Saturday, September 14, 2013


  I LOVE sushi.  Before I tried sushi, I was totally grossed out by the thought of it... like most people are about vegan food :P  But I tried it and it stuck.  NOW, I don't eat meat (fish IS meat, in case you didn't know), so I made vegan sushi tonight.

  I've always wanted to TRY making sushi, but I never liked to touch meat (hubby pretty much did all the cooking "before") so I just never took time to figure it out.  Well.  My office has a quarterly meeting and pot-luck lunch.  Since I am the only plant-based person in the office, whatever I take is pretty much what I have to eat.  Not that I'm complaining, I can turn out some pretty good stuff!  Our meeting is this Thursday and I decided I wanted something "fancy," so sushi it is!

  I've learned a few things in my quest to make sushi.  1.  Many recipes say you HAVE to use sushi rice.  That is a lie.  I used long grain brown rice.  I've seen recipes with quinoa.  Use what you have, it'll turn out fine.  2.  Rice is gluten free.  I have a lady in my office that is allergic to gluten, so I try to make whatever I take to these meetings gluten free, because she's pretty much in the same boat I am - you only eat what you take.  Also, Hubby has decided he wants us to have less gluten in our diet because it can effect the intensity of gout symptoms.  You chances of getting gout can be increased by genetics, and hubby's grandfather has it.  So, we're taking precautions.  3.  Sushi is NOT hard to make.  And on that note, let's dive in.

  I went to my local Asian market and picked up a bamboo sushi mat and some nori.  I don't know if I could have gotten the nori at another store, I didn't even look, so I can't give any other guidance as to where to find it.  A lot of the recipes I read for sushi said I needed to soak my mat for a bit to make the rice not stick to it, but I found one how-to video where the chef just put the mat in a plastic bag.  It worked in the video, and seemed easier than soaking and then cleaning... so I used the bag method.  If you do this, you don't need to seal the bag.  If you try that, you will not be able to roll your sushi correctly.  Trust me.  I tried it.....

  Next, the rice.  I made my brown rice per the package instructions, but used 1/4 cup less water.  I read one recipe that said to use 2 tbsp sushi vinegar or to make your own.  I've never seen sushi vinegar, so I made it:
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Simmer until sugar is dissolved, take off heat, add to rice.
I didn't feel like dirtying a whole pot for 2 tbsp of vinegar, so I just microwaved it for 15 seconds and called it good.
  For the innards, you can use really whatever veggies you want.  I used cucumber, carrot, poblano pepper, and avocado.  I had planned on using mushroom too, but I forgot to buy some :(  I've heard asparagus is good, okra, squash...the possibilities are truly endless.  Someone even suggested just peanuts and avocado.  Whatever you want to use, go for it!  You want your veggies to be sliced pretty small, whatever veggies you choose.  I used a julienne peeler for the carrots.  I TRIED the julienne peeler on the cucumber.... just trust me when I say it's not the greatest idea.  You can just slice all your veggies thin if you don't have a julienne peeler.

  So, you place a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat and put rice on it.  If you're doing a traditional roll (rice INSIDE the roll), don't spread it all the way to the edges.  If you want an inside-out roll (rice on the OUTSIDE), spread the rice all the way to the edges and then flip the sheet over so that your rice is on the bamboo mat.  Also, before you flip, you can sprinkle some sesame seeds over the rice.  I did that and used black sesame seeds.  At this point, you put your veggies on the roll.  Use as much or as little of everything as you want.  don't use TOO much, because you still have to get the thing to close :P  You want to put your veggies nearly in the middle of the roll, but a little closer to you.  Not much, just a little.  Then roll it up.  You want to make sure you're rolling nice and tight, and with even pressure across the whole roll.  Otherwise, you will end up with a funky looking roll that has the veggies falling out in places.  This will make you sad, trust me.

