28 January 2013

6ish Month Mark: Ovo/Lacto/Veg'n

So here we are, at the 6.5 month check in on Vegetarianism as we know it. Doing better each day, really being conscious about my food intake. I thought I'd include some easy foods for those who are thinking about transitioning over or just cutting down on the animal intake.

Some Foods I Love and Their Replacements

Chicken Ramen Noodles--> Top Ramen Oriental Ramen
Hot dogs --> Yves Good Dogs or Morningstar Hot Dogs
Chicken Patties--> Boca Chick'n Patties
Chicken Nuggets-->  Fried Tofu Nuggets
Chili--> Chili recipe with TVP
Tacos--> TVP Tacos or even Quinoa Tacos
Chicken Sandwich-->Here it is-Tasty Bean Burger
Shepherd's Pie--> (recipe to ensue) Meatless Shepherd's Pie
Beef/Chicken Broth-->Vegetable or Not Chicken/Beef Boullion
Chocolate Mousse Pie-->Chocolate Fudge Pie
Hamburgers--> Boca burgers or Bean Burgers

I'm finding its really easy to be vegetarian. If a recipe calls for meat, I just use lentils or tvp or even just more vegetables. It doesn't have to be hard or elaborate. Your favorite family recipes are just too easy to tweak. Vegan Dad, despite the blogging has ended on there, has some great Seitan recipes for steak or meat alternatives.

I eat a big 4 cups of salad for lunch, cottage cheese or yogurt (homemade, of course). Later a snack bar or banana. Its important to have fresh produce on hand: bag of apples, oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, box of organic salad, cukes, tomatoes, potatoes, acorn/ butternut squash and onions. Fresh produce is quite inexpensive. Especially in comparison to 1 steak at $12 vs. 1 bag of organic apples ($4) 2 quarts organic yogurt ($4), bag of blue corn chips ($3). That's a lot more food at a cheaper price. Have these items replace the usual junk: chips, cookies, crackers, box lunches and the like.

 Then when you want something unhealthy, you have to make it. If I want brownies or that awesome fudge pie, I have to take the time to make it from scratch. Result: Laziness usually prevails and I eat an apple or I make an amazing dessert that has quality ingredients and is worth it.

The freezer should be your dear chum. I like to make many things up in advance such as bean burgers, sandwich rolls, fried spring rolls, cookie dough, soups and freeze them. So when I'm home from work and am on lazy lane, the food is in the freezer ready to go. Its cheaper, produces more product and is far healthier to make things in bulk and freeze, can, or preserve them.

27 January 2013

Sneaky Peak

Sneaky Peak 

Inside My Pantry

Staples for cooking, baking, creating.
Necessary Spices: Taco, Black Pepper, Basil, Red Pepper, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Liquid Smoke,
White Pepper, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Dried Onion, Poultry, Paprika, Alum, Curry, Tartar, Clove,
Nutmeg, Celery Flakes, Mustard, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Chile Powder, Cloves, Bay Leaves,
Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon Bark, Baking Powder, Sprinkles
Staple Grains & Sugars: Rice, Risoto, Quinoa, 10x Powdered Sugar, White Sugar, Lentils, Brown
Sugar- light and dark, Molasses, Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Pink 84 Mineral Salt,, Chicken/Beef Boullion
Dried Pastas, Wild & Long Grain Rice, Hazelnuts, Dried Beans, Tin of  Powdered Sauce Packets, Chewing
Gum, Jar of Pesto, Alfredo Sauce

Bonita Flakes, Toasted Sesame Seed oil, Dashi, Sirarcha Sauce, Parmasean, Bread Crumbs, Seaweed,  Black Sesame Seeds, Medjool Dates, Assorted Herbal Tea, Turbinado Sugar, Baking Powder

Nori Sheets, Mirin, Rice Wine Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Cake Flour, Torani (for yogurt), Adobo Season Salt, Panko Crumbs, Cans of beans, Sauerkraut, Dried Pineapple.

And there you have it! In the inner workings of my pantry. I get a real kick of happiness just looking at my treasures. So many possibilities. 

26 January 2013

Recipes XVII: Vegetarian Tacos

TVP-Tastic Tacos

No cows, chicken or pigs in this recipe.

Every time my husband goes out of town for a work trip, I rub my hands together with glee-Taco night!! I don't know what it is. But I associate unrestrained taco eating with solitariness.

