Sunday, October 3, 2010

Going to be a Veggie Mama!!!

Well, it's and hubby will no longer be the only people in our home:

They tell me that the little blob right there is a baby!!! Due date is May 17th! I am planning on staying vegetarian throughout the pregnancy (although I have had some strong cravings for, of all things, chicken salad sandwiches!). I did make one exception for my gummy prenatal vitamins, which contain some gelatin...but how many of you ever looked forward to taking your vitamin??? I do! So anyway, I've been super exhausted, feeling crappy, and not in the mood to cook anything...but don't leave me!!!! As soon as I get over the all day sickness (whoever called it morning sickness is a lying bastard), I will start posting more frequently!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pizza Sundays

So every Sunday, I've been making a different pizza for dinner! It's been really fun, and I think I'm going to continue it! I pick up rounds of pizza dough at the deli counter (they may not have them advertised...just go ask!)

These have been the pizzas so far (I've repeated a few because they were so tasty!)

-Of course, the blue cheese/walnut/arugula from "Date Night" post

-Goat cheese, fresh thyme, sage, and basil (no sauce)

-tomato sauce, cheddar and mozzarella, vegetarian "bacums" that I found at Whole Foods in the bulk bins, and roasted red peppers

-mozzarella, feta, kalamata olives, red onions, thinly sliced tomato, and fresh oregano (put on at the last minute of cooking).

I think I need to invest in a pizza stone...will post pictures when I buy it!

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

I've been meaning to post this dish...I make it a few times a month, and it is simple and delicious!!! All you have to do is throw a pint or 2 of cherry or grape tomatoes onto a sheet pan, cover in olive oil, salt, pepper, and some chopped garlic if you have any on hand. Roast at 375 degrees until the tomatoes burst open. As the tomatoes are roasting, have your pasta boiling. Save a cupful of your pasta water, just incase you need it for the "sauce". When the tomatoes are all burst open, and your house smells like heaven, take the pan out of the oven and pour every last bit from the pan onto your drained pasta. Toss around, and add some pasta water if you want it a little more saucy. Add some fresh basil if you have it, and then top it all with some parmesan cheese...


Let's talk about I know you've heard Food Network chefs go on and on about Parmigiano-Reggiano. Is it delicious and mind blowing? YES. Is it expensive? YES. Do you absolutely have to have it in every single dish? NO. There are some great alternatives that work great (and the canned stuff is not what I'm talking about!) I really like Sarvecchio, which is actually a domestic parmesan and runs around $8/pound at whole foods, compared to PR which will cost you around $20/pound. You can also buy Regginito, which is a cheese from has a similar flavor to PR and is definitely worth trying! It's about $10/pound.

Here's what it looks like at my house:

I highly recommend you give it a is really really really easy, and the flavors are amazing!

Ok, Now I'm Really Back!

Wooo! Not sure what happened there! I have been super busy/exhausted from work, but I'm back...I promise!!! Here are a few updates that have happened in the last month...

-I did another outdoor adoption event in July, only this time I was a "cat supervisor." I was in charge of 2 kittens and a 2 year old cat (Capone...he was such a sweetheart!!!) One of the kittens got adopted right away, Capone was adopted 2 days later, and I'm not sure about Jerry, the little black kitten...I hope he found his forever home too!

-Last Wednesday, we decided to open our home to a foster kitten who was going to be put down at the shelter he was Stanley:

Yes, I realize how painfully adorable he is, and yes, we are still planning on giving him up when someone adopts him, and yes, I know that I will cry like a baby when that day comes. For now though, Stanley is having fun with Horton and Morris, and I love having him as part of the family!

Ok, MOST many of you know, I teach at a preschool that is part of an HIV/AIDS support agency. The AIDS run is coming up in October, and I am scheduled to run the 10k race!!! It is SO IMPORTANT that people donate to our cause!!! Because we work directly with the HIV/AIDS affected community, 100% of our donations will come right back to our agency!!!! You can donate right through my fundraising website:

Kelly's Fundraising Website

Thank you in advance for your support!!!!!