  I read a few recipes that said to let the roll set for a bit before you cut it, and others that didn't.  I chose NOT to wait.  You want to be sure to have a VERY sharp knife.
  You will cut your ends off - this is not a huge part of the roll.  You can see the ends of my roll in the picture here - just a little off each side, right at the point where the roll is tight.  Then cut the roll in half.  Then cut the halves in half.  Then cut those in half.  This will give you 8 pieces of approximately the same size.  OR, just cut the roll into pieces of your desired thickness.
  If you wanted to top them with sauce, or ginger, or avocado, go right ahead.  I didn't because I had to squish my rolls into to-go bowls to take dinner to Hubby.  Whatever you do, make this delicious for YOU.  If you don't like avocado, then don't use it.  If you like cauliflour, then go right ahead and add it.  This is your dinner, so enjoy it!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Too Long Gone....

My dearest foodies.  I haven't forgotten you.  I haven't left you.  I've merely been too busy drinking water and running to remember to take pictures of my food.  But tonight!! Ah, tonight I have great, simple, veggie fajitas!!

Now, I've said before, and I'll say it again.  I LOVE all of my Pampered Chef products.  (If you are interested purchasing any PC products, feel free to email me with questions!)  They are long lasting and versatile, and make cooking so much easier.  For this recipe, I used the Round Covered Baker, the can opener, the Simple Slicer, and Chipotle rub.

3 large portabella mushrooms (or cheat like I did and buy a package of them pre-sliced)
1 small/medium onion
1 bell pepper
seasoning of choice

Optional Ingredients:
Refried beans (vegetarian)
Vegan cheese

Take your mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper and slice them up and put in the Round Covered Baker.  Add your seasoning of choice and toss veggies.

Next, put on the lid, and microwave for 6 minutes.  SIX MINUTES!!  Seriously, that quick.  While your veggies are cooking, open up that *giggle* optional can of beans.  I laugh, because who has fajitas without beans?? Or guac for that matter.  It's unheard of!  Anyway, open the beans and put them in a bowl to microwave, or do it on the stove.  I did it in the microwave, because I didn't want to dirty up a pot.

A little trick to getting the beans out easier:  Open both sides of the can and the beans will slide right out.  No lie!! That is one thing I love about the PC can opener.  I can run it around one side and just flip the can over (not suggested for soupy/runny things) and then run it around the other side.  Then I pick the can up and pull off both sides.  This works for refried beans, tomato paste... and I'm sure other things, but that is what I use this trick for.  Let me know if you think of something else!
So, after the veggies are done, pop the beans in for 2 minutes or so, until your desired warmness is achieved. 

Enjoy with your favorite tortillas!  Unfortunately, I was too busy stuffing my face to show you what my finished fajitas looked like.  Well, that's partially true.  I take dinner to my husband at work.  And I was busy chatting with him and eating to remember to take a picture.  Sorry!

Suffice to say, it was good.  My omni husband didn't mention that there was no meat, which he is fond of doing with meals that he's not crazy about.  I'd say this is a win!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Engine 2 Diet - Picadillo Pick Ax Burrito

  Two posts in one day - I must be crazy!!  Not really.  We just had an amazing dinner I wanted to share.  I decided to check out the book at my library and try out a few of the recipes.  I'm pretty sure I'll be rechecking it for a while - the book is full of stories and info about transitioning to a plant based diet.  There are helpful tips and great recipes.
 As you know, I am following a plant based diet, which means no meat, and no animal products (milk, eggs, cheese, etc).  I've been hearing people RAVE about the delicious recipes in the Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn.

  So, tonight, I made the Picadillo Pick Ax Burritos.  I was a little skeptical, but hey, I'm all for trying new things.  I told Hubby my plan and he was pretty cool with the idea, which was a surprise.  One thing you must know about Hubby is that he loves to cook and make food.  Another is that he does not see following a recipe as "making food," so he's normally against cooking from a recipe.
  Now, using meat substitutes isn't new to me...but for some reason, I never thought to season it!  I must be dense, I know.  I mean, I use spices and things, but I've mostly just used it in soups and chili and things where the spices are mixed in.  So, this recipe tells you to use a big heaping amount of spice RIGHT ON THE MEAT!!  Why did I never think of this?? Rip, you're a genius.
  Now, I don't think it would be good of me to post a recipe that they haven't made public (besides in the book), but I will post a few pictures for you to enjoy.

