Julie Green and Keen: switch meat to alternatives
Showing posts with label switch meat to alternatives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label switch meat to alternatives. Show all posts
Walking through the grocery store it is hard not to miss the milk section.  With countless varieties including animal milk, plant milk, nut milk, soy milk, and grain milk; how do you know what to choose and what is the best for your family. 

I have always been lactose intolerant so I have drank plant based milks since I was a child.  With all the recent hype about antibiotics and pesticides that are said to be in animal milk, many people are turning to alternatives.  Milk substitutes are often consumed by people with intolerants, people concerned with the environment, vegetarians, and vegans. 

I have never known anything but plant based milks and have always had an interest in the various types.  Here are a few plant based milks I consume and their pros and cons.

  • Almond milk is a safe milk option for people with food allergies or a lactose intolerance like me.  It does not contain any dairy, lactose, soy, eggs, cholesterol, gluten, MSG, or whey (milk proteins).


Almond milk has less protein than traditional dairy milk, one cup of almond milk has 1 gram of protein and one cup of dairy milk has 8 grams.  When I drink almond milk I make sure that I am getting protein from other sources in my diet.

Over all Almond milk is very healthy.  It is heart-healthy, low calorie, nutrient dense dairy milk alternative.  

  • Soy milk is my favorite non-dairy alternative.  It has the best source of protein compared to other substitutes.  It has about 7 grams of protein and has a similar fat content to dairy milk.  Most of the fat in soy milk is unsaturated, providing the body with healthy fats.


It is the milk is produced by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water.

It is a good alternative to dairy milk.  The only concern I have is that many soybeans that are grown today are genetically modified.  I make sure to read the labels and buy soy milk that is organic and “non-GMO.”

  • I don’t often use Hemp milk, but it is also another alternative.  Hemp seeds are high in plant based omega-3 fatty acids which help keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control.  It also has 10 essential amino acids making it a good source of protein. 


I like hemp milk in smoothies because it has a thick and creamy texture.  It also has a little bit of a nutty flavor that is really delicious in banana smoothies.

If you are looking to switch to a plant based milk for health reasons it is important to read the ingredients and understand the products nutritional value.  Many substitutes can be high in sugar and have little to no difference in their nutritional values.  I drink plant milks because of my intolerance and because I am a vegetarian.  If you are thin thinking about switching for environmental reasons, know that you will not have a lack of nutrients.  
Hummus, hummus, hummus; I have been obsessed with this delicious dip for the past couple weeks and can’t get enough.  My husband was laughing at me earlier today because we have FIVE different kinds of hummus in the fridge.  I love it and it is packed with protein.  Recently, I have been making different mixtures to try different flavors.  My favorite is still the classic; Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.

Since my obsession started I have been putting hummus on everything.  To me, it is not just a dip for pitas or pretzels, it’s my secret weapon to spice up ordinary food.  Here are four of my favorite ways to incorporate hummus into everything I eat. J
·         Sandwiches with hummus up the ante to all other “regular” sandwiches.  I am a testament that nobody likes a dry sandwich; but instead of drenching it with some unhealthy sauce or dressing add hummus.  It adds the perfect amount of saucy taste.  There are so many kinds of hummus, I mix and match to pick out the perfect flavor for that sandwich.
·         I am have always love potatoes, but hummus mashed potatoes are even more creamy and delicious.  I just make mashed potatoes like I would any other time, and add the hummus while it is mixing.  I usually use garlic flavored or red pepper depending on the meal.  It adds a rich and savory flavor that makes the mash potatoes even better than they already are.
·         Hummus pizza…don’t crunch up your nose just yet.  Think savory and healthy pizza.  When I am making a homemade pizza, I use the hummus instead of pizza sauce.  It is so delicious and adds a little more zest and richness to your pizza.
·         After trying hummus salad dressing there is no going back to any other dressing.  I mix a tub of hummus with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 3 tbsp. of white wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp. of sesame oil.  It makes the most incredible dressing. 
·         Topping grilled and roasted veggies with thinned hummus is even better than you might believe.  I thin down hummus by mixing it with some water to make it into a more saucy consistency and toss my veggies in it.  I usually even add a little more to my plate to dip it in.

