Tag Archives: vegan

Buh-bye, French Fry

In our house, Friday night is take-out night. Last night, I made what I thought was a pretty good choice: a grilled tuna sandwich. 

Of course, as usual, that pretty good choice came with a giant pile of fries.

As I sat and ate those fries, I became aware of the fact that I did not order fries, nor did I particularly want fries, but they came with my meal so I ate them (out of work-related stress, I can tell you for sure, but that’s best saved for another post.) Don’t get me wrong – Fries are good, especially thick cut, with the skins on, drenched in vinegar and dusted with salt…

But I digress…

My point here is that while I like fries, the custom of just attaching the obligatory, expected ‘side o fries’ with nearly everything served in every restaurant is just too blindly accepted and I’m annoyed with myself for falling into the trap. I mean, just think of how many fries are served in the course of a day in this country. It’s out of control. And how many of those people even think about the fact that they are eating them? Most just salt, dip and eat, salt, dip and eat, because that’s just what you do. I mean, they came with the meal, right? 

And, half the time they aren’t even good fries, but we eat them anyway…

It’s the very opposite of mindful eating, and I am becoming more and more alert to the fact that I am modeling behavior for my son, who now wants whatever I have. Mindless eating is not what I want him to see.

Like I said, I like fries just fine, but I also like many other things that have a whole lot more nutrient value. Not to bash the potato (bashed potatoes? :lol: ), which does have value, but in the case of French fries I think the bad outweighs the good. But what do you do in the face of this fry nation? Anyone who has ever substituted steamed veg for fries knows that once the plate hits your table, the offering is often mediocre at best. I’m sure many of you veg and vegan folks out there can feel me on this one, because I know you get stuck with a plate of fries as your only option far too often.

So I am on the quest for new side dishes. I’m all fry-ed out. I hope my local restaurants are up for the challenge because NO, I do not want fries with that, thank you very much.

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How often do you find yourself faced with fries? Do you substitute? Do you find good options?

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Filed under Recipes & Food

Sunshine Stack

I love to cook. I always have. But when it comes to making lunch just for me on my days at home, I often bypass the whole mess and just snack, or heat up some leftovers. There’s really nothing wrong with that, I guess, but today I felt like making myself a real meal. Maybe that’s because it’s rainy outside. We need the rain badly, though, so instead of sunshine outside, I thought I’d incorporate a few rays into my lunch.  

Sadly, I’m down to my last Southwestern Sunshine Burger. :( I found a single box in an out-of-the-way health food store, which I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting soon.

Sometimes, I put my Sunshine Burger on a bun. But the beef I have with buns is that they often seem like nothing more than a vehicle for the real star of the meal, and they contain a lot of empty carbs for something I don’t really enjoy. Don’t get me wrong…I like a good hunk of bread as much as the next guy, but a burger bun just doesn’t excite me too much.

But who needs a bun when you’ve got a fat sweet potato?!

So I rubbed the taters with a mere touch of coconut oil and salt, and set them a bakin’ in the oven (along with a few extras for baby’s dinner later): about 20 minutes at 350º, then another 15 or so at 400º, turning throughout for even browning. I baked the Sunshine Burger along with them until it was nice and crispy.

Hmmm….what jives with the burger’s Southwestern flair? Salsa! 

But I don’t have any salsa. :|

What I do have, and need to use up, is this array of goodies, which I ran through the food processor to create a little somethin’ somethin’ that sort of resembled a salsa.

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup fresh onion
  • 1 clove of garlic from our garden
  • 4 yellow pear tomatoes from our garden
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • several sprigs of cilantro Oops. Cilantro was just a little too far past its prime and is now in the compost.

Directions: Hit “pulse” a few times instead of “on” so as not to scare the baby. 


Once my burger and tater bun were baked to perfection, I simply stacked them up!

