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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A Simple Swap

Our family loves Mexican food so Taco Tuesday happens a few times a week.  But with this whole plant-based thing I’ve got going on I had to find an end-around to the typical ground turkey or beef or grilled chicken.

Say “Hey” to my little friend the garbanzo bean. (Insert fancy music).

Garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) are a legume and are very versatile.  They can be mushed, mashed, smashed, chopped and roasted, adding texture and a nice flavor to any dish.  Plus they pack a lot of oomph.  A half cup serving will get you 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, magnesium, iron, folate and a serving clocks in at only 120 calories.

The sodium content in regular canned beans can be high but you have options.  Rinse regular beans well before using, buy no-salt added beans or set a pot of water to boil and cook your own from dried.  The latter being my favorite method because the beans stay firmer.  More firm.  But for quick and easy, canned works.

So what to do next?  How do you make garbanzos work in a taco? Well, like this.

  • Garbanzo beans (1 can or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • Cumin, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and Pepper
  • olive oil – 2 tsp
  1. In a heated skillet or cast iron pan add the olive oil
  2. Add the onion and garlic, saute for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add garbanzo beans, saute for a few minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, transfer garbanzo bean mixture to a bowl.
  5. Take potato masher and, well mash them.  If you don’t have a potato masher use a fork.  You want to break them up so they are crumbly in texture.  Don’t worry about the papery outer part of the garbanzo beans.  If you want to remove them do so as you mash, otherwise they are fine to stay in the mix.
  6. Note:  Mash, don’t mush.  You DO NOT want a paste.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Put your skillet or cast iron pan back on a  medium heat.  Add the tomatoes, chiles and spices to your liking.
  9. Add the garbanzo mixture back to the pan.  Feel free to add some water if your mixture seems too thick. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and you’re good to go.

(You can also really amp up the flavor by adding a diced jalepeno pepper (where on earth is my tilde when I need it?) or a few chopped chiles in adobo sauce.  In a pinch you can even skip the spices and use a packaged Taco seasoning mix.)

Once the mixture is to your liking use it as a filling for tacos with brown rice, chopped cabbage,  green onions, radishes and avocado.  Wrap it up in a burrito or use it in a bowl.  Whatever works.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