Atlantis Veg-antures

IMG_1206.jpgAs still a semi-new vegan, travel is something I get a little anxious about food-wise. Atlantis has an option to call the chef’s office 2 weeks ahead of time to let them know of any dietary needs but I figured vegan is something that is getting common enough that they can make things work and I was right! With thousands of people milling around the resort each day, they did a better job accomadating me than the restaurants we went to in Florida which is saying something. I wanted to write a blog post about the vegan finds that I ate while in Atlantis and the restaurants we went to so that it may help anyone else who wants vegan travel advice.

Tip #1: I always look at menus before I go anywhere to see my options/how I can edit something to work. In this case, they have so many restaurants on property that I looked at the website to find as many menus as I could and wrote down a few restaurants that looked like they would be good options. You’ll have to make reservations far in advance.

Tip #2: Keep things simple. At home I try to make something different every night with different ingredients, but when away just get something that will fill you up and fits in your lifestyle. Of course you want to enjoy delicious and new things on vaca, and that happened, but sometimes it’s just a matter of what can work.

Tip #3: Tell the waiter or restaurant beforehand so they can help guide you in ordering something that can work for you. Most of the time they can come up with a solution to make an item vegan or create something new.

Tip #4: Don’t stress about it! At home you can eat exactly how you want and that’s your choice. I for one haven’t been eating oil when I cook at home, but I knew eating out at restaurants I was bound to eat oil in most everything I ordered. I asked a few places to go light on oil or asked if it could be made without it, and other times you just have to do it and know that it’s temporary and you can go back to eating exactly how you want when you get home. I didn’t want that to ruin my vacation!

We got to Atlantis late Wednesday night and we were ready to have something quick for dinner when we arrived. Most places were already closed, but we found Olives was still open so that’s where we went. I ordered a flatbread pizza with marinara and whatever veggies the chef wanted to add. The waitress asked the chef if it could be done and they said it could, and it was good! They added lots of spinach, chopped asparagus, garlic, and mushrooms. However, the Goombay Smash was not the drink I remembered and was way too sugary for my taste!

IMG_1207.jpg

This was my typical breakfast for the few mornings we were there. We went back to Olives to have breakfast since we didn’t want to wait in a mile long line for Poseidon’s Table buffet. They had a big menu, but everything had meat and dairy so I ordered the Continental Breakfast with wheat toast and this beautiful fruit plate and a cup of hot tea. I put raspberry jelly on my toast and it kept me full til lunch!

The first day we explored the resort and found an awesome pool called The Coral Pool with a swim up bar and a DJ. We got the last chairs available and so we didn’t want to move, so we ordered lunch by the pool. Josh and I got the black bean burger topped with guacamole and vegetable chips. It was alright, nothing amazing but it kept us satisfied. Sorry, some food pictures did not get taken before I chowed down, but I tried to remember!

IMG_1280.jpg

For dinner we went to Cafe D’Angelo for Italian. It was a really nice restaurant and as a starter they brought out fresh bruschetta and focaccia. YUM! I asked if they could make a dish with whole wheat penne, marinara, and vegetables and they did. It was filled with different varieties of mushrooms, broccolini, spinach, and peppers. It was one of the best things I ate there. IMG_1319.jpg

The next day we ate breakfast at Olives again so I had the same thing, then took a long walk around the property. It’s so well maintained, tropical, and gorgeous. There’s something to see wherever you are so it’s a lot to take in. It’s relaxing, but there’s also a ton to do if you want to stay busy.  We ate, took walks, went to the pool and beach, and did the casino thing at night.

That day for lunch we went to the Lagoon Bar and Grill that is located by the pool and I had a grilled vegetable sandwich and added avocado and mustard. I had some chips and a side salad with it. Again, it was okay, so we figured the lunches just weren’t going to match the nice places we went for dinner but it kept us full. IMG_1290.jpg

We went to Chopstix for dinner and the service was awful. We had edamame, vegetable dumplings (my TJ’s ones are better), but the wok-fired tofu udon was really good. I ordered it without the oyster sauce and they made a soy based sauce for it instead. IMG_1332.jpg

The next morning I wanted something different for breakfast so we tried Poseidon’s Table buffet. Luckily the line was short and it was a huge buffet with a lot to offer. I got a piece of raisin seed toast with jelly, grits (made with water), fruit, and home fries topped with spinach, mushrooms, and onions with guac and salsa.

For lunch we wanted to stay by the pool so we had a late salad. I ordered the grilled veggie chopped salad without cheese and got balsamic.

IMG_1349.jpg

Good thing I got a light lunch before the best dinner of the week, or month..maybe year. Nobu is definitely well-known for a reason. We saved it for the last night and I’m so glad we did! It was so delicious and there was so much variety on the menu. I could order many items right off the menu and everything we got was fabulous. I got a cup of miso soup for my appetizer and then shared the mushroom sizzle plate, which was a pile of different kinds of mushrooms on a hot skillet tossed in a citrus soy sauce and topped with few grilled asparagus. It was packed with flavor and cooked to perfection.

