Recipe Test: TVP Meatloaf

Oh man am I excited about this!  Let me preface this by saying I am not a cook.  I have to follow a recipe 95% of the time in order to make edible food, no lie.  Especially with me becoming vegetarian this year, I need to find recipes that are easy yet delicious.  I just recently made a TVP chili, duuuu-licious mind you, a jackfruit tortilla soup, are you shittin me good, and now I need a fuck yeah meatloaf to add to my little box of recipes.  Scouring through Pinterest I happened to find this little gem, TVP Faux Meatloaf Recipe.  So tonight, it is all about meatloaf!

When reading through the list of ingredients needed, I luckily had most.  I did need to switch up a few items due to what I had in stock so we shall see how this comes out.  I do not have onion powder, so I added in Herb & Pepper seasoning hoping to bring a little more flavor to the loaf.  I switched out breadcrumbs with Panko breadcrumbs, since that is what I have on hand, and used Heinz 57 instead of ketchup because I hate ketchup and will never have that on hand haha.  I don’t know if I am allowed to share the recipe fully on here, so it is linked above but I will break down the steps at least.

In a medium bowl, the recipe stated to throw together the TVP (textured vegetable protein for those that don’t know what that is), veggie broth, ketchup (in my case 57), and soy sauce.  Then let it sit for 10 minutes to let the TVP absorb the liquid.  Last minute I did decide to throw in some diced yellow onion.  As a kid, I remember onions being in meatloaf and I love onions so, why not?  After the liquid was absorbed, I had to toss in the rest of the ingredients, mix well, put it on a pan, form into a loaf and bake about 45 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven.  The last 10 minutes of cooking, I put on a topping using tomato sauce, brown sugar, and a little mustard.  While that was baking away, I put on potatoes to boil to make mashed potatoes.

After all of that, here are my thoughts.  This recipe was easy to follow and easy to make.  I enjoy that there are no crazy, out there ingredients in order to make this.  While in the oven, the scent of this loaf wafted through the house and it was incredible.  So none of that really matters unless the taste is there.  Well, the texture is almost spot on.  A tad, I mean a tad, bit dry and the flavor is so close to what I remember meatloaf being, that I am genuinely shook.  Next time I will add a little bit more liquid and switch up the seasonings, I may even add some bell pepper in there as well.

20180118_191057.jpgIn short, I will definitely be making this again!  I have 4 days worth of leftovers and those are going to be great food days!  So, with all of that being said, let’s go over the nutritional value of this recipe.  I plugged everything into MyFitnessPal, making sure to plug in my personal changes to the recipe and here is what I got.  Instead of 4 servings, I was able to break the recipe into 5 servings, with 261 calories per serving, 35.6 grams of carbs, 3.3 grams of fat, and 21.2 grams of protein.  My entire dinner for the evening, including the mashed potatoes and green beans came to be about 434 calories.  Obviously, you can make mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes to save some calorie, but… I am not about that life.  Trying this out gave me some inspiration to try TVP to make Salisbury Steak, Meatballs, and more.  Do you have any great TVP recipes you think I’d like to try?  Have you made TVP meatloaf before?  If so, what did you think?  Let me know down in the comment section!  Hope you had a fantastic Friday and until next time!

Why Having a Gym Buddy Doesn’t Work For Me.

Gym Buddies can be an amazing asset when first starting to workout.  They can become a great source of motivation and support, especially if you deal with gym anxiety.  However, like it was for me at one point, it became a crutch and I was relying too heavily on my gym buddy.

gymbuddy001

When I first began Weight Watchers, I joined with my roommate.  We figured out the food part of the plan and when it came to the workout portion, we joined the same gym and went at the same time.  This is where the problem arises.  We would sometimes talk each other out of going, or if one of us was sick, the other wouldn’t go.  The only time we’d go to the gym is if we went together.  That is not healthy.

On the same aspect that you cannot rely on another person to bring you happiness, you cannot rely on a gym buddy.  My roommate and I did this battle for 6 months.  We both were able to lose a significant amount of weight, however, we never maintained going to the gym or keeping a workout regimen.  My gym anxiety remained and it did not help push me out of my comfort zone.

You need to learn how to workout by yourself and be comfortable working out by yourself.  You cannot rely on another person to go to the gym.  I will do a future post about dealing with gym anxiety, but for right now here is what I recommend.

If you are battling gym anxiety, I completely understand.  Some of the first things I decided to do was get some workout DVD’s or searched YouTube for some fitness videos.  On Amazon, I found Debbie Mack videos, they are designed for heavier set people and are low impact.  On YouTube I absolutely love Yoga with Adriene. her voice is incredibly soothing and before I know it I’ve done Yoga for half an hour.  Working out with DVD’s or videos is a great way to start working out by yourself, but still have a feeling like you are working out with a friend.