OK...back to cooking and living a meat free life!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Back!!!!!! Georgia Adventures!

Sorry folks! I have been on vacation in the mountains of Georgia for the past week! Turns out, being a vegetarian in the mountains of Georgia ain't all that easy. When we arrived, I hit up the local Wal-Mart with my mom and figured I'd just grab a few boxes of veggie burgers for easy lunches, and as add on's to whatever dinner was happening. There I roamed...up and down each freezer aisle, 3, maybe 4 times. NADA! So I had to eat a steak that night.

JUST KIDDING! I grabbed a few eggplant and ended up slicing them and grilling them (family was having chicken that night). Of course there were tater tots and salad, so I was pretty content. Similar meals followed, and then we went out to Rib Country...the Mecca of Meat. Bring on the side dishes please! My lunch that day consisted of onion loaf, salad, and fries with bbq sauce on them. What can I say, I'm a health nut :-) Thankfully, we don't really go out all that much when we are in Georgia. The only other time we did was to Mike's Seafood. I am a big Mike's fan, so I wasn't really looking forward to my crab cake free dinner. Thankfully (can't believe I'm saying this), I had one too many Miller High Lifes that day and wasn't really into eating much by the time dinner came around lol I ordered a salad and baked potato...just for show.

My dad finally found some veggie burgers at a local supermarket, so I had those a few nights, and all was good. On the ride home, we made our annual Sonic stop. I was surprised to see the lack of veggie options on their menu, so I did what any good vegetarian would do...ordered a Sonic cheeseburger: extra cheese, extra tomatoes, no burger! And it was delicious!

And thankfully, both beer and sweet tea are vegetarian!

So anyway...back onto cooking!!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vegetarian Ramen!!!!

I found it!!!!! Justin and I were coming home from a lovely dinner with the Santiagos, when Justin decided he needed a Mexican coke (read: coke made with real sugar), so we swung into our little corner store, and I happen to see a new package of ramen noodles I have never seen before. I check the label...BAM!!! Vegetarian!!!! So the brand is Top Ramen, Chili Flavor...looks like this:

I haven't tried it yet, so no promises on that, but I'm sure it's amazing :-)

**I did attempt making my own seasoning to try and use the multiple packages of non-vegetarian ramen I have in my cabinet. It came out pretty tasty, but I have to use a lot of stuff, some of which I don't always have on hand, so it kind of defeats the purpose of a quick and easy meal.

It's OK to Be Corny!

Ahhhhh! It is officially summertime! I walked into the grocery store, and there it was...that oh-so-familiar pile of fresh corn just waiting to come home with me. There are so many things that you can do with it!

So many people just boil the crap out of it, roll it in some butter and call it a day. PLEASE!!! STOP THAT!!! My favorite way to prepare corn on the cob is to grill it. If it is nice and fresh (and by fresh I mean juicy, like you want to just eat it raw), peel the husks off, and remove all of the hairs (strings? not sure what they are called really). Then make a mixture of butter, chili powder, salt, and some lime juice. Slather this on each piece, and throw them on a hot grill. After a few minutes (maybe 5?) go ahead and turn them. They should be slightly charred (although you can adjust the charring level to your liking). When they come off the grill, for an extra special touch, sprinkle on some Parmesan (or Cotija cheese if you are feeling extra fancy). You will never look at corn the same way again..I promise!!!

**note: if your corn is not so juicy, you have a few options. You can either peel back the husks to remove the strings, then fold the husks back up and grill (this will create a steaming effect), slathering the butter mixture on after it cooks, OR you can go ahead and slather the butter mixture on the corn, then wrap it in tin foil and grill.

