Health & Chocolate – Buncha Mom Sense http://bunchamomsense.com Thoughts on parenting, life, and surviving enthusiastic children Mon, 29 May 2017 03:59:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Healthy Lettuce Wraps / Dippers http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/10/lettuce-wraps-and-lettuce-dippers/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/10/lettuce-wraps-and-lettuce-dippers/#respond Fri, 26 Oct 2012 19:14:00 +0000 Around our house, we are always bored with food.  When I say we, I don't mean I.  I would be content to eat the same thing every day for a month.  Especially if it includes cheese or chocolate.  But the rest of our family could use a little more variety.  I'm always looking for

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Around our house, we are always bored with food.  When I say we, I don’t mean I.  I would be content to eat the same thing every day for a month.  Especially if it includes cheese or chocolate.  But the rest of our family could use a little more variety.  I’m always looking for something healthy, with plant based food, maybe even raw.  Here’s a little bit of both healthy and variety.  I hope you love it as much as we do.

Kid Style: AKA, “Let’s play with our food!”
Wash all the romaine, saving the larger leaves for the grownups. Divvy up the smaller romaine leaves.  Slice some veggies: cucs, carrots and dinosaur trees, (what we call broccoli) are all great choices.  Add some nuts, or chicken, or (_________), and then get a little bit of Caesar for dipping.  (I let the kids get a head start on this meal.  They take a long time to eat it, which is fine cause they eat a ton when we have this.)
Get dipping!
   My kids are eating lots of “veggies.”  They’re playing with their food.
Everybody’s happy:  Mom, Dad, Kids.  We’re all loving it!

Grown up style:  Have fun with this.  It’s a great meal to make vegetarian, serve when you’re entertaining someone who can’t eat gluten, or when you’re wanting to add some raw veggies to your life.

Divide the larger leaves between the grown up plates.  I think a grown up would eat between 4-7 leaves each, depending on the person, and how loaded each leaf is.  Sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella on each leaf.

 

Next I add chopped veggies. Usually I also add cucumbers, although last night I ran out.
If you are a meat eater (or feeding one) chicken comes next.  Just plain ol’ chicken with salt and pepper.  Add some Caesar dressing to each leaf.
Usually my next step is adding slivered almonds and sunflower seeds.  I like this meal so much better if it HAS the nuts and seeds.  With them, you wouldn’t even need the chicken!  At any rate, my last step is  is boiled eggs, mainly because my husband likes his “salad” to have bulk.  Yummmmmmm.


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~Vegan Meals for Non-vegans~ (round two) http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/04/vegan-meals-for-non-vegans-round-two/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/04/vegan-meals-for-non-vegans-round-two/#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2012 15:52:00 +0000 For starters, I should up-to-speed you with my food journey.  I had a great time with my "Vegan Journey" but have decided that it is slightly misleading to continue calling myself "vegan-ish" or "almost vegan" at this point.  I have decided to call myself a "Happy Vegetarian."  It is a much clearer picture of my

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For starters, I should up-to-speed you with my food journey.  I had a great time with my “Vegan Journey” but have decided that it is slightly misleading to continue calling myself “vegan-ish” or “almost vegan” at this point.  I have decided to call myself a “Happy Vegetarian.”  It is a much clearer picture of my life.  So there you have it.  At least for now I am simply a girl, trying to eat lots of veggies, plant foods, and enjoying little chocolate or whole milk latte now and then.

So, this week, my food choice is pretty basic, but hopefully you will get a few ideas to put new spins on a old classic.  Salad!

Salad is pretty basic.  Straight forward.  Lettuce, veggies, dressing.  You can have all your chopped veggies in little bowls so that each person can pick what they want for their salad.  I add some chopped boiled eggs and some parmesan cheese for the non-vegans.  One of the things that I love about salad is that it is full of live foods and its allows for plenty of variety.

I thought I would share a few variations on salads.

Chopped Salad with black beans.  I added three tablespoons of black beans to a bowl of chopped onions, cilantro, crushed blue corn chips and pico de gallo or chunky salsa.  This is also good with corn and bell peppers added to it.  I did this on a whim, and fell in love with the intense flavor as well as the vibrant colors.  And of course, I love that it has my currant obsesions: cilantro and blue corn chips.

