Monday, October 10, 2011

My Week as a Vegan*

As some of you know, I have tried over the past year or so to educate myself about food, mostly because I was horrified at the thought of feeding sweet C$ the crap I consume. I wanted to give him a good foundation, so that he would actually like healthy foods and it wouldn't be such a struggle for him as an adult to eat healthy foods. I even discussed vegetarianism and veganism here.

Along the way, I have watched a few documentaries. Recently, I watched two more: Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. (Reviews to follow when I get around to may have noticed, I haven't blogged in forever. Turns out, chasing a 1 year old around is time consuming. Who knew?)

After watching those two films, on a whim, I decided I would try to go vegan for a week. After all, I've made no secret of my obsession with vegan Mama Pea. I already had her cookbook, as well as Clean Foods by Terry Walters, so I set off to try my hand as a vegan.

FYI, "a Vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs." Vegan Action

You know wasn't bad. In fact, except at dinner, I hardly noticed the difference. I found it easy to replace my breakfast and lunch items with vegan fare. Don't worry. I took showers and used store-bought soap. I have no plans on long term veganism and am not turning into a hippie any time soon. I'm too uptight to be bohemian and cool.

While I know the documentaries I watched and subsequent research I did was very pro-vegan propaganda, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't hurt the American public to reduce our animal and animal product consumption. Plus Ellen does it and who is cooler than Ellen DeGeneres? I love her!

My thoughts on the week:

1. I lost 4 pounds last week, but I'm pretty sure that had a lot to do with the fact that I planned my meals and cooked and exercised moderation just as much as it had to do with the whole veggie thing.

2. I felt really great. By Thursday (I started on Monday morning), I don't know if it was in my head, but I felt fantastic.

3. There are some really great ways to incorporate meatless meals into your daily life without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.

4. Vegans are very disciplined! I am not going to lie. It was HARD. I am sure it would get easier with time, but it is a very restrictive diet and you really have to pay attention to what you eat.

5. I still like meat. And cheese.

6. I have made a deal with myself to try and incorporate more whole foods plant based meals into my weekly meal plans.

Maybe I will be veganish like Oprah. During her last season, Oprah instituted a one week vegan challenge for all of her staffers and had the author of Veganist, Kathy Freston, as well as a representative from Cargill and Michael Pollan as guests. The episode, which received mixed reviews from vegans and veggie enthusiasts, ended with Kathy Freston suggesting that people be "veganish," incorporating at least some vegan meals.

7. I (still) love Mama Pea.

Stacey, I made several of her recipes last week, so now's as good a time as any to blog about them, no?

If any of you are interested in what I ate, I'd be happy to post about it, but didn't want to bore you all to tears with a list of meals.

*In the interest of full disclosure, our office went out to lunch for a celebration on Tuesday, and I had a vegetarian meal that was not completely vegan, but did not eat any meat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Mama Masterpiece

Last night, I made some of Mama Pea's chewy bars for Billbo to take for breakfast and for breakfast on the go when I am in a hurry. Umm..YUMMO.

I had all of the ingredients at my house (miracle) and they were so easy to make.

Delicious and healthy ingredients

Sweet and salty

Delivered just as MP promised

They turned out just a little bit crumbly, but I think that is because I don't have a grinder for the flax seeds and had to improvise with a plastic baggie and a hammer for my "ground flax seeds." Seriously.

Don't you wish you had that for breakfast? You do.
Buy the book already!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tofu Tuesday

Last night, I braved the land of tofu again. Mama Pea said that if I didn't like tofu, it was because I didn't know how to cook it. I tried again and she was usual.

I made tofu tacos based on her recipe.

First, I pressed the tofu in between two cutting boards and underneath some cookbooks.

Then, I made the marinade.
I had Mama Pea with me at all times so I wouldn't have a subpar tofu experience like the last time I tried it. Billbo was skeptical that I could make tofu that we would both enjoy. I was skeptical, too, but my desire to be like MP drove me to give it another shot. I'm glad I did.

After slicing the tofu unto pieces, I marinated it overnight and then broiled it. My slices are not as pretty as the pro's, but I bet they tasted just as good.

My ugly tofu slices.

While the tofu cooked, I made some guacamole. I left my camera at work so I had to use my old one and the pictures are all blurry. Lame. The guacamole was pretty basic (avocado, lime juice, onions, cumin & salt), and despite my inability to choose a ripe avocado, it tasted pretty good.

I didn't make my own salsa...I figured these folks did it better anyway.
Much like my pancake flipping skills, my tofu flipping skills could use a little work.