I am sure that I will get sick of hummus on everything, but until that day I am going to continue embracing this obsession.  Right now, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love hummus…and everyone else.  J Happy Hummusing!


Go Green and Stay Keen, 
Julie

Hummus Obsession

by on 4/06/2015
Hummus, hummus, hummus; I have been obsessed with this delicious dip for the past couple weeks and can’t get enough.  My husband was laugh...
With summer vacation in sight and countless activities to drive the kids around to, it seems that the kids are even hungrier when they get home from school.  The moment Hannah and Liam run through the door, they head straight to the kitchen for a snack.  I always try to have something healthy and filling enough to bridge the gap until dinner.

Finding after school snacks that are “Hannah and Liam approved” can be a little difficult though.  I try mixing it up each day from snacks that sweet and ones that are savory.  I know how important it is to refuel my kid’s minds after a long day at school; so I have to make a list of a few after school snacks that are always welcomed. 

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips (this recipe makes plenty for leftovers :))

 
Ingredients-

•    2 kiwis- peeled and diced
•    2 golden delicious apples- peeled, cored and diced
•    8 ounces raspberries
•    1 pound strawberries
•    2 tbsp. white sugar
•    1 tbsp. brown sugar
•    3 tbsp. fruit preserves- any flavor
•    10 flour tortillas
•    Butter cooking spray
•    2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Instructions-
•    In a large bowl mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar, and fruit preserves.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
•    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
•    Coat one side of each tortilla with butter cooking spray.  Cut into wedges and spread on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the wedges and spray again with cooking spray.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and allow to cool. 
•    Use tortilla wedges to dip into fruit salsa and enjoy!


Stuffed Celery-




Ingredients-
•    1 bunch of celery
•    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
•    ¼ cup chopped walnuts
•    20 small green olives (chopped)
•    2 tablespoons of sour cream

Instructions-
•    Cut the washed celery stalk into bite sized pieces.
•    Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, walnuts, and chopped olives together.  Spread the filling on to the celery pieces. (If you don’t want to use celery, the kids also like to put it on crackers)
•    Enjoy!

Pizza Pockets-





Ingredients-
•    1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
•    4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
•    ½ cup parmesan cheese
•    Other toppings your kids like, mushrooms, olives, ect.

Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
•    Unroll crescents and top each piece of dough with shredded cheese and the toppings you like, and sprinkle a little more cheese on.  Roll into a crescent shaped.
•    Place pizza pockets on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

For those hot summery days, Watermelon Strawberry Pops-



Ingredients-
•    1lbs. seedless watermelon
•    ¼ lbs. halved hulled strawberries
•    ¼ cup sugar
•    1 ½  tbsp. fresh lime juice

Instructions-
•    Puree watermelon and strawberries in a blender and place in a large bowl.  Add sugar and lime juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved
•    Pour mixture into 5 3ounce ice pop molds and add sticks.  Freeze pops until solid and Enjoy!

A healthy and filling after school snack holds my kids off until dinner and automatically puts them in a good mood when they come home. :) I love finding new ideas for snacking that the kids love.  Happy snacking!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

After school Snacks

by on 3/11/2015
With summer vacation in sight and countless activities to drive the kids around to, it seems that the kids are even hungrier when they get ...
When looking for new recipes or more information on a topic I often turn to fellow bloggers.  By reading a blog about a product or a recipe I know that it is a personal opinion and am able to connect with it on a deeper level.  There are so many blogs out there with great content for vegetarians.  Here are my twelve favorite vegetarian and vegan blogs.

1. Naturally Ella is my go to blog for seasonal recipes.  She has some of the most delicious recipes I have made.

2. My New Roots is written by a holistic nutritionist and vegetarian chef Sarah Britton.  There are wonderful recipes with ample information on nutrition.


3. Oh My Veggies is a blog from Kiersten who has been a vegetarian since she was twelve.  She has good recipes as well and reviews recipes she tries from other blogs.


4. Cookie and Kate has quite the archive of fresh vegetarian recipes and treats like margaritas, cakes, and popsicles.  She also talks about her canine companion, Cookie, who catches her crumbs.


5. Vegan Yum Yum shares vegan recipes that appeal to vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike.  She uses beautiful photography and has a great section called “how to” with great articles like “How to cut a pepper” and “How to peel mushrooms.”


