Vegan Taco Soup via CrockPot

As I was perusing the grocery store yesterday (I could probably spend hours in there just finding new foods and inspecting nutrition labels), I stumbled upon this Yves Meatless Ground.

It was in the refrigerated section next to the produce. It had great stats, plus it was vegan of course. So I decided to use it in a pot of taco soup! I seriously love my CrockPot, especially in the fall and winter months!

Here's what else I added to the pot (DON'T drain anything!):

  • 1/2 a box of Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
  • 2 cans of beans - I used black and baked
  • 1 can of Mexicorn
  • 1/4 packet of Fajita seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of Pace medium salsa (not pictured)
  • A big squirt of ketchup (not pictured)
  • Water to fill it to the top!

Oh, and because I have to get every possible nutrient in that I can, I added chopped broc. I know, I know, that makes no sense in taco soup. But I swear broccoli can be added to any soup and taste great in it!

Since there was nothing that needed actual "cooking" in this soup, I set it on low for 4 hours.

I thought the soup was absolutely delish, including the meatless ground. Hungry Hubby liked it, but after about 5 bites he did ask, "what kind of meat is this in here...?" So, no fooling him! ;)

Thinspiration: Vegan Edition

I don't know about you, but I am needing some major thinspiration after the Thanksgiving holiday. I had an amazing time with my family, and ate some amazing food, but I need to get back on track with my diet, ya feel me!?!

I thought I would be thinspired this time by vegan celebs! They are all slim, fit, and gorgeous!

Alyssa Milano

Alicia Silverstone

Jenny McCarthy

Pamela Anderson

Natalie Portman (I have heard her speak out about her veganism many times. She is definitely a champion for cruelty-free eating. Gotta love a fellow animal lover!)

Portia de Rossi

How was your Thanksgiving holiday? Are you trying to get back on track diet-wise? I am currently cooking up some Vegan Taco Soup in the CrockPot as I type, so I will post on that tomorrow. YUMMM! :)

[Easy, Shmeasy] Vegan Chickpea Couscous Salad

I'm back on the vegan train, and ridin' along with a suuuuuper easy and filling dinner tonight.

I suck at taking pictures during the cooking process. I often get started with my cooking, and forget to stop and take pictures, and tonight was no different. You're only gonna get the finished product folks, sorry!

I used canned veggies, but feel free to use fresh if you're a better cook than I am! ;)

What 'yo need:
  • Couscous, plain or tri-color
  • A can of chickpeas
  • A can of peas & carrots
  • A can of succotash
  • Chopped red onion
  • Vegetable or "no-chicken" broth
  • Chopped garlic
  • Cumin
  • Crushed red pepper
  • A jar of your favorite marinara
Start by boiling a 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of veggie broth. While the water is heating up, add the chopped onion, garlic, chickpeas, and all the spices. Add the canned vegetables right before dumping a cup of couscous into the bubbling pot. Stir quickly! Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, and mix-in the marinara! THAT'S IT PEOPLE. Yummy, healthy, and most importantly - vegan! ;)

Look at that goodness!

What do you like in your couscous?? I'd love some more easy recipes like this, so please share!

I Forgot I Was Vegan

No, seriously people. Several times in the past few days, I honestly, actually forgot! This week has been a vegan failure. I know most of you are probably thinking "yeah, yeah, yeah, surrrrrrrrre you just forgot," but believe me or not, it's true!

Let's back up to Wednesday, when the vegan landslide began. Hungry Hubby and I postponed our usual after-work workouts to drive to a nearby town to pick up his new car! YAY! [Backstory: HH had been driving a '97 with 200,000 miles on it!! He BEYOND deserved a nice, new car!] We got the car...
and we were in a state of new car euphoria, as we drove back to our apartment. The plan was to get in a quick workout at our apartment gym before eating dinner. As we pulled up to our place, we realized that everything was pitch black! No street lights, no parking garage lights, no window lights on, and many of our neighbors were parked out on their balconies, iPhones in hand. The electricity was clearly out. Well, what was the point of going inside to sit in the dark? And the workout was not going to happen, either.

