Crockpot Meal 3: Sweet Potato Masala

crockpot-recipe-sweet-potato-masala-veganI am super excited to make this because one of my favorite meals at a restaurant I love is Sweet Potato Masala!! This may be one of my most successful vegan recipes yet!

Tuesday 10am: Grocery Shopping…10 mins…only needed a couple things I didn’t already have…

  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes $2.85
  • Large Can of Crushed Tomatoes $1.19
  • 2 Cans of Low fat Unsweetened Coconut Milk $3.58
  • Cilantro $.34
  • Basmati Rice $5.29 (and will last me all week for sure)

Ingredients I already had…

  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp. Chili powder
  • A few Cloves
  • A few Fennel Seeds
  • Salt to taste

Spices are pretty expensive up front, but last a long time. Even the Cardamom that was like $12 only comes to pennies each serving. So I would guess for this meal all the spices would total $2-$4.

Tuesday 11am: Prep time 10 minutes

Combine the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk, spices, and cubed Sweet Potatoes in your Crock Pot.

Cook on high for 3 hours and then low for 3 hours. Or high for 4 or low for 8 or whatever combo works with your schedule.

Tuesday 5pm: Made Basmati Rice…took 20 minutes total

Let it cool a bit and sprinkled cilantro leaves on top.

My Taste Test…8 out of 10. I thought it was DELISH! And very spicy which I love. I didn’t really measure my spices out, I just tossed them in so not sure which of the spices actually made it spicy but it’s perfect for me.

Hubby’s Taste Test…8 out of 10…WHAT??? I may be a good wife yet!! He said if it was creamier it would be a 10. The recipe I adapted mine from had yogurt and corn starch in it to thicken and cream it up. I live in a small town and there wasn’t vegan yogurt at our store and for some reason corn starch scared me, so I just omitted them both. I will try it again next time with the vegan yogurt for my hubby! YAY!

Total Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cost: $16.25

We each had 2 giant bowls of it for each meal and it fed us a total of 6 meals (3 each) so we paid $2.71/meal

Like I have said before, we eat twice as much as a normal person so you guys could probably get it done for about $1.35/meal.

YAHOO!

Crockpot Meal #2: Saag Paneer

Crockpot Meal Saag PaneerI am super excited for this vegan crockpot recipe because Indian Food is my FAVORITE and we spend about $50 every time we eat out (which used to be a couple times a week, but now we have scaled back to once a month). MAN…I hope this is good!!

Ingredients:

4 large garlic cloves, chopped…already had but prob cost about $.50
3 tbsp. minced ginger…$.40
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce…$1.49
1 tbsp. garam masala…couldn’t’ find it so I skipped it
1 tbsp. ground coriander…$2.99 for bottle
1 tbsp. ground cumin…already had, but approx. $.10
1 tsp. salt…already had but prob like $.01
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper…already had, approx. $.05
1 can low fat coconut milk…$1.59
3 10 oz. boxes of spinach, thawed…$4.17
1 bag fresh baby spinach…$3.59
12 oz. firm tofu, chopped into cubes…$1.69
Basmati Rice…$5.59 for enough to feed a small army!!

Instructions:

  • Add everything to the slow cooker except for the fresh spinach and tofu
  • Cook on low for 3 hours.
  • Open and add the fresh spinach. Cook for 1 more hour.
  • Blend everything using an immersion blender or blending batches. Return to the slow cooker.
  • Add the tofu and cook for 1 more hour. Serve over quinoa, rice, or with Naan.

Recipe from Healthy Girls Kitchen

Sunday 5pm: Shopping for ingredients (20 minutes)
Sunday 6pm: Prep time 10 minutes max
Monday 2pm: Finished Prep (10mins)
Monday 7pm: Made Basmati Rice (30 mins)
Monday 7:30pm: EAT!

My Taste Test…this was a CHALLENGE for us as our favorite food ever is Saag Paneer from a local Indian Food restaurant. I thought it was GOOD as long as I didn’t compare it to our fave. I would give it a 6 out of 10. It was a little bland but I don’t know Indian spices enough to know what to add.

Hubby’s Taste Test…he ate it but didn’t like it. He won’t eat leftovers like I will. He said it was bland and even though I told him NOT to compare, I know he did. He gave it a 1 out of 10.

I added cilantro to one of my servings and that helped give it some zip! I would love to hear from experienced Indian Food peeps as to what other spices I could add to help!!

