My Plant-Based Life // Week 2

Hey y’all! BIG NEWS: I survived week 2 of plant-based living!!! HOLLLLLA! Sooooo if you follow me on Instagram (@styledsugarplum), I mentioned yesterday that this week was a bit more of a struggle than week one. Cravings crept in and I had to use some serious willpower to not lose my mind cave and eat snacks or candy. I mostly craved sweets and cheese, which were deterred by eating fruits for my sweet tooth (like apples and peanut butter) and then also more savory, flavorful dishes for the cheesehead in me. My new “thing” when these cravings begin is to drop and do 30 crunches and chug 8 oz of water. These abs ain’t gonna magically appear on their own! As far as my fitness routine, I’ve been walking three miles, three times per week (my knees are shot, so I can’t run like I once could…#grannystatus) and also alternating strength training/cardio videos at home from the 21 Day Fix program by Beachbody. The intermittent “craving crunches” can only aid in the quest to be a lean, green health machine!
So far, I still FEEL amazing. The long-term health benefits far outweigh the alternative, with a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and heart attack prevention, and all around improvement in cardiovascular health. Plant-based living is also known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and also one of the obvious effects: weight loss. Without meat or dairy, you’re basically enriching your diet with fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that the average person may not receive as often as they should. I have also noticed a difference in my skin. I’m drinking more water (which I know is helping), but I’m also not having the random weekly breakouts like I was before. In just a two week time span, I’m shocked at how drastically it has changed. I’m not going to write a novel like my first update, so let’s get to the recipes!
Early in the week, I made Asian tofu and mushroom lettuce wraps from a recipe I found on Pinterest (follow me on there- username: styledsugarplum)… SO GOOD. Flavor was BOMB on these and I had enough for leftovers the next day.

Asian Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
-3 tbsp hoisin sauce (I made my own with 4tbsp soy sauce, 2tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp honey, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp siracha, 1/8tsp black pepper…you’ll have more than you need but save it to drizzle over the wraps)
-3tbsp soy sauce
-2tbsp rice vinegar
-2tsp canola or grapeseed oil
-1 (12-14oz) package of extra firm tofu
-2 cloves minced garlic
-2 tsp ginger
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-4 green onions, finely sliced
-romaine lettuce or butter lettuce leaves
-8 oz baby bella mushrooms (chopped)

1. In a small bowl, stir together the hoison, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
2. Press the tofu between paper towels to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Refresh the paper towels adn press again. heat the 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, crumble in the tofu, breaking it into very small pieces as it cooks. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then add mushrooms. Continue cooking until any remaining tofu liquid cooks off and the tofu start to turn golden (about 3 minutes more.) Stir in garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and half of the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. (I cooked mine a little longer because I wanted to make sure the consistency wasn’t quite so “squishy” for the tofu haha)
3. Pour the sauce over the top of the tofu mixture and stir to coat. Cook until you hear bubbling and the sauce is warmed through, 30-60 seconds.
4. Spoon the tofu mix into the lettuce leaves. Top with remaining green onions, hoisin, OR grated carrots (definitely adding that to mine next time), and additional red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Next up is a recipe from my Eating Clean Cookbook by Amie Valpone. This recipe was delish and filling (and provided leftover cashews for next-day snacking #winning) This was a winning meal for the hubs and me, although sadly not a winning meal for my three year old since he is convinced that quinoa= bugs. Tastiest bugs I’ve ever eaten!

Beaming Quinoa Tabbouleh

Coconut Chili Cashews:
2 cups raw cashews
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Quinoa Tabbouleh:
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup finely chopped fresh curly parsley (I only used 1/3 of a cup and that seemed like plenty)
1/3 cup cilantro (I omitted this one because the hubs thinks cilantro tastes like dirty dish water…where did he even come up with that? haha!)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

Make the cashews:
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the cashews, shredded coconut, maple syrup, lime juice, chili powder, and salt; mix well to coat the cashews. Arrange the cashews in a single layer on the pepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 min (I only needed it for 15, so watch it when it gets close…they will burn quickly!) Stir after the first 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Make the Tabbouleh:
While the cashews are baking, cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the bag. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Fluff with a fork.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Add the cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, cilantro (if using) and chives to the quinoa. Mix well. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Serve with one cup on the coconut chili cashews on top. The remaining cashews can be stored in a sealed container up to five days. BOOM. Straight flavor parade.

Lastly, I made a Chickpea Chopped Salad over the weekend that BLEW MY MIND. I couldn’t get enough and will definitely be making this on repeat.

Chickpea Chopped Salad
1 15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/2 small red onion
20 or so grape tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 English cucumber

For the dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all ingredients and place in a large bowl- toss to combine. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and pour onto salad. Toss again to combine. Salt and Pepper to taste.
This salad was AMAZING the next day also, so it would be perfect for meal prep or quick lunch on the go!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s update and have a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Stay styled, sugarplum!

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