Easy Plant Based Dinner Ideas

I love summer; especially all the wonderful fruits and veggies that are abundant locally this time of year.  I made a really yummy summer salad for dinner on Sunday and a super easy Meatless Monday meal for Monday’s dinner.

Sunday’s dinner was composed of watermelon, tomatoes (red and yellow from Didier Farm, local farm), corn (from the same place), red onions, a little quinoa, lemony greens (from Trader Joe’s) and some vegan ‘feta’ cheese that actually had too much garlic in it.  I made up a homemade basil vinegrette to drizzle over the top (basil, white balsamic vinegar, Kite Hill Almond milk yogurt, salt, lemon zest/juice and some pine nuts).  Hubby was not a huge fan of the dressing; I’m thinking plain balsamic vinegar would have been better.  None the less it was quite yummy.

Monday’s meatless meal was an old favorite:  Potato taco salad.  I started with a base of a cooked Yukon potato, cut into one inch pieces, topped with my ‘shakeable cheese’ (nutritional yeast/sesame seeds/cashews ground up to a gritty texture), a yummy black bean salsa (from the same farm mentioned above), topped with some shredded romaine, some diced peppers, chives and cilantro- no dressing needed.  It’s such a flavorful and  filling meal!

I didn’t measure anything, just eyeball what looks/tastes good to you.

Tomato, Watermelon & Corn Salad with Basil Vinegrette 

Meatless Monday Potato Taco Salad


Easy Plant Based Mayo

There are a ton of plant based versions of Mayonaise around, but I’ve never tried them.  They typically yield way too much for one person to consume before the ingredients go bad.  Today I created my own ‘single serving’ size of plant based mayo and it doesn’t contain tofu.  Again, I have nothing against tofu, but when used for a dressing or spread, I’m left with too much of a good thing and what hasn’t been consumed usually ends up going down the drain…along with my money 😦

My recipe is very simple.  It includes Kite Hill plain almond milk yogurt, spicy mustard and a touch of Dijon mustard.  Blend everything together with a fork, and you’ve got plant based mayo!  I used about 2 tablespoons of the yogurt, and maybe 1  tsp of the spicy mustard and maybe 1/2 tsp of Dijon.  You can adjust to your liking.

We are having a summer meal of ‘BLT’s’ as this is the perfect time of the year for the tomatoes (I got some wonderful looking tomatoes at a local farm recently).  Hubby is having bacon (his once a year treat) and I am having ‘Fakin bacon’ made from tempeh.  I could make my own, but I was feeling lazy this weekend!  This ‘mayo’ will go on my sandwhich, I can’t wait to try it!

What did I do with the rest of the yogurt you ask?  It is stored safely in a reusable container for use in another dressing recipe that has yet to be created!  Stay tuned!

This is the Kite Hill plant based almond milk yogurt.  I buy it at Whole Foods.

Here’s the plant based ‘mayo’ 🙂

Here’s the finished dish. I used Trader Joe’s sprouted rye…very tasty!

Why I Returned to Weight Watchers

I turned 50 two years ago.  It was a great celebration that included a vacation to visit a friend in Phoenix, explore Sedona, stop at the Grand Canyon (where I turned 50) and tour Las Vegas.  I felt pretty good about turning 50.  I was at my all time lowest adult weight, I was working out and I felt good (not to mention I looked pretty good too!).  I had been following a plant based diet for about 2 years at this point.  I had a great support system though the Engine 2 Extra online social group.  We shared our successes and struggles and encouraged each other when we stumbled. E2X as it was called eventually faded away into another social media avenue that is not really what I need.  I’ve stayed friends with many of the people I met at E2x and am grateful for their online friendship.  

Not having the daily accountability I had at E2X has had a detrimental effect on my weight and health.  I’ve gained 20 pounds in the past two years.  I wanted to blame it all on menopause, but my gynecologist was quick to suggest it might not be all that.  I wanted to blame it on anything outside my control.  I did not want to deal with the reality that I was eating too much food, and not exercising on a consistent basis.  I’m am also struggling with some emotional and mental issues which are not helping my eating.  While I’ve stayed true to my plant strong roots, I seem to be eating more calorie dense foods, and eating when I’m not hungry (I eat when I’m physically bored, which happens a lot when you sit at a desk all day!).  I need daily accountability.

Recently, my co-worker and I were talking about our weight gain and how we needed to take control.  Her daughter is getting married next year, so she has an external motivator happening.  We talked about Weight Watchers and the success we both had following it ( I joined WW online about 10 years ago).  We talked about the possibility of bringing it into the work place with weekly meetings held on site by a local leader and how great it could be.  BOOM…that’s all I needed.  I took over the project coordiating it all with a local leader, putting up signs to solicit interest and we held our first informational meeting a few weeks ago.  Over the past few weeks our small group of 15 has grown to 25, which includes three men.  We even have the company paying 50% of everyone’s membership dues, as it can be a great way to reduce medical insurance claims from medicines for the diseases of affluence (as Dr. Cooling Campbell calls them).  Everyone is supportive of each other and very encouraging.  We held our first official meeting last Tuesday and I’ve been counting points ever since then.  While I like the freedom of not counting calories or points on a plant based diet, I need the structure and accountblility right now.  I need to get my eating back on track and this is working.  I even have an accountability buddy.  She is a recent new mom and wants to get in better shape to keep up with her growing baby.  She and I email each day how we are doing and help each other on our journey.   I’ve become the go-to person for help with the website and general questions.  It’s great to be a part of such a supportive community.

Following a plant based lifestyle while doing Weight Watchers is great…I can eat a  LOT of food (fruits and most veggies are “0” points).  I don’t want to get into a dialogue with anyone as to which eating style is better than another, it’s about finding what works for you.  What matters most is that I’ve found my accountability group which is what I need to stay true to myself.  I’m looking forward to hearing what information is discussed at our weekly meeting, but more importantly, I’m excited to see how successful everyone will be.

I’ve taken measures to improve my exercise regime by working with a personal trainer every few months (she gives me exercises to do on my own) AND I’ve even started taking up swimming lessons to refine my strokes and learn news strokes.  2016 is all about me…making myself a better person.  Starting with the the inside is the best place to start.

This is my ‘before’ picture.  It may not look like it, but I’m packing and extra 20 pounds under that top!  I’m looking forward to posting the after picture in a few months.