How To Cook AND Connect With Each Other!

As you may know, I made the decision to become vegan not too long ago and I also made the commitment to cook more at home.  I didn't know it at the time, but that decision was going to change my and my husband's lives for the better in many ways.  I knew he would be supportive of me wanting to become vegan, but he really loves chicken!  He is completely on board with us eating healthier, and he's still deciding how far he is going to go with eating animal products. But we are enjoying exploring this new road together.

We know that the only way you truly know what is going into a dish is by making it yourself.  So, we started exploring recipes and recommitted to shopping at our local farmer's markets.  There are so many near us year round, that there is no excuse. We LOVE the farmer's markets, we just got out of the habit of planning and eating fresh foods.  If you have farmer's markets near you, check them out!

A lot of people think that vegans are only eating salads all of the time and that there isn’t much variety.  Nothing could be further from the truth! There are so many delicious sounding recipes out there and I decided to start with one that looked relatively easy.  I didn’t want to set us up for trouble the first time out!  We chose a hearty white bean and mushroom stew.  I got the recipe from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook.  The book Forks Over Knives has been an invaluable source of information for me in my quest to become vegan and the cookbook is just wonderful.  If you are thinking about becoming vegan, I would highly recommend these books!  So, let’s get started!

Note:   You can use whatever mushrooms you have on hand.  For the beans, you can use 2-15 oz cans, drained and rinsed if you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight and cook them.

Note:  You can use whatever mushrooms you have on hand.  For the beans, you can use 2-15 oz cans, drained and rinsed if you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight and cook them.

All of the ingredients simmered on the stove for 15 minutes covered.

All of the ingredients simmered on the stove for 15 minutes covered.

Place the onion and mushrooms in a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and beans and bring the pot to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

And voila!  You have an easy, delicious dinner!

As I said, my husband has not made the transition to being vegan, he is still deciding if he is going to go all the way!  He is a “flexitarian” at this point, which is defined as a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat or fish.  I wasn’t sure if the stew would be filling enough for him, so we had some cooked chicken in the refrigerator that we were going to heat up for him.  But he wanted to go ahead and try just having the stew over the polenta and see if it would be filling enough.  He was full and satisfied at the end of the meal!

We had so much fun cooking this dinner.  We have lots of kitchen gadgets and it certainly makes cooking a lot easier!  Not only is it satisfying to shop for the ingredients, clean, peel, chop and I’ll be honest open a couple of cans (sometimes you just want to take a shortcut here or there), it is a wonderful way to connect with each other.  We had great conversation, we laughed, we cried (ok that was from the onions), and we had great uninterrupted time together.  A lot of times people get into a routine after working so hard all day, and they forget to disconnect from the outside world (especially with technology) and just focus on each other.  I would highly recommend cooking together if you can!

There are so many great recipes that are vegan: salads of course, soups, stews, pasta, sandwiches, casseroles, all kinds of breakfast items and desserts – the list goes on and on.  I am trying to keep with the concept of eating clean and limiting processed foods as much as possible.  I am so excited to cook up another delicious, nutritious, clean vegan meal! AND have some more quality time with my husband!

Do you have any vegan recipes that you love?  Would love to hear from you!

Jamie