Shepard’s Pie

3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
12 oz bag of frozen mirepoix
16 oz bag of frozen vegetables (my bag contained 7 veggies)
3 cloves of garlic
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme

Heat water and boil chopped potatoes until soft. While potatoes are boiling heat mirepoix mixture, add frozen vegetables and zucchini. Pour vegetable broth into the vegetables and stir in whole wheat flour, tomato paste and Worcester Sauce. Once you have your sauce mixed into the vegetables add the rosemary and thyme.

Drain boiled potatoes and mash. Stir in some unflavored soy milk, 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and pepper. NOTE: I used a mixer to get a nice, smooth consistency in the potatoes. I also left the skins on.

Pour vegetable mix into 9×13 Pyrex pan and spread evenly. Scoop mashed potatoes into pan, smoothing as you go. Top with a sprinkling of paprika. Heat the oven to 400 and cook for 15 minutes.

SOURCE: Inspired by Sharon Basner Oliver from the McDougall Group on Facebook

Back to Basics

I’ve been frustrated recently while searching out more plant-based recipes for my new found lifestyle. It’s been challenging at times, outside of using the recipes found in the McDougall Newsletters or on the McDougall Discussion Boards (MWL and non-MWL, which means “maximum weight loss”), vegan and vegetarian recipes alike rarely make the grade. That’s not to say the recipes don’t look delicious, many do and would rival many non-vegan dishes.

Why? It’s the overabundance (at times) of fat in the recipes, from butters to oil and soy products and creams. As I wrote previously in my piece, Fat Vegan, sometimes eating this way isn’t any healthier. While my dietary guidelines are more strict, limiting fat intake to 10% a day I don’t see my way of eating above that of vegans. Based solely on recipes a plant-based, whole food lifestyle is more healthy when you cut out dairy, oils and meats that could promote disease, like arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

Thankfully I have already reaped benefits from this way of eating to reduce my susceptibility. I am determined to keep this lifestyle, as long as I put food on the table that my family enjoys, which reduces fats, cholesterol and those unhealthy ingredients, why shouldn’t I try? Thankfully we have a few staples we return week after week, but adding new dishes to the menu plan is always beneficial, but hasn’t been an easy task.

Maybe I am trying too hard to convert recipes to make them compliant with how I want to eat and how I would like to feed my family. Instead of looking for substitutes and experimenting with dishes (which is fun at times), I might look at staying with simple, easy recipes that Dr. McDougall and his wife, Mary talk about. I am already looking at The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook, which contains 300 plant-based recipes that should provide many good meals.

Sprouts & Taters

Outside of the wonderful benefits I am experience since I have changed my diet, which realistically is a lifestyle change as been the new foods I have started to eat. Before learning about Dr. John McDougall my vegetables were usually limited to a basic salad slathered in dressing. It was rare I would bake, broil or steam vegetables to accompany what meat dish I was creating.

Since my 2010 physical I thought we were eating better, passing on red meat and opting for chicken and pork. Little did I know…these were no better for my cholesterol. These past few months learning about food and researching nutrition has been an eye opening experience. Many of the “myths” I had about food have been dispelled and I am finding eating an entirely new experience.

This last week I tasted two foods I had never eating in 42 years. The first, Brussels sprouts, which were nothing more than steamed and served as a side to a cranberry gratin over fingerling potatoes. I had been looking for a recipe in order to serve there, but most commonly recipes included olive oil. The flavor of this food was outstanding just steamed.

The other food I cooked up after finding a recipe in a Sunset magazine was re-stuffed sweet potato with a creme sauce. The original recipe was using Mexican crema, orange juice, lemon juice and zest to create a orange crema, needless to say I didn’t make my crema that way. Still the flavor of the sweet potato was amazing! What was even more impressive was I was full after finishing off a large potato.

Last night gefore making more potato enchiladas for my wife and son, I popped a sweet potato in the oven with nothing on it, 45 minutes later when their dinner went in the oven I sat down to enjoy my hot sweet potato. I split it down the middle adding a little bit of cumin, some pepper and a sauce (consisting of water, cashews and nutritional yeast that was blended). Chances are good I needed none of these additional flavors to supplement what the sweet potato provided.

To date nothing has surpassed the flavor of the potato enchiladas for my wife. In the last 2 weeks I have made this dish no less than 4 times! I am still searching for another dish to add to our weekly menu that “has substance” and good flavor that will have my wife wanting more. I have been looking and bookmarking many different vegan/vegetarian recipe sites, as well as using recipes from Dr. McDougall’s message boards and past newsletters. Some of the recipes from the Internet might require some tweaking to prepare it without oil or dairy, but not much is lost by leaving these ingredients out.

The Recipe Box

I’m sure the last thing any reader comes here for are recipes, but believe it or not I am rather accomplished when it comes to finding my way around the kitchen. I have my mom to thank for that since she is an excellent cook! Many of the recipes I will post in my virtual recipe box come from her, but over the years I have collected a number of recipes off well known food sites, as well as just Google searches for whatever I am in the mood for.

My 4×6 index card holder is just too cluttered and I figured this would be a great way to organize my recipes, as well as get many of them online. I do have a number of favorites that I could cook everyday, but my intent is two-fold. First, as I mentioned is to get my recipe box organized. Second to find some new recipes that I have in box and have never cooked or not cooked in a long time.

Many of the recipes I have collected are simple to make. I can’t say I like to follow a recipe that is too difficult or to long to make. I have seen some chef’s recipes from the well known sites and while the outcome is fantastic, I know my won’t be nearly as good. So rarely do I follow the master chefs and their recipes. Thankfully some chefs do have simple recipes that are quick and easy to follow.