Another way to use all that corn is to make a summery soup (or chowder? I'm not really sure what the difference is). I made this tonight, and it was super delicious. You can really use any veggies you want...the secret is to cook and puree about 1/3 of the corn (just cook it in some water) before adding in your veggie broth and other veggies. This thickens up the soup, and gives it a really nice texture.

**helpful hint: When you are slicing the kernels off the cob, do it in a pie makes for much less mess

In my soup, in addition to the corn (remember...cook and puree about 1/3 of it before adding in the rest), I used red bell peppers, potato, carrots, celery, onion, and I seasoned it with liquid aminos, salt, pepper, and thyme. My second bowl a few hours after dinner was room temperature, and I really preferred it this way. Paired with a nice Mediterranean salad, and some olive bread, it made for a tasty summer supper!

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

Mango Prep 101

It was brought to my attention that some fruits and vegetables are confusing to work I decided to add a new segment to my blog about prepping these difficult produce members. Let's start with the mango. There are a few different types of mango, but you use the same technique for all. Please note...these may not be the official ways to prep things, but it's what works for me!

Ok...let's get started.

The Mango...

Step #1: Tip the mango on onto one end. Using a sharp knife, start slightly off center and slice into it. You want to stay just along side of the pit in the middle. Now, it's not a pit like a plum, it's like a giant almond shaped thing, that doesn't really come out all that gracefully. Just keep cutting along it on all 4 sides of the mango.

Step #2: Once you removed the big portions of fruit, give the pit to a hungry husband to gnaw away on (**note: this is perfectly acceptable for anyone, not just a hungry husband)

Step #3: If you are just cutting the mango to eat while you are alone, you can stop at step 2. Just eat the fruit right out of the skin! If you are wanting to use the mango for a salad, or some other dish, take your knife and slice through the fruit, just until you hit the skin. Make a few slices length-wise, and then across.

Step #4: Once your mango has been scored like this, just bend it so the fruit protrudes out, and use your knife (or a spoon if it is super ripe) to scrape along the skin, freeing the mango chunks!

See!!! That wasn't so hard!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Asparagus...Let Them Join the Party

I just had some wonderful asparagus...taking cues from Alton Brown (of the Food Network), I roasted some up in canola oil (I finally finished the gigantic jug of olive oil, and I can't replace it until next paycheck!), salt and pepper, and then gave a nice giant squeeze of LEMON!!!! I put it in a 425 degree oven for maybe 30 minutes...very tasty!!!


So it turns out that only 40-50% of people experience smelly pee after consuming asparagus...even more interesting...there is also a portion of the population that can't smell the smelly pee. There are many theories as to why this happens, but nobody knows for sure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Date Night!!

One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is to cook a semi-gourmet meal for my hubby. Saturday afternoon, I started to envision my creation for the night. It started with a basic caprese salad (with basil from my new basil plant!). I made it an hour before we ate, so all of the goodness mushed together to form even more goodness:

On to the main course...this is where it gets magical. I started with some whole wheat pizza dough that I picked up from the pizza counter at Whole Foods. I rubbed it down with olive oil, sprinkled some fresh ground pepper, and drizzled it ever so slightly with honey. Then I topped it with some crumbled bleu cheese, a little mozzarella, chopped walnuts, and severely carmelized red onions. I threw it in the oven for maybe 30 minutes, and at the last minute, I topped it with chopped arugla, and let it wilt down in the oven just for a minute...this was the end result:

It was INCREDIBLE...I'm talking jaw-dropping. I normally am not 100% happy with any meal I make, but this one....ooh this was special.