I also got the hot dish of mixed vegetables in a garlic sauce and added tofu. It was beautiful and really tasty. Josh usually doesn’t enjoy tofu, but he really loved this dish. IMG_1417.jpg

It’s all served family style, so everyone can get what they want and everyone can try it out. For sushi, my family ordered the kinds they wanted and I got the vegetable roll. It was my least favorite item that I ordered because of the herb that was inside and we couldn’t tell what it was. I was disappointed because they’re known for their sushi, but everyone else LOVED theirs. I was already full from all of the other yummy things I ordered, so no big deal there. Overall, it was all of our favorite out of the restaurants we went to there.IMG_1420.jpg

This morning before we left we went to the buffet at Poseidon’s Table again because it’s SO much fast than Olives. We didn’t have time to waste before our car came, so it was a good way to get in and out. I had fruit, toast, and grits then had to say goodbye to a beautiful place!

After my frustration with my food during my last vacation, this proved to be a success. I was happy I could stay on track pretty easily and everyone was helpful. The service there is on Bahamas time (very slow) but the people are so nice and it’s an amazing place to stay. Hope everyone had a relaxing spring break! Back to reality tomorrow!

Now we’re home and even though I was tired I wanted to eat something homemade and healthy. I made lentils and rice with mushrooms in the rice cooker because it’s really easy and quick prep, but comforting and hearty. I decided I needed more veggies so I stirred in a few cups of baby spinach right as the rice was done so that it wilted right in. I also added a little more veggie stock so it was a little creamier than I usually make it.

Maple Dijon Buddha Bowl

Maple Dijon Buddha Bowl

Maple Dijon Buddha Bowl

Want to get all of your veggies in? This is the meal for you! I was in the mood for roasted Brussel sprouts because we haven’t had them in a while, so I wanted to fit them in a meal this week. A buddha bowl is a great way to fit in any veggies you want and it comes together in one big scrumptious bowl of goodness! I roasted diced sweet potatoes, onion, kale, button mushrooms, chickpeas, and Brussel sprouts. I sprinkled garlic and onion powder and Worcestershire on the onions, mushrooms, and chickpeas, and for the sweet potatoes, kale, and Brussel sprouts I just sprinkled with salt and pepper. I tried to keep the oil to a minimum so I just used spray olive oil and misted the veggies for a second before I put them in the oven at 400*. I thought a maple Dijon dressing would be a good pair drizzled on these veggies because it’s sweet and spicy and goes with all of the veggies included.

Maple Dijon Buddha Bowl

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bag Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved

1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

10 oz button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

4 handfuls of diced kale

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil spray

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tsp dijon mustard

splash of vegan Worcestershire

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and put the potatoes and Brussel sprouts on one sheet pan, and the mushrooms, onions, and chickpeas on another. Spray with a quick mist of olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle potatoes and Brussels with salt and pepper and then mushrooms, onions, and chickpeas with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Splash veggies with a few dashes of Worcestershire.
  3. Put the potatoes and Brussels in the oven on the bottom shelf about 10 minutes before you put the other tray in.  Roast about 40 minutes until tender.
  4. 10 minutes before you take the mushroom tray out, add kale to the tray and top with salt and pepper and it will cook quickly.
  5. Mix maple syrup, dijon, salt, dash of Worcestershire.
  6. Place all veggies in a bowl and drizzle with dressing.

I had a large sweet potato leftover that didn’t fit on the baking sheet last night, so I woke up this morning and decided to have some for breakfast. I peeled and grated it, then formed them into hash brown nests on a Silpat mat and baked in the oven sprinkled with rosemary and pepper. It made about a dozen nests. I like more savory potatoes, but if you like your sweet potatoes with a little brown sugar and cinnamon you could make a sweet hash brown variety. I baked on 400* for 20-30 minutes and served with fruit.

Beach Meal Planning for HCLF

Sprouted Toast with PB2 and Berries

Sprouted Toast with PB2 and Berries

Vacation time! It’s the first vacation in our amazing year of vacations that we have planned and we’re going down to the beach near Seaside, FL. We’re so ready for a week of sun and relaxation in one of our favorite places. We love going down in the winter when it’s not so crowded and you can take leisurely walks on the beach, grab tea and shop around town, get into any restaurant, and bike ride. HOORAY! The one thing making me anxious about all of these trips now is food. Being vegan, it’s going to be more challenging to eat out so I downloaded the Happy Cow app that helps find vegan restaurants wherever you are. I’m hoping that helps us traveling this year, but luckily on this trip we’ll be able to cook in which will help save money and the fat/salt used in restaurants.

