Julie Green and Keen: vegetarianism
Showing posts with label vegetarianism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarianism. Show all posts
As much as I love October, November has so much to offer and so many delicious vegetables and fruits in season.  Root vegetables are some of my favorite vegetables to prepare and are in their prime.  They make for great rich and flavorful soups and stews.  I still get to use pumpkin in my recipes but I also love using other root veggies to create rich fall flavors. 

Here are some of the best fruits and vegetables that are in season…varying depending on where you are: apples, artichokes, arugula, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, dates, endive, garlic, kale, leeks, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rutabaga, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, and watercress just to name a few.

Chili is one of my favorite fall meals and it is so easy when you make it in the slow cooker.  Here is my recipe for

Slow Cooker Chili



 Ingredients-

•    ½ tbsp. olive oil
•    1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
•    4 cloves garlic, minced
•    1  chipotle chili, chopped
•    2, 15 oz. cans of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•    2, 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
•    2, 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
•    1, 15 oz. can of light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•    1, 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
•    1 cup of beer
•    2 tbsp. chili powder
•    1 tbsp. ground cumin
•    1 tsp. salt
•    1 tsp. sugar
•    ½ tsp. black pepper
•    Toppings if you want, I like to use shredded cheddar cheese, sometimes tortilla strips, or sour cream

Instructions- 

•    Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with desired toppings and enjoy your perfect November fall chili!

I love roasting squash this time of the year.  It has such a unique taste that is prefect for fall and November!  Here is a wonderful way to roast a squash:

Spicy Roasted Herbed Squash 




Ingredients-

•    1 large acorn squash, seeded and sliced
•    3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
•    3 tbsp. brown sugar
•    1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
•    ¼ tsp. salt
•    ¼ tsp. pepper
•    4 oz. crumbled feta
•    1 tbsp. chopped basil
•    1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
•    1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

Instructions-

•    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place the sliced squash on a lined baking pan.
•    Mix the coconut oil, brown sugar, and chili garlic sauce together in a small bowl.  Pour over the squash slices and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top.  Roast for about 20 minutes, move the slices around and roast for another 20 minutes. 
•    Remove from oven and sprinkle the feta, basil, cilantro, and oregano over the top.  If there is any extra sauce over flowed on the baking pan, put it on the squash.  Let cool a bit and serve your wonderful roasted squash.

Just in case that recipe didn’t satisfy your roasted squash fix, here is a delicious recipe for

Parmesan Roasted Squash





Ingredients-

•    2 small acorn squashes, sliced in large chucks and seeded
•    ½ cup heavy cream
•    8 sprigs of dried oregano
•    ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
•    Extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and drizzle

Instructions

•    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place the sliced squash on a lined baking pan and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the heavy cream and herbs evenly on the slices.
•    Bake for about 40 minutes until the squash is tender.  Remove from the oven and top with the parmesan cheese and place back into the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.
•    Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy another wonderful roasted squash!

November is such a great time to bake and make some delicious fall food.  I consider October and the beginning of November the preparation for Thanksgiving!
 
Hope you are having a great November!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
I love encountering individuals who are eager to learn about a vegetarian lifestyle and make a change.  Last night at the restaurant I had the opportunity to chat with a couple that has just decided to embark on their vegetarian lifestyle journey.  They asked me for some helpful hints to get through the difficult first couple months.  With spring quickly approaching and BBQ’s and soccer games around the corner they were concerned about vegetarian options.  Luckily for them I have quite a few helpful hints.


Deciding to become is a big diet and lifestyle change.  There are times when it will seem impossible, but once you find your strength and keep pushing forward there is not turning back.  Here are a few tips that helped me “keep on trucking” and create a healthy lifestyle for myself.

1.    Don’t expect everyone to embrace your new lifestyle change initially.  My parents thought I was crazy when I told them I was making the change, and now they eat a primarily plant-based diet.  During the first couple months my friends and family would taunt me with my past favorite meals with meat making it a game to see if I would crack.  I stayed strong and soon everyone came to realize this was something I was doing to better myself and I wasn’t going to back down.  Stay strong!

