Friday, April 6, 2012

A New Way to Spaghetti

I would just like to state again how much love I have for TVP. I have used it to make three meals for our family of seven (keep in mind that the teenager eats more than us all) and I still have not used the entire bag!! The other night, we made some up and added it to spaghetti sauce and served it over whole grain pasta penne. Now, I have to admit that I was a little worried about how it looks. After all, how it looks has a lot to do with whether or not the kids will touch it (oh and hubby too, lol). It was a huge hit and I didn't even miss the cheese!!

I also made bread. Yummy, delicious, not vegan bread. I know. I know. I am just having some issues finding a vegan bread recipe that even sounds good. So, for those of you wanting yummy bread and don't mind the butter and eggs, here's what I did....

Delicious NOT Vegan Bread (but I'm working on it)

In your bread machine pan, add 1 1/4 warm soy milk, 1 egg at room temperature, 2 T softened butter. Now go ahead and dump some chai seeds and some flaxseed meal on that. Now add 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. Finally, at 1 1/4 teaspoon yeast. Place in bread maker and set to dough setting and let it do it's thing for an hour and a half. From here you can roll them into rolls, buns or make bread. I made bread. Prepare a bread pan and put the dough in. Let rise until double about an hourish. Bake at 350 until done. It was so delicious. The chai seeds give it this wonderful and delicious, dainty crunch. I guess that would be how I would describe it. It was awesome!

In other news, I am still planning my garden. I know. I should be done planning and doing more work by now. Sometimes I feel like a girl of little action. LOL Anyhow, I have to go up to my plots this weekend and get some seeds planted. I'm thinking about sectioning it off into 1' sections just so that I can have a better visual for the planting bit. I really do need to get it done. Perhaps I'll have pictures to share soon. Until then, here's my plot on SmartGardener.

That's not a wonderful picture, but you get the jist. The link goes to my garden and feel free to wander around. I need to get up there and plant spinach and carrots this weekend. I'll have to see what else needs my attention. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Figuring It Out

Well, tonight we made a wonderfully delicious vegan meal that we thought up!! That's right. It was so awesome. It was TVP reconstituted in equal part vegetable stock with onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. I added 8oz tomato sauce to the TVP mixture. I then heated up a skillet and added the TVP mixture, a can of black beans (drained), a can of Mexican corn and a can of Rotel. I cooked it until it was warmed through. We put it on whole wheat tortillas and topped it with shredded green cabbage, diced mushrooms and fresh avocado. Hubby topped his with jalapenos. It didn't even need cheese. It was wonderful and delicious!! We are feeling much more confident about eating a purely vegan diet. It has been almost a full week since we had any meat or dairy. We both feel much better and the pounds are just a falling off!

It even looks like meat!

Hubby and I had a conversation about the difference between TVP and ground beef, taste wise. If you think about ground beef, you ground it and it takes on the flavor of whatever you flavor it with or add it to. Well, TVP is the same exact way. It has a meaty texture and is very nutritious. Yay for a healthier way of life.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vegan Potstickers

OMGoodness!! This was the biggest hit in my house of any meat or not meat dish in I don't know how long....forever? Seriously. I got the recipe from this wonderful sight called Weekly Vegan Menu. Hubby was a little skeptical since we've had a lot of downs among our ups of this new way of life. Especially because we had never heard of TVP. It is textured vegetable protein and it is loaded with fiber and protein. It is a dry product that has to be reconstituted. Do NOT let this scare you. It just means that it keeps better than meat and won't clog up your freezer. We bought our ten ounce bag for $4 at our local health food store. You could even add this to any meat dish to help the expensive meat go further. It is so delicious and you don't even know that it's not meat! Without further ado, here is our delicious dinner. My five year old actually moaned when I gave him his plate. About two minutes later, he ran in and told me, "I thought it was going to be disgusting but it was really good." LOL My kids rock.