Today I hit the 5 pound mark, so that’s how much I’ve lost in the 4 weeks I’ve been high carb low fat. It’s slow going, but that’s the most sustainable kind of weight loss so I’m happy about it! Also, I haven’t felt deprived for one day so it doesn’t feel like a chore. If you lose a pound a week, that’s still 52 pounds a year! I’m trying to meal plan on vacation so that it doesn’t hinder progress, because I know it’s easy to be on vacation and just let loose and give up your goals because food and drinks are better on vacation. I still want to be able to go out for some meals, but bring things with us to have on hand. Here’s what I have planned so far-

I’m going to bring some staples down and then buy our fresh produce while we’re there.

Breakfasts– I’m going to pack some rice cakes, shredded potatoes, sprouted bread, and then get fruit and jam down there. That way we can make hash browns, toast, rice cakes with jam, and fruit for breakfasts and then figure out if there’s any restaurants that have options to go out. Don’t think the Donut Hole is going to be an option now.

Lunches- I’m going to pack lavash and hummus to make veggie sandwiches, and we can buy sauce and veggies to make lavash pizzas. We’ll also have leftovers, and I already know there’s a vegan food truck if we want to grab something in town and sushi is always an easy option.

Dinners- We love going out for dinner on our beach vacations, because it’s so relaxing to go watch sunset with a drink and then have a great dinner. There’s so many delicious restaurants in the area and we have our favorites we like to go to each time. We’re planning to go out two nights and stay in two nights, and we could always go on the beach to watch sunset before our dinners in. It’s about the experience, right? I’m going to precook rice to pack and a can of beans so that we can make burrito bowls one night, and then a package of brown rice noodles, a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and make teriyaki sauce to make noodle bowls another night. These are easy, few ingredient recipes that fit in our diet and are easy to plan and pack. When we go out, I’ll be looking for vegan options and ask to go light on the oil.

Snacks– Unfortunately we’re missing the farmer’s market, so we’ll have to get our produce elsewhere. I’m planning on bringing some pretzels and hummus, rice crackers, and corn tortillas to turn into chips and salsa for snacks and always have fruit on hand. I always have dates on hand for a sweet.

Let me know if you have found any great vegan options in that area!

All That, For How Much???

Loaded Veggie Hash Browns

Loaded Veggie Hash Browns

Happy sunny Sunday everyone! I made some simple recipes today, Josh was up sick most of the night so I was cleaning the house today and cooking meals for myself. I decided it was a good night for soup to help the sick! It was pretty much all he ate today and I hope it helps (I added extra garlic, that helps right?)

This HCLF thing so far has been really easy because it’s not using deprivation and you don’t feel like you’re on a diet because it’s literally the opposite of every diet I’ve ever tried. I get to pick what I want to eat (as long as it’s whole food), I eat until I’m full, and it tastes great. Diet? What?! It sounds too good to be true, but when I entered everything I ate for the whole day into My Fitness Pal it makes sense. You will not BELIEVE how much and what I ate today for the amount of calories it actually was. It’s less calories than I ate on Nutrisystem…and let’s just say the food is a little bit better. That is the power of whole food calorie density and choosing plant foods over processed. IT’S CRAZY! Just guess how many all of this was! (Answer at the bottom) I also had two dates with my afternoon tea and a Gingerade Kombucha before breakfast. Here’s recipes for today’s meals.

Loaded Veggie Hash Browns

1 1/2 cups Shredded Potatoes, frozen at TJ’s (just potatoes)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3 button mushrooms, sliced

few handfuls of baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute onions in about a tbsp of water until semi soft and add the potatoes, mushrooms, spinach and salt and pepper.
  2. Stir until everything is tender and cooked through, then press it down and let it sit until it forms a little crispy layer on the bottom, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Serve with a side of ketchup or sauce of your choice and fruit.
    Broccoli and Brown Rice

    Broccoli and Brown Rice

    This lunch was really simple, thrown together in few minutes without dirtying a pan, and filled me up. I didn’t love the Ponzu (citrus soy sauce) on this and would probably just do regular low sodium soy next time.

     

    1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup of broccoli florets

handful of shredded carrots

1 green onion, sliced

2 tbsp Ponzu sauce

1/2 tsp garlic powder

sprinkle of pepper

  1. Add the broccoli, garlic powder, pepper, and a tbsp of water into a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  2. Add carrots and I used leftover brown rice to the bowl. Put it back in the microwave for another minute.
  3. Add sauce and and sliced green onion and mix.

I also used chopsticks to practice eating rice with chopsticks, it slows me down which helps me realize when I’m actually full.

Chickpea and Veggie Noodle Soup

Chickpea and Veggie Noodle Soup

This was SO tasty! I didn’t use any oil, but I did use a tbsp of Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon Chicken Flavor and it made it so flavorful and delicious. It was the perfect soup to help anyone feel better. I served it with a piece of whole grain baguette for dipping!

