Meet Lauren. We love her palate and her adorable Peter Rabit impulse when it comes to snacks. (It isn’t really stealing if it’s your nannan’s garden, right?). Lauren’s part of the world sounds so lovely. We’d love to share a cup of tea with her!

Name: Lauren

Home: A little village in Yorkshire, England

My dietary leanings: I like to eat a nice balance of everything. Generally, I have meat twice a week (chicken, lamb, and beef mostly, though I occasionally have duck, pork and game meats like pheasant or rabbit), fish 2-3 times a week, and vegetarian for the rest of the week. I do eat a lot of dairy (in particular, raw/unpasteurised milk sourced very locally from the farm across the road! Tastes so much better than the processed stuff), and I try to eat organic and local wherever possible.

My favorite vegetable: How do I pick?! My favourites are probably broccoli, white cabbage and sweet potatoes. I do love beetroot though, especially pickled.

This morning I ate…

Usually I have porridge for breakfast every day, accompanied with a glass of fruit juice. So many people eat instant porridge and I have no idea why when it’s so easy to make! I simply toast 50g Scottish porridge oats, add them to a saucepan with 300ml raw milk, simmer for 10 minutes, adding a pinch of salt halfway through. Then I take it off the heat, cover for five minutes and it’s ready! I like my porridge drizzled with English wildflower honey, and of course porridge wouldn’t be porridge without the requisite ‘moat’ of cold milk added to the bowl at the end. Sometimes I’ll top it with sliced banana if I have any. My Scottish great-grandad would have been horrified by my version of porridge—the Scots like theirs made with just oats, water and salt, nothing else.

As a snack…

I had a cereal bar (I think it was hazelnut and chocolate flavour…) and some Greek yoghurt sweetened with English wildflower honey (can you tell I love honey?). I drink my 2 litres of water throughout the day, but I like a nice cup of tea with food, with one teaspoon of sugar and a splash of raw milk.

Then for lunch it was…

Homemade leek and potato soup, with oat bread (this is not gluten-free bread). Normally I make this with chicken stock for added flavour, but it was a veggie day so I used vegetable. This is really simple to make: 2 carrots, peeled and sliced; 2 celery sticks, sliced; 2 garlic cloves, sliced; 2 onions, chopped; 400g leeks, quartered and sliced, all fried in olive oil for ten minutes partially covered. I then add 400g of peeled, diced potatoes and 1.8 litres of stock, cover and simmer for ten more minutes. Season, and ta-da! This makes about 6 portions too, which freeze well. Had another cup of tea with a slice of my nannan’s famous carrot cake.

Another snack…

OK, so I may have been naughty and nicked some rhubarb from my nannan’s garden and eaten it dipped in sugar. Yorkshire is well known for its rhubarb and everyone (in my village anyway) eats a lot of it in early summer. I really like a rhubarb crumble at this time of year, but fresh-picked and dipped in sugar is the best way to eat it! I had my third cup of tea with this.

Finally for dinner I had…

A Moroccan-style chickpea stew with pitta bread. To make this I slice two onions and fry these in a flameproof casserole, followed by 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and five teaspoons of Ras-el-Hanout spice blend, cooked for a further 2 minutes. In goes 500ml of vegetable stock, a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, two 400g tins of drained chickpeas and three tablespoons of honey. I bring this to a boil and cook, covered, in a 180C oven for about an hour to an hour and a half. Then I add a sweet potato, peeled and diced; a handful of halved, dried apricots and some chopped coriander. This goes back into the oven for 40-45 minutes. Delicious, and just like the soup you can freeze the leftovers! I normally have some homemade elderflower dilute (squash/cordial) with my evening meal. It’s a tradition in my family to make large batches of this every year in late May/early June, as we live in the countryside and have lots and lots of elder trees growing near us. To make this, pour 1.5 litres of boiling water onto a kilo of sugar in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Once it’s cooled, add 55g citric acid, the zest and slices of four lemons and 20 large elderflower heads. Steep for 48 hours. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of months—longer than this and it will ferment to give you some kind of elderflower flavoured spirit! (Admittedly, that does sound nice, maybe we’ll experiment this year…) To make this last year round we like to freeze individual portions in ice cube trays, but this takes up lots of room in the freezer.

