Monday, February 26, 2007

Grilled Tempeh

For today's lunch, I wanted something that was really easy to fix, but also something that would taste good and be somewhat healthy. I started digging around in the fridge yesterday evening and found a package of Light Life Tempeh that I needed to use. My favorite use of tempeh, so far, is the Tempeh Reuben recipe found in VwaV. If you've never made those then you must go do it right now because they are so delicious. One reason that they are so delicious is because the marinated tempeh that you use is delicious all by itself. So, I decided to just use the marinade recipe, the same one used for the reubens, and then just grill the tempeh.

I cut the block of tempeh into four pieces and then sliced each of those in half, giving me a total of eight pieces of tempeh to grill. I mixed up the marinade and let them soak for several hours. Then I just grilled them on the stove using one of those grill pans that has all of the little raised surfaces on it. You can't really see it in the picture, because I also covered the tempeh with a little bit of that delicious fat-free Bryanna's Vegan Brown Gravy, but the slices of Grilled Tempeh have some nice black grill marks on them. I like food when it has grill marks on it, I think it makes you think it taste better. But this tempeh actually is delicious, really simple to fix, and I had a bunch left over. I wrapped it up and froze it for future use. I've got a few ideas floating around in my head for what I will eventually do with it, but needless to say, it will eventually end up here in the lunchbox.

On the healthy side of things, I also brought along some Mixed Steamed Vegetables and some fresh Strawberries for dessert. The berries were on sale this week at the store, so I couldn't pass them up. Again, I don't know if it's just because I haven't eaten strawberries in a while or what, but these are SO good. I was actually surprised at how sweet they were. I wasn't expecting much for "middle-of-the-winter" strawberries, but these are really good. I could have capped them and cut them up and fit a couple more into the little lunchbox container, but I like opening the lunchbox and seeing them in their natural state, with the green tops still on them, so I left them that way.

Now, onto the one item in today's lunch that is definitely not health food. Yes, I am still on a diet (more on that later), but I played around in the kitchen a little bit this weekend and finally tried a recipe that I have been wanting to try for quite a while. And while it's not the healthiest thing in the world to eat, I did make a couple of modifications to make it a little bit healthier than it would have been otherwise, plus the lunchbox helps me out again with portion control. But Macaroni & Cheese was one of my favorite foods as an omnivore and up until this weekend, I hadn't been able to find a vegan version that satisfied me. I tried the one out of The Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak, but it just didn't do it for me. Then I found this thread over at the Post Punk Kitchen where people were talking about Macaroni & Cheese recipes and someone made the New Farm Cookbook recipe. They said that it was a lot better than The Uncheese Cookbook recipe, so I was tempted to try it, and I did.

HOLY COW! This stuff is good. I did cut back on the oil (I only used 2 Tbsp.) and I used Dreamfield's pasta to significantly lower the digestable carbs, but this stuff is still a vegan treat that you should definitely eat in moderation. I swear this was so good that I could have just sat down and pigged out and eaten the whole 8" x 8" pan of this stuff. I don't know if this recipe is really that good, or if my taste for nutritional yeast has finally just improved to the point where I actually love it, but this recipe is delicious. If you've been looking for a good vegan mac-n-cheese recipe, then you should definitely try this one. The actual recipe is posted there in the ppk thread.

So there's lunch for Monday. Simple, and pretty good for me, except for the mac-n-cheese. It's a small portion, so a treat like this is okay I think, every once in a while. At least it's the only "not-so-good-for-weight-loss" treat in the lunchbox. Since I brought it, I made sure that I didn't bring any more fat or carb laden goodies like homemade rolls or a sweet dessert. As long as I make adjustments like that, I think I'll still be able to lose weight at a decent pace.

And speaking of losing weight, I promised an update every Monday on my weight loss progress, so here it is. You've seen what I ate for lunch last week, and if you remember, last weekend I weighed in at my highest weight ever (again!) which was 225 pounds. I tried eating healthier last week, and I exercised by walking 30 minutes a day. My goal is to do that 5 times a week (Monday - Friday) but last week I ended up only getting in four days. I had a bunch of errands to do on Friday which interfered with my lunchtime walk. Of course, I walked around quite a bit doing those errands, but still, I will admit that I missed a day. At least I did get in 4 days of exercise though, which is 4 days more than what I had been doing.