6. 101 Cookbooks has every recipe you could possibly be looking for.  It is very useful because the recipes are categorized by season, recipe type, or ingredients.


7. The Veg Space has great recipes as well as a great writer, Kate Ford, who has been vegetarian for over 20 years.  She also reviews books and other products.


8. Green Kitchen Stories updates their blog very frequently with “must try” recipes.  They focus on cooking healthy, simple food with natural ingredients, whole grains, good fats, fruits and vegetables.


9. Happyolks is a great blog for recipe inspiration and for a good read.  Besides recipes and good writing this couple writes about finding a place in the world to feel truly like yourself.  It is a good inspirational blog.

10. VegKitchen is primarily a recipe site but it also features articles about what is good to eat and how to prepare and eat it.


11. VegNews is a great blog with product reviews, news, inspiration, and everything that has to do with living a vegetarian lifestyle.

12. Soul Veggie has a ton of information why having a vegetarian lifestyle is the healthiest option.  They also showcase news, recipes, and much more.

I hope you find these blogs as interesting as I do.  If you have other blogs that you love, I would love to check them out!  I have learned that blogging is such a great way to spread information and share feelings.  Go bloggers!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie































Do you really know what is in your foods?  When I was first learning about vegetarianism I was naïve to what was actually in my food.  I just assumed that if it wasn't the actually meat it was vegetarian.  When I am researching, I always make sure I have a tough stomach because some of the things I have come across make my stomach turn.  It is shocking what ingredients are actually in the foods we eat all the time without thinking.

Even though I’m not vegan, I still like to be conscious about the ingredients in foods I eat and prefer my foods be free of animal byproducts.  I made a list of cringe worthy products that have animal byproducts that might make you think twice about what you are eating.


DISCLAIMER- if you have a weak stomach or just ate lunch, you might was to wait to read this until your stomach is strong enough to hear all the ingredients might be in your favorite foods.

When first beginning to research products that we not vegetarian gelatin was the first product I learned about.  Gelatin is mainly made from collagen, a protein often collected from animal skins.  Gelatin can be found in frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, some types of sour cream, and deserts.  The gelatin in deserts often comes from pig skin.

Beef fat is an ingredient many Hostess Products.  It is gross thinking a favorite sweet childhood snack contains beef fat.  The ingredient is included in the list of other oils that may or may not be used.

This is a more widely known animal product, crushed bugs are used as red food coloring.  Dried insects are boiled to produce a liquid solution that is turned into dye.  It is often called carmine or carminic acid.  YUCK

Beaver anal glands, castoreum, are common in perfumes and colognes.  I don’t want to use anal glands to smell sweet, that’s for sure.  Another use, they are used to enhance the flavor of raspberry candies and sweets.

It is more common people know Caesar salad dressing is made with anchovies, but they are in Worcestershire sauce too.  I was unaware of this until I did some research and now I avoid both sauces.

Like jelly beans or candy corn?  The shiny hard coating is make from the secretions of the female Kerria Lacca, an insect native to Thailand.  I personally don’t like any bug secretions in my candy.



These are just a few of the cringe worth products that use animal products to be more appealing and satisfying to the consumer.  After months of researching and growth I learned that animal products are in so many unexpected places and products.  I find it very interesting to learn about all the products that use weird animal parts and secretions.  Peta.org has an extensive list of animal ingredients that are in food that might shock you.

Know of any more cringe worthy products with animal products? I would love to learn more, comment to share your knowledge!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Wow, I can’t believe that tomorrow is December already.  November has flown by, and for that matter, this year.  I can’t even grasp all the wonderful things that have happened to me and my family this year so far.  With December and winter around the corner it is the perfect time to get a little crafty around the house.  I love winter; even though I live in California I still love the cooler temps and the warm aura the season give off.




Backtracking a little bit, my thanksgiving was so wonderful.  My husband’s parents and my parents, loved their first vegetarian thanksgiving.  They were surprised by how many stereotypical thanksgiving dishes are easily vegetarian.  Needless to say, my menu was a big hit and everyone left with full stomachs.

