Comforting Vegan Vegetable Noodle Soup

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter came down with the flu. Given the fact this flu season has been so horrendous I was worried about both of them very much, and wanted to make some nourishing comforting food to help their bodies fight the flu and heal. I made this comforting vegetable soup using orzo and these vegetable bouillon cubes, and let me tell you the pasta and the bouillon make all of the difference. I had never used either ingredient when trying to make a comforting vegetable noodle soup, and the simple addition of these two ingredients take this soup to a whole new level. I mean this is restaurant worthy soup, I can’t even explain how delicious it is. And it takes very little time to prep, cook, and clean up after. This soup is great if your or your loved ones are sick, if it’s cold out, or if you just want some freaking delicious soup.

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Ingredients

5-6 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes

2 tbsp. avocado oil

8 cups of filtered water

1 container of Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta

1 leek

1 small yellow onion

1 bunch of rainbow chard

1 small bunch of cilantro

2-3 small carrots

3 cloves of garlic

1 small nub of turmeric

1 small nub of ginger

Salt

Pepper

Instructions

In a large soup pot heat the avocado oil over medium to medium low heat. In a food processor add the cubed onion, the white and light green part of the leek and the carrots and pulse until finely chopped. Add this to the heated oil and stir continuously for about 5 minutes. While the onion, carrot and leek are cooking add the garlic, turmeric, and ginger to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add these ingredients to the pot and cook for another 3-5 minutes stirring regularly. Once the ingredients seem cooked and smell fragrant add the water and bouillon cubes to the pot and break up the cubes with your spoon. As the water heats up the bouillon will dissolve. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes. While the soup is cooking rinse your rainbow chard and finely dice it. After the 30 minutes is over bring your soup back to a boil and add the orzo. Boil the orzo for 6 minutes and then add the rainbow chard and continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes. Finally, enjoy this soup topped with some fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. I honestly didn’t need to add any salt because the bouillon cube has so much flavor.

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What I Eat in a Day

Hello,

Let me start off this post by saying that I don’t ever count calories, track my food, or try to “hit” certain macro nutrients. These things aren’t healthy for my mental well-being. I, like many other people, have had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body in the past. Becoming a vegan really helped me with this, but I’ve also had to work on my perception of food. This is why I don’t label food “good” or “bad”. I eat mostly whole, plant-based food, but I have learned to listen to my body and to feed it what it is craving rather than what I think it should have. Your body knows. If you’re hungry eat, if you don’t want a salad don’t force yourself. Life is short and meant to be enjoyed.

Although I’ve been sharing weekly meal plans, I also wanted to share a typical what I eat in a day. I have been learning to listen to my body and eat what it wants, when it wants. Lately, that has meant a smoothie for breakfast to get in a huge dose of micro nutrients to fuel my brain. This one had tropeaka alkaline greenstropeaka lean protein in vanillatropeaka camu powder, fresh o.j., a handful of dino kale, a handful of spinach, and frozen mango’s and bananas.

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For a snack before lunch I had these delicious blueberries, they were so good I ended up eating the whole pint

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For lunch I had this mixture of wild rice and lentils, topped with sautéed red onion, mushrooms and spinach. I also added seared tofu, kraut, fresh spinach, some home-made chimichurri, and half an avocado.

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In the afternoon I had an orange and half of a couple of my cookie-dough protein bites

 cookie dough bites 2

Finally, for dinner I had a huge salad with mixed greens, romaine, red peppers, kraut, corn, and cashews. I used my favorite avocado dressing, which you can find in this week’s weekly meal plan.

Weekly Meal Plan Week 3

Hello Hello Hello!

 

** This week is very budget friendly, easy, and a little repetitive because I find it easier to make big batches of things and then not have to cook as much so I have time for things like school work, toddler bath time, and oh more school work

I’m sorry I missed last week’s meal plan, if there is actually anyone following them. I have been a little busy with work, school, and my family and sometimes you need to prioritize. And sometimes this means you have to let go of doing certain things to do your best in the other areas of your life. I’ve really been focusing on positivity this month, because I think it’s easy to get down, feel overwhelmed, and constantly compare yourself to others. As I try to live more intentionally, I let go of thoughts that don’t serve me. So instead of beating myself up about not getting to last week’s meal post for you, I’m focusing on pouring all of my love and positivity into this week’s meal plan. This week I’m also going to do something a little different. I’m going to provide snack options for you and encourage you to listen to your body and feed it when it’s hungry, and feed it what it’s craving when it’s hungry. Sometimes a snack of an apple is all my body needs, but other times my body needs or wants peanut butter toast and bananas. It’s important stop focusing on calories and start focusing on listening to your body, and not associating food with shame, or labeling it was “bad” or “good”. Lately, in the morning I’ve been having smoothies, as I’m trying to maximize my nutrient intake right now to feed my brain. Someone at work commented, and told me they also love a green smoothie because they are on a diet. This same person told me how they struggled with gaining and losing the same 30 pounds, and my suggestion as it always is, is to stop dieting and start listening to your body. Eat foods because they fuel your body, your brain, and your spirit. Ok, enough with this hippie shiz onto the eats…

