Life After the Engine 2 Challenge

There were no new recipes this week but plenty of home cooking so I thought I’d give an update on staying whole food plant based post the Engine 2 Challenge.  The Challenge ended a little over a month ago, 3 March.  In general, I’ve done pretty well maintaining a mostly whole food plant based no oil diet.  I’ve slipped into old bagel habits with breakfasts when I don’t plan ahead and have a batch of steel cut oats or breakfast hash ready to grab and go on the way out the door.  I am much better at lunch preparations; the lack of appetizing choices at the work cafeteria is good incentive.  At this point I’m a pro with dinners.  Snacks get tricky, but I find myself making better choices since the Challenge and when I do make an unhealthy choice it’s a cognizant decision.  This week’s dishes came together pretty easily.

I loved Isa Chandra’s Falafel Burgers from Isa Does It so much I was craving them again.  I make the chickpeas in the pressure cooker (Note to Self:  1 cup dry beans, unsoaked and 2-1/2 cups water in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes with natural pressure release cooks a perfect garbanzo bean).  I served the burger topped with kalamata olive hummus, cucumber, red onion, tomato and spinach in a pita.  Oven baked sweet potatoes and a side salad completed the dinner.  The remainder of the week I had this for lunch;  for lunches I skipped the sweet potato and had the burger and a side salad.

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Left-over Thai dressing from the Sweet & Sour Brown Rice Salad and an impulse buy of Thai Black Rice from Trader Joe’s inspired a Thai stir-fry dish for dinner.  I had never had Black (forbidden) Rice before so was intrigued to give it a try.  It is similar in texture and flavor to brown rice and adds visual interest to the dish (if you can see it peaking through under the pile of veggies).  The stir-fry had no recipe, but was a simple sauté of veggies on hand, adding in the leftover dressing, additional ginger, garlic and chili sauce to taste.

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I had made more veggies than rice and didn’t want to wait the 45 minutes for rice to cook after work so made some Udon Noodles quickly and mixed in the remaining Thai veggies, topped with chopped peanuts, scallion and cilantro.

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I discovered Wasa crackers during the challenge.  These low calorie, no oil crackers don’t really have much flavor in my opinion, however, they have great texture and are excellent vehicles to deliver more flavorful components to one’s mouth.  My favorite is a smear of avocado, thinly sliced tomato, scallion, cilantro, fresh ground pepper, a tiny bit of salt and a squirt of fresh lime juice.  It may take a few minutes to prepare compared to grabbing a bag of chips but it’s delicious.

IMG_6061It’s less than one month until I make my way to Portland for the E2 Retreat!  I’m so excited to see this city and go to the retreat.

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