Vegan Meatloaf That’s Beyond Good

Beyond Meat Vegan Loaf

Beyond Meat Vegan LoafMeatloaf has always been a favorite around our house. My kids never understood people who didn’t like it. The vegans, however, missed it after the switch. With the advent of Beyond Beef®, that’s over! But enough nattering, the recipe (such as it is) is below…

Vegan Beyond Meatloaf Recipe

1 Package Beyond Beef®
½ Medium onion, diced
⅔ Sleeve saltines, finely ground
1/4 cup Just Egg egg replacer (or blended tofu with black salt)
Salt and pepper to taste
Ketchup to taste

Mix ingredients except ketchup. Knead briefly and create a loaf.

Bake at 350 until meat thermometer approaches the temperature you would use for ground beef. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add ketchup. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to settle, slice and serve.

It ends up looking and tasting surprisingly similar to a standard ground beef loaf. I’ve added an image below of both to compare, so don’t go on if you don’t want to see that!

 

Vegan Chili That is Amazing – Pressure Cooker or Instapot

bowl of chili with vegan sour cream and pickled jalapeño slice

I got this recipe from my mother, who was not a vegan or vegetarian, but was an excellent cook. Her version contained some beef. I’ve adapted it over the years to suit my veggie tastes. It’s very popular in my house and some version is made at least every couple of weeks. This week, VeganAsanaSon4 requested it so his girlfriend could try it, so it was our anniversary dinner. HA!

We typically have it the first day as chili and then the leftovers show up as nachos, burritos, and taco salad.

Ingredients

2 lbs pinto, kidney, black beans or a mix (use canned if you prefer but cooking them from dry makes better chili)
1-2 medium onions diced
4 stalks celery sliced thin
2 cups carrots shredded or chopped (sometimes I leave this out)
1 large can crushed tomato
2 large cans diced tomato drained
4-6 cups veg broth
2-3 jalapenos diced or sliced
3 T olive oil
6 T cumin
6 T cocoa powder
3 T smooth peanut butter
sea salt
pepper

Process

Sort and rinse beans and dice veggies. Put everything except the peanut butter and cocoa in your pressure cooker, using only 4 cups of broth to start. Seal and increase to high pressure, cooking for 25-30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pressure to come back down. Unseal, add cocoa powder and taste test for seasoning. You may need to add more of the veggie broth. At that point, you continue to cook on a low simmer until everything is at the level you enjoy. More cooking will break down the texture of the beans and thicken the soup into a more creamy consistency – which some people like.  Less cooking will result in a chunkier chili.  When you are close to finished (within an hour of completion), add the peanut butter and stir in.

Each time you make this, it comes out differently based on how much of each thing you add, but it accommodates a lot of variation.  Increase the PB & C for a richer taste.  Add more diced tomato for a chunkier chili.  Put in extra veggies (bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant are excellent, and squash adds a different flavor) for a little veggie boost. If you don’t have any fresh jalapenos in the house, this can be done with jarred peppers or chili powder.  You can even add browned beef, chicken, or pork (blarf) or tofu (yay) if you want even more protein than the beans provide.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese (vegan or non) and crackers.  This and a side salad makes a full and delicious high fiber meal!

When Chronic Illness Feels Like Depression

Am I depressed or just sick? Am I depressed because I am ill? Am I ill because I am depressed?

The National Institute of Mental Health provides the following list as signs of depression:

  • Feeling sad, irritable, or anxious;
  • Feeling empty, hopeless, guilty, or worthless;
  • Loss of pleasure in usually-enjoyed hobbies or activities, including sex;
  • Fatigue and decreased energy, feeling listless;
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions;
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much. Waking too early;
  • Eating too much or not wanting to eat at all, possibly with unplanned weight gain or loss;
  • Thoughts of death, suicide or suicide attempts; and/or,
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.

Think about that list. Most of the items, with possible exceptions of the final two, are fairly common in cases of chronic disease or illness. For the individual, this can create uncertainty regarding mental, or even physical, health. If the root cause is unclear, so too is the treatment plan.

What does this mean for the individual? I think it means that those of us dealing with chronic illness need to take it easy on ourselves when we can’t maintain a positive mental state. It doesn’t mean we should give up, but we shouldn’t feel so guilty.

What does this mean for caregivers? Patients with chronic conditions may need treatment for depression or they may need to be reassured that these feelings don’t necessarily mean clinical depression. Caregivers may need to spend more time talking to patients to get at the psychological and emotional issues, and maybe be prepared for some tears, or guilt, or anger.

What does this mean for family and friends? The person you care for may not be able to be as fun as you want, even during times when the illness seems to be under relative control. Your loved one may need you more mentally or emotionally than physically, but simultaneously may feel an abundance of shame about that. And you may, in turn, be angry or frustrated and need to find someone else to talk to about it.

The interaction between chronic illness/disease and mental wellbeing is complicated, like people are. We can’t expect it to be simple or easy, whether we are the patient or those offering support.