Gearing Up For the New Year

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas. I certainly did. With the holidays, however, comes a fast–paced environment. Purchasing last minute gifts, preparing recipes, packing (if traveling), and the list goes on. Although we only live an hour from our hometown, it feels as if we could be traveling six hours with the amount of items I have to pack. Having a limited diet can be challenging at any time, but especially so during the holidays when every gathering seems to be food-filled. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to prepare all of my dishes, or pack them and cook them later.

I surprisingly did not snap a single photograph of my food, but I will include my menus from both Christmas Eve and day.

Christmas Eve:
Salad with sliced almonds and a vinegar dressing
The “V” Word scampi with tofu
Schar gluten free and vegan baguette (Admittedly pricey, but delicious!)
Roasted Brussels sprouts

Christmas Day:
In the morning, we shared vegan and gluten free baked french toast casserole with my in-laws (I used Food for Life bread to make the recipe gluten free)

We split Christmas Day between both families, so I prepared two different options for the day, including:

Italian Bean balls
Stuffed shells (using Tinkyada brand brown rice shells)
Roasted broccoli and cauliflower

Although it was a challenge spending my first Christmas eating both gluten free and vegan, I believe I successfully met the challenge and was able to prepare myself foods that were hearty and healthy, which even enticed meat-eaters!

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Since Christmas, I’ve been enjoying time with Zack before I begin my graduate classes again. When classes resume, I typically don’t have enough time to prepare all of the dishes I’d like to, so I am taking advantage of my time off by cooking and baking!

On Friday, I really was in the mood for a comforting soup. One of my favorites of all time has always been corn chowder. My mom makes a delicious version, but unfortunately, I’m unable to replicate it due to the cream of chicken soup and bacon that it calls for. Luckily, I found a recipe several months ago that I have customized to my liking and have made numerous times since.

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Corn Chowder
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 of white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp Better Than Boullion Vegan No Chicken Base (can be purchased at a local health food store)
2 cups water
2 large Russet potatoes or 5 small red potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
8 oz Cascadian Farm Organic frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsps sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp cracked black pepper (I typically add more while the soup is cooking, but it is based on your preference)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cumin

Reserve:
1/4 c gluten free flour
1/2 c soy milk

dried parsley
smoked paprika
cracked black pepper

(Note: I use one large stock pot to sauté the onion and garlic and prepare the soup. No need to dirty a skillet!)

Sauté the garlic and onion in canola oil until tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add Better Than Boullion and 2 cups of water to stock pot, allowing product to dissolve over medium heat. Add chopped potatoes, carrots, frozen corn, 1 1/2 c soy milk, garlic powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in onion and garlic mixture and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk gluten free flour and 1/2 c soy milk. Stir into soup and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve soup topped with parsley, cracked black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Yum, yum!

I also prepare croutons with Food for Life gluten free and vegan bread.

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Tonight, I prepared chickpea burgers, sautéed kale, and Zack made the carrots.

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On her website, Rhea Parsons (author of The “V” Word) mentioned that she and her husband prepare a faux ranch using vegan sour cream and mayonnaise, cracked black pepper, dill and chives. Luckily I had each of these items, and prepared the spread for the burgers!

Our dinner was delicious and I am slowly becoming more and more of a chickpea enjoyer.

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Hopefully you will enjoy some of the above recipes, too. As for me, I’m trying to embrace the challenge of being gluten free and vegan in a Supersize me, gluten-filled world and making foods that I can enjoy. I’m taking the challenge day by day and feel lucky that I can invite the new year in with health. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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2 thoughts on “Gearing Up For the New Year

  1. Hey there! I was wondering if it’s challenging having a completely different diet than your husband. Does he eat 100% the same things as you, or do you have to make seperate things?

    That was the biggest problem I ran into in the past when I tried to eat dairy free.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Amanda! Luckily Zack eats mainly what I do. He also enjoys cooking, so if there is something different he would like to eat, he makes it (fish or chicken, for example). Sometimes he will use non-dairy milk, but we’ll usually get dairy milk at the store too. He also picks up other items that I cannot eat (cereal, lunch meat, cheese, etc) and it makes our different diets pretty simple! Hope that helps! 🙂

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