Going Vegetarian (plant-based) for Lent- Day 38: Pancakes

I’ve been wanting to try out some Vegan pancake recipes for a while now and finally settled on a starting point.  I found about 50% of the recipies called for pastry flour and the others used just standard whole wheat flour.  We have a pretty large collection of flour types these days with pizza, biscuits, and other items we’re trying to perfect, so why not add another type to crowd the cupboard.  Pastry flour it was going to be this time.

I started with another great recipe from CookieandKate for Super Simple Vegan Pancakes.  I substituted whole wheat pastry flour and followed the recipe to the tee.  Even used coconut oil.  It is really super simple to follow, and the results turned out really good.

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Used the recommended 1/4 cup to portion out the pancakes in the pan with a little coconut oil on the first round.  I didn’t add any additional for the remaining batches.

 

I was surprised how these pancakes turned out.  Looked like ones that had eggs in them, but NOT!.  Following the recipe quantity yielded a nice stack of hot cakes.

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Add a healthy (??) portion of vegan butter and generous amount of pure maple syrup and it was go time.  I really enjoyed this breakfast.  I might rethink the coconut oil next time, as you could definitely taste the coconut flavor.  Still developing my taste for that.

Dinner was at a new local asian restaurant by our house.  My son and I decided to give it a go.  Always want to support the new comers and give them a chance.  Their menu was an interesting mix of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese dishes.  The pure vegetarian options were limited, and I didn’t want to try anything too far out there since I was running a 5K race tomorrow morning.  I opted for the vegetables with garlic sauce.  Hit the spot for sure!  I will definitely give them another try.

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Super easy run today to rest up for the race tomorrow.

My son made a batch of pizza dough tonight, so you know what that means.  Oh yea, tomorrow is PIZZA NIGHT!!

Peace to all.

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Going Vegetarian (Plant-based) for Lent – Day 37: Cheeseburgers

It’s been exactly 38 days since I ate my last real cheeseburger.  That was my last meal before Lent started.  It was time.  I needed something packed between a bun with all the fixings.  What would replace the meaty flavor and give me something juicy?  Portobello mushrooms to the rescue.

I fired up the grill, and prepared the burger.  I was cooking some black bean burgers for the family and a big giant mushroom for me.  I seasoned the shroom with my BBQ dry rub, and tossed it on the fire.

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I slathered on some BBQ sauce during the cook because that’s just what I felt like doing today.

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Seriously, this has to be the best beef burger substitute on the planet.  Meaty flavor, juice soaked bun, and so so delicious.  Garnished the burger with some vegan American cheese slices, vegan mayo, lettuce and tomato.  Roasted up some baked potato chunks with some olive oil and seasoning.  I would go for this meal any day of  the week, regardless of my culinary constitution.

Finished up the dinner with a couple grilled black bean lettuce wraps.  Didn’t want to waste any food, right (LOL).

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Another good 5K run, but backing off the intensity a bit preparing for a 5K race in a couple of days.

How is it that the simple things in life bring so much satisfaction?  It truly is amazing grace.

Peace to all.

Going Vegetarian (Plant-based) for Lent – Day 36: 10 minute Pasta

Hump day, middle of the work week, always pressed for time.  So it seems.  Most days like this I would have punted and succumb to eating out.  Well, not so much anymore, given the closest real “vegan” restaurant is 30 min away and usually has a long wait.  Needing some quick nutrients, the game was on.  What could I cook in 10 minutes or less with ingredients I actually had in the house.

Quick scan of the playing field revealed bow tie pasta, zucchini squash, yellow squash, spinach, garlic, and some left over tomato basil marinara.  Score!!!

Pasta in boiling water, dice up the squash and start sautéing.  Throw in some garlic, and Italian seasoning.  In went the spinach, and more spinach, and more …   What is the deal with cooked spinach.  Does this stuff just evaporates or something LOL.