2.    There will be times when you crave a dish with meat in it, and when that happens just watch one of the wonderful documentaries out there about the factory meat industry.  I am sure that craving will pass.  Documentaries are a great way to find inspiration to make change and find your strength from within.  Educate yourself!

3.    Try new fruits and vegetables.  There are so many it shouldn’t be hard to try a new one every week incorporating it into a new recipe.  I can’t stress enough that even “ugly” fruits and veggies taste wonderful.  Don’t overlook certain types just because you have never tried it before or it looks ugly.  Dive in head first and see what you like.

4.    If you are not a chef, take a vegetarian cooking class.  I took a class in my first couple months of becoming a vegetarian and learned so much and met a great support system.  Working and having fun with likeminded people is a great way to discover some new recipes and new friends.

5.    Eat what is in season and go to the farmers markets.  Going to the farmers markets is not only a way to get your groceries, it is an experience in itself.  Become friends with the farmers and really find out where your food comes from.  I also suggest planting your own garden.  It is such a satisfying feeling cooking a meal with all your own fresh yields.



Making a lifestyle change doesn’t have to be that hard.  Find a good support system and make a promise to yourself, you’ll be half way there.  If you have any other questions about become a vegetarian, I would love to answer them for you! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
healing foods
I believe that foods can have a healing power on the body.  Becoming vegetarian has made me look at food differently and has changed my body for the better.  Instead of turning to medicine for minor aliments like muscle pain, headaches, sore throats or colds, I try finding a food or herb alternative to make the pain diminish.

Whether you are fighting stress, fatigue, or trying to boost your immune system I believe that a lifestyle change and healthy eating can help immensely.  Eating fresh fruits and vegetables help the body perform to the fullest potential and stay healthy.

Here are some of the foods that can help fight minor ailments-

•    Bananas are good for fighting stress and anxiety.  They provide a little bit of a sugar boost and have 30% of your day’s vitamin B6 that helps your brain produce mellowing serotonin to help calming down.

banana healing food

•    Raisins help maintain cardiovascular health and bringing down blood pressure.  They contain fiber and potassium that are both good for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

•    Kidney stones are something no one wants to deal with.  Apricots help prevent then because of the fiber, low sodium, and potassium help keep minerals from accumulating in the urine and from forming calcium stones. 

•    Ginger tea can help cure nausea from motion sickness.  The oils and compounds in ginger help to get rid of nausea without the side effects of other prescription drugs.

•    It is a little strange but I swear by buckwheat honey as a cure to coughing.  2 teaspoons of the thick, dark brown honey and your coughing will stop.  I find it so much more effective than cough syrup.  And the honey has antioxidants and other properties that can soothe the throat.

•    Ladies you know yeast infections are not fun.  By adding garlic to sauces, dressings, and other dishes you can help lowing the risk of getting them.  Garlic contains oils that inhibit the growth of a certain fungus that causes the unpleased symptoms of a yeast infection.


•    Chamomile tea can make heartburn disappear.  Although it may take a few cups of tea to fully ease the digestive culprit, who doesn’t like sipping tea all day?

•    Headache? Cure that with some potatoes!  The carbs in potatoes can ease tension headaches by raising serotonin levels and nixing that pesky thing.

There are many other foods that help diminish or prevent ailments from happening.  These are just some of the foods I eat frequently with more than just a nutritional value.  Foods can not only change your body, but can also help your mind fight off negativity.


Go green and stay keen,

Julie

 


Healing foods

by on 10/28/2015
I believe that foods can have a healing power on the body.  Becoming vegetarian has made me look at food differently and has changed my ...
The kids first day of school is tomorrow and they are having mixed feelings of excitement and sadness because the summer is over.  They both got new backpacks this year and have them all filled with notebooks and pens ready to go.

We got to do so many things together this summer and were able to cross everything off their summer to do list.  It was a wonderful summer.



Because it is the last day before they start school, I want to make them a nutritious dinner so their brains are ready for tomorrow.  I am making my eggplant lasagna that they love.  Eggplants are great vegetables with so many benefits for everyone.

Here are some healthy facts about eggplants that will make you want to add them to your regular diet.

Eggplants have essential nutrients that your body needs like iron, calcium, and many other minerals.

Eggplant skins contain essential phyto nutrients that improve blood circulation and nourish the brain; perfect for back to school after a summer of fun.

