Full Steam Ahead

So we are officially 3 weeks past the start of living with our new Whole-Foods,  Plant Based Diet and  so far things have been going pretty well. I have had a few times where I have felt uninspired or just plain tired of cooking. Sometimes, on a busy day, I miss having the easy go to dinners (i.e.  meat on the grill, a steamed veggie and a starchy side). Now everything takes planning, shopping and chopping,  LOTS of chopping! But then I remind myself that my family and I  are doing this to improve our overall health, well being and our futures, not to mention, if I don’t cook, we don’t eat.  As the Mom/Wife/CEO of this family it is my responsibility to put healthy options at their finger tips and dinner in front of their faces. But GOOD GRIEF, starting all over is quite the undertaking!

These are the times that I remind myself of a little something (okay, it’s really much more than a “little”).  Food has always been the store of emotions for me, the biggest being love. Then friend reminded me that this new way we are eating has love in  it. That made me realize, all the effort (slight that I now see it was) I was putting into our old way of living  actually lacked, to some degree, the love.  Sure I love my family, I’m not saying that. But after discussing this with the Hubby and the Kiddo, it was the kiddo who put it into the words I was looking for. “Before when we’d ask what was for dinner, you’d say, I don’t know, go look in the freezer. But now you sit and plan and organize and do a lot of work to make sure we have nice balanced meals. Seems to me, there is more love in this new way of eating than there was before”.

<PLEASE PAUSE FOR A PROUD PARENT MOMENT:  Have I told you she’s 12?? Such an incredibly intelligent, insightful observation my baby made. >

She hit the nail on the head.  Nowadays I spend much of my free time  searching for new recipes, typing in found recipes, that I modify to suit our new lifestyle, into my computer cookbook (have I mentioned what a blessing that is?).  I read articles and talk to people and I take it all in.  Every week I create a menu for the upcoming week of dinners. I make sure that breakfasts and lunches are covered, I read labels, I track nutrients to be sure we are getting an adequate amount of everything we need,  shop multiple stores and chop, did I mention I do a lot of chopping? Why do I do this? For the Love of my family.  So not only does this new lifestyle have the love in it, it has BUCKET loads  more! And in return, my family is enjoying the meals, giving me their input and,  most importantly, participating in this endeavor with me.  LOVE IT!!

One new little change to our game plan. We all agree we should work to find more recipes that DO NOT contain  soy, unless fermented, as I have read  a  few things, heard a few  things and am just not a big fan of the stuff to begin with.  The Hubby and Kiddo don’t care for the texture of cubed tofu, though they do enjoy the tofu scramblers (our answer to scrambled eggs) and some of the desserts we’ve tried.  So  we are switching to almond  milk (the Silk brand still has all the added vitamins  and minerals) and trying to steering clear of recipes for dinner that include tofu. The good news? I was never big on faux meats and cheeses from the start so we haven’t had that to contend with, though I do like the Smart Ground Original in my veggie Chili (Thanks Mom) and either a soyrizo or mock breakfast sausage with our Scramblers.  I am going to play around with some different recipes using Tempeh instead (it’s fermented). I think we are stuck with the scramblers, on the plus side,  we don’t eat them every day, as well as maybe some of the desserts and a CRAZY good lasagna  recipe “Raise the Roof Sweet-Potato  and Vegetable Lasagna” (Google it, cause I haven’t figured out how to ‘link’ yet).  I do know this new change has made the Kiddo SUPER happy, she puts on her game face when I put a tofu dinner in front of her, but she really just doesn’t like it.  So, not a hard sell there.

I thought I’d show you what a week’s menu of dinners looks like for us now.  I would put up a comparison of how we used to eat, but it was mostly a grilled meat, steamed veggie and starchy side (as I mentioned earlier) so not much to list there.   Take a look at our “Now”…

Day 1: Tortilla and Black Bean Casserole – Topped with (Homegrown) Lettuce, tomato, corn, (Homegrown) green onion, carrots and black olives

Day 2: Dr. Praeger’s  Veggie Burgers (from Costco) and Oven-Baked French Fries (Whole  Wheat buns,  hummus and spicy brown mustard, lettuce, tomato & red onion. White Bean Dip, with LOADS of garlic, for french fry dip)

Day 3: Minestrone Soup and Fettuccine with Creamy Spinach Sauce (contains soy)

Day 4: Ratatouille with Polenta and Tri-Color Salad with Caper Dressing

Day 5:  Tortilla Soup With Black Bean Enchiladas

Day 6: Root Vegetable Mash with Caramelized Onions & Spinach Salad

Day 7: Veggie Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce and Vegetable Udon

Just looking at this makes me feel like we are dining out every  night, cause I sure don’t serve this kind of food every night at my house, at least until now. Maybe I should say, Now Accepting Reservations.

And for snacks and whatnot, we have a great White Bean Dip (thanks to our neighbors  thinking of us), tabbouleh done a couple different ways, homemade hummus, lots of fruits and just a lot of fun taking basic recipes and turning them into a bunch of different, new creations.

Side note: Another 3 pounds off making my weight loss 16 pounds since, what, Christmas?? I’ll take that, haven’t hit 1 month and already down that much, starting to feel good in my skin again!

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