I'm a Big Loser...weight, that is!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

So I haven’t really been updating this week. Quite frankly, after the birthday celebrating and all that, I needed to get my body back to a more neutral place. Very basic foods this week…green salads, lots of plain brown rice and quinoa and beans. Nothing to really write home about, but I know my body needed some help getting back to a neutral state. Anyway, I wanted to tell you all about a new program I have started that can really rock your ass off that couch cushion!!

For my birthday, my amazing man got me the Biggest Loser game for our Wii Fit. I have wanted this game for a while, since I have heard that it is pretty killer. Not only that, but the two trainers (Jillian and Bob) are super hot, super inspiring, and one of them is even a veg-head!! Yes, Bob Harper has to promote “Jennie-O Turkey” and “Milk” on the tv show, but these things were written into his contract before he became vegan a few years ago. It’s unfortunate, but if you follow his Twitter and Blogs, he explains the situation he’s bound to. But regardless…if people think that vegans are just skeletons walking around with skin stretched around their frames from lack of nutrients, all they have to do is look at his amazingly hot body, to realize that yes, vegans can be buff, too!!

So, I got home from work yesterday and set the game up. You build a program for yourself and it helps you in setting realistic and attainable goals, and then gives you the tools to achieve those. Then, you start your first workout with Bob and Jillian. Let me just say, that I was pouring sweat, and we were not even done with the 6-minute warm-up yet! I knew I was in for some trouble at that point! Well, the circuit kicked my ass (although I did start at intermediate instead of beginner), and as soon as I was about to collapse on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat, Evil Jillian tells me that we’re doing the circuit…AGAIN!!! Awww hell no! I honestly didn’t think I could do it, and I was shocked that a video game was really pushing me this hard, but it was! And incredibly enough, I was able to get through the circuit the second time around! I knew I was going to be sore, so I ended with one of the cool-down options, which was 18 minutes of “light” yoga, which was really quite refreshing after the drills I had just been through. Needless to say, I’m feeling every single squat and every single speed-punch today, that’s for damn sure!! And yet, I’m super excited to do it again tonight! Call me fuckin’ nuts, but I actually want to impress my little virtual Bob and Jillian! Hahaha…okay, yeah, that does sound pretty nuts, but it’s true! It’s like I don’t want to let them down!

America's Hottest Trainers...ooooowww!!!

But seriously, if you are looking for a good workout, and want to support a fellow veg-head (and I’ve heard rumors that Bob is beginning to pull Jillian to the “plant side”…let’s hope!), then definitely buy this workout game! I KNOW for certain that if I do this at least 5 times a week, then I’m going to be seeing a different silhouette pretty soon!!

Beans and Birthday Cake!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Meeee, Happy Birthday to Me!!

Okay, I had to do it! I’ve been feeling the love all day, so I had to give a little to myself! Yes, today is my birthday. I am trying not to celebrate my birthday so much as I am trying to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of my 25th Birthday, so I’m going to leave it at that!

Anyway, I’ve got an amazing recipe that I threw together yesterday that is probably now one of my most favorite meals! The best part…it’s probably also the EASIEST meal I have ever put together! Seriously, I threw it all in the crock pot before work, and when I came home I had some seriously delicious food waiting for me! If you like spice, and if you like good ole’ Creole food, than you’ll love these…

Spicy Red Beans and Rice with “Bacon”

2 cups of red beans, soaked overnight
4.5 cups of V8 plain vegetable juice
1.5 cups water
½ pack of Lighlife vegan bacon, torn into small chunks
2 cups of brown rice
3 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
3 Tablespoons of Onion Powder
5 Tablespoons of Crushed Red Pepper (or less if you don’t like it spicy)

Combine rinsed beans, V8, water, garlic powder, onion powder and crushed red pepper in the crock pot. Set on “low” setting and let cook 6-8 hours.
When there is about 30 minutes remaining, mix in your veggie bacon.

Cook rice accordingly at this time as well (I use a rice cooker, but if you use the stovetop, cook according to directions).

