So it has been a complete week now of vegan eating and unlike my previous times of eating vegetarian, we have found ourselves going through some changes I was not anticipating. Yes, menu planning is taking more time as I realize how much of our previous meal plan was meat, cheese and egg dependent. I have also come to realize how, with my hectic schedule, I had become dependent on 30 or less minute meals. This week I have learned to slow down, breathe, and take time to think things through.
Interestingly, one day this week I was reminded to take time to do nothing. It was during that “do nothing” time that I began to gain insights into how this change was going to affect every aspect of my life. Zoe who is normally minimally engaged in meal prep and planning, has begun helping me, which is an awesome surprise. The other day she helped me grate potatoes for potato pancakes and realized just how much time I sometimes put into meal preparation.
I have always done a lot of cooking from scratch, but this has taken on a new meaning for me. For example, I wanted to try this enchilada pie, but our grocery store did not carry any brand of vegan chorizo. So I found a recipe and made my own vegan chorizo so I could make this enchilada pie. Doing so was exciting and reminded me of the day I learned that chili powder was not A single ingredient, but a blend of them. Learning I could make my own “meat” was interesting. I have since found other recipes I may try in the future.
Making the chorizo reminded me of an episode of Master Chef Professional where they challenged the chefs to create a dish which featured a spice. Many of us use spices all the time in our cooking, but rarely do we think about how we can feature them. This week I became far more grateful for my spices as I watched them transform a block of tofu into a pan filled with chorizo where I could taste and see the presence of each spice I had added.
I also found myself using some of my kitchen tools differently. One of my most used tools used to be my Pampered Chef Mix ‘n Chop. I used it for lots of things, mostly dishes I will no longer be making. However, this week, I realized it is now my new best friend for breaking up my tofu and drying it out in a pan. Until this week, I always pressed the water out of my tofu by setting a heavy pan on it. This week, I learned from a Mark Bittner recipe how I could dry the water out of the tofu in a skillet,
Most importantly, I have come to realize that I need to stop and think through my meals for the day to ensure we are getting enough protein, enough fruits and vegetables and everything else we need. Throughout most of my life, I have focused on elevating every aspect of my life, but one. So now, I am focusing on my relationship with my body and that which I put in it. Throughout the process, I am finding myself more mindful of what I am eating, the tastes, the textures, and my bodies response. In some respects I feel like I am eating more, but in other respects I am eating less. The more I am eating is answering the cravings of my body in ways my previous foods were not. I am grateful for the gifts I am giving myself and my family and the memories we are creating along the way.