Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weekly Cooking Ritual

All of November I did not eat any sugar, processed foods or alcohol, and then in December I ate whatever for my birthday and the holidays. I had an eye opening experience since I felt way better while eating healthy. Of course this should not be surprising, but the amount of difference I felt was.

Currently I am trying to get back into eating really healthy like I did in November, but it is not an easy task. Sugar seems to be in everything, convenience food often involves processed foods, and I like to get drinks with my friends. I have also become addicted to these unhealthy foods, just like most people have, even if they don’t want to admit it.

Now is a time to remind myself of the flavors and benefits of wholesome foods. It is easy to get in a rut and just rely on certain foods that you know are tasty, but may not be the healthiest option. Vegetables, whole grains, beans, tofu, etc. has so much potential to create amazing meals, but sometimes you have to be a little creative.

A friend of mine is also staying away from sugars and processed foods for the next few months, so we started to get together once a week and prepare food. Last night was our third week together and everything we have made so far has been excellent.

Week 1:

Spaghetti squash with Tofu Ricotta (new love for squash!)
French Beans & Berries Salad using kale instead of spinach and tomatoes

Week 2:

Miso Vegetable Soup
Tofu Maple-Walnut Bake (recipe coming soon)
Wild Rice
Steamed Kale with lemon juice & tahini

Week 3:

Quinoa Protein Bars
Vegetable Whole Wheat Cassoulet

The Quinoa Protein Bars are a great option for a quick breakfast or snack. Sometimes I do not have time to cook up my oats in the morning (which I fill with fresh fruit, chia seeds and nuts so I don’t miss the sugar). These bars are a great alternative!
Quinoa Protein Bars

2 cups Quick Cooked Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Quinoa Grain
1/4 cup Flaxseeds Meal
3/4 cup Hemp Protein Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Date Sugar
1/2 cup Oat Flour
1/4 cup Oil
2 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Water
2 cups Berries

Cook dry quinoa according to directions. While this is cooking, combine oats, flax, protein powder, baking soda, date sugar, flour, walnuts, seeds, coconut and sea salt in a large bowl.

Once quinoa is cooked, add to the pan the oil, vanilla and water. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together. More water may be needed. Add the berries and mix to combine.

Spread mixture into greased 9 x 13-inch pan, pressing down with hands to fit into pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Allow to cool and cut into pieces. Makes 15 bars.
* Add spices, apples, raisins, cranberries, other seeds and nuts to mix up flavors to make variety of different types of bars.


Cassidy Lee said...

These look good, Chels. Can't wait to see the tofu bake too. We're trying so hard to eat better, but the last week I've just looked at my meal list for the week and thought "boring! I don't want to even eat." We just eat the same things over and over again. Sure they taste good, but they're not new or different. Thanks for the inspiration!!

juniperbug said...

Yeah, I definitely need to start eating healthier. I eat way too much junk food. So, thanks for the inspiration!

Chelsea said...

All these advances in vegan food options are awesome, but it is easier and easier for people to eat horrible diets. Vegans are just as susceptible to addictions created by foods with high oil and sugar content, even if they are natural. I am hoping we can find a better balance and hopefully create some healthy vegan recipes which are just as exciting as the ones filled with processed foods.

Linda said...

Guilt-free food is really awesome, you feel so weightless and healthy! Once you've coped with bread and sugar cravings, healthy eating becomes easy and comes as natuaral as breathing. Thanks for sharing the recipes by the way, I will give them a try this weekend.