Can you believe how simple this is?! Seriously, you don’t have to do ANYTHING and it is absolutely delicious!!! I couldn’t get enough of this, and this makes a very large portion as well, which is great, because I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch today!

So there you have it. The world’s easiest and tastiest vegan recipe for red beans and rice! Although I felt kind of guilty just posting that, especially with it being my birthday and all! This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t bake myself a cake, but I just didn’t seem to have the time. But I couldn’t be without something sweet last night, so I hit up the local grocery store to see what kind of goodies they had. And this is what I came up with:

Super Delicious Chocolate Strawberry Marshmallow Creme Birthday Cake

Basically, its Amy’s Organic Chocolate Cake, which is found in the frozen food section (it is seriously the most moist, rich and delicious cake I’ve ever had!), some vegan marshmallow crème (found in the organic section of my grocer), and some strawberries! Pop it in the toaster oven for a few minutes and experience pure *vegan* heaven!!

(I apologize for the poor photo quality. I have misplaced my camera so these pics were taken on my phone.)

South of the Border Soyrizo Scramble!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I personally am not a huge fan of breakfast (although I do tend to crave pancakes and waffles in the middle of the night) although some Saturday mornings, I do enjoy indulging in a nice, big breakfast. Eggs were never something I really enjoyed, but would eat them if they were prepared for me. I kept hearing about how great and “egg”-like tofu scrambles were, so I always tried to avoid it. However, I wanted to make the man of the house a nice, hearty breakfast the other morning, and wanted to show him that a nice vegan breakfast can be just as hearty as an egg and sausage breakfast. So, I attempted my first tofu scramble by combining what I thought might taste good, and not only did he devour it, but I became a scramble convert as well, as this was super tasty!!

I apologize for the poor photo quality, but my camera was out of batteries, so I used the crappy one on my phone to capture this tasty breakfast before it disappeared! If you’re looking for a great family breakfast for Saturday morning, here you are!

South of the Border Soyrizo Scramble
1-14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu, water drained
1 package of Trader Joe’s Soyrizo
1 1/2 cups of roasted corn (I get this from Trader Joes)
1 1/2 cups bell pepper strips (I use a tri-color mix, but any color is fine)
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes and green chilies
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
Crushed Red Pepper (to taste)
Chili Limon Powder (to taste)

Coat a large skillet with just enough cooking oil of choice to cover the bottom. On Medium-high heat, crumble the tofu into the skillet. Add nutritional yeast. Let cook for a couple minutes, and then add your soyrizo, veggies, and spices. Keep over medium-high heat until cooked through and tofu is browning.

The morning I made this, I paired it with some fresh fruit (grapes) and some whole grain toast with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, which is my favorite vegan butter alternative by a landslide, and it's readily available at most supermarkets I've been to. It was incredible! It makes enough for I’d say 3-4 people, so since there are only two of us, I had the leftovers the next morning wrapped in a whole grain tortilla…a la breakfast burrito. Both ways were delicious, and it was so quick and easy, you could easily prepare this breakfast even on days where you don’t have oodles of time. Enjoy it!

Simple Seitan Stir Fry!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Check out those beautiful vegetables!!

So for all of you calorie-counter’s out there, I created this delicious, and super filling masterpiece last night! It’s quick, simple, colorful, and everyone will love it! And if they don’t, well, then it’s more for you!! I use a rice cooker to cook the brown rice, but if you don’t have one, just follow directions to cook basic brown rice.

Seitan Stir Fry (approx. 3 servings)
1 cup brown rice
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped broccoli
1 ½ cups green beans
1 cup sliced bell pepper (I used red, yellow and green)
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 cup shoyu or soy sauce
1 package West Soy (or your favorite brand) Seitan (the “strips” work best)

Cook rice according to your rice cooker. When rice has approximately 15 minutes of cooking time left, combine all remaining ingredients in a large wok. Cook over medium high to high heat until seitan browns and veggies are cooked through. Put over rice, and enjoy!

Okay, so that is one of the easiest dishes you can make. The best part about it is it is so simple and fast to make, extremely filling and satisfying and it’s really low-cal! One serving is only 290 calories! Eating healthy never tasted so good!

