Sept 9: African peanut soup

The first time I had this soup was when I lived in Bellingham, WA while I was attending WWU. Tony’s coffee shop served it, and it was amazing. Now, 20 some years later and Tony’s Coffee is a big deal with it’s own coffee brand that you can buy through Kroger’s.

Maybe my nostalgia made me want that soup again, but also just these naturally vegan ethnic foods are my favorite meals: Indian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian for example.

I found this recipe and followed it pretty closely except I left out the spicy chile pepper (for the kids), and I blended it with my immersion blender except for about a cup of it which I stirred back in. I also grated a little ginger into it since that is how I remember it. This recipe was pretty easy! Found it on Oh My Veggies, which looks like a great resource, will definitely check out the other recipes on the site.

African Peanut Soup

Soy: good or evil?

My diet includes a lot of soy products: soy milk, tofu, and tempeh mostly. But soy is used in so many vegan products as a source of protein. Many people believe too much soy is harmful, and can even add to the higher risk of cancer. Before we throw the soybean under the bus, there is a lot of misinformation circulated.

Moderation is key in everything, so eating a diet that is mostly soy is surely not recommended. However, soy has been unfairly accused of being overly harmful. That last link was from an admittedly pro-vegan doctor. Trying to find a neutral party, this Harvard School of Medicine article on soy seems to say that soy is both not harmful, and may be harmful.

I’m going to stick to moderation as key while scientists continue to research this topic. As a personal experience, I am going to avoid soy for one month and report back with my results.

Sept 8: Taco Tuesday

Have I really only been doing this 8 days? It is not that vegan cooking every night is hard, it’s that making something consistently blog-worthy, like a real recipe is hard. Last night we had kids over after school, swim practice, and I was very tired from staying up too late the night before.

The kids wanted tacos, so it worked out perfectly. I had some shells I heated up in the oven, re-fried beans, lettuce, tomato, salsa and avocado. I also made a delicious taco meat out of ground up walnuts with just a few spices and soy sauce. Well, the kids wouldn’t try it- but trust me it is really good! You can serve it on the side. (-; I may try again with a tempeh version in the future. And Taco Tuesdays are the best- I think we will keep those in rotation since those are crazy days.

Walnut Taco Recipe (I would cut back on the soy sauce, it was a bit salty for my taste at least)


Eating less meat for health reasons

Interestingly enough, the health aspect of a plant-based diet was one of the main reasons I first tried a vegan diet. However, I rarely touch upon this in my writing. The animals and environmental issues just seem so extremely critical, that the health angle is not as important to me personally.

Obviously, it can (and should) be a major reason to try a plant-based diet. There are so many conflicting versions of what diet is the best, misinformation, and big industries purposely misleading the American public. Even to the point of trying to force out any humane or healthy alternatives.

All diets embrace eating vegetables. Most are fine with fruits as well. From what I have researched, even as a non-expert, whole foods are absolutely the way to go. No one endorses fast food, processed food or sugar.

After that, you will find experts to argue with whatever side you think is correct. Since so much harm is definitely proved for the environment and animals, and the simple logistics that our earth cannot sustain our growing population eating meat with every meal, eating less meat has to be the path we take.

People are always worried about protein deficiencies, however the bigger issue is that Americans are eating twice as much protein as they need. And yes, that is a health problem. What if there is a link between animal proteins, including casein and cancer?  Beyond dietary health, there are safety (bacteria and over-use of antibiotics) concerns due to the conditions of the factory farms, where 99% of our meat is produced.

Here are a few dietary resources I like, check them out and see if they make sense to you.

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine

Forks Over Knives

Engine 2 Diet

The China Study



Sept 7: Happy Labor Day

It would have been a perfect day to make a veggie burger for our neighborhood block party, but instead I made a lentil dal from Forks over Knives AND salad rolls.

Forks over Knives was one of the critical turning points in changing how I ate. There were two reasons: one was my daughter, and one was this film. After watching the film over three years ago, I decided to try a month eating vegan. Pretty powerful. And the strange thing is, the health reasons that started me down this path are not what keeps me on the path at all.

