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Worthy replacement

When I first went vegan, I wasn’t too interested in “replacement” products. You know, like soy cheese (and soy free too), cream “cheese” and so on. Tempeh Bacon. You catch my drift. Non-dairy ice cream was about as far as I would go.

But little by little, I have tried products such as those and mostly I’ve been impressed. I love Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream, which taste exactly the same as the real deal to me.

Some products have been better than others, that is for sure, but it has been fun to try all the various alternatives out there. Even more evidence that it is possible to eat a vegan diet without sacrificing all of your favorite foods (or condiments).

The latest product I have experimented with is Nayonaise, a mayo-like product from Nasoya, those tofu people:

028 I adored mayo when I was a kid. I ate a lot of bologna sandwiches with it smothered on the bread over the course of my childhood. That’s not exactly something I am proud of, but it is what it is.

Since I started my journey to health in 2007, mayonnaise has been a rarity, as it contains a lot of calories and fat, especially when served at a restaurant. At home, the fat free versions just didn’t taste as good. Then, when I went vegan and said no to eggs, mayo was out for good.

Until tonight when I decided to give the Nayonaise a shot on a Morningstar Farms Grilled Chik’n patty for dinner.

029 When I opened the container, I thought: “Wow. It smells like mayonnaise. The consistency is a little weird. Oh well, let’s see!”

I have to say, it has been a LONG time since I’ve had mayonnaise. However, the Nayonaise tasted pretty darn close to me. I can’t wait to try it on veggie burgers and in recipes (like potato salad) that would normally call for mayo.

Like I said, the consistency is different but the taste (and smell) are spot on. Do you use faux mayo? How?

Have you tried any other replacement products? Which ones were hits? Misses?

I did not care much for this vegan alfredo pasta I had one time. But that’s the only thing I can remember not loving. I’m sure there are others, but the good definitely outweighs the bad!

Mac ‘n Teese

In addition to the vegan mozzarella I made pizza with, Chicago Soy Dairy was kind enough to send me some non-dairy creamy cheddar sauce to try too!

005It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to make vegan mac ‘n cheese! Actually, mine turned out sort of like a casserole.

001 I cooked half a box of pasta shells and then heated up the cheese sauce with it. It was really easy to make and looked really good…but it smelled funny. This made me a little nervous to eat it.

I mixed in 2/3 cup of cooked mixed veggies and a serving of Morningstar Chik’n strips I had leftover in the freezer that I wanted to get rid of. It turned into quite the interesting dish!

002 I am happy to say that even though it smelled weird, this “teese” tasted AWESOME! I liked it a lot better than the mac & chreese that I’d tried before (which is okay, but this was better).

004The batch I made was big enough for lots of leftovers, including some I had with half a Jamaican Seitan sandwich I got at Ramsi’s on Friday night.

007 The sandwich was pretty awesome itself, even the leftovers!

006I will definitely be ordering some more of this stuff for whenever I’m in the mood for mac & cheese, vegan style.

Thanks again, Chicago Soy Dairy! 🙂

Vegan cream cheese

It has been a long time since I have had a bagel with cream cheese.

When I first went vegan, back in October of last year, I didn’t really have an interest in too many “fake” products that replaced what I might eat if I wasn’t vegan. But after having banana oats every day for a straight week, I decided I needed a different breakfast to change things up a bit.

It just so happens, I also needed this for a recipe too, so I said “Why not?”

Another thing I had been missing that I wasn’t really aware of were meatless breakfast patties. The Morningstar brand used to be my favorite (ooh, the maple flavor!) but unfortunately, they are not even close to being vegan and have an ingredients list a paragraph long.

These Yves patties were on sale at Whole Foods, so I decided to try them out (they still don’t have the best ingredients list but at least they got all the animal products out):

The result?


I could not tell a difference at all in the Tofutti cream cheese; it tasted just like regular cream cheese to me! I love that I was able to eat a bagel with cream cheese, not get a stomach ache from it and no animals were harmed in the process! 😉

The meatless patties weren’t the best I’ve ever had but they definitely satisfied my craving. They are also low in sugar and contain some fiber and protein, which is good for satiety. I’m thinking I should try to make my own next time!

What is your favorite “faux” product?

Last one until Monday

Hey guys!

So after reading through your comments and giving it some serious thought, I know that I definitely still want a whole day’s eats as part of my blog. Just not every single day.

My food tends to get repetitive, especially when I make a recipe that only I will eat and I repeat a meal several times over the course of a week!

So I plan to do a full day of eats, drinks and everything one time a week…on Mondays!

The rest of the days of the week will be focused on other things like recipes, products, weight loss challenges, thoughts, etc. This way I can keep posting on the blog daily but not get overwhelmed or think it’s too boring.

