Going Vegan for Allergies

I feel as if I should cry out for help. I am pretty much a vegetarian, I will occasionally eat chicken and salmon, but other than that, I stick to my veggies, grains, cheeses, and yogurt.

My baby girl had her 15 month doctors appointment today, and in it we discussed her long list of allergies. Here are her “major” allergies/sensitivities:

– Chashews
– Peanuts
– Sesame Seeds
– Milk
– Soy
– Egg Whites
– Coconut, Almonds…pretty much any nut except pecans (?!?)

With that being said, the pediatrician – I adore her! She is on board with how we eat and uses medicine as a last resort instead of always having a prescription pad in hand! – Told me that I need to go as vegan as possible and as organic as possible.

Okay, not a horribly big deal. Until I realized just how much I cook with cheese and Greek yogurt!!! I have a few 100% vegan meals, but I love to bake and cook!  Living without yogurt is okay, I can deal with that and find substitutions (if anyone has an idea for a vegan substitute, I am all ears) but it is really the cheese I am having issues with. Just last night I posted a recipe for Loaded Southwestern Vegetarian Quesadilla, how do you make a quesadilla without cheese? the first part of the word is practically queso!

So hear is my cry for help. I know it is possible to go vegan successfully. I have friends who have done it, but then they usually add back dairy products because they missed them. But I need to do it as a lifestyle change for good. I think it will help future children of mine too if I can cut down on exposing them to all of those sensitive foods.

If anyone has helpful suggestions, I would really appreciate them!

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Loaded Southwestern Vegetarian Quesadilla

I apologize for the lack of pictures, I will update it the next time I make them, promise! I had a starving hubby on my hands so no time for the extra time to take a picture.

BUT, we both LOVED this meal. It was so yummy, I could eat it every night this week! I want it to remain that delicious so I won’t burn myself out.

 

Loaded Southwestern Vegetarian Quesadilla
Makes 6

Ingredients:
– 6 Burrito Flour Tortillas

Stuffing:

– 1 Red (or green or yellow, or orange) Bell Pepper
– 4 Campari Tomatoes
– 1/2 Videlia Onion chopped
– 2 Avocados (the “meat”) sliced and diced
– 1 Cup Cooked Black Beans
– 12-14 oz Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Sauce Topping:

–  1/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
– 1/6 cup Mayonnaise
– 1/2 Tbs Taco Seasoning  — Recipe here
– 1/2 Tbs Ranch Seasoning — Recipe here

 

Directions:

– In a small bowl, mix all sauce topping ingredients together and set in refrigerator to remain chilled.

– Prepare all stuffing ingredients. Lay out tortillas. On half of tortilla, layer cheese, beans, onion, tomato, bell pepper, and avocado. Place in a skillet one at a time, folded in half until golden brown on both sides and cheese has melted.

– When ready to serve, slice into 4 “quadrants” and dollop a bit of the sauce on each quadrant.

 

Hope you enjoy them as much as my hubby and I did!
Let me know what you think below!

Chocolate Cherry Ice “Cream”

Oh my goodness. That is all my brain tells me, as I sit here eating the very thing I am  blogging about. I couldn’t wait to share this new recipe.

The wonderful thing about this is there is no cooking or baking skills required. You only need to know how to slice up fruit (and it doesn’t have to be pretty) and how to work a blender.

I have found, since eating mostly whole foods and plant based foods, that my body really does not seem to like ice cream anymore. And I make my own ice cream! Ice cream is one of those sweet chilly treats that I can sit down and eat a half gallon by myself. My husband will attest to that 😉

I was actually making this for my little one since she has so many food allergies it is challenging to feed her a wholesome treat for those in-between meals. She wasn’t interested in trying because all she had on her brain was “mmk” or in adult language “milk.” So darn, I couldn’t let this go to waste, so I am eating it as we speak. It is so good!!!! Caroline is going to be disappointed in what she missed out on.

 

Chocolate Cherry Ice “Cream” isn’t really cream at all. This is a 100% vegan or plant based treat. So ideally you could eat this as breakfast and not feel guilty at all!

