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. :)