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Vegan Week

Welcome back! As promised (although a little late), this week’s blog post is EARLY. Despite feeling like this week just ran away from me, I could not wait to write about this week’s experience as a full vegan!

This is in connection to my last post (Naturally Stefanie Cookbook Review). If you haven’t yet, check that out for some background on why this week was a full vegan week. I got the cookbook last Saturday and decided to try something new with my food. I had been eating generally the same things every week: chicken, pasta, rice, beans, oats, smoothies….blah. Getting a little boring and I needed to start expanding my food choices and options especially as I am trying to eat healthier and try to get more…greens…in my diet. I’ll talk about this more in my Week 14 Progress Report, but I am also casually counting my macros. Learning bunches about portion sizes, where my protein comes from, how good carbs are, etc. I thought this would be a great way to see how eating vegan measured up to how I was eating normally in terms of reaching my macro/nutrient goals. The results will surprise you, actually.

Each recipe taken from Naturally Stefanie’s Cookbook (unless otherwise stated)


Monday

Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed Protein Pancakes

THESE WERE SO GOOD. I am already having a ~moment~ with protein pancakes because they are a great way to reach my carb and protein goals for my morning meal, BUT the fact that I could make these and they were vegan?? Perfection.
I used Vanilla Vegan Protein Powder (from White Wolf). They were not chalky or too thick or grainy, the consistency was nice and fluffy and they were filling.

10/10 recommend this recipe (find it on my Instagram)

Teriyaki Rice Noodles with Tofu & Roasted Mushrooms

Okay hear me out. Roasted mushrooms are the MOVE. Just popped in the oven for 20-25 minutes with teriyaki sauce and garlic powder. So easy. They were so yummy, had such a full flavour, and just transformed this dish. I either don’t know how to cook tofu or just don’t care for it, but the tofu was not my favourite. It is a great source of protein, but didn’t taste great…probably just user error. I also added some roasted kale in with the tofu as I was cooking to get some greens in, as well.

9/10 recommend for satisfaction and yummy flavours

Black Bean Avocado Burgers

OKAY HEAR ME OUT ONE MORE TIME. These black bean burgers were actually pretty good. They had a great spice and kick to them (per the recipe, they were “Chipotle Black Beans Burgers”), the consistency wasn’t crunchy or lumpy, and they were filled with protein. Blake said “I can’t fault these” and that is a compliment of the highest degree. I also made the vegan buns (just water, yeast, and flour) and that is vegan cheese. My only complaint is that it tastes like a burger…but it’s not. It’s just not. It was yummy, but it just wasn’t a burger burger.

7/10 recommend for a meatless Monday recipe and for funsies.


TUESDAY

Blueberry Vanilla Almond Protein Oats

This recipe was a bit of a stretch. I was not even close to reaching my protein goals the day prior, so the almonds were an addition to the original Blueberry Vanilla Porridge recipe (also the oats, originally porridge but I have oats so). I love oatmeal anyway. It’s just a solid meal. I also always use oat milk in anything I eat/drink so this is a meal I would already typically have in the morning. This was chosen out of safety because I was not ready to try scrambled tofu toast yet.

10/10 recommend for ease and familiarity

Black Bean Avocado Sandwiches

A repeat of last night’s burger but with vegan bread instead of the bun. I had one more patty left over from the night before so I used that instead of making something new. I think it tasted better the day after, I also ate it cold which was actually pretty good too.

10/10 recommend for ease and good flavours

Orange Tofu & Teriyaki Rice Noodles

A picture is worth a thousand words but I will give you one that sums this up: disappointed.
The original recipe used Seitan but I couldn’t find that here. She said you could replace with tofu, so I did but I just don’t think it was the same.
I think it’s a me thing, but I just can’t get the tofu right. I tried to bread it and it didn’t work, I tried to soak it in homemade teriyaki and orange sauce to get some flavour but it just tasted bland. I was so disappointed with this. I am about ready to throw the rest of the tofu out the window at this point.

0/10 don’t recommend for disappointment

Extra: Vegan Brownies

After feeling a little disappointed with dinner I decided to make some vegan brownies. Oreos are vegan so I had to throw those in there for added comfort and happiness.
They tasted similar to a space food brownie (a little dry)…but it was still pretty good.

I used Stefanie’s recipe for her Chocolate Ganache Strawberry Loaf cake and converted it into brownies and added oreos instead…still pretty good.

8/10 recommend for sweets (and brownies obviously)


WEDNESDAY

Chia Seed French Toast

I love french toast. I forget I love it, because I usually opt for pancakes or waffles, but I love it. Chia seeds are a replacement for eggs, when mixed with a liquid (in this case milk, usually water) they expand and get sticky and form a great ‘glue’ for vegan foods. Same concept here. They are also a great source of antioxidants, fibre, and protein.
I used vegan grain bread so the bread was…soggy. I probably let the bread soak too much and it wasn’t thick enough, but the flavours were so so yummy. I really enjoyed this meal and was happy it was vegan.