DIY Watering Can

I made another Pin! I made a homemade watering can out of my old Tide containers. Just make sure you clean your laundry containers out really well. Next get a fairly small drill bit and drill wholes in the lids. Ta da!!! Easy peasy and works great!
We just keep trucking along. Now, if I need to haul water up to my garden area at the school, I'm set!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Making Pins

So, I am a huge fan of Pinterest. I mean like bordering on addicted. LOL I have a little less time for it these days, but I still have to get my daily dose. Anyhow, I have boards. Boy! Do I have boards! I also have over 3,000 pins. Yep, I spend a bit of time pinning. Well, I recently decided that I need to be making the things I pin or what is the point (well, other than pretties and a gigantic time suck, lol). I will make at least one thing a month that I have pinned. I made about four or five in March. I'm shooting for more in April, but we will see what happens.

Here is my paint chip calendar. You have seen them all over pinterest. I have seen several tutorials. I know it seems a little like duh? why do you need a tute? Well, I like to know the specifics. How big were your paint chips? What size frame did you use? I guess those are the big questions that I didn't find answers to. So, here is my rendition.

16 x 20 picture frame (I got mine from Walmart) or bigger
several paint chips (same brand)
in several different colors of your choosing
tape or glue or something sticky

I used Glidden paint chips. They were 5" so I just cut them down the middle making two 2.5" pieces for each chip.

Then I laid them out on the back of the paper that came in the frame. I probably organized them two or three different times, but eventually I found what I liked.

Next, I eyeballed the spacing and started to tape them down. Now, you could measure this all out and get the spacing exactly. However, in my house it's more like "run, run, run the toddler is coming!! Hurry, hurry get done!" and so that's how it went.

Next, just place your paper with chips in the frame and hang!

Voila! Next time, and there will be a next time, I am thinking of getting a slightly bigger frame. I had to combine Saturday and Sunday and the OCD voice in my head keeps screaming at me. lol I plan to make one for all seasons. This is our summer one. I know, I know. It's spring, but come on! It's in the 80's around here for darn near a month. We are calling it summer. LOL I mean, the June bugs are already out. Wouldn't they know best?

On another note, I wanted to share the goodness that I have been having for breakfast lately. It is yummy, which totally surprised me, and it's way filling. It is from the Engine2Diet website. You should run over and check out their goodies, for sure. Anyhow, the thoughtof taking a picture occurred when I was almost done, but still. It has Total, Grapenuts, Shredded Wheat (unfrosted), old fashioned oats, flaxseed meal, golden raisins, walnuts, banana and strawberries. Hubby has his with blueberries. This will fill you up and get you going (and regular) and you won't get that mid morning hunger. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose!

TV you HAVE to watch!

We have been watching a TON of documentaries on food lately and they have made a real impact on us and on our choices. I would like to recommend a few. If you haven't seen 'Food Inc.' you need to drop everything and see it today! It will at least spark you to write a few a few emails or change your buying habits. We also watched 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". This one made us run out and buy a juicer, LOL. The deeper impact is that it made me realize that I really can get almost everything I need from vegetables. While I'm not doing a juice fast, I am incorporating fresh vege and fruit juice into my days and it is making a real impact. We watched 'Forks over Knives' and this one had a real impact on my husband. Cancer runs in his family in a big way and he took special note of the studies done linking meat and meat products to increases in disease and cancer. Next we watched "Engine 2 Diet' and it is done by the son of one of the doctors in Forks Over Knives. It inspired us to try new plant based, whole grain foods
without fear. Oh, and we bought his cookbook. LOL We also watched 'Food Matters' and while it wasn't our favorite, it was free and worth a watch. We learned a lot about super foods and some of what they said made a lot of sense to us. Now, all of those were free on Netflix so you aren't out anything but time if you watch them.
We rented two more from Zune that were really quite amazing. We watched 'Vegucated' and it was AMAZING! It showed how average people can be vegan or even vegetarian with little effort and it makes a big affect. It was moving, educational and enthralling. My five year old stated that he wasn't going to eat animals "ever again" after watching it with us. I felt the same way. We then watched 'Fresh' and we loved this one too. It isn't about being vegan or vegetarian. It IS about being more aware of your food choices and where they come from and how they get to your plate. It also advocates buying fresh and local. We found out that there is a store not too terribly far from our home that sells only local goods from small local farms. We are SO going as soon as we get the chance! How awesome is that?!?
Well, if you watch them all, you are out about twenty hours and less than ten dollars. I feel that they are all worth a watch whether leisurely or with purpose. Now, I have to run. I will leave you with this so very awesome, completely delicious, completely vegan pizza we had for dinner last night. Yum Yum Yum!!