TVP is my most favorite meat alternative. Its dried yellowish vegetable protein. Sounds unappetizing, eh? It is completely versatile; you can make meat balls, meat loaf, meat crumbles with it in any flavor. It is easy to purchase on Amazon and very cost effective. I favor the Bob's Red Mill brand. Back to the tacos now. This taco recipe is wicked fast, faster than frying up a chub of ground chuck.

Makes 4-5 tacos

Taco "Meat"
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of tvp dried crumbles
1/4 cup of taco seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil

Chopped lettuce
Chopped tomotoes
Yogurt or Sour cream
Taco shells

In a cast iron pan  pour in the water, seasoning and olive oil. Turn burner onto high. Stir occasionally. When it reaches a frothy boil, remove from heat. Pour in tvp stir a couple times and let sit. It will absorb the taco seasoning. I like to prepare the toppings while its absorbing. After 3-4 mins it is ready for use. Blamo! Tacos!

22 January 2013

Recipes XVI: Creamy Rice and Squash

Creamy Wild Rice and Yellow Squash

It sticks to your bones on a cold night. 

Serves 2 hungry adults

1.5 cups of alfredo (jar or Knorr packet made up)
1 cup of Texmati Royal Blend Rice (long grain, white, brown, red, wild)
1.5 cups water for the rice
.5 tsp salt
1 large yellow crookneck squash or 2 little ones
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme

Simmer the rice for 15 minutes, not opening the lid. Then stir. Remove from heat and let stand for 7 minutes. If the water has not evaporated all the way off, its ok to put on low heat, stirring to encourage evaporation. 

Wash and slice the squash into bite size. Prepare the steamer basket on the stove and drop the squash in. I'd recommend doing this during the 7 minute waiting time for the rice. Steam the squash for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Either heat 1.5 cups of alfredo or have the Knorr Alfredo sauce packet prepared. In a medium bowl, pour in rice, then squash and lastly, the alfredo. Stir gently. Serve.

Blog Changes!

Well after some haphazard incidents yesterday, my blog has been updated. I've added features that well, just make sense.
*Search Feature*
*Label Cloud*
*Share This Feature*
*Better Titles!!*
*Veg'n Alternative Recipes*
*Easier to Read Fonts*
*Different Colors*
I'm pretty pumped. Now if I only had a new camera....hmm...
There will be plenty more baking benders on the horizons. Get pumped!

21 January 2013

Simple Ones: Restaurant Style Baked Potatoes

Restaurant Style Baked Potatoes

Really, just too easy.

This is my lazy-man entry. I pursue baked potatoes at restaurants like a starving carnivore pursues fillet mignon. I think I've found the most energy efficient and quickest way to get them from potato sack to table. 
My dad always microwaved hole poked potatoes. But I love that crunchy & salty exterior. 

1 potato (can be red, russett, etc)
1 sharp knife
Smedium (yes smedium: like small medium) piece of foil
1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter
Salt (kosher, pink, sea, or any kind)
toast oven 
1 cup water

Wash the potato thoroughly. Then stab the knife thru the potato many times, like a voodoo doll. Turn on toaster oven to 350 degrees. Put the potato in a bowl with the water. Microwave for 2.5 mins then flip over in the bowl and microwave for another 2.5 mins.Remove from water & bowl carefully. Roll potato in melted butter/olive oil. Lift potato and sprinkle salt on all sides of it. Then put into foil and wrap it up. Place in toaster oven. Bake for 7-10 mins. Or longer if desired. Then remove from toaster oven, unwrap, slice open top of potato and insert pat of butter. Then demolish it with your mouth :)

02 January 2013

Simple Ones: Pesto Cream Crescent Rolls

Pesto Cream Crescent Rolls

Fast, easy and tasty

We hadn't planned on having a New Year's Party at our house but our friends really wanted to come over. It was cheaper than bar hopping, cab riding, staggering around late at night. I had bought two tubes of crescent rolls just on a whim. I avoid buying processed foods. I believe the last time I had crescent rolls was my youth. These are really tasty and if you have filling left over you can easily use it as a veggie dip or with crackers. 

2 tubes of crescent rolls
1 package of cream cheese
3 tbsp of pesto
2 cloves crushed garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mash the cream cheese, pesto and crushed garlic together into a nice homogeneous mixture. For ease, I recommend a silicon baking sheet (SilPat) lined large pan. Or a baking stone will work well too. Unroll the crescent rolls, with a teaspoon plop a small amount into the large end of the crescent. Roll gently large end to small end. You can pinch the ends closed if you want. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Then serve & enjoy!