Veganish! Yep, that’s what I call myself. I spent many years of my life researching alternative diets and It was so overwhelming that it kept me from just being healthy. One day, a coworker told me he was vegan. I have a vegan friend but I wasn’t familiar with their meals. I consider myself a food connoisseur so I’m no stranger to the kitchen but I didn’t know where to begin. My first question to him was, “What do you eat??”
He actually took the time to write out meal ideas for each meal. Some were appealing, others not so much. Because the thing is, there’s no meat or meat byproducts so I would have to re-learn my whole life’s eating choices. Let’s face it, most of us grew up preparing our meals around a meat! “I want chicken for dinner.” Pick a vegetable and a starch and you have a meal! But what does one do when meat isn’t the center of your meal?
I started slow. Meatless Monday; breakfast was easy, oatmeal with chopped fruit and granola or dairy-free yogurt with fruit and nuts. For lunch I would eat a steam bag of veggies. For dinner I would make pasta dishes or soups. After awhile I would eat a meatless or vegan meal for lunch on days other than Monday. Six months later I realized that the only time I ate meat was at dinner. It was astonishing to me! I began removing meat from dinner and changed my thoughts to meat sometimes (I have commitment issues😁).
Soon I started trying out new recipes. I would think of what I would normally make and then attempt to veganize it. Now, I feel amazing! I lost weight, I rarely eat meat, and I advocate for meat reduction; EAT meat on the WEEKEND and maintain a Veganish lifestyle. Because for those of us out there struggling with every saucy or Worcester sauce (because it’s not vegan) detail, there are some very judgey (I know it’s not a word) vegans that will push you off the wagon because you meat (LOL, a little jokey joke, in my Martin Lawrence voice)or don’t meet their standards.
So here it is, one thing that has helped me transition is recreating some of my favorite junk foods. I have made Copycat Popeye’s, by frying cauliflower, double dipped in a spicy batter, makes my mouth water as I type. I’ve done a vegan Jucy Lucy, cheeze stuffed beefless burger. And today I have Copycat Jack in the Box Vegan Crispy Tacos. Oh my goodness, these hot crispy, crunchy tacos were everything I wanted them to be and oh so craveable. Check out the video. And for a little inspiration for those straddling the fence, don’t worry about being perfect at least you are actively trying to eat better. Don’t give up because someone discourages you, because I guarantee, people are more concerned about you only eating vegetables then they will ever be if you only ate McDonald’s! Many blessings on your vegan or veganish journey.
I’ve recently purged my refrigerator. For the most part I eat healthy but I tend to over indulge in sweets. I love pastries and cheese cake and chocolate is dreamy! I also eat a lot of Teriyaki sauce & Szechuan sauce and store bought salad dressings etc. which are loaded with sugar and other additives. I’m not saying that I’m never going to have pastries or salad dressing…I’m just saying that I’m learning to make my own Szechuan sauce and or sweet treats. We have to remember to eat in moderation and take time to prep and plan our meals. I know it’s a struggle and a sacrifice of our time but we’re worth it!
After my purge I was left with fresh carrots zucchini and a bag of Kale among other things. I remember my co worker mentioning something about trying sautéed Kale. I decided to give it a go. I’m NO chef… this is just a simple recipe/guide I created.
I used less than one half 12 oz bag of Organic Kale from Aldi.
1 chopped medium size onion ( I didn’t need the whole onion… based on the amount of Kale I cooked but I love onions. 1 medium onion is fine for a 12 oz bag of Kale)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Black Pepper
Tongs and or large spoon
Vegetable broth isn’t needed but it may be be useful
It’s a very simple recipe/guide that you can use as a side or main dish and it only takes 15 minutes. You can cook it longer if you don’t like the tender- crisp veggies and add a little vegetable broth. I like to feel a little crunch when I bite into my veggies! I like texture when I eat. My son didn’t seem interested until I was scarfing it down and then he decided he wanted some. He’s 14 and can be picky but he really liked it I had to make a second batch. I added one tablespoon of broth. Both times it was delicious! However, we both preferred the first batch the second batch was a little more tender because of the broth.
I used a medium frying pan . Whatever size pan you use add enough olive oil that will fully coat the bottom of the pan. If you plan to make a large batch consider using a dutch oven. I used about 3-4 tablespoons.
Add chopped onions and seasonings to the pan. I went a little heavy on the red pepper flakes because I wanted it be spicy! You can use your favorites. Use how much seasoning you’d normally use on your sautéed veggies you know what your family likes. Cook 3 minutes or so on medium heat.
Add Kale and toss it with tongs or a large spoon making sure it’s nice and coated. If it’s not completed coated drizzle a little olive oil and cover pan for 5 minutes or so. Again, you may have to adjust the time if you’re making a larger batch. Cook until the liquid has evaporated. If it’s not as tender as you’d like add a tiny drizzle of Olive Oil, cover and cook it a little longer. Remember if you don’t like the “crunch” when you bite into your veggies add a couple tablespoons of vegetable broth. In fact…you can start with adding a little vegetable broth with the olive oil and let it cook covered for 5 minutes. However, if you add broth be sure to use less seasoning because the broth adds flavor and you don’t want to over power the Kale with too much seasoning. Remove from burner, let it stand for a couple of minutes and serve as a side dish or for Meatless Mondays!