Tag Archives: vegetarian

Feeding your growing belly

20 Jun

During the first 3 months of my pregnancy I suffered from major all day sickness and food aversions. The thought of onions would make my stomach turn. I really couldn’t imagine what feeling normal felt like, it was that bad and I feared I would never again feel well. Rest assured, if you’re experiencing this you will feel like your old self again soon. Around month 3 I stopped feeling nauseous all the time but I still couldn’t handle the smell of certain foods and after eating anything I would feel a little sick. At around the 4.5 month mark I could eat and feel normal and by month 5 I could eat onions again! Right now I’m at 5 months and 2 weeks and I ate my first raw onion a few days ago. I feel good.
As a vegan, people will immediately harp on your protein intake and blah blah blah. I honestly paid little attention to my diet pre-pregnancy, I took a B12 every couple of days but that was the extent of my care. I figured if I was consuming a colorful variety of food then I was pretty okay… Well, I was right. My levels have always been perfect and I rarely ever got sick. Now that I’m with child I’m paying closer attention to what I eat (as all mamma’s to be should).
My midwife had some helpful suggestions and some I came across on my own. Here’s what I’m eating.

Organic food! I’m not exactly a stickler when it comes to organic foods but if I have a choice, I’ll choose organic. The 2 foods I will only eat organic are soy & corn since the non-organic varieties are usually gmo and soaked in chemicals. Organics do cost a bit more but with the rising number of kids with ADD, autism, and allergies, I don’t really want to risk it. You know in 20 years they’re going to links tons of ailments with the poisons we’ve been dumping on our food. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

gmolabels
Organic cereal enriched with iron! You can find cold cereals enriched with upwards of 50% of your daily iron requirements. This is great of you’re at all worried about your iron levels. I buy Trader Joe’s organic corn flakes since it has 45% of my requirements (and a bunch of B vitamins!). I know there is a big debate about corn but hey, I’m not perfect.

cornflakes
Enriched organic coconut/almond/flax milk! I try to lay off the soy since it’s added to everything and because I love tofu. So I don’t buy soy milk anymore. This also helps me avoid coffee since I only like soy in my coffee:) I always get organic and enriched milk. These enriched milks usually have more calcium and B12 than cows milk.
coconut
Kale & Spinach! These are my go-to since they’re dark leafy greens loaded with fiber, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium!!! Super awesome foods for baby and mom!
spinach
Snack attack foods! My midwife suggested I eat a little every 2-3 hours… This is kinda hard since I prefer eating 3 meals and 1 snack a day. I’ve been buying lara bars, primal strips, and nuts to get me through the day. I know the first two, especially primal strips are very processed but trying to find a tiny protein rich snack at 11:30 at night with little sugar is difficult! I’ve also been eating grapes, apricots, and a lot of 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
snac
Water! This is no joke. I have a gallon jug I fill with purified water every morning. Sometimes I finish it and sometimes I don’t, but I make sure to at least get through 1/2.

Being hungry or thirsty when you’re pregnant is no joke. If you’re going out for a while, especially on a subway or something, bring snacks and a nalgene of water. It goes from thinking about food one minute to being absolutely starved and light headed the next. My advice would be, if you think you might be getting hungry then eat. There have been a few instances where my wife has had to get me a sugary beverage because I’ve suddenly gotten light headed out of nowhere. Each time I thought I might be getting hungry and didn’t eat. Here’s a terrible picture of me drinking a super nasty sugary bottled lemonade at a baby store on one such occasion.

oops

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Vegan & Gluten Free Baked ziti

26 Sep

It was a tradition in my home growing up that we got to pick whatever we wanted to eat on our birthdays. For me it was always the same: Baked ziti and a cookie puss ice cream cake. I can’t even type “cookie puss” without laughing on the inside.. How dirty. A sure sign of my budding lesbianism…. Actually though, it was a sure sign of my “if it’s free it’s for me” mentality- with cookie puss you got an ice cream cake AND and an ice cream cone!!! Bonus! But I digress… The real star of the show was my mothers baked ziti. I loved it in a very serious way. The chunky ricotta cheese, the stringy mozzarella that would stretch when it was scopped from serving bowl to dinner plate… I loved it. Below is my own rendition of my moms baked ziti. The tofu gives it a rocotta-esq taste while the daiya stretches and melts. So yummy.
The photo below may not be the prettiest but I assure you, it’s a photo pure deliciousness.

