Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vegan Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

I've been off from work for almost a week and a half now. I'm a teacher and always get winter break off....Yay! Trust me, us teachers need these breaks! I'll be honest and say that I have been pretty lazy since I got back from our anniversary trip to NYC. I was surfing Pinterest and came upon an idea to make Vegan Pad Thai with spaghetti squash. The recipe below is Pinterest inspired, but I came up with my own recipe for the peanut sauce. I have made my peanut sauce recipe again since making the spaghetti squash and have used it on tofu, and roasted veggies. I love it so much that I had Jake bring me home veggies and spaghetti squash to make it again. If you make this recipe, I strongly encourage you to use FRESH ginger. I don't think the recipe will taste quite the same without it.

Vegan Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash Noodles
(Enough for 3-4 people)


1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half with seeds removed. 
Olive oil to lightly coat the top of the spaghetti squash
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 pound of brussel sprouts, cut in half or quarters depending on size OR you could use cabbage, bok choy, etc... ( I didn't have cabbage or bok choy, so I used brussel sprouts.)
**Optional: You could also add red pepper to this as well.

Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

1 tbs garlic ( I used powdered because I did not have fresh garlic.)
1 cup vegetable broth 
3-4 tbs agave nectar
5 tbs rice vinegar
2-3 tbs liquid aminos OR soy sauce (to taste)
1-2 tbs fresh minced ginger (to taste) I love fresh ginger so I used a lot of it!!!
3 tbs creamy natural or organic peanut butter
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like it spicy)

Cooking Method: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is preheated, put the spaghetti squash cut side up on a baking sheet. I sprayed a little olive oil on top of the spaghetti squash before putting it in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes. You want the noodles to be firm and not too mushy so start checking your squash around 40 minutes. 

While the squash is cooking, saute the garlic (if using fresh), carrot, cabbage or bok choy and any other veggies if using on med heat. Cook until tender, then set aside. (I roasted my brussel sprouts along with the spaghetti squash in the oven because Jake was making something else at the same time.)

In another sauce pan, add some of the veggie broth and a little bit of the peanut butter. Stir until creamy. Keep adding a little at a time so that it mixes well together. Once all is added start adding the other sauce ingredients. Make sure to keep stirring. Taste as you go along when adding the ginger so you have the right amount of ginger according to your taste. 

Once the sauce is made you can add the sauteed veggies back into the peanut sauce. Coat thoroughly and keep on low heat.

After about 40 minutes check on your spaghetti squash. When the spaghetti squash starts to separate into noodles with a fork it is done. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. 

Once cooled, but still warm, add the spaghetti squash to each bowl, then top with your sauce/veggie mixture. Mix all the ingredients together in your bowl, then enjoy! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

What do vegans eat for Thanksgiving?

Since I am the only vegan in my entire family and group of friends, I always get questions about what I eat. For Thanksgiving, I was particularly getting this question a lot. I love taking ordinary dishes and veganizing them to show people that vegan food does taste amazing. This year I made green bean casserole, cinnamon glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, dressing, maple pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and caramel apple cider. It was all vegan, and tasted absolutely amazing! My family didn't miss the usual animal ingredient infused dishes, and actually preferred my vegan dishes instead. 

Below are the recipes I used for these dishes. I found some on Pinterest, but others I made up on my own.  Please let me know if you try any of them. Christmas is just around the corner and all of these dishes would be perfect for any of your holiday dinners. 

(NEW) This Aint Your Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole. 

(Picture from Oh She Glows)
Vegan Sweet potato casserole Last week when I asked you to send in your favourite Thanksgivi:

Seriously, this is everyone's favorite dish out of all the ones I have listed. It is from Oh She Glows. Go ahead, make it. You won't be disappointed! Promise! 

Click to get the sweet potato casserole recipe HERE!

Click the link: Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pie from the Cake Duchess: 

I used a store bought vegan and gluten free pie shell from Earth Origins, but I made the filling in this recipe. I also added allspice and nutmeg to the pie mix as well. I just tasted as I was mixing the mix together. 

As I was cooking the mix in the oven, I was nervous because the mix was so runny. The mix will not set to a a very thick consistency in the oven after baking. I was nervous because of this, but it ended up thickening overnight in the fridge. Just an FYI so you don't become nervous as well. :)  This pie was super moist and delicious. 