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1 bag of 4 Vegetable Medley, frozen at TJ’s

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 minced garlic cloves

8 oz Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli, TJ’s

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

2 bay leaves

32 oz vegetable broth, Whole Foods brand has no oil

1 cup water

1 tbsp Vegetarian Better Than Boullion Chicken flavor

pepper to taste

  1. Saute onion in a few tbsp of the veggie broth and add the garlic in as well.
  2. Boil the pasta in a separate pot and cook 2 minutes less than noted.
  3. When tender, add the veggies, chickpeas, broth, water, leaves, boullion, and spices. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, turn it back down to a simmer and add pasta.
  5. Time to eat! YUM!

 

Answer: 1,210 calories. FOR ALL OF THAT.

1st Day High Carb, Low Fat Vegan

Broccoli and Spinach Soba Noodles

Broccoli and Spinach Soba Noodles

Today I started my high carb, low fat vegan experiment. I weighed myself this morning for the first time since August and was semi- relieved to see I’ve gained 5 pounds because I was thinking it was more. I spent most of my morning watching High Carb Hannah videos and writing down meal ideas and meal planning for the week. There’s also some staples I need to buy for this lifestyle. I used whatever I had on hand for meals today and tried to get the proportions of carbs, fat, and protein right. It’s harder than you think! They were a little lower in carbs than I thought and higher in protein and fat than I wanted so I guess I should enter it into MyFitnessPal before I eat it. Here’s what I had today…

Breakfast – Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed and Flaxseed Granola (turns out it has some soy oil, cue checking all ingredients first) 1/2 cup almond milk, and some blueberries/raspberries

Lunch– I found some soba noodles in my pantry and cooked those with my leftover broccoli and spinach. I couldn’t find an oil free sauce in  fridge so I made up my own. I had some mango slices on the side. You know I could eat asian noodles everyday of my life so this is perfect for me.

1 bunch of dried soba noodles, cooked 3 minutes

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

half a bag of baby spinach

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

pepper

  1. Sauté broccoli florets with a little water for a few minutes then add the spinach, garlic, ginger, and a tbsp of soy.
  2. Boil soba noodles for 3 minutes and add them to the veggies.
  3. Add the remaining soy, sweet chili sauce, and pepper.

Dinner- Josh had to work late and I’ve had a long snow day filled of closet cleaning out and Louis getting into more trouble, so I decided to not cook a nice dinner. I wanted something simple but still followed the guidelines. I used lavash, leftover tempeh sausage and onions, oil free hummus that I made yesterday, and veggies with a side of fresh cherries. It would have been really easy to UberEats something or throw something frozen in, but this was very quick, easy, and much healthier.

Smoky Hummus and Veggie Flatbread

Smoky Hummus and Veggie Flatbread

1 whole wheat lavash bread

1 tbsp leftover tempeh “sausage”

1 tbsp caramelized onions

1-2 tbsp oil free smoky hummus

1 Persian cucumber, sliced length wise

handful of grape tomatoes, halved

1 romaine leaf

  1. Toast lavash bread and reheat tempeh and onions.
  2. Spread hummus over whole lavash and sprinkle the tempeh and onions on top.
  3. Add veggies to half of the lavash and fold over.
  4. Serve with a side of fruit.

Oil Free Smoky Hummus Recipe

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2-3/4 cup water

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp smoked paprika

little salt and pepper

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender (I used my Nutribullet this time) and blend until smooth.IMG_0227.jpg

Ending the day with this crazy snuggle bug!

Berry and Almond Butter Toast

 

Berry and Almond Butter Toast

Berry and Almond Butter Toast

Healthy and pretty breakfast, anyone? This is a good example of my weekend breakfast, when I can actually eat something not in my car. It’s wholesome, flavorful, filling, and you can pretty much do anything you want with this idea. I like the combination of flavors and textures, plus it takes about 3 minutes to make.

I use whole wheat sprouted grain bread (TJ’s) because I read that sprouted bread is healthier than regular whole wheat. Apparently the sprouting process kills off the phytic acid which blocks the minerals and nutrients from being absorbed, so now your body is absorbing all of the nutrients in the bread (iron, zinc, magnesium, etc.). Also, sprouting makes gluten and proteins easier to digest and it contains more fiber and whole food than regular bread.

I toast it and top it with a few swipes of creamy almond butter unsalted (TJ’s) and then top it with a sprinkle of sea salt. Then I decorate it with berries and a little drizzle of honey or agave.

Berry and Almond Butter Toast

sprouted whole grain bread

1-2 tablespoons creamy almond butter, no salt

sprinkle sea salt

berries of your choice

drizzle of agave or honey

Berry and Almond Butter Toast

Berry and Almond Butter Toast