Have Fun With Your Food, Seriously!

I love fun food. It tastes better. You can basically do anything you want to do with food to please even the pickiest eaters.  I joined Vegan Breakfast Club, and this week it’s a share your potato dish. Ok, there are only so many times you make home fries and tofu scramble look new. So, what was I going to do? At first I really wanted to shape my potatoes as hearts… yeah ok, where did that cookie cutter go? I don’t know, moving on, I thought about shaping the potatoes as bats. No, potatoes were too small. Uh ha! I have tiny snow flake cookie cutters. Great, my potatoes will be snowflakes. I still wanted bats so I used that cookie cutter for the tofu.

I took 4 potatoes they were on the smallish side. Peeled and cut them in half. Then cut them lengthwise- which I got three potato pieces (6 slices for each potato). I took my snowflake cookie cutter and basically got two snowflakes from each  slice, tossed with some oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Feel free to skip the oil and use the herbs and spices you like. I cooked on 180 for 25 mins in the air fryer tossing once.

For the tofu, make sure you press it. I sliced the tofu into 4 slabs. So, got 4 bats out of it. I’m saving the extra tofu for another scramble tomorrow. Anyway, I used about 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of thyme, a teaspoon of turmeric and a bit of water to make a paste (inspired by Isa’s tofu from vegan brunch). I slapped on the paste on the tofu bats and cooked on 180 for 12 mins, flipping once.

I then cooked the tofu with the snowflake fries for a few more mins, as the fries were cold. The dish was awesome once it was finished.

I plan on doing this again for Easter, just because. Of course, using Easter cookie cutters.

snowflakes and bats

How do you like your breakfast?

 

The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet

7 day rescue

When I first came across this challenge, The Seven Day Rescue Diet  by Rip Esselstyn I thought “how hard can it be?” I mean I’m already plant based/vegan. But I did face some challenges, in fact I cheated. That’s right I cheated, on my second day of all things.

Now to be fair, I didn’t realize I wasn’t following the “plan”. I made curry. A nice vegetable, chickpea curry. Seems harmless right? So, where did I do wrong? I used coconut milk. I guess coconut milk is high in fat. Do I feel like I should stop and start over? Nope. Did I quit? Not at all, instead I packed up the leftovers and in the freezer they went, well after I had another spoonful. 🙂

The thing I learned on this journey is how much oil and fat I actually consume. Yes for me it’s easier to cook without oil, but I don’t really check on the fat content, as long as it’s plant based, it’s all good. I’ve been spoiled over the last 5 years, there are so many vegan options out there, but the convenient foods are no better fat wise than what they try to mimic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I have some beefless burgers and pizza in the freezer for those days I don’t feel like cooking.

When I received The Seven Day Rescue, I was really happy. It laid everything out for me. And pizza- yes pizza is ok during the rescue. They have a recipe for pizza, but more about the recipes later.

The Seven Day Rescue Diet is straightforward. Part 1 talks about Why We Love Plants, Why We Love Whole Foods, Why We Don’t Drink Our Food (ok, I understand this, but I do like juicing), Why We Care About Calorie Density Why We Limit Protein (I wish non plant-based Dr’s would read this), Why We Limit Salt, Sugar and fat, Why We Exercise. 

 They talk about batch cooking. Trust me this is a time saver.  Take a Sunday or whatever day works best for you and cook a bunch of rice, beans or potatoes. Do you have an Instant Pot? If you don’t, buy one,  that’s a life saver as well. (It cuts down your cooking time.)

They take the guess work out of what to have, what to buy with their handy grocery list. There’s a 7 day meal plan. That’s one of the things I love about this book.

The recipes are mainly bowls. Who doesn’t love a good bowl? I know I do!! There’s oatmeal bowls, waffles and pancakes for breakfast. For lunch there’s salads- not just boring lettuce like you would feed your hamster, but filling satisfying salad’s, flat’s, pizza flats, and soups. For dinner there’s hearty super bowls, burrito’s, sloppy Joes, burgers, chili and so much more. They have some sauces and dips for your salad’s, bowls etc. Seriously, like I said, they laid out everything for you. No guess work, and unlike some diets- this doesn’t feel like one. You can eat!!

