Okay, you’re probably wondering what in the world happened to me…

“Did her husband die?”      Nope

“Did she have to have some major surgery?”    Nope

“Did she get kidnapped by aliens, probed for weeks, natch, months?”   Nope

Brad & I at the pumpkin patch

Quite simply, life took over, stress settled in, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, I messed up for a solid week and just didn’t take the time to admit my fault. The good news is that I’m back, though maybe not as frequently as before, but none the less, I’m still trudging through.

A lot has happened, though, and I have barely had my head above water the last few months in that process. We’ve tackled soccer season for 2 kids, leaving a company that was going under, finding a bit of work to keep our bills paid, interviewing with a ton of major CPA firms (Yay I start at the end of the year!!), and so many more things that my brain hurts just re-thinking about them.

So you see, I feel it was a fair leave-of-absence, and I certainly never meant to abandon you my sweet readers, but life just got so insane that I had to pace myself for a bit.

Deep Dish Vegan Pizza

I will share with you my extreme failure among the craziness that life was bringing….I caved and thought “What the hell” and went back to be the omnivorous life. No worries, that lasted less than a week before I thought I was dying and remembered the reason I had done this to begin with. I wasn’t after saving the world, though helping other living beings continue breath is a wonderful byproduct. For me, this was about me, purely selfishly me. As I mentioned before, the combination of a hiatal hernia coupled with silent acid reflux had me to the p
oint where it was major surgery time, and quite honestly that scared the hell out of me. I got the okay to try diet change and they gave me a couple weeks, and somehow I found the vegan lifestyle.

I’m not going to lie, it is still a struggle frequently, even after nearly a year. It’s not because I miss bacon, though that smell does do something even now to my instincts. No, it’s just missing the freedom. It’s knowing that I have to make a choice at every meal, albeit one that continues to make me feel amazing, but a choice none-the-less and it’s not easy.

Braden digging into ice cream.

I’m not where I was when I was last blogging. I had gotten so extreme that I was actively seeking to be a fruitarian and was eating raw until dinner, where I was eating very low fat. I was tracking my food intake on Cronometer’s website, and I was active. Today, not so much. I figure it’s about tackling one battle at a time, and with the stress ratcheted up these days, my only strength to fight a battle is in just making a vegan choice. Let’s face it, when the weather changes here in Indiana, and the holiday’s start rolling through, my body has this internal clock that starts going off and signalling my need for good ol’ Midwestern comfort food. Casseroles, dairy, cheese, chili, anything warm ooey and gooey….Oh shit my hips are expanding just thinking about these things.

You now know the breadth of horrid eating that the last 3 months have consisted for me. Amazingly, this has only resulted in about a 5 pound weight gain. This absolutely blows my mind, as I’ve been eating akin to a 15 year old boy, but vegan.

Gabby with a rare genuine smile at the pumpkin patch.

So, you are my accountability partner’s in crime. This is how I’m going to reset myself and get focused again. I’m not promising I’ll be great at keeping up, especially after the end of the year through March, as it will be busy season for my new audit job, but I’m going to try. One step at a time. First, I need to commit to keeping track of my food again. Like it or not, I need to see how poorly I’ve been eating, vegan or not. Once I tackle that, we’ll figure out step one.

As a reward for you dear reader, and because I want you to make the same comfort food choices I have (hehe), I’m including my secret weapon for making any dish automatic comfort food. No joke, this little secret I’m about to share will open your world. Hello unhealthy veganism, and goodbye 801010, but there are times it’s simply soooo worth it!

With no further ado, ‘say hello to my little friend’……

‘Chicken’ Pot Pie

Cashew Cream (Heavy cream replacement, lick it off the spoon good)

Ingredients:
-approx. 1 to 1 1/2 C raw cashews
-Veggie Stock; eyeball this, but it’s around 2 1/2-3 Cups
*NOTE: You can sub plant-based milk for the veggie stock for a creamier finish
Directions:
1. The most simple and amazing thing you’ll make. Soak the cashews in scalding hot water (I use a Tupperware container with a lid) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or more.
2. Drain the cashews and dump them into your high-speed blender (I use a Ninja).
3. Add in the veggie stock (or plant-based milk), and blend for at least 3-5 minutes.
This will start kind of strange with the lumps and blending action feeling lopsided as it turns, but once you get close to the end of the time it feels smoother and looks like a heavy cream.
Okay, so now what do you use this heavenly concoction for?
‘Seafood’ Enchilades (like ChiChi’s)
Here’s what I’ve tried so far:
Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Chicken Pot Pie
Alfredo Sauce
Fake Clam Chowder
Seriously, anything you want to make thicker and creamier, or if you are gluttonous as myself, you can simply eat it straight from the blender with a spoon. Yes, I’m that bad (I told you!). The point is that I find inspiration everywhere. Lately that has been taking any great recipe on Allrecipes and changing it to be vegan. Fun time!
You could even change it up a little for whatever your purpose and add in other flavors. Shoot me ideas of what you’re going to use it for, and inspire my next fattening adventure. My next big challenge is going to be mac and cheese. If it turns out tasty, I’ll try and put it on here in the next week.
Until then, eat vegan, be healthy, and keep on truckin’!!