Updates & things I’ve cooked lately

Hey guys, so I haven’t done a proper meal prep post in a long time. It’s not because I haven’t been meal prepping, I’ve just been feeling too unmotivated to do the photo shoots with the groceries all laid out, etc.

I bought a really nice digital camera a few months ago and I accidentally pushed it off my desk and the screen cracked. I’m so sad I can’t use it anymore and Best Buy declared it unrepairable — FML! So now all my pics aren’t so great anymore. Also, I don’t want to be a weirdo taking food pics by the window at work and sometimes it’s already dark out when I’m eating dinner and I can’t get good lighting.

I digress. I made some really yummy and interesting things lately.

#1 is this posole. I didn’t know what posole was before this, I just picked the recipe out of Minimalist Baker‘s cookbook because I liked the picture lol. Someone at work asked me what I was eating when I was having this, and I embarrassingly pronounced the word wrong (WHOOPS).

Project Meal Prep | Vegan posole

Anyway, if you didn’t know, posole is a Mexican soup that has hominy in it. (“Posole” actually means “hominy”). Living in California, I always see hominy in the canned goods aisle at the grocery store, but I never cooked with it before. It basically looks like really huge corn kernels, but with a different texture.

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Another thing I’ve always seen but never cooked with is tomatillos, which were called for in this soup. I broiled them until the skin peeled off easily, then pureed them with some poblano peppers. I posted an Instagram story of how I made them, so follow me if you want to see future cooking stories!

The 2nd best thing I made lately was this Thai inspired soup by Laura Vitale. The base is so simple — veggie broth, coconut milk and red curry paste — but the dish is so flavorful and comforting. Soups to me are like a hug from the inside (is that weird to say?!)

Project Meal Prep | Thai noodle soup

I baked bread for the 2nd time ever. This one has a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. It’s so delicious when toasted! I got the recipe from Minimalist Baker again, but I skipped the step of adding seeds and oats and re-kneading.

Project Meal Prep | Semi-whole-wheat bread

And the rest, which I don’t have much to comment on…

Project Meal Prep | Tahini dip
Tahini dip with garlic and lemon
Project Meal Prep | Chocolate chip zucchini muffins
Chocolate chip zucchini muffins
Project Meal Prep | Oatmeal
Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and raspberries

Time for some random updates.

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Two weekends ago I happened upon a huge animal rescue event in Jack London Square in Oakland. There were dozens of different organizations and animals up for adoption — dogs, cats, rats, and even pigeons!

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I almost flipped out when I saw the pug rescue. I love pugs so much, I just wanted to lay in the middle of the enclosure and let them walk all over and around me. I was also happy to know that there are breed-specific dog rescues, so there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to go to a breeder.

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Last update: I’m going to Vietnam in 9 days! I’ve never been there before, and I’ll be on a backpacking-style trip. I’m so excited and trying to learn some Vietnamese phrases.

If you made it to the end of this post, THANK YOU!

Salvaging a bland meal

How to salvage a bland meal | Project Meal Prep

Sometimes I make healthy dishes that end up being incredibly bland, or after a few days I start to get sick of eating the same thing. Here are some of my favorite healthy ways to jazz up my food:

lemon juice. I love the flavor combo of something acidic with something salty. Lemon is a great, calorie-free way to brighten up a lot of foods.

shredded vegan cheese. A little sprinkle of cheese goes a long way to adding a little saltiness and creaminess to your meal. I love it melted on tofu scrambles and burrito bowls.

minced garlic. Garlic salt is also a nice alternative if you don’t feel like getting out the garlic press.

hot sauce. Adding a heat makes food a little more interesting. You can also try adding cayenne pepper or chili flakes! Lemon + minced garlic + salt + chili flakes are a really yummy combo.

Himalayan pink salt / sea salt. Himalayan pink salt is supposed to have minerals in it that regular salt doesn’t, but it’s questionable whether the amount is actually significant or not. Either way, a tiny sprinkle of salt is usually a good idea, just don’t overdo it.

liquid aminos. It’s made from soybeans and tastes kinda like tamari or soy sauce, but it has a bunch of amino acids in it. I like this one because it comes in a spray bottle, so you can get a good, evenly-distributed amount with just one spray.

avocado. Sometimes when a meal is really dry, I mash up 1/2 or 1/4 of an avocado with lemon and mix it in with the food. I find that it can make something that’s bordering on unappetizing become really delicious.