So what were we to do? Join my girls who were a few blocks away at Taco Diner, that's what! :)

By this point, I was starving, and so giddy about HH's car, so I immediately began digging in to some chips and delicious green sauce.
While I know there is a such thing as green salsa, this is far too creamy to be that innocent. I'm assuming it's laced with either sour cream or ranch.... so enter Vegan Failure #1.

The girls and I were gabbing away as we perused the menus, and HH was filling them in on the car, and I knew I needed to eat something very low-cal, since the workout was abandoned. Not too easy of a feat at a Mexican joint. I zeroed in on the salad, and ordered the "TD" salad with salsa for dressing. Great, right? Wrong. It came with grilled chicken... that I began devouring, not even realizing my mistake. Halfway through the salad it hit me: "I'M EATING AN ANIMAL! CRAP!"
[No, this wasn't MY salad, but you get the point.]
Vegan Failure #2

I shaped-up on Thursday, but then came Friday. Our good friends from Seattle came into town, and we all met up at our friends' downtown loft for drinks and socializing. We headed over to House of Blues around 8, for the John Butler Trio concert (<--- it was amazing!!!), and then went back to the loft to continue the party. HH and I never ate dinner, not intentionally, we just didn't have time! Translation: I was RAVENOUS by 11pm when we were back at the loft.

Enter Vegan Failure #3 and #4:
Homemade Spinach Dip

A Slice of Veggie Pizza

So there it is people, the honest truth. I sucked at being a vegan the past few days. And I swear I didn't mean to cheat, I really just forgot! :( Wish me luck on getting back on track for the next 10 days of my Vegan Mofo challenge!

A Semi-Homemade Lunch Salad

I love to cook, but I also love not cooking. Ha! Does that make any sense? Reminds me of my thoughts on camping... I'm sure I could have a blast camping with the perfect group of friends, perfect weather, nice set-up, and lots of alcohol food, but without all of those in place, I'd rather be cuddled up in a nice hotel somewhere with a down comforter, room service , and champagne... ya feel me!?
So although I love whipping up delicious meals with whole, natural foods, I want it to be ee-zay and low-fuss. I hate dirtying more than 1 pot or pan at a time! That said, I don't want to resort to using processed, junky convenience foods just to keep it fast and easy. So, I subscribe to the "Semi-Homemade" school of thought... thank you Sandra Lee and Food Network for the nice catchphrase, it has a nice ring to it! ;)

Every trip to Whole Foods arms me with goodies for semi-homemade meals. On my latest trip, I hit up the salad bar for some salad items that I would rather buy than make myself....
Teriyaki tofu and shelled edamame.... YUMMMMMM! The tofu is SO freakin' delicious! I wish I had bought more. I will definitely be stocking up on this from now on when I make it to WF. Before going vegan, I would have opted to get some chicken for salad protein, but this is BETTER. Seriously.

I also picked up some super sprouts from the produce section:

Add them all to chopped romaine and baby spinach, throw in chopped roma tomato, and voila! An incredibly speedy and tasty vegan salad!

Please excuse my fine china, I take my lunch to work everyday. ;)

This tofu has definitely inspired me to try and start cooking with it more often! I will keep taking advantage of Whole Foods' chefs by buying their tofu off the salad bar, but I also want to try pressing and flavoring some on my own. Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga has some awesome-looking tofu recipes that I will start trying as soon as I get my hands on a tofu press.... Christmas present, maybe!?

Do you love tofu as much as I do!? What are your tips for semi-homemade salads?

A Vegan Feast: Roasted Veggies

I luuuuuuuuv roasted vegetables. They are incredibly easy to make, can be used as a side dish, the main event, or in salads, and I enjoy eating them both cold and hot.

Today I hit up Whole Foods, and then got to work on a HUGE batch of roasties. I like making lots all at once, so I can eat off them all week.

In the oven today:
  • Red potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Acorn squash
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
I chopped organic baby carrots in half, and put them on a foil-lined pan with the chopped red potato. I added Pam Olive Oil spray and salt pepper to both, plus rosemary to the potato.