Last but not least, dessert…

Bread and butter pudding, with another cup of tea. Like all English sweets, this is calorific, but so good… And it uses up leftover bread that would otherwise be used to feed birds or ducks (I know ducks are birds, but I think of them separately). First, combine 30g melted unsalted butter (all the dairy products that I use are made from raw milk, as I believe they taste better) with a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cinnamon and a bit of orange zest. Use a bit of it to butter a shallow ovenproof dish. Cut 8 thick slices of stale bread into triangles, put them in the dish with some sultanas and pour over the rest of the butter. Whisk together 5 large egg yolks with 3 large eggs and 200g caster sugar. In a saucepan, bring 500ml milk and 500ml double cream to a slow boil with a split vanilla pod. Once boiled, take off the heat and cool slightly, take out the vanilla pod, then stir into the eggs. Pour the custard over the bread and leave to soak in the fridge for half an hour. Cook in a 180C oven for about 40 minutes, then turn the oven up to 200C and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve with lashings of double cream. Simple, delicious and cheap as chips!

I’m not sure what the American names for ingredients are if they’re different to the English ones, so I’m sorry if you don’t know what they are! I do believe, though, that American butter is a bit less rich than butter over here, and even your heaviest cream (I think it is actually called heavy cream) has a lower milk fat content than our double cream, so the pudding might taste a bit different across the pond. Happy cooking :)

Meet Anni. We love her tip for boosting calcium levels and her unusual use of chia seeds. And doesn’t avocado and lime just scream summertime? We think so!

Name: Anni

Home (for now): The Windy City!

Dietary leanings: After 5 years of being vegetarian, I’ve recently started introducing a bit of poultry back into my diet. A few years back, I discovered a lactose-sensitivity and I’ve also recently been having some problems with wheat (…I think?), so my food options were becoming pretty limited. I’d estimate I eat chicken or turkey 2-3 days a week now, but I still love my tofu and veggies! I think this carnivorous lifestyle is just a phase, though, so I’ll probably go back to being full-time veg at some point.

My favorite vegetable: It’s a tie between sweet potatoes and salsa. Is salsa a vegetable?

For breakfast…

I try to start the day gently, with lots of fluids. When I first wake up (just kidding, after hitting snooze on my alarm at least 4 times…), I drink a big glass of water, with lemon if I have any laying around. Next up, I prepare the two more drinks to have while I’m getting ready: ACV + honey + water, cooled to room temp before drinking, and cold coffee + almond milk + chia seeds, which has lots of fiber and keeps me full. I can’t seem to kick my coffee addiction, but preparing it this way makes me feel like it’s at least a bit beneficial. Pop a probiotic & a whole food multi-vitamin and throw a green smoothie in my bag for a hit of nutrition on my morning commute, and I’m ready to go. (By the time I get to work, I definitely need a trip to the bathroom!)

Morning Snack…

I either eat a few protein balls (raw oatmeal + cinnamon + coconut + PB + honey + flaxseeds, rolled into a ball and stored in the fridge) or snack on some dried cranberries and almonds. Since I don’t eat dairy very often, I eat a lot of almonds because they are a good source of calcium. Gotta take care of the bones!

For lunch…

I LOVE warming up some corn tortillas on the stovetop and topping them with mashed up avocado and sometimes a squeeze of lime. I was semi-veg when I lived in Mexico during college and practically lived on this meal. It’s equal parts nostalgic, filling, and delicious. I either slice & mash my own avocado or, if I’m in a rush/feeling lazy, I always have some pre-mashed guac from Trader Joe’s on hand that I can throw in my bag in the morning.

Afternoon Snack (to get me through that terrible SLUMP!)

I’m so glad snacking is encouraged here, because it’s one of my favorite activities! I almost always have a sliced apple with or without PB around 3-4pm. I also have a bag of unsalted sunflower seeds (shell-free guys, because HOW does anyone manage to eat around that shell?!) for munching on throughout the day when my blood sugar gets low.

