June 7, 2011

Plant-strong pantry / Giveaway!

Today is the last day of my 28 day plant-strong eating challenge - I can't believe it's been practically a month already! Last week we had our last class, on how to stock a plant-strong pantry.

The thing about eating mostly plants is that you cannot be afraid of using your kitchen. Eating out all the time is do-able, but can be tough - as Sarah found out this past week while away on a business trip. A lot of restaurants have veggie options, but they might not be oil-free (which is one of the rules of our challenge). A common vegetarian/vegan complaint is being limited to ordering off side dish menus and making their own meal - which can be delicious, I'm sure, but at that point, I'd rather cook something fantastic for myself at home.

With plant-based eating, you'll need to shop at least once a week for fresh produce and things like whole-grain breads. But you can also do a big shop once a month for pantry staples, and it won't necessarily cost you a fortune. Some plant-strong items to keep on hand:
  • dried beans (pinto, white, black, and lentils)
  • whole grains (quinoa, pearled barley, long-grain brown rice)
  • whole-wheat pasta
  • rolled and/or steel-cut oats
  • no-salt-added canned beans and/or diced tomatoes
  • unsweetened soy and/or almond milk
  • tahini
  • peanut butter
  • dried fruit (apricots, dates, and raisins)
  • Dijon mustard
A little goes a long way with many of these, and they can all be used in so many different ways. Quinoa could be a dinner with roasted vegetables - or a breakfast with fresh fruit. Peanut butter could be mixed in with oatmeal for breakfast - or with spices and veggies for a sweet/savory Thai-style pasta sauce. The beans could be mixed in with rice, corn, and avocado for a Mexican-style dinner bowl, or mashed up with chopped peppers and formed into patties and baked for homemade veggie burgers.

I'm feeling really great after having done this challenge. Besides an odd craving here and there (eggs, more than anything), I really don't miss eating meat, and I plan on continuing to eat this way as much as possible. Because I didn't want to get stuck in the habit of eating the same thing every day, I tried as many new recipes as I could. And after a while, you start to recognize what things go well together and you can improvise - which I think happens no matter what ingredients you're cooking with, meat or plants or whatever have you, but still, it's been fun and delicious.

Some great veggie recipe resources I've come across on this challenge:

Blogs:Books:And, of course, the amazing Amber who sent me several of her own favorite recipes (a few of which I made, and all of the ones I made, I loved!).

So, to celebrate my plant-strong month, I have a pretty sweet giveaway for you guys!

A reusable shopping bag from Whole Foods, two samples of Bob's Red Mill oats (one 5 Grain and one Steel Cut), some recipes and plant-strong nutritional guides from Whole Foods, and (unpictured) three Larabars of your choice from this list of varieties!
Note: These items were either provided to me free of charge from Whole Foods or purchased with a gift card (also provided to me from the company); however, the giveaway idea/shipping/etc. are entirely mine.
Here's how to enter!

1 - Post a comment here completing this sentence: "My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is ..."

2 - Follow me on Twitter! @oh_mg (and post a comment here letting me know!)

3 - Post the following on Twitter: "I'm entered to win @oh_mg's Plant Strong giveaway on asmallloss.com - you should be too!" (and post a comment here letting me know!)

Be sure to include your Larabar flavor(s) in at least one of your comments! You can get all three the same, or mix it up - go wild, live a little!

You have until midnight on this Thursday, June 9, to enter; I will announce the winner in this Friday's Roses and thorns. Good luck!


Amy said...

Do I get to enter? haha

My favourite meat-free/plant-based meal is salad. I sometimes put chicken on it but it's my main vegetarian meal. I love that you can throw whatever you want into a salad and it just goes.

Amy said...

I follow you on Twitter! obviously!!

as for Larabars... I've never had one so I would like 3 different kinds to try!

Amy said...

tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/amywithsmile/status/78090187070119936

Life as a Caterpillar said...

I can't believe you have been on this a month and i am just reading about it now! I am sooooo behind on blogs.