Total Prep Time: A little over an hour
Total Cost: $15.27 new stuff+ $.66 ingredients I already had on hand=$15.93
Lasted us 7 meals (and we eat a LOT so you will probably get double that)
Total Cost per Meal=$2.28

YAY!

So far my biggest “complaint” about cooking all these vegan crockpot recipes is cleaning all this mess up!!

Crockpot Meal #1: Vegan Chili Recipe

Crockpot Meal #1 - Vegan Chili RecipeHow to make amazingly delicious Vegan Chili in your crockpot. Check out this Vegan Chili recipe including costs and ingredients.

Monday 5pm: Went to grocery store and bought ingredients… (time shopping 10 minutes)

  • Bag of Red Beans $1.39 (used half the bag)
  • Bag of Pinto Beans $1.39 (used half the bag)
  • Can of Organic Diced Tomatoes $2.69 (regular ones were $1.19)
  • Yellow Onion $1.07

Already have at home…

  • Quinoa (cost about $5.00)
  • Garlic (cost about $.50)
  • Spices (cost about $4.00 for an average jar of spices that can last for a very long time)

The spices I used this time were…

  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Tumeric

Sunday 6pm: Soaked beans in water overnight (time prepping less than five minutes)

Monday 2pm: Sautéed Onion and Garlic in Olive Oil (time prepping was five minutes)

Put half of each type of bean in the crock pot and added onion mix, can of diced tomatoes, an extra can of water, and spices and stirred it together. The thing that took me the longest was digging out the crock pot! Poor fellow hasn’t been used in years!!

Turned it to HIGH until I have to leave in an hour and then will turn it to LOW until I get home tonight…

Monday 7pm: I got home and was TOO hungry to make our quinoa so I had a packet of Microwaveable Brown Rice so 90 seconds later dinner was served.

BOO! Not ready! Beans were still hard-ish, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday 7pm: UGH! This was silly for me to start this journey during the Summer. It’s hot out and the thought of eating chili doesn’t even sound good! Oh well…I’ll do it anyway!

Making Quinoa…this took 25 mins with boiling and cooking, but I made the entire box which will last all week!

My Taste Test…DELICIOUS!! It is SOOOO good. Even had seconds! I like it with the quinoa WAY better.

I’ll give you my hubby’s opinion when he gets home. I’m too impatient to wait for him…Hubby’s Taste Test…He LOVED it…had it 3 dinners in a row. He gave it a 7 out of 10. That is a HUGE success in my book! Oh…and BTW…he doesn’t lie to make me feel better. He has told me numerous times how crappy my cooking is !!

Total Prep Time: Under an hour

Total Cost: $5.15 new stuff+ $9.50 ingredients I already had on hand=$14.65

Lasted us 6 meals (and we eat a LOT so you will probably get double that)

Total Cost per Meal=$2.44

YAY!

Food : How to Stop Emotional Overeating…Forever

How To Stop Emotional Overeating ForeverBeing an emotional overeater my entire life (got busted bingeing on cheese in the middle of the night when I was 2 years old…seriously), the title of this article triggers an immediate response in my brain that says “whatever…that is impossible…the author has no idea what it is like to be trapped in the world of disordered and out of control eating”.

So this article may piss a few people off, but I truly believe in what I am saying, and if it can help ONE person it’s worth it, so I’m going to continue…

I tend to complicate and over-think pretty much everything. And if I do, then I am sure there are others out there who do. For decades I complicated my disordered eating issues. I have been in and out of therapy for 20 years. If someone tried to simplify it for me, I blew them off…they OBVIOUSLY didn’t understand MY issues and the complexity of ME!

But as I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I have simplified many of the things in my life. Overeating is an addiction, an addiction to the way certain foods make us feel, just like alcohol to an alcoholic or drugs to a drug addict. Of course we can’t abstain from food…we NEED it to survive, but I guarantee, most of us are not triggered to overeat every single food. When I am anxious, I don’t dive head first into a bag of spinach, I don’t sneak a pound of broccoli into my car and park down the street to stuff it down my throat, I don’t pull a half-eaten watermelon out of the garbage to finish it after I was the one who put it there.

What I am trying to say is that we all have certain foods that “trigger” our binges, just like an alcoholic “can’t have one drink”. So to simplify the process of stopping the emotional overeating cycle, I have a 3 step process for you. NOTE: This is easier said than done, but it’s a step in the right direction…I PROMISE!

