Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday's Thinking of Food: Adventures in Semi-Veganism

So, I'm a few weeks into vegetarianism and part-time veganism, and I'm not missing meat at all.  Even my beloved tacos, (which James and I typically make at least once week), have been delicious; I've used roasted cauliflower & chick peas as the filling instead of ground beef or chicken.

I am really giving Mark Bittman's Vegan Before 6 school of thought a go, and during the week it doesn't  prove to be too difficult for me.  I've been preparing dishes on Sunday afternoon that can carry me through the week for lunch and quick dinners.  Dishes like Thug Kitchen's tortilla soup, vegan "mac & cheese" from The Plantiful Table, and veggie samosas.

My new go-to dip, snack, between-meal nosh is this dip I found on the pages of the January 2016 Shape magazine, vegan "Nacho Cheese:"

The first time I made it I was skeptical. The ingredients do not sound like a swoon-worthy culinary combination, but I must say, I am smitten.  It does not really taste like nacho cheese, but it is delicious!

And James and I have eaten this dish more times than I care to admit the past 2 weeks: sticky garlic noodles.

image via here

I seriously could eat this every day.  I've been using vegan butter and brown rice Japanese noodles, but you could also use zuchinni noodles or gluten-free noodles.  I've also been throwing in extra veggies, like carrots and broccoli.  Oh, and I always throw in a handful of raw cashews! You could also substitute the brown sugar for honey or some other sweetener.  These noodles are addictive.

So, I want to hear--do you have any vegetarian or vegan recipes?

Interested in learning more about the benefits of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?  My dedication to this new diet was solidified last night as I watched Forks Over Knives, a documentary of the idea that rejecting animal-based foods can actually prevent or reverse certain degenerative diseases such as heart disease.  The evidence in the film is pretty overwhelming. I highly recommend it if you're contemplating a veggie or vegan lifestyle, or have a serious health concern that could be treated with nutrition.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday's Thinking of Food: New US Dietary Guidelines

image via here

The Obama administration has released an update to the US Dietary Guidelines.  These guidelines are reviewed and revised every 5 years, and this year the biggest change concerns sugar.

Here's NPR's take on the changes.

I am happy to see some positive changes, as we obviously have some very real health crises going on in the US and many can be attributed to our over-consumption of sugar, namely in processed foods.

What do you think of the changes--did they go too far or not far enough?  I personally wish they had called for more explicit changes in our meat consumption, but I guess the meat lobby was too strong for that this go-round.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eat More Plants

So, that's pretty much my New Year's  resolution in a nutshell.  I've decided to give up making huge, sweeping dietary changes that are not sustainable past about January 9th.  I've decided not to "diet" anymore, just to eat better.  According to Michael Pollan's "eating manifesto," In Defense of Food, the seven words we should follow as rules for eating are "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  In other words, eat clean (not processed), and less meat & dairy.

In anticipation of this goal, I bought myself a new cookbook for Christmas, The Plantiful Table by Andrea Duclos.  It is by far my favorite cookbook to date.  And it's vegan.
image via here
What? Vegan!? Anyone who knows me is probably laughing out loud right now, knowing that I would never give up cheese.  And they may be right. But I'm working on eating less dairy, and for me that means less cheese. I've already made a few recipes involving nutritional yeast (which has a cheesy sort of taste), and I'm a fan. I will probably never totally give up Parmesan cheese, because it is basically my favorite food in the world, but I'm OK with that.

James' first attempt at homemade ravioli!

The very first recipe James and I created from the new cookbook was artichoke, cashew, & garlic ravioli.  And we made the pasta with James' new KitchenAid pasta maker attachment! I won't lie, I was pretty intimidated to make pasta at first, but it's really simple. And fun. Just a little time-consuming.

And here's the second attempt, a few days later:
Same recipe, 3 days later. It's that good.
Nearly everyone who tried this ravioli was enamored. We served it with a bit of pesto on top, but honestly, the filling is so good you could eat it alone.

The other cookbook I've been relying on for recipes this week is The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which James gifted me last Christmas.

menu planning
More recipe adventures to come while I work on eating more plants!  What are your New Year's resolutions? Do you have any awesome vegetarian or vegan recipes I should try--I'd love to hear!?