21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: Main Kickstart Forum: Cooking All Day?
Created on: 01/02/13 09:34 AM Views: 4871 Replies: 31
Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Does anyone else feel like they spend all their time shopping and cooking? Any idea how to alleviate this? I am a stay at home mom and still an't spend so much time cooking....Advice?

Thanks!!

Keri

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM

A couple of suggestions...

1. Feel free to cook meals that are similar to what you are accustomed to preparing, only "veganized."
For example:
* Instead of pasta with meat sauce, make pasta with vegetable marinara sauce.
* Instead of meat tacos, make black bean tacos.
* Instead of cereal with milk, try cereal with almond milk.

2. Try cooking in large batches once or twice a week.
* Make a very large pot of chili. You can change up the presentation throughout the week by serving different sides - side salad, side cornbread, served over potatoes, etc.
* Make a large pot of beans and rice to which you can vary throughout the week with different spices. Add curry for an Indian dish; add chili powder for a Mexican meal; add tarragon for a "sweet" twist.
* Make a dozen veggie burgers and freeze for future convenience.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Keri wrote:

Does anyone else feel like they spend all their time shopping and cooking? Any idea how to alleviate this? I am a stay at home mom and still an't spend so much time cooking....Advice?

Thanks!!

Keri

Hi Keri!

Susan has some great suggestios for you - of course!

And I want to reassure you, it's just like anything new, at first it takes a lot of attention yet once you get some new habits formed it will be easier than before!

Here are some of my practices, things that help me make sure I've got what I need to eat on hand - critical to success!

- cook big batches of brown rice (or any other whole grain mixture)in the rice cooker and store in the fridge

- cook big batches of potatoes and sweet potatoes for same

- grab sevaral bags of prepared greens (spinach) and romaine heads in a bag for easy rinsing

- have several pounds of big carrots in the fridge - grab on, a quick peel, and you've got another veg in your day. Same with heads of cabbage!

- I cook big batches of lentil soup in the pressure cooker 2 - 3 times a week so it's all there ready for lunch or any other time. Here's my quick recipe:

http://www.lanimuelrath.com/diet-nutrition/my-simple-soup-trick-to-up-your-veggie-count-and-get-your-skinny-on-video/

The video isn't playing right for some reason today but you can see it a YT here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y92dhy6yW_Y&feature=share&list=UURp5S_qJamvW6nkdfVPay6g

Best thing is just to have lots of food available and cook in big batches on the weekends or whenever you have time - so you are prepared. What you have is what you'll eat.

Welcome, it will get easier!

Lani

Lani Muelrath, M.A. CGFI, CPBN
Fit Quickies: The Plant-Based Fitness Book

www
RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM

In addition to those suggestions, here are a couple I thought of and use:

* Cook large batches of beans and once they are drained, freeze them in freezer bags (flat to save space)

* Use left over dinner servings for lunches the next day

* Look ahead at what you are going to make for the next few days and do a lot of your chopping "prep" work ahead of time. I do this for a few hours on my day off so I'm ready to just toss things into a pan or a pot.

And like Lani said, this will take time to get used to but don't give up! You'll be spending slightly more time in the kitchen but the benefits for doing so will always outweigh that!

- Amanda
Be the change you wish to see in the world...

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I agree with Keri I spent all day in the kitchen making lunch never did get around to cooking dinner

Edited 01/02/13 1:05 PM
RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Embarassed Sorry I cant find anyway to delete this. Same with the one below

Edited 01/02/13 1:04 PM
RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Embarassed

Edited 01/02/13 1:03 PM
RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I did the same thing the first time I did Kickstart. I think the key is to substitute simple, easy dishes for some of the published recipes. Don't sweat the fancy breakfast and lunch items, use oatmeal, veggie burgers, etc. on some days. Then try recipes that look good and that you can double for future use. I've settled on several favorites and am always on the lookout for something new, just don't kill myself in the kitchen trying too many things at once! Smile

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM

I cant find some of the ingredients either. No stores around me carry fenugreek seed or berbre curry. I instead made the morocan sweet potato stew and had to play around with that because I didn't have all the spices and such.

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I try and cook in bulk. The other day when I made the soup, I made a triple batch. That way there was enough for everyone in the family and enough leftovers for me to have it today.

At the weekend I made a HUGE batch of the hummus, because it makes a great snack for the kids when they are hungry. So, I already had that in the fridge for today's lunch.

Tonight when I make the stew, I'll make a huge batch that will last a couple of days.

Also, I make substitutions. Instead of making white beans one day and black beans another day, I just made a HUGE batch of black beans and I'm using those in the recipes that call for beans until they are gone.

Also, I'm gluten free. For today's lunch I used a brown rice tortilla instead of a wheat tortilla. I used brown rice instead of orzo in the soup the other day.