Here is how to make it:

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You will need coco powder, one frozen banana sliced, half of a sliced frozen avocado, a handful of frozen cherries, and a little bit of sugar (I have been using Zulka sugar and loving it)

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Place all fruits in a food processor along with 1 Tbs of coco powder, and I did use 1 1/2 Tbs sugar – you might be able to leave that out – and I added a few Tbs of water for texture, but you could also add any type of plant milk or if you wish any other kind of milk. Blend until smooth!

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And serve! Ahhhh! So yummy!  I just put a double batch of fruit to freeze for an after dinner dessert.

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She eventually came around. I mean, how can you refuse chocolate?!?!

Chocolate Cherry Ice “Cream”

Ingredients:

– One banana, sliced, and frozen
– Half an avocado, sliced and frozen
– Handful of cherries, pitted and frozen
– 1 Tbs coco powder
– 1 1/2 Tbs sugar (you could lessen or leave out)
– water, plant milk, or other milk for consistency

Directions:

Place frozen prepared fruit into a food processor with coco powder and sugar. Blend and add your choice of liquid until desired consistency.

 

 

Happiness Comes from the Heart

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Yesterday, was a tough day for me. Not because life was crazy, it was all internal. Unfortunately, about once a month (if you catch my drift), I get on edge and go off on my husband or sometimes my little girl for dumbest of things. They really didn’t do anything to deserve such a tongue thrashing.

Well, yesterday was one of those days.

I made it with few incidents during the day. To keep calm I turned on the HGTV show Dear Genevieve and crocheted. That changed pretty quickly when it came time to get dinner ready.

I kept forgetting things that needed to go into the recipe I was making, and Andrew had called earlier saying he was starving and asked if dinner could be ready when he got home. Sure! I usually have dinner ready by then anyway. It just wasn’t going to happen that night. I was so frustrated, and then Andrew got home and dinner was not anywhere near being finished.

*remember, for women, situations tend to get amplified during a certain time of the month*

Finally I was able to get dinner on the table. It was a vegetarian meal, and we hadn’t been at the table for 10 minuets when my husband asked me to make him something else. I understand men need meat, and I usually accommodate him. We haven’t had any meat in the house for about a week. Being on a tight budget lends more to vegetarian meals. Well, me being in that state of mind, I completely blew up on him.

Later, I developed a really sore throat, that I am sure is allergy related. My ears felt like they were on fire and every time I swallowed it felt like I had golf balls in my throat. Well, I still had dishes and food to put away and toys to clean up, and lunches to pack, and coffee to put in the maker and set the timer for the morning, etc.

I didn’t feel well and I didn’t want to do them. I was just all over in a bad mood.

What did my husband do? He went up stairs, in bed, and watched the Heat vs. the Spurs game. Left me alone, knowing I didn’t feel well, to do the dishes and everything I have already mentioned. I was seething! My mind was in the mode, “I can’t believe he ____(insert anything in here)____”

After about 10 to 15 minutes of being in a not so great attitude while washing dishes, I finally got feed up with myself. I was so tired of being in a bad mood! I’m sure you got exhausted just reading this!

I decided to have a change of mind, and heart. I started saying, “thank you Lord, for allowing me to have dishes to clean, because I have a family to care for. Thank you Lord, for allowing me to have good food to cook for my family and provisions for all of us.” I continued doing this for about 10 minutes and with every minute, I felt better and better.

Now, Satin did try and take me back down with a thought (I can’t even remember what it was now), but I literally told him, “nope! Not going to go there, thank you!”

One of the major things I thought about while I was thanking God, was the influence I was having on my almost 15month old. Here recently she has been throwing fits and throwing items across the room when she gets mad and lets big “growls” out. That is not acceptable behavior. But what God allowed me to see was, she is more than likely learning that behavior from me, not that I throw things, that is. And though that isn’t my intention, I need to learn to control my own “monthly anger” in order to be a good Christian mother to my impressionable daughter.

God is wonderful! He deals with so much more than any aggravating situation we deal with. The best thing is He is big enough to handle any of our aggravations, and annoyances, and tough situations. I am going to attempt to always call out to Him and thank Him for whatever situation I am in whenever I am feeling angry.

That is something I want to teach my daughter. She is a bit young now to understand the complete concept, but happiness truly comes from the heart, and the heart can only be truly happy when Jesus is in control.

