July 29, 2013

You're Vegan Now?

....What on Earth Do I Eat? Any thing that grows from the Earth! :-) As part of my blog reboot, I'm going to be writing a lot more about food and cooking!

Over the past year, I've been doing A LOT of reading and research about the health and environmental benefits of following a vegan lifestyle. If you've spent any time reading food labels, finding real, natural, whole foods can be a bit of a challenge, Yes it can be time consuming but just like with any new skill, you spend more time in the beginning, learning the basic techniques, before it starts to feel like less work!
Most grocery store food products have a ton of preservatives, chemicals and animal products so I became a smarter consumer and chef - vowing to make the majority of our meals from scratch (even burger buns!).

At Christmas, my sis gave me a copy of Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Kitchen book. That really kicked my vegan cooking skills into high gear. Last night, I made her "Best-Ever Mac-n-Cheese".  It's a very simple recipe with mmmmm-mmmmmmm cheesy goodness! I added some smoky tempeh (about 1/2 package) and topped it with broccoli. The "cheese" flavor comes from nutritional yeast. For a gluten-free option, I used brown rice pasta.

Here's the final product (enough for hubby and I for multiple meals!):

These Pumpkin Oat muffins have become a staple for hubby and I. The basic recipe is from Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan. She calls for equal parts Spelt and Oat flour. Depending on what I have around the house, I have also used Quinoa and Whole-Wheat flour. For gluten-free options, any non-wheat based flour will work but I have noticed the quinoa flour increases the density of the muffins a bit. This recipe has a little too much oil in my opinion - 3 T of neutral oil. I substitute 2 T of delicious pumpkin butter that I pick up at a local farm (it's non-fat!) and only use 1 T of grapeseed oil in the entire recipe. I can make about 48 mini-muffins from one batch!

 These were a great treat following an amazing Sunday morning trail un. One of our Galloway pace group leaders, Elizabeth, (did I mention she's an awesome running partner too?!?) has been joining me about once a week on this local trail. With nearly 1,400 ft of climbing, almost all in the first 2.6 miles, parts of it can be a little brutal but we're making progress with our pace and leg strength! The fog made for some spectacular views yesterday:

Elizabeth in the final steps of our run on the Chumash trail.

Happy Running, Happy Cooking = Happy Life!

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