To wash everything down, I made a Lemon-Lychee cocktail from a blog that I follow, The Chubby Vegetarian. It was heaven in a glass:

Justin was happy, I was was just a happy date night! I encourage everyone to have stay-in date nights once in awhile, even if you aren't that confident with your cooking! It's a really nice way to show you love someone :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Not Healthy All the Time

I'll admit it...I love cheap ramen noodles. I picked up a package of Maruchan oriental flavor, thinking it should be safe, considering they have chicken, beef, and shrimp flavors, so I figured/hoped that oriental was vegetarian. I stood in the aisle reading the label, and somehow, I mentally blocked out the words "beef extract." Once I got home, I was on the vegan SubReddit, and someone mentioned a different ramen noodle brand, and that the oriental flavor was vegetarian, and how it was the only brand that had a vegetarian flavor...sure enough, I double checked the label and BEEF EXTRACT (what IS that!? how do you extract beefiness??? nevermind, i don't want to know...) was right there, clear as day.

I suppose this is also a good thread title to include my dinner tonight...sandwich consisting of cheese, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, and pesto...healthy enough...but not when paired with Asiago and Garlic Oil fries.

I'm not sure what made me want to write this post...I think when people keep commenting, "oh you must eat so healthy! Only vegetables! I couldn't do it!" I start to feel guilty, because, well, I love instant noodles and fries soaked in garlic oil with asiago cheese all over the top.

Hope everyone's week is going well! Half-way through!

Monday, June 7, 2010


In case anybody reads this and is from Chicago...and is looking to adopt a dog or cat, PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) shelter is hosting their annual "Angels with Tails" event on Sunday, June 13th. Dogs and cats will be all along Michigan ave. and Oak st. some outside, some inside. Come take a look, maybe your new family member will be waiting for you!!!! Here is the WEBSITE.

Let's hope lots of animals find their forever homes!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sabotaged by Bacon...ALMOST!

I knew this would happen at some point...sneaky meat. We went out to dinner with our friends last night to this new Italian/Polish pub, and I was very excited to have some pierogi! I ordered a few potato ones, and a few mushroom ones, along with a lovely little panzanella salad (loving the Italian/Polish combo). The pierogi came on a bed of warm sauerkraut, and as I dug into it...BAM! Little red bits...of BACON! uuuggggghhhhh!!!!! I had a few bites, but it became too much of a pain to inspect each forkful. Luckily we had more than enough food (as usual), so I certainly didn't go hungry.

I volunteered at the Admissions/Intake part of PAWS shelter today, and had a great time! I got there at 9:30, and was informed they were very under-staffed today. I went into the dog area, and most of them hadn't even been taken outside yet :( There just aren't enough people to help! So I definitely got my exercise in, walking maybe 5 or so dogs all around Little Village (it's a huge Latina area...very fun to walk around!). I fell in love with this little guy, Dobbs. 6 months old and a big goofball! Look at those ears!!!! I don't think Hort or Morris would appreciate him, so hopefully he will get a good home SOON!!!

Dinner tonight is looking like veggie burgers on the grill, and this Greek-ish salad I made (I saw it in the prepared section at the deli, but the line was too long and I got tired of waiting, so just decided to throw it together myself!). It's just made up of cucumbers (peeled, seeded, and chunked), a few tomatoes chopped up (some of the seeds and guts removed), some red onion, and feta cheese crumbled in. Then I tossed it around with dried oregano, mint, salt and pepper, and some olive oil and rice wine vinegar (only vinegar I have at the moment). I took a sample taste, and it's pretty darn tasty.

***One more thing! The Cooking Channel has arrived!!! It is on the same channel that the Fine Living Network used to be (on Direct Tv, it's channel 232). I am really enjoying it! Meat still dominates, but there are a lot of ethnic-based shows now too, so I'm hoping I'll get a lot of vegetarian ideas (or at least flavor inspirations!).

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day challenges...maybe not so challenging!

