Cookbook Review: But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!

I was super excited to hear that Kristy Turner, author of the Keepin’ It Kind blog, was releasing this book. I only very recently acquired But I Could Never Go Vegan! and the first time I flipped through it (it was a library copy) I asked myself why I do not have it on my shelf. So I pre-ordered BMFWNEV! as soon as I heard about it.

The book is broken down in to chapters with funny-sad-but-true family scenarios, like “my kids think vegan food is weird”, “the in-laws will just add this to their list of my faults” and “Uncle John thinks his comfort food is better than mine… and won’t shut up about it”. The opening chapter covers staples and pantry ingredients and how to cook grains.

I’ve really enjoyed cooking from BMFWNEV! and there are loads more recipes I have bookmarked.

By far, my favourite so far has been the Tater Totchos. Made with Tater Tots (called potato gems or potato royals in Australia), these are topped with a fantastic beans recipe and a nacho cheese sauce that uses potato and tahini (no cashew, woohoo!). Now I don’t really like potato gems at all and prefer to steer clear of this oily processed delight. So the first time I made the Tater Totchos, I used plain boiled potatos. The second time I decided what the hell, let’s go with the potato gems. I’m glad I did, because I loved it:

I have been struggling for yeaaars to make a home made burger that the kids (or at least one of them) will like. My twelve year old really liked these Double-Double Cheeseburger patties and for that alone I am happy to have bought the book. Made with lentils, mushroom and oats (plus other stuff), these are a winner with the hint of smoked paprika. The second time I made these, I added in shredded kale. Next time I’ll include some finely grated carrot, just to sneak more veggies in.

The burger photo above was taken when my sister and her partner came over and they loved the burgers too. I made the Deviled Potato Salad to go along with it. I’ve never really been in to potato salad but this was tasty and simple to make, though I used silken tofu in place of vegan mayo. The use of black salt really takes these potatoes up a notch:

The Chickenless Salad Sandwich was made because I had to use up some tofu. Now I will confess that when I took the tofu out of the oven and tried it, I was a little disappointed. But you guys, once it was added to the mayo combination I couldn’t stop eating it. I made this to take to a BBQ picnic (I just chopped up some salad greens and tomatoes) and it disappeared straight away:

The Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi recipe was another winner, specifically for the tofu bit. I baked the tofu, which made the lemongrass marinade go a little crispy.

I did have it assembled properly in a baguette that looked very banh mi, but stumbled as I was going to take the photo, banging the plate and everything just fell all over the place. That was the last of the baguette too, so I had to make do with plain bread buns for my photo:

When you buy leeks to make a recipe but never get around to it, there’s always leek and potato soup. The recipe in the book has nice subtle flavours of garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage:

The Maple-Peanut Butter Pancakes were pretty good, though I did add a little peanut butter powder and some extra baking powder. The batter tasted far more peanutty than the pancakes! These were really good too, I wish I’d made a nice peanut caramel kind of sauce, but maple syrup was good enough:

The Mushroom Kale Skillet Hash was another winner. Always good to use up the Old Bay Seasoning!

The Mexican Pizza with 15-Minute Refired Beans was another favourite. WHY don’t my kids eat stuff like this? Oh well, more for me:

Finally, the Hidden Veggie Mac n Cheese. Arggghhhh if my kids ate meals like this, life would be so much easier around here. It was a no-go for the kids, which sucked really, because the sauce is made with beans, cauliflower and carrot– the sort of stuff I want them to be eating. I liked it, especially the Pepita Parmesan on top.  The recipe makes a huge amount of sauce:

Other recipes I tried (no photos):

PB&J Rollups: a peanut butter spread made with silken tofu, spread on wraps and topped with sliced strawberries or bananas. I soooo wanted the kids to like these as it makes for a quick easy snack, but nooooooooo. Argh.

Skillet Cornbread: another one I liked but not a winner for the kids. If I make it again, I’d add some more liquidy ingredient as it was a bit crumbly.

Blueberry Banana Muffins: the kids liked these so I’d make them again, though they were a little dry (this always happens when I cook with oat flour). I’ll just increase the banana next time.