For dinner…

Curry noodles is my new favorite after-work meal! Just add some curry paste (I prefer masaman, but red or green works just as well) to a pan with a dab of coconut oil, a can of coconut milk, a bit of grated ginger, a pinch or two of sugar (I love Wholesome Sweetener’s raw cane sugar), a squeeze of lemon and sriracha, and a little tamarind paste if you have it laying around. Let it reduce a bit (but not too much) and then throw in whatever veggies or tofu you have laying around. My favorites are green pepper, shallots, and spinach, but it’s also good with shredded carrots, diced sweet potato, steamed broccoli or bok choy, maybe some mushrooms, oh and tofu, of course! Boil up some rice noodles, spoon some curry over them in a bowl, and VOILA! Dinner is served. (Recipe inspired by this one.)

After Dinner…

Unless I have some extra dark chocolate in the freezer, I don’t normally eat dessert. If I find some, I’ll eat (at least) three squares. Later, I’ll finish my day with a cup of green tea and another ACV drink.

Meet Debbie. She’s 58 (yay! grownups!) and became a “modified vegan” with her husband in order to shed a few pounds. They’ve kept up the lifestyle for love (of delicious food) and health. (We found the recipe and an image for the quinoa/date salad she makes. Yum!)

Name:  Debbie

Age: 58 (adds a little diversity to your site!)

Location: Evanston, Illinois

My husband and I became “modified” vegans last summer. I use the term “modified” because we eat only vegan at home, but eat whatever we want when dining out with friends once or twice a week. We also become omnivores for holidays at which a traditional meal is served, such as Thanksgiving.

My favorite breakfast is…

A green smoothie. I purchased a Vita-Mix last summer and it came with a cookbook. The “Spring Green Smoothie” is terrific—grapes, orange, lemon, green apple, cucumber, kale, romaine, parsley, frozen pineapple, and ice cubes. Sometimes I use mint instead of parsley and sometimes I add a few frozen strawberries. Delicious.
Typically for lunch I have…

A big salad, but I find that when it’s cold outside I want something a little heartier. Today it will be a Quinoa, Pistachio, Spinach, and Date Salad from my current favorite vegan cookbook, “Vegan Eats World” by Terry Hope Romano. (See  the recipe here.)

If I want a snack mid-afternoon…

I typically take a small handful of raw almonds or pecans, although sometimes it’s almond butter on celery.

For dinner…

Tonight we’ll be having Lebanese Moussaka Stew, also from “Vegan Eats World.” For such simple ingredients, it’s astonishingly flavorful.

I love to cook and I find that maintaining a “modified” vegan diet is easy if I have delicious, flavorful, dishes to prepare.

By the way, we started following a vegan diet to lose weight. We each wanted to lose five to ten pounds. After three months of “modified” vegan eating I lost 22 pounds and my husband lost 17. And, more importantly, we’ve been able to keep it off, even after Thanksgiving, and the holiday season!

Love this simple menu from Casey—and happy to see a sometimes-MM-hater share. :) It’s Monday, everyone, let’s get happy and kick it off with some health! (Oh, and if you weren’t around Friday, this deal is still onnnnn until Thursday.)

I’d like to preface this by saying that I am one of the sometimes-haters of Meatless Mondays. This is mainly because I think it’s important for people to focus on both food and physical fitness when it comes to being healthy, not just one or the other. As someone who’s pretty active, some of the menus I’ve seen here seem really unrealistic for me. Menus from people who eat in bird-like quantities and are mostly sedentary doesn’t provide a good example for people who might need more fuel. Everybody, just make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel YOU. Please and thank you. :)

Name: Casey

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

My dietary leanings: Omnivore, meat/fish once or twice a week at most, mostly when eating out or for special occasions. I don’t like handling it, so I only eat it when someone else has cooked for me! Eggs and dairy are still in there. I don’t drink milk by itself, I just like having it around for oatmeal, smoothies, and coffee. I like almond milk, but it’s just not as good in my coffee and I can’t finish a carton by myself within a week of opening it. If anyone has tips for finishing off that almond milk (or suggestions for non-dairy replacements for my coffee), I’d love to hear them.