What kind of things do YOU like to add??

Meal Prep Sunday – Week of July 24

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Vegan burrito bowl

Hello from Toronto (my home city!) — I took the red-eye two nights ago from San Francisco. My flight was delayed by almost 4 hours, so we left my connection at 2:30am instead of 10:30am and I was so tired during my connection at LAX.

I passed the time by catching Pokemon and reading magazines, one of which was Veg News. I had never picked it up before, and ended up really liking it. I got a lot of ideas and inspiration, and I also like seeing ads for new vegan products 😛

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Veggie soup

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Veggie soup

This week I only made breakfast, a morning snack, and dinner. For breakfast, I made vegetable soup. I cut up all the veggies (tomato, mushroom, spinach, and avocado) and put them into jars beforehand, with a spoonful of veggie broth. Then in the morning I’d just add water and microwave it for 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms got soft. It’s really warm and filling, which is nice because it’s cold right now in SF.

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Tofu chocolate smoothie

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Chocolate tofu smoothie

There wasn’t much protein in the veggie soup, so as a morning snack I made a protein smoothie which I’d take to work. I adapted this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. It has a huge block of tofu (about 1 cup) instead of protein powder. You can’t taste it though because the cocoa powder and peanut butter masks the tofu taste really well. I highly recommend it if you don’t like using protein powder.

Meal Prep Sunday - July 24 | Vegan burrito bowl

I didn’t make lunch because I just decided to eat the lunch we get at work. I normally don’t, because there aren’t many vegan options that are also healthy, so I end up eating the same thing on consecutive days.

For dinner, I made burrito bowls with Beyond Beef meatless crumbles, black beans, store-bought salsa, quinoa, and home-made guacamole. The guac did start turning brown on Thursday, but it still tasted perfectly fine on Friday. I ended up sprinkling some Daya shredded cheese on the beans because they were a little bland (I didn’t add any seasoning).

I decided I should start rating my meals based on:

  • taste
  • how much effort and time were required to make them
  • cost-effectiveness
  • how long they stayed good

So here it is!


Veggie soup

  • Taste: 5/5
  • Prep: 5/5
  • Cost: 5/5
  • Longevity: 5/5

Burrito bowl

  • Taste: 4.5/5
  • Prep: 4.5/5
  • Cost: 4/5
  • Longevity: 5/5

I’m about to head off to a very early family dinner / combined birthday celebration. I ordered a vegan birthday cake from a vegan bakery called Bunners. I’m debating whether or not I’m going to tell my family that it is vegan until they taste it, because I don’t think they’ll suspect that it is.

Anyway, have a wonderful week!

Meal Prep Sunday – Week of July 17

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Apologies for this blog post being late — Pokemon Go has taken over my life.

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I think about it all the time, and all I want to do is go out and find Pokemon. I don’t even like games normally, so I’m surprised at how into it I am.

The good part about it is my boyfriend is also obsessed too, so one person is not annoying the other 🙂 Also, we’ve been going on Pokemon runs: Part of the game involves “incubating” eggs, which hatch after you’ve moved 2, 5 or 10 km with the app open, so going on runs speeds up this process.

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

Anyway, I’ll shut up about Pokemon now.

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

This week, I made “raw oatmeal” for breakfast, I got the idea from Rawvana (video here).

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

I didn’t have to prep anything because you make it on the morning of. Basically I took 1-2 bananas + 2 apples + 1 date + protein powder and pulsed it all in a food processor until it was all chunky. Then I put it in a bowl with some almond milk and toppings, like raisins, walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. It’s so filling and I love it.

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

For lunch I made Panang curry (recipe here). It’s one of my favorite things to make because it’s filling, quick, and so flavorful. One of my coworkers (who is a meat-eater) even said it looked really good. It only stayed good until Thursday, however, and after that it started tasting like it had gone bad.