The other fun spin on salad I wanted to share with you is a homemade dressing.  I get so sick of all the nasty stuff that is in most salad dressing.  I’m reading the label thinking, “What is that?  What is this? What is that? Ewwww, really?  They put THAT in?  How is that even legal?”

So here it is.  I got the basic idea for this off a “Forks over Knives: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue.”  I took a ripe avocado, Seasoned it with Montreal Steak seasoning,  and added lemon juice.  For just me I use about 1/4 of the avocado and 1/4 of the lemon.  For the whole family, I use the full avocado and the full lemon.  If I’m wanting more of an Italian feel, I add just a splash of balsamic vinegar.   Sounds a little crazy, but it tastes crazy good.

 

This is great to use for any salad.  I really like this dressing for chop salad.  I love a good chop salad, although I sometimes add too many herbs, and then have to add more cucumber and more walnuts so all the flavor doesn’t overwhelm me.

 

 

 

One last thing I love about salads… Super easy clean up!
And no pans to wash!

Have a great day!  Go enjoy some sunshine.

 

 

 

 

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Vegan meals for non-vegans http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/03/vegan-meals-for-non-vegans/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/03/vegan-meals-for-non-vegans/#comments Fri, 16 Mar 2012 22:22:00 +0000 I realize that I never officially ended my Vegan Journey series.  Maybe I will do that sometime.  For now.... I was reading an article on saving money, and one of their suggestions was to cut meat out of one meal a week.   The article said that by having one main meal a week that revolved

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I realize that I never officially ended my Vegan Journey series.  Maybe I will do that sometime.  For now…. 
I was reading an article on saving money, and one of their suggestions was to cut meat out of one meal a week.   The article said that by having one main meal a week that revolved around beans, nuts, and grains you could save about 6 dollars a week.  I don’t know if I agree with that.  But even if it saved you 3 dollars a week it would add up to $153 a year.   Nice.  Plus add the fact that almost every straight-from-a-plant food is packed with things that make you more healthy and less sickly.
Ok, so todays vegan meal for non vegans…
Hummus wraps:
Ingredients:
~Tortillas~ 
Toasted or heated in the oven ’til slightly cruchy 
(I prefer Ezekiel/ Food for Life tortillas, but they aren’t for everyone.)
~Hummus~
I even like to make my own sometimes.  It’s much cheeper to make your own!
~Various Veggies & Greens~ 
Pick a few different ones each time!
Red onions
Green onions
 broccoli slaw
Thinly sliced cucumbers 
Chopped cilantro
Red bell pepper
Salad greens
Tomatoes 
(I hate the idea of tomatoes in this, but Rodrigues likes ‘um.)
I’m sure there are more options, these are just my favorites!
~Crunch factor~
Almond slivers
Sunflower seeds
Tortilla chips
Heat your tortilla.  If I’m heating a bunch I throw them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 for a few minutes. (Maybe about five?)  If I’m just doing for me, I heat them on the “pancake pan”  for a few minutes.  Then I pick some greens and chop them! Cilantro is always a winner.

Cover a toasted tortilla with plenty of humus, put chopped greens on one side and your choice of crunch factor on the other side.  I like slivered almonds best, but sunflower seeds work in a bind.  I’m sure there are other varieties you could try.

Add some lettuce and maybe some corn chips! (I love the crunch the corn chips add!)
Fold it, or wrap it. Or mark it with a “ME.”
At the end of dinner, my plate looks like a salad erupted on it.  I love it.  Look at all that healthiness!
This is one of my favorite meals.  I ate it for lunch, and as I’m looking all these yummy pictures, I’m thinking I might have it for dinner too!  It has the Husband stamp of approval.  Its great for entertaining.   Easy to clean up.  Mainly raw.
  Tryyyy it, you’ll liiiiike it! 