I didn’t partake in the crazy Black Friday shopping nonsense.  I don’t know how people can do it; I hate going into stores when you can barely walk and have to fight to get something.  Although I didn’t go, one of my friends is a crazy shopper and braved the crowds…when I say she’s crazy I mean she’s crazy for waiting in a line for hours to get a few good deals.  I had her pick up a few things on Hannah and Liam’s Christmas list while she was out.  Now I have to get serious about getting gifts for the rest of the family.

I feel like I just got everything put away from thanksgiving and brought out the Christmas decorations.   I usually try to wait until December 1st but it’s so hard and I figured one day away isn’t that bad… :)  There is something about Christmas decorations that make you feel so warm and want to have a hot chocolate.  I was feeling crafty today and made a little wine bottle vases.  They are super easy to make- paint the wine bottle with two coats of primer, then two coats of your desired color; I chose gold, then spray with tacky spray (glue), and shake lose glister onto the bottle. They turned out great.  I am going to put some twigs with berries in them!





It is such a wonderful time of the year.  Although I am sad to see pumpkin flavored everything go, I am excited for all the peppermint and cranberry flavors.  :)

Happy almost December friends!

Julie

Tomorrow is December?!

by on 11/30/2014
Wow, I can’t believe that tomorrow is December already.  November has flown by, and for that matter, this year.  I can’t even grasp all the...
Today I was watching some entertainment news and was shocked to hear how much they were talking about celebrities going vegetarian and how many are vegetarian.  I guess I just haven’t kept up with these young celebrities, but man, was I excited to hear how passionate they were.  They were interviewing PETA activist Anne Hathaway about why she became vegetarian and how it has affected her life. 

Listening to this made me want to make a list of my favorite famous vegetarians.  There are so many famous vegetarians that I love so I will keep it to my top 5 so I don’t bore you. 

1.    Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential people in the world and continues to be even after his death. 

"...We should all be Vegetarians…Muscular Vegetarians demonstrate the superiority of their diet by pointing out that the peasantry of the world are practically Vegetarians, and that the strongest and most useful animal, the horse, is a Vegetarian, while the most ferocious and practically useless animal, the lion, is a carnivore..." -1896

2.    The great physicist, Albert Einstein was  a devoted vegetarian and one of the greatest minds of all time.
“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”



3.    One of the strongest women was vegetarian, Rosa Parks.  She not only was a civil rights activist credited with started the US civil rights movement, she received the US Medal of Freedom in 1996.
"For over forty years, I've been vegetarian. Growing up, my family had little money—I had health problems early in life because of poor nutrition. Eating healthy is a priority for me." -2004



4.    Leonardo da Vinci is one of my favorite artists of all time.  His work is timeless and captivating.  It is speculated and widely believed that Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian; in my book he is.
"…The mere idea of permitting the existence of unnecessary suffering, still more that of taking life, was abhorrent to [Da Vinci]. Vasari tells, as an instance of his love of animals, how when in Florence he passed places where birds were sold he would frequently take them from their cages with his own hand, and having paid the sellers the price that was asked would let them fly away in the air, thus giving them back their liberty." –Edward MacCurdy, The Mind of Leonardo da Vinci, 1928



5.    My favorite modern day vegetarian is Ellen DeGeneres.  I believe that she is a very influential celebrity voice of this time.  She voices her opinion and always stresses to be kind to one another. 


“I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings.  And I just couldn’t disconnect myself from it any longer.  I read books like ‘Diet for a New America’ and saw documentaries like ´Earthlings’ and ‘Meet your Meat’, and it became an easy choice for me”

Who are your favorite famous vegetarians?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
Today is such an exciting day for me, it is my 6 year anniversary of being vegetarian!  6 years ago today was one of the most important days of my life, when I decided I would commit to something I wanted to for a while, a new healthy vegetarian lifestyle.  Thinking back, becoming a vegetarian wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Although, there were ups and downs along the road where I would crave meat and think about giving up; once I got over those bumps and knew how to control cravings, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.



 I have always been an animal lover.  6 years ago, after a Saturday afternoon spent on the internet reading and watching documentaries about animal-based diets and the meat industry, it wasn’t a hard to change my of thinking and switch to a plant-based diet.  I knew it would be good for my heath, the animals, the environment, and those around me.

