It’s been a hot minute since we’ve prepared any food together on the blog, and tonight, I decided to take it upon myself to try a recipe I’ve been meaning to make for a while: vegan tuna fish!
How does one make “vegan” tuna fish, you may ask? Turns out, it’s surprisingly easy, and it doesn’t require too many ingredients. I’ll link the original recipe I used here in case you want to take a look for yourself. According to the nutritional information on this recipe, it appears to have quite a bit of fiber, and nine grams of protein! On top of that, it’s absolutely delicious and I enjoyed every bite of it.
The base ingredient for vegan tuna fish is chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. I used one drained can and mashed the contents up with a fork until they were mushy and close to the consistency of tuna fish. I noticed while I was doing so that chickpeas actually sort of have a “fishy” smell- has anyone else noticed this?
After I mashed up the chickpeas, I threw in ¼ of chopped celery, ¼ cup of red onion, ¼ cup of vegan mayo, and the juice of half a lemon. You could use regular mayonnaise if you’d like, but I personally just think that egg-free mayo tastes a lot better. The last ingredient I used was a bit of crush nori- a seaweed that is commonly used in the preparation of sushi. Because the seaweed had a classic “ocean” taste, it really added to the overall illusion of the vegan tuna.
I was a little apprehensive to try it at first, because I’m not exactly what you’d call an “adventurous” eater, but I surprisingly LOVED this recipe. It obviously did not have the exact consistency of tuna fish, but the taste was fairly spot-on, and the nori in particular was not as stinky as I expected it to be. Another thing I really enjoyed about this recipe was how cheap all of the ingredients were; like I said, all you really need is a can of chickpeas, a couple of vegetables, mayonnaise, and some seaweed if you’re feeling fancy. The recipe also included lots of other suggestions for additions you could throw in, such as pickles or leafy greens.
The recipe yielded enough for me to make three servings, so I’m definitely going to be bringing it to work tomorrow for lunch on some white bread. What do you guys think about this recipe? Would you try it for yourself? Let me know in the comments below!
I actually had an entirely different article planned for today, but you know what? Bread ended up happening instead. As many of you probably know, I am undertaking a newfound hobby of baking and my goal is to bake a different kind of bread each week. This week, I decided to make pumpkin bread!
As with last week’s bread, I found this recipe on pinterest and will link it here. I was drawn to it because it claims to be a “Starbucks copycat”- I’ll be the one to judge that, as a Starbucks employee and connoisseur. Find out at the end how this recipe measured up to the Starbucks pumpkin loaf!
I already had most of the ingredients; the only things I had to go out of my way to buy was the pumpkin puree (and a can opener for the said puree.) The rest of the items were just your basic kitchen staples- flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. First I mixed together the dry ingredients- the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking sugar, and salt. I only added half a teaspoon of cinnamon because I didn’t want it to be *too* overpowering, but you can definitely add another teaspoon of cinnamon if you want an extra kick.
Next, I mixed together the wet ingredients. I was a little bit nervous about “whipping up” the sugar and the butter because I don’t have a mixer, as the recipe instructs, but honestly, just using a regular ‘ole pastry spatula worked fine for me. I mixed the sugar and the butter until it was as light and fluffy as possible, and then I added in the pumpkin puree, eggs, and almond milk. After that was mixed adequately, I slowly added in bits of the dry ingredients until I had a very thick batter. I was expecting it to be less chunky, but again, I don’t have a mixer, so that probably affected the consistency a little bit.
I then poured the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper (easier cleanup for me) and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 75 minutes. The recipe only calls for 50-60 minutes, but my bread actually wasn’t quite done for an additional fifteen minutes. Make sure you test out your bread with a toothpick or a fork to make sure it’s cooked all the way through! By the way, this bread smells AMAZING while it’s baking. It’s a perfectly sweet and subtle pumpkin scent, and it made my entire kitchen smell like fall.
