Long time no chat. I feel like I have been revived back to life. Those past few weeks seemingly lost into the neverlands. Of course it was all in the name of recovery, but I am at a loss for words as to how I spent my days. I certainly wasn’t at work. There was barely any blogging. I aimed for a short walk a day, usually to the nearby grocery store although sometimes just around the block. And eventually I started feeding myself.
At risk of sharing TMI, bear with me. While most suggestions after bowel surgery is to eat a high fibre diet, I found I needed to scale back my typical fibre rich meals. This was one meal that was very easy to make and worked well. I figured the sauerkraut would be good for adding probiotics after a long stretch of antibiotics but I also really liked this with some smoked tofu. I told Rob the smoked tofu reminded me of cheese although he denied it vehemently. He agreed it looked like cheese but it did not taste like it.
Avocado toast is definitely the sandwich du jour, but it wasn’t until we travelled through Guatemala and Honduras that I truly appreciated its versatility. There was a stretch where I had avocado toast (with refried beans and fried plantains) for both breakfast and dinner. It was just too good. Here is Rob’s play with refried for one of our snacks. Enjoy!
Have you ever had a rough recovery from surgery?
Lest you think I have bounced back from my surgery in record and couldn’t wait to go back into the kitchen, I am working on some sharing some special meals prior to our trip. Truthfully, my appetite has taken a while to bounce back and we suspect my standard vegan diet contained too much fibre for my (at-the-moment) delicate gut.
As we move towards spring produce, this quick and easy stir fry with mushrooms, cabbage, sauerkraut and soy curls is delightful with a hit of fresh dill. The recipe is from The Great Vegan Protein Book and was originally called “Cabbage-n-Kraut with Seitan” but I alternated the main protein source, swapping seitan for soy curls. After a taste test form Rob, he told me I had just made a vegan version of the national Polish dish, Bigos, traditionally known as a Hunter’s Stew with different kinds of meat simmered with cabbage, sauerkraut and mushrooms with a touch of tomato. Score!
For those concerned with protein sources as a vegan, The Great Vegan Protein Book helps by tackling that question directly. Main vegan protein sources, legumes/beans, whole grains, nuts/seeds, tofu/tempeh and seitan are highlighted in the recipes. Ingredients less often thought as protein-dense, such as nutritional yeast and including vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are also highlighted making recipes that are quite diverse. There are also snacks and desserts, including a No-Bake Choco Cashew Cheesecake with 9 g protein per serving.
All recipes include the protein content of each dish, although no other nutritional information like total calories which is a shame. Certainly the dishes featuring tofu, tempeh and seitan contain the most protein. Examples include Tempeh Banh Mi (41 g protein/serving), Higher Protein Sausage (86 g protein/sausage), Sesame Seitan Super Salad (55 g protein/serving), Pecan-Crusted Seitan Cutlets with Brussels Sprouts (51 g protein/serving), Braciola (68 g protein/serving) and Homestyle Potpie (47 g protein/serving). There is also a Beans and Greens Bowl with 23 g protein/serving and the BBQ Lentils with 12 g protein/serving.
Personally, I like to plan my meals around some sort of vegan protein. Once you figure that out, the rest of a balanced meal naturally takes place. Beans will contain protein and carbohydrates, tofu and nuts contains protein and fat, etc. Rounded out with some vegetables, this is how I try to craft my eats. This book is welcome to my cookbook collection with its varied and balanced meals.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan protein and how you like to cook it. The winner will be selected at random on May 1, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from The Great Vegan Protein Book shared elsewhere:
Apple Breakfast Farro Burrito (with a giveaway, too)
Unicorn Tacos (with a giveaway, too)
High protein seitan recipes shared here previously:
And we’re off!
Rob and I packed up all our things and are currently en route, road trip-style, to Houston. I have a few travel-themed recipes this week, as we drive across the country (down the country would be more accurate). 3000 km (over 1800mi). We have a lot of ground to cover.
I made a few travel snacks to bring with me (will be sharing throughout the next few weeks), and while I have tracked down a vegan restaurant in each city for dinner, I plan on eating simple meals throughout the day.
I brainstormed before I left. What can I easily find at grocery stores? What would pack well? For some reason, I kept returning to salads with avocado and lemon. Easy, peasy. Throw in some nuts/seeds, cooked beans or tofu as an easy protein. And then I decided sauerkraut would be a wonderful addition, too.
Not wanting to simplify my meals too soon, I knew I didn’t want to wait to try out an avocado and sauerkraut salad. With my current kitchen a few weeks ago, I had the liberty of making a more complex salad dressing, so I ran with it. A creamy miso dressing with a zip from ginger and the tang from apple cider vinegar. That creaminess? Not nuts: nutritional yeast. I imagine avocado would be nice pureed into the dressing as well, but I left it in chunks for the salad. Paired with the salty sauerkraut and crunchy sunflower seeds, this was delicious.
What are your favourite easy travel-friendly meals?
While in Montreal, it was a whirlwind of a trip between the wake and funeral. However, I successfully managed to visit Aux Vivres for a quick dinner with Rob, my Dad and grandmother. Rob and I went there during our last visit, and I wanted to return for a veggie-packed meal that would appeal to some of the most serious veggie critics (my Dad!).
I love the bowls at Aux Vivres because they are mostly loaded with veggies. They should be called veggie bowls, not rice bowls, because the rice is hidden at the bottom. You really have to dig around to find it. But when you do, it is some of the best rice I have tasted. Coupled with the vegetables, and any of their decadent sauces, you have a tasty meal on your hands.
Don’t get me wrong, Aux Vivres is definitely one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal, but glancing at the menu, you are left thinking, I bet I could make this at home. Actually, when I tasted their miso tahini sauce from their Macro Bowl, I thought: I have this sauce at home, I just made it!
So when I got home, I was able to compile all the ingredients to make a great copy cat version of their Macro Bowl filled with wakame, sauerkraut, sprouts, steamed baby bok choy and brown rice. I skipped the steamed spinach.
I have been following this year’s Healthy Lunchbox Series (recap here) and was positively smitten when I saw Dawn’s post about bento boxes. Perusing her site, she had some incredibly cute lunches, including a barn made out of granola bars complete with watermelon animals and spinach grass. I almost died from its cuteness.
I thought I might try a much simpler bento box with this multi-component meal. After its assembly, I told Rob I was ready to go for our dinner picnic. However, I looked down and realized I was short possibly the most important component of the meal. The tempeh! I needed some emergency tempeh, and fast. Aux Vivres’ tempeh is actually fairly plain with limited marinade but I thought mine could use a bit of flavour. While Rob usually scoffs at Tess’ declarations of making meals in under 30 minutes, I quickly located a quickie tempeh recipe that still included the all-important steaming. A simple glaze of tamari, agave, toasted sesame oil and raw garlic was exactly what I needed. Perfecto. Under 30 minutes, mostly hands off, to boot, leaving me able to clean up the kitchen and snap a few photos as the tempeh caramelized away.
The verdict? The bento box was not really appropriate because the best part of the bowl is mixing it all up. I needed a bigger container for proper mixing. The salty sauerkraut, the briny wakame juxtaposed against the salty dressing and fresh greens. With them individually separated in the box, it was hard to mix them up. At least with my Salad in a Jar, I mix it up before I eat it. I may need to look into a layered version of this, too!
Have you ever tried to make a cute bento box? Just at these cuties!
This is being submitted to this month’s Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food for lunches, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, and to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Siri.