1. Identify AND WRITE DOWN the foods that trigger a binge. This may take some time, patience, and mess-ups to get a complete list. And this is going to be different for EVERYONE. Oh, and don’t talk yourself into believing it’s not a trigger food just because you don’t want to give it up. Be honest and frank with yourself. If you “can’t eat one serving” of something or if a certain food makes you want other foods that you overeat, it’s a trigger. I don’t typically binge on diet soda alone, but when I drink a diet soda, I want chips, and I can easily binge on chips. So diet soda is a trigger food for me.

2. Avoid ALL the foods on your list. Don’t buy them, don’t keep them in your house! I hear the excuse “but I have to keep it in my house for my husband/kids/guests/dog/etc. That is CRAP! If they HAVE to have that food, they can go out and get it when they need it. And again, most foods we binge on aren’t typically healthy choices anyway, so removing them from your home will help everyone involved. Don’t take someone to Dairy Queen if ice cream is a trigger for you. I guarantee your thought process of “I’m not going to get anything, I’m only going for my kids” will not hold up! Even when I am STUFFED from already eating and my husband asks me to drive thru Del Taco to grab him some tacos, I am coming out of there with 2 Jacked Up Burritos no cheese.

3. You WILL screw up. Knowing this in advance you can PLAN on how you will react when you do. No one is perfect. If it was TRULY this easy, we would have kicked this “silly” habit decades ago right?? Make a list of ways to treat yourself with love and compassion. Naps, baths, walks, hugs, journaling, whatever makes you feel loved and calm. Immediately after a binge, write down your trigger food (if it’s not already on the list…which I bet it is…no worries…you’ll remember next time), make a plan for what to do NEXT time you are in the same situation (maybe tell a friend you are out with to remind you at the end of the night you DON’T want Ding-Dongs from 7-11), and then do something nourishing and loving toward yourself. I know it’s super tempting to tell yourself what a loser you are, how weak/disgusting/fat/hopeless/etc you are, but trust me (and you know this) it does NO good and doesn’t ever help long term.

Last night I ate 7 donuts for dinner. Gross right? In the past I would have NEVER told anyone that. So embarrassing, so undisciplined, so unhealthy (I’m a health coach if you didn’t know). My husband and I were at the store getting food for dinner. Nothing sounded good, I had just had an emotional day and I was exhausted. He got sushi, I got donuts. I said “you’ll eat 6 right?” He said yes, we both knew he was lying. I wanted to hide them in a bag as I walked out of the store, but I forced myself to carry them out in the open for all the world to see my choice. We got home, I put 3 donuts on a plate and sat down and ate them like they were a meal. Then I did the same with 3 more. I put my plate up, walked to bed (grabbed one more on the way to bed…that one I was a little mad at myself for because it wasn’t in my “plan”), and laid down to watch a movie (my favorite nourishing, relaxing, comforting thing to do other than eat). I woke up this morning and ate breakfast right away (in the past I would have skipped to make up for the donuts) and got on with my day.

Even 5 years ago I would have never thought I could be this calm after what I did. PROGRESS FOR SURE!!! Although…I am super grateful my husband either took or hid the last 5 donuts! I can’t find them anywhere…PHEW!

How Breaking My Collar Bone Taught Me To Eat More Fruits and Veggies

A little over two years ago I broke my collar bone in a bicycle vs cattle guard confrontation. PS…the cattle guard won!

The accident was only two weeks before my “A” (most important) race of 2012, the St. George Ironman.

I was devastated because I had worked so hard all year to kick ass in that race. I was also scared to death because I was at one of the lowest weights in my adult life and I knew without training I would most likely gain weight.

Now I’m sure most people don’t go from “oh crap I broke my collar bone” to “oh double crap, I’m going to gain weight” before the pain meds ever wear off, but if you have ever suffered from disordered eating, poor body image, or food obsession, then you know EXACTLY what I am talking about. If you haven’t, trust me, it’s SCARY!

The accident was on a Thursday. Friday I slept, cried, and answered calls/texts/social media posts to my friends and family…and I probably lost three pounds from adrenaline and dehydration.

How Breaking My Collar Bone Taught Me To Eat More Fruits and VeggiesSaturday depression kicked in (that was fast) and I ate a half gallon of Peanut Butter Panic Ice Cream in one sitting (and no, I’m not exaggerating).

Sunday I ate more Taco Bell than should be allowed legally, an entire bag of Buffalo Ranch Doritos, and a 2 liter of Diet Mt Dew to wash them down.

Monday I rotated back to the Peanut Butter Panic…this time I think it took two sittings to eat the half gallon…what discipline. You’re probably thinking, “You couldn’t get off the couch, who was fetching all this junk food”. I’ll just say, no one who loves you wants to see you suffering, so they will do what you ask every time.

