Three-Week Vegan-niversary!?! Vegan Chilli, Amazeballs Blizzards, Almond Butter and Veggie Burgers

Easy-Peazy Lemon Squeezy. This vegan thing is totally not so tough. I mean, frankly, you can choose not to eat animals or animal products and still eat quite a lot of crap. Like Oreos and Fudgeos. But I don’t recommend that approach. Being a healthy eating vegan is much more rewarding. Admittedly, I did struggle a little more this third week, for a few reasons:

1. We moved into our camper (luckily just minutes away from home at our local campground). I don’t have my big, well-equipped kitchen at my finger tips. I’m torn between spending time at the campground and spending time at the house making cool vegan food. Luckily, the weather’s been crap, so when I’ve had time, I’ve chosen the house and cool vegan food.

2. I spent all day Thursday on a road trip out of the province with my youngest son for a medical appointment. I didn’t prepare. I found myself in Tim Horton’s parking lot googling vegan choices. (Thank goodness I found some.) I ate subway and basically prayed that my bread choice was vegan…but I was so hungry I didn’t have the heart to ask or google. (I wanted that bread, dammit.)

3. My husband has been very busy this weekend which has meant I’ve been on kid duty more than I normally would be (instead of my usual cooking/cleaning while he does kid duty)…so I’ve been struggling to get stuff done with very small windows of time. I think I did ok though. What do you think?

Here’s a summary of the weekend:

Saturday 

10:00 am – 11:15 am: I took the little Littles to their baseball practice and helped coach.

12:00 – 1:00 pm: Dropped William off at his hip hop class while Emma and I raced to the other side of town. We got kale and a basil plant at our local farmer’s market. Then we went to bulk barn and got some supplies before racing back to hip hop to pick William up.

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Took both Emma and William to a locally owned restaurant called The Thoughtful Squash. I got a veggie burger with no bun (the bun wasn’t vegan) and yummy root chips. MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm, so good.

2:00 – 3:00 pm: Dropped Emma off at hip hop while William and I raced to the grocery store to get groceries. Then raced back down town to pick Emma up.

3:30 – Dropped the kids off to the campground (with Jeff) and went to the house to do some cooking.

First, I made One-Pot Lentil Chili. So amazing. The Minimalist Baker website is one of my favorite places to hangout on the Internet these days. I doubled the recipe so that I would always have some homemade vegan grub to eat this week. What’s not gone by Wednesday I will freeze.


Then, I made these things that I like to call amaze balls. These guys are definitely delicious all on their very own.


But…I actually made them to be enjoyed as part of an ice-creamy treat. Vegan, of course. Guys. For realz. Amaze-ball blizzards are so, well…amazeballs. My oldest daughter, Brenna, and I gobbled these up like nobody’s business.


I had a hundred other things that I wanted to make….but it was late and I was tired. So I called it a night and headed back to the camper to spend some time with the little Littles.

Which brings us to today. The three-week vegan-niversary. Before I could get at the cooking, I had to take Emma to her jazz class. Of course, after we dropped her off, William and I raced to the top of town to get some MORE groceries…MUCH to his dismay. I assured him we were only going to get six things. (There were only six things on my list.) But, he counted the items as we put them on the counter to pay…and there were 24 things in our cart…fortunately he had so much fun counting, he forgot to be mad.

After we finished with groceries, we raced back downtown to pick up Emma, and then I dropped them both back off at the camper with Daddy so I could go home and fly around the kitchen like a mad woman. Brenna can attest to the mad woman part, I’m sure. I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, but I did get this double batch of almond butter made. (Let me tell you….I had to say some prayers for my food processor. I wasn’t sure she could handle the double batch, but she came through for me magically. A true heroine.


I also made these bad boy veggie burgers. Part way through putting them together I realized I had forgotten to get more chili powder at the grocery store all 17 times I was there this weekend, but Brenna saved the day. (Having children who drive has its perks.)


This was my first time making this recipe and I’m super glad to report the burgers tasted like awesomeness in all its glory. My husband even said he could eat these all summer instead of beef burgers. That’s my definition of success. It’s a good thing they turned out…because I doubled this recipe, too. Mommy’s so gonna eat well this week. Phewph!

Emma was really disappointed that I didn’t make the crispy rice treats I made for Canada Day Weekend, so they’re on deck for tomorrow evening after work/supper/getting the kids to ball. Then, Tuesday, the sun is supposed to be shining…so I might take a day off of cooking. Luckily, I’m well stocked!

The highlight of my three-week vegan-niversary was the Facebook message I received from a friend who has inspired (and challenged!) me to live healthy for as long as I’ve known her. She told me that I’ve inspired her to try eating vegan. Like, how cool is that??? I’m sure there are many who are kinda tired of seeing pictures of what I’m eating on the Internet. (They can feel free to look the other way!) But, knowing that someone I have looked up to for years was inspired enough by my posts to give eating vegan a try??? Totally worth the hour and a half I’ve spent trying to upload these pictures using the campground’s wifi. That’s a total win!!