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What do you eat when you’re vegan? http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/02/what-do-you-eat-when-youre-vegan/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/02/what-do-you-eat-when-youre-vegan/#respond Fri, 03 Feb 2012 23:01:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/what-do-you-eat-when-youre-vegan/ So today I want to tell you about my conclusions from the last month, and about my aspirations for the next month.  But first, I want to answer I question I have been running into over and over again, as soon as it became common knowledge that I was doing a month of vegan eating."What

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So today I want to tell you about my conclusions from the last month, and about my aspirations for the next month.  But first, I want to answer I question I have been running into over and over again, as soon as it became common knowledge that I was doing a month of vegan eating.


“What ever do you eat?”

Well, First of all, if you are going to go somewhat or wholly vegan, you should know your reasons or goals.  Here are some great reasons I have heard people say they want to go vegan: long term health benefits, a medical doctor’s instruction, wanting to deal with food allergies, and wanting to quickly recover from an illness.  Your personal reasons and goals will determine for you where you are going to be completely dedicated, and what areas you might budge in, now and again.  Once you have figured this out, its time to go to the drawing board.
Many people I have talked to expressed that they would like to eat more plant based foods, but feel that they would get *SO BORED.*  If you look at how much variety an average family has in their meal plan though, its not actually that exciting.  Pizza on Friday nights, lasagna on Tuesdays, and cereal with milk every morning.  Wow.  So much variety.  With this in mind, please be aware that if you are switching to vegan, and feel bored, you are probably just switching from one bored to another.  Once you get your sea legs, find your wings, find your inner herbivore, I think that you will actually have MORE variety in your diet, and less times of finding yourself bored with eating.  I am still in the middle of this process, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Let me show you the steps I took toward finding my own “whole foods” menu, and show you what I am actually eating.
Before the first step: Change your kitchen mentality.
This may happen before you change the way you menu plan, or it may change after.  Either way, it will make your life easier.  
~Cook up some brown rice, garbanzo beans, and one or two other kinds of beans at the beginning of your week.  Having these ready and accessible will save you time and frustration when you want to eat in ten minutes, instead of in an hour.
~Have whole grain pasta, bread and tortillas on hand.  Although not all whole wheat (WW) or whole grain products are created equal, you want to stick with whole wheats and whole grains because they actually have protein, as well as other nutrients that you don’t want to miss out on.
~Have some vegetable broth, vegetable stock, tomato paste and coconut milk in your pantry.  They will come in handy sooner or later.  I’m guessing it will be sooner.
~Have some of these two homemade “condiments” on hand for easy access: pico de gallo (fresh chopped salsa) and hummus.  Either one may just be the answer to your boredom. 
~Have a full vegetable drawer, full fruit drawer and a clean cutting board accessible.  
~Start thinking about what types of things have protien, and make sure to eat from different protien sources.  Think about eating some grains, (rices, oatmeal, whole wheat, buckwheat, barley, etc.) nuts, (almonds, walnuts, pecans,) legumes, (chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas,) and seeds, (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.) each day. You don’t have to eat all varieties at one time, but just be sure to mix and match through out the duration of the day.  (P.S. Peanuts and Cashews are technically legumes, but are known as nuts, so I don’t know where to put them on this list.)
Step Number One:  Vegan-ise!
Take some of your most favorite, trusted meals, and change them up.  Here are a few dishes that I am using in this manner.  
