Hey guys! A Plant Based diet is an important part of my families lifestyle. I don't call myself Vegan because I'm not. While our meals are Plant Based most of the time, I adore seafood, cheese, and eggs so if I'm feeling like I'd like a piece of salmon, I have it! Not restricting myself allows me to stay on the wagon! Most of the time anyways! There's SO many benefits in trading more meat and dairy centered meals to Plant Based ones. If you're curious I recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. It will help you see most of what you've been taught about food isn't true. It's similar to the transition we've seen in how we think about food when it comes to eating organically. Once your eyes have been opened usually a shift occurs in how you perceive diet and food advertising along with it!
Update: Since starting this Plant Based life style I've been diagnosed with Endometriosis. For those that are unfamiliar, I'll get into that more in depth in a different post. Over all I'm in a significant amount of pain when I ovulate and when it's my time of the month. I'd compare the pain to labor. Since I refuse to take birth control, pain pills, or have a hysterectomy, I sought out help from a Natural Health Care provider. Much of the pain is controlled by my diet. Endometriosis pain is greatly increased with a high fat, non-organic diet. My pain is virtually non existent when I'm eating a plant based diet and taking the natural medicine my holistic doctor's given me. This means I have to take extra care in planning out those times that I decide to indulge. It's truly a God thing that I'd already been acclimated with this diet prior to learning I had endometriosis. It would have been much tougher and discouraging to have to change my life style and try to deal with the symptoms all at the same time! I really want to be an encouragement for those that are going through something similar. While Western medicine is great at saving lives, it's not the fix for everything. Sometimes (most of the time) more traditional God given herbs and diets can lead to true health and healing but again, that's another post!
Anyways, one of the biggest hurdles has been learning how to create meals that are not centered around meat, making meals that still feel comforting, and meals that don't take 2-4 hours to make. One thing you'll notice about my recipes is that they usually feed 6-8. We are a family of four but I cook enough to last at least two days so that I don't have to cook dinner everyday! We're already really busy as a family so making larger amounts of food is really helpful and a key way I'm able to consistently provide healthy meals for my family. I grew up in the south so I need soul food and I've made it my mission to find vegan recipes that truly satisfy and are legit tasty.
I've gotten a little head way now on each of these areas and I wanted this page to be on my blog to support and help others with a similar health journey.
I'll pop over here from time to time to share some recipes that are quick and that myself and my family love. Even the little ones! I'm also going to share some of my favorite snacks aka whats considered vegan junk food, that are not only actually tasty but are (mostly) good for you too. I would imagine eating an entire bag of banana nut spouted granola is far better than eating an entire bag Oreos any day. Hope this is something you all enjoy!
Vegan/Vegetarian Zucchini Balls (Alternative to Classic Italian Meat Balls)
1. Cut the ends off of the zucchini. Grate zucchini and add to cloth. Twist and squeeze excess water out. Then add to a medium/large bowl.
2. Using a garlic press, add garlic to the grated zucchini. If you don't have a garlic press, finely chop.
3. Add in the remainder of the ingredients excluding oil and marinara. If you choose to make this a vegan dish, you can substitute the egg for extra flour or plain fine breadcrumbs as your binding agent but be careful not to add too much as it can become bread like quickly. Just make sure to add enough so that you're able to slightly form balls.
4. Heat 2TBS oil in a skillet on medium heat. I use cast iron. Roll into medium size balls and place on parchment paper. I do want to note, the zucchini balls will be slightly loose so be gentle with them! They'll become more firm when cooked. It's important not to over crowd the skillet. Allow for adequate room to turn. I usually put around 6 in a medium skillet max.
5. Once oil is fully heated, add zucchini balls to skillet. Allow to brown on every sized. This usually takes 1 1/2-2 minutes per side. Once browned on all sides, gently remove and add to a paper towel covered plate. I add 2TBS oil back into the pan and allow to reheat after each round. If you allow the oil to get too low, you'll start to burn them.
6. Once finished you can add the zucchini balls back into the skillet with the marinara and allow to simmer for a few minutes. For my family, instead of simmering in marinara, I heat separately and add individually to each plate to satisfy those little taste buds. :)
7. Pair with pasta or what ever other side suits you. We usually roast some red potatoes and veggies to pair with ours!