  1. sweet potato
  2. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  3. veg “salsa”
  4. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  5. more “salsa”
  6. the last of my cheddar cheese curds (insert teary-eyed emoticon here!)
  7. another hot round of sweet potato to top it off

It still could have benefited from a touch of real tomatoey salsa, but all in all this was a pretty fantastic lunch. I’m not sure why I don’t treat myself to a real lunch more often, especially considering this was made entirely of ingredients I had in the house, and it only took a few minutes to put together. From now on, I think making my own healthy lunch a priority is a new goal. 

Because I’m worth it!

And now that I’m feeling all inspired and self-esteemy, I’d like to take Chocolate-Covered Katie up on her challenge to post a no-makeup pic on my blog! OK, so this one is not a full face no-makeup pic, but it’s not exactly flattering. And there’s NO makeup, plus I think it was taken on a no-wash hair day, so it fits the bill.

I took it to document (just for my own use) the crazy hair loss that started about 3 1/2 months after I gave birth. Did you know that some lucky women’s hormones cause them to lose clump after clump of hair after childbirth? I knew this going in, because it happened when I lost my first pregnancy, but I didn’t expect to lose so much. This is during the period of regrowth, and trust me when I tell you this pic doesn’t do it justice! I have full-on bangs now that I never intended, and a full head of short hair underneath my long hair! 

Here it is….with no self-disparaging comment, although I’m tempted. I look at my weird hair as just another reminder of how lucky I am to be a healthy mommy to my healthy boy!

…and for the sake of comparison, the mascara and eyeliner version. 

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Do you eat your burger on a bun? If so, do you really want the bun, or do you just eat it because it’s there?

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food

Rainy Day Squash Boats

I’m all for rain, but what’s with the threatening skies every time I have a day off!? Not being able to hang laundry outside really throws a wrench into the rest of my week. 

Rrrrr…. :x

Oh well. It’s good for the garden, right? Besides, a rainy day is the perfect time to take care of some things on the To-Do list and spend some playtime in the kitchen!

To-Do for Today? Baby food!

Back when I was prego, I got a lot of cr*p from people when I said I wanted to make my own baby food (among other things…) I never said I wanted to make every single bite of it, but I did want my baby to eat homemade food whenever possible. You should have heard all the comments I got…“You just wait…you won’t have time”…”Must be nice to have that much free time on your hands”…”Ha ha…I said that, too, and then I woke up to reality.” I heard ‘em all. Some people just laughed at me and rolled their eyes.

For those people, this is for you.

I timed it, and it took me all of 20 minutes during my son’s midday nap to turn one organic mango and 3 organic peaches into 7 servings of fresh, healthy, beautiful baby food. I mean, come on…it’s not rocket science.

Only the nice fleshy parts are included.

One for the next day at Grammie’s house, and the rest for the freezer. He’s not eating a whole lot at once right now, so I’m still making small batches. Once we graduate up to big batches, it will be even more efficient. 

I paid a total of $5 for the lot, and I don’t have to worry about all these scary recalls. Priceless, in my opinion.

It’s that easy, and believe me, I don’t have ANY spare time on my hands these days.

Note to self: People will always tell you YOU CAN’T. Always know that YOU CAN. (especially when little eyes are watching your example and taking notes…)

Once that was done, the sun came out so grilling came to mind. I have vowed not to shop for a few days because I want to use up some of the masses of random groceries taking over my kitchen, so I started rummaging…

Hmmm….a few yellow summer squash from the garden. Those are fresh and perishable, so they definitely need to be involved here…

Quinoa needs to be used up….have a can of black beans….some tomato sauce…garlic, sea salt….hmmm….

Squash boats! Sort of. They were too small to dig out the middles and stuff, but they were happy to be topped with a yummy quinoa something-or-other.

Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oh, too dark. Nope! Turns out they were just right.

Pot full o’stuff. More than enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches!

I feel like this was missing something green, but my kale was buggy. Eek! A good dousing of hot sauce kicked it up a little.