In the beginning social events were difficult but after 6 years, my friends and family understand my lifestyle and have been dabbling in it as well.  I love seeing how my small dietary change, changed my entire extend family and friends outlook on food.  It is awesome going to a party and seeing a variety of fresh vegetarian options, not just put out for me, but because my family and friends genuinely enjoy them and understand the benefits of plant-based foods and diets.


Becoming a vegetarian isn’t something that changes over night, it is a full body transformation.  October 27th, 2008 was a huge day in my life.  My commitment to my health and my love for animals have helped me reach my goal and stick with it. 

I hope that with popular culture beginning to embrace a vegetarian and now vegan lifestyle, more people will try to commit to see the benefits of vegetarianism; I don’t want to keep the greatness a secret all to myself! :)  I am very proud I stuck with something for 6 years that helped change my life.  I can’t wait for many more great anniversaries and years full of learning and new food!   I wouldn’t change it for the world, I love being a vegetarian!


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Yesterday at the restaurant I had a lovely conversation with a customer that had just converted to vegetarianism.  He dove in head first a month ago without any progression eliminating meat.  He told me he was feeling great so far but was having some serious meat cravings.  I know from experience the beginning can be difficult when you see other people eating meats around you. 
I remember those first months when everyone was eating meat around me it was hard not to think about going back, but in the back my mind I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I tried just about every meat substitute out there, some were very delicious and satisfied the little cravings and some were down right terrible.  I was happy to share my favorite meat substitutes with my customer so he wouldn’t have to go through the trial and error I did. 

In my opinion, these are the best meat substitutes.

•    If you are missing cold cuts and deli sandwiches, Tofurky Deli Slices should be your go to.  They are made from smoked wheat gluten and have many different imitated flavors.  I like the roast beef flavor, but they are all equally as delicious.  Even my non-vegetarian friends like them. 



•    Quorn brand Chick’n nuggets are incredible.  My kids love them cut up with BBQ sauce.  Quorn brand uses fermented mushrooms that give them a texture nearly identical to chicken. They are probably one of my favorite chicken replacements.



•    If you love mushrooms like I do, Gardenburger Portabella Veggie Burgers are really good.  They are primarily made of brown rice and vegetables.  I like the smoky flavor and chucky texture of the vegetables.  They do have a lot of sodium, so read the labels.



•    Amy’s Kitchen has good premade meals if you are on the go.  My son loves the black bean vegetable enchilada.  They have a selection of soups and meal starters as well.




•    Anything Morning Star Brand!! My absolute favorite are the Grillers California Turk’y burgers.  They have the perfect amount of flavor and spices and when topped with avocado and tomato; they are the most flawless burger.  I highly recommend all the products by them!


When looking for a product you like, be sure to read the labels because some brands are high in sodium and aren’t very nutritious.  Although my diet doesn’t consist largely of these meat replacements, they are a nice easy break from cooking.  Happy eating!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
On Friday I went to a good friend’s house to meet up with the girls.  It was so nice, we all brought little hor d’oeuvres and chatted over wine.  They loved the tropical popcorn balls I brought and were amazed I used agave nectar instead of honey and they tasted so good. (find the recipe below!)



As you know whole foods and farmers markets are my thing.  I am always finding ways to make recipes unique using natural ingredients.  Managing a restaurant has given me so many opportunities to learn and try new things.  Now, when I’m at home I create recipes on the fly and spice it up differently every time depending on my mood.

I use agave nectar all the time at home and in the restaurant.  We use it in a lot of the desserts and even some main courses.  There are many natural ingredients that can be used to substitute common processed ones.

Here are my favorite natural additives and replacements:

•    Agave nectar is the extract from the wild agave plant.  It is low in glycemic levels and is a natural alternative to white sugar and other sugars



•    Cacao butter is the raw pure oil from the cacao bean.  It has a rich chocolate aroma.  I love to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in just about any chocolate creation I am making.  It is easy to use because it is raw, it melts easy and blends into any type of recipe.


•    Coconut oil has become very popular recently with its many health benefits.  It is commonly used as a food product and skin moisturizer.  It has a rich buttery taste that is great for cooking.


•    Miso is a salty flavored paste made from soybeans, rice, or barley.  It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  I like to use it in soups and adding it to salad dressings and sauces.


