Finally seeing some sunshine here in Tennessee. Wonder how long it will last? Sunshine has got me like….mmm, I need TACOS! I whipped up some delicious 100% plant-based Mexican cauliflower tacos topped with a super easy Mexican slaw, and I’m sharing it with you today! This preps so well and keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days. Make it on a Sunday and enjoy it later in the week to make your busy week a little easier! (If you can wait that long to eat it, that is!)
Ok, Tennessee. I’ve had about enough of your weather identity problems. Bring on spring already!! I swear my sons have had more cancelled soccer and flag football games than they’ve actually gotten to play. Bummer!
One thing that always make me happy is… ranch. Since moving to a plant-based diet, I have really missed dipping any and everything in creamy fattening Ranch dressing. Good news is I’ve perfected a plant-based version of Ranch dressing and it’s coming soon to this blog! You know who else loves Ranch? My two boys. And thanks to them, I get to share with you a delicious Ranch chicken you can easily make in your Instant Pot.
Here’s to clean plates and NO complaints!
Check out this video to see how it’s done:
A quick reminder that my monthly challenges are still happening – if you are ready to change your health and fitness for once and all, send an email to moderndayfox at gmail.com and let’s get this party started!!
This last month was hard on me. Losing my best friend, Ted, to a pulmonary embolism just four weeks ago blind sided me like no other. It’s hard to grieve when you have little people to take care of and a household to run. You wonder how the world keeps turning when something so tragic happens, but somehow it does. You want to be mad about that, but it’s actually the thing that forces you to move forward. You literally have no choice.
Here is a photo of Ted and me on one of our many trips across the world. We were in Athens, Greece:
That’s why I’ve been absent from my blog for several weeks. I hope you understand! The good news is that Ted and I mutually shared a love for cooking (and eating) and so I believe I would do a real disservice to him to give up on my recipes and videos. Ted would look at me in his overly sarcastic way and say, “Really??” if I even considered that. So, I’m back!
Today I have a 21 Day Fix and 80 Day Obsession approved Creamy Zucchini Soup that you can make in your Instant Pot with the help of your blender! I recommend doubling or even tripling this recipe if you are feeding a crew. I made this specifically for my meal prep and the serving size is only 1/2 cup which equals one green container and one blue container. This recipe makes 2 cups total so that’s four snacks for my meal prep for the week. We all know that your family will laugh at you if you give them a half cup of soup, so doubling the recipe may be best for you.
Here is a video to show you how it’s done:
I am so excited to be teaming up on a couple recipes with a local business owner and chef, Kristie Holdren. Kristie is the owner of My Veggie Chef, a Nashville company which delivers prepped freezer bags of whole food plant based meals locally here in Middle Tennessee and also ships to 38 states.
Since switching to a whole food plant based diet back in December, my weekly meal prep began kicking my booty. Without meat, dairy, or eggs, I basically have had to teach myself to cook all over again! I needed to press the “easy” button. Enter My Veggie Chef. Each week, Kristie releases a menu of five entree choices and allows customers to customize their orders by choosing which meals they prefer for the week. Don’t care for tempeh (like me)? No problem. Double up on the Carribean Quinoa Burgers. The meals, which feed four, are delivered to my home every Sunday and left in a complimentary freezer satchel provided by My Veggie Chef. The meals arrive in Ziploc bags with a sticker containing the cooking instructions. I put them in the freezer and set one out each day. They take roughly 20 minutes to cook each night. The best part? There are many meals that I can put directly into my Instant Pot frozen, and you know I love that! The meals are healthy and delicious, and full of plants!
This is not a sponsored post. I just love small business owners with unique ideas, especially when they support healthy lifestyles. I’m a paying customer, and plan to continue to being one!
Kristie sent me this hearty split pea soup recipe to share with all of you. Of course I converted it to the Instant Pot! Did you expect any less? As we hammer through these frigid days at the cusp of Spring, this soup is sure to warm you up and make your belly happy!
Photography and Food Styling Credit: Sherry Mata
Check out a video tutorial here:
Pasta with white beans is a recipe has appeared on my menu a couple times over the last few weeks. I made the Red, White and Green Pasta from The Simple Vegan Cookbook and loved it. Then, my weekly order from My Veggie Chef had a very similar dish. Both times my family really liked it, so I knew I had to create my own recipe for the Instant Pot. I think I came up with something very special with this recipe! It is low in fat, vegetarian, and delicious!