I waited until Nathaniel got here to cut into it, so we could both try it at the same time (he also works at Starbucks and was ready to compare it to our pumpkin loaf.) I personally think the bread came out absolutely delicious, soft, and so perfectly sweet. I also think it had the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor and tasted preeeetyy darn similar to the actual Starbucks version (minus the fact that this recipe doesn’t have the nuts on top.) Nathaniel thought the bread was delicious, too, but he didn’t think it tasted “pumpkiny enough.” I’m gonna have to disagree with him there, I think the notes of pumpkin really came through and it didn’t need any alterations. Overall, this recipe was a huge success, and I’m excited to bake this bread for my family! Maybe for Thanksgiving this is what I’ll be bringing to the table.
So, that summarizes this week’s adventure in baking! I think next week I’ll switch back to a savory recipe, so let me know if you have any ideas or recommendations for me. Thanks for reading!
Every now and again, I like to post some sort of an update on the foods I’m buying and how I’m preparing dishes for the week ahead. This past weekend has been a great opportunity for me to cook some delicious things, and Nathaniel even helped me to cook as well! I hope you find some inspiration from this article and enjoy these fall-themed food ideas.
Breakfast: Overnight Oats
It’s hard to go wrong with overnight oats, and whenever I prepare them, I feel like I really have my life together. I love everything from brainstorming the different ideas for customizations, prepping them, and of course, eating them! I’ve been sticking with strawberry banana overnight oats this week because that’s what I picked up at the grocery store, but next week I’d like to try pumpkin oats and PB & J oats. Ellie Krieger has a great recipe on her website for the pumpkin oats, so I’ll have to think about giving those a go!
Bread: Soft ‘N’ Sweet Dinner Rolls
Like I said, Nathaniel and I did some cooking together last weekend, and one of the things we made were soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls. I have to say, this bread baking experience was a lot different than my other bread experiences because this one required activating the yeast and kneading the dough. Our rolls were delicious, but they were definitely much denser and biscuit-like than the recipe intended them to be. I’ve been pairing them with my dinner soup, which I’ll get to soon. I’m really happy with how they came out, and I hope they come out even better the next time.
Lunch: Fall Apple Salad
Keeping with the seasons, lately I’ve been enjoying prepping this easy fall salad. It’s a common variation of a salad I’ve made a lot and talked about on my blog: sweet kale base, apples, walnuts, craisins, and poppy seed dressing. I really like crunchy, fruity salads, and this dish definitely offers me the perfect combination of both. It’s super easy to whip up in big batches, and several of the ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to find (if not all of them.) My favorite poppy seed dressing to use is the Panera variety, as I find the creamier versions don’t quite pair as well with the other ingredients.
Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup
Lastly, I’ve been burning through my homemade butternut squash soup all week, and there’s still a ton left in my fridge! This was the other dish Nathaniel and I made together, and I think it was an absolutely perfect choice. I was surprised because the recipe called for two cups of apple cider, but once it was incorporated into the actual dish, it actually tasted really good. I think this is one of those dishes that tastes better as a leftover, too, so I’ve been really enjoying eating a little bit every day and observing different notes in the flavors.
So, that’s everything I’ve meal prepped to eat for this week! I really wanted to choose dishes that I felt celebrated the fall season, and I also made sure I picked ingredients that are cheap (and fresh) as well. I already have a lot of ideas for what I want to cook next week, so I’m looking forward to sharing that with you guys. I’ve been meaning to make pumpkin bread for forever now, so maybe that will be on my agenda next.
Since emerging into ∼adulthood∼ and learning how to cook various dishes, I’ve certainly come across my fair share of food blogs. Several of them I discovered through Pinterest (another milestone of adulthood?) but others are blogs I’ve known and loved for years, such as Budget Bytes and Ellie Krieger. I was drawn to several of these blogs because of their delicious vegetarian recipe selections, but trust me, you definitely don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with these recipes.
Supper with Michelle
As I said, learning how to cook dinner and shop for groceries responsibly is like a pinnacle of adulthood. Particularly being a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find yummy recipes that are easy, cost effective, and nutritious, since most of us find ourselves resorting to boiling pasta or toast to save money.