Unless I had to pee, I spent most of the day on the couch. I didn’t ever weigh myself but as someone who knows her body too well, I would estimate I was up a good 10 pounds. Obviously a lot of that was water weight and bloat from my body going “what the hell just happened?” But whatever it was, it felt disgusting.

On Tuesday I decided my pity party was over. I knew I was going to be basically immobile for 6-10 weeks so I needed to come up with a plan. Beginning at the age of 12, I basically counteracted my over-eating with over-exercising, which kept me in “balance” with my weight. Even with several lower body injuries over the years, I could always swim. Now I couldn’t move at all…and it scared me enough to make some changes.

When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you will change! Period!

By Wednesday, my Sherpa had followed my explicit instructions to pick up about 4 grocery bags full of fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. See…like most people, I knew HOW to eat healthily, but my emotions and triggers from the past often stopped my brain from thinking logically when it came to food. BTW…if this all hits too close to home, check out Jessica Ortner’s “Tapping for Weight Loss and Body Confidence”-I’ll write about that another day.

Then on Thursday, my life changed forever. For breakfast I ate fruit (learn why in “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman), had a big salad with all my favorite ingredients (see my article “What I Love in My Salads”), and for dinner I had veggies w either a sweet potato or quinoa. Then I repeated this every day for the next 10 days.

At first I felt “hungry” until I realized I wasn’t hungry at all, I was just used to feeling stuffed every single time I ate. Then I started feeling energetic, light, and satisfied. I looked forward to eating, but wasn’t obsessing about it like I had in the past. I stopped craving crap, and started craving fresh fruits and veggies. I was seriously SHOCKED how little food I actually needed when I was eating nutrient dense foods.

The next day was my first “outing” and I went to cheer on my friends running a local marathon. I felt lean, spirited, confident, hopeful, and happy! I am glad no one knew my Peanut Butter Panic, Taco Bell, and Doritos secret. I felt so ashamed, weak, and undisciplined.

Two years later I feel differently about that time in my life and I want to share with others who may feel trapped in a food shame spiral. As you probably could have guessed, that wasn’t my first binge! And it wasn’t my last, but it was the last time I felt completely out of control and unable to stop my body from bingeing. It was the last time I hated myself for how weak I was and the last time I felt truly hopeless in my 30 year battle.

In the past two years I have discovered so much about myself and how to eat in a gentle, loving, compassionate, and nourishing way that is beneficial to my body, mind, and soul.

Food: Join Me in My Vegan Crockpot Adventure

Join Me In My Vegan Crockpot AdventureWhy would I turn to crockpot vegan cooking? Let me count the ways.

I was listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast today during my run…as I do every day…and had an epiphany! Yay!!

My husband and I have been on the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Plan loosely for about 7 years, but tightly for 2 months. If you have ever listened to Dave talk about “living like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else” you will know his phrase “beans and rice” when referring to tightening your budget to get out of debt (btw, the #1 advice rich people give to become wealthy is to get out of debt). Basically he is saying don’t go out to eat, stay home and cook w inexpensive ingredients…so

basically “beans and rice”.

Where we always get off track on our budget is food. Both eating out and buying convenient meals from the grocery store. So when he was talking to someone about beans and rice today, it hit me! I need to jump on the beans and rice bandwagon.

This will accomplish 10 things…

1. My meals will be less expensive

2. We can get out of debt more quickly

3. I can share my yummy meals with others who need to save costs on food

4. I will be eating healthy

5. I can teach others to eat healthier on a budget

6. I can put my crockpot to use, it’s been feeling left out

7. I can make big batches to last several days which saves time

8. I can come up with some amazing easy cheap vegan recipes to share on my YouTube channel, Vegan Diva Kir

9. I can add recipes to my 7 Day Veg Challenge on Facebook

10. Finally my husband can stop telling all his friends that all I make for dinner is twigs and berries

Sounds like a win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win (yes that is 10 wins) situation to me!!

So I am committing to at least one crock pot/beans and rice type meal a week for the next 10 weeks. If you have some good, inexpensive, easy, and vegan (or can easily become vegan) recipes, I would LOVE for you to post them. I’ll be sharing mine each week with ingredients, prep time, coat, and taste results from both me AND my hubby (he naturally gravitates toward chocolate, coffee, and Pepsi ) so most people will probable lean toward his review of the meal.

Stay tuned!!