In case you’re new to this blog, this past Thanksgiving I went through a dietary issue that threw me into a coma. I won’t go into specifics BUT it was drastic enough to make me go vegetarian and swear off all dead animals, hopefully for the rest of my life. I’m eating more plant based BUT I wouldn’t say I’m a strict vegan. I still have eggs and dairy and an occasional tin of tuna.

I started following a great vegan (IMHO) Caitin Shoemaker, who has a neat vlog on YouTube (click here) as well as a plethora of social media outlets, Ebooks and a newly published hard cover cook book (click here), that would tire me out to death if I did as much work as she does. Nice to be young and 24 and making a media salary in the six figures (Caitlin’s info, not mine). In any event, she’s wonderful and has several great starter vegan videos (here’s one: click here) that most anyone can follow and get themselves going.

Caitlin Shoemaker, my ‘idol du jour’.

Here are some of the vegetarian dishes I prepared this past week: Starting at the top, hubby made this fantastic veggie chili (from one of Caitlin’s recipes, click here). I added in a half pound of minced mushrooms (which gave the chili a ‘meaty’ texture). I topped my bowl off with low fat cheddar cheese and a dollop of low fat sour creme. Delish.

Next is butternut squash soup. My fave this time of year. I topped it off with a tablespoon of low fat, plain Greek yogurt and a pinch of freshly grated black pepper.

I made a Martha Stewart cranberry loaf (click here) BUT I used plant-based ‘butter’ and used a new flour from King Arthur which was 100% white whole wheat. It’s hard to come by unless you order it directly from King Arthur. I used way less brown sugar than Martha called for and only half of the cranberries she required. I filled the ‘gap’ by adding chopped walnuts.

I made a big giant pot of lentil soup from a recipe passed down to me by my mother. Lentils was a staple for my mom’s family during The Great Depression. I topped it over a bowl of jasmine rice (hubby had brown rice)

I made this quiche using up the leftover cauliflower we had. It’s an old recipe I have been using since the 1970’s. It’s made with canned evaporated milk, eggs, cheddar cheese and any vegetable leftovers you might have, such as broccoli or spinach. This week it was last week’s cauliflower. Makes a nice breakfast!

Lastly, I made a dark chocolate dessert from one of Caitlin’s Christmas Vegan Gift ideas. You melt dark chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, add in some chopped pecans and dried cranberries (or crushed peppermint candy canes), lay it out on a buttered pan, let it reform (I put it in the fridge for a while) and then break up into pieces and enjoy. It was delish!

As a side note, I have to tell you my health is improving but I am still very, very weak. I met with my GP electronically and I actually had blood work done in a real live hospital. Thankfully, I am not diabetic nor am I pre-diabetic. My new vegan eating habits are helping me enormously. I do feel so much better. It’s only been, however, three weeks. Now, getting my health back is going to take some time. I have an appointment to meet virtually with an endocrinologist in the upcoming future. I’ll keep you posted.