What I like about Supper with Michelle is her site’s incredible organization: there are separate pages for vegetarian, vegan, and pescitarianmeals. She also has a tab specifically dedicated to soup, which I’m sure I will be frequenting as the months begin to cool down. Right now, I have my horizons set on making the Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup. What could be a better cheap dinner meal for September?
If you are looking for delicious, affordable vegan meals that everyone will love (vegan or not,) Nora Cooks is the place to start. I love that so many of her recipes are classic, simple recipes- just vegan. So many times, people assume that if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you must only enjoy eating vegetables. That’s simply not true; plant-based love desserts, pasta dishes, and classic American dishes just as much as the next person. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend trying her jumbo stuffed shells with spinach– they’re incredible and worth every minute of prep!
Ironically, a lot of the recipes on Julia’s Album are actually not specifically vegetarian or plant-based (several of them are pasta or chicken dinner meals.) However, I love this blog because chicken meals are actually extremely easy to substitute with plant-based alternatives. Tofu is a great replacement for chicken, of course, but there are also several believable vegan “chicken” products you can buy at the grocery store (particularly those from Gardein.) I’m really looking forward to making her Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta next week and subbing it out with vegan chicken strips instead. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it turns out!
I’ve been a huge fan of Budget Bytes and Beth Moncel, its creator, for as long as I can remember. My mom originally bought the cookbook, and after I read that so many times it started to fall apart at the seams, I began checking out her blog. What I love about Beth and Budget Bytes is her affordable yet healthy recipes, as the name “Budget” Bytes may imply. As a recent college grad who lives off food stamps, being able to find cheap, delicious recipes has been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to making her soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls next, with a side of butternut squash soup. Unfortunately, I do not have a link for her dinner roll recipe because I’m using it straight from the cookbook.
Ellie Krieger is yet another OG cookbook author from my childhood, and although her recipes aren’t particularly vegan/plant-based oriented, you can easily sub out the meat recipes with your favorite vegan ingredients (similarly to Julia’s Album.) As a nutritionist, Ellie Krieger is an expert about how to make recipes that are both yummy and healthy, which definitely takes tons of practice and knowledge to learn. I am so excited to try these Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats– don’t they look absolutely incredible and perfect for fall?
Anyway, those are all of my favorite food blogs! I am super excited to try some of these recipes and tell you guys how they turn out. I think I’m most excited for the pumpkin spice overnight oats and the dinner rolls- what do you think sounds the tastiest? Let me know down below!
While in quarantine, I’ve been journaling a lot about the different hobbies I’d eventually like to pursue and make time for. One of those hobbies is baking bread, because it’s such an intricate and patience-requiring art, I feel like it would bring me a lot of joy to try it. And guess what- I was right! I absolutely love baking bread.
The bread recipe I used was probably the most basic artisan bread you can find- flour, water, salt, and instant yeast. I specifically bought a specific bread flour that is designed for baking loaves, pizza crusts, and biscuits with, so I’m really looking forward to cooking with that again in the future.
The first step for me was to combine all of the ingredients and mix it together thoroughly. I used 3 and ¼ cups of bread flour, 2 teaspoons of instant yeast, 1 and ½ cups of cool water, and 2 teaspoons of coarse salt. Personally, I just used regular coarse sea salt, but I imagine you can use any salt that you wish. I also added a few good shakes of rosemary garlic seasoning (probably about 4-5 good shakes,) and mixed that into the batter as well. After I finished mixing it, I just covered it with some cling wrap and let it sit in the bowl for about two hours. As you can see, it looked pretty sticky and rough at first, but that was normal and to be expected. After I let it sit out and rise for a couple of hours, it got much fluffier and doughier. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doubled in size.
