Maggie Swan

The best vegan birthday gift ever

In Vegan on March 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm

In case you were wondering how the Stroganoff Supreme and Juicy Burger & Potato Stew turned out… well, I never made them. I had already purchased the beefy substitutes and was sharing my dinner preparation plans with Brian when he gave me that look.

“You know, this is not the point of this experiment,” he said. “We aren’t trying to adapt our new eating habits to fit our old ones. This is all processed crap. Look at the ingredients.”

I looked again, with new eyes. Realized I couldn’t pronounce half of them.

Damn. Back to unprocessed vegetables again.

It’s not that I don’t like vegetables. I do. They just always have been a side dish, an accompaniment – never the star attraction of any meal.

I had gravitated toward these meat alternatives to help Devin ease into veganism. After all, I had made mini “almost-meatball” subs with meat and cheese substitutes – and he didn’t even know it was vegan. Now what could I do to get him into acceptance mode and eat more veggies?

Ah ha! Incentivize!

For every vegan meal or vegetable he ate, he would earn time on the iPad. Suddenly the kid who shunned our experiment was extolling the virtues of arugula with Cholula hot sauce. Trying everything I made (although in true Chopped fashion, would critique each meal, usually starting with “I’m not a fan…”).

We watched Forks Over Knives, a documentary that espoused the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. I started changing my thinking about clean eating – wanting it instead of dreading it.

The biggest boost to our experiment came from Williams-Sonoma (my favorite store): a Vitamix. Brian has been talking about Vitamix for two years, so we decided to get one for his birthday. It cost more than my first car! But oh, it was candy apple red, the Porsche of blenders, with a beautiful hard cover recipe book, and I couldn’t wait to see if the hype was true.

Yep. The hype is true.

We made green smoothies. French onion soup (using vegetable broth and forgoing the Swiss cheese). Spinach and vegetable soup (we ate this two nights in a row!). Berry smoothies. More green smoothies. Once I got past the neon green color (or, the brown ones Brian makes) – I found I loved them and began to crave them.

Making spinach vegetable soup in the Vitamix

Look at ‘er blend!

Here is the recipe for the first smoothie I ever made in the Vitamix, courtesy of Vitamix – it remains my favorite smoothie so far.

Spring Green Smoothie

1/2 cup green grapes
1 orange; peeled, halved, seeded
1/2 lemon; peeled, seeded
1/2 cucumber; large chunks
1/2 green apple; seeded
1 cup kale; spine removed
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup pineapple chunks; fresh or frozen
2 cups ice cubes

– Place the ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
– Select Smoothie program.
– Switch machine to Start and allow machine to complete programmed cycle.


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