Tag Archives: vegetarian

I’m High

4 Mar

How’s that for an attention grabbing headline? πŸ˜‰

So I haven’t exactly been keeping up on my New Year’s goal of updating my blog more often lately. But at least I’ve been spending my time wisely while I’ve been away. I started Crossfit!!! (This is where the “high” part comes in.) I’ve been doing it for two weeks now and I’m already hooked. There is a certain “high” that comes with doing it because you push yourself beyond the limits that you thought possible. I figured this out real quick last week when I couldn’t do a pull up and I left the gym in a terrible mood because I couldn’t get my “high.” I’m an addict. πŸ˜‰

Another aspect of Crossfit that is different from a traditional workout is all the encouragement you get from everyone else at the gym. I said to the hubby the other day as we were leaving the gym, “People here are sure fans of the high-five.” He laughed and said, “Well since you never played sports, this is a new concept to you, but that’s what people do.” HA HA! I stand corrected and now I am apparently a fan of the high-five as well. πŸ™‚

p.s. In case you’re not familiar with Crossfit, here’s a handy video to show you what an ass kicking it is.

In other news, I made a yummy, quick, and healthy dinner tonight using a bunch of random veggies from my CSA box – Green Curry Fried Rice.

Start by sauteing whatever veggies you want to use. I used onions, mushrooms, broccoli and mache. (To be honest, I’m not 100 percent sure of exactly what mache is, but it’s some kind of green that keeps showing up in my CSA box, so I keep using it. :-))

Meanwhile, in a second pan, scramble four eggs (two per person) and then add some pre-cooked brown rice to make a sort-of fried rice. (I used Trader Joe’s microwave brown rice.)

Then in the veggie pan, add a jar of Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce, plus enough coconut milk to thin the liquid so it covers all the veggies.

Heat the sauce through.

Then spoon the egg and rice mixture into bowls and cover that mixture with the sauce. Stir it all up and yum!


What Do You Eat?

26 Jan

As a vegetarian, I get asked all the time “What do you eat?”. I got asked this question today, in fact, which is what inspired this post. So here’s what I made for dinner tonight:

It’s part of my “Make It Up As I Go Along” series. πŸ˜‰ It’s tempeh, red onion, garlic, cumin and greens sautΓ©ed in olive oil. My CSA box has encouraged many creations from the “Make It Up As I Go Along” series, since I always have to find creative ways to use up my veggies.

Other things I eat for dinner that are delicious and meat free:

Garbanzo beans in Trader Joe’s curry simmer sauce over brown rice (if I have greens to use up, I will add them in with the beans and sauce. It’s yummy!)
Black Bean Soup (click here for recipe)
Lentil Stew (click here for recipe)
Breakfast for dinner with a veggie scramble (whatever veggies I want to use up combined with eggs)

Speaking of food, I’ve been doing my diet for about two weeks now and I’m down five pounds! The best part though is that after avoiding sugar for two weeks and eating every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar even, I feel great! I have so much more energy and I don’t get “that 2:30 feeling” in the afternoons anymore. And when I come home from work, I still have energy to do stuff, rather than just planting my ass on the couch. πŸ˜€ Now I just have to make myself remember this feeling forever whenever I see a dessert that calls my name. Avoiding sugar makes it easier to avoid sugar though. πŸ˜‰ Meaning if you don’t eat sugar, you don’t crave it.

Next up on my health “to do” list is taking my exercise to the next level. Up until this point, I’ve just been doing walking and easy hikes, but I finally feel like my body is adequately recovered from my broken leg and I can start to push myself more.

Hooray for feeling fine and healthy!

Shut The Front Door!

10 Nov

Well my day was filled with several “shut the front door!” moments, but one of the bigger ones was when I realized that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away and I haven’t even started thinking about what we are going to eat yet. 😯 What was I thinking?!!

Since I don’t eat meat, I like to do a mix of traditional and non-traditional dishes for the holidays. And when I need to plan a meal, I like to turn to my favorite cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

(There is also a meat-eaters’ version called How to Cook Everything.) This is seriously the best cookbook! Get this cookbook and you don’t need any others! The recipes are relatively easy, but yet not boring, so they still appeal to foodies.

They even have sample menu plans for different celebrations. Here is the one for Thanksgiving:

Those sweet potato biscuits sound right up my alley! I might have to try those.

