Gourmet Girls are Back!

Holy Smokes! My last post to this blog was in March of 2014! I often run into old friends who ask, "Do you still get together with your cooking group?" To which I answer "Yes! Thankfully, yes!" My lack of posting has not been due to our lack of gathering or our lack of eating. Life just happens and things get busy. However, I'm particularly excited to report in on our latest gourmet gathering, which took place at my house last Thursday, July 23, 2015. I hosted a "Vegan, Whole Foods, No Refined Sugar, No White Flour" gourmet night! Plus we celebrated Miss Jodi's birthday! And guess what? We had a delicious meal with tons of flavor! All of the Gourmet Girls were troopers and stuck to the rules like champs! We even had some bonus friends and they enjoyed the evening as well. We have done some pretty major changing in the way we've been cooking and eating around our house and I thought it would be fun to share it with my foodie friends.

It all started when Gourmet Girl Jodi introduced me to Charity Lighten, a plant-based nutritionist and whole foods blogger (avibrantlife.me). I organized an evening for the women at church to come hear Charity speak, and I was fascinated by what I learned. I shared some of the information with my husband and then we started watching documentaries: Food Inc., Fed Up, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and so on. We've spent hours watching these, along with doing other reading. The research has been done and the facts are pretty clear - eating a plant-based, whole foods diet reduces the risks of multiple diseases and is just plain healthy. So, we thought we would give it a try. It's been about a month since either of us have eaten meat (no beef, pork, chicken or fish) and we have dramatically reduced our dairy consumption (almond or coconut milk to drink, no butter, eggs or cheese). We are also avoiding anything processed, including sugar and white flour. We always feel full, have lots of energy (despite being up in the night with a newborn) and we've both lost about 8 pounds each (which wasn't even the primary goal). Plus, with my love of cooking, it's been super fun trying out new recipes!

So, here is a little recap of last Thursday evening . . . 
 The whole crew!
Top to bottom, left to right:
Kim, LS, Jodi, Lara, Mel, Bridget, Andrea and Teresa

Appetizer by LS
She totally made this up. I believe it was sweet potato on the bottom, with avocado, tomatoes . . . and some other ingredients that made it totally delicious

This salad looks beautiful and tastes delicious!

LS snapped a shot of my Stir-Fry prep!

This was our main dish: Veggie Stir Fry
Lots of fresh veggies with cashews and a delicious sauce.

Jodi brought these yummy "Sweet Molases Rolls" from Sprouts.
(Ingredients: wheat flour, whole grain wheat flour, water, brown sugar, wheat bran, malt, cracked wheat, caramel color, oats, barley, corn, millet, flaxseed, vinegar, cultured wheat flour, sea salt, yeast, natural enzymes). Sounds pretty healthy to me!

I had to sneak in a little mid-meal shot with my sweet Olivia Grace!

The link above takes you to her inspiration, however she used 2 cans of coconut milk, 3 very frozen bananas and about 1/4 cup coconut sugar. First, mix all together in Vitamix or Blendtec and then pour into your ice-cream maker and mix for about 20 minutes (with a very frozen bowl). Then let it set up in the freezer for a bit. Delicious! We thought mini-chocolate chips would be better. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar.

Birthday Girl Jodi with Andrea's 2nd dessert, Strawberry Creme Truffles 

Lara, Mel, Jodi and LS

And that's a wrap! Stay tuned! I just might post again sometime soon!