  Pick up your copy of The Engine 2 Diet at your local book store.  I assure you, you will not regret it.  As always, thanks for coming.  If you have questions or comments, feel free to post below.  I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  :)

Black Beans and Rice

  Okay, I know I've been promising this post for a while, but today is the first day my husband and I have both been home.  I work 8a - 5p, and he works 4p - 12 midnight.  We both have the weekend off.  So, that's the only time I get his phone......maybe I need to invest in a smart phone :-\  We'll see.
  Okay, this is not the "traditional" way people eat beans and rice, but there is NO WAY to make beans and rice into food porn.  (Does using the work "porn" make this post have adult material?)  So, I made a no-quesadilla.  :)
  Very simple process.  Get your favorite tortilla, add a slice of your favorite veggie cheese - I used GoVeggie, the purple one - and grill.  EASY.  I only used one slice of the cheese, half on each side, but that was plenty for me.  If you want more, feel free :)

 Doesn't this look amazing?  Wish I could have shared with you guys - you would have loved it.
  Now, I know I've been kind of slow on posts the past few days, but trust me.  There is LOTS of yummy food to come.  I checked out the Engine 2 Diet cookbook as well as the Veganomicon book.  I have a whole week of yummy food planned - you don't want to miss this!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Simple, Guilt Free Dinner

  I know I promised shots of my black beans and rice, but I took the pics on Hubby's phone, and he's at work.  So, instead, I have pictures of the yummy, guilt free dinner I had last night :)

  Enter zucchini pasta and corn.  Very simple, yet delicious.

  All you need is a couple zucchini - I used three of the small ones - and a julienne peeler.  Now, these peelers can be daunting and scary.  This was my first time using it, and I'm pretty sure I was doing it wrong.
  You want to be VERY careful to not get your hand caught in that thing.  I think it may be useful to hold your veggie on a plate at a 45 degree angle and peel from top to bottom.  You want to make sure you stop when the veggie starts to get soft, near the seeds, because that won't make good pasta.
  At this point, add whatever spices you want.  I did some pepper, garlic, and Bragg's liquid aminos.  Now cook.  Or not.  Your choice!  I added about 1/8 cup of water to mine in my Pampered Chef Round Covered Baker and popped in the microwave for maybe 5 minutes.  Done perfectly.
  Well, you could add sauce at this point and just have the pasta, but I wanted corn, and I needed the extra calories yesterday.  So, I did a Pict Sweet corn steamer bag in the microwave and just poured about half of it over my pasta.

  Never fear, I ate the rest of it after, it just wouldn't all fit in my bowl!  Now, I don't really call this a "meal" because I would NEVER serve this to anyone but myself.  But I thought it was a pretty darn good dinner :)

  Unrelated to the post, but have you been buying your veggie broth?  No need!! With all these yummi-licious veggies we're cooking, there's extra rubbish bits, right?  Well, get a large freezer bag and save all the "trash" parts:

  Save the bits in the freezer until you fill up the bag, then boil them all in a large stock pot for at least an hour, but for more flavor, go longer.  strain the stock to removed any seeds/stems/non-edibles and store in an air tight container.  You'll never wonder what's in your veggie broth again!  Also, you'll save lots of sodium.

  As always, thanks for coming.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  Until next time!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Basic Plant Powered Meal

  Okay.  I have to apologize, no picture of dinner tonight.  But it was great.  Trust me.  For lunch, my husband made black beans and rice.  This is not a complex meal, and I'm sure we've all had this at one point or another.  I personally have never made it, so I default to Hubby for directions:
  Take 1 bag of beans (or 2, depending on how much beans you want) and put them in a pot with water.  Hubby says use twice as much water as beans.  Season the beans how you like.  Hubby used salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, cayenne, and chili powder.  Once the beans start to get soft, add a cup of rice and another 2 cups of water.  At this point, you can add other things.  Hubby added a can of diced tomatoes.  You could use onion, bell pepper, carrots.... of course, in my opinion, this turns it more into a chili or stew rather than beans and rice... but that's just my opinion.  Now you cover and let all the goodies cook together until the beans and rice are at desired done-ness.  :)
  Now, unless you're feeding a small army or a large family, you WILL have leftovers.  It's unavoidable.  Unless you really, REALLY love beans and rice... and I think even then it would be hard to finish this all at once.  That is why I will share a picture tomorrow! 