I’m strongly motivated not to eat meat mostly because of how it affects our planet and all who exist on it. Then knowing the suffering of the animals keeps me from being overwhelmed by the enormity of trying to affect climate change. Finally, I hope that our family will be healthier in the end for it. I do take iron and B12, and pay attention to balancing our diet, taking time to incorporate a wide variety of vegetables. A very small effort to make.

I made the lentil dal because it sounded good to me. And it tastes good to my husband and I, but honestly, the kids aren’t a big fan of it.

So, I thought I would attempt to make Vietnamese salad rolls. We have a store nearby, Bui’s Natural Tofu, that makes the best rolls and tofu. The kind I buy all the time to take to potlucks. Their lemongrass tofu is amazing, as well as the green onion tofu.

Making salad rolls was a bit more difficult than I thought because I had to bake some tofu, which required a marinade, and the peanut sauce for dipping (that part was pretty easy). I julienned some vegetables, and cooked some rice noodles. But, when I tried to assemble them, they just didn’t come together that well. I think I needed larger wraps for one thing. It wasn’t a total fail, and I want to try it again, but just not with that recipe.

If anyone has a good recipe for Asian salad rolls, please let me know!

Sept 6: Homemade Yumm Bowls

We lucky Oregonians are fortunate enough to have Café Yumm as a local, regional restaurant chain. The menu’s main feature are bowls that start with rice and bean base, but are customizable. Their signature Yumm sauce is what puts the “yumm” into the name. We support them whenever we are traveling in one of their many locations, or happen to be getting lunch out in downtown Portland.

However, we also started making this a party dish at home with friends and family. It started as a way to make something that our family members who are not vegetarian would enjoy since the customizing part is quite fun. It also is easy to make. Steam a bunch or rice (we prefer brown), place this on the table with smaller bowls of individual bowls of toppings: chopped avocado and tomato, sliced black olives, beans, vegetables (steamed broccoli). You can optionally have faux meat, tempeh or tofu on the side.

We made this for my daughter’s birthday, and in addition to the delicious yumm sauce, I tried making little blocks of tempeh. They turned out really well! A bit more work, but very delicious. My kids LOVE tempeh, in fact even my dad liked tempeh. When prepared well, it has a bacon-like texture and savory umami flavor.

I ended up cutting the blocks of tempeh into 1/2 inch pieces and ended up with at least 32 pieces since I wanted as many as possible and marination to be better. The only other thing the recipe doesn’t mention, but is important, is to steam the tempeh first. I just stuck it in the steamer basket of the rice cooker for awhile (maybe 10 minutes). It allows the marinade to be better absorbed.

My mom made the Yumm sauce in advance, it works great in a vitamix. You can use it as a topping on other options like quinoa, or even a sandwich spread.

Yumm-style sauce


  • 12 cup canola oil
  • 12 cup almonds
  • 13 cup nutritional yeast
  • 12 cup chickpeas or 12 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
  • 14 cup tofu
  • 12 cup water
  • 12 cup lemon juice
  • 1 -2 garlic cloves
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. In a blender or food processor blend almonds, tofu, chickpeas and oil.
  2. Add all other ingredients and puree until creamy smooth.
  3. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for one hour.

I used just the tempeh portion of the recipe from here.


Sept 5: Lynn’s Meatloaf

Another favorite from Engine 2, I have made this a couple times before and even my picky kid really loves it. It is a healthy meatloaf, that if you do it right, makes a most delicious sandwich. It has great texture and flavor.

So, the recipe online has one major difference from the one in my book. They revised it to be more plant-based by using lentils instead of the fake ground beef meat the book version uses. Well, I made it the book way, but I am sure it is just as delicious with lentils. Especially if you cook those lentils in vegetable broth.

Besides using that package of “meat” crumbles and I recommend Smart Ground Original from Lightlife, I also left out the onion powder, sage, thyme and all spices simply because I didn’t have them on hand. It was still really good, but I think that would have made it way better. If you want to make sure it doesn’t fall apart, mash up the tofu and make sure it has enough liquid.