So enjoy, this is the last full day for a few 🙂

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Raisin chocolate chip oatmeal.

Somehow I managed to leave my morning snack at home, so I had to break into part of my lunch early, which worked fine.

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Then an hour or so later, I ate the rest of it which was leftover chickpeas and brown rice.

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I drank a cup of Yogi Stress Relief tea but forgot to document it for you guys 😉

For my afternoon snack, I got to try a new flavor of Whole Soy & Co – apricot mango!

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This was tasty and even though I’m not a huge fan of the 18g of sugar, that is lower than a lot of other soy yogurts on the market.

I just try to only have them once in a while.

After my snack, I went to a yoga class before heading home.

For dinner, I made another Morningstar Farms Grilled Chik’n patty on whole wheat bread with mustard and a side of broccoli with Smart Balance Light.

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I think I will use my last one in spaghetti sauce again, they don’t have a whole lot of flavor on their own, but this dinner filled me up just fine.

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After dinner settled, I headed to the gym and ran a few miles on the treadmill.

I rehydrated with this! Told ya, it’s becoming a habit.

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I love these things. But does anyone know of any “natural” fitness drinks? I’d hate to keep spending $1 a pop since that is one of the reasons I gave up bars for Lent!

When I got home from the gym, I had a small serving of oats with almond butter and chocolate chips.

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Perfect end to a pretty great day. See you guys tomorrow 🙂

Almond butter is awesome

Thanks everyone for your feedback on how often you post your meals.

I’m definitely still giving it a lot of thought and I think I’m close to making a decision about how I want this blog to “flow” 🙂

Breakfast on Wednesday was pumpkin oat bran with raisins and almond butter.

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I love, love, love peanut butter but man…there is just something about almond butter, I can’t explain it. It’s just awesome! Yeah, I suck at writing titles by the way.

I had black coffee and nuts mid-morning but forgot to photograph them.

Lunch was a Morningstar Grilled Chik’n patty with hummus on whole wheat bread and a side salad with balsamic.

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Don’t worry, that was only half the salad I packed in the container!

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My salads have been pretty boring but mostly I’m just trying to use ‘em up before they go out of date!

I had some Jasmine tea after lunch, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

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Then my afternoon snack was a banana and peanut butter.

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I think I am doing pretty good on my No Bars During Lent challenge. It’s made me realize a lot of things, one of which is that I’m missing out on eating stuff like this!

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I think once Lent is over, I might keep a couple of bars in the pantry for emergencies or times when I can’t make another snack but I definitely want to try to keep this up long term.

Later, I drank this after my awesome gym workout.

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I’m afraid I might be trading one $1/day habit for another. Hmm…

That V-water is my favorite though, it tastes just like Tang and I mean that in a good way 😉

When I got home from the gym, I was hungry enough that I needed something to hold me over while I cooked dinner, so I snacked on some more nuts.

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Speaking of nuts, check out my guest post over at Trading Up Downtown, where I learned about NuVal scores and “traded up” a few of my products (including these nuts, which score a 49, compared to a 9 for cashews).

Next up, a girl’s night potluck recap where I made a dish I have never tried before!

Motivated

Since today is the first day of the first week of my Pound for Pound Challenge, and one of my goals this week is to journal my food, I figured showing you all what I ate today would be a good thing to do. 🙂

Breakfast this morning was pumpkin chocolate chip oat bran with almond butter.

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After my weigh in, I snacked on some veggies and hummus from a party we had at work this morning.

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For lunch, I had leftover tofu stir fry that I made on Saturday night.

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This batch contained red and green peppers, onion, bean sprouts and mushrooms all sautéed in Buffalo Sauce. The leftovers were awesome!

After lunch, I wanted something sweet so I had some Jasmine green tea with a navel orange. Yay, vitamin C!

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Then my real afternoon snack was apple slices with peanut butter.

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I’m still adjusting to not eating bars during Lent, but I feel like this has been a great challenge so far.

This snack was great and fueled me for a 5-mile treadmill run that I also very much enjoyed 🙂

For dinner, I incorporated a product I hadn’t had in a while.

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According to the box, these are 100% vegan, which is a semi-rarity in Morningstar products, so I grabbed a box since they were on sale and I had a coupon!

I made Barilla whole grain spaghetti and topped it with a sauce containing mixed stir fry veggies and one of these Chik’n patties.

I made enough to have this again for lunch tomorrow 🙂

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It basically took on the flavor of the sauce but I liked the texture well enough too. I have three more so we’ll see!

For my evening snack, I had a piece of toast with almond butter and 1 tsp chocolate chips.

