In Angela Liddon's previous life, there were chia seed doughnuts drizzled with coconut lemon whipped cream and decadent parfaits with homemade jams and hearty granolas for breakfast. At least once a week, the plant-based blogger and cookbook author dreamed up another breakfast.
But these days, breakfast is a bit more utilitarian and typically something that can be eaten on the run while Liddon, who is nine months pregnant, is chasing her 2-year-old daughter. Her second cookbook "Oh She Glows Every Day", released earlier this month, captures that same spirit, and offers easy ways to pack in nutrient-rich, meat- and dairy-free meals that are quick to prepare and, in many cases, can be made ahead of time. The cookbook features more than 100 recipes like fusilli lentil-mushroom Bolognese, roasted brussels sprouts with coconut bacon and curried chickpea salad.
And there are breakfast recipes as well, including black bean rancheros, a breakfast "ice cream" (with avocado in it) and PB&J thumbprint breakfast cookies that can be whipped up in 10 minutes.
The Associated Press recently talked with Liddon about her plant-based diet, her family and eating dessert.
Sticking with a plant-based lifestyle
"I used to eat a lot of packaged, low-calorie diet foods. I would buy the low-calorie frozen dinners all the time and just a lot of processed foods and once I started eating all these plants and vegetables, I just found my mental energy was much more clear, I could focus on my work, I felt happier, I felt less anxious. For me, it was really discovering that I felt so crummy for a long time and I realized I could eat much more of this food and maintain my weight and have more energy."
How to transition to healthy eating
"It doesn't have to be a black or white thing. You can try one recipe a week, maybe starting off with an easy recipe with something that only takes 15 minutes like my creamy avocado pasta recipe that's really popular and it's not as intimidating. I think it's just really getting in the kitchen and trying some food out and often people are really surprised by how much they like it and that motivates them to keep going.
"Often you can win people over with dessert more than anything. That's a really good way to try to convince people without overwhelming people with an all-vegetable dish."
Eating with kids
"Dinner's been hard lately actually because my daughter is going through that picky toddler phase right now. We've been eating a lot of pasta lately, which is always good, but I'm starting to get really sick of it. She really likes a mix of marinara sauce with hummus all mixed together so the hummus makes it creamy and then I'll use hemp hearts to boost the protein and she goes crazy for it.
"We had a whole group of kids testing the recipes so the kid-friendly recipes are indicated, too. The mac and peas and the veggie burgers were a big hit with adults and kids, and there's a chili cheese nacho recipe that the kids really liked."
The cookie chapter
"I basically ate my weight in cookies for weeks and weeks, which was fun. The ultimate flourless brownie recipe, I must have tested them 30 or 35 times. ... I definitely have some type of sweet every single day. I feel like when they're homemade they're just so much better for you. I find that I'm satisfied with a smaller amount."
Creamy thai carrot sweet potato soup
Start to finish: 50 minutes
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
2 cups diced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons red curry paste
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if needed
1/4 cup raw almond butter
3 cups diced peeled carrots (1/2-inch dice)
3 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes (1/2-inch dice)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Minced fresh cilantro, roasted tamari almonds, fresh lime juice, to serve
In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry paste. In a small bowl, whisk together some of the broth with the almond butter until smooth. Add the mixture to the pot, along with the remaining broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, salt and cayenne (if using). Stir until combined. Bring the soup to a low boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender.
Ladle the soup carefully into a blender. You will likely have to do this in a couple of batches, depending on the size of your blender. With the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, blend on low and slowly increase the speed until the soup is completely smooth. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly in the pot.)
Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper.
This soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, and freezes well for 1 to 2 months.
Nutrition information per serving: 288 calories; 107 calories from fat; 12 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 791 mg sodium; 40 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 7 g protein.
Recipe adapted from Angela Liddon's "Oh She Glows Every Day," Avery 2016.