  Unrelated to food, but just to brag on me, I did a bit of a workout tonight - my first in 4 days.  Went swimming.  I was at the pool for 1.5 hrs.... I spent a whole hour of that time swimming around, illogically scared of what appeared to be a bat perched on the underside of the umbrella where my things were. 
  To my knowledge, I've never been scared of a bat before, but for some reason, I couldn't convince myself just to go get my things.  What FINALLY pushed my over the edge was this couple that came down to the pool and sunk down in the hot tub... I don't want to know what all was happening over there, but I didn't want to stay in the pool any longer - it felt a bit tainted. 
  So, I gathered my nerve and went over to the table and quickly grabbed my shoes and cover up, and glanced up.  The creature that had held me captive in the pool for an hour - the one I thought was a bat - was a moth.  A HUGE moth, but a moth none the less.  And I felt silly.  The end.

  Have a nice evening, folks - and don't get scared by moths!!  :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

BBQ Pulled "Pork"

  Okay, I made vegan pulled "pork" for dinner last night.  I was inspired by, but did not strictly follow, this recipe  So, how does one go about making pulled pork out of jackfruit?  Well, I was getting to that point :)

  First, you need to put some oil in your pan to saute some onion and garlic.  Oil isn't strictly necessary - you can saute with your favorite veggie broth.  If you use the veggie broth, you only want to keep enough in the pan so your veggies don't stick to the bottom.  Add one chopped onion and a few pressed garlic cloves.  I used 3, feel free to use more or less.   You want to cook these until the onions get soft.
  While your garlic and onion is cooking, open and drain a can of jackfruit.  Make sure you get the jackfruit that is packed in water or brine, NOT syrup.  Cut off the firm core from the fruit pieces.  Put the fruit in a large bowl and add spices.  Now, your spice list may be different than mine.  You want to season this how you would like YOUR bbq.  Everyone has their own preference.  I used some fresh ground black pepper, granulated garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, and brown sugar.  Toss the jackfruit around in the spices until it's all coated, and add to your cooking onion and garlic.  Let this cook together for about 5 minutes.
  At this point, you will need to either add about 3/4 cup of your BBQ sauce to the pan to simmer OR combine 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce with 1/4 cup water and mix.  I'm not sure what exactly this is for, but the original recipe called for the water... I just added 3/4 cup of my sauce.  Any veggie friendly sauce will work here, but you want your spices to compliment the sauce.  Let this simmer for about 5 minutes.
  Now, you want to shred the jackfruit.  I used my Pampered Chef Mix n' Chop.  LOVE this product.  But, feel free to use a spatula, forks, or whatever you would normally use to shred up stuff.  The fruit will get stringy, like pulled pork.  Cover your pot and let it cook for another 20 minutes.  Turn your oven on to 350F to preheat.
  Uncover your pot and inhale the deliciousness.  Now, if you were cooking stove top with an oven safe pan, like I was, you can just pop your pan in the oven for 15 - 20 min. If not, you will need to put your pulled "pork" on a cookie sheet to bake.  This step help give the fruit a meatier texture and also could crisp up the sugars in your seasoning and sauce.  If you want it crisp, just make sure you don't burn the whole batch.  That would be very sad.
  Now, you pull the fruit out of the oven and make it up however you would normally eat your BBQ.  I put it on some toast with a slice of GoVeggie vegan cheese.  Top with some sauce and enjoy :)  This recipe, using 1 can of jackfruit, serves about 2 and a half.  Hubby and I each had 1 sandwich and hubby had some seconds.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Okay, seriously.  Who doesn't love waffles?  I got these to try out, never had them before.  I was a little skeptical, but they were REALLY good.
I would have preferred to toast them, but my office doesn't have a toaster :-\  
My second choice would have been to bake them, but I didn't take a baking sheet to work with me.
What was I left with?  The microwave.
So I heated them up and the only real down side was that they were floppy.  But still yummy.  Add a bit of Earth Balance and some maple syrup, and that is a grade A breakfast :)

What is your favorite breakfast?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I didn't plan on doing another post tonight, but this is something that has been bothering me, and now I have a place to tell people about it.