"Diet" food at it's very best!

A Little Humor for the Day...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"The standard diet of a meat-eater is blood, flesh, veins, muscles, tendons, cow secretions, hen periods and bee vomit.
And once a year during a certain holiday in November, meat-eaters use the hollowed-out rectum of a dead bird as a pressure cooker for stuffing.
And people think vegans are weird because we eat tofu?"

~Vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke

"Leftover" Pizzas!

Monday, May 17, 2010

So every once and a while, you look in your fridge, and see about 4 Tupperware containers full of food left over from your previous meals that week. For me, it usually (and luckily) tends to occur on those days where I just don’t feel like cooking! Well, I came up with a quick and easy solution to this the other day, although it’s not the healthiest and I wouldn’t recommend it on a regular basis, but it’s fun, easy, and enjoyable! Please enjoy a slice of my vegan “leftover” pizza!

Store-bought vegan pizza crust (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
Leftover tomato-veggie sauce from the gnocchi
Leftover Smart Grounds protein crumbles from the "Beefy" Gorditas
Leftover pepper slices (I freeze these after slicing and keep bags of them in the freezer for easy additions to meals)
Daiya Cheese Substitute (this goes bad after opening in about 5-7 days, and I had about half a bag left since I use it sparingly, so used it up on the pizza)

Sauce up your pizza crust with the leftover veggie sauce and sprinkle with the Smart Grounds. Layer on the frozen peppers (amount is to your liking) and cover with Daiya cheese shreds (I’m sure the mozzarella flavor would be great on pizza, but like I said, this was a leftover creation!). Follow directions for pizza on the crust package. Mine said to cook at 450 for ten minutes. Slice, and enjoy!

Now, I know that this really isn’t a ‘recipe’ per se…but every so often, you just miss things like pizza! It’s also fun and super easy to make on nights when you don’t have a lot of time, or it’s great for a party too! My omnivore taste-tester ate over half the pizza, and didn’t even turn his nose up at it like he does at some things with artificial cheese on them! It’s good for slumber parties if you have kids (much better than feeding them cow puss on a bleached crust), and great for those lazy Friday movie-marathon nights. So pull out all those leftovers, and put them to use in this quick and simple meal!

"Beefy" Gorditas!

Friday, May 14, 2010

First off, I want to thank people who took the time to read my last post, as it really is something that is truly important to me. I don’t want people to be offended or think that I’m one of those “crazy vegans” with a political agenda who walks around with a bucket of red paint. No, that isn’t me. I don’t get up and preach on platforms, and I’m not here to change anyone. But, I do like to educate, and I like to constantly BE educated. I think if we all sought out to learn one new thing a day, this would be a completely different world. But, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope maybe you learned something that is relevant.

Secondly, I am back with another delicious recipe that veg-heads and carnivores alike will love! Honestly, my fiancé asked me if I was SURE I didn’t use real meat, that’s how good this meal is at tricking the taste buds! It’s really simple, and all I did was take a look in the fridge, analyzed which foods needed to be used and took it from there! So without further adieu, I give you:

Spicy “Beef” and Tomato Gorditas with Steamed Squash and Quinoa
1 tomato, chopped
1 package Lighlife Smart Grounds (or ground beef replacement of your choosing)
Onion Powder
Vegan Hamburger seasoning (check the label to make sure there are no animal products. I use one by McCormick)
Buffalo Wing Sauce
Whole Grain Flatbreads
Squash of your choosing, sliced into rounds
1 cup quinoa
Thoroughly rinse your quinoa. Follow cooking directions according to the package, or use a rice cooker, like I did. Add 2 cups of water to the quinoa, and let the rice cooker do the rest!
(a small strainer is perfect for giving your quinoa a quick rinse)

While quinoa is cooking, put your “beef” in a large skillet with onion powder, hamburger seasoning and wing sauce (no specific amounts, just to your liking. I use a lot more hot sauce than the average person, so add according to taste). Cook until “beef” becomes slightly brown, and add in the tomatoes. Turn heat to low, and let the flavors simmer together.