1. Lasagna~   Make a pan for me that has no meat or dairy products in it.  Instead of the cottage cheese mixture, add tofu, chopped spinach and chopped fresh basil, garlic and diced onions.  In the red sauce, instead of having hamburger, add chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and maybe just a dash of liquid smoke.  Instead of cheese, cover with (dry) ground cashews or “cashew flour.” Make one normal pan for family. 
2.  Red Devil Curry~  Start the rice cooking. ( I usually choose brown rice, and add a small amount of wild rice.)  Cook a small amount of lentils, to add to my red curry sauce at the end.  Make and set aside some chicken for family.  Make the red devil curry sauce. ( Red curry paste, coconut milk, maple syrup, dash of olive oil, garlic paste,  and some lime juice.)  Add bamboo, red bell peppers, carrots, pineapple, jalepenos, and onion.  Chop some basil and stir it in a few minute before I turn the stove off.  I add lentils to mine, while my family adds chicken. “Rodrigues,” our live-in college student, enjoys the best of both worlds.  She’ll eat the chicken AND the lentils.  Good for her.
3.  Happy Yellow Curry~   Cook rice and if desired lentils.  Mix the yellow curry paste with coconut milk, red onions, mango chunks and pineapple.  Oh my word.
4.  Fajitas~ Lime, cilantro, bell peppers and onions, pared with some rice, refried beans and pico is a party in your mouth. Add some guac, wrap it up in a WW tortilla and you’ve got yourself a winner.  All Recipes has a great recipe for vegan/vegetarian refried beans. (All Recipes… surprise, surprise, right?)
5. Burgers and Asparagus~  Cook burgers for other grown ups, the kids and I will eat Morning Star black bean burgers.  All of us grown ups eat pico on top of our burgers.  With our burgers we like to have oven roasted asparagus, tossed in olive oil and seasonings, cooked until they look slightly wilted. This is also a great meal to have french fries or sweet potato fries with.  (Josh isn’t crazy about either of these, but that’s why Rodrigues lives with us.  She loves them both.  So I have a good excuse to make them!)
6. Whole Wheat Pizza~  Omit the cheese, cover with brilliant combinations of veggies.  You can also use pesto instead of tomato sauce.  
7. “Out of the Pan” Salad~  Lettuce greens, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried cherries, balsamic vinaigrette.
8. Spaghetti~ Yummy Marinara with noodles and chopped veggies is my new version of this old classic.
Step Two: Find some new favorites.
I went out and bought a vegan cookbook.  I looked through a bunch of books at B&N before I picked one that seemed reasonable for me.  I often get mad when I see that vegan or vegetarian dishes always have weird stuff in them that I would never eat. (Calliflower? Eggplant? Ewww.)  I needed a book with food that I would actually want to cook.  I chose The Vegan Table.  (Side note:  Amazon lets you look through many books.  If will say “click to look inside”  at the top of the picture if this option is available.) I’m sure you can always check a few books out at the library or steal borrow a book from a friend.
My daughter always ONLY wants to make ONE thing from my new vegan cookbook.
 Red velvet cake. Go figure.
Some other great ideas from my new cookbook are:
Hummus Quesadillas (grilled)
Grilled Veggie Panini  (with pesto or with hummus)
Warm spinach salad, with onions and walnuts
Tons of soups, like Cuban black bean, carrot-ginger and Asparagus-thyme, to name a few.
Pad Thai (Oh Yum!)
Step Three: Invent new meals
Like the hummus wrap I briefly described last week. Or my “Chipotle” inspired burrito bowl. Mmmm.  
Here’s the deal.  You know what you like to eat, so make it work for your meal plans.  Eat what you love.
Step Four: Change your definition of Meal
We often have a very “midwestern” idea of what a meal should look like.  A piece of meat, (approximately twice as big as it should be if you look up serving size,) some cooked-to-death veggies, (about half a serving,)  and some simple carb.  Much of the flavor comes from milk based products, sugar, and lots of salt.  While you should be making sure you eat with variety, and get protien, etc, etc, etc, you don’t need to stay confined to the SAD* way you have spent the last X years of your life eating.  More on this later.  
(*Standerd American Diet)