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I so could’ve eaten another one but 9:00 showed up and made me realize I’m not really hungry, just obsessed with this delicious snack.

So I had a cup of tea and now I am winding down and getting ready for bed. I’d say Day One was a huge success!

Giveaway announcement: Go visit Zesty’s site and enter to win a Blog Makeover for free! He does great work and whoever wins is a lucky blogger 🙂

Vegan burgers and tofu pudding

On Wednesday night, us girls got together for our weekly potluck meal.

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We enjoyed the Morningstar Farms vegan veggie burgers, which I did not even know existed!

I have to say, the taste of this burger was WAY BETTER than Boca. I was surprised really, because before I was vegan, I would usually prefer Boca over Morningstar products.

The tater tots and veggies were delicious too. A really fun and tasty cookout-type meal, in the dead of winter 😉

For dessert, I made my famous Tofu Chocolate Pudding, which we topped with strawberries. Yum!

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I love this pudding because it’s simple to make and even if it is a little high in calories, I feel okay having it every once in a while because of its few ingredients and great taste 🙂

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The strawberries were also surprisingly good, considering it’s not yet strawberry season!

I can’t wait for Farmer’s Markets to open up again, how about you?

Take a load off

Whew, my dogs are barking! In case you have never heard that expression, it means my feet really hurt, ha ha. My great-grandma used to say it all the time. Sitting down to right this blog post is the first chance I’ve had to take a load off!

I got up early this morning and made myself a delicious breakfast of waffles with peanut butter and a faux sausage patty.

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This is the last of the Eggo waffles and Morningstar Farms stuff. I won’t be getting them again since I know they contain dairy ingredients (among other weird ones I can’t pronounce).

I also made myself a big cup of coffee with soymilk but only ended up drinking half of it…who am I?

Then I met up with my aunts at the Zoo for a nice 4 mile walk. I was glad to start my day off this way since most of the evening is going to be spent sitting down at a birthday dinner and the UFC pay per view later on 😉

When I got home, I sorted through some coupons and make a grocery list before hitting the stores. I picked a good time to go too – our big in-state rivalry football game was this afternoon and I try not to get all caught up in the hype. I try to avoid conflict and be peaceful, haha.

I got hungry while at home, so I went ahead and ate lunch since we all know grocery shopping in that condition is not the way to go 🙂

I had Muir Glen organic savory lentil soup and it was delicious! It did not photograph very well though.

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This soup had a lot of sodium! But I’m not sensitive and I try to keep products like this to a minimum. As you can see I also had a whole wheat pita pocket on the side.

I spent almost 2 hours grocery shopping! I had lots of coupons and I went to two different places to get the best deals. I only went over my $50 budget by 12 cents, but I think next week I’ll be way under because I got so much today!

When I got everything put away, I was hungry so I had some mixed nuts.

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I swear, when I’m really needing a snack, nothing satisfies me like nuts. I don’t know if it is the protein, fat or the combo but they are perfect and I love them.

Can you tell I need a nap now? I’m about to get right on that.

We are having dinner at The Cheesecake Factory tonight for my friend Beth’s birthday! It’s only the second time I have been there and the first time since going vegetarian 🙂

Hope you all have a great Saturday.

Prioritizing

Happy Thursday y’all! Thank God it’s almost Friday, right? Thank you for all the great comments on my last post about the Bittman article! I appreciate it.

For breakfast this morning, I had two Eggo waffles, a Morningstar Farms patty and some canned pears that I drained and rinsed (can you tell I’m trying to use stuff up)?

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I debated over whether to put something on the waffles but in the end I just ate them plain and enjoyed it that way 😉

Mid-morning, I snacked on some mixed nuts and took a 15 minute walk, yay!

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For lunch, I reluctantly had the leftover Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake that I made for girls night this week. It was actually kind of better today or perhaps I was just really hungry 😉

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Yes, I threw some Brussels on there! I love them and they are high in Vitamin C! That is especially cool with cold and flu season upon us.

After lunch, I had some fruity tea and a piece of dark chocolate. Sorry recycled pic here, the other one disappeared!

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For my afternoon snack, I decided to give soy yogurt another try. I’ve been doing some research and it is hard to find non-dairy yogurts that are also low in sugar! I’ve found one brand that I want to look for next time I’m at Whole Foods but for now, this one had to do.

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This little container has 18 grams of sugar. This made me realize I need a priority? What is going to take precedence? Sugar or the fact that this is non-dairy?

I’ve long said I would not choose “junk” in favor of avoiding meat or dairy products. There are a lot of restaurants where the only vegetarian or vegan options would be French fries. I’m sort of in a pickle here. Ooh pickles…I digress.