The only thing I would do over is I wish I had this book before I started The Seven Day Rescue. It’s clear, it’s simple, and it’s easy. The hardest part is planning a shopping trip. If you are interested in improving your health or if your loved one is in need of a rescue- Please read this book. Try it; it’s only for 7 days. That’s a week. You have nothing to lose (ok you do like tossing and turning at night because you can’t get a good night’s sleep, bad sex, unhealthy hair, acne- I could go on, I won’t though) but you have everything to gain- your health.

To find out more about this book go to Hachette Book Group.. You can even order from there site.

Let me know if you have taken the challenge!

The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot Review, recipe and a giveaway

vegan-instant-pot (1)

I knew Kathy Hester’s newest book The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot would be an asset. (I was one of the lucky ones to be able to recipe test for her.) This book is strictly written for your IP, and not the stove top pressure cookers like so many of them are written for, those are easily adaptable- but with Kathy book there’s no wondering what setting you should cook it on. For those who have bought an IP, and it’s still sitting in the box in the corner (yes I’m looking at you) to those who use their IP daily, there’s something for everyone. Kathy explains everything you need to know about the Instant Pot, what it is, what it has to offer and the different functions of each setting. There’s the dos and do nots, ninja ticks, special diet considerations. Kathy has thought of everything, sifted through all the information and gives you a comprehensive insight that is easy to read. Kathy’s book is like a study guide that is fun to read and motivates you to get in the kitchen and cook… er, throw things in a pot and get on to the rest of your day. It’s that simple.

Kathy has 9 chapters, no nonsense titles; you are going to find what you are looking for.

Chapter 1: 5 Recipes to start, which includes The Best Not Refried Black Beans.

Chapter 2: Quick and Easy Homemade Staples to Save You Money. I have never heard about jalapeno powder before, so I was stoked when she has a recipe to make your own. You will never believe how easy it is and how much flavor it gives the dish.

Chapter 3: Bean and Lentil Recipes That Cook in Half the Time. I really enjoyed All the Beans Soup.

Chapter 4: Fun and Delicious Ways to Add In More Whole Grains. I really want to try the Vegan Sushi Bowl. Kathy includes a cooking chart so if you want to cook another grain, you can do so easily without having to Google

Chapter 5: Eat Your Vegetables: Easy and Elegant Plant-Based Fare. Smokey Pecan Brussels Sprouts are so good, even the people who hate Brussels sprouts will love this easy recipe.

Chapter 6: Fast and Easy Comforting One Pot Meals. The Mini Tofu Frittatas are so good. These will become your weekend must have’s.

Chapter 7: Fast and Comforting One Pot Meals: This has to be my favorite chapter in the whole book. I love how Kathy put together a few dishes and it all cooks at the same time. I really enjoyed the CSA Layered Indian Dinner, Black as Night Layered Halloween Dinner, One Pot Burrito Bowl.

Chapter 8: Decadent and Healthy Desserts.  Try the Vanilla Spice Tea Concentrate.

There’s so many recipes that I would like to mention, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. The ones I listed are the ones I recommend you try first.

I’m excited to be sharing Kathy’s recipe for Smokey Pecan Brussels Sprouts!!!

ip-brussels-sprouts-012

Smoky Pecan Brussels Sprouts

MAKES 4 SIDE DISH SERVINGS

PRESSURE COOKER INGREDIENTS

2 cups (176 g) small baby Brussels sprouts, as close to the same size as possible

¼ cup (60 ml) water

½ tsp liquid smoke

SAUTÉ INGREDIENTS

¼ cup (28 g) chopped pecans

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

Salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

For the pressure cooker, add the Brussels sprouts, water and liquid smoke to your Instant Pot and mix well. Put the lid on and close the pressure valve. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. (Note: If you have very large Brussels sprouts, you may need to double the cooking time.)

Once the cooking time is up, carefully move the pressure release valve to release the pressure manually.

For the sauté, switch to the sauté function and add in the pecans and maple syrup and reduce the liquid as you finish cooking the sprouts. Remove from the heat once tender and add salt to taste.

The above photo’s and recipe was published with permission by Kathy Hester.

I was sent out a copy to review and I’m excited to be able to send one lucky winner with a Canadian mailing address out a copy as well. Would you like to win this book? Click here to enter. Or you can purchase a copy here.