Throw your squash into the steamer, and let steam for about ten minutes. Don’t do this until there is only about ten minutes of cooking time left for the quinoa, so it is fresh when it’s time to eat. (I highly recommend a rice cooker/vegetable steamer combo…they are truly awesome for the lazy cook…haha!)
(this rice cooker/vegetable steamer was $13.00 at Target, and is a new cook's best friend in the kitchen!)

Warm your flatbreads on a skillet over low heat, flipping until both sides are soft and golden. When my “beef” had about two minutes left to simmer with the tomatoes, I added this amazing chili vinaigrette that I got at the farmer’s market to it to give it even more spice, but you can add any type of additional hot sauce.
Scoop your “beef” and tomato mixture into your flatbread. Garnish with vegan cheese our sour cream if you’d like, but I prefer it without. Fold over like a gordita. Enjoy with your quinoa and squash!

This meal is super light for summer, yet packs a punch for anyone who is still having problems “converting” to non-meat dishes. It's also a super simple meal for those of you who say you are new to this and don't think you can cook! Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can! I hope you enjoy it!

This Cause is So Important. Please Educate Yourselves on This!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Can These People Sleep At Night?
I had a great recipe to post today (don’t worry, I’ll post it soon enough), but when I got to work this morning, I had an email that just broke my heart, and I think people need to be aware of what is going on, more than people need another recipe. I occasionally get email updates on things from PETA. Although I don’t always agree completely with their practices and such, I do think that they do incredible things for the animals and for the environment, so I support them when I can. This morning, I received an email with the subject line reading “Ringling beats baby elephants!”
Funny how they don't show you this part when you do to the circus...
Would you do this to your baby?

Now, this is not something that I was unaware of. I was very aware of this fact, and have spoken out about it before in other forums. However, as I read the article and looked at the horrifying photos of these innocent animals being shocked, prodded, tied down and beaten, I started crying. It astonishes me that we call these animals the “beasts”. Even carnivorous animals do not torture their prey. Most can kill their prey in a matter of seconds, because they know exactly where to strike. They kill to survive. They don’t torture or disgrace their prey. They don’t torture other animals for entertainment or for sick pleasure. WE do. We are the only animals on the planet that do such terrible things. It’s US who are the real beasts, the monsters. Reading this email and looking at the images that I cannot very easily erase from my memory reminded me of the day I fell in love with these beautiful, majestic creatures, and even somewhat started me on my vegetarian (now vegan) journey.
How can people feel NOTHING for these animals?

A few years ago, I was sitting at home, bored, with nothing to do. I was flipping through the channels, and saw that a special was coming up on 60 Minutes about an Elephant Orphanage. I thought it sounded kind of interesting, especially since they used the term orphanage and not “shelter” or something. Curiosity got the better of me, and I swear to you, that episode changed my life. I never understood how complex and beautiful these creatures were! Did you know that just like humans, elephants can become clinically depressed…even suicidal…after seeing a traumatic event (such as their mother being killed by poachers), and actually have a harder time coming out of it than we do? Or that, just like humans, a baby cannot survive without the companionship of a family? And when they say that an elephant never forgets that it’s true? No wonder it’s so hard for them to come out of a traumatic situation…it’s burned in their memories deeper than in our own. These animals are smart, they love, and all they want is love in return. I sat on the couch, and bawled my eyes out watching these incredible people devoting their lives to saving these orphaned babies, and not only gained an entirely new perspective on animals, but on the compassion that some humans have as well. (Please click here for a link to the article version of this episode to learn all about this incredible place). http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/ is where you can go to donate to this amazing organization.
This is exactly how people should be treating these animals, with love and respect.

Then I see things like circus animals and their keepers, and it sickens me. While someone in one part of the world is trying so hard to do everything they can to save these creatures, there are others who treat them like robots, toys even. It disgusts me.

I’m sorry that this post isn’t very uplifting, but I am trying to help this cause in any way possible. I want everyone to pass this information on, even just to one person. The more this information is known and talked about, the more aware we can be of what is really happening to these beautiful beings. Please share this information, donate if you can. And think twice before taking your children to see a circus.
We all know how incredible being free and loved feels...shouldn't they?

