Category Archives: vegetarian

Forks Over Knives

Yesterday I did a workout on my indoor bike trainer. Its been a while since I’ve broken out the trainer, but my body needed a rest from all the running I’ve done lately. One of the things I love about the trainer is that its parked right in front of the TV, so I get to catch up on my recorded shows or watch movies on Netflix.

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I secretly really enjoy watching documentaries also, but I typically only watch them while I’m exercising. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Yesterday I came across a documentary called Forks Over Knives. The movie follows two physicians who through their research have discovered that a healthy plant-based diet can prevent and in many circumstances even reverse alot of the ailments many Americans suffer from each year including cardiovascular disease, many kinds of cancer and diabetes.

Wow, definitely something to think about!

Hubby and I watched the film together again later last night and both agreed that we want to start living it again. I don’t know if that means that we will become vegetarians again, but we definitely want to take major steps towards eating a plant centered diet with minimal processed foods. I’ve always known this was the right way to go, but I also realize that sometimes you lose sight of certain things in life. Time to get back on track!

I toughed out a 6 mile run this morning, but it was a struggle today. I think my body is trying to tell me it’s tired. I actually intended to run 8, but I bagged the last 2 miles after the stars aligned for me to quit at 6. My Garmin just happened to go dead at 6 miles while I was running directly infront of where I parked my car. I took the out today.

My lunch was actually vegan today! – Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap.

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I found this recipe on Pinterest, they have tons of vegetarian and other healthy recipes.

The original recipe can be found here.

I made the recipe more simple by cutting out some of the unnecessary ingredients like cheese. I simply shredded the cabbage and tossed it with some shredded carrots and a little Apple cider vinegar. Mashed the white beans and pureed those with garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I painted my wrap with the bean mixture, piled on the slaw and some sliced avocado. Tada!

Mine never looks quite as good as the picture, but here’s my creation:

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Super good!

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Filed under Food, Movies, pictures, vegetarian

Do It With What You’ve Got

Have you ever watched the show Chopped?

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I’ve become obsessed with the show lately for some reason. Its another reality cooking show where someone gets voted off .. yada yada.

But what I like about the show is that the contestants are giving a basket of secret ingredients at the beginning of each round to create a meal with. You might get a basket of jumbo shrimp, grape jelly, asparagus and mayonnaise. You never know! The contestants have to make something edible out of the ingredients they were given using every one. Sometimes they come up with some really creative and unique things.

This week is going to be kind of like Chopped in my house.

With Christmas coming I’m alot shorter on  money right now than I would like to be. (Why do we continue to do this to ourselves year after year!?!) Today I really thought I needed to go grocery shopping, but when I examined my pantry, freezer and fridge I realized I have TONS of things to eat. It just doesn’t seem like I have things that go together to make a complete meal.

My challenge tonight is to use the ingredients that I have on hand to create meals for the week and save the grocery shopping until the weekend. Hopefully this will save me the $75 or so that I would have spent at the store today.

This challenge is going to get harder and harder as the week goes by and my on-hand ingredients dwindles.

Tonight I started with some random ingredients I found: potato, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and onion and I created this:

P1010279Nothing too out of the ordinary. Grilled asparagus, baked potato, garlic bread and spinach and mushrooms sautéed in balsamic vinegar. Delish! And vegetarian to boot! (I still don’t have any meat in my house so we’ll be seeing alot of vegetarian dishes this week).

On another note, I ran the longest distance at one time today that I have run in probably 2 months.

I ran 4.5 miles in just less than 40 minutes!

It was bittersweet though because although I was able to make the whole distance, my knee was hurting quite a bit. I almost stopped at 2 miles, but then the pain eased off a little. It came back towards the end. Downhills really kill me!

Tomorrow is my MRI. I just wish I didn’t have to wait another week for some possible answers. And then what if they don’t find anything? Ugh!

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Filed under Challenges, Food, Injuries, pictures, vegetarian

Whole Lotsa Life

Forgive me blogworld, for I have sinned … its been 3 weeks since my last post.

Life has knocked me down and kicked me in the teeth and I’m barely just now finding my way up off the ground.