So far, so good. I'm sticking with it, and use simple substitutions as necessary.

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

We generally do large batches of certain things. For instance, when we cook beans to make chili, we make double (or more) of the beans. Stored in the fridge (or freezer) in single can sized portions (approx 2 cups), it's ready for fast add ins for other things. With the beans already cooked, a simple meal of beans, rice, canned tomato (diced or crushed depending on how chunky we want it), and spices and dinner is done in 30 minutes or less. Lunches are almost always leftovers from prior dinners (just smaller portions usually with a piece of fruit or something on the side). My hubby (the at-home parent) has a reminder timer set on his iPhone to start cooking at 5 pm. I get home at 5:30 and he usually is just about done with dinner cooking. We don't do the breakfast and lunches per the kickstart - as I said, we do leftovers for most lunches and breakfast is usually the same thing every day (easier not having to think in the morning! Wink ) BTW oatmeal can be made in many rice cookers (if you've got one), or a big pot can be made once and then portioned out and reheated over the course of several days. And, you can do it muesli-style by soaking the oats with dried fruit and plant milk overnight then heating in the morning very quickly and adding finishing touches (like a dab of cinnamon) or it can be eaten cold for a refreshing warm weather breakfast.
Also, we find that having a menu for the week is helpful - that way we know "okay we're having chili on Monday, how about stir fry on Tuesday and make extra rice and cut up extra veggies, then have rice and chili mixed on Wednesday, use the cut up veg on Thursday for soup, something simple like pancakes on Friday" Or, we might use the leftover chili with pasta or on top of baked potatoes. And, if we're having chili, we've got beans cooked and ready so we can throw beans into the soup too (to add extra protein to the meal). Weekends are usually for using up leftovers and generally nibbling rather than sit down meals anyhow, so having components (rice, beans, potatoes, etc) on hand, they can be mix and matched.
Oh, yeah, that's something we learned back in the first or second kickstart (as we were learning vegan cooking and menu planning) is to look at things not as "meals" but as components or ingredients. Instead of seeing "vegetable stir fry" as a single meal, look at it as "cooked rice, chopped vegetables, vegetable stock, protein (quinoa, lentils, beans, etc)" That way, once you've got each dinner broken down into components, you can see "oh if I cook double rice on Monday, when I'm cooking rice anyhow; and chop double carrots, celery, onions on Wednesday when I'm making stir fry; then I've got 80% of the work done for making vegetable soup with rice on Friday" For that matter, my 14 yr old son will re-heat some rice with almond milk, raisins, and cinnamon for a warm breakfast that's a change from oatmeal or cold cereal.
--DebR

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

I'm confused the kickstart menu isn't what we should be doing? I thouht we were suppose to use the 3 week menu. So basically I can throw anything together as long as it's meatless and dairyfree. I'm on day 2 of this and following the menu cause I have no idea how to do this.

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 1:51 PM

PennyCallahan54 wrote:

I'm confused the kickstart menu isn't what we should be doing? I thouht we were suppose to use the 3 week menu. So basically I can throw anything together as long as it's meatless and dairyfree. I'm on day 2 of this and following the menu cause I have no idea how to do this.

Not exactly. If you've never cooked vegan meals, then the kickstart menu is a good way to learn how to balance foods in a healthy way. White flour pasta with tomato sauce and margarine is vegan (provided the margarine is vegan) but it's not necessarily the healthiest option and runs low on protein, fiber, and other nutrients. It is possible to be an unhealthy vegan. A more "kickstart" style option would be whole grain pasta with spinach, mushrooms, and cannelini beans in a tomato herb sauce. See the difference? More fiber, more protein, more vegetables.

But, if you don't have, can't find, can't afford, are allergic to, or plain don't like some of the foods, then switch it out for something else. Use the menu as a guideline - there's typically a whole grain, a bean/legume of some sort (lentils maybe), a leafy green vegetable and assorted other veggies (when looking at the dinners generally) - go colorful! Then add seasonings - Italian, Asian (Thai, Chinese, Japanese, etc), Middle Eastern, North African, whatever you like. The kickstart menu is a great way to get ideas on using new ingredients, new spices, new ways of cooking and combining, even for those folks who have been vegan for a while.

--DebR

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Ok Thanks. Wish I would of came here before I went to 2 grocery stores and spent a bunch of money

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:52 PM

I'm a huge fan of cooking and work from home so can. But even i was surprised with the amount of preparation that was required for the food plan.
Especially all the different condiments like roasted pepper bean spread for sandwiches. If i am going to follow the plan (which i am when it sounds especially good but won't if i am bored with being told what to cook or don't have the time) i have to make all these condiments myself as I live in a very small town with limited options at the grocery store.

