Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What We Eat: Part 2

The second installment of What We Eat is here! That's right, I'm about to bore you all with more information about our eating habits! Woooohoooo! I'm officially in my 5th week of SayMmm.com usage and I'm still loving it. It made planning meals to take for our trip this weekend much easier. I'm cooking big portions of our normal food for the next couple of days so that we can eat on leftovers while we're gone. I chose things that are good cold or reheat well since we won't have an oven or stove in the cabin. Isn't it surprising how much good a little planning can do??

So, here we go again! Weeks 3 and 4 of our May meals....

Monday, May 16th
Stirfry from Aldi
This is one of my go-to meals for busy weeknights. We buy a big bag of frozen stirfry vegetables and serve it over quinoa or brown rice and we each choose our own sauce. The bag is so big that we eat leftovers for lunch for days...it's a hearty, healthy, super easy and quick meal that we love!

Tuesday, May 17th
Samosa Wraps by Fat Free Vegan
I've made these once before and we both really liked them. We serve the samosa filling in whole wheat Ezekiel 4:9 wraps which definitely makes the healthy score for this meal go way up. And, another plus, this is another meal that makes great leftovers.

Thursday, May 19th
Honestly, I can't remember! I know that I moved the meal I had planned for this night to Friday, and Friday's meal to Saturday but I have no idea what we ate. Oh well!

Friday, May 20th
Tofu Ricotta Gnocchi by Peas and Thank You
I had never had Gnocchi before this meal, much less made it from scratch. Honestly, this is the only recipe from this blog that I haven't been crazy about. I definitely don't blame it on the recipe, it just simply wasn't for us.

Saturday, May 21st
Philly “Cheese” Sandwich on Soft Pretzel Subs by Peas and Thank You

Good. Heavens. Seriously people, do yourself a favor and make this. Please. This is a Philly Cheese Steak imitation recipe and it was incredible. The recipe includes marinating portabello mushrooms, onions and bell pepper then sauteeing them. The vegetables are then served on homemade pretzel subs with vegan mozzarella. I can't sing the praises of this recipe enough. I think it's one of the best meals I've ever made and K totally agrees with me!

Monday, May 23rd
Chili Mac by Fat Free Vegan
Simple, lovely comfort food with a twist. I love the simplicity of a one-pot meal! It could easily be a main course (if you're into that kind of thing) because of the nutritional profile, but would make a good side dish, too.

Tuesday, May 24th
Thai Beefless Stirfry by Peas and Thank You
Another stirfry? Yes. It's one of our favorite things! I ommited the "Beefless Tips" because I don't like using processed meat substitutes very often. This involves a homemade sauce that made the whole meal scrumptious!

Thursday, May 25th
Souper Salad!
We had a coupon that made our total less than $10! We went with friends and had a great time!

Friday, May 26th
Spiral Diner
We very rarely eat out two nights in a row but this was a date so it doesn't count :-) We went to our favorite restaurant in town before going to the opera. This is the only restaurant that we go to where we can choose anything on the menu...it's awesome! I got a Portabello Cowboy Burger (Grilled portabello mushroom cap with bbq sauce, mustard, onions, pickle, and lettuce on a whole wheat bun) with pasta salad as a side. K got the Chopped BBQ sandwich (vegan, of course. I think the meat substitute here was tofu but don't quote me on that...) with pasta salad. For dessert K got a peanut butter chocolate shake and I got a banana split. It was amazing!! I've been wanting one everyday since then....but alas. Spiral Diner is a once a month treat for us and we really enjoy it when we go!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What We Eat

Since making the decision to go veg over 2 years ago I have received many, many interesting looks and comments from family, friends, and curious fast food order-takers. The most common question I get, by far, is "What do you eat?!" This is usually spoken with a tone of surprise or condescension and always with a look of incredulity.

A few weeks ago I started using an online menu planner called http://www.saymmm.com/. It has been a wonderful way to keep our meals more scheduled, try new recipes that I've been meaning to make forever, and keep our grocery bill lower. Most of these recipes come from my favorite vegan bloggers so in this here blog post I'm going to post links to every dinner I've made for the last month. Yes, seriously. Today I'll post the first 2 weeks of May and later I'll post the last two weeks. I figured it would be a fun way to prove that we eat a very balanced veg diet without binging daily on nothing but canned spinach and peas. Let me point out, first, that I rarely cook on Sundays and Wednesdays because I leave home after breakfast and don't come back until after 9pm. On these days we eat leftovers or out at restaurants.
If you think this is the stupidest blog post ever, feel free to click that big red "x" now....

So, without any further adieu, this is my presentation of what we eat!

Monday, May 2nd.
A recipe of my own making. It's called Perfect Pizza and I'll blog about it one day :-)

Tuesday, May 3rd
"Cheese" Stuffed Bean Burgers by Peas and Thank You
This is a great vegan blogger who writes recipes that we always enjoy. These burgers were incredible and passed the husband test!

Thursday May 5th
Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos by Peas and Thank You
YUM-O! We had these with my homemade salsa and they were super yummy. This was my first time working with tempeh, a popular all-natural meat substitute.

Friday, May 6th
Lasagna and Chocolate Cherry Pudding Cake by Fat Free Vegan
This vegan lasagna was, no contest, the best lasagna either of us has ever had. Make it today and I'll come over and share it with you. :-)
The cake was incredible as well. It's a recipe for 4 individual lava cakes baked in ramekins. I used strawberry instead of cherry and these were still to die for.