First, an update on my knee …

I went to the Orthopedic Surgeon about my knee a few weeks ago and they did a few xrays and told me I had arthritis. He prescribed me Naproxen to take twice a day and a couple leg exercises to strengthen my knees. He told me to come back in 8 weeks if I wasn’t any better an I wanted to do injections into the joint.

Two weeks later I called back because I was in excrutiating pain and made a new appointment. I told the doctor that I just don’t believe that I ran a 1:42 Half Marathon six weeks ago and now I have arthritis so bad that I can barely walk across the parking lot. It just doesn’t make sense! He scheduled an MRI to appease me, it will be done this coming Monday.

A big part of the reason that I haven’t blogged in so long is that I have been seriously depressed. I don’t mean a little down, but what I believe is clinical depression. I talked to one of the doctors I work with and told him how I was feeling and he told me that it was highly likely because my body has been so used to releasing endorphins for so long that now because I haven’t been running I am not releasing them as much which has caused me to become depressed. Makes perfect sense to me!

Thankfully the last few days have been better. I think that perhaps this knee issue has gone undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed, maybe?) for so long that its starting to heal some on its own. I have started running again a little at a time. I started with 1/4 of a mile … on Thanksgiving I ran 1.25 miles, yesterday I ran 1.5 miles and today: a whopping 2 miles! Whoop whoop!

So since we covered the running part of my blog, lets talk about the eating.

I have officially denounced my vegetarian ways.

I think it originally stemmed from the depression of not running and spilled over into not caring as much about anything … like what I’m eating. Or maybe it was just carrying over from eating meat while on vacation from Disney World. I don’t know.

Whatever the cause, my body (and my mind) have been craving meat lately. I started just eating a few things here and there when out at a restaurant, but this week I have progressed to buying and cooking meat at home. It feels weird.

The strange thing is that I still feel the same way as I did before. I still don’t want animals to have to die to feed me when I can eat healthfully and well without it. But for some reason I’ve had this other side of me that has been thinking things like … “what difference do just I make?” and also the thought of not wanting to deprive myself of experiencing all foods, especially since I consider myself a MAJOR FOODIE.

There are flaws in my ways of thinking. I realize this. But hey, I’m just being honest here.

I don’t know how long it will be before my conscience takes over, but for now: I’m an omnivore.

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Filed under Medical Issues, vegetarian

My Day in Food

I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut lately eating the same things over and over again. I really needed some new recipes to make things exciting again. When I first became a vegetarian in January it was new and exciting and I really loved exploring new recipes that I probably would have never made when I was a meat-eater. Lately though I’ve been finding myself missing meat. Not the taste, but just the diversity of recipe options. I needed to bring some of that diversity into my vegetarian menu.

Today I did just that.

Breakfast was a bagel with a basil eggwhite omelet, faux sausage patty and sliced tomato.

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It doesn’t look that unique or spectacular, but the basil in the eggwhite omelet really made the flavors pop. This dish was inspired by my need to find a use for the 4 dozen eggs that I have in my refrigerator. It was really delicous and a great way to use up a few eggs!

Lunch was a grilled veggie pizza. I’ve made alot of pizzas lately, but I haven’t been able to find a good balance between perfectly cooked veggies and perfectly cooked crust. Either the crust is cooked well and the veggies are undercooked or the crust is burnt.

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out but the key is to pre-cook the veggies, specifically grilling them.

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I grilled zucchini slices, yellow squash, mushrooms and onions on my George Foreman grilled with a light spray of olive oil. I used a pocketless pita from Costco as the crust, and Prego as the sauce.

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I made Tim’s with cheese and mine without. I baked them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes. Soooo much better with the pre-grilled veggies!

Dinner was definitely the star of the day. I wanted to do some grilling for Labor Day, but I thought it would be difficult to find good vegetarian recipes for the grill. I finally came up with Grilled Portobello Burgers.

O … M … G!

I’ve never actually had a portobello burger before, they honestly never looked very appealing to me. I thought I’d give them a try tonight though since I was craving burgers and fries.

I marinated the mushroom caps in olive oil and italian seasoning (I forgot the balsamic vinegar that the recipe called for). They soaked up the oil very quickly.

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Tim grilled the mushrooms for about 6 minutes or so and then topped them with provolone cheese. We also grilled onions and the buns.