My Vegan Journey Conclusions
1.  Eating this way is easier, cheaper, and way more fun than I would have thought.
2.  When I eat way more plant based foods I feel much better than when I don’t.
3.  I’m going to continue this experiment.  I don’t plan to be a vegan 100% of the time, but I do want it to be the norm in my life.  The extras and the cheating are for security purposes:  I want to feel like its easy to do this, not like I’m trapped by my “diet.”
I plan to have February be mainly vegan, with 1-2 “chEating out” days.  This month I am going to be a bit better with not eating tons of sugar, but I do plan to do some vegan baking once a week.  I hope to make about 3 meals a week that the whole family can eat with me.  Wish me luck.
Up Coming Blogs
Next Friday I am going to expound on Step Three and Step Four, as well as introducing you to some of my new, menu-saving side dishes and snacks. 
I’ll be on my soap box next Tuesday, as I address a few sensitive issues in “Becoming Mom.” Don’t judge me for having a soap box.  I bet you have one or two in the back of your closet.  Don’t worry though, I won’t be too opinionated.  I’m a middle child, for crying out loud…  I can always see that there are two sides of every story.

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Vegan Journey~ Week 4 http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-4/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-4/#respond Sat, 28 Jan 2012 16:52:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/vegan-journey-week-4/ At about 1:45 AM this morning, I realized that I had not done my vegan journey blog for the week yet.  After a long night and a long morning, both of my kids are starting their naps.  I think I'm ready to take a nap too.This week is the end of my January experiment.  So

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At about 1:45 AM this morning, I realized that I had not done my vegan journey blog for the week yet.  After a long night and a long morning, both of my kids are starting their naps.  I think I’m ready to take a nap too.

This week is the end of my January experiment.  So I feel like I should have some amazing epiphanies to tell you.  In life, that’s not always how it works though.  I’m still in the process of processing.  What I can tell you is that I had a great time.  It was a lot easier than I would have expected.  I had two “ch-Eating out” days.  I might possibly have had a few accidental non-vegan cookies.  But over all, it was pretty easy.  I felt really good when I wasn’t cheating.  I felt normal (aka, worn out) when I had my big cheats.  All in all I felt excited about feeling healthy!  It is so great to eat food because it is making your body stronger, rather than to eat food just because you want to, or need to, or because its “time to eat.”  But no huge epiphanies.  Sorry.

Now is the time that I find myself looking forward.  I’m getting ready to do my big monthly menu and grocery expedition. I want to eat things that will make me feel good.  I also want what I eat to be cheap, and easy, and amazing.   I don’t know exactly what my eating guidelines will be, but when I know, I’ll tell you.  This week I’m not going to give you a recipe, per say.  I’m just going to tell you one of the things we ate this week.  It has me thinking I can even convince my husband to eat vegan meals once in a while.  Here goes:

Toast a few tortillas in the oven ’til they are slightly crisp.  Spread hummus all over the top side of the tortilla.  Cover the hummus with cilantro (chopped), salad greens, onions, cucumbers and other such things.  Fold in half.  Eat.  Repeat. Yummmmmmmmm.

I would love to hear if any of the recipes from my “Vegan Journey” have been helpful to you.   For now, I’m going to go read my vegan cookbook, plan my grocery list, and hopefully, fall asleep during the process.  See you next week!

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Vegan Journey~ Week 3 & Recipes http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-3-recipes/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-3-recipes/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2012 21:34:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/vegan-journey-week-3-recipes/ Vegan isn't healthy. Ok, I admit, that statement was meant to jerk you wide awake.  Did it work?  I do have to tell you though, that I have had people tell me that.  They say, "You don't plan on doing this long term, right?  Caz I had a ______ (friend, cousin, co-worker) who was vegan

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Vegan isn’t healthy.

Ok, I admit, that statement was meant to jerk you wide awake.  Did it work?  I do have to tell you though, that I have had people tell me that.  They say, “You don’t plan on doing this long term, right?  Caz I had a ______ (friend, cousin, co-worker) who was vegan and they were way too skinny and not healthy at all.”  Hmmmmm.  Listen to me very carefully:  If I ever get way too skinny, I will have an all week cookie-eat-athon and fix it.  Don’t worry.

Yesterday I made vegan sugar cookies.  Pretty simple actually.  I always use All Recipe’s Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe. (They really ought to start paying me for all the times I accidentally advertise for them.   I guess I just love their recipes!)  I use brown sugar rather than white sugar.  This time instead of the egg I used 1 Tbsp flax meal soaked in 3 Tbsp water.  Instead of butter I used coconut oil and a splash of olive oil.  I added just a little bit of salt.  They were pretty good.  Absolutely not healthy, but really good.

I was pretty sure I knew how to turn my favorite sugar cookie recipe into a vegan recipe, but just to be safe, before I made the cookies I googled “Vegan Sugar Cookies.” Guess what I found out from this search…  Most Pillsburry frosting is vegan.  So obviously being vegan in and of its self is not necessarily healthy.