I chopped the sweet potato and acorn squash, and added those to another pan, with the Pam and spices.
I put these 2 pans into the oven at 400 degrees on the top rack. These cooked for a little over an hour. Halfway through their cooking time, I did the sprouts and broc.

I chopped the ends off the sprouts and cut an X shape in the bottom of each. I sprayed the sprouts with the Pam, added salt & pepper, and then drizzled balsamic vinegar over them. After rolling them around a bit, I popped them into the oven along with the broccoli, which I prepared per the usual: oil spray, salt & pep.
The sprouts and broccoli roasted for about 30 minutes.

Here were the finished veggies:

Dinner was served! I added Chipotle Tomato Chicken (from Whole Foods' hot bar) to Hungry Hubby's plate, and a small little romaine salad to mine. It was delicious!

Hungry Hubby's plate:

Healthy Honey's (Vegan) plate:

Do you love roasted vegetables as much as I do? I think they are the perfect Vegan side-dish or meal! What do you love to roast? Any good seasoning ideas!?

Vegan Grocery Haul & Spicy Crockpot Soup!

My friend Robin made sure to point out to me today that I promised this post on Tuesday... and it's now Friday. I spent 2 nights cleaning for HOURS since my parents came into town yesterday afternoon. So unfortunately, bloggin went to the back burner. So here ya go, Robin! ;)

Grocery Haul
Here are the vegan-approved foods I picked up on my latest grocery store adventure:
Delicious produce...
  • Anjou pears
  • Honeycrisp apples
  • Vine-ripened tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Acorn squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Red onion
Pre-cut and pre-washed produce... it's more expensive, but SO worth it sometimes!
  • Broccoli florets
  • Stew mix of veggies... red potatoes, celery, & onion (I used this in my soup!)
  • Black beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Pinto beans
  • HUGE tub of salsa
  • Unsweetened almond milk
The replacement for my beloved, non-vegan vanilla creamer. I got the unsweetened kind, because I wanted to keep the calories low. Since I add Sweet-n-Low to my coffee anyways, this works great. It is NOT a good substitute for the oatmeal. Still working on tweaking that recipe to be vegan and delicious....

And of course, I had to get some non-vegan goods for hungry hubby
  • 2 Deli Roasted Chickens... Rosemary Garlic & BBQ
  • Shredded cheese
  • Spicy ranch (<--- completely necessary if I except HH to eat any type of salad!)

It was fairly easy to pick up vegan groceries at a mainstream grocery store. As much as I ADORE Whole Foods, it is just so expensive! Many bloggers refer to it as Whole Paycheck. Ha! I still need to make it there next week to pick up some Veganaise and other goodies, but it's nice to know I can eat vegan when I want to hit-up the "normal" store.

Spicy Vegetable Bean Soup via CrockPot
I love love love love love the CrockPot! Every time I use it, I think of those old rotiserrie chicken infomercials... SET IT- AND FORGET IT! ;) I can pile everything into the pot, turn it on high, and come back hours later to a delish dinner. I love this soup because I make it vegan in the pot, then add chicken to hungry hubby's bowl so it satisfies us both! Each time I make it, I tweak it a little depending on what veggies and beans I have on hand. Anything will work!

The goods:
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Red potato
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Salsa - I used Pace Medium Picante Sauce
  • A couple squirts of ketchup
  • Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
  • H2izzO
Here's the progression:
The taters and carrots have to go in first because they need the most heat!

Next comes the onions, celery, and broc. Just for the record or for your own skeptical Hungry Hubby, the broccoli tastes SO good in this soup. HH always can't believe he enjoys eating broc in this soup!
Next comes the beans! You can use any you have in the pantry.
Add the salsa, ketchup, and seasoning. Yes, I know this looks disgusting, but I promise it tastes so good! After this, add water to the top of the pot and stir 'er up - being careful to leave the potatoes and carrots on the bottom.

Let it cook on high for 5 hours, or on low ALL day. And here's the finished product:

I add shredded chicken to HH's bowl, plus some jalapenos and chopped avocado on top. YUM!

Do you have any good vegan crockpot recipes?!? Please share!