So excited that you are eating veggie/ vegan and loving it. I've been vegetarian for, ooh, about 22 years and vegan on and off over the years too. It's a way of eating i aspire to and i am glad it is working out for you

Hope you keep posting tips and recipes for us to try!



Amanda said...

Fun! I'm glad you enjoyed your challenge, and I'm always up for entering a contest!

My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is eggplant parmesan. ;)

Amanda said...

Already following you on Twitter - I'm @verdouxkai

Amanda said...

Since I've not tried Larabars before...I would love to try a variety flavors:

Banana Bread
Ginger Snap
Pecan Pie

Amanda said...

Oh! And I tweeted about the giveaway, forgot to mention in my previous comment - http://twitter.com/#!/verdouxkai/status/78114249389506561 :)

Unknown said...

My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is either the Mexican Quinoa salad or if I'm lazy I love those Morning Stay Spicy Chik'n patties made into a burger. Both are super yummy!

Unknown said...

I also tweeted about your give away!


Unknown said...

I already follow you on twitter :)

You know I dont think I have ever had a Lara bar....

Looking at the list I think I would try the Chocolate Chip Brownie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and the Cinnamon Roll.

Hm.. I might have to run out and get one to try either way now because they sound delicious!

Brenda said...

Nearly a month done... that's awesome!

I feel the best when my diet is plant based. Here is my favorite plant based meal:

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cans garbanzo beans
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
6 cups water

Combine everything in a pot and simmer for 45 minutes.

The potatoes should be soft and will start to thicken the mixture. I love to eat it with some brown rice. YUM!

Keep it up! You are awesome!

Ellie said...

I think i would be able to do a mostly veggie based diet, but I think i would miss eggs and seafood way to much to do it forever.

I think its funny when people give me odd looks and automatically assume I am a vegetarian when I order non-meat meals.

Unknown said...

I agree that eating out is doable but most definitely difficult because you're right about the oil. Why is it that every restaurant has the need to douse everything in loads of oil? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of ordering something healthy?
Wonderful giveaway, Mary. I'll throw my hat into the ring and give my boring but true answer to your question: My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is oatmeal with almond milk. I could eat that all day long!

Maria_NJ said...

Hi Mary...I'm following you on twitter...

Maria_NJ said...

What 3 larabars do I love the best?

Chocolate peanut butter
Pumpkin Pie
Fruit and Nut

Maria_NJ said...

I tweeted your comment...

Maria_NJ said...

I'm with Amanda on this one...

"My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is ..."

eggplant parm

Jennie Palluzzi said...

My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is saag paneer. YUM.

Jennie Palluzzi said...

also: peanut butter & jelly, peanut butter chocolate chip, and ginger snap.

also: I think you're delightful.

Katie Warren said...

My favorite meat-free meal is whole grain spaghetti with chunky veggie tomato sauce! Yummmm!!!

3 larabars:
Apple pie
Peanut Butter chocolate chip
cinnamon roll

Katie Warren said...

I follow you on twitter, duh! =)

Katie Warren said...

I tweeted your giveaway too =)

CarolineCalcote said...

My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is ... beans and greens. We make a ton of different variations on this theme!

CarolineCalcote said...

I already follow you on twitter :)

CarolineCalcote said...

I tweeted your giveaway. I think my favorite Larabar flavors are cashew cookie, peanut butter cookie and pecan pie.

Anonymous said...

My favorite meat-free/plant-based meal is portobello spinach risotto. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,

I am trying to follow you on twitter, but seem to be having trouble with that. I tried to follow you once before, actually, but your account doesn't show up on my "Following" list. I'm on twitter at idzjen.

I guess I should introduce myself! Hi, I'm Jen! I haven't commented before. I've just been creeping on your blog for a few months now...I follow you on bloglovin'.

I appreciate that you share so much of the emotional side of your journey here. I've struggled with binge eating for about 12 years now. It's not easy.

If I'm so lucky to win the giveaway, I would like to try the Chocolate Chip Brownie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Pecan Pie flavors.

:) Jen