After this step, I read that you can either immediately continue with the cutting and the baking, or you can refrigerate the dough and use it for up to three days. I’ve read from a few different sources that it’s better to let it sit in the refrigerator than to use the dough immediately (it has something to do with the air bubbles,) but it really doesn’t make too much of a difference. I didn’t refrigerate my dough, and as you’re soon to find out, my bread turned out just fine.
After the 2 hours were up, I cut the dough in half (which was so satisfying) and formed two individual loaves, about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide each. After that, I preheated my oven to 450 degrees and left the loaves to sit AGAIN for another 45 minutes or so. The dough did flatten out a bit during that time, but it was easy enough to just push them back in and narrow them out again. After that, I made 3 slits in each of the loaves, about half an inch thick, and then I baked the loaves for about 25 minutes. Don’t forget to flour your hands and the baking sheet for this step! I think I might have used a bit too much flour, but it didn’t change the flavor or the texture of the bread.
You cannot imagine my pure joy when I checked on the bread 25 minutes later and I saw that it looked absolutely delightful! It looked perfectly cooked and browned on top, and the loaves had lost their heaviness and became light and fluffy. And they smelled absolutely amazing, too, which I owe to the rosemary garlic seasoning.
When I cut into the bread, I was very happy with the color and the density. It wasn’t as airy as I had expected- it was a bit denser and there weren’t a lot of holes- but that’s probably because I didn’t leave the dough to cool for 12 hours in the fridge. Instead of using butter or olive oil, I put mascarpone on my bread as a topping, and oh my goodness- it was absolutely divine. Mascarpone is a very soft, creamy, Italian cheese spread with a subtle taste, and I think it balanced perfectly with this bread. Because I made two loaves, I saved one for myself and froze the other one immediately so I could give it to my boyfriend’s family. I definitely don’t need two loaves of bread, so I was happy to give some away!
Overall, I think my first experience with baking bread was very successful! I can’t believe the bread came out decently; in fact, I’d go as far as to compare the flavor and the density to the white Cheesecake Factory bread. Speaking of Cheesecake Factory bread, I found a copycat recipe for the brown bread. Should that be my next baking endeavor? Let me know below! In fact, drop any other bread suggestions you have below! Right now on my horizons, I’d like to make sweet dinner rolls or pumpkin loaf next. Eventually I’d like to work my way up to sourdough bread, but not until I’m a bit more advanced.
Since I went to college in Boston and now actually live there full-time, I like to think I have a pretty good handle on the food scene! Obviously being a vegetarian can make it trickier to eat out, but through plenty of trial and error, I have come across tons of unique, accommodating restaurants. Whether or not you’re a vegan or vegetarian, consider giving these restaurants a try during your next visit to Boston!
Los Amigos Taqueria | Coolidge Corner, Brighton Center, Newtonville, West Roxbury, and Somerville
If you’ve been following my food blogs for a while, you probably know that I am a big, big fan of Los Amigos Taqueria. I discovered them when I was living as a vegan a few years back, and to this day, I still order from their Brighton Center location all the time (at least 3 times per month.) My boyfriend also loves Los Amigos, which is a huge compliment coming from him since he can be quite critical of burritos. My favorite thing to order is a 12-inch rice and bean burrito with tons of pico de gallo and sour cream, and maybe a churro on the side if I’m feeling extra. Trust me, if you’re in the Boston area and you love Mexican food, this is a must!
Grasshopper | Allston
Grasshopper is an incredible restaurant. It’s your typical classic Chinese restaurant with all the normal dishes, but the twist is that everything is vegan. Yes, they even have vegan “chicken” fingers and “seafood” flavored dishes! I know this may sound suspish or gross to someone who isn’t vegan, but please trust me on this one- the food is phenomenal. Even my own mom, who isn’t anywhere near being vegan or vegetarian, was pleasantly surprised when I let her have a few bites of my broccoli sesame “chicken.” Grasshopper offers inside seating, takeout, and delivery via uber eats, and if you’re looking for a great dish, I highly recommend “The No Name.”
