegan and gluten-free coconut cupcakes. Um, how could I say no?

Just an example---can't wait for the real thing! !source

I can’t tell you the last time I had a cupcake, let alone a vegan and gluten-free one homemade with love. Part of the reason is that I would honestly rather eat veggies (especially kabocha…YUM) and fruit than a traditional treat, and the other part is that I remember a time when someone used to force me to eat things I didn’t want (especially sweets) until I broke down. ¬†Another story for another day.

My point is even though I don’t usually eat sweets (they just don’t make me feel so good; sugar crash are no fun), I am super excited to have a special dessert made by J. I look forward to enjoying ever little crumb. It’s a treat, and treats are meant to be enjoyed.

In general, what I’m trying to say is that not everything has to rigid, especially not eating habits. When inclinations and habits turn into obsessions and restrictions, that’s when things get dangerous. Do what works for you, but keep in mind that may be different from someone else. And if you’re helping someone transition to a new lifestyle (such as changing their diet for health or other reasons like I’m doing with my family), be compassionate. No one is perfect, and no diet is either. Our bodies do a lot for us so we should reward them with the food they need to thrive, just as we should reward our minds with a treat as well.

Starbucks dessert source

I guess what’s gotten me on this tangent is something I encountered in Starbucks. While waiting for my tall vanilla rooibos tea to brew, I overheard a conversation between a girl who was probably a year or so younger than me and a young twenty year old woman. The girl was at least 5 inches taller than me but skinner, which I only mention because it is important to the story.¬†She was lamenting the “way over 500 calories” of her favorite drink. She said something about how she shouldn’t be ordering it anymore because it was going to make her fat. However, she said the cupcakes her and the woman ordered were “okay because they are only 100 calories or something.”

There are a lot of things I could say about this, but the big question for me is this: Should restaurants and cafes list the calorie counts of things on their menu? In Michigan, we don’t require it, so the girl must have looked up the info for her drink online. (Starbucks lists the calorie counts for the desserts, and nothing else, on their respective name cards.)

Elise posted about this question a few days ago, and I think her post is worth reading if you have the chance. In fact, I take a similar stance. I think calorie information is helpful for most people who would not otherwise worry about their health. I hope that it would help them make more informed decisions for healthier options, thus positively affecting their well-being overall. However, I do think that calorie information can detract from the enjoyment and dining experience, especially if you are someone like me who is mindful of their health and might make a different choice because of it. In that case, one meal is not going to kill you, and you might decide against something you would have enjoyed more.

source

I also take issue with the fact that calorie counts do not show the whole picture, and often times, the average person does not know how to read them/how the fit into the big picture. I tend to read ingredients before I look at nutritional information because I believe in eating mostly whole-foods or products with short lists of non-processed ingredients. I would much rather have lots of healthy fats from things like almonds, coconut, and avocado then a lesser amount form hydrogenated oils.

source

Of course, there is also a greater issue at work here. I think it is wonderful that children and young adults are becoming more aware of what they put in their bodies. However, there is no denying that this awareness can turn into an obsession and later a serious problem, such as an eating disorder. Every time I hear a young person stress over calories, fat, sugar, etc. in what seems like an unhealthy manner, I cry a bit inside. It hurts to think that young people in their prime might be heading down a slippery slope that will harm their bodies.

I have never gone into detail about my own story, but I will one day if you all are willing to listen. I am thankful that I did not have an eating disorder, but I did unfortunately go through a stress-related weight loss. Due to that, I suffered self-conciousness, just like many other girls regardless of their age/weight/etc. It’s been a journey, but eventually I was able to look in the mirror and say to myself, “I love you. You’re beautiful just the way you are. Thank you, body, for everything you do.”

I’m not sure how this post turned into such a discussion of my personal views, but sometimes it just happens. Now I want to hear what you have to say. Tell me anything. Either leave a comment on this post or email me at kabochavore at me dot com.

Do you think calorie counts are helpful or harmful? What’s your story? And do you ever overhear conversations? Apparently I’ve been doing that quite a bit today!

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

P.S. Recipe posts will resume soon. I guess it’s just one of those days; I’ve been meaning to discuss this all for a while.

Hail, Hail

Hiya! I’m so glad you all enjoyed seeing some of my snacks. A lot of snacking is part of the Kabochavore diet. I’m known for taking fistfuls of berries from the fridge, pieces of nuts from the freezer (they’re SO good cold and crunchy!), or Mary’s Gone Crackers and Puffins crumbs from the box. In fact, as I write this, I’m snacking on some steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Yum!

I usually like to snack as I’m cooking. Right after yoga I’m not hungry, but I definitely need a little something something. I find that snacking on watermelon and blueberries is the perfect way to rehydrate and while getting some nutrients (and fruit sugars). Last night while getting my Snack Face on I made my grandmother and uncle dinner. Another Mama Pea recipe was on the menu, Thai Veggie Burgers.