So what happened? Well, it's been a whole week, and when I weighed myself this weekend I weighed in at 218 pounds, so I have lost 7 pounds so far. This is typical for me whenever I start a Weight Watchers type diet, which is basically what I am doing, and count food points and try to keep them below a certain limit. I normally lose 7-8 pounds a week for the first couple of weeks and then it tapers off to a healthy 1-2 pound weight loss per week. So, needless to say, I am very happy that I lost 7 pounds this week, that's almost 20% of my ultimate goal of 40 pounds!

I went to a birthday party Saturday night and someone even asked me how much weight I had lost, so that feels good to know that it's already showing. I just love it when people ask you if you've lost weight. And all of this happened just by slightly tweaking my diet and getting up and walking a little bit every day. I even overindulged this weekend a little bit by consuming several light beers at the birthday party and even ordering some vegan pizza from Papa John's, plus I made that dang mac-n-cheese, but I knew that I had lost a significant amount of weight already this week, so I figured I deserved it. I mean, yeah, I probably would have lost even more if I hadn't done those three things, but really, 7 pounds in a week is plenty. I'm happy with it.

So that does it for Monday's lunch, and I am DEFINITELY getting my 30 minute walk in today.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see everybody on Tuesday!


Tiffaney said...

Like you, I ADORE comfort foods! I'd recommend owning the New Farm Cookbook! My boyfriend has an old beat up version that he's been using since his teens and I have to agree that it's the best "go to" cookbook we own (and we own a lot!). Everything in it is consistently good!

Also, like you, I understand the point counting! I lost 90lbs with weight watchers just a year ago! Keep up the good work!

Chris said...

Hey, congrats on the great weight loss. I am struggling on WW but know it works. Your food looks yummy too :).

Melanie said...

oh, MAN! i think that's the best looking tempeh i've ever seen. it looks absolutely delicious, and from the description i'm sure it was. you know, you're helping me stay inspired to keep the lunches going for my husband and younger daughter. i tend to get sick of doing that pretty quickly, but comign to this site helps the ideas keep flowing. thanks! (my older daughter doesn't want a packed lunch...she sees the school cafeteria as her ONE BIG CHANCE to eat junk.)

rachel said...

I've been visiting your site pretty regularly now for a few months and I LOVE seeing all your lunches. I also must say that I am very impressed with your recent health eating. It's great for you and it makes a really fun blog to read! As far as macaroni and cheese is concerned, my favourite recipe ever is in "La Dolce Vegan". I make it with whole wheat pasta and there's no oil in it, just a little margarine which I cut back on a bit. I will warn you though, I tend to eat the whole thing when I make it so maybe it's not the best "healthy" meal.....

Anonymous said...

MMmm yummo!!! Mac & Cheese is one of my favorite foods in the whole world. Your lunch looks great today. Keep up the good work and congrats on the weight loss!!!!! JD

bazu said...

That looks fantastic. I just recently had my first tempeh reuben and I was like, where have you been all my life??

kennyboy said...

Thanks everybody!

I AM ordering that cookbook tiffaney. I read the reviews on and I can see it's a winner. Heck, the mac-n-cheese recipe is proof of that. Congrats on losing 90 pounds. WOW!

Good luck with WW chris. Like you said, it DOES work.

This tepmeh was good melanie. I didn't care too much for tempeh when I first became vegan, but of course I love it now. :o)

I've got that book rachel, I need to try the mac-n-cheese there (I didn't realize it had one) and compare it with the New Farm recipe. I can't imagine anything would beat it, but if there is something that can then I DEFINITELY want to eat it! ALL OF IT!

Thanks JD. ;o)

And welcome to the wonderful world of tempeh reubens bazu! Hahahahahaha. They ARE great aren't they? And I didn't even like reubens when I was an omnivore.

NightOwl said...

Congratulations on your weight loss Ken! That is so great and very inspiring!
You know, I love the All-American Cheeze Sauce from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. It's amazing. It tastes perfect. And since it's made with either squash or carrots, it's a lot healthier than other sauces. I just pour it over macaroni and eat it like that, or bake it up. Perfect on nachos or anything else that requires cheese sauce. Like veggies! That would be nice and healthy. :)