Im guessing that whoever wrote the meal plan wanted something that was very gourmet and delicious that it would win people over to veganism! So i'm not critisising it because i think that is a very good idea. I'm glad i have the cooking skills that i don't really need recipes to do this and enjoy the challenge of veganising everything and the different way of thinking that is often required.
I have even got batches of homemade vegan cheese in the fridge and make my own plant milks and pates from the leftover solids.

I think cooking to recipes costs too much in general. Vegan or not so have never really done it. I use recipes as inspirations rather than instructions. I have a very well stocked pantry and fridge at all times an like to buy seasonal and what is cheap. So even for things like beans which are cheap it is better for me to use what i have already than to buy something especially for a recipe. i of course always have beans, but maybe not the variety in a particular recipe (especially being in Australia. Sadly we do not have a lot of access to all the varieties that seem to be in the US like black beans, black eyed peas and pinto beans. I can get chickpeas, kidney beans, cannelloni beans and lentils and that's it). I tried growing some of my own blackbeans but they didn't go very well unfortunately.

I wonder if perhaps in future for people without cooking skills and or less time a list of ideas could be provided in addition to the gourmet menu. I guess that kind of of thing is already in the book which i did read. But it wouldn't take long. And it would save all your lovely forum moderators having to list the same ideas for people who struggle with the meal plan but don't have the confidence to chose their own meals.

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Thank you all for the information! I was freaking out a little. Very Happy

So how do you know if what you are eating is "healthy vegan"? Today I had oatmeal, frozen Indian food (vegan) meal, and I made a chili cornbread casserole. Oh and an apple for snack. Is that too much, too little? My goal is to eat healthy, lose weight (100lbs) and change my lifestyle.

FYI, so glad to have found all of you. So helpful!!

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Lani,

I LOVE the idea of the soup! I do not have a pressure cooker and I just bought regular lentils - how do I adapt that? Keep in mind I am just learning how to cook!

Thank you!!

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Keri, I'm smiling because I started this way of eating three days after watching FoKs. I cleaned out everything (well I did find a few sleepers down the road) and gave it all away. Since I had just stocked my pantry and fridge that was kind of an expensive endeavor - but I just couldn't eat it anymore. There are times that a little knowledge really forces you to examine your principles and integrity.

I have never been a major "chef" type of cook and I felt exactly like you. I started with a lot of canned beans and used transition foods until I started getting my bearings a little bit. I used things like tofurky pizza, the "chicken nuggets", and vegan hot dogs. Now that I have been eating this way for three months I am doing many of the things others have suggested. Rice cooker, beans soaked, cooked, and frozen. It does get easier as you learn what you and your family enjoys. I still haven't gotten homemade hummus down yet but it is getting closer - who knew I would even be eating hummus let alone attempting to make it from scratch (I didn't know I should add a liquid so I ended up with bean glue.

I'm learning how to experiment with spices and things are beginning to taste a little different when I try new things. I read somewhere you needed to try something 16 times in order to learn to like it (I guess i'll have to try tofu a few more times.

Some things I've learned to do as I went along. Every Sunday I cut up veggies, cover them in water and place them in the fridge which keeps them for the entire week. I always cook up a six quart crockpot with vegan chilli or homemade vegitable soap for dinner on Sunday and lunches for most of the week. I try to soak a different type of bean every weekend and freeze them as others have suggested.

The main thing is to have fun and enjoy what you are learning and just try a couple of new things every week. You can do it and it really will get earier. Hang in there and don't give up!

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 2:39 AM

Well, I can relate to the new Kickstarters because I did the same thing the first time - went out and bought everything. As everyone has said, it's best to look ahead a few days, get that, prepare enough of the veggies that are repeated in 2 or 3 recipes. I like having leftovers and don't mind having last night's dinner for lunch. Also, my family consists of 2 following the meal plan and 2 following the average American diet. I'd love to get rid of all the junk.... I'd be ecstatic! Have never been able to have that ideal situation. I try to keep my foods grouped together in the pantry as much as possible.

RE: Cooking All Day?
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Pudgypumpkin wrote:

I still haven't gotten homemade hummus down yet but it is getting closer - who knew I would even be eating hummus let alone attempting to make it from scratch (I didn't know I should add a liquid so I ended up with bean glue.

I make homemade hummus ALL the time. We use it as a dressing for a Kale salad.

Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans (1 1/2 cups cooked dry beans)
2-3 garlic cloves (to taste)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp low sodium Tamari or low sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp water
Blend

If you want a thicker consistency and don't mind the fat, add 1-2 Tbsp Tahini (Tahini is traditionally in hummus, I leave it out to make my hummus low fat.)

For those that are curious...,

Kale Salad
1 large head of Kale, remove tough stems and tear into bite size pieces
1 batch of hummus
8-10 chopped dates (or pick any fruit, mango works well)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 carrots, shredded
Put it all in a bowl, roll up your sleeves and massage the dressing into the Kale for at least 2 minutes. YUM!


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