Added in the marinara sauce and dinner was served.  Roughly 10min from the time the water started boiling for the pasta.  My son’s dog was thinking this smelled good, but couldn’t quit reach the plate.  HAHA.

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Another great day of running to make it 39 days straight.  Some guys I trained with last year did 100+ days straight over the winter.  Not sure I’ll make that, but 50 is for sure in sight.

I’ve been continuing to study and research the whole concept of Vegetarian versus Vegan.  While I haven’t had any serious issues staying true to the vegetarian diet (inclusion of eggs and dairy), striving for 100% plant-based(i.e.: vegan), is definitely more challenging.  It’s probably just a learning curve, and similar to how my cupboard and frig were stocked at the start of this challenge, I need to acquire some slightly different buying habits and change a few staple products that I keep in stock.

I am a strong proponent of “having the right tools for the job”.   Going the extra mile to eliminate dairy (mostly cheese) and eggs just takes “retooling”.  Also, one must retool the brain to think differently about the “why”.  I’ve come a long way in over 5 weeks in regards to the “why”.  It’s definitely no longer as simple as “why not“.

Peace to all.

 

 

Going Vegetarian for Lent: Days 34-35 Vegan Style

Now that I am inside 2 weeks to go, I’m trying to cut out dairy and eggs for the diet.  Eggs and cheese were pretty much a staple in my pre-Lent daily food intake, it stopped me dead in my tracks a couple of times, as I reached for something to eat.  I did get hooked up with some non-dairy butter and cream cheese.  Guess its like the first time you drink beer “Its and acquired taste”.  Butter is fine, but the cream cheese is a little sour tasting compared to what I’m used too.

Lunches usually consist of a quick PBJ sandwich, vegan chips, and some fruit.  I wasn’t feeling the usual, so broke out the vegan mayo, and concocted a nice avocado BLT sandwich.  Avocado, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, vegan cream cheese, and toasted Ezekiel bread. Hit the spot.

I was tight on time for dinner the last couple days.  Got to love a quick veggie and rice bowl and left over veggie chili on baked potato.  Simple, quick to prepare, and super filling.

Overall, its been going ok without the dairy and eggs.  100% plant-based does make for some adjustments in planning, especially around breakfast.  I made some nice oatmeal with walnuts and maple syrup.

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Like no one has ever seen a picture of oatmeal LOL.  All good as I push to the finish line.  Speaking of which, while the finish line for Lent is coming into sight, I’m really not sure what happens after that.  Do I go back to the old ways?  Time will tell, but I do have a new appreciation for cooking something other than meat on the grill.

Two more 5K’s in the books.  Getting stronger each day now that some of my physical issues are resolving themselves.  Running everyday takes discipline and you need to have some easy days in order to recover for the hard days.  Just like working or anything else you do.

Inspiration for the days ahead comes from Romans 12 – 2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Pushing the limits is my mantra.  Good or bad, it’s just how I am wired.

Peace to all.

Going Vegetarian for Lent – Day 33: Vegan style chili and cornbread.

With 2 weeks left until Easter, I want to give 100% plant-based diet a try.  Off to the store for vegan butter and a few essential items.  Today’s plan was cast iron dutch oven 3-bean chili and skillet cornbread.

I’ve made the veggie chili several times, but was wanting something different.  Quick scan of the pantry revealed lots of beans, fire roasted tomatoes, and plenty of spices. Got a wild hair and though about beer chili.  A quick search revealed a few recipes worthy of what I was thinking.  I used this Game Day Beer Chili as the basis for my concoction.  Most chili recipes have the same basic spices, just like BBQ rubs. It’s all about dialing in the flavor profile and heat that works for you.  I definitely left out the cumin, since I seem to have developed some not so good sensitivity to it.  Who knows why, but just doesn’t sit right with me.  Started with the essential onions, peppers, garlic, and a few carrots.