We had a little cookout with some friends...the usual suspects were there-Brats, burgers, you know the rest. Though I'm normally not a fan of soy products that parade around as something else (if it's a veggie burger, I like to see the veggies), I decided to try Morning Star Farms grillers prime (I think that's what it was called). It was supposed to have that true "flame broiled" taste. I decided to put it in the toaster while the meats were on the grill. I topped it off with some sauteed onions I made, some cheese, a pickle, and a little ketchup. Not bad! It still had that smell that some soy products have, but the toppings masked it pretty well. Not sure if I would buy it again, but it was nice not to have a completely different meal than everyone else. Sides were easy- caprese salad and chips of course :) I felt good about being meat-free urges for a burger, definitely not for a brat. It was also the first time that I went out of my way to make sure my pretend burger wasn't cooked next to the real more time passes being meat-free, the more unappetizing meat becomes to me. I did briefly forget that I was vegetarian when Jen mentioned her dad wanting to make a deep fried turkey, but I caught myself, and ended the excitement (and by ending the excitement, I mean stopped jumping up and down)...there's just something so wrong, but so right about a deep fried turkey....


I also had my first day of volunteering at the PAWS spay/neuter clinic this morning. It went really well! I spent most of the morning cleaning ears, cutting nails, helping dogs and cats to wake up from anesthesia, and pulling out a few breathing tubes! Overall I really liked it and felt good about it...all except the dog that came in to be spayed, and turned out to be pregnant. Of course I peaked into the OR just as the vet tech was giving the euthanasia shots to all the tiny puppies (they didn't really look all that much like puppies, but I still knew, and it was still really sad). I made myself feel better by playing with the tiny fluffy gray kitten named Rupert, which is such a great name for a fluffy gray kitten!

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sorry I've Been Slacking!!!

Sorry I haven't been adding anything (not that you probably are checking everyday, hanging onto my every last word, but humor me for a moment and pretend you do!). I have been super busy trying to get in shape for the summer!!! Not only have I been hitting the gym like a mad woman, but I also have really been paying close attention to what I am eating. I made a really good broccoli and seitan stirfry the other night that was a big hit with Justin. I just diced up the seitan, and added it to a wok with some fresh broccoli, onion, and garlic in a little canola oil. Then made a sauce with hoisin (like an Asian bbq sauce), Siracha chili sauce (my favorite hot sauce! It's the one in the Asian aisle with the green top. It's super hot, so be careful!), a little veggie broth, and some liquid aminos. It was really good and VERY filling! I also made a 3 bean chili in the crockpot that turned out pretty tasty! In the mornings, I've been drinking a protein shake that I buy at my gym. I like the vanilla, and I blend it up with a frozen banana and some unsweetened almond milk (which is only 40 calories, woot woot!). For lunch most days, I've been eating an avocado with some lime juice squeezed on the top, and a yogurt, or grabbing a salad or veggie sub with no cheese from subway.

I'm going to an orientation for volunteering at an animal shelter on Wednesday, I'm really excited about it!!!

Have a good week everyone!!!

Couscous Salad!!!

Heading over to the Santiago's for a cookout, so I decided to make an Israeli couscous salad. It is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS...and gorgeous!!!!! I've made it a few times, but I think this is my favorite version. Israeli (or Middle Eastern) couscous is just about the cutest food there is (besides apricots, aka "baby butts" according to Justin). They are fun little balls that you can do pretty much anything with. Sometimes I just cook some up in veggie broth and eat it as a side dish, other times, I've mixed in curry powder, potatoes, onions, peppers, chicken (before i went veggie, now i would probably try tofu or seitan) and made a whole meal out of it. Anyway, here is the recipe for the salad I made today:

-3 cups Israeli couscous
-4 cups veggie broth or water (if using water, flavor it up a little with salt and maybe some garlic powder)

-2 granny smith apples, chopped into like 1/2 inch cubes (leave the skin on)

-dried cranberries chopped up

-slivered or sliced almonds (you can also use pinenuts, or probably walnuts would be good too!)
-fresh rosemary chopped tiny
-some grapes, sliced length wise

-red onion, minced really tiny

dressing-i'm not really a measurer, so start with maybe 2 parts olive oil to 1 part acid

-juice from 1 lemon
apple cider vinegar (you can use both lemon and vinegar, or just 1 or the other...i like both)

-little honey
-olive oil

Cook the couscous in the broth or water UNCOVERED until all the liquid is absorbed (it only takes maybe 10-15 minutes, depending on how wide your pan is).
Throw the still warm cooked couscous into a bowl, and add in all of the ingredients, mix together. In a small container, add the ingredients for the dressing, and shake into a frenzy. Pour over couscous and stir. Cover the salad and stick it in the fridge until it is cool. It gets better the longer it sits.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Veggie Enchiladas!!!