Another idea is scheduling a workout session with a gym buddy once a week, but no more than that.  If for some reason your gym buddy cannot make it, you need to hold yourself accountable and still workout.  Whether it be at the gym, at home, a run around the block, whatever, do not rely on another person in order to workout for yourself.

Ultimately you are in control of whether or not you hit the gym, do an at home workout, or let the actions or lack of actions of others control your session.  If you want health and fitness bad enough, you will keep that workout.  Is all of this easier said than done?  Fuck yeah it is, but you are worth it.  Don’t put your happiness and well being in someone else’s hands, take back the reigns of your life.

Lose Weight Quick! BS Fad Diets.

Throughout the years I am sure all of us have read, seen, heard the “Lose 7 pounds in 7 days,” or “drink this to drop 20 pounds in 2 weeks,” bull shit.  If you have been sucked into those lies, never fear, we all have, including me.  Society as a whole is so obsessed with weight that if one does not fit into the societal norms of weight, we look for any means to drop the excess weight as quickly as possible without regards to lasting effects or consequences to our bodies.

bsfaddiets

Cabbage soup anyone?  Most means of losing weight quickly from what I have read (and done mind you) over the years tends to entail disgusting drinks, concoctions, and foods.  You follow some sort of plan for about a week or two and drop 7+ pounds, for what?  Momentary satisfaction.  Those “diet plans” never stick.  Within a month the weight tends to come back, and then some.  Putting your body through such turmoil and restriction ends up inhibiting weight loss because it screws with your metabolism and mental well being.

Restricting and denying yourself also has other adverse effects, such as intensifying cravings, which can lead to a food binge.  Most of us who are overweight or have been overweight know that the weight gain did not happen overnight.  Then why put your body through such shock for a quick fix that doesn’t end up actually fixing the problem?

Some diets that I have read and done throughout the years include the cabbage soup diet, the master cleanse, the cayenne pepper and maple syrup diet, and the grapefruit diet.  Did any of those work?  Technically yes, however, if I actually managed to work through a week of that crap, I ended up bingeing and gaining everything I lost and about 5 pounds more.  My body and mental state were in shambles every time.

Find strength and happiness where you are at now, in order to change where you want to go.  Make a long term commitment to your health, instead of a short term empty promise.  Stick to a balanced diet, full of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats and find a workout regimen that gets you excited, motivated, and charged.  You are beautiful, you are strong, and you are worth more than a 7 day fad.

Well Hello, Friday.

Today has been a very exhausting but productive day for me, more so than normal on my days off.  I deal with a chronic pain condition, which I am not sure I have discussed, but it takes quite a bit out of me, alongside working a physical and mental job.  Most days off are spent watching YouTube, movies, and relaxing.  This Friday however, I needed to get shit done.  It is barely 5:30pm my time and I am so exhausted, I am ready to head to bed.

I woke up at my normal 4:00am, took about 30 minutes to fully wake up, then started my day.  Walked the girls and got ready to head to the gym.  Spent about an hour there today, got in a great sweat, headed home to make breakfast, shower, then got ready for the day.   On my to-do list for the day, I needed to drop off some books to the library that were overdue, then proceeded to check out Trader Joe’s.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the Trader Joe’s I went to because they had minimal vegan products.  Products I was interested in trying that people have talked about were not at this Trader Joe’s.  I’m not mad, still picked up some great things, I went to a smaller and older Trader Joe’s, so I think that is the reason they did not have such a large selection.  Another Trader Joe’s that I will sometimes visit moved to a larger location, so next month I will try that location.

Speaking of things I picked up from Trader Joe’s, I finally found the Jackfruit everyone has been talking about!  I have seen pulled jackfruit recipes, nachos, and all sorts of yummy recipes with this stuff.  I used one can in my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe today, and it tasted amazing!  The texture is totally there with the shredded chicken I would have in that!  Very excited to keep playing around with Jackfruit in the future.

The rest of my day has spent meal prepping and feeling quite drained.  Tonight I would like to finish my book, You’re a Bad Ass, then start another book.  I also want to do a bit more planning, jotting down ideas, things of that nature before I walk to girls and call it a night.  So far I made Jackfruit Tortilla Soup and Tempura Cauliflower and rice.  The tortilla soup was made in the crockpot, so it took a bit.  I have the Tempura Cauliflower with rice for dinner and it was soooo delicious!  A great way to have Chinese without the added crap.

Well, I think this is good for now.  Not too much to report.  I am continuing with my meal prepping tomorrow, once I am done with everything, I will share what I made along with pictures.

Kitchen Overhaul.