We had it with some potato salad that a friend brought us, and it was delicious!

Get Lynn’s Meatloaf recipe!

September 4: Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheez

One of the easiest, fastest kid meals to make is homemade mac n’ cheese. I have it down to a one pot process, adding in frozen vegetables with the noodles at the end, and everyone is happy. I’ve made it using vegan butter and soy milk, but still using some cheddar cheese. This is one of those dishes on all the vegan menus that everyone tries to recreate.

This version got rave reviews, and gave me a way to incorporate the butternut squash we had on hand. I followed the recipe closely except I didn’t have onion and garlic powder, and used soy milk instead of almond milk.

The cheese sauce was delicious, and I think I could eat that part all alone. The butternut squash was delicious, and everything would have been great except I over-cooked the macaroni noodles a bit. It still worked, but just got a little congealed.

Results: the adults and one kid loved it. The picky eater would not try it. Maybe it was the smell of nutritional yeast that alerted her, but she knew there were secret ingredients in that sauce and she refused to try it. Despite the fact that her favorite thing to order at one of her preferred restaurants, Paradox Café, is their fake bacon garlic Mac n Cheese. Although that item did apparently win a Vegan Iron Chef competition, all I can say is holy garlic!

I think this one is a keeper despite being much harder than my usual method, it was also healthier and tastier.

Here is the recipe from Oh she glows, a great place to find vegan recipes.



September 3: Easy vegan fried rice

We always order a stir fried rice when we get Thai food. Traditionally, it uses fish sauce, and egg. I’ve played around in the past with making my own version, but decided to use a recipe this time.

I’m not going to lie- it took me a lot longer. The tofu was the best part, baked and then marinated, and then stir fried. Surprisingly, there were no fats or oils used in this recipe.

You may be wondering why I don’t post photos with these. Well, reason number one is that I am not great at photographing food. Reason number 2 is that my food does not always look that great. I’ll work on this, but until then, click on the link below and you can see the very appealing photos with the recipe.

Shortcut used on this recipe: Frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh. Family’s impressions: Overall, they really liked it. My daughter was quite pleased there were no onions. I think I might try it again, this time without burning some of the tofu in the pan.

I got this recipe from Minimalist Baker, who promises “simple, delicious recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare”. Somehow this took me an hour, two pots, a bowl and a cookie sheet. I do love her concept, photos and recipes, so I will try to step things up on my end.

Get the recipe for Easy Vegan Fried Rice



About our website’s name

We decided to use the name “Eat Less Meat” as a way to encourage all people to try a more plant-based lifestyle, to take whatever steps they were able to take at this point. It was important to make this name more inclusive to everyone. When I went to register the website name, the version without hyphens was already registered. By who?

Applegate Natural and Organic Meats. Why would they want the name They must be afraid someone will actually encourage this. It is not like any vegetarian industries have registered for (which is available by the way).

I checked out their website, and on the surface, appreciate that they are encouraging people to think about how their animals were raised, and go away from factory farms. I found the wording in their mission a bit odd, in that it never mentions the word “animals”.

At Applegate our mission is to Change the Meat We Eat.
By that we mean making good meat – the kind that’s raised humanely without antibiotics and hormones – accessible to as many people as possible. To achieve this evolution, we put our resources toward the people we think have the most potential to change our food system – eaters, farmers and innovators. Our work involves educating people about the important issues that impact their food, addressing the challenges faced by new farmers, and supporting big ideas that can improve the way good meat is raised, produced and distributed.

So, Applegate is trying to do better, and steer people away from those nasty factory farms and make them feel all good about humane treatment, and farmers. Oh, but wait… what is this? In May 2015, Hormel (producers of SPAM and all sorts of unnatural foods) acquired Applegate. I guess $775 million dollars will help Hormel sell both their processed food to people who don’t care, and also funnel in sales for people who think they are avoiding those nasty factory farms. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.