Tonight is veggie enchilada night!!! The filling consisted of 1 eggplant, 1 onion, a handful of roasted red peppers (from a jar), 1 package of thawed and well drained frozen spinach, and 1 green bell pepper. I chopped everything pretty small, and added it all to a frying pan with some canola oil. After things had softened, I added a small can of tomato paste, and some pepperjack and fontina cheese. After 5 "tasting" spoonfuls, I broke out the flour tortillas, gave them each a quick zap over the gas burner, and generously filled each one. I placed all of them into a casserole dish, covered them in red enchilada sauce (jarred), added a little extra cheese, then put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!

For an extra authentic Mexican side gratin potatoes. Justin had his wisdom teeth out on Friday, so no rice for the Webers for the next little while!

Hope everyone's weekend was great! Happy Mother's Day!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Breakfast is getting better!

I have found the cure to my breakfast woes. Tofu scramble! I'll post a picture once I get it more pretty looking :) For this morning's scramble, I sauteed some red onion, garlic, and green peppers in olive oil. Then I crumbled up tofu that I had froze, defrosted, and squeezed the living daylights out of. I added in some nutritional yeast, and my new favorite condiment, liquid aminos, and sauteed for a bit more. At this point, Justin roamed into the kitchen wondering what the amazing smell was. He tasted, and his response was, "Wow! That is not what I expected that to taste like! I'd eat that for a nice weekend breakfast!" woo hoo!!! Always nice to impress Justin!

Second cure has been a peanut butter granola from Aunt P. It's pretty loaded with peanut butter, a decent amount of butter, more than a touch of honey, you get the I've only been having a little. In the morning, I eat maybe 1/3 of a cup with a whole sliced banana, and I cover everything in vanilla almond milk. YUM! Justin is also pretty crazy for the granola. His words were, "that Aunt Peg...she knows what she's doing."

And a sidenote about lunch. I've been on a salad kick, which is pretty big because I don't really love salad. But I do love this one (mainly because of all the stuff!). I use spring mix, and add dried cranberries, apples, grapes, leftover black beans, red onion, raw walnuts, bleu cheese, and avocado. I made a dressing with rice vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a little salt, and it has really been quite a satisfying lunch!

And another sidenote about my naughty cats: I left half a bag of white cheddar popcorn on the counter before I went to the gym (sure, white cheddar popcorn is the perfect before gym snack!). When Justin got home from his run, he found the silverware drawer open (or should we call it a step stool), and the popcorn all over the floor. Nice going boys.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Black Bean Goodness!

I was always pretty intimidated by dried beans, but I decided to give them a go! I picked up some dried black beans, brought them home, soaked them in a bowl of water for about an hour, and rinsed them. I dumped them into a pot with an onion, a few cloves of garlic, some tomato paste, and salt. I covered them with vegetable broth and water, put a lid on the pot and let them do their thing. About 2 hours later, they were done. YUMMMMMMM!!!!! They taste so much better than canned beans (and so much cheaper!)! We made tacos with them, and I also put some on my salad for lunch. I highly recommend exploring with dried beans!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I was feeling adventurous today and decided to make my own seitan. Seitan is sometimes referred to as "wheat meat." Appetizing, right? I've never tried it before, but it is pretty expensive in the store. I was going to taste the packaged stuff first, but then I figured that my homemade stuff would have a better shot at tasting good (to me anyway) if I didn't know any different! It is made from wheat gluten, and really has a meaty consistency. Most of the recipes I found called for boiling the prepared dough, but I came across one that you baked. I thought baking seemed easier, so I went with that one. My seitan consists of:
Vital wheat gluten
Dried Onion
Garlic powder
Nutritional Yeast
Liquid Amino Acids
Vegetable Broth
Tomato Paste