Eggplants have fiber to protect and regulate the digestive tract.

For many years eggplants were used to control and manage diabetes.  With research it was proven because of the high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content.

Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids that control high blood pressure and relieve stress.  Good for those first day of school jitters.

Regular consumption of eggplants can also help prevent blood clots because of the vitamin K and bioflavonoids that strengthen capillaries.


I believe that a good dinner and breakfast are the key to a successful day at school for children.  Food fuels the brain and the body so that it performs to its highest capability.  I am lucky I taught my kids at a young age to like foods that are good for their bodies and minds.  Now Hannah and Liam prefer “healthy” food over junk food, almost all the time :).

It makes me proud to see them make good choices and grow stronger and bigger each year.

I am sure tonight is going to be the “I don’t want to go to school, I want it to be summer longer,” but with this dinner and homemade ice cream for dessert, it should make it a little more bearable for them.

Happy first day of school for all the other kids out there!

Go green and stay keen,

Julie


The Wonderful Eggplant

by on 9/07/2015
The kids first day of school is tomorrow and they are having mixed feelings of excitement and sadness because the summer is over.  They bot...
This afternoon both Hannah and Liam are a friend’s house so I am making my husband some vegetarian sushi!

We love sushi so much, it is difficult to make it while the kids are home because they think it is “weird.”  They don’t know what they are missing out on  :D

My husband is doing some yard work so I am going to surprise him with it and some soup for dinner.  I can’t wait.

Vegetarian sushi is delicious and fairly easy to make.  Here are the sushi and soup recipes that I like using when we finally get to indulge.

Basic Sushi


Ingredients-

2 cups short grain or medium grain rice
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 package of roasted seaweed sheets
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into long narrow strips
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into long narrow strips
1 avocado, removed skin and sliced into long narrow strips
1 block of cream cheese, sliced into long narrow strips
Soy sauce and wasabi for dipping and garnish

Directions-

Cook the rice as to package instructions and let cool.  Mix the rice vinegar and salt in a small bowl and pour over the cooked rice.  Use your fingers to mix the rice and mixture together.
Place the seaweed sheet, shiny side down, on the sushi roller and spread sticky rice evenly across.  Leave a one inch tab of seaweed on one edge.  Place carrot strip, cucumber strip, cream cheese, and avocado across the rice bed.
Dab the exposed tab of seaweed with wet fingers and use the sushi roller to roll your roll making sure you are using enough pressure to keep the rice sticky.
Cut your roll into small pieces and Enjoy!


Miso Soup with Greens and Tofu
Ingredients-

4 cups water
½ cup chopped green onion
½ cup chopped green chard
¼ cup firm tofu, cubed
3-4 tbsp. white miso paste
1 sheet or ¼ cup nori, cut in large rectangles

Directions-

Place water in a medium sauce pan, bring to low simmer then add nori and simmer for 5-7 minutes more.
Place the miso paste into a small bowl, add a little hot water and whisk until smooth.  Add to the soup and stir so it doesn’t clump.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste if desired and enjoy.

This recipe can be used with a variety of vegetables and you can add and take away spices or sauces to create your unique roll.

It is going to be a delicious dinner!

Julie

Vegetarian Sushi

by on 8/16/2015
This afternoon both Hannah and Liam are a friend’s house so I am making my husband some vegetarian sushi! We love sushi so much, it is di...
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like dips and sauces.  I am a firm believer that anything smothered in dip or sauces is 10x better than it otherwise.



I went to a BBQ two weekends ago for the fourth and made the best taco dip.  It was the hit of the party and no one believed me when I told them it was vegetarian!



There was quite the variety of dips and surprisingly most of the dips were meat-less.  It made my BBQ a little easier.  I wanted to share with you my favorite vegetarian dip recipes that are not hummus. :D

Vegan Taco Dip

Ingredients-

1, 14 oz. can vegan refried beans
1, 12-16 oz. container of vegan sour cream
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1 cup black olives, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cup lettuce
1 avocado, chopped
½ cup green onion, chopped

Instructions-

Spread the refried beans of the bottom of a 9x7 inch tray.  Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning together, then gently spread it on top of the beans.  Top with olives, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and green onion.