Sweet and Savory Kielbasa

I am not a person who cooks a lot of meat items, but since I am a wife with a hubby who has “meat” needs, I will cook a meat item once or twice a week. Kielbasa is the one sausage that I have loved ever since I was a child. I have always eaten it with fried potatoes and ketchup. Yep, that is my combo! So good.

Usually after that specific meal, I leave the dinner table feeling very heavy. So, to appease my hubby and my veggie loving self (my hubby loves veggies too, not to give the wrong impression) and my baby girl, I put a new twist on the traditional recipe.

 

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Ingredients: 2 russet potatoes and one medium sweet potato cubed. 1 fairly large Vidalia onion sliced, 3 or 4 big handfuls of organic baby carrots, two Kielbasas of  your choice coined, minced garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt.

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Saute 1/2 Tbs of garlic in olive oil.

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add the potatoes and carrots. Place the cover on and cook for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.

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This is what they should look like.

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Add the onion.

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Once the onion has cooked down a little bit, add the Kielbasa, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander.

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Salt to taste and serve!

Sweet and Savory Kielbasa:

Ingredients:

– 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
–  Olive Oil
– 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
– 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
– 3 or 4 large handfuls of organic baby carrots
– 1 fairly large Vidalia onion, sliced
– 2 Kielbasas of choice, coined
– 1/2 tsp Cumin
– 1/2 tsp Coriander
– Salt to taste

Directions:

Add about 3 Tbs of olive oil to a large skillet with the minced garlic. Saute about 30 sec over med high heat. Add potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add onion and cook down for about a minute. Add Kielbasa, cumin and coriander. Cook until onions are sauteed and Kielbasa is completely heated through. Salt to taste.

Let me know how you liked this recipe! If you have any suggestions I would love to know them. Hope you enjoy =)

 

 

Vegetarian Style Lunches

Sometimes we all get in a bind with what to fix for lunch. My hubby usually just likes a quick sandwich to take to work, and then some raw veggies or the occasional side of chips, etc.  I would get so bored having to eat a sandwich every day for lunch. I am more of a wrap girl. I can put anything from grilled veggies, to hummus and never get bored with them.

I wanted to share a few combinations that I have come up with of healthy lunches that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

First off, here is how I make the Zesty Quinoa that I used in both of these wraps:

Zesty Quinoa
Ingredients:

1 cup dry quinoa (this makes a lot so it should last the whole week in the fridge)
1 tsp of minced garlic
Juice of one lime

Directions:

Cook quinoa as directions on package, but add the garlic with the water (or vegetable broth). Once it has been cooked, squeeze the juice of one lime over the cooked quinoa and mix it in. If  you want you may add salt and/or pepper, but I usually just leave it alone.

 

Okay now that you know how to do that, here are two different lunch combos, that are both delicious and nutritious!

 

First off, the Veggie Hummus Wrap (vegan):

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Take your hummus of choice and smear a thin layer all over the wrap. Add chopped carrots (I put a handful of baby organic carrots in a food processor), some chopped up baby spinach, chopped up avocado, and sprinkle a healthy portion of the zesty quinoa (recipe above).

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Starting from one side, roll up the wrap and slice in half.

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Now, as a side dish to this delicious meal, I sliced some Campari tomatoes and olives. Mix together with basil (fresh basil is the best, but I don’t have my basil plant up and going just yet, so I had to do dried) and drizzle with olive oil. Yum!!!

Here is the Zesty Quinoa Bean Wrap:

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This is really more like a burrito than anything, but still an easy healthy lunch. I make my own “unfried” beans and here is the link to the recipe I use. Add the “unfried” beans, zesty quiona, avocado, baby spinach, and tomatoes and wrap it up burrito style =)

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As a side dish for this wonderful dish, I took Greek yogurt (you can use either plain or vanilla. or whatever you want), and I slices some strawberries and oranges to mix in.

Now something a lot of people don’t really think about…What to drink with your lunch? You spent all that time thinking of how you could create a healthy lunch, you better not go grab a pop!!! [soap box time, sorry] Pop (or soda as I should call is since I moved to the south) is not healthy in any way shape or form. Not even diet, the artificial sweeteners can cause cancer and the carbonation is not the best thing for your body.  … okay, my rant is over.