My grandmother loves Asian flavors, especially when they involve sesame oil. I knew this recipe would be right up her alley. Finding flavors that my grandmother is familiar with and already enjoys makes vegan eating fun and palatable.

Served on Multigrain Sandwhich Thins with romaine lettuce and pineapple slices, the veggie burgers were a total hit! Seriously, the pineapple really took the flavors over the edge. Mama knows what she’s talking about!

For Nanny’s lunch box, I made a little bed of romaine lettuce for one of the extra veggie burgers and added some leftover roasted fries on the side.

To end the meal on a sweet note, I made the Mango Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Icing that Mama Pea suggested to be served with the burgers.

Mine were a little more mango-y and a little less coconut-y because I didn’t have any coconut extract or toasted coconut. Perhaps that has to do with my recent coconut butter making. Hehe.

Even without the coconut extract, my family really enjoyed the cupcakes. The coconut flavor was in the background thanks to Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk.

Don't be fooled by the picture! It was thundering when I took this and a torrential downpour of hail started moments after I was safely inside.

I love working with canned coconut milk, especially the full-straight stuff. It’s just so rich, luscious, and delicious. I’ll admit I got the can pretty clean. Finger licking is always encouraged.

I wish I could share the recipes, but since I followed them pretty closely, I have to give the credit all the Mama Pea. Have you bought the Peas and Thank You Cookbook yet? Seriously? Don’t wait any longer! It will quickly become a favorite.

For my dinner, I roasted eggplant, green beans, and red peppers in the oven. Meanwhile, I baked tofu triangles (pressed with my Tofu Xpress) in coconut oil. I dipped them in homemade sugar-free barbecue sauce (which I adapted from Spoonful of Sugar-Free) and served them along with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and other yummy veggies. I love me some serious veggies!

Homemade Vegan + Sugar Free Barbecue Sauce 

  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or less if you aren’t into garlic as much as I am)
  • optional: NuNaturals Stevia Drops, to taste (I used ~2 just to take the edge off)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Slater over your favorites!

 

***

IMPORTANT: Before I go, I wanted to ask if any of you would be interested in doing a guest post in about a week. I’m getting my wisdom teeth out next Friday (EEP!), so I’ll be out of comission for a few days. I would really appreciate it if you would consider writing something. If you’re interested, please email me at kabochavore at me dot com or by leaving a comment on this post. Both readers and bloggers are welcome!

 

Do you like Asian flavors? Have you ever been caught in a hail storm?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

WIAW #5: Snacks and Treats

Hey hey hey! How’s your Wednesday going? Mine is already going well because I’m sleeeeeeping in. Nine hour of sleep really makes a difference. Operation Get Rid of the Dark Circles Under My Eyes is going swimmingly.

How much sleep do you usually get to feel your best?

Annnnd now it’s time for WIAW! Many thanks again to Peas and Crayons for hosting; we always have such a great time! Today’s What I Ate Wednesday is going to be a little different. I thought it might be fun to show you what I’ve been snacking on and what I’ve been baking since I took a technology detox and don’t have many photos of my meals.Vincent the Vita-Mix is in tip-top shape thanks to daily workouts. I’m talking smoothies, sauces, and nut butters alike. It’s been such a treat to make smoothies when I want with what I want. And if I want ice cream before noon, who’s going to stop me?

Alright, alright, so my ice cream is pretty healthy…but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t delicious. I loved combining vanilla, almond, and cinnamon for a refreshing treat that left me feeling satisfied and energized. No sugar crashes for this girl!

Another snack I’ve been loving is stove-top popped multicolored pop corn (hellooo mouthful!). Even though we own a popcorn maker, I like popping it fresh on the stove top for my own personal serving. I was so nervous when I first tried it out; all the kernels were browning, but nothing was happening. All it took was a little patience, and before I knew it, an overflowing bowl of white fluffy goodness was all mine.

I’ll admit I was a little disappointed when my beautifully multicolored popcorn turned into average-looking white puffs after popping. I’ve never been enough of a popcorn enthusiast to know if there was a distinct taste difference, but I do know that I’m now converted to popcorn eating.

When I’m feeling savory, I sprinkle freshly popped pop corn with nutritional yeast.

A heafty dose of cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder is perfect when I’m craving something a little sweeter.

Veggie plates are daily occurance. Whether it’s eating a deconstructed salad on a plate with chopped romaine and beans or digging into a big bowl of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, I just can’t get enough of fresh produce.

As for treats, my family has been gobbling up Chocolate Ginger Cookies and Vegan Tollhouse Cookie Bars.

