Life After Baby…

My husband was the one who actually wanted this...My gag reflex doesn't!

My husband was the one who actually wanted this…My gag reflex doesn’t!

Even after you have your first kid, you think you have everything you need for the next kid…especially if your child is the same gender.  Well, as you can tell by this photo, my family was still on a quest for the most BIZARRE things to add to our must have list.  Rest assured, I am not reviewing this god awful device (many moms and even my husband swear by it!), but instead I wanted to show this photo to talk about the things in my life that I can do without…And my post baby bod is one of them (this snot sucker comes a close second!).I don’t want to give you a sob story of what my body has become since I had Camille, because quite frankly- I am not as bad off as some moms out there.  But what I do know is that in order to get my body back on track I must dive back into the basics of eating lighter foods and exercising.  Exercise and I have had a rocky relationship but my recent borderline insane determination and a good cycle of workout buddies have made this relationship bearable.  Dietwise, I know MANY vegans who have their own way of doing things such as going 100% raw or those who shun gluten or soy (which does NOT cause weight gain unless you have an actual intolerance, FYI) but that’s not me.  I’m a bit more old school….Eat sensible portions- especially fruits and vegetables and keep processed foods to a bare minimum.  Oh, and I log my food and exercise using the Lose It! app (I am NOT a paid promoter….It’s an app that was recommended by a friend)  to hold myself accountable.  Fast forward to 7 days later and I am happy to say that I lost 6 pounds just by making small changes.  I have been posting my progress to my personal Facebook page and I have had many of my friends message me and ask me how they can get started.  This is what inspired the very post you are reading right now.  I hear too often that vegans eat too many carbs which is bad if you want to lose weight or that vegans eat food that’s complicated or vegans can’t make healthy food that looks normal.  Well, I am going to show you a few examples and a few recipes to prove it!

Thai Tofu Coconut Curry

Thai Tofu Coconut Curry- and yes I do eat dinner and look at bills at the same time!

I’m gonna start off simple and then work my way into the recipe I created a few days ago…We all know what a stirfry is and it can be hit or miss (and when you miss, it’s officially a sad evening!).  But I find more consistency in a good ol’ fashioned coconut curry dish.  Please feel free to swap around vegetables to whatever you have on hand, or you can use edamame, tempeh, seitan in place of tofu- the world is your oyster!  But if there is one thing I MUST advise it would be to buy the curry paste from the Asian markets!!!  American brands like Thai Kitchen have such bland curry pastes and the ones in the Asian markets seem to cost around 50-75 cents a can and the flavors are very similar to something you would get at your local Thai restaurant- as always, just check the label to ensure it is vegan!!!

Robin’s Thai Tofu Curry

Serves 4 (approx 425 calories a serving)

  • 1lb extra firm tofu, cut into 1inch dice
  • 2 peppers, any color ( I used half of a red, yellow, and orange bell pepper)
  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed (you can also use haricot verts/french green beans)
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced into half moons
  • 14oz can of light coconut milk
  • 1-3 teaspoons of curry paste (any color- red is hot, yellow is medium, and green is pretty mild), adjust to taste
  • 4 cups of cooked jasmine rice (if you can find brown jasmine, that would probably be most ideal…But I was stuck with white)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 425F.  On a Silpat or parchment paper place diced tofu on a baking pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown and set aside.(***If you are using another protein like tempeh or seitan, just skip this step and cook in the same pan before you add the veggies!  If using edamame just cook with the veggies!***)  Then saute your vegetables for roughly 10-15 minutes on medium heat until they are cooked (this is based on your preference so times can vary).  Then add your coconut milk and curry paste…remember to start off with one teaspoon and add more as needed- usually a Tablespoon is max for most people.  And cook until heated through, roughly 5 minutes.  The coconut curry will not have a thick broth but your rice will soak it up beautifully (trust me!).  Serve over rice and enjoy!

See???  That recipe is not intimidating and it uses simple ingredients.  My 2 1/2 year old loves the sauce, inhales the tofu, and kind of picks the vegetables in a specific order…Other than that, it gets a gold star in her book 😉

Now onto the next recipe….I never knew how ridiculously healthy this dish actually is.  In fact, this was my go-to recipe when I was short on time and had a bag of kale in the fridge.  Please make no mistake, this recipe is not one that I created but it is a slightly modified version of “Matthew’s Spicy Tomato Peanut Kale Pasta” from the cookbook, La Dolche Vegan by Sarah Kramer.  Every time I make this recipe I always think about how much I wish she made more cookbooks and how she changed mine and Chuck’s lives when we were new vegans.  I had the pleasure of meeting her in person (Still trying to find the photo of me shaking her hand that Compassion Over Killing took back in 2008!) so I am going to post this modified recipe to pay homage to her:

Matthew's Spicy Tomato Peanut and Kale Pasta

Matthew’s Spicy Tomato Peanut and Kale Pasta

Matthew’s Spicy Tomato Peanut Kale Pasta (modified from La Dolche Vegan by Sarah Kramer) serves 4 and approx 410 calories per serving

  • 4 cups cooked pasta (you can use GF pasta!)
  • 2 1/2 cups of tomato juice
  • 1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp of natural peanut butter (I use the kind with no salt- only peanuts as the ingredient.  You can get away with any peanut butter but this will change the calories in this dish!)
  • 2 tsp of Sriracha

Instructions:

In a medium pot (or large pan) over on medium heat, cook the tomato juice and kale for 6-8 minutes or until kale is tender.  Stir in peanut butter and Sriracha until smooth and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add cooked noodles and stir to coat and serve immediately.

Another simple dish…And it is one Raegan (my oldest) will eat and not realize that there’s kale in it!  She likes food with a kick so this is right up her alley!  So moving along….I have been cooking some of my meals from the cookbook, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  There’s a lot of healthy vegan cookbooks out there but this one in particular is pretty fool proof and I highly recommend it for anyone…Vegan or not!  Well one night I was planning on making the Buffalo Tempeh with Cool Slaw in the cookbook and there was a suggestion of using her version of Mac n’ Cheese that she lovingly names, “Mac n’ Trees”.  Well, the recipe for the sauce took me back to a time when before we had awesome vegan cheese where if you wanted to make a vegan cheese sauce, you had to use LOTS of nutritional yeast, flour (or another thickener), yellow mustard and vegan milk.  When I went vegan in 2008, I knew damn well that this was not mac n’ cheese and I was praying that the vegan culinary gods would make things better and luckily after I was vegan for roughly a year, people started using nut based cheeses and Daiya also made its appearance as well.  Things were getting better but then the demand for a healthier vegan cheese became high and since no one wanted to go back to the old school method that I mentioned before, many vegan chefs and cookbook authors took this on and owned the vegan cheese world once again…YAY!!!  Well, back to my mac n’ cheese- I decided I was going to take the best of all the healthy vegan cheese sauce recipes I have seen and made my own.  I’d give credit to some of the cookbooks and blogs I based this off of but there were too many cookbooks and blogs to count so since it’s so mashed up, I am calling it a Robin Fetter original.

Robin's Healthy Mac N' Cheese (upper right side of photo) shown with Buffalo Tempeh and Cool Slaw from the Cookbook, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Robin’s Healthy Mac N’ Cheese (upper right side of photo) shown with Buffalo Tempeh and Cool Slaw from the Cookbook, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Robin’s Healthy Cheese Sauce

makes 2 generous cups (approx 220 calories a cup)

  • One medium/large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c of carrot or sweet potato (butternut squash or any firm orange vegetable will work!), peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup water (might need more depending on preference)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (you can substitute the same amount of raw sunflower seeds to keep it nut free!)
  • 2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast (optional but it adds the cheesy flavor)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (not from concentrate!)
  • 1 tsp salt (if you are salt free, you can used sun dried tomato powder or salt substitute)

Instructions:

Put potatoes, carrot (or any optional orange vegetable), onion, garlic, and water in a small to medium saucepan COVERED over medium heat. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Add the pot of cooked vegetables into a blender (***KEEP THE COOKING WATER-DO NOT DRAIN IT!!!***) and add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Now when you add 1- 1 1/2 cups (depending on how saucy you like your mac n’ cheese) to 4 cups of cooked pasta (you can use GF pasta!) , you are looking at an estimated 260-310 calories per serving.  You can also use this sauce as a smokey nacho cheese sauce by adding 1-2 large chipotle chilies in adobo sauce when you blend the sauce.  Or you can add salsa AFTER you blend it if you want more of a queso feel.  If you don’t have fresh produce hanging around, even using frozen versions of the the veggies in this recipe work great in a snap!  The possibilities are pretty endless with this sauce.

So now you have 3 recipes courtesy of yours truly…Being a vegan and trying to get back into shape is easy.  Just find an activity you love- as for me, I embraced the Barre classes at my local gym and find ways that you can enjoy your old foods such as making them lighter and keep the portions sensible.  That’s the key to success in my book.  If you are trying to be mindful of calories and fat, try omitting the oil or use a scant amount in your cooking.  And if you have a sweet tooth, stick to fruit or smoothies and once a week treat yourself to a reward meal (NOT a reward day!) so you won’t fall off the wagon.  If you need encouragement or tips, please feel free to email me on my contact form!

 

 

 

 

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