There are too many quickie diets and get thin quick "sure fire" plans out there that are telling people , "YOU AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH!"  I just want to be very upfront with this and say I did NOT decide to go on a plant based diet to lose weight.  I did not choose this because I am down on myself.  A plant powered diet will more than likely lead to weight loss, but you should not choose ANY diet, pill, workout, ANYTHING because you think you aren't good enough.

People, we are ALL good enough.  Love your self.  Be happy with your body.  If you want to be healthier or if you're in a job that requires you to maintain a specific weight (like the military), then pick a route and go.  But PLEASE don't take any steps because you think you are not good enough.

That is all for tonight.  Thanks for coming!  :)

It Started Like Any Other Day...

I woke up to go to work this morning and felt terrible :-\  I was up too late (again), and I was obviously paying for it.  But, by lunch time, the day had turn around.  And so, here I am. 
So, yesterday, I gave a quick run down of who I am.  Today we'll be going over what I intend to do with this blog.  Enjoy :)

I will be posting recipes and pictures of the easy and yummy vegetarian/vegan food my husband and I make.  It is HARD to change your lifestyle, whatever the reason you choose to change.  When I had first started talking to my husband about changing to a vegan/plant based diet, he was totally no-go.  It took lots of information and discussions for him to agree to this.  On one condition.  We do a juice fast first.  His logic?  By the end of it, he'd be willing to eat anything, even something without meat.  So we did a juice fast for 7 days.  Not the longest, but not the shortest either.  It was actually very easy.  By the third day, we weren't hungry at all, we weren't feeling deprived of anything.  (As a side note, if you ever decide to do a juice fast, avoid tubule juice like the plague.  Trust me.)  That began in February, and here we are, months later, primarily plant based.  All of our meals at home are plant based - no cheese or eggs - while some of what we get when we eat out isn't.  I've given up meat entirely, although my husband still will have his steak if it becomes available. 

That brings me to another point.  You have to make this decision for your self.  No one can force you into it, and you can't force others into it.  Don't try.  It will be the root of many arguments and much unhappiness if you do. 

Another thing this blog will feature is ... well, mostly just a log that I am working out and being healthy.  Feel free to submit comments on that point...

So that's it.  Food and exercise.  Also, I'm not sure about the blog name.  If there are any suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


  Good evening, all you lovely people.  I have attempted many blogs in the past and failed at consistency.  Hopefully, I can stay on track with this one. 
  So, now you know one thing about me - I'm bad with consistency.  This is true with everything.  From my birth control pills (I literally have an alarm every day), to my work out schedule.  I have trouble staying on track. 
  Second thing about me: I joined the Navy right out of high school and served for 4 years before being discharged for body composition issues - in layman's terms, I was too fat .  This started my issues with my body, my weight, and that evolved into a whole list of self confidence issues.  Thankfully, I have grown past that stage.  Now I'm not so concerned with losing weight and being in military standards.  Now I just want to be healthy for me, for my husband, and for the children we hope to have one day.
  I married my high school sweet heart.  We dated for two years, then he proposed on Valentine's day, 7 months before I left for the Navy, 3 days after I burned my arm with hot oil at the movie theater I worked at.  We were engaged for two years while I was away in the Navy before we got married and were able to see each other again.
  I am an independent consultant for The Pampered Chef.  If you are interested in any products or recipes, feel free to ask! 
  Now you know a few things you never cared about me.  :)  Feel free to ask any questions, leave comments, yadda yadda.  I will do my best to answer honestly and quickly.  See you soon!