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

Meal Prep Sunday - Week of July 17 | Project Meal Prep

For dinner, I made lettuce cups / wraps with Beyond Meat beef crumbles, shredded carrot, and shredded zucchini. It was a nice light dinner, albeit a little awkward to eat.

I hope you’re having a good week and that Pokemon Go hasn’t taken over your life too.

Meal Prep Sunday: Week of July 10

stuffed peppers

I went on a road trip to the LA area this past weekend — which I’ll do a blog post about — and did a meal prep Monday. I intended on making things that were quick, which I did for breakfast and lunch, but I somehow ended up making stuffed peppers for dinner, which were a little more involved.

tofu scramble with soyrizo

tofu scramble with soyrizo

For breakfast, I made something high in protein: scrambled tofu with Soyrizo (soy chorizo), bell peppers, and black beans.

zucchini

tofu zucchini

tofu zucchini with rice

For lunch I had tofu sauteed with zucchini and yellow zucchini, with a side of rice. I don’t normally eat white rice but I needed it for the stuffed peppers and accidentally made too much.

tofu press

I used my tofu press for the first time. I like how it works more quickly than my normal method of using heavy objects around my apartment.

Italian roasted peppers

Italian roasted peppers

For dinner I made Italian stuffed peppers, which I adapted the recipe for from Laura in the Kitchen. I veganized her recipe by using Yves veggie ground round instead of ground beef, Daiya mozzarella instead of regular mozzarella, and not adding egg. The recipe calls for charring the skin of the bell peppers directly over your gas burners, then peeling the skin off. It looks weird and seems dangerous but it’s really not, and the flavor you get from doing it is delicious.

Italian vegan stuffed peppers

I like this recipe because it’s low carb (aside from the small amount of rice inside) but really warm and filling.

 

I hope you’re having a good week! Stay tuned for my road trip blog post. I went to Disneyland and a couple of interesting vegan restaurants in LA.

Meal Prep Sunday: Week of June 19

MEAL PREP SUNDAY

This week was kind of crazy. I had stuff to do after work every single day of the week, plus I got sick in the middle of the week. Also, I ran out of dinner food on Tuesday night!

When I made this quiche, I used a store-bought vegan crust, which turned out to be sweet. I ate around it because it tasted so weird with the filling. The filling, btw, was soft tofu with spinach, basil, and some vegan cheese sprinkled throughout. It was so good!

Overnight oats with blueberries

For breakfast, I had really basic overnight oats.

Vegan chicken salad open faced sandwich

For lunch I made “chicken” salad sandwiches, made with Beyond Meat strips, grapes, and celery.

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When I ran out of dinner food, I bought a bunch of zucchinis and spiralized them to make zoodles with avocado cream sauce (avocado, lemon, garlic, water, salt, chili flakes). It was so fast and easy to make!

What did you all make this week?

Vanilla Milkshake Day

VANILLA MILKSHAKE DAY

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Today is National Vanilla Milkshake Day! Traditional milkshakes usually contain ice cream and are full of added sugar*, but have no fear: Here’s a recipe for a milkshake that’s just as cold, creamy, sweet and delicious but also healthy and vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (or nut milk of your choice) OR full-fat coconut milk for a more indulgent shake
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Medjool date
  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks

Directions:

  1. Soak your date in hot water for a few minutes until softened
  2. Remove pit from the date
  3. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

 

* The difference between the effect on your body of just straight up sugar vs adding fruit is in the amount of time it takes for your the fructose to hit your liver. The fibre in fruit slows down your body’s absorption of this fructose, so your liver has time to process it.

From the Institute for Responsible Nutrition:

When consumed, [their] large doses of fructose overwhelm the liver’s ability to metabolize fructose. The liver responds by doing the most efficient thing it can do with fructose–it converts fructose to fat, which, over time, leads to metabolic syndrome by contributing to:

 

  • fatty liver disease (a precursor to diabetes)
  • liver insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes)
  • increased small, dense LDL cholesterol
  • increased triglycerides
  • increased uric acid (which contributes to hypertension)