Grocery List:

2 Heads Romaine lettuce

Big container of mixed greens

Big container of baby spinach

Pack of pink lady apples

2 pints of raspberries

4 mangos

10 naval oranges

4 Sweet potatoes (or you could buy frozen sweet potato fries)

2 bunches of basil

1 red onion

1 yellow onion

2 tomatoes

1 big pack of frozen mango

4 red bell peppers

2 cucumbers

Brocollini (or whatever veg you want for burger night)

Lentils

Brown Rice

Quinoa

2 cans chickpeas

Package of Beyond Burger, or your favorite veg burger

Frozen organic corn

Pack of buns if that’s how you like to eat your burger

6 large Hass Avocados

Dave’s Killer Bagels

Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese

Farm Culture Kraut

Cashews

Pine Nuts

Tofu (2 packs)

Nutritional yeast

2 heads of Garlic

Turmeric

2 Boxes Bananza chickpea pasta

Rice Cakes

Nut Butter

Nut Milk

pasta pesto

Sunday:

Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie

Lunch: Salad topped with my favorite avocado dressing and roasted chickpeas

Dinner: Beyond Meat Burgers topped with my garlic aioli, sweet potato fries, and some brocollini

 

Monday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything Bagel, almond milk cream cheese, and kraut

Lunch: Big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: Golden Lentil Soup with Baguette

cookie dough bites 2

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie

Lunch: Big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: Pesto Pasta with side salad

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything Bagel, almond milk cream cheese, and kraut

Lunch: Leftover Lentil Soup

Dinner: Change it up, why not try a big bowl of oats slathered in nut butter, granola, and topped with a banana? Or you might want a big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

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Thursday:

Breakfast: Lean Green Smoothie

Lunch: A big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: leftover pesto pasta

 

Friday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything bagel with almond milk cream cheese and kraut

Lunch: Chipotle bowl with brown rice, sofritas, salsa, and guac

Dinner: Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chickpeas

 

Snack options:

These delicious cookie dough bites

Rice cake, nut butter, and banana

Fruit of choice

Veggies and hummus

 

garlic aioli

Recipes:

Tropical Smoothie-

1-2 cups frozen mango, ½ bananas, 1 cup fresh oj, 1 tsp camu powder, 2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder (I use tropaeka), 1 tbsp. alkaline greens (tropaeka)

As a side note, I’m adding these powders to my smoothie because I’m increasing my antioxidants and overall nutrition to feed my brain during this time, but you don’t need them.

 

My Favorite Avocado Dressing:

Smash one avocado with 2 tbsp. maple syrup and 1 tbsp. Dijon. Sprinkle with salt and use half of mixture on top of salad. This is best made fresh.

 

Turmeric Quinoa

Rinse and drain 1 cup of quinoa. In a pot, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of the rinsed quinoa, and 1 tbsp. turmeric powder. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit for five minutes and then fluff with a fork. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for 5 days.

Vegan Meal Plan Week 1

Hello! As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and mom are going vegan for the month of January. That means a lot of planning and prepping for me. I have decided to share my weekly meal plans, and grocery list here to encourage or inspire others to try out the recipes and meal plans. Please leave me comments if you do.

 

Grocery List ($186 at my local Sprouts)

Zucchini noodles

Nutritional Yeast

Cashews

Walnuts

Gluten free rolled oats (or oat flour for bean balls)

Carrots ( 1 Bunch)

Parsley

Basil

Sun dried tomato

Garlic (1 Bulb)

Kidney beans (2 cans)

Garbanzo beans (5 cans)

Navy Beans (1 can)

Mushrooms (1 8ox pack)

Veggie Broth (1 Box)

Jalepeno (1)

Diced tomatoes with juices (2 Cans)

Tomato paste

Ground flax

Quality Cold-Pressed Olive oil

Avocado Oil

Sweet onions (2)

Red onions (2)

Marinara sauce ( I got Organic Sprouts brand)

Cilantro (1 bunch)

Limes (3)

Fruit

Nut butter

Rice cakes

Baking Potato or Sweet Potato (5)

Organic Spinach

Organic Romaine

red peppers (4)

cucumbers (2)

Beyond Meat Beefless crumble

Organic Frozen Corn (2 bags)

Tortillas Chips ( I got Late of July)

Salsa

(10)  avocados

Hot sauce

Tofu (2 packs)

Dave’s Killer Everything Bagels (2)

Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese (2)