Luckily, the postal gods were on the same wavelength as me and sent me the Trader Joe’s Food Pilgrimager flyer in the mail today. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets a thrill by finding a Trader Joe’s flyer in my mailbox. ;)) There were definitely a couple of interesting things in the flyer that caught my eye.

Butternut Squash and Creamed Spinach Gratin? Umm, yes, please!

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes? Absolutely!

Trader Joe’s also has an excellent Pumpkin Cheesecake in the frozen section. We had this for Thanksgiving last year and I would definitely get it again! Almost as good as Cheesecake Factory and much cheaper.

On the more traditional side of things, hubby loves crockpot stuffing and our scalloped corn is kind of legendary in the local potluck circles, so those will both probably be on the menu.

Now I have much to consider for our Thanksgiving meal…


What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Do you like to go the traditional route or do you prefer to mix in a few non-traditional goodies?

I’ll Drink To That

6 Nov

So today’s plans turned out to be a bust. We had originally planned to head out to Temecula Wine Country to pick up our wine club releases. (We are wine club members of two wineries there – Callaway and Wiens.) BUT… It was pouring down rain, which actually didn’t stop us (although it probably should have). Then after blowing through two toll plazas, we realized we didn’t have our toll pass in the car. 😯 (Hubby had moved it into his truck and forgotten to move it back into our “main” car.) At this point, we decided that between the rain and the toll debacle, there were just too many bad omens and we should turn around. Not to mention the fact that I think the toll road people will give you one “opps,” but we would have had two “opps” including the trip home. So we turned around and headed to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few groceries for the week. Then we came home and chill-axed for the afternoon.

But, alas, the day wasn’t a total fail. At the grocery store, we bought ingredients to make Vegetarian Chili, which was perfect for this chilly (no pun intended ;-)), rainy day. This recipe originally comes from The Best Life Diet book by Bob Greene (you know, Oprah’s trainer). I am a SUCKER for a diet book! Don’t even ask me how many are on my shelves. Anyway, this is actually a pretty good book, as far as diet books go, and the best part is the Veg Chili recipe.

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients


1 Tbs. canola oil

1 large onion (chopped)

1 medium green bell pepper (chopped)

4 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 jalapenos (chopped) – I’m lazy, so I used a can of diced green chiles instead.

2 – 15 oz. cans black beans (drained and rinsed)

2 – 14.5 oz cans fire roasted (or plain) tomatoes

1.5 cups water

1 Tbs. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup frozen sweet corn – I use the frozen fire roasted corn from TJ’s.


Heat up the oil in a large stock pan and then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and chiles. Heat until veggies are tender – about 7 minutes.

Umm, yeah, we like a lot of garlic, so we might have put in a little extra.

Add in black beans, tomatoes, water, chili powder, cumin and salt.

Heat mixture until it boils. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then stir in the corn and heat until it boils. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes longer. Then you end up with this:

Add toppings of your choice, such as sour cream or cheese (or leave as is for vegan version). YUM! This chili is totally healthy (look at all those veggies!) and way yummy! πŸ™‚

And since we couldn’t make it out to Temecula today, we did the next best thing – drank a bottle of wine from Temecula. πŸ˜‰ From Wiens, to be exact.

Wiens 2009 Reflection

Here’s how Wiens describes this wine:

Created by blending carefully selected barrels previously designated and set aside as Reserve Quality, our 2009 Reflection is a zippy sensorial delight. Bright & lively, fruity & complex, it shows notes of cherry, pomegranate, and rose petal followed by a crisp & spicy finish.

I describe it as delicious and it paired nicely with the spiciness of the chili.

So the day was somewhat salvaged with a yummy chili and delicious wine. I’ll drink to that. πŸ˜€


What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Easiest. Dinner. Ever.

3 Nov

According to the giant dark circles under my eyes, I’m exhausted, so tonight’s dinner had to be something quick and easy. Luckily, we had the ingredients for one of the easiest dinners in my repertoire – Lentil Stew.

Lentil Stew Ingredients

Like I said, this is SO simple. You literally dump the contents of all three of these packages into a pot and cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Done and Done! πŸ™‚

Everybody in the pot together

After 15 minutes, you have a delicious soup, which is quite hardy due to the lentils and potatoes.