Whole Wheat Gnocchi with "Meaty" Vegetable Sauce

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thus far in the Dairyland, it’s been a pretty gloomy spring. And when it’s gloomy, I crave nice, hearty meals (take the bean soup from my last post, for example). Last night, I wanted something hearty as well, and what better than my favorite Italian staple, gnocchi?! I swear, I could live on this stuff. I did make the sauce really thick and full of veggies, so it was quite delicious. Hopefully these gloomy days won’t last too much longer, but for anyone who has the gloomy day munchies, here’s a great recipe!

Whole Wheat Gnocchi with “Meaty” Vegetable Sauce

1 package Whole Wheat Gnocchi (I used the Whole Foods Brand)
1 jar of Organic Tomato Puree
½ Summer Squash, sliced into rounds, then quartered
8 stalks of Asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ onion, diced
Oregano to taste
1 Bay leaf
Onion Powder to taste
4 cloves minced garlic (or 4 tsp)
½ package Lightlife Veggie Crumbles
Chili Powder to taste
Olive oil to coat skillet

(Gotta love fresh veggies straight from the Farm!)
Coat a large skillet with olive oil, and combine onion, carrots, one clove of minced garlic, chili powder and veggie crumbles over medium-low heat. Cook until crumbles brown and onion is translucent and fragrant. Remove from heat.

In a saucepan, combine tomato, squash, asparagus, oregano, bay leaf, onion powder, remaining garlic and the “meat” mixture. Combine well, and let thoroughly heat through.

(Sauces are a grea way to hide those veggies from kids, too!)
In a large pot of water, cook gnocchi according to directions (all gnocchi is slightly different, and if cooked incorrectly it will turn to potato mush). Drain, and toss with sauce. Enjoy the richness and warmth of this hearty meal with some Daiya “cheese” sprinkles, or a nice glass of wine!

The Spanish Diet

Monday, May 10, 2010

In front of one of many beautiful castles in the Spanish Countryside (I'm in the green zip-up...haha)

In 2005, I studied for a semester in Madrid, Spain. To say it was one of the greatest times of my entire life would be an understatement, to say the least! Anyway, when I was there, I came to a very quick realization – there was not a single overweight person. Seriously! And ironically (and sadly) enough, when I saw an overweight family (after about three weeks of living there) it turned out that they were American (or Canadian…they spoke English w/o a British Accent) tourists…and not really from there. I hate to say this, but I couldn’t help but stare. It had been so long since I had seen anyone that was even slightly overweight that I realized how much it really stood out. Now, I’m not saying that I’m perfect by any means, or that there is no such thing as an overweight vegan, but I did realize a lot of things about their culture that I’m certain had a lot of influence on their physiques and overall health.

1. The Spaniards (at least in the city) literally walk everywhere! I can honestly say that I’ve never walked that much in my entire life as I did when I was living there! The walk to school each day was a little over a mile, and I would walk to school, home for lunch/siesta, back to school, and home again five days a week. Not to mention the walking I’d also do going to different shops and just generally exploring. A few miles a day really add up!

2. Meal portions. The first few times that I went out to eat with fellow students (as well as eating what my host “mom” would cook), I felt like I was getting ripped off. Turns out, they just don’t eat out of control portions like we do here! Yes, even vegetarians and vegans are culprit to over-eating at times. This was probably one of the most important dietary lessons I learned there, which was HOW to eat:
•Small breakfast, just enough to get your system started (apple and slice of bread/toast)
•Lunch: soup, small sandwich on fresh bread
•Dinner: soup, grains and vegetables
Now, I discovered a common denominator between eating at home, eating out, and what everyone else was being served at their host homes…soup! These people ate soup at least two times a day, and would eat it before their main meal. Not only is it super yummy and simple, but it fills you up, leaving less room in that growling tummy to be filled up by huge portions and such. This past week, as soon as I began incorporating soup back into my diet 2x/day, I ended up losing 4 pounds. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

