Two-Week Vegan Challenge {Day I}

See yeterday’s introduction to the Vegan Challenge

Tuesday

Breakfast – 10:00 am

Oatmeal with fresh bananas and a glass of OJ. When I finished eating, I felt very satisfied. Yum. Who knew veganism includes foods I already love to eat.

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Lunch – 2:00 PM

Kneaders Veggie Avocado Sandwich (no cheese or mayo/sauce), unsweetened applesauce, and a handful of almonds.

I have a lot of fresh avocados at the house, so I was going to make an avocado/tomato sandwich similar to the ones I survived off of when I lived in California. I was looking at the ingredients in the only bread I have–lo and behold, it was sweetened with honey! I packed myself an avocado anyway, as well as a cup of unsweetened applesauce and a serving of plain almonds. I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to hold me over all day, so I decided to see what vegan options I could get at fast food places.

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Kneaders, which is a bakery and cafe that runs along what I call the Mormon Belt (Idaho, Utah, and Arizona), has a veggie sandwich that I thought I’d try out. It was just under $5 for a 1/2 sandwich. I have to admit, I thought it looked underwhelming and like it was going to be incredibly unsatisfying, especially since I couldn’t get it with cheese or their “Kneaders Sauce,” which she was nice enough to inform me contains mayo.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was filling and delicious! The whole lunch was super nutritious and I didn’t feel it lacked anything.

Dinner – 7:30 pm

At around 4 pm, I felt like I had no energy and was exhausted. At 7, when I left work, I was completely worn out. I definitely don’t usually get this way. There are a few different possible reasons, but I made sure to get a big dose of protein for dinner just in case. I didn’t get home until really late, so I decided to forego a big dinner. Instead, I made a bean burrito with rice. I don’t know if it was because my body was craving protein or what, but it tasted better than the average bean burrito.

It was around this time I realized I can’t eat chocolate…or take my usual vitamins! I went to take my women’s health vitamin this morning, but there were way too many animal byproducts (gummy vitamins), so I had to settle with a calcium/magnesium/zinc vitamin pill instead.

daily nutrition report

I’m keeping track of the food I eat. It’s on a very helpful website that tells me how good for me each food item is.

I’ve used this site before, and a normal day for me has an average B+ rating, with a calorie distribution of:

  • 32.7% fat
  • 14.8 % protein
  • 50.7% carbs, and
  • 1.8% other (like vitamins).

Based on generic USDA values, I generally have too little fiber (15g out of 25g), calcium (.56g / 1g), potassium (1.4g / 4.7g), and iron (9.8g / 18g).

Today’s report gives an A rating for the day, with a calorie distribution of:

  • 27.2% fat
  • 9.9% protein
  • 61.7% carbs, and
  • 1.3% other.

Based on the USDA values, I didn’t get enough Vitamin A, potassium (1.9g / 4.7g), or iron (11g / 18g).

Conclusion

I didn’t have time for the gym tonight, but I feel too tired to go anyway. It’s only 8pm, so I’m not sure if that’s the diet talking or other factors; however, I did get “in the green” with all my nutrients for the USDA recommended values. That’s a success. Tomorrow, I’m going to pack higher protein snacks to eat between meals, because when I got hungry, all I could think about were some nice, juicy chicken nuggets.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

After I bought the ingredients for the quiche I made last week, I had a bunch of ingredients left over–and I’m like HEY, what else can I make with all this spinach and cubed ham? Welcome to my take on Stuffed Peppers:

(Makes 4 stuffed peppers)

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers – any color.
  • 3/4 cup cubed ham
  • 1 (8 oz) can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack or mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice the tops off your peppers and set aside. Remove the cores of pepper body.
  3. Place your peppers upright in a bread pan.
  4. Pour the can of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pop out the middles of your pepper tops and discard. Dice remaining pepper rings, and onions.
  6. Put the diced peppers, onions and ham in a pan with the olive oil and sauté until slightly brown.
  7. Fold in spices.
  8. Place the entire mixture a medium bowl. Add stewed tomatoes. Stir well.
  9. Fill your peppers with the meat mixture and cover with cheese.
  10. Cover with a lid. If you don’t have one, cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  11. Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350 degrees F.

yellow and red peppers pre-cooked stuffed peppers cooked stuffed peppers

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Hawaiian Chicken with Rice

Hawaiian Chicken with Rice

This recipe was really easy. Sorry the photo looks so saturated. The purpley/blue is just a reflection from the window. Those parts are actually just black. Didn’t feel like fixing it! But back to the recipe: it’s really easy. ALSO, for like once ever, I made it myself without a recipe to start off of from Pinterest! *takes a bow*

Ingredients:

  • some chicken
  • soy sauce (should be 1:1 ratio to water)
  • water
  • garlic powder
  • brown sugar
  • diced onion
  • pineapple wedges
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil
  • rice

That’s what I used.

Most detailed recipe ever.

