Vegan Update: Week 3

Happy Monday!!  First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who donated to my fundraiser for the Sherry Spin-Along.  Sherry is a personal friend of mine and I truly believe that these dollars go towards saving her life and others, so it is very close to my heart.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  I was overwhelmed by the number of people who donated.  Because of you I was the number one fundraiser (if you don’t count Martin and Sherry, which I don’t LOL)!

The donation site will be open for the rest of the week, so if you didn’t get a chance there is still time!  I received donations from $10-$1000 and I’m equally thankful for all of them!!  EVERY DOLLAR MATTERS.  You can donate HERE.

Me, Sherry, and Lance at the Spin-Along

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It’s hard to believe, but Lance and I only have a week and a half left on our vegan diet.  The month has seriously flown by!

Things I am thankful for this week:

1. Wine is vegan
2. Coffee is vegan
3. Popcorn is vegan
4. Dark chocolate is vegan

Lance nor I are having any real cravings and neither of us are struggling with the diet (mainly due to my list above LOL).  We both feel really good and are sleeping well.  Lance has still not lost any weight, which we think is crazy!  He drinks quite a bit of bourbon and gave that up this month, so you would think that alone would make his weight go down.  Neither of us eat a great deal of carbs normally, so maybe it’s because we are eating more carbs?  As of last week, I was down about 7 pounds, but then I ate a TON of popcorn Friday night and we had a vegan ‘cheat’ meal on Saturday (you’ll see below), so my weight is up a little from the weekend (to be expected).  My plan for the last week and a half of the diet is to go gluten free as well.  I’m not eating a ton of gluten, but I do have the toast in the morning, I have sourdough sometimes, and I have these Bark Thins that are dark chocolate over pretzels…OK, now that I list it out, I’m eating more gluten than I think!  As if giving up meat, dairy, and eggs wasn’t hard enough…now gluten, too.  Stay tuned.

Here are some things we’ve been eating!

This Vegetable Tortilla Soup has been my FAVORITE thing we have eaten the whole month!  I make something similar with chicken and cheese on top, but this soup is so flavorful that I didn’t even miss the cheese, especially with the avocado and tortilla chips.

Vegetable Tortilla Soup
1 T olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 T chili powder (I like 3 T, but I like things hot!)
1 T cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
5 cups vegetable broth (I use Rapunzel bouillon + water)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium zucchini, sliced
Juice from half a lime
A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Add-ins and toppings:
Cooked Rice
Avocado
Pickled jalepeños
Tortilla chips

Heat olive oil in a pot.  Add onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes until soft.  Add chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and heat for 1 minute to release the flavor.  Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, and zucchini.  Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until zucchini is soft.  Turn off heat and add lime juice and fresh cilantro.  To serve, pour soup over a scoop of cooked rice and top with pickled jalapeños, avocado, and tortilla chips.  You could easily add some cooked chicken or ground turkey if you want some meat in the recipe!

There is a restaurant near our house called Bean and it’s all vegan.  We’ve never really had a reason to go, but this month we wanted to make sure we checked it out!  It’s such an interesting place because it’s all southern comfort food…but all vegan.  We had been eating really clean (neither of us had eaten anything fried all month), so it was nice to have a ‘cheat’ meal.  Lance got a jalapeño cheddar burger and onion rings and I got a chili cheese burger and fries.  The food was really, really delicious and it was fun to go try something new and random.  I can say for sure that we both felt pretty terrible afterwards!!  But it was worth it.

Another week, another salad.  The rest of my meals have looked more like this.  Lettuce, mushrooms, cucumbers, hemp seeds, and tempeh (I just slice the tempeh and fry in it a little olive oil in a pan and then sprinkle low sodium soy sauce over it).  I topped the salad with miso ginger dressing.  These big bowls have been my go-to and I love them.

Another dish I have made several times is a mezze platter.  They vary depending on what I have on hand, but this one was: teriyaki marinated tofu, cucumber with chili lime seasoning, spicy hummus, cauliflower tabouli, Balela (bean salad), and artichoke spread (all from Trader Joe’s).  Honestly, if I could eat something like this for every meal, I would be happy.  I serve it with some crackers, and I love scooping up different bites and flavors.

Avocado toast has been another go-to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  This simple version is Trader Joe’s sourdough, smashed avocado, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Everything But The Bagel seasoning.  I made some today that was sourdough, avocado, thin sliced cucumber, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, and the Balela bean salad on top.  Yum!

We made an Asian stir-fry one night that was really good.  It was just onion, garlic, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil, topped with Soyaki sauce from Trader Joe’s, and served over rice.  I also made the Miso Dumpling soup again, recipe HERE.

Next week I will share a list of the favorite places we have eaten out here in Charlotte!  Thanks for reading!

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