3. Rest. It may seem simple enough, but I truly believe that Americans just don’t sleep enough! Every day, the entire city of Madrid literally seemed to shut down between noon and 3:00pm. Stores would close, schools closed, everything closed! People would go home, eat, and “siesta” for a few hours before returning to work! At first, my roommate and I tried to do this, but felt absolutely absurd taking a ‘nap’ in the middle of the day when we could be out exploring! Well, after a few days of finding nothing to do (since everything was closed) we really began enjoying our siesta time. Not only that, but people really value their sleep at night…you won’t find a television in anyone’s bedroom in Spain! And getting enough rest is absolutely imperative in maintaining a healthy weight!

So anyway, these were just a few keys that I discovered while living there that I really try to value each and every day, especially being back in America. Not only this, but these should really be keys to anyone’s life, vegan, vegetarian, or not! These small changes in how we do things can really make huge impacts on our lives!

And, if anyone was wondering what kind of delicious soup I’d made this week, well, here ya go!

Navy Bean Soup

2 cups Navy Beans, soaked overnight
6 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup V8 vegetable juice
8 oz. frozen green beans
1 cup shredded carrots
4 tblsp. Minced garlic
½ onion, chopped
½ tsp. sea salt
Seasonings/herbs to taste

Pop all these ingredients into a slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Enjoy!

Can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, and can also be frozen! I like to keep some out to have at lunch and dinner before my meal, or even as my main meal, and when I run out, I’ll thaw a batch out to have for the next 2 days or so! It’s super simple, super delicious, and your digestive system will LOVE you!

What do you say...?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

“Vegan?” “Where do you get your protein?” “How do you get enough calcium?” “Are you anemic? Your iron count must be really low.” “You can’t get all your vitamins and nutrients from lettuce.”

Yes, I’m sure you have all heard these and many more of the same questions over and over and over when people find out that the “V” word is incorporated into your lifestyle. Well, through various sources, I have tried to compile a pretty darn good list of foods that I think we should all know (as it is important to know where our vitamins and nutrients are coming from, it’s just annoying to be hassled about it!) and how important they are to our diets. I know that there are many more than the ones I will be listing, but now, when people ask, you can rattle off an entire freaking fact sheet to them! So there!


Most people believe that milk and other dairy products are the best sources for this mineral. Yet, not all of it can be used by your body. Oxalates in those foods bind calcium so it is not absorbed. Some dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach and parsley, contain a fair amount of calcium. Almonds, filberts and legumes also contain fair amounts of calcium. Calcium fortified soy milk or rice milk are good to add to a vegan diet. Calcium fortified orange juice and pasta are also good sources. The recommended intake for calcium in men and women, 19-50 years old is 1000 mg.
Calcium Content of Selected Foods

Legumes (1 cup cooked)
Chickpeas 78 mg
Great northern beans 121 mg
Navy beans 128 mg
Pinto beans 82 mg
Black beans 103 mg
Vegetarian baked beans 128 mg

Soybeans, 1 cup cooked 175 mg
Tofu (processed with calcium
sulfate) ½ cup 120-350 mg
Tempeh, ½ cup 85 mg
Textured vegetable protein, ½ c 84 mg
Soymilk, 1 cup 250-300 mg
Soymilk, fortified, 1 cup 252 mg
Soynuts, ½ cup 120 mg

Nuts and Seeds (2 T.)
Almonds 50 mg
Almond butter 86 mg
Vegetables (½ cup cooked)
Bok choy 79 mg
Broccoli 89 mg
Collard greens 178 mg
Kale 90 mg
Mustard greens 75 mg

Dried figs, 5 – 258 mg
Calcium fortified orange juice, 1 cup – 300mg
Blackstrap molasses, 1 T 187 mg


Good non-meat sources of iron include:
• Legumes
• Dried fruits
• Dark green, leafy vegetables
• Whole or enriched grains and cereals
Your body is able to absorb more iron from these foods when they are eaten in the same meal with vitamin C rich foods. Some foods high in vitamin C are:
• Broccoli
• Strawberries
• Citrus fruits and juices
• Melons
• Baked potatoes
• Spinach
• Tomatoes
• Kiwi
The recommended intake of iron for men and women 19-70+ years is 8 mg/day.
Iron Content of Select Foods