I love baking vegan treats for my family and friends because I think it is a great way to introduce them to veganism in a fun and non confrontational way. Who can resist a freshly baked treat? I always serve my baked goods up with a smile and a whole lot of love. The best way to show off the compassionate lifestyle is just by living it, whether it is by making your own dietary choices or by showing that you care.

Oh, and you know the best part about vegan baking? Licking the spoons/beaters. No egg means the dough is safe to eat. And let me tell you, no bowl is left untouched.

What have you been snacking on lately? Do you have a special treat you like to make for company? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Less Moo Mondays

Hi again! How was your weekend, bloggies? After feeling a little too connected to my computer last week, I decided a technology detox was in order. I did a lot of running around and studying for the upcoming school year (and standardized tests), so when I finally had time to relax, I chose to do so on the couch with a book. It was just what I needed!

Now that I’m back in action, I have some exciting news to tell you all. After making dinner for my grandmother and uncle tonight and casually mentioning “meatless mondays,” I finally got the green light to make going veggie for a night a weekly occasion.

Last night’s dinner included tomato basil pasta with lemon roasted chickpeas and green beans.

For the pasta, I simply sauteed ~1/2 cup of onion and a few cloves of garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. Once everything was nicely browned and perfuming the kitchen with a lovely aroma, I added in leftover spaghetti noodles and a chopped tomato. While the tomato became saucy, I added my seasonings, which were dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Once the dish was warmed through, I lowered the heat and tossed in hand-torn fresh basil (didn’t want it to wilt from the heat!).

My carnivorous uncle raved about the “sauce,” saying that it was light but flavorful. Nanny enjoyed the texture of the roasted chickpeas on the warm noodles. Adding roasted chickpeas is a great way to bulk up vegetarian pasta dishes for heartier appetites.

Of course I made Nanny a little to-go box for work. Hehe, I love “playing house.”

Another meatless meal that my family enjoyed recently is teriyaki tofu (from Mama Pea’s new cookbook) with brown rice and corn.

I taught Nanny how to prepare tofu from start to finish since she wants to start incorporating it into her diet more. I think the most daunting part of preparing tofu is pressing it. Well-pressed tofu is the difference between a watery white glob for dinner or a delicious flavor-sponge of a good meal. The lesson? Press your tofu well, my friends! If you do, you will be rewarded with a chewy texture and flavorful taste (if you like your sauce, of course; tofu absorbs whatever you marinate it in). Luckily, the nice people over at Tofu Xpress were kind enough to give me one of their tofu presses to try out. Seriously, this thing is a lifesaver!

Anyway, the meal was a total hit. The texture of the tofu was almost “meaty,” and the sauce was extremely flavorful. When I want a meal I can count on, I always turn to Mama Pea. My grandmother even had extra tofu, which she used to snack on and supplement her meals throughout the week. She said it kept really well in the fridge. Oh, and did I mention my grandmother and uncle took these photos themselves? I’m so proud.

***

So now that I’ve shown you some of the yummy food my family has been eating, let’s talk about meatless mondays. Since I’m vegan, everyday is a meatless monday for me, if you will. However, my family is just starting their more plant based journey. Meatless Mondays can be a great way to encourage your friends and family to cut back their animal consumption and up their veggie intake once a week. You can show them how fun and delicious eating more plants can be. (You by no means need to “convert” them. Just make it fun!) Every little bit counts!

Why Meatless? (Source)

  • LIMIT Cancer Risk
  • REDUCE Heart Disease
  • FIGHT Diabetes
  • CURB Obesity
  • LIVE Longer
  • IMPROVE Your Diet
  • MINIMIZE Water Usage
  • HELP Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependance
Basically, eating meatless will not only do wonders for health, but it will also help animals and the environment. And who doesn’t want their families to be happy and healthy?
In all honesty, I’m super excited that my family wants to eat more meatless because I’m selfish—I love my family so much I can’t imagine living without them. I want my grandmother to live to play with my children, her great grandchildren. I want her to live her life to the fullest, being fueled by the most nutritious foods there on Earth. Just knowing that she can extend her life by eating more meatless seems like such a no-brainer. It makes my heart beat faster to think about all the years we have to enjoy together.¬†
Oh, and do you know the best part of eating meatless? Dessert. Since you’re such a super hero for doing good for your body and the world, why not reward yourself with a little something special? I know my grandmother and uncle would do just about anything for Chocolate Ginger Cookies.
Or, if you’re more of a traditionalist, how do Vegan Tollhouse Cookie Bars sound? Mmm, I can already smell their chocolately almondy goodness…
Do you ever take a technology detox? What do you think of Meatless Mondays? Do you or your family eat meatless? 
Have a lovely day!
Mandiee