#30: Staying Motivated in the Colder Months

When the thought of taking a shower gives you the chills

Lovely fall, magical end to the heat of summer. Smells of burning wood seem to come out of nowhere. And thoughts of warm bowls of chili, oversized sweatshirts, and couch time start sneaking in.

So how can you stay motivated to exercise in the chillier months? Usually when you are leaving for your exercise class the sun is still up, but now it’s getting dark and your sofa is beckoning. It is hard to keep it up! It is! But you must! Here are some ideas to help you make it through the colder months:

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#29: Another Meatless Monday Dish! Pasta e Fagioli

Hearty, easy, and perfect for the fall.

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 links Tofurkey sausage
  • 1 ½ T bottled minced garlic
  • 1 c water
  • 16 oz vegetable broth
  • 1 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
  • 1 c uncooked seashell pasta (about 4 oz)
  • 1 ½ t dried oregano
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t white pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini (or other white) beans
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and garlic and cook till brown. Remove from saucepan and set aside.

Add water, broth, and tomato sauce to saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, oregano, salt, pepper, and beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes or until pasta is done. Add cooked sausage. Let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with red pepper if desired.

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.)

#28: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

A kid- and skeptical partner-friendly meatless Monday meal

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 bag Morningstar Farms or Quorn crumbles
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/8 t cinnamon
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • Burger buns (we love the new sandwich thins)
  • ½ c grated cheddar cheese (Trader Joe’s has great grated soy cheese)
  • ½ c sour cream (try Tofutti!)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the crumbles and brown. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Spoon onto the buns, sprinkle with cheese, and top with a dollop of sour cream. We like to eat ours open-faced!

(Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple eons ago.)

#27: Vegan Pancakes

So good, you’ll never go back to your old pancake recipe!

5 Minute Vegan Pancakes

These are SO GOOD. You seriously may never go back to your old pancake recipe.

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 T sugar (organic cane works for us)
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 c soy milk
  • 2 T vegetable oil (as you might imagine, I use about half, and even olive sometimes!)

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.
2. Spray a pan with a little Pam if you used less oil in the recipe, then heat on medium high heat.
3. Spoon batter onto pan and flip when the middle gets bubbly.
4. Add chocolate chips, flax seeds, cinnamon, or anything else that touches your fancy!
5. Repeat until batter is gone!

(Adapted from Food.com)

#26: Eggplant Meat(less)balls for Meatless Monday

Grab some locally grown eggplant before it’s gone for the season!

Eggplant Meat(less)balls

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/3 c parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1 t mixed Italian herbs
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • Black pepper & sea salt to taste
  • 1 c breadcrumbs

1. Slice eggplant and sprinkle with salt.
2. Let sit 10 minutes to draw out water.
3. Rinse and pat dry.
4. Saute with a splash of olive oil and about ¼ cup of water until eggplant is soft.
5. Remove and chop finely. (We used the food processor.)
6. When eggplant has cooled, mix everything but the breadcrumbs.
7. Add breadcrumbs and mix until you get the consistency you want to form the balls.
8. Place in a generously olive-oiled pan (but remembering that less is more) about 1 inch apart and bake at 400 until golden brown, about 40-60 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning.

We added a thick, organic marinara sauce. The combination is perfect—the texture of meatballs without an overwhelming eggplant taste. Serve over linguini for a fancy-looking dish! Even Bella loved it!

Thanks, Food.com!