Breads, cereals and grains
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice -.9mg
White bread, 1 slice .7mg
Bran flakes, 1 cup 11mg
Cream of wheat, ½ c cooked 5.5mg
Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet 6.3mg
Wheat germ, 2 T 1.2mg
Vegetables (½ cup cooked)
Beet greens 1.4mg
Sea vegetables 18-42 mg
Swiss chard -1.9 mg
Tomato juice, 1 cup 1.3mg
Turnip greens 1.5mg

Soyfoods (½ cup cooked)
Soybeans 4.4mg
Tempeh 1.8mg
Tofu 6.6 mg
Soymilk, 1 cup 1.8 mg

Nuts/seeds (2 T)
Cashews 1 mg
Pumpkin seeds 2.5 mg
Tahini 1.2 mg
Sunflower seeds 1.2 mg

Other foods

Blackstrap molasses, 1 T 3.3mg


Plant proteins are not complete, as they do not have enough of one or more amino acids. However, the kinds of foods you eat may combine to form a complete protein. When the plant proteins are eaten with another select plant protein, the foods will balance each other to form complete protein.

Most people will need 2 to 3 servings of either animal or plant proteins daily to meet their needs. Below are servings of protein:
1/3 cup hummus
½ cup legumes
¼ cup nuts and seeds
2 T. nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond and soynut butters
3 ounces seitan
3 ounce soy burger
4 ounces tofu

So, in review, I think it’s pretty obvious that it is SUPER easy to get everything that we need from a plant-based diet!
•Vary the foods you eat: fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds.
•Be certain that all bread, pasta and other grain products are 100% whole grain. Pasta and bread from local bakeries may not be fortified.
•Use whole grain products to increase intake of iron, and fiber. These include whole grains, whole wheat, bulgur, barley, brown rice, cornmeal, and oatmeal.

These guidelines were compiled by me using WebMD, www.vrg.org/index.htm, and the book Vegetarian Diets by the American Dietetic Association.

I hope this was helpful! Now happy (vegan) eating!

You Won't Believe It's Not Dairy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Well, it’s a comforting thought when people around you see all the positive things that come from a vegan lifestyle, especially when that person shares a kitchen with you! I’ll admit, I am making a lot more vegan “junk” food than I would rather have in my kitchen, but if it’s slowly converting my entire kitchen to a meat and dairy free zone, then I’ll “junk” away! Now, the other night, I made some tempeh skewers, which went over quite well with the omnivore. However, I notice that he doused them in ranch dressing…not exactly vegan fare. I started thinking that there must be some alternative to ranch dressing that he’ll eat…but what?! I admit, I used to put it on everything from salad to veggies to French fries, but I never really missed the stuff once I said peace out to dairy. But now, I knew I had to find something! So, I came up with this, Vegan Ranch Dressing:
•1 cup vegan mayonnaise
•1/4 teaspoon black pepper
•1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•1/2 teaspoon onion powder
•2 teaspoons chopped parsley
•1 teaspoon dill (optional)
•½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for spicy food lovers!)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until creamy. Add more soymilk depending on desired consistency. Recycle an old jar to keep this in.

Quick, easy, and relatively painless, right? Not only that, but it tastes pretty damn good! He gobbled this up on his homemade beer-battered French fries last night (I know, really unhealthy, but they were his, not mine!), and I drizzled some on a couple tomato slices I was chopping for our meal, and I must say, it really tasted like ranch!

So, for those of you out there who just can’t live without your ranch dressing, or if you know people who don’t want to take the vegan plunge because they are afraid of missing foods like this, definitely make this dressing, and I promise, no one will know the difference!