•    Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and tastes wonderful.



I believe that cooking should be a fun and freeing experience.  I take pride in making food that is good for you and delicious.  Real sustainable food nourishes not only your body but the environment as well.  Try some new substitutes and let me know what you like.

Here is the recipe for the tropical popcorn balls my friends loved.

Ingredients-
•    6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
•    ¼ cup agave nectar
•    ¼ creamy natural almond butter
•    ¼ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
•    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions-
•    Cover a baking sheet with wax paper to put the balls on
•    Mix the agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Keep heating until the mixture lightly bubbles and remove soon after.
•    Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix until well coated.
•    Quickly press small handfuls of the popcorn and macadamia mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut until coated then place on baking sheet and let cool and harden.
•    Enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Happy World Vegetarian day and the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month!  Obviously, October is one of my favorite months where I let my veggie flag fly high.  World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month can be celebrated by everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.



In case you wanted a more information, here you go!  October 1st was recognized as World Vegetarian Day by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978.  This day is “to promote the joy, compassion, and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism.”  It brings awareness to the ethical, environmental, health, and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.  Go veggie heads!

Needless to say, I make sure that all my friends and family are aware of this great month.  My non-vegetarian friends and family often ask how they can partake in this day and month if they have no desire to become vegetarian…the answer is simple, keep an open mind and try new things.  I believe it is a great time to encourage others to try a new way of living and raise awareness.

I challenge my friends, family, and readers to do little things this month that make you more aware about a vegetarian lifestyle.  Here are my five challenges for you this month…

1. Visit the official website of World Vegetarian Day to understand and learn why this day was created and how you can help.  There are so many useful resources on this site I still visit it!

2. Take some time to learn about the health, environmental and financial benefits of becoming a vegetarian.  In the US we don’t take enough time understanding where our food is coming from.
 When I take the time to learn how my food was created, what ingredients were used, and how it got into my hands, preparing it becomes an entirely new experience

3. Attend a vegetarian food festival.  With it being a dedicated month to vegetarians there are many festivals and expos everywhere.  Do a quick Google search or look in a local newspaper to see if there are any nearby.

4. Visit a vegetarian restaurant.  I might be a little biased on this one… :) but I believe when non-vegetarians visit a vegetarian restaurant they expect lettuce dishes and leaving hungry.  That is not the case at all, a vegetarian restaurant experience is unlike any other.  You’re most likely not going to be leaving hungry but with a fully stomach and a sense of satisfaction.

5. Last challenge; host a meatless dinner party!  If you are not the dinner party type, try doing Meatless Monday with your family during the month of October.  Check out my post about Meatless Monday here.



The food possibilities are endless.

I could not be happier with my decision 5 years ago to become a vegetarian.  I hope that I am able to encourage everyone to learn a little more about a vegetarian lifestyle and how it benefits you and the world around.  Raise your inner veggie flag.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
I have been a vegetarian for more than 5 years now and it was the best decision I have ever made.  Becoming a vegetarian isn’t for everyone but I highly encourage you to join the movement of Meatless Monday.  One day a week skip the meat and see how you feel.




Going meatless on Monday’s was is an idea by a non-profit initiation called, Meatless Monday.  They have been spreading the meatless word for over a decade, encouraging people in more than 34 different countries to go one day a week without meat.  Meatless Monday has become such a big deal, there are even restaurants and schools that are partaking in this movement.





Skipping meat one day a week can reduce risks of chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.  According to Meatless Monday’s website, “going meatless once a week can help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.”  Not only is skipping meat one day a week good for your health, it helps animals, the planet, and those around you.






When going meatless, you are opening up a completely fresh cookbook.  There are so many recipes and possibilities.  I grew up eating meat and have found delicious recipes that are even better.  There are vegetarian equivalents for just about everything.  The options are endless!