The real reason I am doing this journey is to kick start my health. (Guess I should have skipped those sugar cookies…) This journey has nothing to do with being “vegan” and everything to do with a plant based diet.   Eating with this mindset changes you from thinking about what you can’t eat to what you can put in your body that will make you strong.  I find myself making meals and thinking, “What could I put in this that will make it even better for me?”  Then I end up adding more vegetables, more seeds, ect.  The other thing that is great is that I get full quicker. Plants take up a lot more room in your stomach than processed food does.   So I actually find myself feeling amazingly full.

On to the recipes!
What would you do if I told you that I found the cure for the terrible twos, grumpy old men, and PMS? Well I did.  It’s Chocolate (Avocado) Pudding!


Chocolate Pudding!
The original recipe is from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  As you may know, I have problems with actually following recipes,  so here is what my recipe looked like:

One avocado, pureed with a tablespoon of water (almost a full cup of avocado puree.)
One overflowing tablespoon of coconut oil
Just over a half cup of coco powder
1 cup brown sugar  (I ground it in the coffee grinder so it was more fine. )
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons water  (maybe four)

I cooked it all on the stove and added water until it was a good consistency.   I served it warm, and the only complaint anyone in the house had was that it was gone too fast.  As weird as this may look or sound, it was tasty!  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  I was too busy eating.

I Wanna Eat Cilantro!

This is my own original recipe, which I made on a carefully calculated whim yesterday.  I just wanted to eat some cilantro!  So I made this dish to fill that wish. This recipe is for one serving.  You’ll want to make more.

1/2- 3/4 cup cooked brown rice.
20 cooked (or canned) chickpeas, halved

1/2 of a roma tomato, chopped
The juice from 1/2 of a lime
1 Tbsp chopped onion
3 slices of a green bell pepper, chopped
slightly less than a 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3-4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, chopped

Heat the rice and chickpeas.  Add a Tablespoon of water or so, to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom and stir often! In the meantime, chop up the veggies. Mix all the raw stuff in a bowl with the lime juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Various Variations: 
 Swap the chickpeas for black beans
Swap the tomato for Pineapple chunks
Serve baked in a bell pepper
I hope you have a great weekend!  I hope you try these recipes, because they made me really happy.

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Vegan Journey, Week two http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-two/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-journey-week-two/#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2012 02:32:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/vegan-journey-week-two/ I am happy to announce to you that winter finally came to town.  I think we got 4-8 inches of snow, and its bitter cold outside.  We ghetto ridged a few of our windows, hanging blankets over them, to keep the cold out. I don't like the utility bills in the winter.  I do love

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I am happy to announce to you that winter finally came to town.  I think we got 4-8 inches of snow, and its bitter cold outside.  We ghetto ridged a few of our windows, hanging blankets over them, to keep the cold out. I don’t like the utility bills in the winter.  I do love the snow though.  I love the way snow makes everything look new and magical.  Even ugly or mundane things end up looking beautiful. I have been walking around humming Christmas carols. “Little Miss” started singing, “Baby it’s cold outside! No its not. Yes it is! No its not!  Yes it is.”  Cracked us all up.


After the kids begging me for hours, I finally bundled them up, and we all went outside.  We grabbed all our beach buckets and scoopers and made them into snow toys.  It was freezing lovely. 

 



It is week two of my Vegan Journey.  I have now been (mainly) vegan for 12 days.  Yesterday I went to Barns & Nobles.  I ate a terribly naughty treat from the B&N cafe, and read some cookbooks on going raw, going vegan, and becoming a herbivore.  Hypocrite.  


Sometimes I feel like reading cookbooks is really amazing… sometimes I don’t.  Especially if they don’t have tons of vivid pictures.  Honestly, while learning never tires me, occasionally I get sick of the attitude behind some of the books I read.  I’m not sure how to explain it, so I won’t.  I’m sorry.  I still had a great time though.  After I abandoned the cookbooks, I read some other books pertaining to health, that didnt’ have any recipes… Ironically, by some of the same authors.