Nut Milk of choice

Vegan Cheese of choice

Brown Rice

Lentils

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Menu:

Tuesday:

Breakfast- Tofu Scramble with toast

Snack 1: Sliced apples with nut butter

Lunch: Salad with choice of toppings and dressings

Snack 2: sliced veggies with homemade hummus

For the hummus: 1 can of rinsed and drained chick peas, add to food processor and add ¼ tsp salt, ¼ cup olive oil, and 3 cloves of garlic. Process until smooth

Dinner: Loaded Chili Baked Potatoes

 

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Bagel with Kite Hill Cream cheese and Kraut

Snack 1: fruit of choice

Lunch: Salad with choice of toppings and dressings

Snack 2: sliced veggies with hummus

Dinner: Slow cooker orange chick peas with brown rice, edamame, rep peppers, and broccoli

Thursday:

Breakfast: Lean Green Protein Smoothie

Snack 1: rice cake with peanut butter and banana

Lunch: salad or choice of leftovers

Snack 2: cherries

Dinner: Taco Salad

Friday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything Bagel with Kite Hill Cream Cheese and Kraut

Snack 1: fruit of choice

Lunch: Avocado Toast with sautéed spinach or salad

Snack 2: veggies and hummus

Dinner: Bean Balls with red sauce over zoodles

Saturday:

Breakfast: Smoothie of choice

Snack 1: rice cake with nut butter and banana

Lunch: Taco Salad

Snack 2: fruit of choice

Dinner: Eat out

 

Recipes:

 

Tofu Scramble:

For Tofu Scramble heat skillet over medium heat, add crumbled tofu and season with salt ¼ tsp, pepper ¼ tsp,  ½ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp turmeric. Add spinach if desired and serve with toasted bagel.

Chili

 

For the chili, in a large pot add 2 tbs avocado oil and sauté onions until tender (5 min), add 2 diced carrots, 1 diced red pepper, 1 8oz pack of mushrooms dices, 4 diced garlic cloves, and 1 diced jalapeño and sauté for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add ¼ tsp cayenne, ½  tsp salt, 2 tbs chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, and 4 tbs tomato paste. Next, add ¼ cup of lentils and stir to combine. Next, add 1 can of Navy beans and 2 cans of kidney beans that have been drained and rinse. Finally, add 1 ½ cup to 2 cup veggie broth and 1 tbs. balsamic. Let everything cook together over low heat for about an hour. Serve over a baked potato and top with your favorite non-dairy cheese, salsa, and smashed avocado.

 

Hummus:

 

Add 1 can rinsed and drained chick peas, ¼ olive oil, and 3 garlic cloves to a food processor and process until smooth.

 

Salad Toppings:

 

Chickpeas- Recipe Here

 

Tofu – Drain one pack of firm tofu. In a bowl combine ¼ cup Tamari and 3 tbs maple syrup. Cut the tofu in cubes and marinade in mixture for 30 minutes. Bake at 430 °F for 20 minutes.

 

Salad dressing:

 

Smash one avocado with 2 tbs maple syrup and 1 tbs Dijon. Sprinkle with salt and use half od mixture on top of salad. This is best made fresh

 

Maple Balsamic Dressing:

 

Add ¼ cup balsamic, ¼ cup water, and ¼ cup olive oil in a blender. Next add 2 tbs maple syrup, ¼ tsp salt, 3 cloves of garlic and process.

 

Bean Balls- Recipe here

 

Kung Pao Chickpeas- Recipe here

Ginger Molasses Cookies (Vegan)

Did you know that black strap molasses is packed with iron? As I have mentioned previously, both my daughter and I have had low iron in the past, in face anemia runs in my family. When the doctor told me Sloan had low iron I started to research iron-rich foods that I could incorporate into our daily meals in order to naturally boost her iron levels. Here you can find my recipe for the green juice I use to help Sloan get her iron.

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I also use black strap molasses in baking, oatmeal, and smoothies in order to make sure Sloan is getting plenty of iron. These ginger molasses cookies are a great way to get a dose of iron in her dessert. Also, I like to use coconut sugar when I’m baking because it has a lower glycemic index, so it won’t spike your sugar levels, but you could use a different sugar if you’d like.

 

Ingredients

 

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup Oat Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

2 tsp. Ginger

1 tsp. Cinnamon

¼ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Cloves

¼ cup Melted Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter

1 cup Coconut Sugar plus a quarter cup to roll the cookies in

4 tbs. Black Strap Molasses

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Tbs. Nut milk of your choice

 

Directions

 

Preheat your oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl combine all of your ingredients. I usually start with wet and then add the dry. I needed this mixture my hand until is formed a solid dough, but you could also used a handheld mixer. Once the dough is combined roll out small balls, and then roll these balls in the coconut sugar. Place them on the baking sheet and press down slightly to make a flatter cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.