Now don’t be thinking this is Extreme Makeover Kitchen edition, but I will say it is pretty close, just without demolition involved.  I do live in an apartment and I am pretty sure knocking down walls would be frowned upon.  My kitchen looked like a war zone had erupted, an absolute pigsty.  I would try tackling it little by little, but with no end in sight.  Honestly, I have no clue why I let this happen.  My kitchen would be sparkling, then a week later all hell breaks loose with pots, pans, food, utensils, mail, you name it, sprawled on every service available in my kitchen.

Another problem area I have is where my trash can resides.  My apartment complex has a compactor as well as participates in recycling.  Instead of making convenient trips to my recycler and compactor, I let my trash pile up.  Moreso the recycling than the trash.  The trash can I will stuff to the brim, making it immensely heavy when it comes time to begrudgingly take it out.  Why do I do this to myself?  Seriously, why?  I do not have an answer for you.  So, over the past two days, I have taken on the daunting task of decluttering and cleaning up my kitchen.

As you can see, disgusting.  So much clutter and chaos, and yes you do see a normal towel in the picture.  I used it to help press tofu.  There were so many plates and glasses that I collected to declutter because honestly, I live alone.  Why on earth do I need 16 large plates and 8 small plates?  I lost count the number of mugs and glasses I’ve collected.  The amount of crap just in my kitchen alone made me feel like a hoarder.  I don’t know about you, but when all of this chaos ensues I get extremely hostile and claustrophobic.  I feel like I can’t escape and breathe.  I cannot be the only one who feels that way.  So, bring on the purge!

Literally, it took two days of chipping away at my kitchen.  Pulling together all the recyclables and collecting the trash, but I did it.  I feel so liberated.  In the background, I had Erin Henry on repeat.  If you have not watched any of her videos, I highly recommend them for any future girl boss.  I am going to be implementing several points she discussed in various videos, but back to the kitchen.

I am definitely impressed with myself.  To keep it clean is now going to be the challenge.  It is so satisfying for me to look at the before than after, almost therapeutic.  After it all, I ended up throwing out one bag of trash and two full bags of recycling.  On top of cleaning the kitchen, I was able to get 3 loads of laundry done and type up this post that is going to be uploaded for Monday.  I have a few more things I would like to get done tonight, especially before I do my Yoga practice.  I do need to work on my planner and prep some ideas for posts, as well as work out a menu for the week.  What have been some of your accomplishments for the day?  What have been some of your drawbacks?  Let me know in the comment section so hopefully, we can have a conversation!  Until next time.

Start Fresh. Start Where You Are.

So, my original blog was located on leahravenblog.wordpress.com but I decided for an upgrade.  Hence, where we are now.  The original focus on my blog was a weight loss journey, my transformation.  While that is still the major focus, it shall not be my only focus.  I need to transform everything in my life in order to achieve success.  Now, I am not talking about my personality, or who I am as a person, but I need to transform my attitude and my focus to reflect who I want to become.  I need to implement positive consistent changes if I want lasting results.

Right now I want to take a reflection on the previous week, discuss my successes and failures and evaluate what I need to change in order to have a productive upcoming week.  One major positive was that I went to the gym on January 1st.  Why that is such a big deal is due to the fact that there was no one to open up the gym until 7:15am when the gym was originally supposed to open at 6:00am.  I waited and had a wonderful workout.  I also went to the gym on Wednesday and did yoga twice this week.  Major successes.

Setbacks, I missed Friday’s gym workout, did not follow through with my yoga regime, and did not menu plan or meal prep, causing some bingeing and major snacking.

Now let’s talk about ways that I plan to improve my upcoming week.  After I complete this post, I have set aside distractions to menu plan.  I have a list of every food item in my fridge and pantry and am going to come up with some meal ideas.  Working out first thing in the morning has been extremely enjoyable for me, so I am going to continue to work on that and make sure my alarm is set.  Monday I have no appointments on my books so I am going to focus that day on meal prep.  I would like at least a weeks worth of meals prepped and ready to go, if I can get more, fantastic, but that is not the priority.

My goal for the end of the month is to be down 5 pounds, which would put me at 218.4 pounds.  Currently, I am at 223.4 pounds but originally when I started all of this, I weighed 242.6 pounds.  I am down a total of 19.2 pounds.  None of this has been easy, but it has been worth it.  Honestly, if you read plenty of self-improvement books, you will read life is a mental game and it most certainly is.  The most challenging part of my journey is to convince my mind to do things.  I may be enthusiastic and ready to take on the world one minute, then my mind comes creeping back saying, nah, do it tomorrow.  It is a constant battle and immensely frustrating.

Every day is a new day, and every day can be a fresh start.  As long as you never quit, you will never fail.  You may fall, but as long as you keep getting back up you can achieve anything.  What were some of your successes and misses for the week?  What is your plan for the upcoming week?  Let’s talk about them in the comments and maybe we can help each other!  Until next time!