Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

Hello my green friends, boy is Thanksgiving vacation over.  It's back to real life, back to school, back to busy.  So I'm taking a break from the craziness to talk about something I love: food...gluten-free, vegan food that is! Now let's get this food party started and see what I had to eat today... (keep in mind I'm still nursing and pumping, so if my portions seem a bit large, I'm one hungry mama!)

(Want to join in the "What I Ate Wednesday" fun? Check over at Peas & Crayons and get linked up!)
Pre-workout snack: Rice Chex cereal, SO Delicious
Sugar Free Vanilla Coconut Milk

Workout: 1 hour pilates with this DVD (10 Minute Solutions: Pilates)
Breakfast: Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie
once again.
Mid-morning snack #1: organic honeycrisp apple
Mid-morning snack #2: 2 slices Rudi's Gluten-Free Multigrain
Bread with Earth Balance butter and organic strawberry jelly

Lunch: a new Mexican casserole-like dish I tried with corn,
millet, quinoa, pinto beans, tomatoes, salsa, Daiya cheese,
onions and some lovely spices...and of course corn tortilla chips.
This stuff was delicious! Going to be making it again soon.

Afternoon snack #1: 1 cup organic frozen peaches (thawed
out a little bit)

Afternoon snack #2: a generous serving of my new favorite chips:
Beanitos Black Bean Chips in "Chipotle BBQ" flavor.  These
chips taste amazing and come packed with a great
nutritional punch! My kids at school called them
 "Chocolate Chips" because of their color -lol!

Just got home/putting something together for Avery snack:
"Green Orange Julius Smoothie" (Sunwarrior Vanilla Rice
Protein Powder, orange juice, ice, 1 1/2 frozen bananas,
spinach)  What could I be putting together?

Avery offered to help with the instructions ( :




And the surprise is...a Combi All-in-One Activity Walker/Bouncer! Best part? It looks like a car! It's kid of an early Christmas present for Avery.  Now die-hard greenies beware: it's made of plastic-gasp! But now that Avery has gotten this whole crawling thing down she is constantly on the go and I thought this would be a fun way for her to move around independently without me constantly having to support her or make sure she doesn't bump into this or bump into that (even though we still do that all the time). 
My new car..I mean "walker".
And what did she do the first time I put her in it?
Cry of course ) :  To her benefit, she was tired and cranky.
Dinner: Sunshine Burger "Southwest" flavor, with Roasted
 Sweet Potatoes vegetarian baked beans.

I made really big roasted sweet potato bites for Avery, like the
size of large fries so she could hold them better.

They were also a hit with my dog Jilly who had no problem
cleaning up the dropped food.

Of course it had to get a skateboard sticker!

She started to warm up to it...

I'm sure I'll be posting about the "Walker Car" in next month's blog post, we'll see if it's a hit with little missy or if the tears return each time she's in it? I bet once she realizes what she can do with it, she'll be going, going, and then gone! Hope you enjoyed my eats for the day...see you next week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving Dinner: Meatless Meatloaf and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you all had a fun holiday, we did here as well and again Avery sure made it much more fun than in years past.  Although I skipped my "What I Ate Wednesday" post this week, I figured I'd share "What I Ate on Thanksgiving" with you, which is my favorite gluten-free, vegan holiday meal: Meatless Meatloaf and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Now I've been making this for a year or two now and I think it's finally time to share the recipe with you. 


Meatless Meatloaf and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

But, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of meatloaf makin' let's take a look at a few pictures from our Thanksgiving with Avery.


At the "kiddy table" with Brandon, my two brothers
Andrew and Austin, and at the head of the table:
Avery!

Meatless Meatloaf was a hit with Avery.

Fun with grandma after dinner.

Our Thanksgiving entertainment: Avery.  See the pink in the
middle of the room? Oh yeah, that would be her!


My meatloaf recipe that has had many revisions...
as you can tell.
Okay, now let's get on to the recipe fun.  As I said before, this is one of my favorite go-to meals for the holidays.  When I first went vegan, I tried bringing replacement meals like spaghetti or burritos to holiday dinners and it was not a good fit. Everyone was eating turkey or ham, and the smells that I grew up with were calling my name.  Although I had no desire to eat any animals, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing out.  So, after trying this recipe for a few months, Christmas came around one year and I thought I would give it a try for the big holiday meal...and it was a hit! Something about the mashed potatoes and homestyle-feel of the "meatloaf" that just hits the spot at holiday meals...minus the eating animals
part.  Now it's taken on some tweaks and variations since I tried it for the first time, as you can see from my tattered and stained recipe page, but I think it's finally ready to go.  So here's how I make it:

Meatless Meatloaf and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(recipe inspired by: Susan O'Brien's "No-Meat" Meatballs)
  • 5 large sweet potatoes
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbs. garlic salt
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 pkg. mushrooms (I used baby portobello)
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups water

Let's start with the rice.  Add 1 1/2 cups dry rice and 3 cups
of water to a rice cooker, or boil on the stove, or skip
this step if you have pre-made rice.