Jake actually told me that he doesn't usually like pumpkin pie, but that this one was absolutely delicious. He went back for seconds. :) 

Vegan Whipped Cream: (My recipe) 

*1 large can of full fat coconut milk (put in the fridge for a couple of days so that the fat rises to the top of the can and so that it can thicken)
*1/2- 1 TBS of pure vanilla extract (I tasted as I mixed the ingredients together for the right amount)
*1/8- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar (I used organic sugar in the raw, but you could use coconut sugar if you wanted to make this paleo too. I also tasted as I mixed the ingredients for the right amount.)

Open the can of coconut milk. Make sure not to shake the can or turn it upside down. The fat from the coconut milk should be on top of the can when you open it. Using a butter knife, scrape the sides of the can to loosen the fat. The fat should easily come out of the can, but if not you can use a spoon to get the fat out. Put the fat in the mixer. Do NOT put the liquid in the bottom of the can in the mixer. The cream will not have the right consistency if you use the liquid at the bottom of the can. 

Turn the mixer on medium speed. While the coconut milk fat is creaming, add the vanilla extract and sugar. Taste as you go so you can get the right flavor for your whipped cream. In the past I have also added cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to the mixture for a pumpkin spice whipped cream. It is actually amazing with those spices. :) 

The whipped cream is done once it forms peaks, just like regular dairy whipped cream. Put into another container and let it set in the fridge until you are ready to use it. It will thicken more in the fridge.

Click the link: Vegan stuffing from the Savvy Vegetarian: 

Instead of making the dried bread cubes myself, I used prepackaged organic bread cubes from Earth Origins. I followed most of the rest of the recipe, but added more vegetable broth since I felt that the amount in the recipe didn't seem to be enough. I wanted to make sure the bread was moist enough, but not too soggy. 

Vegan Mashed Potatoes:  (My Recipe)

Since I didn't measure everything out for this, I am just going to tell you what the vegan replacements were for butter and milk.

I cut and boiled my potatoes until they were soft and ready to be mashed. Then, I added vegan "butter." I use the brand "Earth Balance." Then, instead of dairy milk, I used unsweetened original almond milk. I added, salt and pepper to taste and VOILA! The mashed potatoes were done! Easy as Pie! 

Vegan Gravy? I usually make my own with vegan butter, flour, and vegetable broth. This year I used Imagine brand organic wild mushroom gravy (found at Earth Origins). I like my version better, but this one did the trick. 

Vegan Green Bean Casserole: (My recipe)

*1 lb of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut
*3 cloves of garlic, minced
*1 large handful of mushrooms, sliced
*1 1/2 cups-2 cups of Imagine brand creamy portobello soup (It is vegan, in a cardboard container like broth is sometimes in,  and found at Publix or most natural food stores)
*2-3 TBS of Briggs Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce
*1 small package of fried onions. (You can use French's, but I used the Wal-Mart brand.)
*3-4 TBS of corn starch
salt and pepper as needed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put your trimmed and cut green beans in an oven safe casserole bowl. I used a medium sized round dish.

Saute the mushrooms and garlic on medium heat for several minutes. Add the mushroom soup and liquid aminos (or soy sauce if using). Taste and add more as needed. Add the corn starch and mix until slightly thicker.

Once the soup mixture is warmed, add it to your dish with the green beans. The soup mixture should just slightly cover the green beans. 

Add about half of the fried onions to the top of the dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cover your dish with tin foil and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the green beans are tender. Add the remaining fried onions to the top of the dish and cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. 

Vegan Cinnamon Glazed Carrots: (My Recipe)


*6 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced in equal widths.
*2 TBS of Earth Balance "butter" melted
*2-3 TBS of light agave syrup (or more if you want it really sweet. I tasted as I went along)
*1-2 tsp of cinnamon
*1/2 tsp of nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix the sliced carrots, melted "butter," agave syrup, and spices together. Make sure the carrots are coated evenly.
Bake in the oven, uncovered for at least one hour. 
Every 15 minutes, mix the carrots to coat them with the agave/butter mixture and to keep them moist. 

AND....Vegan Caramel Apple Spiced Cider  (My Recipe)

I wish I had a picture for you! 

1/2 cup all natural apple cider
1/4 cup club soda OR ginger-ale 
1 shot of Pinnacle Caramel Apple Vodka.

Mix Together and drink! Oh My Yumminess!!! This was amazing! Seriously, you  have to try it!!!! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Living With a Meat Eater

One of the biggest dilemmas most people might have with converting to a vegan diet is that their husband and/or kids are not on board.

