Saturday, January 9, 2010

Food Challenge Summary Days 4-6

   Things are going well with the food challenge.  Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.  If you ask me things are fantastic.  If you ask Tim he may have a different answer. :-)  I think overall he is doing fine, but he does have his grumpy moments.  I feel for him because I know he is way out of his element trying a vegan lifestyle, and I'm so grateful he's agreed to do it.
    Thursday I focused on snacks and the results were mediocre.  I tried to make some homemade granola bars, but they were crumbly and didn't stick together.  We had high hopes for these granola bars.  I even included some vegan chocolate chips to cater to the sweet tooth both Tim and I suffer from (hey I said we were going to limit our sugar intake, not eliminate it).  The liquid part of the granola bar recipe included soy milk, agave nectar, and some melted vegan margarine; I'm guessing that this combination was just not sticky enough to hold the oats, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and unsweetened coconut flakes together.  Some honey probably would have done the trick.  They did taste good, even if they needed to be eaten with a spoon.

Flower Power Granola Squares (more like cereal!)

   My other snack attempt was roasted red pepper hummus.  This turned out great, however, Tim informed me after I made it that he doesn't like hummus.  News to me.  I had no problem gobbling it up, but felt bad that I didn't make something we could both enjoy.  He seemed content with tortilla chips and salsa and his good old Macintosh apples.
    The snack area is still a weakness, so if anyone has any good vegan, non-processed, whole food snack recipes, send them my way!

    I work diligently to find recipes that will appeal to both me and Tim.  This isn't easy as there are many foods on Tim's "I won't touch it" list.  And with an already long list of no-no's that go with a vegan diet, this task would be considered impossible by some.  Thursday we had leftovers, so that was easy.
     On Friday I made "Millet-Topped Lentil Shepherd's Pie", another recipe from 1,000 Vegan recipes (I'm really getting some mileage out of this new cookbook!).  This version of shepherd's pie had millet on top instead of mashed potatoes and lentils instead of meat.  It also had a great variety of yummy vegetables.

Here's the vegetables before the lentils were added.

After cooking the vegetables and lentils, the entire melange is put into a baking dish and topped with the cooked millet*.  Then you bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

     *I had never used millet before starting this food challenge.  According to the cookbook I've been using, it is a "super-nutritious and versatile grain" and according to the package in which I bought it, it is "high in fiber and protein with a complete amino profile".  Who knew?

  While not substantial, the finished dish was bursting with flavor.  I ended up eating almost half the pan myself. Right before I began to make dinner Tim informed me that he wouldn't be hungry for dinner since he ate a big lunch out with colleagues.  Well I was starving so that wasn't going to stop me from making dinner, it's just not nearly as fun to cook for only yourself, so that deflated me a bit.  The good news is that Tim was very disciplined at his business lunch and ordered vegetable pad thai and vegetable spring rolls.  Impressive!

  Tonight I tried yet another recipe for vegetable burgers.  I've tried various recipes for veggie/bean burgers in the past, and have yet to find one I'd consider making again.  The biggest challenge is to get the burger to be a consistency and texture that at least somewhat resembles a meat burger.  All the cookbooks claim that adding "vital wheat gluten" (aka the protein from wheat) will create a great texture, but I haven't found that to be true.  Tonight's recipe was named "Golden Veggie Burgers" and rightly so as the burgers certainly had a nice golden hue.  They were made with onion, yellow bell pepper, chickpeas and vital wheat gluten.  While they weren't terrible, they were just      okay.
I liked the sweet potatoes that I made to go with them.  

I haven't had any cheese cravings yet, which is the only thing I thought I'd crave.  I don't generally love meat that much anyway, so the most difficult part about eliminating meat isn't that I want to eat it but that it is such a staple in most recipes.  Cheese, though, is another story.  I love, love, love cheese.  All kinds. I don't love what it does for your health though, so I am putting its delicious taste out of my mind.  Good night. :-)


  1. Hi Maryea,

    Congratulations on making such a great decision for you and your families health!

    I am a cancer survivor and now vegan as well via the same route you have taken - research on nutrition and how it relates to cancer. A great resource is They have a book you can download with great info and recipes as well as other articles. they are also doing a vegan kickstart right now with lots of info and encouragement/recipes. There is a link on their website or you can go directly to

    I am also a Robin Robertson fan and was a recipe tester for 1000 Vegan Recipes. I tested Flower Power Granola Bars. One of the things I like to do is make them in an 8x12 inch pan instead of 8x8 - they are thinner, but hold together better. I also experimented by adding one tbsp of vegan butter at a time and/or agave nectar until I got a good consistency. I use 3 tbsp of vegan butter for mine.

    I am working on getting a blog up and running and hope it will be up by the end of the month. There will be lot's of recipes ideas and health information. Please feel free to check it out.

    Best of luck to you!

  2. Try mixing the granola bar mixture in a food processor instead of by hand. It's quicker, easier and eliminates the elbow grease needed to do it by hand.

  3. Lisa-thank you so much for the tips on the granola bars. I will try that because they were tasty. I will definitely check out your blog as I'm always looking for new recipe ideas. Thanks again.

    Anonymous-thanks for the tip; I will give that a try, too.

  4. Oh and Lisa, I forgot to add that I have used a lot of recipes from the website. Love it!