Monday, May 9th
Roasted Chickpea Tacos
We love chickpeas! They have a meatier texture than most beans so I think that these tacos are definitely omnivore friendly, as well.

Tuesday, May 10th
Lasagna Leftovers...because I was too tired to cook.

Thursday, May 12th
We ate out! Believe me, I needed a break. We used a Restaurant.com gift certificate to eat out at an Indian restaurant and it was the best meal I've had in ages. I could go on and on but I'll save you the bore...

Friday, May 13th
Broiled Sesame Orange Tofu by Peas and Thank You
Talk down on tofu all you want, but this was really good. Tofu is great when it's cooked right and we ate this over steamed Jasmine rice. It was simple and tasty.

Click on some of these links and let me know what you think. We loved every bite and I'd be tickled pink if you gave one of these meals a try!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gershwin!

Today my very sweet and precious puppy turns 1! Call me crazy if you will, but I had to blog about it. Gershwin is so special to us! Our plan for the day was to take him and Lennon to the dog park after work but we've been rained out. We'll just have to settle for couch fetch and lots of cuddles at home. Anyways, now on to the good stuff!

This fluffy bear cub of a puppy was a 1 month "anniversary" gift from my husband.

This handsome face is him today.

He's fluffy and sweet.
He loves to sniff my face.
He runs far away from rolling laundry hampers.
He's the most perfect shade of brown.
He loves his little brother, Lennon.
He runs faster than anything I've ever seen.
He's my protector when I'm home alone.

He's our first "baby" and today he's one.
Happy Birthday, Gershwin!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Art of Comparison

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps."
     Proverbs 16:9

Something that I have been struggling with lately is falling into the habit of comparing myself to others. It's something that I've observed many women struggling with. It seems as though we could always be thinner, keep the house cleaner, do our jobs better, or spend more daily time with the Lord. The trouble with comparison is that it starts as a small inkling and grows into the green monster of envy. I've been struck lately with how much I'm letting this bring me down and am making steps toward finding the root of the problem and praying that God would fill my mind with other things.

In high school I struggled most with comparing my physical appearance to that of others. Let's face it, most high school girls do! It didn't matter that I was, at times, really too thin for my own good. I was taller, bigger boned and clumsy. Constantly wishing to change my appearance, I couldn't help but feel inadequate. In college I gained weight, but did a much better job at embracing my appearance. Looking back I believe that my closer relationship with God helped me to realize that health mattered more than appearance and I was released from that constant nagging desire to be physically perfect. However, that doesn't mean that the comparing went away.

Being a performance major is exactly what it sounds like...you do lots and lots of performing! During my freshman year I absolutely couldn't get over how amazing the seniors were. Before I knew it I had found a new thing to agonize over: performance perfection. How can I sound like that? Make that expression? Command the stage that way? How can I achieve that goal? Never satisfied with my own performances and always wishing I was as good as so-and-so, I missed out on learning some big lessons. Some days I fared better than others, but mostly I believed that I couldn't be as good as others. What a mighty waste of time!

Now, more than ever, I find my self caught up in what I'm realizing is the art of comparison. A place where so many things I do seem lacking in one way or another. It's a trap that Satan snares so many of us in and certainly a place that I'm tired of being. My biggest comparison weaknesses are that my house is never clean enough, my work is never thorough enough, my walk with God isn't strong enough, and that as a woman of God I'll never be good enough. What's most alarming with this game is that when you let sin take hold and you start doubting and comparing in one area of your life the floodgates open and all of your insecurities are laid out for Satan to have a hay-day with. It's sick and I know I'm one of way too many women who are struggling with it. It's easy to look at another woman's clean house, amazing work ethic, or spiritual fervor and wish that you had everything as good as she does. What I've been realizing is that we all have our struggles whether private or personal. So a clean house doesn't mean that "she" has it all together and spiritual fervor doesn't always create a picture perfect life either. Everyone has shortcomings.

I feel blessed beyond measure to have a husband that God has equipped with immense patience and understanding. He encourages me when I get caught up in all of this and lets me know that my worries aren't built on the truth; they're built on my insecurities.

I'm not writing on this topic because I'm trying to throw a pity party, but rather to come out and say that this is something that I'm working to tackle in my life. The following are some scriptures that I'm working on memorizing so that they'll be at the ready when I get down.

Proverbs 16:9 (from the top of this post)
To some, this may seem like a stretch but for me it makes perfect sense. Oftentimes, my comparisons are based on where I want my life to be instead of where God is leading me. This verse reminds me that my life is in God's hands and that his plan for K and I is better than my silly desires and tendencies.

2 Peter 1: 3-9
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

This is a passage that I'll be working on rather slowly as far as memorization goes...but it's a beautiful reminder. I have been cleansed from my sins by the Lord Jesus Christ! Verses 5-8 especially remind me that my efforts should be focused solely on the things that really matter. Should I strive to keep my little home clean as a service to my husband and our marriage? Yes! Should I work hard at my job? Yes! Should I be ever striving after a stronger relationship with the Lord? Absolutely! Should I compare my efforts to others and cheat myself of satisfaction in my spiritual life? NO! This isn't to say that I shouldn't be constantly challenging myself, just that I can't get caught up in someone else's race.
Exodus 20:17
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

I'm not really coveting those things in the middle but the house and the "anything else" make sure that this verse covers it all. Do. Not. Covet. The tenth commandment makes it clear.

Whether or not you are struggling with the same things I am, I pray that you find peace and contentment today. I can't say enough about how great the God we serve is and as I walk this journey with Him I pray for these struggles to be cast out "in the light of His glory and grace."