Chill for an hour and enjoy!

Miso-Lime Sweet Potato Dip

Ingredients-

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. white miso paste
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. grated lime zest, more to garnish if desired

Instructions-

Pierce sweet potatoes with a four and microwave for 7-10 minutes until soft.  Let potatoes cool and coarsely chop leaving the skins on.
Place chopped potatoes in a food processer and add the miso paste, lime juice, ginger, and lime zest with 2 tbsp. water and pulse until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with lime zest if desired and enjoy!

Hot Artichoke Dip

Ingredients-

1, 12 oz. package of light silken tofu
2 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. onion powder
1, 15.5 oz. can artichoke quarters in water, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Dusting of paprika

Instructions-

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Puree tofu, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and onion powder in blender until smooth and then transfer to bowl.

Stir artichokes, spinach, and parmesan cheese into tofu mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes, dust with paprika and enjoy!

I love dips, they make a meal or appetizer even better.

What is your favorite vegetarian dip?


Vegetarian dips, sauces, dressings.


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


It is finally summer break for my kids and they couldn’t be more excited.  Hannah is going to a horseback riding camp for a week and Liam is playing soccer this summer.  Needless to say it is going to be a fun filled and busy summer.  Although the kids have arranged activities already, I want to make sure we spend lots of time together and make summer memories.



Ever since Liam and Hannah were little I loved planning fun activities, this summer won’t be an exception.  I have mastered how to keep them entertained so they are not complaining they are bored every 5 minutes.  Plan, plan, plan, is the key to success; it is the only way to make sure they are having fun, staying active and not sitting on the couch watching cartoons.

The last week of school was exciting for them because they were looking forward to summer break.  I saw this great idea on Pinterest to have them make a list of all the things they want to do over the summer.  It is a good way to “accomplish” fun new things and keep them looking forward to something.

Here is our list of fun activities Liam and Hannah came up with so far, I am sure they will want to add to it as the summer goes on.

1. Bake cookies and make ice cream sandwiches out of them
2. Have a water party in the backyard with the sprinklers
3. Visit the beach
4. Make a cardboard box fort
5. Go berry picking
6. Have a picnic

7. Go canoeing
8. Go camping
9. Have a campfire and make s’mores
10. Make homemade pizza
11. Set up a lemonade stand
12. Have a water balloon fight
13. Go on a bike ride

14. Help mom plant the garden
15. Visit a museum
16. Go stargazing
17. Play mini-golf, Guys vs. Girls
18. Go to an amusement park or water park
19. Paint rocks to make paperweights
20. Go roller blading
21. Visit the zoo
22. Catch fireflies
23. Have a movie night outside
24. Watch fireworks on the 4th of July
25. Make a giant slip and slide
26. My tie dye shirts and socks
Having the kids make a list of fun things they want to do makes it easier on when planning activities; they are already “kid approved.”  It is going to be a great summer.  :)



What do you like to do with your kids over the summer? How do you keep them from the inevitable “I’m bored” stage?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Kids home for summer

by on 6/17/2015
It is finally summer break for my kids and they couldn’t be more excited.  Hannah is going to a horseback riding camp for a week and Liam...
I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals.




We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first post.  My mind just goes to other topics when I sit down to write.  I have had way too many other good topics to share with you guys :)

Good news is I remembered tonight! My kids and husband helped cook dinner tonight! It was so wonderful.

We made Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers and Chilled Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies for desert.

We had so much fun cooking and our meal tasted delicious.  I think we spent the entire time cooking, laughing at Liam, he had a comment for everything; silly kid!

Here are the recipes that we used!

We actually found the Confetti Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe at the Kids Cook Monday website.

Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients-

4 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, cooked according to the package directions
1 bag (10 oz.) whole grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
Combine mixed vegetables, brown rice, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, tomato sauce and black pepper in a large bowl.
Arrange peppers in prepared pan and spoon mixture into peppers.
Pour ¼ cup water into pan around the peppers. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until peppers are tender.
Remove foil and evenly sprinkle peppers with remaining cheeses.  Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Enjoy!