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January Challenge

I know, I know it seems cliché the whole “new year, new you” thing and honestly I don’t really believe in that. I do believe in setting intentions for your year, and reflecting on what you’ve learned over the past year. A lot of New Year’s resolutions include ‘becoming fit or healthy”, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, my goal is to focus on happiness. Happiness can include becoming healthier or becoming more fit, but it takes away the emphasis on appearance, and for me that’s important. In 2017 I became a vegan, and this was such an important decision for me. I was already “plant-based” because I believe food can heal your body and you find the most nutrients in your veggies; however, becoming vegan had to do with me accepting the reality of farmed-animals and deciding that I didn’t think it was right. Prior to this I was a vegetarian, and prior to that a meat eater, and I always thought “I can’t give up my steak” or “I can’t give up my cheese”, until I saw the actual price of those things. Once I accepted the reality of cheese, meat, eggs, and all animal bi-products I decided that I wouldn’t participate in that. You vote with your dollar, and so I have been voting vegan. I was also so touched and moved by the reality of farmed animals, that I wanted to do my part through my actions. For me that meant starting this blog, sharing recipes, and having conversations with people about why I’m a vegan, and why I think they should be one too.

I have met resistance, and at times my family and friends have told me “Heather, don’t become one of those annoying vegans”, and I get it because I have also felt that way. Until I was ready to accept how farmed animals are treated, beaten, neglected, torn apart, and brutally murdered against their will, I would have none of it either. But I go on, I keep on showing the videos, and having the discussions, and finally this had paid off.

For the month of January my mom and my husband have agreed to give up all animal bi-product and eat only what I make them. This makes me so happy, but it also means I will be doing a lot more cooking. If I haven’t shared on here, like many of you I am very busy. I work full-time, I have a very active three-year-old, a husband, and I’m in the last year of my Master’s degree. Needless to say this endeavor will take A LOT of time and A LOT of planning. So I have decided to share my weekly meal plan with all of you, take you through the prep with me, and share my grocery list and the cost of feeding four vegans full-time. I will post my first weekly-meal plan on Sunday Dec 31st, and I hope it inspires some of you to join.

 

grocery shop

What my Picky Vegan Toddler Eats

 

 

Vegan Food for Picky Toddlers

This post is about what I feed my toddler on a typical day. Like many toddlers, she is a very picky eater and makes an audible disgusted sound when I present a salad to her. When I decided to become a vegan I knew I wanted to transition Sloan to a vegan diet as well, but also to let her make this decision for herself. I started to look for foods that were similar to what she ate before, hoping to make the transition as seamless as possible. Honestly, if my toddler eats at all I feel like a winner, and there are days where she is a great eater. But there are also days where I can’t get her to eat a thing. Hopefully this post will help any parent who has transitioned to veganism after they have already had a child.

In an Instagram post I made yesterday I explained that a year ago our pediatrician told us our toddler was iron deficient. Anemia runs in my family, so I was not surprised; however, at this time Sloan was a meat eater as was I. Instead of starting her on supplements I gave her this green juice below. This juice contains spinach and alkaline greens that I purchase from tropeka. I also put orange juice and a banana in it, to up the vitamin C and help her body absorb the iron. I am happy to say that by giving her this juice and trying to increase her lentil intake has corrected her iron deficiency.

Breakfast:

Green Juice and Oatmeal

Sloan usually starts her day with a green juice, and her favorite “oaties”.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup oats ( I use Love Grown Super Oats)
  • ½ cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter
  • 2 tbs maple syrup

Bring the almond milk to a boil, and add the oats stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Once the oats are cooked, add them to a bowl and top with strawberries peanut butter, and maple syrup.

 

Green Juice

 

  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tsp Tropeka Alkaline Greens
  • ½ a frozen banana
  • 1 cup fresh OJ, or store bought

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth, I mean that spinach can’t be noticeable or your toddler may throw their cup across the room.

green juice

oaties

Lunch

Peanut Butter and Jelly toast and an apple

  • 2 slices of Dave’s Killer Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 2 tbs jelly (just make sure the brand is vegan)
  • 1 apple

Toast the bread, and while the bread is toasting chop the apple up. Once the bread is toasted spread peanut butter on one side, and jelly on the other and hope that your toddler doesn’t flip the plate because “today they don’t like pb&j”.

pb&J

Dinner

Chicken Nugs and Corn

  • 3 Gardein Chicken Tenders
  • ½ cup frozen organic corn
  • 1 tbs BBQ Sauce

Follow the instructions on the back of the Gardein bag for the chicken tenders. I cook mine in the oven to give them a crispy outside. Microwave the frozen corn for about a minute. Put both on your child’s favorite plate with some BBQ sauce (make sure it’s vegan).

Chicken Nugs