In the end, I feel like I accomplished a few things: I spent very little, I used up some neglected pantry items, and I fed my family the way I want to without much time in the kitchen. 

Feeling like a pretty good mommy today… :D

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A lot of people say that they can’t eat a healthy made-from-scratch diet because they don’t have time. What’s your response to that excuse?

The zucchini/squash onslaught has begun! What’s your best recipe?

Reminder: don’t forget to enter to win free products from Turtle Mountain! I’ll be picking a 2 winners on Saturday, 6.26…

4 Comments

Filed under Home & Garden, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Father’s Day: Vegan Trail Mix Cookies

For Father’s Day, I decided to give my husband the gift of eternal life!

…in the form of these super nutrient-rich cookies!

(He’s not vegan, but I lucked out with a guy who is really into the idea of a plant-based diet as long as it includes hamburgers, too.)

I thought I’d share my recipe, straight from the Chef at the test kitchen at ABCGP! (Me, of course!)

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • one pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or other sweetener of your choice
  • 1/4 cup So Delicious coconut milk beverage
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla)
  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs (My choice: 2 4-ounce jars of Earth’s Best Pureed Pear baby food and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder)
  • 1/3 pound trail mix (My choice: an organic blend of jumbo raisins, roasted pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, walnuts, goji berries, cranberries, and mulberries. See below)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets or stones with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a larger bowl, combine coconut oil, brown sugar, egg replacer, coconut milk and vanilla, mixing until well blended. Add dry ingredients along with oats and trail mix. Stir or use hands to mix well. Drop by large tablespoons onto cookie sheets. (Cookies will not spread, so flattening and shaping them a bit is a good idea.)

Bake until just browned and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Brush with agave nectar when slightly cooled, if desired.

Makes approx. 20 cookies.

And there you have it! I was a little afraid to experiment with this recipe because I really didn’t want to waste so many pricey ingredients, but, happily, the cookies turned out great! (I really did only eat one, though. Daddy got the rest.) 

Before the cookie madness started, we started Daddy’s day a little bit early with a fun Father’s Day Eve lunch that I picked up on my way home from work.

He: Salmon rolls

She: Roasted cauliflower and tiny roasted taters. I’m not happy about paying take-out prices for something so easy to make, but they were BANGIN’!

 I picked up a few other things while I was at it. I’m thinking there have been a few too many splurges on ingredients lately…but it’s all in the name of good health (and full tummies), right?

Good fats, iron and antioxidants…

The aforementioned trail mix, chia seeds and wheatberries, all organic… :) I got some Medjool dates, too, but they didn’t make it into the shot…

Maybe it’s time to use things up before I buy any more. That always leads to fun things in the kitchen, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for the rest of the Father’s Day lowdown! I’m hoping to check back in later today…

Now, go bake some cookies!

…and don’t forget to enter to win some free goodies from Turtle Mountain! Go coconut!

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Product Review: So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage

Why are people so afraid of coconuts? I think they’re downright adorable.

I guess it comes down to a fear of fat. When I tell people that my quest for a dairy-free, soy-free milk replacement has led me to an all-out love affair with So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage from Turtle Mountain, they often gasp.

“Isn’t there a lot of FAT in that?”

The answer is yes, and no. There is fat in coconut, and it is saturated fat, but all fat is not created equal. The fat in coconut is a saturated fat that consists of medium chain fatty acids, which means that your body utilizes them as energy instead of storing them as fat. 

So, yes, there is fat in coconut milk but just as in an avocado, or almond butter, or (insert your favorite “good” fat here) it doesn’t harm you, and in fact may benefit you, as part of a balanced diet.

So, yeah, I’ll say it: I ain’t ‘fraid of no fat.

But there’s more good news… So Delicious isn’t straight coconut milk. Instead, it’s a coconut milk beverage made with organic coconut milk, and is fortified with calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Magnesium and Vitamin B12, and only contains 5 g of fat per serving. You can check out the nutrition facts here. Perfect for breastfeeding moms like me, who need extra nutrients, especially calcium, but would rather not get it from cow’s milk or soy.