But for now, the soy yogurt was good and I won’t eat it everyday so perhaps it can remain a part of my diet? I also don’t want to overdo soy products. This does have some good points though.

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To “bulk” it up a bit, I added two tablespoons of Ezekiel golden flax cereal. I did just a little bit first to try it.

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But it was totally yummy so I threw the rest on there and went to town. The yogurt was so creamy and just a bit sweet, not terribly overwhelming like some of the fruit flavors. I’d get it again.

After work, I got to take an hour long yoga class. It was pretty simple, for beginners, but I enjoyed it immensely. I left there feeling relaxed and peaceful which is my favorite thing about yoga.

Our teacher was also really funny! She was an older woman and she made the funniest little jokes during our practice. She said her instructor once told her that if you don’t breathe during your asanas, your brain will freeze, ha ha!

The class was great and when I got home I was STARVING! So I hurried up and made dinner. On the menu tonight…TOFU!

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I got a small package of Silken Extra Firm tofu (Mori-Nu), drizzled some canola oil on it, sprinkled on some seasonings and baked it in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes (a bit longer since it’s Silken).

On the side I had some mixed veggies, a pita pocket (plain) and some ketchup for dipping the tofu. It was so delicious!

I’m enjoying a nice cup of peppermint tea and a piece of dark chocolate. This kind that I have, it is vegan and it only contains 5 grams of sugar per 3 pieces! Thank goodness I don’t have to make a choice there 😉

The cool thing is that this is MY diet so I can decide. I hope you do the same for yourself. Good night!

That’s not vegan

Wow, you guys, I am simply amazed at how hard it is to eat vegan-ly. I haven’t gone full blown yet but I have spent the past couple of days observing the ingredients in some of the things I eat and hardly anything is vegan! It’s amazing what sneaks into some products.

Breakfast this morning was my very last Holey Donut, Banana Cream Pie. I remember not caring much for this one the first time around but I must’ve heated it right this time because the banana insides were so creamy and delicious. Unfortunately, as I read on their website, this filling has HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Bad, bad, bad.

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On the side I had a Morningstar Farms sausage patty (so not vegan, contains lots of milk ingredients) and some strawberries.

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Sadly, after two strawberries, they just didn’t taste good so I threw the rest away 😦 I don’t know if it was just that it didn’t go with what I was eating, if they were too sweet (and I’m not used to it anymore), or what. Sad though.

My walk this morning was great though. The 15 minutes really starts to fly by when you make it a habit. When I got back I munched on these, which Kashi so graciously sent me last week 🙂

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These were so good! Not vegan but good. Haha. They reminded me of a cereal I’d had before but I couldn’t quite place it. Anyone know? I want to say Honeycombs or something like that, but I never ate those so that can’t be it. Thanks Kashi!

I would probably buy these myself depending on how far I take this vegan thing. Obviously not too far yet 😉

For lunch, I had a “let’s use up what’s in the fridge” salad of romaine lettuce, cucumbers and pinto beans. Doesn’t sound like much but it tasted good and held me quite a while too.

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On my afternoon walk, I remembered this picture I took last week of an albino squirrel on campus. They are actually pretty common (on campus) but I hadn’t seen one in a while and I know a lot of you haven’t so I tried to get a good pic with my camera phone!

albino squirrel

He was closer to me but he kept running away from the crazy lady with the phone, haha.

For my snack, I had some more almonds.

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Then I went to a meeting, left work and hit the gym for a quick 30 minute workout. I did upper body (chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps) weights, abs, and legs getting in two sets of every exercise. It was quick and simple but I definitely felt it when I was leaving!

Dinner was another “throw together what’s left in the fridge” meal…can you tell it’s almost grocery shopping day, and we’re going out of town next weekend!

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This is leftover barley, mixed stir fry veggies, spaghetti sauce and Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles (the only non-vegan ingredient). I’ve made a dish similar to this before and it looks and sounds disgusting to some, but it’s so good.

I’ve successfully used up a lot of stuff in our freezer and refrigerator, yay!

After dinner had settled, I met my friend Candy for a walk at the park. It is such a cool, cloudy evening, perfect walking weather. We went three times around the track which is 3 miles, in about 45 minutes!

When I got home, I was thinking of “desserts” but what I really wanted was a “snack” and my body was telling me banana and PB, so I listened and put down the dark chocolate.

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I’m 110% satisfied and content. It’s amazing what listening to your body does and giving it what it really wants and not what you think you should be having. I wish I could do this every time, but I will cherish this one 😉

I also drank two big ol’ glasses of water because this girl was thirsty!

Time to start settling down for the night. Hooray, tomorrow is Friday and the looong weekend can begin. Have a good one everybody!