Here's my rice cooker: a Stainless Steel Rice Cooker & Steamer
by Miracle Exclusives...it's a life-saver now that Avery's here!


While the rice is cooking, start peeling the sweet potatoes.


Start some water boiling in a large stockpot in preparation
for the sweet potatoes.

After peeling the sweet potatoes, chop into big pieces and put
in the food processor. 

Then process into small (hash brown-like)
pieces.  This will help them cook faster,
and save your hand from getting really
tired of chopping.



Once the water is boiling in the stock pot, add the sweet
potatoes.  Cook on high for 10-15 minutes.

Check them periodically throughout the boiling process to see if
they are soft.  You'll find that their small shape really speeds
up this portion.  Back when I did bigger chunks, it took 30
minutes, now only 10-15. Once they are sufficiently soft,
 strain them and let them cool
a bit.

While the sweet potatoes are cooling, break out your lovely
food processor once again (we're making it work today aren't
we?).  Now add 1/2 cup walnuts and process until
breadcrumb-like.

Add the "breadcrumb walnuts" to a big bowl.
Next, peel and chop the red onion into large pieces.  Place
in the food processor and process into very small
pieces. Transfer processed onions to a second smaller bowl.


Now process an entire package of mushrooms in the food
processor, just as you did with the onions.  Combine
that with the onions now.

While the burner is still hot from boiling the sweet potatoes
(yeah, go green!) put a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat,
add the mushrooms and onions and saute for 5 minutes.

While they are sauteing, gather 5 garlic cloves (or less if you're
not that into garlic).

Next, mince the garlic.  I use my Garlic Twist ($20).  All you
do is place your garlic in one side then press
the two pieces together and twist to get minced garlic.
Now add it to the onion and mushroom mixture and cook
for another 2-3 minutes.

Once the onion, mushroom, garlic mixture is done, transfer to
the big bowl with the "walnut breadcrumbs".


At this point, go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. So you're good to go when the meatloaf is ready to bake!

Now we're back to the mashed sweet potatoes.  Scoop out
3 1/2 to 4 cups of the cooked sweet potatoes and put into the
food processor

Add 1 tsp. minced garlic. Add 1 Tbs. of garlic salt...you can do half nowif you want and add more after it's been processed.

Process...be sure to taste halfway through, and adjust seasonings
accordingly. 

Process some more until your desired consistency...some like
it thick and chunky, some like it smooth- do what you like!
 
Now add 1 cup of the mashed sweet potatoes to the big bowl
with onions, mushrooms, and walnuts.

Now add 2 cups of the cooked rice to the big bowl.

Now that all the ingredients have been added to the bowl, it's
time to season it.  I use 5 shakes of oregano (like that technical
measurement?). Next add 4 Tbs. of organic ketchup.
Followed by 1-2 tsp. salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)

Stir it all up until well combined.

Now transfer to a greased, square baking dish. Press down smooth,
then place in the oven and bake for45 minutes or more depending upon your oven.

Now that the meatless meatloaf is in the oven, get back to the
sweet potatoes, and do another round of mixing in the
food processor.  Store in whatever container or baking
dish works for you. I used a glass Tupperware dish.

Now it's time to make the last ingredient: Ketchup
Sauce.  In a glass measuring cup, add 3/4 cup organic
ketchup.

Next add 1/4 cup agave nectar. Stir to combine.

Once the meatless meatloaf is done baking, take it out of
the ovenand drizzle some of the "Ketchup Sauce" on top.
Set the rest of the sauce aside to be used when serving.

Time to enjoy! No turkey? No problem!




My Thanksgiving Dessert? Gluten-free, vegan cookie dough
(actually made from beans with this awesome recipe).

What's your favorite vegan recipe for holiday dinners? Share below.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at this "green house"! ( :

This post was recently linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan GirlVeggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan. So get your "vegan on" and check out some of these great recipes!

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