For dessert we made no-bake, Chilled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies


Ingredients-

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup honey
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed

Instructions-

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a small skillet add cocoanut and toast for about 3 minutes then let cool.
In a medium sauce pan combine honey, corn syrup, and peanut butter on medium heat.  Keep stirring until mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and cocoa.  Stir the mixture until the chocolate chips have melted and then add the cereal and toasted coconut and stir until coated.
Spoon balls of mixture on to parchment paper and refrigerate until hardened, about 15 minutes.
Enjoy!



It ended up being a fantastic kid’s cook Monday!  We were so full after our meal we went on a walk around the neighborhood to digest it all.  The meal and the walk put the kids right to bed.  When we got back they sat on the couch for 15 minutes and went straight to bed.  Great end to a great evening.
Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Kids Cook Monday

by on 6/01/2015
I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals . We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first po...
Rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables that is seasonally spring.  It is so delicious and makes, in my opinion, THE BEST desserts.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to add rhubarb to main courses, but it doesn’t get much better than a good old fashioned rhubarb pie.  I wanted to share my love for this seasonally sweet vegetable with a few of my recipes.  I hope they seem just as delicious to you as they do to me!

Rhubarb Crumble
rhubarb crumble julie green and keenIngredients-
1 ½ pound of rhubarb, just into small slices
2 cups of raspberries or strawberries (or if you are feeling crazy, both)
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons of instant tapioca
½ tsp. grated orange zest
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
A dash of salt

Ingredients for topping-
6 tbsp. softened vegetarian butter
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ tsp. orange zest
1 cup flour
Dash of salt

Instructions for topping-
Mix butter, brown sugar, orange zest in a large bowl, electric mixers work great.  Mix until creamy.  Add flour and salt, work mixture until it forms coarse crumbs.

Instructions for Rhubarb-
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix rhubarb, berries, sugar, tapioca, orange zest, orange juice, and salt in a large bowl.
Divide rhubarb mixture into six small, one cup baking dishes and top with topping.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and it is bubbling a little bit.
Let cool and serve, Enjoy!




My favorite Rhubarb Cake
rhubarb cake julie green and keenIngredients-
½ cup vegetarian butter
1 ½ white sugar
¼ cup soy yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. bake soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tbsp. flour
¼ cup vegetarian butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar

Instructions-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, yogurt and vanilla until creamy.
In another bowl sift 2 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the buttermilk and combine with creamed mixture.
Toss the rhubarb with 1 tbsp. flour and stir into the batter.  Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13 in pan and smooth the surface.
In a separate bowl, blend together ¼ cup butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes, let cool and enjoy!


The Beloved Fresh Rhubarb Pie
rhubarb pie julie green and keenIngredients-
4 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter
Pie Crust (Homemade or bought, your choice)

Instructions-
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Combine sugar and flour and sprinkle a ¼ of it over the pie crust.  Heap the rhubarb over this mixture and sprinkle the remaining sugar and flour over the top of the rhubarb.  Chop up pieces of butter and sprinkle over the top and cover with top crust.
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 40-45 minutes.
Enjoy your fresh rhubarb pie!


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

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.  
It is easy to avoid the obvious products that are not vegetarian, but there is a grey zone where it is necessary to understand what an ingredient is and how it is made.  I have learned through the years that it is not always safe to assume that certain processed foods are vegetarian.  More often than not, labels can be misleading and sneak meat-based ingredients into products you would never think to look for. 



It is important to read and understand the labels about what ingredients are made from animal products.  The good thing is, after figuring out what products are not vegetarian, it is easier to find product alternatives that are.



This list I compiled contains products that MAY have animal by-products.  It is dependent on the brand and what kind or flavor it is.  This list is here to help make you more aware and read the labels of these products closer.

·         Vanilla Ice Cream may contain castoreum, secretions from beaver’s anal glands, as a “natural flavor.”
·         Orange juices can contain fish oil and sheep’s wool.
·         Some salted peanuts use gelatin as an adhesive to help the salt and other spices stick on to them.
·         It is common for beef fat to be present in boxed cake mixes.
·         Everyone’s favorite Easter snack, peeps, is made with gelatin.
·         Some bagels and other bread products have L. Cysteine, which is found in bird feathers and human hair.
·         Potato chips have been known to be produced using chicken fat.  It is commonly used in the BBQ flavored potato chips.
·         Boxed mac and cheese might have rennet, an enzyme in mammal’s stomach, in it.
·         Wines can be made with gelatin, isinglass, or chitin while being processed.
·         Frosted Mini Wheat’s contain gelatin as well. 
·         Some canned vegetable soups are made with beef stock.
·         Vitamin supplements often contain animal bi-products, especially in the capsules or casing they are in.