The sky is the limit on how you can improvise with this recipe. Add some chicken or sausage if you eat meat. Add some feta if you eat cheese. Add olives and pine nuts to make it even more Mediterranean. Switch out the spinach with argula or kale. You do you, and make this dish your own. I do recommend using the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes that are soaked in oil. It gives the pasta great flavor! If you opt for ones that are not soaked, you may need tom compensate with additional spices. Remember, any change in the recipe that you make can affect the outcome. The directions are for white penne pasta. If you change the pasta, you may need to research to see how that changes cooking times.
Check out how to make this recipe here on my youtube channel:
I had a yard sale yesterday and it was interesting to say the least. I personally love yard sale shopping, but it brings out some mighty strange characters. One guy ripped into the driveway with an overflowing truck full of junk. He looked like Uncle Fester and talked in a gruff voice like he had a mouth full of marbles. He handed me a plastic cup with a Taco Bell dog on the front and asked me for black coffee. “No coffee here,” I said. Then he proceeded to tell me how pretty my smile was and he would like to take me home. I told him I come with a husband. Then he went around and made a huge pile of stuff (including a box of nursing bras) and struck a deal with me. He said he would come back with the money. He didn’t, but he left his dog cup.
Another young girl asked if she could just buy a whole tub of baby clothes for $25. I told her I wasn’t ready to sell it like that, but if she came back at two pm I might be feeling generous. She came back and by that time all the clothes were mixed up in the various tubs. I told her she could go through them and make a big pile of items she wanted. As she worked on her pile, she told her friend she didn’t want coats, anything over 12 months, and nothing stained. She made a pile and asked me how much. I said, “$20?” (There were 38 pieces of clothing.) She said, “Well, I thought I was gonna come back here and grab a tub for $25.” I said, “Well you can add more clothes if you’d like to your pile and pay $25.” She was really stuck on grabbing a tub. I asked why she would want to grab a tub of mixed up clothes when I’m letting her pick the pieces she wants. Again, I told her she could add more clothes to her pile and still pay just $20. She said, “But I only brought $11.” Um, ok. “Alright, you can have that pile you picked out for $11 then.” She said, “But I thought I’d be getting a tub full,” she said. I replied, “I’m trying to follow your logic. You wanted to grab one of these tubs ‘as is’ and pay $25, but you only brought $11. And now, I’m letting you pick the clothes you actually want instead of a tub full of junk and agreeing to accept $11, and you clearly aren’t happy. What do you want exactly?” She said, “I don’t know. I just thought you said you’d be feeling generous, so I would get a tub.” She was pretty ticked off, but she gave me the $11 and took the clothes that I let her hand pick. Her friend later came back to buy something and told me that she was upset because she felt I misled her. I am still mystified by the whole thing. I truly thought I was being generous by letting her hand pick the clothes she wanted rather than take a random tub of mixed up sizes and conditions.
Anyway, I do understand that money is hard to part with, especially when you only have a little. For that reason, I’m sharing a cheap and easy Instant Pot recipe that is tasty and versatile. You can add hot sauce, top it with chicken or smoked sausage, or roll it up in a burrito. It will makes several meals, and stretch your hard earned dollar so that you can buy more at your next yard sale.
Here is a video to see how I did it:
I love lemon. It makes me happy. It makes me think of spring in the midst of these dreary February days. It’s fresh, zesty and blends wonderfully with sweet and savory ingredients!
I also love rice. I think rice was the main staple of my diet in college. I’ve come a long since my days of Minute Rice with butter and salt at the University of Maryland College Park. Now I whip up fancy rice salads like this one which combines two of my favorite things!
This salad has no oil so it stays low-fat and is perfect served on a bed of greens. I used Jasmine Rice for the nutty flavor that it offers, but you can sub other rice types. Just remember that the Instant Pot cooking times in the recipe below are specific to Jasmine Rice. If you change it, then you need to cook the rice you choose to the proper times in the Instant Pot.
Check out a video on how to make this rice salad here and don’t forget to subscribe!