Here's the spread: Whole grain, whole wheat tortillas (toasted in a dry pan to crisp a bit), guacamole, shredded lettuce, salsa, cheddar cheese (hey...I'm not vegan) and tofu. I also saved a bit of ground beef from the whole grain wheat spaghetti I made on Monday night in case Billbo boycotted the tofu.

Here is Billy's beef soft taco and one tofu soft taco. He liked them both. Success!
Served with a side of whole grain Santa Fe style rice, courtesy of Uncle Ben. It was delicious! I fully intend on exploring more meatless options. While I have no intentions of becoming a vegetarian (who are we kidding...I don't have that kind of discipline), I do think that having some meatless meals each week is a healthy choice for the family.

Stay tuned for more meatless options to come!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Berry Delicious Breakfast

I spent a small fortune yesterday at the grocery store and I am historically bad about not using all of the produce and groceries I buy before they go bad. Determined to use up every bit of my purchases, especially the impulse purchase of organic blueberries, I turned again to Mama Pea for a delicious breakfast recipea.

I knew she wouldn't fail me. I substituted blueberries for apples and made Mama Pea's Apple Blueberry Cinnamon Pancakes.

I had everything I needed for the job.

C-Bizzle munched on a few blueberries while I worked.
Okay, he munched on a LOT of blueberries while I worked.
For some reason, I have a griddle and it was MUCH easier to cook pancakes on the griddle than spooning out the mixture, one pancake by one, onto a skillet, but you can cook them that way, too.
Look at all of those blueberries!
I need to work on my flipping skills.
Holy blueberries these things are good.

C-Bizzle said they were worth the wait.

He went into a blueberry zombie state he ate so much.
They were finger licking good.
Arm lickin good...

They may take a few minutes longer to make than frozen pancakes, but I'd make anything that made C smile like that.
He said they were so good, they'd make you smack your mama. Especially for making him take a bath to get all of the blueberry juice he was saving for later off of his face and hands.

Have a great weekend everyone and if you get the chance, head out to the bookstore to get this cookbook! You won't regret it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Holy Peas-An homage to Mama Pea

Most of you know about my total obsession with Mama Pea. I love her and think we would be friends if we weren't separated by thousands of miles. Because I want her to be successful (because it gives me hope that I, too, could be a successful ex-lawyer), I purchased her book. I even pre-ordered it in hopes that my purchase could increase her chances of reaching bestseller status.

I was so excited when this arrived yesterday...

I couldn't wait to try out some of her recipeas and it just so happened that I signed up today to bring food to my sweet friends who just had an adorable little boy. Perfect timing.

I was worried I would be disappointed because I love her so much that I didn't think it possible for her to live up to my expectations. I shouldn't have worried. I flipped through the book and found exactly what I wanted to make to accompany my casserole and salad for the new parents...Mama Pea's cookie dough balls.

I went to the grocery store and came home loaded up with MP's baking necessities.

She said I would want to eat the dough right out of the mixing bowl. She was right. Luckily for my friends and my waistline, I didn't, but only because I made this batch for my friends. Anyway, they miraculously made it to the oven...
And cooled off...
And packed up...
And labeled, giving credit to their originator...

I did eat one, though. Actually, while they were piping hot and ready to go, and one when we got back from dinner. Holy cookieballs these things are DELICIOUS! I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am going to toot Mama Pea's. She is a genius. Vegan schmegan, this is one of the most delicious treats I've ever had.

Mama Pea should've put me on her blog book tour!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Birthday Post--A Mom in Denial

Although I have recently had a significant birthday (cough30cough), I am not ready to come to terms with that milestone.

Nor was I ready for C-Bizzle's 1st birthday. Ready or not, C turned one! Warning: Excessive pictures in this post.

One year ago One year and 14 days ago, this little boy joined our family (five of the hottest days in the history of the world after he was supposed to join our family) and changed our worlds forever.

Do we look terrified? Because we were. Terrified and totally in love.
We took C-Biz home 2 days after he was born and time has rudely flown by since then! We have had so many special memories with this sweet boy.
It's hard for me to believe my sweet pea was ever this teeny. What an angel.
Slow down time. I could live in moments like this one forever.
A visit to Knoxville on a the third Saturday in October...

A visit with Santa...
HUNDREDS of visits to the ballpark...
A visit to Greenfield with Daddy Judge...
Rainy days hanging out with Berry...
A visit to the beach...

A whale of a first birthday... (After several attempts to rotate this picture without success, I decided it was best for my sanity and for B's computer to leave it sideways. You're dealing with a computer genius here, people)
I have loved the first year with my sweet baby, and look forward to the many adventures we'll have as a family!