It is very important to stay educated on changing ingredients and processing protocols.  If there are any products I missed of have any questions, I would love to hear from you!


Go Green and Stay Keen, 

Julie
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...
A few months ago Hannah had a great idea to have a Kids day at the restaurant I work at.  She is so cute, she said that kids don’t know that vegetarian food can be “really yummy” and wanted me to show people how it can be delicious.  I felt so proud, that she wanted to share her favorite vegetarian foods with her friends and other kids.  Obviously, I loved the idea.



I was so happy the restaurant owner and cooks agreed this was a good idea and worked with Hannah and me to make it happen.  Yesterday we held our first kid’s afternoon special; it was a huge success.  Hannah insisted on helping us plan the menu because “it was her idea.”  We created a “kid friendly” menu that offered small portions so kids and families could sample many different foods and dishes. 

Hannah absolutely loved helping organize the day, she is such a little party planner.  We had about 20 families come in the afternoon with their children to try some new vegetarian food.  Hannah stayed at the restaurant all afternoon helping us and talking to all her friends that came in; she nearly invited her entire class. :)



After talking with several new families to the restaurant and a few of Hannah’s friend’s families it sounded like they loved it.  Not only were their kids surprised that the food was so good, their parents were pleasantly surprised as well. 

I had to laugh, one of Hannah’s friends father came into the restaurant and was joking with me how he would have to get food after because there was no way vegetables were going to fill him up.  As he was leaving I asked him if he still thought he needed more food and he quickly responded “no way.”  He was stuffed!  He said that he will definitely be coming back, and that the food was very  filling, delicious and that he actually felt healthy eating it…now that is what I like to hear! :)


I am so happy Hannah came up with this idea and everyone helped to make it happen.  My friend the owner, was pleased with all the customers that came in, on what would have normally been an average afternoon.
Hannah’s great idea brought quite a bit of extra business and hopefully the families will be coming back in the future.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

There is just something about a good soup that warms your body.  I consider myself somewhat of a soup-a-holic, if I had to survive off of one food it would be soup.  There are so many possibilities when cooking it, it can be savory, spicy, light, cold, warm, and the list goes on.  I decided to make my favorite Chunky Pepper Potato soup for dinner tonight so I am going to share a few of my favorite vegetarian soup recipes.

Chunky Pepper Potato Soup

Ingredients-

½ cup chopped onion
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups almond milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions-

In a sauce pan cook onion until it is tender and stir in potatoes, peppers, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Stir in milk and cornstarch and stir until smooth.  Bring to boil and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.  Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Enjoy!





Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Ingredients-

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (1 lbs.) package of frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. ground cumin
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 (4 oz.) cans chopped green Chile peppers, drained
4 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 (11 oz.) can whole kernel corn
12 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions-

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Mix in the tomatoes and Chile peppers then pour in broth and season with salt and pepper
Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add corn into the soup and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips and top with cheese and avocado.
Enjoy!



Cool Fresh Tomato and Avocado Soup- so yummy can you can get almost all the ingredients at the farmers market! :)

Ingredients-

4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup red onion, chopped
¼ cup cucumber, chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Handful of sliced romaine lettuce

Instructions-

Combine all the ingredients together, except the avocado, in a large bowl.  Lightly mash with a potato masher and stir in 1 cup of water.
Cover and let chill for at least an hour and then stir in the avocado and romaine lettuce.
Enjoy!


I hope these yummy soup recipes ignite the “soup-a-holic” in you!  I know we are going to be eating good at home tonight.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
I was so excited when the phone rang this morning and heard a familiar voice on the other end.  My beloved “cookbook” cook that moved to Chicago called to check in and see how things have been going.  We talk over Facebook every once in a while but it was so great to hear his voice again.  It had been so long since I had a good chat with him.