Dressing for this salad adapted from Ordinary Vegan
Let’s talk about peanut butter. This is a subject that has been peeving me for quite some time. You might be wondering how peanut butter could peeve someone, so I’m going to tell you.
They aren’t all created the same.
Most people know that there is a difference between their childhood Jif peanut butter spread and a jar of natural peanut butter that you have to stir. You know, the kind that has TWO ingredients, peanuts and salt? Well, now those marketing buffs are fooling people into thinking they are buying healthy foods when they are not. They have begun labeling jars of peanut butter with the word “natural” when, in fact, they contain added oil and sugar. There’s nothing natural about that! I can’t tell you how many time I’ve bought a jar of “natural” peanut butter and gotten home only to realize there are more ingredients than I bargained for. That really peeves me! Peanut butter doesn’t need all that stuff. It is velvety and delicious just the way it is. Our kids don’t need extra sugar. They get way more than enough sugar around every turn. And, those parents who are trying to do the right thing shouldn’t have to inspect labels that read “natural.”
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. That subject really fires me up.
What can I say? I love peanut butter! And that’s why I created this velvety, rich peanut stew inspired by the many recipes for African Peanut Stew that are floating around the web. I took elements of several recipes and came up with this hearty stew. Even better I was able to throw in plenty of greens and add an extra hit of protein by adding chickpeas.
Just do me a favor when you make this stew- please use natural peanut butter AND read the label! Seriously. This stew has no need for oil OR sugar. It has all the flavor and whole food plant based ingredients it needs!
Here is a video to show you how it’s made in the Instant Pot. Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!
I feel like a lot of people psych themselves out by making food prep way too complicated. There is a saying called KISS that I love and follow: “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Especially when you are new to meal planning, you don’t have to pretend you are a master chef and cook things that have a 100 different ingredients and take 3 hours. Choose recipes that are easy and quick, and that have enough servings to make multiple meals.
I have many people in my monthly fitness challenge group that are doing the 21 Day Fix and searching for easy ways to use their containers. I came up with this simple Instant Pot prep that makes at least four meals with chicken leftover for other meals. I suggest serving the chicken and black bean salad over two cups of chopped romaine lettuce with a 1/4 avocado. If you are using the container system, that would calculate to a red, yellow, 2 greens, and a blue container. Not only is it low fat, low calorie, and delicious, but it all comes together in roughly 15 minutes including the time your Instant Pot needs to come to pressure!
Check out this video to see the prep in action! Make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel too!
Nine weeks into my whole food plant based journey, and I’m surviving… and thriving! My workouts are going great. As of today, I’m on day 22 of my 80 day fitness journey. I feel like I’ve turned a new page in my life where I’m not controlled by sugar anymore. It’s the greatest feeling of release. You have no idea how much white sugar controls your life until you remove it from your diet. All of the sudden you just stop thinking about getting your next fix every chance you get. I don’t know about you, but that’s how it was for me. Sugar was like a drug. I feel like a piece of my mind has just been freed up for more positive activity. It’s hard to explain in words, but it is so freeing.
That said, I still like a treat once in a while! I just use different kinds of sweeteners in my cooking now, specifically maple syrup, coconut sugar, or honey. Since I’m not eating animal products anymore, I’ve also had to learn how to bake without eggs. And, just for an added challenge, I’ve cut out oil as much as possible and replaced it with applesauce where applicable.
One would think I’m suffering, but I’m not! I have reviewed tons of vegan baking recipes and experimented until I found the right combination for my taste. Texture was huge for me. So many Vegan recipes use oats for the flour base and I found that everything comes out gummy. I also wasn’t crazy about how so many recipes used banana in place of oil. Whole wheat flours, regular flour, flax, and applesauce made for better alternatives for the flours, oils and eggs.
Before you try this recipe, I want to clarify something. If you are trying vegan baking for the first time, remember you are cooking in a new way. These are going to be slightly different in texture and taste from the muffins you are used to making. Keep an open mind. When you turn to a plant based diet, your taste buds change. You don’t need tons of sugar and oil for something to taste good. I guess what I’m saying is don’t try to compare apples to oranges. These are a healthy alternative to your run-of-the-mill high calorie muffin, and a nice treat for those on a plant-based diet.
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