Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our New Meals... Heading Vegan!

In the last couple years, our family, which was once 4, and grew to 8 within 2 years, hasn't consumed much meat. I'm not totally sure why. 

When the college kids were in high school last year, I would buy a 2 breast pack of organic or free-range chicken from Trader Joes and cook it up 2-3 times a week, and almost without question (even with 5 adults in the home and one teenager), we always seemed to have leftover chicken. It's like God multiplied our chicken without asking Him too. While the meals were yummy, the only time it was ravenously consumed was when I would cook Teriyaki chicken on the grill. 

Since the college kiddos don't have a say anymore, we are trying to eliminate meat, gluten, and dairy. We still will eat organic or free-range chicken and organic beef, but it's usually only a couple times a month or if we end up eating out.  

Before trying to go vegan, we didn't eat chips, potatoes, french fries, bread, or any other worthless "food"... but, there are times I just don't know what else to eat. So, this is a work in progress. 

In going "vegan", I gained 8 pounds in 2 months. It is supposed to be the other way around... right? But, we also found a new favorite recipe... which isn't vegan... Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. A few pounds may have come just from that recipe alone. 

We are currently "Flexitarian" Starbucks vegans... we eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but will occasionally eat meat and products from animals, and will probably always drink Starbucks!

So, what DO we eat? 
I tried to take a few photos these last couple months. 

Here are a few breakfasts:

These are Gluten Free (GF) Cinnamon Roll Pancakes... one with and one without the homemade cream cheese frosting... just so you could see it. 

Amaris will eat 1-2 of these, Gabriella will eat at least 3, and I don't even bother with this size for anyone else. Everyone else eats 2-3 the size of a dinner plate... 

Before this recipe, the girls and I didn't eat pancakes and I HATED them. It's a much different story now. 

My husband asks early in the week if he can go to the grocery store to get cream cheese. He went to the grocery store TWICE this particular week... and, he even bought EXTRA cream cheese as well. That my friends, is a great recipe... though, not vegan.

To test out the powers of this pancake, I quietly opened the door of the sleeping teenager and started cooking. Before the second set got onto the griddle, he was already walking down looking for them. Bet you want this recipe... huh? Look for it's own post soon. 

This is GF oatmeal with 
added slivered honey roasted almonds, organic apple, and topped with a cinnamon mixture from our Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. 
It is paired with organic applesauce and homemade granola. 

Homemade almond meal muffins with almond butter.  

Gabriella, my 6 year old, home from China for 2 1/2 years, asked: "Mama, what's that?"
I got to tell her it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 
Actually it is almond butter and marionberry jam 
on some magnificent GF bread from Costco.

These are some of our lunches and dinners: 

This was our very first vegan meal... 
baked cauliflower, quinoa with veggies, and 
veggie salad with avocado on top. It was yummy. 

This was probably the most "labor of love" meal... 
shredding all those carrots..
It was worth it, but I literally need to buy a new peeler. 
It was overworked. I haven't found a peeler that can do this again, 
but everyone is waiting to eat this again. 

Included this photo because it was the first time 
I had ever seen them play with their food. 
Usually they are so busy guarding their food from the dog... 
but the dog really isn't that excited about salad. 
So, they got to mix up their lunch a bit. 

 This is a quinoa and kale with pepita seeds and a 
homemade Italian dressing.   


This homemade yellow sauce is DELICIOUS... it is Buddha sauce.
Just looking at this makes me want to run to the kitchen 
and start cooking. 

First chips for the girls... they had to ask what they were. 
Made me smile... guess I am doing a pretty good job 
keeping junk food away from them. 

 This is a kale and broccoli salad mixed with dried cranberries and topped with a homemade Italian dressing. 
The brown rice is mixed with black beans and GF soy sauce. 

Homemade cashew butter 

This salad has red and yellow peppers, dill and carrot... 
with the option to top it with a slice of turkey bacon. 
The brown rice has black beans, red and yellow peppers and celery. 
The homemade almond meal and chocolate chip muffins are 
simply irresistible. 

Yummy banana and chocolate chip GF oatmeal cookies. 
First potatoes.

This is a rice noodle gently boiled in vegetable broth with carrot. Cucumbers added afterward. Plus, some homemade granola!

 This is a kale based salad with mandarin oranges, apple, sliced almonds and a homemade Asian dressing.   
On the left are some sliced brussel sprouts lightly steamed and topped with cashew butter. 

 This is red quinoa with broccoli and cashew butter. 
Pesto sauce has been mixed with black and garbanzo beans. 

 This dinner includes quinoa, garbanzo beans, broccoli, carrots, and celery and is topped off with homemade Buddha sauce.  

 This is a quinoa and kale salad with Buddha sauce.  

This is a GF pizza made with Costco's pesto sauce,
mushrooms, kale, garbanzo beans, red and yellow peppers, 
and fresh pineapple. 

Okay... totally cheated... this is Chipotles salad with chicken. 
If the girls ask for meat, or to go somewhere, 
I generally try to oblige. 

This is their first time for snap pea chips. They loved them!

Thai dinner: beef salad and veggie rice with egg. 

 This is a potato lentil chip from Trader Joes. 

This was our first time with lentils. They were delicious. 
The sweet potatoes were baked with olive oil and salt and pepper. 
I should have bought 3 bags of sweet potatoes. Even the teenager wanted more. 

I decided to cook the three packages of chicken 
that had been in the freezer for the last 3 months... 
This was a PHENOMENAL recipe with 
the best peanut sauce I have ever tasted.... 
and I LOVE peanut sauce and always try it wherever we go... 
the recipe was from The Costco Connection
April 2013 magazine. 
Everyone thought we had just gone to the restaurant 
and paid double. 

Thai marinated grilled chicken skewers with peanut coconut sauce

This is a broccoli slaw with black rice, avocado and cashew butter. 

This is quinoa mixed with red quinoa, 
a homemade hoisin sauce and carrots 
with avocado on the side. 

This is our vegan homemade macaroni and cheese... 
we have the VERY BEST Macaroni and Cheese 
recipe in the world... 
however, it doesn't look or taste the same with 
GF noodles, coconut milk and non-dairy "cheese".
Hope I can figure out some tastier substitutes. 
This meal was served with a broccoli and kale salad and some 
homemade kale chips, pictured on the right. 

Quinoa with lentils, broccoli and kale. 

This was a better homemade macaroni and cheese made
later in the month with a different noodle and non-dairy milk. 

This is some GF bread with non-dairy cheese 
grilled with a super yummy lentil soup.