My husband eats meat and dairy and for some vegans this could pose a problem.  I don't feel that it is fair if I completely eliminate all the foods he loves from his diet. I do try to make most of our meals vegan, but I will still cook him meat, fish, and use cheese on some things.   Obviously I do not eat the meat, fish, or cheese. I'll be honest and say it would be totally awesome if he ate vegan too, but I'm not going to force him to do anything he doesn't whole heartedly believe in. If he decides to make the change in the future, that is his choice. I don't want him to change because of me.


I'm here to tell you that it really is not as hard as you think to make meals that everyone will enjoy!

Here are some quick changes you can make to ordinary meals that everyone will love.

I do have to say though, that I do not eat processed fake meats, cheeses, or foods anymore. They are good if you are new to trying vegan foods or on occasion. These are just suggestions, but I am now eating a whole foods, vegan diet. My list below included everything that can be bought that is vegan. Most people are surprised by the all the vegan choices there are. :)


milk-If a recipe calls for milk, simply use almond milk or soy milk. Easy right?

Baking and need eggs- Use a banana or egg replacer. You can find Egg Replacer at Publix here in Florida and most health food stores.

chocolate- You can buy vegan chocolate chips from the brand "Enjoy life." You can find these at Publix and most health food stores.

marshmallows- Most health food stores have a vegan version of marshmallows. Non-vegan marshmallows have gelatin in them.

gelatin- You can buy vegan gelatin at most health food stores.


Eggs-  Make the tofu scramble on my blog for yourself. I bet your kids and husband would like it too. Don't tell them its not eggs! I bet they wouldn't even know. LOL.  OR if you don't want to do that, you can always make an omelet or scrambled eggs for them as well.

Oatmeal- . This is something that everyone can eat! Add fruit, brown sugar, maple syrup, or cinnamon and apples. Yum.  

Cereal- Tons of cereals are vegan. You can get Apple Chex or Cinnamon chex. For the milk try changing to Vanilla Almond milk. When I stopped drinking milk, I had to do the vanilla flavor first, but now I am used to it and can easily drink the unsweetened almond milk. Your kids and/or husband will love the vanilla almond milk in their cereal. You can always try soymilk or coconut milk as well.

Fruit Smoothie- Use soy or coconut milk yogurt in the place of regular yogurt. Add ice and your favorite fruit. OR you could freeze your fruit and add some almond or soy milk. Want some more protein? Add a scoop of your favorite vegan protein shake or peanut butter to your smoothie. I use Vega brand protein shakes. This can be found at Earth Origins in Port Charlotte.

Waffles- Vans has awesome egg free and dairy free waffles. You can get them in the freezer section at Publix or most health food stores. They seriously are amazing.

Toast- Use your favorite vegan bread and add jelly or peanut butter to it. (You can read about breads below. Most breads are actually vegan. :)

Lunch/ Dinner:
Making or ordering pizza- Order or make a veggie pizza and only put cheese on half of it. When I make the pizza at home I usually cut the crust in half before I put the cheese on Jake's half. This way the cheese doesn't ooze its way onto my side. :) IF you can not stand to go without cheese on your pizza you can always use Daiya cheese. It is the best substitute I have found. You can find Daiya cheese at most health food stores and Publix. I try not to eat it because it really has no nutritional value, but it would be okay to have once in a while.

Spaghetti- Make spaghetti like normal (or make my spaghetti squash) and cook the sausage, chicken, meatballs, or whatever other meat in a seperate pan. Add the meat to your family's plates only. You can also add cheese to their plate at this time too. (Most pasta is vegan. Obviously egg noodles are NOT vegan.)

Making Tacos- See my recipe on this blog! I promise that it is amazing. Jake actually likes the taste of the hamburger crumbles.

Hamburger- Make my portobello mushroom burger on my blog in its place. Or you could make a turkey burger/hamburger for your husband/kids and make yourself a veggie burger. Gardein has the most amazing veggie burgers! (You can find these in the freezer section at Publix.)