Our burgers included: grilled bun, mushroom cap, sliced avocado, arugula (soooo much better than lettuce or spinach), and sliced tomato.

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I served the burgers with baked Sweet Potato fries.

This is one of the BEST meals I’ve had in a very long time. Its nice to know that even though I’ve given up meat, I don’t have to give up really good burgers. I can’t wait to make this again and again. Its definitely going into a regular rotation. Give it a try!

I hid the last mushroom in the fridge so hopefully I can eat it for lunch tomorrow without any competition from the hubby. Hehehehe 😉

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Filed under Food, pictures, Recipes, vegetarian

When “Vegetables” Aren’t Vegetarian

Is it unreasonable to expect that something that appears to be vegetarian to actually be vegetarian? or to at least say “non-vegetarian”, or do I seriously have to read the entire ingredient list of everything I buy? Why does meat have to be used as “flavoring”? And what do you do when you accidently buy something and later realize it isn’t vegetarian after all?

I realize the burden is mine and not the food company’s to ensure that I’m eating the foods that I want to be eating and not eating the ones I don’t, but sometimes things can get kinda tricky.

Some things I know to expect meat products in that otherwise may seem to be vegetarian, like vegetable soups for example. I know that for whatever reason vegetable soups are usually made with a base of chicken stock, or sometimes beef stock. Actually Progresso puts on their labels at the top “vegetarian” or “non-vegetarian”. I can appreciate that. But there are a few things that I have bought recently that I apparently didn’t read the label well enough and found out that what I thought was vegetarian actually wasn’t.

This one is probably my own fault, but as a new vegetarian I don’t know all of the places to find hidden animal products like someone who has been vegetarian their whole lives. Apparently beans are a very common place to find animal products, and now I know.

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I’ve been buying these to make quick taco salads with on occasion. Nowhere on the front of the label does it suggest that this product may contain meat. And the nutrition label is located in very small writing on the side of the box, not even on the back. Last night as I pulled a couple of these out of the freezer to make a quick meal I finally read the box thoroughly.

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Can you spot it? Chicken stock and rendered chicken fat. Not that the company intended to hide it. I obviously just didn’t read well enough. Still … what a disappointment. So for someone in my position, what do you do in this situation when you have already purchased something? I also ate one of these a couple weeks ago before I inspected the label closely enough. Do you chalk it up to an “honest mistake” and eat it but don’t buy it again, or what?

What I’ll probably end up doing is giving it away to a family member. But for me the biggest thing about being a vegetarian isn’t actually eating the meat as it is buying the meat. As Michael Pollan suggests, I want to “vote with my dollars”. Those dollars have been voted with now, whether I actually eat it or not. It all comes back to Supply vs. Demand.

Here is another example that actually pisses me off worse than the previous one: Yesterday I went to Fresh Market (our version of somewhere like Whole Foods) and bought a couple of these Smoked Eggplant Empanadas from the deli.

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Sounds safe right? Well the ingredient list prints out on the label after you pick out your item and the cashier rings it up for you.

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This one is much harder to find, down towards the bottom it says that the margarine contains beef fat. Since when is margarine made with beef fat? Isn’t margarine suppose to be made from vegetable oils?

I’m not trying to be psychotic about this, but I think its reasonable to expect that something that gives the impression of being vegetarian actually be vegetarian, or atleast be labeled accordingly.

I won’t even get into cooking vegetables in stock or adding ham hock and bacon to veggies. Ugh!

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Filed under Food, pictures, Thoughts, vegetarian

Moral/Ethical Question

A situation came up a couple days ago that I have spent some time thinking about and I’m curious what the blog world thinks …

If you are vegetarian than you will understand, but if you aren’t, just pretend with me for a minute …

So, you are at a restaurant and you order a dish that you expect to be vegetarian. When you receive the dish you notice it actually has meat in it … what is better at this point morally or ethically to send the dish back? or eat it? Knowing that the meat (animal) will go in the trash can if you send it back. Or by eating it that it will nourish you (therefore serving a purpose) but you will break your “vegetarian vow”.

This situation happened to my husband a couple days ago, and he chose to eat the meat so that it served a purpose instead of going into the garbage can. I can certainly understand his reasoning and rationale. However, I think I probably would have sent the dish back on principal.