So many new and fun ingredients that I'm working with!!! Let's start with the nutritional yeast...nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that comes in flake form. It has kind of a salty, cheesy taste, like Parmesan cheese. I've had it before sprinkled on popcorn, and also have used it for coating tofu slices before frying. It is also a good ingredient to use because it is a source of vitamin B12, which can be a hard vitamin for vegetarians to get since it's mainly found in meats. I get it in the bulk section and Whole Foods.

Next new ingredient...liquid amino acids. I didn't even know where one would locate this product!!! So exciting!!! I finally found it in the Asian section right next to the soy sauce and tamari. The label claims that it is a favorite amongst vegetarians, and that it is great on salads, in soups and stews. Basically a great flavor adder!

Everything was mixed together in the Kitchen Aid, then wrapped in foil and baked for an hour. The end result looks like this:

I realize this does not look amazing...but it is! At first, it kind of tasted like a weird form of bread...I think. It's super chewy and nice and savory. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with it, but I'm thinking maybe a sandwich, or tossed in some bbq sauce and served over rice. Maybe thrown into a stir-fry! It's so hearty, it could probably hold up in soups as well. I've been cutting off chunks all evening just to eat! I wasn't sure what Justin would say about this one...but he really liked it too (really, he did!).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Dining Out Experiences!

Yesterday was Justin's birthday, so we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Opera. I always either get a beef or chicken dish, so I was feeling a little down about going, but when we got there, I was pleasantly surprised to see the new vegetarian section on their menu! The last time we were there, they had a vegan section with like 2 of them being mixed vegetables over rice noodles. delicious right? Anyway, this time, I chose the kung pao tofu and it was AMAZING! The sauce was nice and thick and super spicy. I was really impressed with how the chef cooked the tofu, it must have been pressed because it was really chewy and textury!

Today we went to the Cubs game, where I would normally have a huge italian beef sandwich, or possibly a hot dog. This time around, I had some nachos and peanuts. Still in the unhealthy range, but meat free nonetheless! After the game we headed over to another one of our favorite restaurants, Piece. It is a pizzeria and brewery
, and it is fabulous. Mashed potatoes and garlic were the toppings of choice for today....YUMMMMM!!!!!!! Pizza is super easy for me because I was never a big "pizza meat" type of girl.

I'm happy to say that I have stayed successful in my journey, and look forward to doing a little more cooking this week!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Still on the Fence about Seafood

So when I first declared no more meat, I was pretty set on eating seafood...but since seafood really doesn't play a big role in my diet normally, I haven't been presented with the choice. I think it makes me feel more comfortable knowing that I could always opt for the seafood choice when out at a restaurant (shhh! don't tell Justin, because in the past every time I have ordered any seafood other than crab cakes, I always end up making him trade dinners with me because I don't like it!). I suppose I don't need to make a solid choice at the moment, but it's something to consider.

I discovered a mini-challenge of sorts yesterday during the kids' lunch time...the side dish was mashed potatoes with gravy. I know that I'm a mashed potatoes and gravy kind of lady, no hiding it. So I'm setting out to find a good veggie gravy substitute (and a cuter name, because let's face it...veggie gravy doesn't sound so wonderful).

On the food note, Potbelly has a lovely new set of salads, one being the Uptown. They even knock off some money if you order it without chicken! It's a pretty simple mix of apples, grapes, dried cranberries, red onion, bleu cheese, and candied walnuts (YUM!). I also really like their non-fat vinaigrette on pretty much anything. The other salads have hard boiled egg in them, which, if you know me, is a big NO in my book. Sure, I could order it sans egg, but I don't even like the thought of it, so I'll stick with the Uptown.

