The Vegan Diet

January 4, 2019


Ever since I could remember, I never really liked meat. Being from a Czech family where meat was a staple I would always opt to eat all my sauerkraut and left the poultry to the side. Growing up I loved eating broccoli steamed or raw and indulging in cheese straight from the bag while enjoying strawberries for dessert, however I was a culprit to coffee flavored ice cream! I would swirl it until it became creamy... I played a lot with my food growing up lol.

24 years later I wanted to take on a challenge and become Vegan for two weeks to see how I feel during and after the task. That meant no tacos unless vegetarian, no cheese unless vegan or homemade (which is amazing BTW - more on that later), and no more ice cream unless it's noyo-froyo (cherishable moment when you crave fro-yo and can't have it, then find a specialty boutique store that sells it by the cup down the street from you... BLESS THIS WORLD AND BLESS CHICAGO).

I love a plant based diet and idea behind it and after the two weeks I had made my conclusion of the diet that it isn't for me. I found that I was missing eggs a lot. like a lot. I didn't care so much for the lack of cheese, or meat but that I was growing tired of chickpeas in every dish and that I wanted eggs for breakfast. I made multiple different recipes and to my taste I listed the best ones below in order of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks! 


Breakfast

Surprisingly I found myself not consuming much or anything at all other than coffee with almond milk foam and topped with coconut whipped cream, or an easy avocado smoothie for breakfast. But damn, that avocado smoothie is heavenly! 


Avocado Smoothie
1 frozen banana, chopped (the riper the sweeter)
½ Avocado
½ cup almond milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract for sweetener (optional)

Directions For Avocado Smoothie
Combine banana, avocado, vanilla extract and almond milk in a blender, mix until smooth and creamy! If you need, add ice to create a thicker drink. It's that easy! And if you're feeling rambunctious, top it off with some of the homemade coconut whipped cream! 

Coffee - Strong
1/4 CUP Trader Joes Almond Beverage 
Top it off with either cinnamon, or homemade coconut whipped cream. 

Coconut Whipped Cream
1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions For Whipped Cream
Refrigerate can of coconut milk, 8 hours or overnight.
Place metal mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator or freezer 1 hour before making whipped cream.
Open can of coconut milk, taking care not to shake it. Scoop coconut cream solids into cold mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid for another use.
Beat coconut cream using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed; turn to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form, 7 to 8 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla extract to coconut cream; beat 1 minute more. Taste and add more sugar if desired.

Do not use "lite" coconut milk - it won't whip.
Serve immediately. If you must store it, refrigerate in a glass container or Mason jar for up to 3 days. Shake or whisk gently to fluff the cream again before serving.

Lunch

I was typically quite hungry by the time lunch comes around, I eat at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM depending on my workload, so by this time I am ready to chow down on some yummy food! These were my favorite lunch options I made myself! I even put mushroom "bacon" on my mac n cheese and it turned the dish to chic mac n cheese! Soooo good!


Avocado Toast
1 slice sprouted bread
¼ avocado, sliced

Direction
Toast bread and top with avocado slices.

Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese
2 yellow potatoes
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
½ cup  cashews
1 teaspoon  garlic powder
1 teaspoon  onion powder
1 teaspoon  salt, plus more for water
2 tablespoons  nutritional yeast, optional
1 lb  elbow macaroni, cooked

Directions
Peel and cube the potatoes. Peel and chop the carrot. Peel and quarter the onion.
Add the vegetables to a large pot or Dutch oven of boiling salted water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the boiled vegetables and save about 1 ½ cups of the cooking water.
Add the cashews, boiled vegetables, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, reserved cooking water, and nutritional yeast to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir to coat.

Dinner

By the time I arrive back home it's about 5:00/5:30 PM and I'm ready to get cozy and warm on the couch, and during the colder months I naturally gravitate to soups, so I made this cauliflower soup which was SO easy to make and it's packed full of delicious tastes. As you've read in the top of this post, I was missing eggs a lot, so in tribute I decided to make an alternative called Tofo Scramble and was deeeeeelious! Even Nick enjoyed the peppers in there, which was a shock to us both (he never liked bell peppers)!


Tofu Scramble
16 oz  tofu
1 bell pepper
½ onion
2 teaspoons  oil
½ teaspoon  salt
½ teaspoon  black pepper
½ teaspoon  onion powder
½ teaspoon  garlic powder
¼ teaspoon  turmeric
1 tablespoon  lemon juice

Directions
Drain tofu from container, wrap it in a paper towel, and place it on a plate. Rest another plate on top of the tofu and microwave for 3-5 minutes.
Unwrap the tofu and cut into cubes.
Place the tofu in a bowl and mash with a fork.
Cut the top off a bell pepper and remove all the seeds and thinly slice.
Chop the onion.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers, and cook until softened.
Add in the tofu and cook on medium heat until most of the water has evaporated.
Add the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin, and mix well, until all the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Add the lemon juice to the tofu and mix until evenly combined.
Remove the tofu from the heat and serve.


Cauliflower Soup
6 cups  water
salt, to taste
1 head cauliflower
pepper, to taste

Directions
On a cutting board, use a knife to remove the cauliflower florets. Discard the stem.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, season with salt, and add cauliflower. Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes, until a knife can easily run through the florets.
Transfer the cauliflower to a blender with a slotted spoon. Reserve the water.

Add cauliflower, pepper, and 1 cup of cauliflower stock to a blender and blend until a smooth consistency is reached.

Pantry Staple/Snacks

I was able to make a vegetable soup the next week from scraps from the week prior and I made my first ever vegetable stock from scratch and had to share it with ya'll! I found that my favorite snacks to nibble on were popcorn chips! They're so yummy! I also listed the mushroom "bacon" down below because it's great as a snack too. But what got me most of the time was Noyo-Froyo, an ice cream concoction made out of almonds, filtered water, coconut nectar and vanilla! It;s REALGOOD's almond-milk based soft serve that you can buy in Chicago!


Veggie Stock

Celery, top and bottom
Onion, top and bottom skins
Carrot, ends and skin
Potato, ends and skin
Asparagus, bottom stalks
Brussels sprouts, extra leaves and bottoms
Mushroom, stem
Bell pepper, top and bottoms

Directions
Collect veggie scraps in a resealable container and freeze for up to 6 months.
When you have enough scraps to make stock, add the scraps to a large pot and cover with water.
Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
Strain the stock and transfer the liquid to resealable containers.
Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Shiitake Mushroom Bacon
3 ½ oz  shiitake mushroom, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon  soy sauce
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons  olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
On a cutting board, cut mushrooms into thin slices, about ⅛-inch thick.
Spread on baking sheet and drizzle with, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix until thoroughly coated.
Spread shiitakes onto a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, flipping after five minutes. Remove when crispy.

Bottom line, I really love a plant based diet, and will continue to incorporate it in my lifestyle but I think I'll stick to a more vegetarian option because I could not believe how much I was missing eggs! 

Please let me know in the comments what your favorite plant based recipe is, I'd LOVE to try it out! ♡

xoxo Ashley

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