If you are still questioning if you want to participate in this movement, take a moment and think about it; when it comes down to it is only one day a week, only 52 days out of 365 day year.  It is worth giving it a try and seeing the benefits of going meatless for yourself.  Why not try getting the whole family to commit too.  After a while they just might prefer meatless meals :)

If you have questions about a vegetarian lifestyle or meatless recipes do not hesitate to aks and comment.  For more information on Meatless Mondays visit their website, Facebook, twitter, or Pinterest.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Meatless Monday

by on 8/11/2014
I have been a vegetarian for more than 5 years now and it was the best decision I have ever made.  Becoming a vegetarian isn’t for everyone ...
When I comes to food, vegetarians know how to eat!  It is definitely not all about salads.  I have so many favorite dishes but I have three favorites.  Here are some of my favorite recipes that are tried and true in my household.  They prove that we really do eat like kings.

DISCLAMER:  I don’t like to spend that much time in the kitchen preparing my favorite recipes so, these are delicious, easy, and don’t take that long.  I tried so many new ingredients when I first became a vegetarian, I like to think I have cooking time down to a science. :)

I hope you are as excited as I am to share my favorite recipes with you!

One of my all-time favorite foods are burritos.  I have tried over and over again to find the perfect balance between sweet and savory.  My Black Bean and Guacamole Burritos are, in my opinion, perfect for any occasion.


Black Bean and Guacamole Burritos

Prep time: 15 mins          Cook time: 10 mins          Serves 2

Easy Guacamole Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of red onion, minced
  • 1 small totato, diced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt, to taste.
  • pepper, to taste



Burrito Ingredients

  • 1 large flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can of black beans
  • 1 bag of chopped lettuce
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 cup of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup of monterey jack cheese


Instructions

  1. Remove the avocado from the skin and place into a bowl.
  2. Add garlic, red onion and tomato.  Mash the avocado with the garlic, red onion, and tomato until desired consistency. 
  3. Add lime and lemon and stir. Add salt and pepper until desired taste.
  4. Spread guacamole in the center of the flour tortilla. 
  5. Put the rice, beans, cheese, onion, tomato, and lettuce in the center of each tortilla and roll into a burrito pocket.
  6. Use an indoor grill, panini press, or stove top to heat the burrito until the tortilla is browned on each side.
  7. Serve with remaining guacamole or salsa.



*Photo and primary recipe courtesy of NaturallyElla

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I love sandwiches, and I’m not talking about a lettuce and tomato sandwich you probably assume I eat.   Some days you just crave a good, juicy, delicious sandwich.  I’m talking about something so savory your mouth waters profusely all day just at the thought of it.  My eggplant parmesan hero is my sandwich fix.  It is perfect on those days you just need to indulge a little bit.  I love using eggplant as a main ingredient; it is filling, delicious, and healthy for you!


Eggplant Parmesan Hero

Prep time: 15 mins          Cook time: 15 mins          Serves 4

Eggplant Parmesan Hero Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lbs)
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons, crushed
  • 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 hero or hoagie buns


Optional Ingredients

  • Oregano
  • Basil


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).  Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cut eggplant into ¼ inch thick slices.  (If preferred, peal eggplant)
  2. Put marinara sauce into a small bowl.  Place crushed croutons and half the cheese into another dish.
  3. Dip eggplant into marinara sauce, then into the crouton and cheese mixture.  Place coated eggplant on the prepared cooking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 mins or until the breading is browned and the eggplant is tender.
  5. Heat the remaining marinara sauce.
  6. OPTIONAL- On another baking sheet toast buns for 2 mins until lightly toasted.
  7. Place eggplant on bun, top with warm marinara,  and remaining cheese


Optional- Sprinkle with oregano and/or basil.


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Since becoming a vegetarian, quinoa has become my best friend.  It works well in so many recipes and is high in protein, which is a major plus!  I love making Greek style quinoa and avocados for dinner when I don’t have that much time.  It is easy to make, quick, and yummy.

Greek Quinoa and Avocados

Prep time: 15 mins          Cook time: 15 mins          Serves 4

Greek Quinoa and Avocado Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few spinach leaves
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced.
1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese.

Photo and primary recipe courtesy of bhg.com


Recipes like these go to show that vegetarians know how to cook and eat well.  These three are just a few of my favorites I make at home.  I love trying new recipes and exploring different ingredients.  I hope you will try some and suggest more yummy dishes to make!

Vegetarians unite!!  :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Eat like a vegetarian

by on 4/15/2014
When I comes to food, vegetarians know how to eat!  It is definitely not all about salads.  I have so many favorite dishes but I have three...