My favorite vegetable: Spinach is a staple; I can easily go through a big carton in a week by myself. On the more exotic side, I recently had Romanesco broccoli in a stir fry and it was SO GOOD. So when that turns up again, I intend to eat copious amounts of it.

This morning I ate…

Vegan overnight oats with some peanut butter on top and a few dates. I also like normal overnight oats, but I didn’t have greek yogurt in the house! Also coffee with almond milk, because I’m trying really hard to like it (still not as good as milk in my coffee).

For lunch it was…

A warm quinoa salad with granny smith apple, almonds, and raisins over some spinach, with an orange (and a red velvet cookie that someone brought to the office).

Afternoon snack…

Baby carrots and a bit of Luna bar before my workout.

And finally, dinner…

Pasta with avocado pesto. I added some spinach just because. Pretty good, despite the fact that a blender is really not up to a food processor’s job!

Dessert!

Chocolate!

Here’s our new M.O. on MMs: If we have great ones in the inbox, we’re gonna share them! And this one is bomb. Packed with healthy, yummy-sounding recipes… this is exactly the kind of menu we love to get! (hint, hint, send) Enjoy!

Name: Ash

Home: California

Dietary Leanings:  This has been in flux recently. For 5 years I was 100% vegan, now I’m more ovo-vegetarian with an occasional serving of wild-caught, sustainable fish (once every 1-2 months or so).  I don’t want to support factory egg production so I only eat eggs as I get them from family, friends or co-workers with (happy) chickens!

My Favorite Vegetable: Beets & carrots!  So sweet and flavorful—I love them steamed in the summer, or roasted in the winter.  Their greens are delicious too!

Morning:

Breakfast is very seasonally determined for me.  Where I live in California the summers are very hot (100 degrees) and the coconut oil on my counter is perma-liquefied.  So when I wake up I want something cold and refreshing!  First is a tall glass of water and a citracel pill (I was recently diagnosed with spastic intestines and this has helped immensely).   Then I usually make either a protein-smoothie or a “Backyard-bowl” inspired puree.  Anyone live in SoCal?  My husband and I recently were in Santa Barbara and had the pleasure of eating at Backyard Bowl—so delicious!  I wish they would open up a location in Northern California.    My version of their “Diego Bowl” is to pour 1 cup of frozen blueberries into the blender, followed by ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons hemp protein, a spash of honey, 2 tblsp of peanut butter—and blend away!  Add a tiny bit more water if you need to but you want the puree thick.  Serve in bowl with a sliced banana on top—yum!

If I’m in more of a rush, I whip up a carob protein smoothie.  1.5 cups water (or almond milk) in a blender followed by 2 tblsp carob powder, 2 tblsp chia seeds, 2.5 tblsp hemp protein powder, 1 tblsp almond butter and 1-2 tblsp hemp seeds, ½ frozen banana and for extra sweetness— one pitted date.  Blend and pour—and run out the door.

Snack time…

I usually munch on whatever fruits I have or if I’ve recently made almond milk—these tasty almond-pulp crackers (best use the pulp I’ve found! Recipe here.)  To curb a sweet-tooth:  1 or 2 dates split in half and filled with either almond butter or P.B. If you sprinkle the top with cocoa nibs it tastes like a Reeses p.b. cup. :)

For lunch it’s…

I usually pack whatever I made for dinner the night before.  Lately I’ve been enjoying these as mid-day meals:
California Summer Wrap with quinoa & tempeh. I also like these portobello mushroom burgers with cauliflower buns or this delicious pea hummus + steamed carrots, beets, recipe.

Dinner is…

Since it’s definitely hot in the house in the evening I try to use as little heat as possible—steaming or light stovetop action is usually my routine.

My FAVORITE summer dish is this minty and refreshing pea-sprout salad by Sarah of My New Roots. Just make sure to scale it down because the original proportions are for 20ish people.

Or if I want something heartier and don’t mind the heat, I whip up Sarah’s sunshine split-pea soup. Just make sure to soak those split peas overnight or it will take for-e-v-er  (2+ hours) to cook!!

And for dessert…

I’ve been loving frozen raw treats that don’t need to be cooked!  Like these tarts. Or this amazing cookie-dough blizzard sundae.