Shiitake Stroganoff: nice, but whenever I use silken tofu as the base for a pasta sauce, I can taste tofu (not what I want in a pasta dish). Still, I prefer it over dishes that use cashews as the sauce base!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies: these were more pillowy cookies than crunchy and while I prefer my peanut butter cookies to be on the crunchy side, these were still a nice snack.

Artichoke Kale Hummus: definitely one for kale lovers! I’m not a huge kale fan, I eat it because It’s Good For You, so I found the kale after taste in this a little strong.

Maple-Miso Tempeh Cutlets: okay so I really don’t like tempeh, but the marinade on this is really nice. I have some in the fridge and I’m forcing myself to like tempeh– this recipe is helping!

Overall, I really love this book. The photos are gorgeous and the intros are funny. I have way more recipes bookmarked to try and will probably end up doing a part 2 review!


What I Ate Over The Past Month

Late again with the ah, weekly What I Ate. Sometimes I just forget, other times I think I’ll take photos of the leftovers tomorrow (then forget) etc etc…

I’ve been having some tummy troubles in recent times that seem to be getting worse and I’ve booked in to see a vegan dietitian in a few weeks. I’ll have to go on one of those four to six week low FODMAPs diets which I’m actually looking forward to because plenty of times I might be eating a meal, like at a restaurant, then by the time the meal is over my stomach has blown up to about four times its normal size and I can barely get in the car (and when I do, I need to unbutton my jeans and I swear it’s like an airbag just explodes everywhere). Not to mention other stuff. If I do Vegan Mofo I might have a vegan low FODMAPs diet as my theme. Not very exciting but I think it could be helpful to others! In the meantime though, I’m back to WFPB (whole foods plant based) as much as possible with lots of raw veggies and turning down offers of going places for lunch/dinner (which kinda sucks). And November is the month where lots of places seem to hold their vegan degustations like Maha *cry*  But I need to work out these health issues and try to lower my cholesterol even more.

Speaking of cholesterol, mine was super high before I was vegan. It was about 8.9 (which in Australia is really high and doctors tell you to take medication for it. I’m not sure how numbers work in other countries). Three years in to being vegan I had another blood test, all confident my cholesterol would have dropped way down. I was shocked to see it was about 8.8! Around that time I had read a comment by a vegan dietitian talking about the links between cholesterol in vegans and consumption of oils like olive oil and coconut oil. Also at that time I started a HCLF (high carb low fat) meal plan, and I had the absolute minimum amount of oil in my food after that, often no oil at all when I cooked at home. A year and a half or so later, my cholesterol dropped to 6.7. Which is still considered high, in fact my doctor said “we need to talk about your cholesterol” and when she told me the number I was really happy! After telling her how high it used to be, she was happy too. Having a vegan friendly doctor is such a relief. So that’s another goal for me, to get my cholesterol down even more to the recommended range of below 5.5.

Enough waffle (waaah WAFFLES!). One of my latest favourite cookbooks is Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! which I borrowed from the library (but have ordered my own copy because it’s a great cookbook). This is the Red Velvet Beet Smoothie, minus the cashew cream topping:beet cacao smoothie

Another recipe from the cookbook is the Eggplant Meatball Sub. I loved the eggplant balls though I used quinoa instead of amaranth. Actually, I made this recipe before I started back on WFPB which is why there’s bread, but the eggplant balls and sauce are something I’d still have: eggplant meatball sub

Lunch pretty much looks like this now, a raw veggie bowl with some protein and a little avocado fat thrown in. Avocados are cheaper here now:healthy vegan bowl

Another veggie bowl lunch, same as above but with a garlic lemon zaatar dressing and a rice-lentil mix:zaatar veg bowl

Dinner is something like this, baked tofu with roast sweet potato and veggies. Token carrot there is a leftover from the day before:tofu veg healthy

Breakfast is always a smoothie. This one has some leftover broccoli, peas and carrot in it. With a banana and Prana On protein, you can’t tell (from the taste!) there’s veg:leftover veg smoothie

Last week I made a lentil veg curry and some green curry paste marinated tofu. The tofu was leftover from another meal so I just mixed it all up:lentil veg curry with tofu

…and I’ll finish up with snaps of one of my favourite places to be, Sydney Road in Brunswick.sydney road sydney road sydney roadsydney road