All done!

I originally found this recipe on the Cooking with Trader Joe’s blog, but have slightly modified it. The original recipe calls for Black Beluga Lentils, which TJ’s no longer sells, so I use the Steamed Lentils instead. Also, the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of potatoes, but I dump in the whole bag because I hate having half-used containers of things sitting in my fridge/freezer thatΒ  never get used. This bag of frozen potatoes does come with a little pouch of chopped peppers and onions, but I don’t put that in the soup. It’s perfect to save for later for use in omelets!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go fall asleep – at 8:15 pm. πŸ˜‰


What’s your favorite “go to” quick and easy recipe?


29 Oct

Of course, I must start with the most important news of the day – my Iowa State Cyclones beat Texas Tech 41-7!!! WOO HOO!!!! πŸ˜€ We needed that win!

Iowa State Wins! (Associated Press photo)

In other news, after a morning physical therapy appointment, hubby and I ventured out to Loving Hut for lunch. Loving Hut serves vegan Asian food.

Loving Hut

I had eaten there once before in San Francisco, but it was in a mall food court, so this was a different experience since it was a sit-down restaurant. Hubby had never been before and wanted to give it a try. We started with an appetizer of Golden Wontons dipped in plum sauce.

Golden Wontons with Plum Sauce

Then we shared the Lucky Mongolian dish, plus each had a soup.

Lucky Mongolian with Brown Rice

Hubby had the Pho and I had Golden Noodle Soup with Wontons.


Golden Noodle Soup with Wontons

My overall review of this place is that it was OK, but not really good enough to drive out of my way to eat at again. For example, the broth in my soup was really good, but the faux meat was kind of funky and that’s saying a lot because I’m someone who is used to eating faux meat. The most interesting thing about this place was their wall of famous vegetarians/vegans. Most of them I already knew about, but the one that surprised me was Princess Diana. A quick Google search seems to confirm that she was indeed a vegetarian. Did you know Princess Diana was a vegetarian?

Now it’s time to snuggle with my babies. πŸ™‚

Snuggling with Cy



How was your Saturday? Any plans for Halloween? (Stay tuned for my Monday post to find out about my feelings on Halloween. πŸ˜‰ )


Tempeh Tacos

27 Oct

Tonight we (and when I say we, I mean mostly my hubby with some minor assistance from me. I’m a lucky lady to have a hubby that can cook ;-)) whipped up a tasty dinner of Tempeh Tacos. This recipe is pretty easy and quick and is an excellent choice for a meatless taco option. Plus I much prefer tempeh over tofu. So here is how you can have this tasty dish yourself:

First, the ingredients:

Tempeh Taco Ingredients

1 medium onion

2 – 8 oz. packages tempeh

5 0z. kale (half of the bag shown)

Taco seasoning to taste (warning: if you use this Trader Joe’s seasoning, watch out – it is spicy! And that is saying a lot because I like spicy! If you dump in the entire package, you will likely be sorry, so put in a little at a time until you reach your desired spice level.)

Tortillas (I love these blue corn tortilla’s from Trader Joe’s.)

Plus olive oil for sauteing.


Chop your onion.

Then heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan.

Saute the onion in the EVOO until it begins to brown.

Sauteing onion

Meanwhile, remove the two blocks of tempeh from the packages and use your hands to crumble into a ground beef-like texture.

Crumbled Tempeh

Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan and saute until browned.

Sauteing tempeh

Next, add your desired amount of taco seasoning.

Taco Seasoning

Once the taco seasoning is mixed in, add the 5 0z. of kale. It looks like a lot of kale, but don’t be scared. It will cook down.


Carefully stir the contents of the pan around so that the hotter ingredients cover the kale and allow it to wilt. Once it is wilted, you are done!

See I told you the kale would cook down. No worries!

Then spoon the taco filling into the tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings.

Assembled tacos

With toppings

I added a little (OK, a lot of) sour cream and Salsa Especial from Trader Joe’s. Love this stuff – very fresh and just the right amount of spice!

And then for dessert…

Callaway Syrah

Callaway Syrah

A delicious Syrah, of course! πŸ˜‰


p.s. Shout out to my brother-in-law and (future) sister-in-law who got engaged tonight! Congrats guys! πŸ˜€