I didn’t really measure anything out, especially since I was just making one portion. Then, I just let the chicken marinate in the soy sauce & water, garlic powder, brown sugar and onions for a bit, then dumped it all in a frying pan on low for about 10 minutes on each side. In a bigger pan, I took the leftover white rice from Chinese takeout yesterday and warmed it up/fried it with about a half-teaspoon of coconut oil. I added some of the marinade mixture from the pan with the chicken, but not a lot. Then I sprinkled in some sesame seeds. After the marinade reduced a little and the chicken was almost done, I added the pineapple wedges, continued to cook on low for the remainder of the time, then turned up the heat and seared both sides of the chicken. I took all the chicken and rice off the heat, then let the soy-sauce marinade cook a little more ’til it was pretty much caramelized, then drizzled it on top of the chicken. Et voila!

P.S., it was SOOO yummy. Mmm mmm mmm.

So many words. Thanks for reading if you did! Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!

Quinoa Fried Rice

I found this idea from here, but she didn’t really list a recipe. It’s just the order in which she added the ingredients. The following is my adaptation! Everyone loved it and ate it right up. I’m sad I didn’t get more. I will definitely be making this again. Also, this was my first time having Quinoa. It’s pretty good! I’m not sure if it was just the way I cooked it, but I love the nutty/toasty flavor it has!

1 cup Quinoa
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced or shredded carrots
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 eggs, cooked omelet style and diced
  1. First things first, prepare the Quinoa according to package instructions in a pot. While the water is boiling, prepare the vegetables.
  2. When the Quinoa is prepared, move it to a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot on medium heat, cook the onions and garlic with the oil for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli, carrots, corn, peas and any other vegetables in intervals of how much they need heat. For example, if you use raw broccoli, but you microwaved some frozen peas, the broccoli will need more time since the peas would already be warm & cooked.
  5. Add the Quinoa, eggs, red pepper and soy sauce
  6. Stir it all together.
  7. Serve with chopsticks to look cooler (but also forks, because this stuff is tiny and near impossible to eat with just chopsticks).

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!

Cheddar Potato Soup (Vegetarian or Not)

Recipe works best in a slow-cooker.

3-4 fist-sized potatoes, washed and cubed. (I’d advise leaving the skin on)

2 diced celery stalks

1 cup shredded cheddar

1, 15-oz can of corn, undrained

1 diced onion (I used about 2/3rds of an onion)

1, 12-oz can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom for vegetarians, it tastes so good both ways)

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 cups of water

Shove it all in the crackpot. Put it on high for 8 hours.

It’s so easy.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you and be good!

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza

Hi! Meet my sister Amber! She’s a fantastic chef and we’re lucky enough that she’ll be posting recipes for us to salivate over every Friday!

I love food. Every now and then, I like going out to eat at nice places and trying new combinations that I would otherwise never do. Then, I like to go home and figure out how to make it. And so, one day I went to the California Pizza Kitchen with my husband, tried this pear and gorgonzola thing on their menu, and was instantly transported to flavor heaven. I decided I was going to recreate this, and here is the resulting recipe! (With a few changes that really helped enhance the flavor.)

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza” Ingredients

  • 1 pizza crust (uncooked)
  • 3-4 bosc pears
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large sweet onion (cut from top to base…think the opposite way from onion rings)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded
  • 1-8 oz. tub of Gorgonzola cheese (the crumbly kind)
  • 2 oz. chopped hazelnuts or walnuts optional (in my opinion, hazelnuts are better, but walnuts are definitely easier to find and a good substitute)
  • 1 bag of spring mix salad
  • ranch dressing

Step 1: Caramelize the onions. This takes the most time to finish, so you can get started on this and then get started on prepping other things while they finish. Heat the  2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Put in the sliced sweet onion with a dash of salt and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar (save the rest for the pears), 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and a dash of pepper. Reduce heat to a low-medium and cook gently, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally–the sugar and vinegar will reduce and give these onions a beautiful candy-like coating on the outside. Once finished, set aside to cool.

Step 2: Prep ingredients. While the onions are cooking, get a 10×14 baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the pizza dough on top, stretching to the corners. Using a basting brush, coat the whole top layer with about 2 tbsp olive oil and set aside. (If you haven’t already shredded your cheese, now is also a good time to do so.) Pre-heat your oven to 425’F.

Thinly slice the 3-4 bosc pears to about a 1/4 inch thick. Heat the 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat and layer the pears into it. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar and let them caramelize for about 4-5 minutes or until the pears are soft. Avoid over cooking and having them fall apart. Pull off the heat and set them aside to cool.

Crust, pear, onion, then cheese.

Step 3: The Assembly. This is probably the easiest step. All of your ingredients are done for the pizza and you just need to put them on the dough. So! Layer the pears on first, being sure to cover as much of the dough as you can, leaving about a 1/4 inch of dough on the outside. (In this trial run, I only had 2 pears–it definitely needs more!) Follow with the onions, making sure they’re evenly distributed among the whole pizza. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of fontina, 1 cup of mozzarella, and about 5-6oz. of the gorgonzola onto the pizza and top with the hazelnuts or walnuts. Then throw it in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden.

Step 4: Prepping the salad and Serving. While the pizza is in the oven, grab your bag of mixed greens, wash them, and pat them dry. In a large bowl, add a little ranch dressing–just enough to coat–and then toss until the dressing is evenly distributed. Once the pizza is out of the oven, cut into desired slice size and top with the greens and some gorgonzola (and some extra nuts if you’d like). The pizza easily serves 4 and can be used as a dinner main course or a fun little appetizer with smaller slices.

Enjoy!

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, or email me at amber@lacelollipops.com. Thank you!