Oh…I did make another blizzard as a bedtime snack tonight. Actually, it was more of a frosty. My food processor is at the house so I had to use my blender. And, to get my blender to work with frozen anything, I’ve gotta add liquid. So I added the new love of my life, Silk Chocolate Soy Milk, 1.5 frozen bananas, and a heaping tablespoon of my almond butter to the blender and blended until it was the consistency of a thick milkshake. Then I added one crushed amazeball and blended just a little. I dumped it in a bowl and crumbled another amazeball on top. The result was pure friggin’ bliss y’all.


Anyway, what did everyone else do this weekend???

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Two Week Vegan-niversary

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks. I feel like I’ve been eating vegan, like, forever. I feel healthier, more energetic and, honest-to-goodness happier than I ever remember being in my entire life.

Granted, this being Canada Day weekend, I’ve indulged in some less-than-healthy (but still vegan) munchies. I’ve had potato chips. So. Many. Potato chips. I’ve even had french fries. But, I also made healthier (and vegan) versions of some of my favorite treats.

I’m still going strong, but I know now that the holiday weekend is over it’s time to focus on healthy, whole, plant-based foods. The biggest challenge for the coming weeks will undoubtedly be that we are moving to the campground tomorrow for almost a month. (I have vegan marshmallows arriving in the mail tomorrow!) Planning and bulk cooking will definitely be the keys to success while we are there.

Here are some snapshots of my vegan pursuits over the past couple of days:

Fruit for breakfast:


Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats from Oh She Glows


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes from Minimalist Baker (Which contain no cheese of course!)

Plain Rice Crispy Treats (…which incidentally taste amazing with that homemade almond butter I made smeared on the top…)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast this morning. (I realized later that she has a perfected recipe here.)


And, finally, the best for last, vegan “quinoa meat” tacos. O. M. G.


Every single thing I made was amazing. I’ve never enjoyed cooking so much. Recipes are simple, healthful and delicious. What’s not to love???

Cheers!

Vegan – Days 11 and 12

At the end of day 10, you might recall that Emma and I made frozen treats:


Well, while my assistant wasn’t big on the coconut flavor from the coconut yogurt, THIS guy loved them.

Here are some other snapshots from days 11 and 12.

Berries for the kids for breakfast. Yum!


And a smoothie bowl for me. (You’re drooling, right??)


A little vegan dinner coming at you.




When William saw the pasta, he said, “Awwww, it’s Mexico noodles.” Then he promptly inhaled it as though he were a human vacuum cleaner. The recipe is Fiesta Pasta from My Plant-Based Family. It was super and made enough for two nights supper easily. I took her suggestion of adding a cup of tomato sauce to the sauce recipe. Next time, I would double (or even triple) the sauce part of the recipe. We like our noodles saucy over here. I actually ended up adding a jar of pasta sauce to our individual plates.

Green Smoothie. This had a couple of small kiwi, a half of a banana, a big handful of spinach, some coconut milk, some coconut yogurt…and, well, honestly I forget, but probably a tablespoon of ground flax and a tablespoon of hemp hearts.


For lunch today, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t have time to make a lunch this morning but expected I would have enough time to grab something before I left the office to take my daughter to the orthodontist. I had less time than anticipated and the city was nuts… I tried getting something to go at Freshii and Pita Pit but the mile-long lines meant I just couldn’t wait. In the end, I ran into the new Supplement King and grabbed a bag of vegan protein chips (which were pretty awesome) and a vegan protein bar, also really awesome. 


No lie, neither of the people working at the store knew what “vegan” meant. I mean I totally get that Joe Public may not understand that vegans don’t eat any animal products, including dairy and eggs. Heck, I am JUST learning myself exactly what it means to be vegan. But, I would have expected a guy and a gal who work in a supplement/health food store to know what it means (and what vegan products they have in stock). Nope.

Today’s crowning glory…and really my biggest pride and joy since this journey began…was the almond butter I just made. I got the recipe over at Oh She Glows.




I made it exactly per her directions and it turned out beautifully. (Like, I could sit here and eat it with a spoon, y’all.) And, my Hamilton Beach food processor must be pretty awesome, because it didn’t even take the full 10 minutes to get all goopy and drippy. Thank goodness I made it to be the “special ingredient” in a vegan treat I am making for Canada Day…so I can’t eat it all tonight.

Vegan Days 9 and 10

Things are plugging along quite nicely here.

Day 9 started off with overnight oats topped with strawberry and banana. Mmmmmm, I love me some overnight oats!

Lunch was leftover Daiya vegan pizza. This was supper. I had some rice and black beans left over from when I made veggie burgers. Added some corn….and presto. 