There are several healthy options to take, but since I did two lunches, I will show you what I took with them.

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Oh, Vita Coco!!! Love this beverage! For some reason I am not a fan of Zico, but Vita Coco is a favorite of my little family here. Even my baby girl loves this stuff. Costco sells them in big packs  of personal sized drinks, which is ideal for taking for lunch.

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This is my option that I usually take. I love my reusable up. It is mine, I know where it has been, I know that I have washed it, and also it has pink paisleys all over it. Makes me happy.  Anyhow, water with lime juice is my favorite. I have a hard time drinking regular water, but it doesn’t take much lime juice to add flavor. Water is quite adaptable, you can squeeze lemons, mango, lime, etc. in it and it takes it to a new level.

Hope this gives some ideas to you! The good thing about this type of lunch is that there is no end to the possibilities! At the beginning of the week, buy several different veggies, hummus, and have an assortment of beans and quinoa on hand and you have a lot of combinations you can go for to make quick and healthy lunches. Give your taste buds an adventure 😉

Let me know what type of lunches you like to take with you throughout your week! I love having different options and ideas.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Soup Beans

I am quite sure it has been well over a month since I last blogged. I keep waiting for life to “slow down” (hahaha) so that I can do pretty much anything other than look up a recipe or facebook for a few minutes here and there on the internet. I have simply come to the conclusion that life just doesn’t slow down. Sure one thing will end, but it is always followed by another.

Since the last I have posted, we have had an ER visit (we found out the hard way that our daughter who is now 14months is allergic to peanuts and cashews), we have had my husband’s wisdom teeth removed, and we have moved. The moving was very quickly done and we hadn’t planned on moving until next year, but our landlord (we live in a townhome “village”) offered us a deal that was for a three bedroom instead of the two that we were in and for $50 less a month. Long story short, we moved in about a week after they told us about it.

So now that life is getting back to normal, hopefully I will be able to blog a little more often.

Now, I’m not sure about where you live, but around here, it has been raining for a good two weeks. Not just raining, but lightening and thunder and wind and all that good stuff that comes with a big storm. I hear there have been several tornadoes in the Midwest, and so I guess I should be thankful that we live in the mountains and are only getting the storm part. This weather does not scream “almost-summer-the-pools-are-opening-next-week” to me, so we have been eating a lot of soups for dinner.

For awhile now, I have been craving soup beans, but ALWAYS forget to soak the beans overnight. This morning I woke up, got my hubby off to work and decided that there has to be an easy way to cook dried beans without soaking them. After a little research online, I found out that you could either in a dutch oven, which I don’t have, or in a crock pot, which I do have. Then I went on to search out recipes that didn’t involve ham, and I couldn’t find one to my liking, so what to do? Make up the recipe.

It has turned out amazing!

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Ingredients: 1 cup each of the following, dried pinto beans, dried great northern beans, dried black beans. 6 cups of vegetable broth, 3/4 of a very large Vidalia onion thinly sliced, 1 Tbs minced garlic, 1tsp dried basil, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 stick of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

*Side note* This is very easy to make vegan. They only thing making this vegetarian and not vegan is the butter. I usually use a vegan butter, but in this instance it was easier for me to use real butter instead of a soy based product.

 

I didn’t have time to take an in between photo because I was running out the door to have lunch with my hubby (the awesome thing about crock pots! have dinner ready when you get home!) but here is what you do….Throw it all in the pot except for the salt and pepper! Turn it on high heat for 6 hours, when the beans are tender salt and pepper to taste!

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Tah-dah! You are done and the prep work only takes as long as it does for you to dump beans and slice an onion! They are so yummy! and you don’t feel very heavy eating them like you do when there is ham or other meat products in them. =)

Let me know how yours turn out if you try them, or if you added anything else to them. I think carrots would be a nice addition. Make them your own!

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup dried Black Beans1 Cup dried Pinto Beans
1 Cup dried Great Northern Beans
6 Cups vegetable broth
3/4 very large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
1/2 stick of butter (4Tbs)
Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a crock pot except salt and pepper. Turn on high for 6 hours, or until beans are tender. Once tender, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with corn bread, or rice, or if your from the north, add ketchup or whatever you like!