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Sautéed the veggies and threw in some left over soyrizo for a little “meaty” texture and some interesting spice.  Once the veggies and soyrizo was were looking good, I put in the spices and cooked for another few minutes.  Then came the payoff with a bottle of unfiltered wheat beer to deglaze the dutch oven.  In went the fire roasted tomatoes and beans.

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Cooked on a low simmer for another hour and it was more than ready.  I used most of the ingredients in the recipe except meat and cumin.  While the chili was humming along, I whipped up some vegan cornbread and put that in a cast iron skillet to bake in the oven.

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Two servings of each later it was time for a nap (HAHA).  Seriously good grub, and 100% plant-based.  Left over corn bread for breakfast tomorrow!

35 run day streak continues, and was able to get outside and have a good one today.

It was a busy day at church, since it was our Sunday to work.  Guess I’ll have to watch the replay LOL.

Peace to all.

Going Vegetarian for Lent – Days 31/32: Eating out.

Well, nothing significant to report food wise.  Ended up going out with friends for dinner at a local farm to table restaurant.  They specialize in interesting meat options like duck, beef cheek, aged hanger steak, and cauliflower steak.  Guess what I ordered!  Yep, cauliflower steak.  It was pretty good.  There must have been some major cumin seasoning in the dish.  I’ve noticed that this spice does not sit well with me, so kinda ruined the overall meal for me.  It was good to finally diagnose this issue, so not a total lose.  They had some good Parmesan eggplant, and my favorite beer Boulevard Tank 7) on tap.  Had to try the brussel sprouts as a side dish, but have to admit, I think mine are better.

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The day before we went to a local brewery for some pretzels with beer cheese sauce and a really good veggie wrap.

Running continues even with the new back issues after helping my son lift a 400lb table saw out of his truck.  Think I would have learned this lesson after all these years. Oh well.

The good news is only 2 weeks to go to the finish line.  Eating vegetarian has been enjoyable and easily to execute.  Some great recipes were found and consumed.  The resources online are endless.  So thinking I need to push a little harder.

Decided to give the Vegan-ish diet a go.  I’ve used dairy and eggs as a crutch from time to time over the last 4 1/2 weeks.  Now I am going to go for it and see if I can finish the Lent challenge by eliminating the dairy and eggs.

We’ll see how it goes.

Going Vegetarian (Plant-based) for Lent – Days 29/30: Taking it easy.

Taking it easy might refer to the cooking the last few days, but doesn’t represent life. I find Wednesday and Thursday to be the tough days of the week.  Seem to be pushing the throttle and running short on excitement.  Enter Vegetarian style cuisine.  It really isn’t that hard to make up a fulfilling meal in no time.

I broke out the “I’m starting to get really hungry” cauliflower mac-n-cheese and hit up some leftovers to round out the meals.  It’s cool that getting into a rhythm of eating this way offers some real benefits on time management and nutritional qualities.

I pretty much hacked the cauliflower mac-n-cheese from a foodnetwork.com recipe with what was on hand, and it was great.  Cheesy, filling, and super tasty.  Never hurts to drizzle on some buffalo hot wing sauce to kick the heat up.

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Added a nice side salad and some broccoli to round out the meal.  The next night I was super crunched for time again.  Sautéed up some zucchini, squash, and carrots.  Used some left over brown rice and Korean BBQ sauce to make a nice spicy rice bowl.

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Little steam coming of the bowl fogged the camera (HAHA).  Hey, it was great and filled me up.  That’s the name of the game sometimes.

Running continues strong with another 5K in the bank.  I will be glad when I hit day 50, so I can take a break, then start ramping up the mileage again.  It is interesting how such a short distance can carry such fatigue when you go everyday.  Some days I have to really take it easy to rest up for more intense interval sets the next few days.

I’m pondering how to take this challenge to the next level over the last 2 weeks.  I have some ideas, but not fully committed yet.

Guess I need to just to go for it.  Saw a quote that inspired me.  “Your time as a caterpillar has expired, your wings are ready”.  Seems we always try to hold ourselves back even when we are ready to move forward.

Peas