This morning started off with a chocolate shake. It was a nice change from my usual berry smoothies. Kinda felt like I was having dessert for breakfast! (I got this recipe from Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking cookbook that I bought for Kindle last night.

Lunch today was more leftovers. Still yummy.

Highlight of the past two days was taking five minutes with this girl to make frozen treats with nothing but coconut milk “yogurt”, fresh berries and a splash of maple syrup. (Recipe from My Plant-Based Family)


I’m learning a lot. One thing I’m learning is that I really want to become adept at making homemade vegan food as opposed to buying more processed things with tons of ingredients that don’t seem all that natural or healthy. For example, tonight William had soccer so we needed a quick supper that we could make and eat in minutes. We settled on some tortilla chips with tofutti sour cream and salsa. The tofutti sour cream was fine tasting…but the ingredients list made me uncomfortable. As time goes on, I want to be able to make healthy versions of this stuff on my own. My biggest barrier right now is a lack of time, particularly a lack of time to plan, shop and prep. I’ll get it worked out eventually.

And, another thing I’m learning is that I’m only human. I work full time. I have a busy schedule both during the day and in the evenings. I can only do so much. I have to pace myself so I don’t burn out. When I’m eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, my kitchen is naturally going to be used more often and messier more often. Small price to pay, right?

One Week Vegan-niversary (Day 8)

So, one week ago today was my first day as a Vegan. It’s been an adjustment but, honestly, not at all a difficult one. I have a long way to go and tons to learn about how to be a healthy vegan. But, instead of feeling anxious or unsure, I feel excited and ambitious.

I started the morning off in style with vegan pancakes:


Then, I dropped Emma off at her Sunday dance class and went to the grocery store to pick up some vegan groceries. For lunch, I had a Silver Hills Raspberry Bagel with natural peanut butter and for supper I had a slice of Daiya vegan pizza. Pretty boring and uninspiring…but I spent several hours at the beach watching the kids have a blast in the sand, so that took up some time.

I did make some overnight oats for tomorrow’s breakfast…so that’s something!


Also, in honor of my one week vegan-niversary…I just watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix. If you haven’t watched this, I beg you to go and watch it right now. But, don’t watch it alone. Watch it with someone you love so you can be inspired together. Seriously. Watch it. Thanks to everyone who suggested it, especially my lovely daughter. I would like everyone I love to watch it now, please. I’m more inspired and motivated than ever! And, more convinced than ever that this is the best, most healthful choice I could have made.

Vegan Day 7 – Best Burgers Ever!

Today’s big accomplishment was definitely the homemade veggie burgers I made for supper. I found the recipe over at Minimalist Baker. All I can say is wow! Give these a try, you won’t be disappointed!


They basically consisted of brown rice, mashed black beans, walnuts, breadcrumbs, onion, spices and barbecue sauce. They didn’t take that long to make and they tasted better than a real burger!!

  Unfortunately, I did burn them…


But, I was literally able to pick the black stuff off…


And they still tasted amazing!! William (who is five) ate half of one and Emma (who is seven) managed to eat all of hers. Jeff and I both devoured two each.


The only thing I would do differently next time would be to process the black beans with the food processor rather than mashing them…and only because the kids weren’t big on the chunks of beans.

Wow, can you believe I have a whole week in without eating any meat or animal products? I feel great and am still very happy and comfortable with the decision I’ve made. And, I’m excited to keep learning!

Awesome Adventure Day and Vegan Day 6 (A day-late post)

Years ago, when Jeff and I had just started dating, we had adventure days as often as we could. The outdoors was that awesome thing that brought us together – our shared love of hiking, biking, kayaking, beaching, swimming and camping. We still do all that stuff, regularly, and we still love it. But…it’s very rare these days that we get the chance to do it with out kids trailing behind. But, yesterday was a reminder that doing this stuff together is important. It’s what brought us together and it’s what will keep us together.

So yesterday, we took the day off work, arranged for my parents to pick the kids up at the sitter’s and embarked on a good-old-days adventure. We started out with an hour-long hike where we were picked up and carried away by mosquitos… Well, almost. Even with the bugs, it was a delight to walk through the woods together without anyone whining that their legs were tired or fighting over who gets to be in the lead or falling flat on their faces… I mean, I stumbled a few times but…

After the hike, we went for a bike ride on a beautiful trail near Brackley Beach. It was heaven. Then, after we loaded the bikes back onto the truck, we made our way to the beach where we did nothing but lay on our towels in the sand for over two hours. We finished the day off with dinner downtown followed by more cashew milk fro-“yo”. Best day in a very, very long time. 

And, I learned that eating out when your a vegan is pretty limiting. But, I still managed to find vegan options and I didn’t even cry while Jeff was eating his Brickinator Burger Love from the Brickhouse. I just ate my $12 tomato and avocado salad that consisted of a tomato and half an avocado and felt grateful for such a wonderful day!