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The holiday “break” for a college professor rarely feels like a break – of course no academic will ever be overheard saying “I’m completely caught up!” so it’s not like this is news. I turned in grades on Wednesday and have been frantically getting ready for our holiday trip: a cruise to the Bahamas.

Of course, this sounds exotic and high class but it was a gift and we’re going with my mother and sister in-law for our first holiday sans my wonderful father-in-law passed just a few months ago. We’re hoping that the time away as a family will be good for all our souls. I’m excited but I’m also flooded with trepidation.

A cruise is largely centered around indulgence (particularly with food). My sister-in-law is recently vegan too though so between the three of us (my husband included) I’m sure that we are all a bit worried simply about what will be available to eat. When vegan options aren’t really taken into consideration then you end up eating sides and fillers. I’ve been doing really good lately and I don’t want to bust it all to hell because I’m trapped on a ship that does not take into account health, life choices, or weight loss.

BUT, it is a vacation – the likes of which I’ve never been privileged enough to have before now – and I want to enjoy it! I do not want to worry about food all the time – I do that enough daily!

My game plan: only fruit or oatmeal before noon, a small lunch of some kind of veggie/grain combo, and a couple of small snacks of nuts or fruit along the afternoon.  I feel like this will at least balance things out because dinner is a sit down catered meal and likely a complete crap shoot.  I want to feel content and not starving when I go to dinner so I’m not as likely to indulge with too-big portions or items that may have dairy (because I’m weak still and if I’m hungry and it’s all that’s there is to eat that’s more substantial I’m likely to cave!). And I will allow myself a couple of desserts while there but I won’t eat a lot of it if I do.

We will see how it goes (I’ll be sure to post pictures and a full report of what cruise food has to offer!).

Before we leave I have lots to do but without work I’m able to move at my own pace. I’m making gifts and cards this year and everything is working out nicely. I’ve also been able to cook a little more experimentally without the packed “wake-up-and-go/come-home-and-sleep” schedule I have been on. What a relief!

I love to cook. I love to be domestic. I like to have clean laundry. I’m really a 50’s housewife deep inside this working woman exterior.

So, what has been cooking in my kitchen this week: Some yummy protein and fiber rich meals to give me the energy boost I need to cope with all things holiday related. Which – honestly – can’t we all use at this time of the year!

Vegan “Hash”
Servings: 4      Prep Time: 10 minutes      Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
271 calories, 5 fat, 18 protein, and 7 fiber (per serving, toppings not included)

Vegan Fingerling Hash with Go Veggie! cheese substitute shreds and Frog Ranch Medium Salsa

Vegan Fingerling Hash topped with Go Veggie! cheese substitute shreds and Frog Ranch Medium Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Fingerling potatoes (scrub thoroughly)
  • 1 package Yves Meatless ground (this is the equivalent to 1lb ground beef if you’re so inclined)
  • red onion (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 2-4 tbsp butter (I use Smart Balance Light w/Flaxseed oil because it’s Vegan and low calorie/fat)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • (optional) cheese (or Go Veggie! Cheddar shreds for the Vegan alternative)
  • (optional) salsa or ketchup if desired
  • (optional) seasonings of your choice

Directions:

  1. Brown the Meatless Ground (or meat) in a frying pan with the diced red onion on medium heat. I suggest you add some seasonings like salt, pepper, or a mixed seasoning – I use a Cajun seasoning and it’s yummy – chipotle seasoning is also good.
  2. Dice the well scrubbed fingerling potatoes into about 1/4 inch slices and toss them into the frying pan as you go.
  3. Once all the diced potatoes are in the pan, turn down the heat to low and add 1/4 cup water and 2-4 tbsp Smart Balance and cover.
  4. Simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. The potatoes should start to brown a little and become soft rather quickly.
  5. Serve immediately. Topping with a little cheese and salsa is our preference but it’s also good with ketchup.
Leave the skins on the fingerling potatoes to get the extra vitamins - and they're a pain to skin anyway so why bother! ;)

Leave the skins on the fingerling potatoes to get the extra vitamins – they’re a pain to skin anyway so why bother! 😉

Brown the Meatless ground with some seasonings and onions before you add the potatoes to enhance their flavor.

Brown the Meatless ground with some seasonings and onions before you add the potatoes to enhance their flavor.

The smaller the potato pieces the quicker they'll become soft - check often and adjust accordingly.

The smaller the potato pieces the quicker they’ll become soft – check often and adjust accordingly.

When the potatoes are soft and have started to slightly brown on some of the edges you're done!

When the potatoes are soft and have started to slightly brown on some of the edges you’re done!

While I personally love topping this hash with some vegan "cheese" and a bit of salsa, it's good enough by itself that it doesn't need anything added at all - it's filling and deceptively not-sinful.

While I personally love topping this hash with some vegan “cheese” and a bit of salsa, it’s good enough by itself that it doesn’t need anything added at all – it’s filling and deceptively not-sinful.

I love this in the morning when I’ve slept in a bit to late for a real breakfast. It makes an excellent brunch because it will fill you up and allow you to pick up a couple of small snacks before dinner without needing to eat lunch again just a few hours later in order to avoid throwing your whole day off.

I had it around 11 this morning and now, 3 hours later, I’m still happy and satisfied. But, I’ll probably grab an apple in about an hour. 🙂

Enjoy! Remember that the holiday’s aren’t any fun if you work yourself so hard that you can’t enjoy them!

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