10/10 recommend for yumminess and chia seeds

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadillas

They look great. They tasted great in theory. Vegan cheese refuses to melt. I even burned my first wrap trying to melt the cheese. I don’t know if it was the brand I got or what, but this cheese did not melt. I was able to take the picture and take a couple bites before it just completely fell apart and had to be transferred to a bowl. Nevertheless, it was yummy.
The recipe calls for shredded sweet potato which I can get behind because I barely tasted it, but the nutrients were there. I also got that added protein from the black beans. The original recipe calls for Jackfruit, but I couldn’t find it and also was a little nervous to try it this time around….maybe on the next one

8/10 recommend for similarity to real quesadilla and silent sweet potatoes

Creamy Spinach Pasta & Garlic Tofu Bake

The pasta was a spin off of the original recipe “Creamy White Bean & Garlic Pasta.” I did have all the right ingredients, but when I went to make it…I just couldn’t commit. The good news is this entire thing is still (shockingly) vegan.
The sauce is made with spinach, oat milk, tofu, cashews, and garlic. The garlic tofu is just garlic, tofu, italian herbs, and red pepper flakes. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes and topped with vegan cheese.
This was actually my favourite meal of the week. It was one of those that I was nervous for because I was unsure of how it would taste, but it was GREAT. Also the double portion of tofu helped me reach my protein goals and Blake said “tastes almost as good as real sauce.” Truly another compliment here.

10/10 recommend for creativity and flavourfulness


THURSDAY

Okay here is where things get…tricky. I went to an early morning sneaker drop, so I did not have time for breakfast. While in line, I got sourdough bread (VEGAN) with peanut butter (VEGAN). I got home and had a vegan iced coffee (Iced coffee protein powder from White Wolf, of course vegan) and then I repeated with the quesadilla because I had tons of the sweet potato, corn, and black bean mixture left. THEN for dinner, Blake surprised me with a really nice restaurant date for our 2 year anniversary 🥺 I did accidentally order a vegan dish from OBar and it was DIVINE
(How many times did I say vegan? Bonus points for guessing)

Hand Rolled Cavatelli

Buckwheat pasta, grilled heirloom vegetables, cashew tahini, wilted greens (quinoa and tofu)
I am not a big red meat eater so I knew steak was out of the question. I had salmon (I KNOW I CHEATED) for the Entree, so I didn’t want fish again for the main. This said pasta so this was what I got. It was SO yummy though! I did not realize until I was eating it that it was vegan and qualified for this week. Totally a happy accident, but also happy I got to try something vegan from a restaurant that was so good.

10/10 recommend for OBar views and good food (and good boyfriends)


FRIDAY

Blake and I are headed out of town this weekend, so I could only eat vegan for my first two meals (He mentioned Macca’s for the 4-hour drive later and I just…that just sounds so good…)

Chocolate PB Protein Pancakes

The final recipe from the cookbook were these pancakes. Same recipe as the vanilla except with chocolate oat milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds. (See Instagram) Still so good! These were made with the Chocolate Malt Protein Powder (White Wolf) and were still fluffy and flavourful.

10/10 recommend for pancakes always and chocolate

For lunch I had the pasta from Wednesday night’s dinner. Still just as good warmed up.


By today, I am feeling refreshed. I was not as bloated throughout this week as I usually am and I still have food leftover for next week (tofu dessert anyone??). My biggest takeaway was much planning went into eating vegan. Being a full vegan would have to include so much pre-planning and processing. Also, probably because we are not vegans, we don’t keep a lot of vegan-friendly food in the house. So I couldn’t just grab a snack on my way to the train or just to eat throughout the day which was a bummer, I am a BIG snacker. Of course, if this is a change I wanted to make permanently I would be better prepared and have food readily available.
In terms of nutrients, this was the first week I reached almost all of my macros every day in terms of fats and carbs. Protein was still pretty low, but I am not able to reach my protein goals even when I am eating chicken and other non-plant protein products. I reached my carb and fat goals every day this week, which felt pretty good and showed me that I was getting the right nutrients from the meals I was making.
In terms of price, it was generally pricey. This week we spent over $200 in groceries, which we never do. Half of the ingredients we could not even use for both of us because Blake still wanted chicken and I was eating tofu. Of course, maybe better planning in the future and we could have been better prepared, but we missed the mark in terms of price.
In terms of the cookbook, go back and read the review! I loved the cookbook and will probably be getting another one soon to review and try new things out of to keep expanding my flavours and food creations/inspirations.

I really loved this week and trying new things and I will probably begin to incorporate a ‘Meatless’ Monday into our weekly routine. It’s a great way to get some more nutrients and get those extra greens in.


Next week I am doing a breakfast recipe. I realised I have not posted any breakfast recipes since my Chia Seed Pudding meals a couple months back. I will also be doing a few bonus recipe(s) on Wednesday and creating a new static page for a meal that is the most asked about!

See you next week.

xo.🍋

Author: Claire Elizabeth

My name is Claire Elizabeth and welcome to my lemon zest life! It all started back in 2015 when I began creating healthy recipes to support my busy lifestyle between the gym, full-time work, and full-time university. Four years later I have updated my healthy recipes but am still living that busy lifestyle. This is catered for the full-time employees, students, parents, and everyone in between that lives a lemon zest life, like me. xo.🍋 ​

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