A Perfect Cinco de Mayo Recipe!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


There has been a recipe floating around on a few blogs that I have seen for Tempeh Enchiladas, all originating from original poster, VeganPanamonium, aka Sammi. Well, I have a new found love for tempeh, and the ½ of me that is Mexican can’t live without my enchiladas, so obviously, I had to try this recipe out! Not only was it super easy, but it was delicious! It made quite a few, and after seeing how quickly Julian made them disappear from his plate, it’s definitely a dish you can cook for people who aren’t vegan as well, as everyone enjoys this dish! I’ve altered the recipe slightly for my tastes, and I have to say, it’s pretty freaking awesome and the photos really don't do it justice!! I wanted some nicer pictures, but I was too anxious and dug right in!

Tempeh Enchiladas

Whole Grain tortillas
One package of Tempeh (I used the spicy tempeh for an added punch)
Enchilada or Taco Sauce (I made my own, recipe to follow)
Cayenne Pepper or Chile Limon Powder (to your liking)
One can of diced tomatoes/green chiles
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
One can of Jalapeno Black Beans
Nutritional Yeast, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Sour Cream for Garnish (I didn’t use any of these, but for those of you who like a good garnish, have at it!)
(This is the spicy Tempeh box, if you don't know what to look for)
(Getting the man to help chop tomatoes...isn't he adorable?!)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large saute pan, saute the onion and garlic with a little olive oil until fragrant and translucent. Add the can of tomatoes/chilies and crumble in the tempeh. Mix in the Chili Limon Powder or Cayenne Pepper and let it all incorporate for about 5-10 minutes.
Doesn't it look yummy?!
In a separate sauce pan, let your beans heat up. Once the beans are hot and the tempeh mixture is settled, start assembling your tortillas. I like to spread the beans on first and then add the mixture. Roll it up, and place in a casserole dish. Repeat. I was able to fit five enchiladas in a casserole dish. Pour the Enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Put in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with Nutritional Yeast, Vegan Cheese or Sour Cream (I garnished with diced tomatoes).

Enchilada Sauce
4 roma tomatoes
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Place in small saucepan on med/low heat until it thickens, about 25 minutes.

While all this was cooking, I also sliced up some squash and popped it in my steamer for a quick and easy side. But trust me, this is so good and filling, you don’t even need side dishes, I just like my vegetables!

Dane County Farmer's Market

Monday, May 3, 2010


What a weekend! It started off with Tornado Watches (something that we definitely didn’t have in Los Angeles!) and ended with beautiful sunshine! Not to mention, I got to head down to the Dane County Farmer’s Market, which is one of the largest ones in the country, apparently! This market was absolutely incredible!! What excites me is the fact that I know each week that we go, there will be so many different things to choose from, as more and more plants become in season!

My first stop was at a little stand that caught my eye with its “Vegan Pastries” sign. It was a small local bakery and so many things looked so delicious. I left with a Strawberry/Rhubarb safflower and sunflower seed pastry for a dollar, which was almost sinful! I didn’t get too much this time, as I had just gone on a trip to the grocery store and had some produce (plus there really isn’t too much produce this time of year…lots of plants and herbs and such, but not a lot of fruits and veggies ready to be sold), but did leave with some awesome pickled vegetables, some hot pepper vinaigrette fresh from the farm, and more tomatoes than I know what to do with!

I couldn’t help myself; they were the size of grapefruits and smelled so good! We got four pounds of these delicious tomatoes, and with my pastry and my man’s scone and all our other purchases, we didn’t even spend $10! And people say that eating healthy is expensive?!?! I beg to differ!
Beautiful Capital Building the Market Surrounds
Afterwards, we ventured over to the restaurant that is reviewed in my previous post, The Green Owl Café, and had an amazing lunch. I got the BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich (which honestly tasted just like pulled pork!) with the Kale Chips, and Julian got the “Crab Cake” Po’boy Sandwich with Kale Chips, which is his favorite meal on the menu. We ended up halving our sandwiches so we could each have half of the others, and both were so delicious. The meal was topped off with vegan, gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie for Julian and vegan Marshmallow Mud Pie for me. What a perfect meal!

I made some super yummy meals with our Farmer’s Market picks, so stay tuned throughout the week for the recipes!

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