Vacay the Plant-Based Way

I just returned from a 4 day camping trip at the lake.  I love camping.  We water ski, tube, swim, hang out with friends and are able to unplug and relax.  Then there’s the food;  BBQing chickenor steak for dinner, dogs for lunch, eggs and bacon for breakfast, cheese and crackers to nibble…

Oh right.  That was last year.  After committing to a plant-based lifestyle earlier this year I had to completely re-think my camping strategy.  Because I not only had to feed myself but had to feed the family, who are NOT plant-based, as well.

So I did what I do best.  Planned it out and cooked most of the food at home to be heated up at the campsite.  And I kept it very simple because camping when it’s over 100 degrees doesn’t lend itself to standing over the stove or bbq.

  • Ground turkey tacos for the family, crumbled tofu for me.  I made each the same way; taco seasoning, canned green chilis, crushed tomatoes, a few chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a kick.  That was one dinner, maybe a lunch.
  • A huge batch of brown rice for the tacos.
  • Refried beans that I made earlier in the week.
  • Chicken apple sausages for the family.  Vegan burgers for me.
  • Salad fixings.
  • Sandwich fixings.
  • Bread for sandwiches, taco shells for tacos.
  • Pasta noodles for Jack.
  • Soba noodles with spicy peanut sauce for Brad and myself.  This would go over a salad.  Enough for dinner and lunch.
  • Cereal for me and the family, eggs for Brad.
  • I also grilled up 2 large pans of mushrooms, onions, peppers and sliced zucchini.  I thought this would be great on sliced baguettes for either lunch or dinner with avocado.
  • Chips, crackers, hummus, salsa, guacamole, nuts, raisins, etc.

So how did it go?  We all know that planning and the application can be two very different things.

We did have to do some food re-org for Jack so after at trip into town to the market we were set.  And we had one dinner disaster on the second night.  I made beans and rice and corn but it was hot outside and I just threw it all together in a pot so it looked and tasted like what I imagine prison food would be.

But other than that, all was good in the camping hood.

So what about the meat?  The bbq?  The lovely and delicious smells wafting from my friend’s campsites?  It smelled divine, let me tell you.

But what I’ve found at 118 days into this, is that even if something smells good, like a steak from over at Dave’s campsite,  I don’t have a desire to eat it. I have other very tasty options that make me feel good and that I really enjoy.  (Except for that crappy mush that I made the second night.  Bleh.)

So overall I consider my camping trip a success.  I mean, thank goodness that Lagunitas IPA is made from plants or else this would be a different post altogether.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

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Cook More to Lose Weight

It shouldn’t surprise you that to control your weight you have to control how much you put into your pie hole. (Sorry, I just never get to say ‘pie hole’ nearly enough.)

The best fix for this is to eat in more often.  (Studies have shown that eating out often increases your waistline).  So, that means cooking. And before you shut your browser and order in a pizza, hear me out.

Contrary to what you may think – it’s not that complicated to make healthy, tasty meals for yourself and family in no time.  With a little help from the professionals, that is.

Cooking Light Magazine is one of my go-to’s for quick, healthy and most importantly, tasty meals.

From soups and stews, meatless Mondays, succulent BBQ, ethnic fare or sandwiches and salads – they have it all.

Recipes are clear and easy to follow. For those not comfortable with cooking or who need dinner on the table ASAP – there are great “5 ingredient or less” selections.

My new favorite feature is “Cooking Class“. There is a delicious recipe accompanied by a chart identifying each ingredient and it’s purpose in the recipe. For self-taught, trial-by-fire home cooks like myself, knowing why certain ingredients are added to a recipe is a valuable tool.

Here is one of their recent recipes that I’m going to make this week!

Grilled Corn, Crab, and Asparagus Salad

corn-crab-asparagus-salad-ck-l
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat

Preparation
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. Place corn on grill rack; grill 20 minutes or until here-and-there charred, turning occasionally. Place in a large bowl; cover with foil. Leave in a warm location 10 minutes.
3. Place asparagus on grill rack, and grill 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, carefully turning occasionally.
4. Cut corn kernels off cobs, encouraging clusters to stay intact, if possible. Cut grilled asparagus into 3/4-inch pieces.
5. Combine onion, jalapeño, chives, cream, tarragon, vinegar, black pepper, salt, and garlic in a large bowl. Add asparagus and corn; toss gently to coat. Gently fold in crabmeat. Serve warm.

So check out Cooking Light online or I’m happy to loan out one of my copies! You will not be disappointed!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Chopped!

It feels like I’ve been living in the kitchen this past week!  I have made a commitment to eat more fruits and veggies and cut out some of the processed stuff that had been making its way into the house and into my mouth.  In order to be successful at this I realize I need to get organized, eat out less and get my tushie back in the kitchen to make some good-for-you foods!

Step 1 – Plan

So in order to make these great healthy meals I need to figure out what to make and what to buy.  I’m a big fan of large pots and bowls of stuff.  Soups, stews, casseroles, salads and roasted chickens are great ways to stretch your food $$ and provide meals that can be eaten multiple times during the week.

Once I made my shopping list, I was ready to go.

Step 2 – Shop

My grocery basket was brimming with fruits, veggies, cans of beans, tomato sauces and pastes, lean cuts of poultry, meats as well as salsas, Greek yogurt (plain for cooking and vanilla for breakfast and snacks), almond milk and frozen berries of all kinds for smoothies.

Some treats for the kids and husband made the cut and I also threw in some really good dark chocolate for me because honestly, you gotta live!

Step 3 – Chop

Sadly, food doesn’t cook itself so I had to get chopping.  I made some soup, making my own broth with chicken breasts, thighs, legs and wings for some delicious deep flavor that a soup made with packaged broth just can’t match.  I also made a huge pot of chili with lots of kidney beans and extra lean ground turkey.  These foods are hearty and you can sneak in a lot of healthy stuff without freaking out your family.

Then I worked on chopping veggies for salads and snacks.  I love red and orange bell peppers and carrot sticks so I chopped up a bunch of those for a quick snack with hummus or on their own.  I made a ginormous salad with almost everything in my crisper.  I also tossed in a can of drained garbanzo beans and artichoke hearts (canned in water).  These items provide fiber and it feels like you are eating something substantial instead of a bowl of grass.

Note:  These days we can buy pre-chopped, pre-shredded and prepared veggie mixes at any supermarket so even if you’re a butter-fingers in the slicing and dicing department, you can still get your 5-9 servings of veggies.

Step 4 – Cook

Surprisingly, once you have the right ingredients and have things planned out, cooking is the easy part.  Make a few big pots of soup or stew on a Sunday or use the crockpot and you can have a homemade meal without much sweat.

My husband was a little weirded out with all the food in the fridge.  He was afraid it would all go to waste but I assured him that when we got down to a bowl or two of something (like from the cauldron of chili I made), I would put it in the freezer for a lunch to be determined later!

So wish me luck as I continue my quest in the kitchen.  I’m hoping that once I get in the swing of things my prep time will shorten, my cooking speed will increase and my family will reap the benefits!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Tip of the Week!

 

The easiest way to stay on track with healthy eating is to get into the kitchen and prepare your own meals.   Only then can you control the amount of added sodium, fat and sugar.

One of my favorite resources for healthy cooking is Cooking Light Magazine.  It’s chock full of meal plans, healthy cooking tips and tasty recipes.  Whether you need a 5 ingredient dish or are more adventurous you can find what you need.

I also like the Eat-Clean series by Tosca Reno.  It’s based on the whole foods concept of eating, fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein and complex carbs combined to create filling and very healthy meals.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