But enough of the technical stuff…let’s talk about how it tastes! 

When I purchased my first container of So Delicious, (I chose the sweetened vanilla variety), I wasn’t quite sure how to use it. I poured it over my granola, and used it in my overnight oats, and found it to be rich, creamy and smooth, with just a hint of coconutty flavor. Now, I love my almond milk, but this seemed to have a flavor and…body, maybe?…that I liked even better.

So, it became a regular staple in my kitchen. 

But tasting good as a breakfast component and fully replacing milk are two different things, so I put it to the test at dinnertime. I used it to help adhere the crumb coating on my Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia, and then visited the Turtle Mountain website to see if there were any other uses that piqued my interest…

Curried Coconut Soup, anyone? (click link and scroll down for recipe.)

Spicy curry and sweet carrot with the creaminess of coconut…I think I’m in love. The only thing better than the flavor is the fact that this recipe is easy enough to throw together during my son’s afternoon nap. :D

There are a lot of reasons people choose to eliminate dairy from their diet: health reasons, lactose intolerance, environmental issues, a vegan lifestyle, nursing a child whose tummy reacts badly to dairy, or simply not wanting to drink the milk of another lactating animal…

For those people, I urge you to give this stuff a try. I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan for quite a while, and finally finding a dairy-free, soy-free option that tastes great is making that decision a little more feasible for me. Especially once I realized how extensive Turtle Mountain’s line of products is!

Soy, soy-free, coconut, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, organic, fruit-sweetened, or agave-sweetened; non-dairy ice creams, sorbets, beverages, novelties, yogurt, even kefir!–You name it, they offer it.

Soooo, once I became a full-fledged fan of So Delicous, I figured it was time to finally try Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent coconut milk “ice cream.” (I’d been it eyeing forever!) I picked up the coconut and cookie dough flavors (looked for chocolate, but my store’s selection was limited). My husband and I did a proper sampling, then inhaled both containers. :lol:

The texture was creamy and full, not watery like many of the rice milk “ice creams” I’ve tried. I wasn’t sure if I should expect the coconutty flavor to come through in varieties other than coconut, and I did notice it in the cookie dough, but I love it so there are no complaints here. Nice chunks in the cookie dough, too, as you can see…

Since ice cream is at the very tippy top of my list of necessary indulgences, I am thrilled to have this as an option. I feel a little twinge of guilt every time I eat regular dairy ice cream because I know it may cause my son a little digestive upset, and it’s so nice to know that there is a way for us both to be happy! Especially now, in the heat of the summer.

As if the benefits and taste of Turtle Mountain’s coconut milk products weren’t enough, I found them in a No-GMO Shopper’s Guide. I checked their website to verify, and sure enough, they are committed to producing products that contain no genetically modified organisms. 

Sold.

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How about you? Have you ever tried So Delicious coconut milk products from Turtle Mountain? Let me know what you think of them and you can win! 

Thanks to the gracious folks at Turtle Mountain, I have some free product coupons and I’d like to pass them on to you! (These coupons are good for any Turtle Mountain product.) There will be 2 winners of 2 coupons each.

There are 2 ways to enter:

#1. Visit Turtle Mountain’s website and leave me a comment letting me know which of their products you would use your coupons to try (My pick: Hibiscus Coconut Water Sorbet!)

#2. Mention this giveaway on your blog.

Be sure to leave me a separate comment for each entry. I will choose 2 winners at random on Saturday, June 26th. Winners will be notified via email on that day.

UPDATE 6/26: Congratulations to my two winners, Claire and Melissa! (Comments #23 and #30). Thanks for participating!

Please note: Use the store locator to find out if you’ll find Turtle Mountain products in your area!

To find out more about the benefits of coconut and Turtle Mountain’s commitment to good health, visit their website and click on the “health” link at the top of the page.

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food