Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Veggie

A few weeks ago, my sister inspired James and I to watch a movie called Forks Over Knives. This movie talks in great detail about how detrimental meat and animal products are to our bodies. There are all these crazy and extensive studies that show that a lot of meat can dramatically lower our life expectancy and increase our rates of numerous cancers.
After watching the movie, James and I decided to take the plunge and see how long we could last without meat. It has been about 4 weeks now, and in that time, I have only had meat twice. Let me remind you, that the average American eats meat for lunch and dinner everyday, which means consuming meat 14 times a week. That's a lot of meat!!! I bet even by slashing that number in half, you can dramatically reduce your disease risks.  I'm no doctor, but I do know that nutrition is a medicine that gets overlooked way too quickly. Eating a plant based diet can give you more health benefits than any pack of pills will ever do. Like I said, I have drastically reduced my meat intake these past few weeks, and I am proud to say that I don't miss it at all. I thought I would be hungry all the time, but I'm very satisfied with eating lots of beans, quinoa, etc.

This whole process has been really fun because it has allowed me to experiment so much with different foods that I would not normally try. I have found so many ways to use beans! I have also discovered tempeh- similar to tofu but very rough and grainy. Below I have posted some of my favorite recipes that we have enjoyed.

Tempeh Curry Stirfry: Modified from 

1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes quartered
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp organic butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 tsp curry seeds
4 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
1 can organic  light coconut milk
8 oz tempeh or tofu cut in strips
cilantro to taste
Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large pot. Place the potatoes in a steamer (see head notes), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook until tender throughout - about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on how large your potato pieces are.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil, add the onion and cook over LOW heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, wait about thirty seconds, then stir in the tomatoes, coconut milk, and the other teaspoon of salt.
Once the curry is back in the pan, add the tempeh and bring barely to a simmer. Let the tempeh cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the potatoes when they are finished steaming. Transfer to a large family-style bowl, and sprinkle with cilantro before serving. Serve with brown rice or quinoa if desired.
Serves 4 - 6.

Ridiculously awesome veggie burgers :
These burgers provide all the heartiness and substance of a normal burger and they are loaded with monounsaturated fats and tons of protein. Delish!!

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
  • 1 cup oats, processed into flour* (other flours might work)
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of Ezekiel bread until fine crumb)*
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
  • Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped (toasted if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (toasted if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.
3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.
4. Place burgers on a heated skillet. Cook on each side until brown. Apporximately 6-8 minutes per side.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My heart is hurting right now, and yet at the same time, God is giving me so much clarity. We found out two weeks ago that our baby didn't have a heartbeat. This news was possibly the most devastating news of my life. Losing a child that I already love so much has not been easy. My husband and I tried so hard to get pregnant. When it finally happened, we were so overjoyed. Our plan for our family was in accordance with God's plan! My morning sickness was completely unbearable for 7 very long weeks. I had to give up any form of exercise and I was eating nothing but crackers and Sprite. All of these small sacrifices were so worth it when I thought about the joy that would come in the next few weeks as we heard the heartbeat, felt the baby kicking, and found out the sex. Little did I know that we would never hear our baby's heartbeat again because God took her to heaven before we could meet her. 

The pain and realization of all of this hit me like a ton of bricks as I laid there on the table with two doctors frantically trying to find a heartbeat. The rush of emotion when they tell you your baby is dead is excruciating. My emotions have changed in every way these past few weeks. I find myself screaming at God in anger and then the next minute I am filled with a sadness that makes me think I won't survive such heartache. I have a baby in heaven that I won't meet until I go to heaven. I took part in the creation of this soul, and yet God says that He needs to keep her for Himself. I don't understand this. I will probably never understand it, but I have to accept it. I have to believe that God has a perfect plan for my life and for our family. God knows the desires in my heart. He knows how much my heart is aching for another baby. I can only hope and pray that he will allow me to experience this happiness again.

This post may come across as morbid to anyone who chooses to read it, but I need to post this. I need to talk about this baby. This baby is just as much a part of our family as Sophia is. I know that this baby was alive in me. I heard her sweet heartbeat when she was only 6 weeks along. I saw a picture of her on the ultrasound monitor. I am so grateful for that ultrasound. Typically, my doctor doesn't do ultrasounds so early on, but we needed to know how far along I was, and this was the only way to be sure. That picture is the only picture I will ever have of this sweet baby. By writing this post, I am acknowledging the life that I value and love.  If nothing else, I am writing this post for myself. As a way to sort my thoughts. I have to put my thoughts out there because writing them down makes me believe that all of this is real. Sometimes it still feels like a really bad nightmare that I can't escape.

A few days after going to the doctor, I was driving Sophia to preschool. She was being silly in the backseat and kept saying things like, "baby, where are you? Baby, baby, baby. What are you doing baby?" I looked through the car to find her baby doll that she was talking to. When I couldn't find a doll, I said, "Sophia, are you talking about the baby that was in Mommy's belly?" She answered and said, "Baby Mary, Baby Mary, Baby Mary." I then said, "Is the baby in heaven?" She answered and said, "baby with Jesus."  These words pierced my heart. I have to believe that in some small and intimate way, God revealed to my sweet girl that she has a sister in heaven. I don't know why she repeated "baby Mary." I don't know if this means that Mary the mother of God is with my baby, or if the baby is named Mary. Ever since I first became pregnant, James and I felt strongly that it was a girl. We wanted to give this baby a special name. Something that seemed out of the ordinary and yet also classic. The decision was easy. The name just sort of popped into my head (and Sophia's head) and James loved it too!

Our sweet MaryRose, we love you. We trust that the Lord took you for a special purpose. You are a gift. I anxiously await the day that I will meet you and hold my sweet baby girl. In the meantime, we will pray for you, and please pray for us too. We love you MaryRose.