Week 1: Smoothies, Chili, and Chana - Oh, My!

Week 1 of the Whole Life Challenge has come and gone, and I must say: I am so happy to be back in my kitchen, cooking up a storm! Sunday afternoons feel so nice when I can kick back and soak in the 3-5 dishes I've made for the week.

With the dietary stipulations of the challenge it has been a journey finding recipes that not only are compliant with the game's rules but are also satisfying and nutrient-dense. The first dish I made is my favorite hearty soup recipe: Sweet Potato Chili. With kidney and black beans to lend protein-packed staying power this chili is a filling and satisfying lunch or dinner. 

And what's that dollop? Why, lemon cashew cream, thankyouverymuch. A suitable stand-in for sour cream.

Part of the challenge required us to call three different restaurants to find out which dishes were compliant with the game's dietary rules. One of the restaurants I called was Saffron Patch, the local, upscale Indian eatery in the valley. I was hope-hope-hoping their chana masala and maharaja dal were a-okay and they were! I ordered some that night - sans basmati rice - and subbed some homemade quinoa on the side. I could eat chana masala all day, every day.

No pasta?! Well, luckily spaghetti squash is a grain-free alternative and mighty tasty. I prepared this squash aglio e olio style, with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper. Also, a power greens side salad with creamy garlic dressing (cashew based).

My love affair with my Vita-Mix  has been reunited and I created a Peanut Butter Cup smoothie this morning (and devoured it in under 90 seconds). It tastes exactly like a friggin' milkshake. Here's the magic I created:

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

1 ripe banana (frozen is ideal, but room temp works fine)
4 ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
1 heaping tbs peanut butter
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp stevia

Stay tuned for more recipes and recaps - especially as we gear up for Vegan Mofo VI!!