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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What do I eat?

Ok. People will ask me, now what do you eat? And I say “everything I ate before just no animal products”. Think about that. Everything is a lot so as a vegan there are plenty of choices for you to eat. Someone had said to me that once you learn the substitutes and you know where to buy them it will be just as “normal” as it was before to eat. You won’t be thinking about it so much. It will be just like “second nature”. After you read my first blog and go to the grocery store and explore it is time to then explore some more with your recipes at home. Take the easy ones and start from there. I had mentioned in my first blog about a chinese stir fry and how to change that around. I am going to show you a sample menu of a day in my life as I have been learning how to eat and some recipes I changed to vegan. This is not a nutritional statement of what you should eat (as I have said I am not a nutritionist and when I post any menus or nutritional information I have found it on the internet or in brochures. You would need to speak to your MD/NP or nutritionist for your personal dietary needs) First ask yourself, how do you start your day? What do you eat? If you like eggs, that will be a change for you. I have seen recipes for scrambled tofu however I have not tried them yet so I can not comment. If you like oatmeal from what I read buying the natural oats and cooking them is better then the instant in the packages. I like that anyway because I can make it the way I want. If you use milk in your oatmeal, use plain soy milk or flavored if you desire. If you add sugar use vegan sugar or a natural sweetener such as agave nectar (which you can find at a whole food or organic store. I will have another blog where I talk about natural sweeteners and sugar a bit more. ) Top your oatmeal with fruits if you desire. If you drink coffee or tea use soy milk if you use milk and again the vegan sugar or agave nectar. Here is a sample of a day in my life as a vegan:

One or two pieces of wheat toast with margarine, jelly, or apple spread (apple spread can be found in the peanut butter aisle or organic aisle)
oatmeal (flavored as I like)
tea with soy milk and sugar
If you like have a piece of fruit of choice

Now it is mid morning and you may be getting hungry. Have another piece of fruit or snack on some soy nuts which have a nice protein content. But be careful of having too much because I have noticed on packaging of nuts that they can be high in fat.

Lunch time
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat toast. (Two tablespoons of peanut butter have 8 grams of protein according to the back of the jar I use)

Here is one of my simplest recipes for a peanut butter sandwich:
Peanut butter (I like to use natural peanut butter)
apple spread
two pieces of wheat toast

Use desired amount of each and use the apple spread in place of the Jelly . I love it.

cut up some carrots and/or celery for a snack
add in a piece of fruit
Have some soy nuts , pumpkin seeds or even a box of raisins.

Moroccan tofu with sweet potatoes and couscous
Here I will show you how I changed a recipe to be vegan.
This is from a magazine by every day food.

Moroccan chicken stew with sweet potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds) ( here I of course did not use chicken. I had some extra firm tofu, you can use firm if you like. Depending on how many you are feeding, will depend on how much you use. For two people cut one or two slices of tofu crosswise about ½ inch thick. This is not an exact measurement. You could see how many cubes the first piece gives you and see if you desire more. I cut the whole recipe in half for two servings. With a paper towel pat the slice to soak out as much water as you can. Cut into cubes.
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth ( here I used vegetarian- vegetable bouillon cubes, by knorr- approximate 1 cup for two servings which is ½ a cube per the package. Keep bouillon close by in case you need more broth )
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Pinch of saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup couscous
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

1- Place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
(Here I seasoned the tofu in a bowl as above and browned in a pan on both sides. Just a few minutes each side and then put aside) proceed to step two.
2- Add onion, ginger, and cinnamon to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add broth, sweet potatoes, and, if using, saffron. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard ginger and cinnamon. Stir in lemon juice, and season stew with salt and pepper.
( note after the first boil, set a timer for 15 minutes. Put the tofu in the pot after 7 minutes and then cook as step two says. You can add a bit more water if you think it is running dry)
3- While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Serve chicken stew with couscous, garnished with cilantro, if desired.
(Cook the couscous according to the servings you are cooking for per the back of the box) then serve as above. I stored left overs in a container and had it the next day.

If you do not feel comfortable yet trying the tofu then play around with the stir fry. I had stated in a previous blog to add more vegetables in a stir fry, use tofu or the veggie chicken strips and then you will see how you like it. I start with stir fry’s as an example because they are fast and easy.

Here is one of my quick stir fry recipes
1 serving
I like this even for a quick lunch

½ cup frozen stir fry vegetables
1 serving size per directions on the box of instant white rice
a smidgen of Chinese 5 spice powder (this is in the spice aisle)
1 to 2 Tbs of your choice of sauce such as hoisin or stir fry sauce. The amount depends on your own taste.

Take the stir fry vegetables, leaving frozen and put in a microwave steam bowl and steam for 5 minutes in the microwave. (Microwave times may vary).
In the meantime cook the rice per package directions.
When the vegetables are done, drain the water, then put veggies in a pre-heated , non-stick 8 to 10 inch fry pan. Mix in the sauce and spice. Heat thru, stirring occasionally about 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve over rice.

NOTE: If you do not have a microwave steamer you can do this all in the 10 inch non-stick pan. I would thaw the veggies, preheat the pan, lightly spray the pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, and while stirring occasionally, cook veggies about 6 to 8 minutes, depending on your preference of tenderness. About 5 minutes into cooking I would add the sauce of choice and the spice.

Optional- try using the veggie chicken strips if you like. I would brown the strips lightly in the preheated pan, about 1 tablespoon of Extra virgin olive oil or spray with vegetable oil spray, and brown on both sides about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Drain out oil pre adding vegetables and sauce if you do it this way. Use about a handful of chicken pieces or less if you prefer.

Here is another recipe from kraft foods. I have not changed it yet but this is how I would make it vegan. .I am actually going to make it over the next few days.

Quick and easy lemon chicken and rice

1. 1/2 cup KRAFT House Italian Dressing - Your options are to make your own dressing or look at the website attached after this recipe. It is from the site PETA and it lists many grocery items that are vegan. Click on various areas so you can get more of a feel for vegan products. You will find dressings in the condiment section.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips - Obviously, no chicken. If you were comfortable with tofu you could use that. Just use as I stated in the previous recipe. Or just skip this part and add a few more vegetables. You could even add another vegetable you like or add nothing.
1 cup chicken broth- use vegetarian vegetable broth
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese - use vegan parmesan cheese. I stress make sure that the small bottle says vegan. If it says veggie some of them have a product called casien in them which is a milk derived protein, therefore it is not vegan. I found this product at the organic/ whole food store. You can skip it if you would rather not. I have tried the product and I like it. Of course it is not cheese, but I find it to have a nice flavor for my taste.

HEAT dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken (If you were using tofu you would add here); cook and stir 1 min.
ADD broth, broccoli, red pepper and carrots. Bring to boil. - If you add a bit more veggies you may need a bit more broth. Keep on hand in case.
STIR in rice. Return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 5 min. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. Stir in lemon pepper seasoning; sprinkle with cheese

(after I make this the vegan way if there are any changes I will post)
(the latter is the site with the vegan grocery product list I mentioned above)

So you see, you can be vegan, you can eat well and great. And please visit my first blog if you have not where I mention a book by Nava Atlas that I have found very instrumental in my journey to learning vegan cooking. Her book is not vegan, it is vegetarian. But as I am showing you products can be substituted or optional if you wish.

Happy Vegan Cooking
Thank you for reading my blog and come back again soon.


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