Thursday, January 14, 2021

Cookbook Review: The Batch Cook E-Book

I love to cook, and if I was retired and had all the time in the world, I'd cook fresh meals every day. But I have a day job, a lot of time-consuming hobbies (like running and yoga), and a very early bedtime (9 pm). So I prefer to only spend one or two nights a week cooking a big meal, and the rest are takeout nights, leftover nights, or — my favorite — quick batch-cooked meals. If I make a big pot of beans or chili or something on the weekend, I can use it in all kinds of ways throughout the week. 

For this reason, I've been loving the Plant-Based Juniors' Batch Cook E-Book. It provides eight recipes that you can make in bulk (like chili, eggplant meatballs, or green lentil falafels, to name a few), and then they include two to three additional recipes that you can use with those ingredients. So you make a batch of, say, their basic black beans, and you've got three ways to mix it up throughout the week (fajita bowls, black bean soup, and black bean sliders).

Last week, I made a big pot of the PBJ Chili (PBJ just stands for Plant-Based Juniors, not peanut butter and jelly!). On the first night, I enjoyed it by itself, topped with some Miyoko cheddar and served with homemade cornbread. The chili is bean-based with lots of diced sweet potatoes. 

The next night, I had Chili Cheese Sweet Potato Fries. For this, you also make their cashew-based Basic Cheese Sauce. This was a mega-sweet potato meal since the chili also has sweet potatoes, but you can't eat too many sweet taters if you ask me.

The following night, I made Chili Mac & Cheese with red lentil pasta, their basic cheese sauce, and the PBJ chili. All you had to do was stir everything together!

I love eating like this, and I can't wait to try more batch ideas from this book! If you're looking for ways to save time in the kitchen (and who isn't?), check it out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Glorious Bowls, Breads, & Burgers

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm trying to cook only from the e-cookbooks I got in the No Meat Athlete Health & Fitness Bundle. My favorite of those is the Hooked on Plants e-book by Julia Murray. I've made a number of dishes from it, and my new obsession is this Glory Bowl. It's basically a grain/green/bean bowl with a fantastic miso tahini nooch sauce. Tonight, I followed the recipe and used lentils, brown rice, roasted sweet potato, zucchini noodles, beet noodles, spinach, and avocado.

I also made this last week and used quinoa, blackeyed peas, roasted sweet potato, zucchini noodles, carrots, spinach, and sprouts. 

LuLu's had to move out of their space in Puck Food Hall because the building closed, but they're still at the Cooper Young Farmers Market, so we stopped by on Saturday morning. And I got this awesome Cashew Cheese & Caramelized Onion Focaccia to enjoy after my 17-mile run. 

And I grabbed a Caramelized Onion Chocolate Bun to eat before Sunday's 5-miler. It sounds weird, but it was so good. They use a very high-end, super-dark, fair-trade chocolate that isn't sweet, and there was no sugar in the bun, so the chocolate just brought out the flavors of the sweet onion. Trust me!

Last week, for Takeout Thursday, I ordered Farm Burger delivery. They deliver for FREE, and they have two vegan options for burgers — either a homemade quinoa veggie patty or Beyond Burger. I usually go with the handmade patty because it's whole food-based, but I wanted a treat on Thursday, so I went Beyond. And it was the best Beyond Burger I've had in a long while. They don't have vegan cheese, but I added some vegan gouda once it was delivered.

On the side, I opted for the new Vegan Collard Greens rather than my usual sweet potato fries, and I did not regret it. Best collards I've had outside of my Granny's greens. They're slow-cooked with onions with some smoky flavor and sweetness. Still dreaming of them. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bagel Sandwich, Drunken Noodz, & Salads

Back around Black Friday, I purchased the No Meat Athlete Health & Fitness Bundle, which had lots of e-cookbooks, fitness programs, and even life coaching programs. I've been exploring all of the content over the past few weeks, including the cookbooks. I've decided that, for January, I'm only cooking from the e-books in that bundle. One that I've been loving is My Best Vegan Comfort Food Recipes by Food by Maria. Here's a Breakfast Bagel Sandwich I've enjoyed from that book several days last week and today. 

It has vegan cream cheese (Violife), vegan smoked gouda (365 Brand), seitan bacon (from BE-Hive), avocado, spinach, tomato, and onion chutney all on a locally made Dave's Whole Wheat Bagel. It's super-packed sando that's kept me full straight through lunch.

Another recipe I've made from the book are Thai Drunken Noodles. I made this with brown rice noodles and a yummy sauce that combines soy sauce with vegan fish sauce and sriracha, plus bell pepper, shallot, and carrots. It didn't call for tofu, but I added lots.

I'm still doing protein oats for breakfast on weekdays when I run (Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). I try to mix it up with fun toppings. On a bowl last week, I added some Coconut Collaborative coconut and passionfruit/mango yogurt, and it was soooo good. It was my first time trying this brand, and I love it. It's very much like solid canned coconut milk.

And it is January, after all! I'm not doing a cleanse or reset this year, but I am attempting to really nail my 80/20 Plants goals (that's 80% whole foods and 20% indulgent). A great way to do that is with salads topped with plant meat. Here's a recent Gardein Burger Salad with chopped burger, nooch, walnuts, tomato, pickled beets, and pickles. Tasted like a burger!

And here's a Vegan Chicken Kale Salad with Gardein chicken strips, dried cranberries, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and kale. This was really yummy!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Some Stuff I Ate in Nashville

On the day after Christmas, I drove to Nashville to meet up with Paul and his family and exchange gifts. As you probably saw on the news, there was a suicide bombing in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day, which damaged the AT&T building and left much of the city without internet or phone service. Paul and I both have AT&T, as does his family and the hotel we stayed in. And so does almost every vegan restaurant in Nashville. On the drive there, I tried calling them all to place an order for pick-up and was only able to get through to The BE-Hive. They have Comcast! I love The BE-Hive, so I was happy about that!

