Month Anniversary+Meal Prep+Baking

Hello all,

I am really excited because I’ve been vegan for one month!  Over one month, actually!  I am super proud of myself and have found it easier than I initially thought it’d be mainly due to meal prepping and staying organized with grocery shopping.  It’s actually one of the easiest things I’ve ever done!

That being said, I decided to branch out a bit this weekend and do some vegan baking.  I am an avid baker, and I love making treats for my husband to take to work.  In the past, I’ve perfected macarons, biscotti, pies, tarts, cakes, various cookies, and different types of quick and yeast breads.  One of the reasons I was so worried about going vegan was because I LOVE to bake, and, let’s face it, there are some things that are difficult to veganize, at least in an authentic way.

I decided to first veganize baking I know best and have done the most of–cookies and quick breads.  I planned on making vegan banana muffins this weekend, but I turned the old bananas I was going to use into a smoothie, so I just made some chocolate chip cookies instead.

This cookie recipe is what I used and is SO amazing! I was so pleased with how these cookies turned out, and I really love the subtle coconut flavor.  The extra chocolate chunks added at the end make them a decadent treat.  My husband also enjoyed them, and he is very picky about this whole vegan thing in general.  I hope to make more vegan cookies soon, and I’d love for people to share any solid vegan cookie recipes!

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After making some cookies, I did some major meal planning for the week.  I am honestly not really a sandwich for lunch kind of person, but I was craving them this week, so I decided to make Forks Over Knives recipe for a “no-tuna” salad sandwich. (BTW, FOK has been really integral in helping me go vegan–I love their website and cook books!)  I already had most of the ingredients, so it was a breeze.  It is also super delicious and making for some great packed lunches this week!

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And last but not least, I decided to go back to an old stand by recipe I’ve been making and enjoying for years.  This slow cooker lentil recipe is one of my favorites.  You can substitute Earth Balance for the butter, and it tastes exactly the same.  Although it says it makes four meals, I can get five out of it when serving it with rice as I did here.  It is super filling and delicious even though it only calls for a few ingredients.  I would highly recommend it!

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I would like to do my next blog entry on some major changes I’ve seen in my health in just a month since going vegan, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Saving $$$+Vegan Meal Prep

Hello all, I hope you’ve had a great week and are ready to begin a new one!  I am super excited as we had the first real snowstorm of the year last night.  It usually snows quite a bit here, and the lack of snow this year has been concerning, especially for the ski resorts.  I plan on making the most of the beautiful snow by taking my dogs for a romp in the park.

I am going to talk a bit about saving money at the grocery store as a vegan and meal prepping to make the most out of it.  People always ask me “Isn’t going vegan SO expensive??”  It definitely could be, and I can understand that mindset.  Some vegan recipes, especially staples, are daunting because they require so many ingredients most people don’t already have in their pantries.  But there are definitely ways to eat vegan on the cheap.

I think one of the best way to affordably vegan meal prep for the week is to make something really basic and build on it depending on what you like, your grocery budget, and the amount of time you can spend meal prepping.  This week my grocery budget was pretty tight and I didn’t have much time, so I decided to make some pasta for all of my lunches.  Pasta is cheap, but I had a digital coupon for some bowtie pasta, making it even cheaper.  I sauteed some spinach and mushrooms I found on clearance and mixed theIMG_20180121_112037014.jpgm with a jar of marinara (for which I also had a coupon) and topped with some nutritional yeast.  Making five vegan lunches added up to around $6, which is pretty good.  I know some people get sick of pasta, but I really like all of the variations you can make.

I usually don’t meal prep dinners unless I know it will be a busy week, and this week is going to be hectic in the p.m.  Another cheap vegan option that almost everybody likes is stir-fry.  Frozen stir fry vegetables w/noodles were 10 for $1 at the store, and I sauteed them with some tofu marinated in Siracha and soy sauce and made some rice to go along with.  Making four stir-fry meals cost me around $5 or even less as I have a HUGE bag of Jasmine rice I’ve been using for ages.IMG_20180121_134511374 Frozen vegetables are usually on sale or generally really cheap, and I find it’s good to buy a bunch and then store them in the freezer for easy meal prep ingredients.

I think Asian (both east and west) and Mexican/Central American foods really lend themselves to being vegan and affordable.  Beans (especially when you buy them dry) and rice are always cheap as are ingredients for a curry.  You can add or subtract ingredients based on what you have and can afford, and most of them are very nutritional.

When people say going vegan is so expensive, I think they don’t realize most people in the world, especially those living in poverty, eat simple meals without animal products.  Eating a ton of animal protein is such a western thing, and it is definitely ruining our health.  I hope once people figure out how easy it is to go vegan on a strict budget, they will try to make more vegan meals.

If I have more time to meal prep next week, I hope to try some tips on eating vegan and saving money from Sweet Potato Soul!

 

 

 

 

Packing Vegan Lunches

When I started veganism, I was at home on winter break.  I am a high school teacher, and we had two weeks off for the holiday.  I had time to cook, meal prep, and get creative with recipes.

I went back to work this week and was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my new years vegan goals.  I try to meal prep the best I can, but I am not one of those people who likes to make the same meals to last the whole week.  I like to vary it up a bit, but sometimes that requires time I may not have.

I am lucky in that I get 45 minutes for lunch, a rarity for most teachers.  I also teach in a school near several reasonably priced and quick restaurants.  Many of them have great vegan options including healthy soups and salads, but in order to save money and time, I bring my lunch and plenty of snacks on most days.  I also bring my breakfast as I usually get to work between 6:30 and 7 a.m., and I don’t like to eat before that.

This week I had some leftover vegan pizza with lots of veggies, which was pretty awesome because it made making lunches easy.  I packed some non-dairy yogurt and fruit, homemade granola, nuts, and celery+hummus.  If you can believe it, this isn’t enough food to last me throughout the day before dinner, so I often eat a Larabar, too.  To be fair, I also work out and walk my dogs about three miles a day in addition to all the walking I do at work, so I am also burning calories.

 

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After I ran out of leftover pizza, I switched to a stir-fry with noodles and marinated tofu, and will finish up tomorrow with an everything bagel with marinara and So Delicious shredded mozzarella.  This is kind of a lazy/unhealthy lunch, but it’s good to treat yourself on Fridays.  I also made my favorite breakfast in the Instantpot, mango sticky rice with coconut milk.  I got the recipe from High Carb Hannah, and it is one of my favorites.  I topped it with a bit of coconut sugar.

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I sometimes get a sweet tooth at work, especially in the afternoons.  I’ve been pretty good this week as there isn’t much vegan candy available, so I’ve been drinking the Tazo vanilla bean macaron tea because it reminds me of dessert, and I managed to find some Jolly Ranchers today as well.

Other than that, being vegan has been super easy this week.  I bought myself some delicious Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy Cherry Garcia, and it made my week.  I also made some vegan nachos with sweet potato tortilla chips, corn, beans, tomatoes, and So Delicious cheese.  It was amazing.

 

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