When it comes to changing your family’s eating habits, I suppose the first thing you need to change is what you buy at the grocery store.  Seems reasonable.  Before January’s big grocery shopping adventure, I planned out a bit of a menu, using meals that could easily be enjoyed by me and my non-vegan family.  What I noticed after going shopping was that its really not more expensive to be vegan.  Your money just goes to different things.  I didn’t spend a ton of money on the usual: Chicken, beef, Sausage, cheese, yogurt, and milk. Instead I ended up spending a lot less on those, and a lot more on nuts, fruits, veggies, and a few obscure things like “mung beans.”  Over the last two months I have also transitioned myself into using veggie broth and coconut milk for cooking, so of course, I picked some up.  


So with the staple foods being replaced with new foods, I have had a lot of new and exciting food-ventures, as well as getting into some comfy food ruts. I have eaten a lot of salads.  A lot of oatmeal. We have all had plenty of smoothies, too.    But it hasn’t been boring.  I chop all sorts of stuff up for my salads.  My newest favorite things to add is chopped pear.  Oh, yum!  Every salad is covered with sunflower seeds.  I love the crunch!  My oatmeal is easy and sorta fun.  I chop up apple, add some raisins, cinnamon and flaxmeal.  Another option is to eat cherry’s and slivered almonds with it.  I’m not actually crazy about the oatmeal, but I do love the add-ins.  I throw tons of stuff into my smoothies too:  Mixed salad greens, Kiwis, bananas, prunes, pineapple and coconut milk, to name a few.   I have also ventured out and made somethings I haven’t ever successfully made before: homemade bean burgers, hummus and growing my own sprouts.  Its pretty exciting in my kitchen… Until I have to clean all the dishes.


I am starting to feel that I’m getting to know my way around this new way of eating.  The great thing is, I actually like it.  I feel so great about eating things that I know are truly feeding my body, not just my hips!  I feel like I’m actually eating real food.  That’s a great feeling.




Recipe of the Week:


Yummy Marinara
 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1teaspoon Garlic paste
Dash of paprika
One (small) can of tomato sauce


Bring to a slow boil.  
Add almost 1/4 cup of soaked, pureed cashews, 
(OR almost 1/4 cup pureed chickpeas).
Add a splash of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.


This can also be made as a “raw” dish.
This is great because it can be used as dipping sauce for bread, spaghetti sauce, or whatever.  
The first time I made this, I used it over polenta, and it was amazing.  The second time I made it, I poured it over a bowl of chopped garden veggies. 


I like it best with cashews, but either way works great.





Have a great weekend! 

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(Vegan) Recipes of the Week* http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-recipes-of-the-week/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/vegan-recipes-of-the-week/#respond Sat, 07 Jan 2012 04:52:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/vegan-recipes-of-the-week/ Vegan Butternut squash soupI love butternut squash soup! It's warm and delightful. A modern comfort food.  Here's my vegan version of this favorite... Made with acorn squash! ;)1 1/2 cup coconut milk1 1/2 veggie broth 1 to 2 inches of ginger, GRATED (Not chopped or processed through a food processor)One onion, chopped One acorn squash, peeled and

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Vegan Butternut squash soup


I love butternut squash soup! It’s warm and delightful. A modern comfort food.  Here’s my vegan version of this favorite… Made with acorn squash! 😉

1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 veggie broth 
1 to 2 inches of ginger, GRATED (Not chopped or processed through a food processor)
One onion, chopped 
One acorn squash, peeled and cut in large chunks.
1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
(You could add half a jalepeno if you wanted)

Put all of these in a pot and simmer them for about 25-45 minutes, until the squash is super soft and falling apart. Add a pinch of red pepper flecks, and two dashes of paprika. 


Blend these with a hand blender. It will be delicious but slightly missing something. 

The non-vegan me would grab the half & half, and “glug, glug, glug,” pour in some of my favorite easy fix for any soup. 

Dont worry though: The vegan part of me knows what to do! Grab about ten cashews out of my cashews that have been soaking in water overnight. Blend them together with a few spoonfuls of the soup till they make a thick cream. Then incorporate the cream into the soup. 


Ahhhh. Perfect!


I also though I would include my carrot cake muffins with icing. 