From the sounds of his voice and all his crazy antics, it seems as though he is doing great in Chicago.  He told me that the restaurant he is working at is doing very well and since he became the head chef their business has continued to grow; no surprise there.  He is one of the most brilliant chef’s I have ever met.  He explained how since starting at the restaurant, he has created a couple new seasonal dishes that have been very successful amongst patrons.

Chicago is treating his family well too.  They are all settled in and transforming to become more “Midwestern”…his exact words. :D  His kids love having so many parks and a zoo (in the summer) in their backyard.  It makes me so happy for him that everything is good and that his family is loving it there.



He said that the only hard adjustment has been the extremely brutal Chicago winter.  Obviously, living in California for years did not prepare him for the snow, cold temperatures, and ice that winter brings.  Seeing all the snowfall and cold temperatures in Chicago on the news, makes me feel a little bad for them.  (To keep him thinking about us in sunny CA, I send him pictures of the sun and blue skies; maybe it will convince him to come back…just kidding I am happy for him)  It was funny listening to how he has to bundle up just to go to the grocery store and get his kids ready for school.
His kids are loving the snow, besides all the layers they have to put on.  He has sent me a few pictures of them playing in the snow and making snowmen in the park.  He says they also have been ice skating in Millennium Park quite a bit…I am jealous of that.  California doesn't really have outdoor ice skating in the snow.  :)



I am so happy I got to talk to him for a while today and that him and his family are doing great.  After chatting with him, I think I need to plan a trip to the Windy City to visit him and the restaurant he works at.  I think I can make that a business trip right?

GO VEGGIES...inside joke between me and Mr. Cookbook. :)

Go Green and Staying Keen,
Julie

Many people become vegetarian for religious, moral or ethical reasons.  I chose to become vegetarian for the moral and ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals.  When first deciding to transform my lifestyle, learning how long vegetarianism has been around blew my mind.  Vegetarianism began long before recorded history and has withstood the test of time. 



I think it is important to understand the lifestyle from the various points through history and see how it has benefited human kind.

Going way back to cave men, many anthropologist believe that most early humans ate mainly plant foods and were more gatherers than hunters.  This concept makes the most sense to me.  Knowing how to gather and grow sustainable food is a more reliable source of nutrition than hunting.

Vegetarian ideology is said to have been practiced among religious groups in Egypt around 3,200BCE.  The karmic beliefs of reincarnation were a main factor in vegetarianism for these people. 

In many eastern religions a meat-free diet is fundamental in religious philosophies.  Many religions have doctrines of non-violence and respect for all life forms, including animals.  Vegetarianism has always been one of the main aspects of Buddhism.  The religion focuses on compassion to all living creatures and the respect for all.




Looking at the research, it is clear to me that many of the early vegetarians, besides early humans, practice this lifestyle because of religious and philosophical reasons.  I find this very interesting because those religions are not as common in the United States. 

Vegetarianism was not very common in the US until 1971.  Author, Frances Moore Lappe, wrote a bestseller book titled Diet for a Small Planet that was published in 1971 encouraging people to practice a meatless diet.  His book described that it takes 14 times as much grain to feed an animal than what you get out in meat.  He recognized this as an enormous waste of resources and supported a vegetarian lifestyle to stop wasting the world’s food.





In the 1990’s the American Dietetic Association officially endorsed vegetarianism after overwhelming medical evidence supporting the superiority of vegetarian diets.  Many of my vegetarian friends became vegetarian in the 90’s because of the research and the support of a healthy lifestyle. 

I believe that the vegetarian community has grown rapidly in the past couple years because of the shocking truth behind the meat industry.  There is no denying that our county allows the mistreatment of animals to produce meat quicker at more quantities.  Recent documentaries and research has brought this industry in the limelight.



Vegetarianism has been around since before recorded history and has withstood the test of time.   It has been recorded through many decades in cultures all over the world.  A plant-based diet has sustained humanity for thousands of years, why not join in on this healthy lifestyle?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


History of Vegetarianism

by on 1/21/2015
Many people become vegetarian for religious, moral or ethical reasons.  I chose to become vegetarian for the moral and ethical reasons rega...
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