I got the Hot Italian Sandwich, which has their house-made seitan bacon and deli slices, plus house-made coconut mozz, tomato, and greens. Super good!

I got some Broccoli Tahini Salad on the side. I figured I needed something green. I also got a package of the BE-Hive's seitan bacon to take home.

The next day, internet was still out for most of the day, so we assumed our usual brunch takeout from Graze was not an option. Instead, we stayed close to the hotel in Gallatin for lunch and dinner. There was a Burger King right next to the hotel, so I had an Impossible Burger for lunch, after our 6-mile run on the Hendersonville Greenway.

There was also a Thai place called Thai Phooket next to the hotel, and we'd eaten there once before. Paul and I both adore Thai food, so we each got orders of Pad See Ew with tofu to go. And we split some tofu spring rolls. This pad see ew was perfect because they added lots of spice (look at all those red pepper flakes!). I ordered mine without egg, and they told me they don't use fish sauce in this dish. YAY!

When I got home from my trip, I made a yummy BLT with BE-Hive seitan bacon and some local lettuce and tomato from my CSA. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Steakhouse Burger, Veggie Curry, & More!

I'm not doing a reset or cleanse this year, as I have in January's past. But I am trying to stick with my 80% whole foods/20% indulgent guidelines. That said, I wanted my last meal of 2020 to be kind of insane, so I ordered the Steakhouse Burger with Vegan Mac & Cheese from Imagine Vegan Cafe. This has two burger patties topped with fried onion petals, veggie bacon, and BBQ sauce. I actually took one patty out and saved it for later because I didn't want to be stuffed.

Here's a very whole food, plant-based meal that I had a few days before Christmas. It's the Simple Veggie Curry from Hooked on Plants. No protein source, just potatoes, peppers, broccoli, peas, and carrots cooked with a green curry sauce. Super tasty!

Here's a tasty Roasted Potatoes & Chickpea Bowl that I whipped up with some stuff I had on-hand. The potatoes are air-fried and topped with steamed kale and chickpeas, avocado, and a quick noochy tahini sauce.

And finally, here's a really tasty bowl of Beyond Burger Chili that my friend Nicole made. Paul and I went to she and my friend Vaughan's house and sat across a very long table (more than six feet) for a nice dinner with them last weekend. Nicole made the BEST vegan chili! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Vegan Omelets, Corn Dogs, & Tacos!

I've been cooking a lot out of e-books lately, and my current obsession is the Hooked On Plants e-book by Olympian (and No Meat Athlete host) Julia Murray. Her recipes are so healthy but still seem decadent. This Vegan Omelet with Cashew Hollandaise is my fave! I've made the recipe before (from her website), but it's also in her e-book, which reminded me to make it. It's a tofu and chickpea flour-based omelet that's so big and fluffy!

I get two servings out of one recipe every time. This one was stuffed with some Daiya, frozen spinach, and chopped baby carrots. I was low on fresh veggies (this was made while I was still quarantining for Christmas), so I used what I had.

I just recently realized that Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs are vegan now! When did that happen? Anyway, I'm glad it did. Here's a well-balanced meal of corn dogs and salad.

Happy Taco Tuesday! This is actually the first Tuesday in ages that I'm planning a non-taco meal for dinner (having a big GGB bowl tonight), but here are some tacos from my recent past. One night during quarantine, I whipped up some Tofu & Roasted Potato Tacos with what I had on-hand. I had some frozen tofu that I air-fried, and I also air-fried the potatoes. Topped with cashew cheese and guacamole. I stocked up on pre-made guac for quarantine!

And finally, here's some from last Tuesday. These Chickpea Spinach Tacos were very tasty! I just sauteed chickpeas with frozen spinach and some taco seasoning and stuffed into tortillas with olives, shredded Miyoko cheddar, lettuce, and salsa. Yum!!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy 2021!

Happy New Year! And sorry again for the long absence. I guess I just needed a blogging break, but I'm back with a little New Year's Eve/Day post. Maynard would like to wish you a happy 2021! Let's hope things get a little bit better this year. 

Paul and I were invited to a very small, socially distanced New Year's Eve party at our friend Vaughan and Nicole's house. It was really lovely to be around people, even if they were across the room. We enjoyed a midnight champagne toast and visited for a bit before heading home to go to bed. Midnight is very late for me!

We slept in on New Year's Day and then had a lovely brunch. Paul made pancakes (from a mix) for himself, and I made a Vegan Omelet with Just Egg, vegan gouda, carrots, and spinach. On the side, I had some Be-Hive Seitan Bacon (locally made in Nashville) and toast with Miyoko's oat butter (my new obsession). And course, I had a mimosa! 

In the South, everyone must eat blackeyed peas and some kind of greens for good fortune and prosperity. In these crazy times, we aren't taking any chances! I usually make Hoppin' John, but this year, I changed it up and made my dad's recipe for Blackeyed Peas in the Instant Pot and a side of Fried Cabbage with Tofurky Sausage. We also made some cornbread from Cookin' Crunk.

Hope y'all are off to a great start for 2021! I've got some big goals this year. I want to do yoga every day this year, so I'm starting with the 30 Days of Yoga program from Yoga with Adriene. I also hope to finally run a 50K trail race (with people) this year. My 2020 50K was canceled, and I ran it anyway — solo. But I hope the race stays on the calendar this year! If it doesn't, I have a back-up plan to extend my training and run a solo 50-miler. Eeeek! Y'all, let's hope this race happens because 31 miles sounds better than 50, right? I also hope to maintain my 80/20 Plants eating goals (80% whole, 20% treats) as much as possible this year.