Kabobs- Make veggie kabobs for yourself and your family. Make meat kabobs seperately for your family. This is actually a better way to cook kabobs. When you mix the meat and veggies the meat tends to cook faster than the vegetables, so you get raw veggies and overcooked meat. You could also marinate tofu and make yourself some grilled tofu. :)

Wraps/subs/sandwiches- Put meat and cheese on the sandwiches for your family along with whatever veggies they want. For yourself, just don't add cheese or meat. You can have a veggie wrap OR add tofurky slices to your sandwich. I've tried several of the tofurky meats and the only one that I did NOT like was the roast "beef" variety. The turkey flavored one was actually pretty good and these vegan "meats" are NON-GMO. :)

Bread- Most breads are vegan. Just read the label. If it has milk, eggs, lactic acid, or honey in it, it is NOT vegan. Arnold wheat bread is vegan. Most white breads are too. A lot of tortilla and corn wraps are vegan too. Again, look at the ingredients. I buy frozen brown rice tortillas (found in the freezer section at Publix) and gluten free potato and zuchinni bread (freezer section at Earth Originis). I am trying to do gluten free, but if you are just starting out, I suggest sticking to breads that everyone is familiar with rather than changing everything at once.

Soups- Make my lentil and quinia veggie soup that is on my blog. Also, Muir Glen makes some amazing vegan soups that the whole family will love. My favorites are the southwest black bean and the lentil soup. You can get these at Publix or most health food stores.

Salads- Make a salad with all the lettuce and veggies you want. Add nuts, edamame, or beans.  You can always add meat to your husbands or kids salads. For salad dressings you can buy seperate dressings or buy vegan dressings. Most balsamic and italian dressings are vegan. Just read the labels.

I am trying not to buy snack foods. I am a bad snacker! lol. BUT  here are some vegan snacks that everyone will enjoy! With anything you should always look at the ingredients to make sure.

-Chocolate chip Teddy Grahams
-Most pretzels (not honey wheat variety)
-Back to Nature: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Vanilla Cream, Peanut Butter cream, round crackers, etc..
-Almonds and other nuts
-Pita Chips
-Tortilla Chips
-Most Potato chips (check flavored chips for milk ingredients and honey)
-fruit and veggies with peanut butter or almond butter

As I add to my blog I'll make sure to add more ideas to this post. Here are just some ideas to get you started. :) Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I'm here to help!

Portobello Mushroom Burger and Four Bean Salad

Portobello Mushroom Burger
This burger was delicious!!!
*Hamburger buns of your choice.( I used potato buns because they are Jake's favorite. )
*Two Large Portobello mushrooms (Or however many you want to make)
*Half of a sweet onion cut into thick slices
*One slice of a tomato for each burger
*A small handfull of fresh spinach for each burger
*A few slices of avacado for each burger
*One table spoon of minced garlic
*Two table spoons of olive oil
*One slice of grilled eggplant for each burger (If making this again, I would have omitted the eggplant as it was mushy.)
*Your favorite condiments. I used my own recipe for spicy Veganaise. Jake used mustard.
1)Preheat your grill on medium-medium high heat. (About 400 degrees is what I used.)
2) Cut all of the vegetables above so they are ready for the burger and/or grill. (Obviously do not cut the mushrooms.)
3) Mix the minced garlic and olive oil together. Brush on each side of the portobello mushrooms before putting them on the grill.
4) Put your sliced onions on at this time as well. I used a grill pan for the onions.
5) Check the Mushrooms every so often, but grill for at least 5 minutes on each side. Your cooking time may vary according to your grill. You want nice grill marks on the top side of the mushroom, but you don't want your mushrooms to be burnt.
6) Grill the onions for about 5 minutes on each side as well.
7) When you flip the mushrooms and onions add your buns to the grill. Make sure you don't burn them and flip them after about 2 minutes.
8) Now Make your burgers!
I layered the ingredients like this: spinach, tomato, mushroom, grilled eggplant (if using), avacado, onion, condiment of choice, and top of the bun. ENJOY!
Need an easy side to go with your burger, or a healthy salad to enjoy all week? Try making this salad! This makes a HUGE bowl of bean salad which would be perfect to bring to a party. You can cut the ingredients in half if you don't want to make as much.
Four Bean and Edamame Salad
You'll need:
*A can of pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. (drained and rinsed)
*A 12 ounch bag of shelled frozen edamame, thawed
*One half of a sweet onion, diced
*One large red pepper, diced
1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of agave nectar
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
1/8 teasspoon of cayenne pepper
1/8 tea spoon of salt (or more according to taste)
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 table spoon of minced garlic
Mix all ingredients together. Let sit overnight in the fridge to allow the ingredients to marinate together. This is one of Jake's favorite salads!

Monday, February 18, 2013

So What Do You Eat???

I get this question ALL time time. So I thought I'd give some examples of what I eat on an ordinary day in my life.