Hope everyone has had a great week so far!!! Only 2 more days until the weekend!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Breakfast, Lunch, and Leftovers

So breakfast has always been an issue for me, even pre-vegetarian days. I don't like eggs, so I've had to be creative with breakfast foods. Of course we had nothing breakfasty at home, so I had 2 pieces of string cheese, and some whole wheat pretzels (Snyder's makes some really good ones!). I was actually quite satisfied for the morning.

There is this cool vegan take out place that opened up down the street from the school I work at, so I was going to check it out for lunch today, but of course, they are closed on Mondays. So at this point, I have to add another product in here...Annie Chun's Noodle Express. I found it in the Asian section of Whole Foods and it is pretty tasty!!! It only takes a minute in the microwave, so that's a nice perk too. I have had a hard time finding quick noodly type things like ramen that don't contain "dried, ground chicken" (umm ew), so I was excited to find this product! Sure, it's loaded with sodium and isn't the healthiest thing to eat, but when you need something quick and semi-inexpensive, it will do the trick!

The soup from last night produced A TON of leftovers (maybe it was the 6 enormous sweet potatoes I used...), so that should make for a quick dinner, which is good because Monday's spinning class isn't until 7pm, and who wants to be cooking after 8??? not me!!!

Hope everyone had a great Monday, and I encourage you to start incorporating a "meat free Monday" theme to your dinners!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet and Savory

Busy day of cooking!!! In order to keep vegetarian food from being boring, you have to spice it up and mix flavors!!! Who would have thought to put apples into a soup??? Moosewood did!!! Tonight, I made a sweet potato and apple soup. It also had some onion and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (watch out for this, it is HOT!). Sticking to the savory and sweet theme, I also made sauteed some kale (my new favorite veggie...give it a try!) with garlic and dried cranberries. This was pretty fabulous. Justin gave both dishes 2 thumbs up, and I loved both as well. We also had some sourdough bread that I picked up at Whole Foods (on sale, woot woot!).

Butternut Squash Cookies

This recipe came from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook that Aunt Peg sent me...I was super curious to see how squashy they would be, but to my delight, not squashy at all! They came out delicious (even though I forgot to take the last pan out of the oven, they still resisted burning!). They didn't spread out at all, but I think they look kind of cute as nuggets!

Dinner Time with Horton and Morris

Horton and Morris (aka Papi and MoMo) both came from a local shelter. Poor Horton's previous owner passed away, and Morris was a street cat (we assume this because of his amazing garbage picking skills). Horton is the dark fellow, Morris is the "patterned" gentleman.

No More Meat

A little over a month ago, I decided to give up meat...for good. Now this isn't a new thing for me. When I was 6, I declared at Thanksgiving dinner that I couldn't eat the turkey because "he had a family!" After living on mac and cheese for 6 months, I finally gave in to a chicken nugget from McDonalds. Since then, I've tried to limit my meat consumption to only free range, but I tended to bend the rule a lot, and then would feel incredibly guilty. After putting a lot of thought into it, I finally decided that I needed to give it up for good. I thought about my cats, Horton and Morris, and my dogs that I grew up with, and then thought about cows, chickens, and all other animals. Would I ever eat a cat or dog??? of course not. So who am I to judge which animals are "pet worthy" and which animals are simply brought to life to kill and eat? So that, generally, is why I have decided to go vegetarian! I'll be posting new recipes as I try them, my husband's opinion of the recipe, and any struggles I encounter along the way! I will also be adding in stupid things Horton and Morris do, because, well, it's funny. I'll be referencing Aunt Peg quite often...she is my biggest vegetarian supporter, as she has been vegetarian since before it was an "in thing" to do! So here we go!