Just a month ago, I was talking to Heavenly Father about how I hated cooking, and asking him if he could help me with it.
I had no idea that the turn of events that followed would put me into a position where I have found such joy and satisfaction in feeding meals to my family. It is truly nothing short of a miracle.
Here are some of the plant-strong meals I made the last couple of days.
Chicken Style Seitan (Wheat Meat) and Homemade Vegan Chicken Broth
Carmeled Walnut Salad. This salad was AMAZING!! John said it was the best vegan meal I have made so far, and we’ve been doing this for three weeks now! There is ZERO oil or salad dressing on this salad, and it didn’t even need it! The secret is the carmeled walnuts which were sauteed in vinegar and agave syrup (which is basically an all natural sugar water like honey). I also use the food processor to shred the spinach and it makes the perfect texture so you’re not getting a big huge leaf in every bite.
My 4 year old boy even loved this salad and was asking for seconds!
We liked the salad so much we made it again, and used it inside a wheat tortilla for a totally filling meal. The red bell peppers really add a unique flavor to the salad because the 2nd time we used tomatoes instead and it wasn’t as good plain, but still tasted great in the tortilla.
The idea of wrapping our veggie dish in a pita has been great for adding hearty grains to the meals, and making them more filling. For this next dish I just bought the Sam’s Club bag of Chinese stir fry veggies, and stir fried them without any oil. They were still delicious with the sauce packet, and some 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice made them excellent. You could also wrap this dish in a tortilla for a healthy wrap.
The kids loved that Chinese stirfry dish too. It’s so great seeing my kids eating plant-strong and actually loving it!
Another great dish I made was a fettuccine Alfredo dish, but with the variation of added mushrooms it reminded me of a beef stroganogh instead. I thought it was good alone, but it was definitely better with the TVP bacon bits on top! A variation suggested in the Happy Herbivore cook book. The kids love pasta, and this dish was no different to them!
The other dish I made last week was a vegan version of Shepherd’s Pie found in the fireman’s book. The only problem with this dish is that it calls for only 1 spice (Rosemary) and a whole lot of it. Well, several months ago, my son rearranged the lids on my spice rack spices, which only said the name of the spice on the lid! So I was pretty confident I had put all the correct lids on the right spices until I made this dish, and the flavor was just a little odd. So I’m not sure if it was rosemary or not! But we weren’t really a fan.
The sad thing is that I actually made a double recipe of that shepherd’s pie because it’s a great way to save time in the kitchen to just double the recipe and freeze the 2nd dish in the freezer! So we’ll be eating this dish again! But I did have some leftover gravy from the Chicken Seitan in the fridge, and the dish improved 100% with that gravy on top of it!
So maybe in the future I won’t make a double recipe until we know we love the dish. lol.
We’ve been making lots of great mid-day snacks or after dinner desserts from the books as well. Here is a great chocolate pudding recipe made with blended tofu, cocoa powder, and agave syrup. It really tastes like normal chocolate pudding! This one’s a keeper.
I’ve also made homemade sweet potato fries (without oil) several times and they are the perfect snack! The kids love them too!
We tried the fudgy brownies from the happy herbivore book with soy yogurt, and they were better than the black bean brownies. But I think our whole wheat flour bag is old or something because I’ve been noticing the same sort of bitter taste in all of these treats (like the oatmeal fruit bars and oatmeal cookies) that is hard to get past. The fudgy brownies were the best dessert so far, so I’m sure they could be better with a newer flour.
I think that’s it! And I’m still excited to make something new today or tomorrow! The nice thing is that I make a big batch of something and we have leftovers for a few days, so I’m not cooking EVERY day. And there are plenty of great options if we want to go out and get something vegetarian when I’m tired of cooking. The biggest thing is the CLEANING. I’m doing dishes every day now, when I used to clean the kitchen like every 2 or 3 days (not that it ever looked clean!) Now if I forget to run the dishwasher one day, everything I need is dirty.
Some things that will really save you time if you’re going to go plant-strong:
Lots of extra measuring cups. We have 3 sets now, and I still have to wash a dirty one by hand every now and then!
Spatulas. We own 3 of them, but I know we bought more. They just disappear. And with non-stick pans, I can’t use anything else.
Measuring spoons. We have 2 sets, but I still need more because they are always dirty if I make 2 meals in a day! 😉
Food Processor. With all the slicing, dicing and chopping you’re doing, this saves so much time! Now I just throw everything in there and I’m done.
Big Spice Containers from Sam’s Club (those little bottles get used up too fast.)
Lot’s of Tofu. I never knew there were so many ways to use tofu. It makes the cream in a creamy alfredo sauce, you can use it in sour cream, mayonaise, and salad dressing. It’s used in desserts and dips. Tofu is a must-have.
As for weight, I was down 10 pounds yesterday from when I started! Woke up this morning and I was only down 3. Haha! I think I’ll stop getting on the scale now. It doesn’t mean anything to me anyway. What I really need is a cholesterol number to go by. I guarantee it has dropped a ton. Maybe I can just measure it against my siblings because we are all genetically prone to extremely high cholesterol and heart disease. 😉
Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more exciting recipes, or look around and find out why I’ve decided to go plant-strong, which is a fancy term for Vegan without Oils.