* Oatmeal with Vega nutritional protein powder.
*Black ice coffee with almond milk
*Protein shake with a banana or berries
*Black ice coffee with almond milk
*toast and peanut or almond butter with banana
*Black ice coffee with almond milk

*hummus with raw veggies

*Any one of the meals I have made on this blog. (Hello leftovers. :) )
*veggie sandwich or tofurky wrap
*veggie salad with edamame and/or black beans and balsamic vinegar
*vegan soup (black bean, lentil, veggie, etc..)
*Mock chicken salad, quinoa salad, mock egg salad, or tofu salad (All of these salads are from Earth Origins by Lowe's in Port Charlotte)

*apple with peanut or almond butter

After working out:
*VEGA chocolate sport protein shake with water.


*Marinated baked Tofu (buffalo, bbq, etc..) with roasted or grilled veggies
*spaghetti squash with veggies, tofu or lentils, and veggies
*regular spaghetti with veggies
*veggie tacos
*taco salad
*burrito with beans, rice, and veggies
*veggie stir fry with tofu or edamame
*veggie chili
*veggie pizza without cheese
*Vegan Lasagna
*Stuffed Squash
*Stuffed mushroom
*veggie and tofu kabobs
*veggie burger
....I could seriously go on forever but I'm going to stop now!!

If I wanted to...I COULD also eat:

*Potato chips
*soy or coconut milk ice cream
*chocolate chip teddy grahams (yes, they are vegan!!!)
*most pretzels
*most of the "Back to Nature" cookies
*bagel (a lot of bagels and breads are actually vegan)
*tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole.

When I'm out to eat I will be honest and say it CAN get tricky, but I can find something vegan at pretty much EVERY restaurant. There might not be many options, but the options they do have are usually a lot healthier than if you were eating something non-vegan.

*Jason's Deli: Salad bar or veggie sandwich without cheese and vegetarian soups without cheese

*Moes or Tijuana Flats: veggie burrito with rice, beans, veggies, and tofu (if available). OR veggie salad

*Outback Steakhouse: Veggie Trio without butter (I usually pick two of the veggies and a plain
baked potato) AND I get a side salad with their tangy tomato dressing. YUM.

*Ruby Tuesday: Veggie trio without butter and their salad bar.

*Subway and/or Obees: Salad or Sub on white bread with veggies and mustard

*Panera Bread: Vegetarian Sandwich without cheese and a salad or black bean soup.

Lentil and Quinoa Veggie Soup

Wow, I haven't posted since the beginning of the school year. I have been super busy with work and other things that I have been neglecting my blog. I am going to try to post more regulary now. Yesterday I watched a documentary on Netflix called, "Vegucated."  Watching the documentary completely reaffirmed why I believe that eating vegan is the right thing for ME. Sometimes I feel that people just don't "get" why I am eating vegan and it can get very frustrating. I am the only person in my entire circle of  friends, family, and  co-workers that does not eat ANY animal products. Most people are very understanding, but I've actually had some people be very rude about it (unknowingly or not). I wish I could  "vegucate" others on the health benefits of a vegan diet,  how easy eating vegan really is, how it helps our Earth, and how it helps animals. I don't expect people to change because of me. I'd like people to make their own assumptions and eat how they feel is right for them, but with this blog my hope is to at least show people that EATING vegan is NOT a challenge!!!
Anyways, that was my little blurp for the day. Here is the recipe I intended on sharing. :)
Today it was super chilly out (Hey, 65 is chilly for us folks here in Florida!)  and I wanted something to warm us up a bit. I decided a slow cooker soup was an easy way to make dinner on my cold day off. :)  I really get more done when we have three day weekends.
This soup is so delicious and easy to make!
1 quart container of organic vegetable broth
1 cup of lentils (I used white lentils and red lentils)
3/4 cup of quinoa (I used white quinoa and red quinoa)
24 oz jar of Bertolli's tomato and basil marinara sauce
2-3 cups of water (This depends on how much liquid you want. I would start with two cups and if you need more liquid you can always add more water)
16 oz  of fresh sliced  mushrooms (I used button and baby bella. This was two 8 oz containers)
1 large carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
One 5 oz package of fresh spinach
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Pour the ingredients above in a large slow cooker and let it cook on high for about 6-7 hours.
Voila! It is THAT easy!
You could make some garlic bread to go with it if you wanted, but Jake and I didn't think we needed anything else. :)