What do you think?

Tonight’s dinner was a very interesting veggie plate. I made Greens and Quinoa Pie again from the March Vegetarian Times issue. It was even better tonight because I added Goat Cheese (which I didn’t have last time). I love Goat Cheese like I love oxygen!

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My dinner also involved: Grilled Zucchini marinated in Feta and Sundried Tomato Dressing, Creamed Corn and Mushrooms marinated in Red Wine.

Deeeeeee-wish-cious! (As Lincoln says).

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Filed under Food, vegetarian

Well, Its Not a VitaMix …

What an eventful day! I woke up this morning and ran outside to get the newspaper (ok, I lie … I made Tim go get it) to see the article about me that was published in the Montgomery Advertiser. How awesome! I still find it strange that people find me particulary inspiring or motivating. Don’t get me wrong … I’m glad they do, but I truly believe that anyone can do what I have done. Its just takes time and dedication. The dedication is the hard part, time will pass either way.

Anyway … Tim has been begging me to make my Sweet Potato Pancakes again so I decided today was his lucky day. There really isn’t any specific recipe involved, I just used Bisquick per the box instructions and added mashed sweet potatoes, cinnamon and brown sugar. As usual I didn’t measure anything. I made enough to feed an army! I like to freeze them and reheat them for quick meals in the mornings. Hey, if Aunt Jemima can do it so can I.

After breakfast I packed up all the meat in my deep freezer to give to my friend Nicole. Most of you know that I became a vegetarian about a month and a half ago after seeing the movie Food Inc and taking a 30 Day Pledge to Be Veg. (Missed that? Read about it here and here.) I couldn’t believe how much meat we had!

Honestly I had mixed feeling about getting rid of it. Now I’m glad that its gone though. I can work on filling up my deep freezer with healthy foods 🙂

Lunch today was leftover Vegetarian Chili from dinner last night. Another simple recipe-less meal, and this one no one would ever know it was meatless unless you told them. I started making this while I was on Weight Watchers to cut down on the fat and calories in chili and it was so delicious that I’ve been making it this way ever since.

My chili contains:

  • 2 cans of chili beans, 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 package of Boca Crumbles (found in the freezer section, sometimes difficult to find but Publix has them) or any other ground meat replacement.
  • Chili seasoning packet
  • 1 chopped onion

I put all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook it on high for 4 hours or low for 6. You really can’t mess it up! Serve on top of tortilla chips (baked ones work well) with a little cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Lincoln has been begging to see his Nana and Papa lately, so after lunch we took him for a visit. They were kind enough to keep him while Tim and I went for a quick run. I actually intended to run 8 miles today, but time slipped away from me and I only had time to fit in 4 miles. We went to a new track at Auburn University Montgomery, I’ve actually been to the track once but Tim hadn’t been yet. Its a 2 mile loop that is mostly asphalt, but there is a section that is gravel.

The weather was absolutely perfect!

The track is actually right beside my old nursing school, which brings back a lot of memories.

After our run we raced (no pun intended) over to Costco before they closed to get a few items. We stocked up on hummus, tzatziki, fruit, milk, veggie burgers, and cashews. Really random … I know. But the thing I was most excited about was the Blendtec Blender demo they happened to have going on while we were there.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’ve been drooling over the Vita-Mix Blender for a couple of weeks now. (Post here). I was turned off by the heavy price tag but still determined that one day the Vita-Mix would be mine! Well, my dream came true today … sorta. I watched Anthony, the Blendtec dude, demonstrate the blender for atleast half and hour. He made me ice cream, soup, flour from rice, corn meal from popcorn kernels, italian ice, and juice … and I was IN LOVE! (With the blender, not Anthony … well … maybe).

Tim ok’d it (actually he insisted), so we took this baby home!

The new love of my life!

I used my new Blendtec to make Homemade Black Bean Burgers for dinner tonight. I put in all the ingredients and blended it all up and then shaped it into burgers. I served my burgers with a side of sweet potato fries. Yes, I ate sweet potatoes twice today. What can I say? They are so versatile!

Now its time for Big Love! And maybe some homemade icecream … hmmm. 🙂

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Filed under appliances, Food, pictures, Recipes, Running, vegetarian