Progress

Yesterday I did something I thought was highly unlikely.  Let me take you back about a year or so ago.  I was browsing one of my favorite websites, shopbop, when a dress caught my eye.  It wasn’t just any dress.  It was a red, leather, fit and flare, cut out dress by Sally Lapointe.  I could see myself in that dress.  I couldn’t see myself spending the money but I saw myself in that dress.  I would look at that dress several times a day even going as far as putting it in my cart but not checking out.  Then one day it happened, 70% off.  This sale was for me.  It had to be.  There was only one problem.  Those kinds of sales mean limited sizes are available.  This was indeed the case.  There was one dress available and that dress was a size 6.

I’m a proud size 8. Proud because I worked hard to get there after teethering at 10/12. I thought maybe the dress is cut big or maybe it’ll stretch.  It is leather afterall.  The bargaining continued until I convinced myself to make the purchase.  I was so excited when the dress arrived.  It was beautiful.  I couldn’t wait to get it on.  I unzipped the back and excitedly stepped into the dress.  As I pulled it over my hips I heard a pop.  My excitement instantly switched to fear.  I didn’t.  I couldn’t have.  I did.  My 40″ hips broke the zipper.  I hadn’t even touched the zipper.  I was just pulling the dress up.  That day I learned that dress needed to be pulled over my head instead of over my hips.  I learned the hard way.  I hadn’t even worn the dress and already I needed to have it repaired.

After I had the dress repaired, I went to try it on again.  This time the right way. I pulled the dress over my head and looked in the mirror.  Without even trying it was very apparent to me the dress would not zippen.  The good news was that it was on.  That was half the battle.  What though would I do next? Have it altered? Give up and sell it? I put the dress in the back of my closet and stopped thinking about it.

Yesterday I decided to pull it back out.  I have been on a steady workout schedule.  I have been eating vegan two to three weeks out of each month.  I’m still a size 8 but maybe.  So I pulled the dress out.  This was the result.

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It fit! The zipper is all the way up.  This just goes to show progress isn’t always on the scale or in your dress size.  I’m still an 8 be it a firmer 8 and I look and feel great.  I feel more motivated than ever to continue my fit journey and see even more progress.

Vegan Crumble

I use this sweet and savory mix to top salads, pastas, baked potatoes, and even to have as a meal of it’s own.  The base of this recipe is red beans and buckwheat. (Buckwheat is actually gluten free.) Before I start, I have to soak both. I do this the day before allowing the beans and the buckwheat to soak over night. Once they have soaked, I rinse them before adding them to my blender with my seasonings.

To start you will need a cookie sheet, parchment paper, and an oven preheated to 400°.

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When I cook dry beans, I never use the enclosed seasoning packet.  However, I don’t discard it either.  I save it for recipes like this one.  No worries if you don’t have one.  This is what you should use:

Onion powder

Paprika

Soy sauce

Liquid smoke

Nutritional yeast

Tomato paste

Maple syrup

I use a teaspoon of each except the tomato paste and maple syrup.  I use two teaspoons of those ingredients.  Now blend.

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At this point, the mixture will smell good enough to eat but it’s not done yet.  Spread the mixture into a thin layer on the parchment paper and bake for ten minutes.  Now it’s done!

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If you are using this with your breakfast, I would suggest drizzling with more maple syrup and let it bake another two minutes.  It can be sliced or crumbled and it freezes well.  To use after freezing, simply fry or bake.

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BBQ Tofu

Though not so quick, this dish is really easy. This recipe calls for extra firm tofu. I start by preheating the oven to 350. While the oven is heating, I drain the tofu and press dry with a paper towel.  Once dry I slice the tofu length ways and apply a dry rub to both sides.  (Optional- Sometimes I add diced green peppers as well.)  My rub consists of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper.

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I bake the tofu for 30 minutes at 350°.  Then I flip the tofu, base with my favorite bbq sauce and bake for another 30 minutes.

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Almost done.  Lastly, flip, base, and bake for another ten minutes.  Now you’re done.  Enjoy!

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Vegan Cheese and shells

Brace yourself. This may be one of the easiest dishes you’ll ever make. Prepare to be blown away by the sheer simplicity.  Start with your favorite pasta.  I’m using brown rice shells.  Boil your pasta as usual.  While the pasta is boiling we will whip up a quick “cheese” sauce.

To make the sauce, you will need nutritional yeast, potato starch (or flour), paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, corn starch, olive oil, almond milk, and water. Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a sauce pan.  I used equal parts nutritional yeast and potato starch, 1/4 cup each.  I used one teaspoon of each of the remaining dry ingredients.

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Next, add the wet ingredients.  I used one teaspoon of olive oil, one half cup of almond milk, and one half cup of water.  Whisk continually until thick.

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Once the sauce has thickened, pour over drained noodles.  Mix and serve.  Optional: top with additional nutritional yeast and vegan bacon.

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Vegan Mango Shake

I love a good fruit shake. I make them nearly every day. One of my favorite shakes to make is my vegan mango shake. It’s reminiscent of the time when I was obsessed with mango lassi. I like my mango shake sweet with a little tang. Here’s what I use:

Frozen mango

Fresh carrot

Ginger

Honey or agave

Tumeric

Pea protein

Almond milk
I start with frozen mango. I almost always use frozen fruit. With frozen fruit, there’s no need for ice. Then I add equal parts carrots. I add ginger and honey to taste, a dash of turmeric, and a scoop of pea protein. Lastly I cover all the ingredients in almond milk and blend.  If you’re unsure of how much almond milk to use to get your preferred consistency, add a little at a time until you get your desired texture.  Viola! Delicious and nutritious vegan mango shake.

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Vegan Crab Cake Recipe

I use heart of palm, old bay seasoning, minced onion, chopped garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, and potato starch to make these vegan crab cakes.  I start with one 14 ounce can of heart of palm (also available in a jar). First, I rough chop the palm.

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Next, I add a tablespoon of minced onion, a tablespoon of chopped garlic (fresh or dried), two tablespoons of old bay seasoning, a tablespoon of mustard, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, and a tablespoon of potato starch.  Then I mix well.

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Once the ingredients are mixed, I form the mixture into patties and fry.  I haven’t tried this in the broiler but that’s an option as well.

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I like these with my vegan macaroni and cheese or if I am in the mood for a cold side dish.  I will have them with potato salad.

Shira’s Vegan Kitchen

I am not a vegan.  I do however eat vegan two to three weeks of each month.  I started adding vegetarian meals to my diet last year.  It has progressed from there.  One huge misconception is the cost to eat vegan is more expensive than an animal product diet.  For me this has proven untrue.

I am actually spending less on groceries.  I buy lots of fresh produce.  I divide and freeze fruits and vegetables.  I sometimes pickle vegetables as well. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to buy frozen fruits and vegetables.  I rarely buy cans but that’s another option.  Another item that stays on my grocery list is dried beans.  I love to slow cook beans.  Then I divide and freeze them for later use.  I have to say I am pretty proud of the strides I have made in both savory and sweet vegan dishes.

Some of my favorite things to make are vegan cheese and shells, bbq tofu, fried mushrooms, and carrot muffins.  I will be sharing these recipes and more in the near future so stay tuned.

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