1 1/2 cups floor
1 cup brown sugar or organic sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon 
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ginger powder
(Mix all dry ingredients)

In a different bowl, mix together the following:
1 cup water
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 carrot (grated) 
1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed (can be mixed or substituted with coconut milk)
Approx. 1/2 cup raisens
Approx. 1/2 cup crushed (or finely chopped) pineapple
1/4 cup flax meal

Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and snitch a little bit!  Then pour dough into greased muffin cups.

Cook at 375 degrees for about 17 minutes.

While cooking these, take out your ” soaked in water overnight” cashews. 


Put about 1/3 cup of these into your hand blender or food processor.  Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and blend till smooth.  Mix this together with 2-3 cups of powdered sugar, depending on if you want runny icing or a bit thicker frosting.


Frost warm, or wait till they cool. 


The frosting isn’t my favorite frosting of all times.  But it’s pretty good. I got no complaints from anyone in my house of *slightly picky eaters*, so I think it passed the test.  And, ok, I’ll admit: I can’t stop eating it. 




See below for my blog on WHY I am doing a month long Vegan Experiment.
Have a great week!


*Both recipes are my own fairly original recipes.


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http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/1081/ http://bunchamomsense.com/2012/01/1081/#comments Thu, 05 Jan 2012 19:25:00 +0000 http://bunchamomsense.com/1081/ Today I begin my four week series on my journey as an "almost Vegan."  The first thing I should probably talk about in this series is why I'm doing this month long vegan journey.  As I have researched and pondered giving up all animal products, to focus on eating mainly raw foods and whole foods,

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Today I begin my four week series on my journey as an “almost Vegan.”  The first thing I should probably talk about in this series is why I’m doing this month long vegan journey.  As I have researched and pondered giving up all animal products, to focus on eating mainly raw foods and whole foods, I have found some great reasons to do what I’m doing. 


Here’s a list of a few of the reasons that a person might do something crazy like this: 
1. To save animals from cruelty. 
2. Because eating vegan seriously reduces your “carbon footprint.” 
3. Because when you eat meat, it rots in your intestines for 3-4 days. Imagine leaving a bowl of meat, eggs, milk, and fish in your garage for three or four days in 98 degree weather.   Basically the same thing. Eeeeew. 
4. Being a *high raw* vegan is supposed to reduce or eliminate your body oder… as you can imagine after reading number three.


 As dramatic as some of these are, none of these were it for me. The reason I wanted to try this for a month was for health reasons. The more research I do, the more I find that most people who eat whole food diets (in other words, food from the ground, that has been minimally processed) are pretty dang healthy. They tell stories of doing all sorts of things, like reversing and/or curing  heart disease, diabetes, even stage four cancer, and all sorts of other stuff.  Most people who eat like this say things like, “I never get sick!” and “I have tons of energy!”  Because I am a cause and effect kind of a girl, I believe most of these stories.  I think if you give your body good tools, it will use them.  If you stoping putting crap in your body, you will probably stop feeling like crap.  What does that have to do with me? Well, I don’t have cancer or heart disease. I have only ever had gestational diabetes, but they say that if you had GD you have at least a 50% chance of getting full fledged diabetes later on in life.  And I do “love me some sugar!” So I want to see how my body functions when I am eating like this. I want to get my body to a bit better place before I get pregnant again.  I want to see if some of my minor problems disappear.   


“Minor” problems I want to see vanish:
 Constant congestion. 
Constant need to pop my ears. (probably due to constant congestion) 
My tendency to get sick for 6-8 weeks of the winter. 
Being easily tired out, feeling like crap for no explainable reason. 
Eczema on my foot. (I know, kinda weird but it’s only on one foot.) 
The extra Christmas pound.  Ok, fine. *Pounds.*  Ya happy now? 


By the end of Christmas break my eczema on my food had flared up pretty bad. After a week of veganism it is already back to its fairly dormant winter stage. (It usualky takes 2-4 weeks to get it under control in the winter. ) I’d love to see it all the way gone though.  Through out the next month, I’ll let you know how everything else goes. 


Remember, next Tuesday I’ll be starting my “becoming mom” serious and next Thursday or Friday I’ll be continuing today’s dialog. 

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