Small but deep baking dish (I use glass) and 1 larger cookie sheet.
8 oz brown rice pasta- preferably ziti  (I use Trader Joes- it’s only $1.99!) *wheat pasta will work also.
3/4 or a full jar of pre-made tomato sauce
1 Tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 small onion- chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic- chopped
5 White button Mushrooms- sliced
1/4 bag Mozzarella Daiya Cheese (you can use more if you like)
1/2 block pressed tofu (any firmness will do but I prefer soft)
5 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1 Tsp Black salt (regular salt will work)
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder

Mix together the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the pressed tofu to the mixture and crumble/mix with your hands. Add 1/2 the daiya cheese to the mixture and mix. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Boil water for pasta
Saute onion in oil until transparent (about 3 minutes)
Add the garlic and saute for 45 seconds.
Add mushrooms, saute until the mushrooms fully release their moisture (about 4 minutes)

Mix tomato sauce, sauteed mix, dried oregano, and dried basil in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer- stirring often.
At this point your pasta water should be boiling. Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the lowest recommended cooking time. The pasta should be very al dente (it will cook further when baked).

Drain pasta and combine with tofu mixture and 3/4 of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Top with the last 1/4 of tomato sauce and top with the remaining daiya cheese. Cover the baking pan with the cookie sheet. You can also cover the dish with foil but I find it wasteful, a cookie sheet works even better than foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Serves 4 generously.

Soaking beans and BBQ baked beans recipe

8 Sep

My entire cooking past up until 3 years ago when I moved in with my future wife was pretty shameful. About 4 years ago I was invited to a vegan potluck and had to be walked through making guacamole- I didn’t know how to peel or slice an onion! Years earlier my mother asked me to boil pasta for dinner and after it was cooked-I left it in the water and didn’t strain it! A genius I am!!!!!!! So nowadays I’m a bit better at this whole cooking thing but I’m still very intimidated of the unknown. The thought of pressing tofu was enough to put me off from making it during the first 6 years of my veganism!

The latest obstacle I have overcome is SOAKING BEANS! Let me tell you, the thought of soaking beans seemed long, annoying and I seriously doubted my ability to make them taste as good as Goya. Well, what finally prompted me to take the leap was my aversion to tomatoes + cans and my love of canned baked beans (which use tomato). I believe firmly believe that canned food causes cancer, why? Check HERE, HERE and HERE. Canned tomatoes pose a particular threat because tomatoes contain a lot of acid and acid leaches the BPA from the cans and then you eat it and them BAM! CANCER! No thank you. 
 
So I finally got off my butt and soaked some beans! Of course I procrastinated and had to look up a recipe to quick-soak them which lead me to the 2 perfect ways to soak beans.
Okay- first off most quick soak directions don’t fully soak the beans so follow my directions.
1 cup dried beans. Many sites suggest checking for dirt and twigs… Um.. I don’t pick my own beans (I WISH!) and most bags you buy in the store are pre-washed.
A pot of water- Use any size pot that will hold 4+ cups of water.
Add beans to the water and bring to a boil.
Let it come to a rolling boil for 10 minutes and then lower to a simmer. Cover.
Let the beans simmer for about 2 hours and then they are ready to use in your recipe.
 
Over night soaking.
Follow the first 4 steps above but let the beans boil for 20 minutes.
Take off heat and let soak overnight. Check at some point to make sure there’s enough water in the pot. I use an excess of water because I’m lazy and don’t want to check on my beans! 
Here is my recipe for delicious BBQ Baked Beans! The photo below includes my BBQ baked beans, coconut rice and pineapple salsa from Oh She Glows and guacamole.
 
1/2 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
1/4 BBQ sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
Pre-soaked beans (all beans from 1 cup of dried beans)
Whisk together ingredients
 
In a glass pan combine beans and  Sauce Mixture. You can also add any faux meat, pre-soaked TVP, or tofu at this point to make it even hardier. 
It is best to use a deep small pan/baking dish/cast iron skillet to keep thing moist. I use glass or cast iron.
 
Cover and bake at 350  for 30 minutes
*I cover my pan with another pan/baking dish- I don’t like to use aluminium for anything plus foil is a little wasteful. I use this method for anything I bake that needs to be covered (like lasagna).