The Scoop N Scootery | Allston, Arlington
Of course I had to throw in an ice cream shop for when you need a sweet treat. The Scoop N Scootery offers customizable sundaes and ice creams, along with plenty of frozen yogurt as well. The sizes also range from normal to monstrous, so when my housemate orders her ice cream, the container literally lasts her all week. My favorite customizations to add are the cannoli filling and the cannoli shell pieces- how many ice cream shops do you know that offer cannoli sundaes? It’s an all-around delicious experience, and there are so many unique flavors and combinations to try.
Energize | Brighton, Back Bay
On the topic of sweet things, I also got really into Energize back when I was in college. Energize offers tons of colorful, delicious salads, but they also have the most amazing smoothie bowls I’ve ever tried. My personal favorite bowl is the Cashew Cheesecake- it’s made with bananas, dates, cinnamon, and garnished with berries and chia seeds. It tastes a lot like ice cream to me, but there’s less guilt associated with a smoothie bowl, if that makes sense. I also really enjoy their blends and their juices, such as the post-workout shake and the power-up shake. If I lived next to an Energize, there’s no doubt I’d be stopping in several times per week.
Playa Bowls | Brighton, Northeastern
Playa Bowls, as the name implies, is another healthy smoothie shop where you can find tons of vibrant juices, smoothie bowls, and smoothies. What I love the most about Playa Bowls is the wide variety of smoothie bowl bases you can choose from: oatmeal bowls, banana bowls (my favorite,) chia bowls, green bowls, coconut bowls, pitaya bowls, and acai bowls. My go to is the Nica- it’s a banana bowl topped with slices of banana, granola, cocoa nibs, strawberries, and peanut butter. Similarly to Energize, Playa Bowls enables me to feel like I can have a sweet treat without all the guilt. It’s noteworthy to add that there are Playa Bowls locations all over the US, so even if you don’t live in Massachusetts, you may still be able to find one nearby!
The Friendly Toast | Back Bay, Cambridge
Last but not least, The Friendly Toast is a breakfast, tex-mex diner with plenty of options for everybody- vegetarian, vegan, or neither! Seriously, the menu is huge and it ranges from sweet and savory breakfast items to sandwiches, burgers, shakes, and dinner entrees. You could easily order a different item every time you go- in fact, I rarely repeat the same dish at The Friendly Toast because I always trust that it will be delicious. However, per many other diner-themed American restaurants, one of my favorite items is an impossible burger with fries.
I hope you guys found this article helpful and interesting! Let me know if you tried out any of these restaurants and what you thought of them, too! Remember to stay safe and responsible, especially when you are ordering out or considering visiting a restaurant in the current pandemic.
As much as I like to jokingly refer to myself as one, I am not a “health guru” by any means. However, I do think I make a pretty good salad. I used to not be a fan of salads at all, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that making salad doesn’t have to be a dull experience. And thus, my fruity, crunchy salad was born through lots of trial and error. It’s super easy to find ingredients for and whip together, and it’s great for you, too!
Another thing I enjoy about this salad is that it is easy on my wallet. I buy canned pineapple and frozen strawberries, which really brings down the price of items without compromising nutrition. There are several yummy elements to this salad, but here are the key ingredients:
Kale, as I’m sure many of you are tired of hearing, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. I used to admittedly not be a fan of it, until I decided to buy a sweet kale salad mix and I absolutely loved it. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, which is perfect for the summertime, and it can also help to lower your cholesterol.
Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, so I was really happy to find a salad mix that has both broccoli and kale. Not only is broccoli crunchy and delicious, it’s also a great source of calcium and vitamin K. Both of those are important for supporting healthy bones, so you can feel good about incorporating it into this salad.
Pineapple adds a punch of sweetness to this salad, and it makes the salad look absolutely beautiful as well. I’m a strong believer that food tastes better when it’s pleasing to look at. While pineapple is very high in sugar, it also has several nutritional benefits as well. It contains disease-fighting antioxidants, and some people say it can even aid in a speedy recovery after a workout! I’ve been trying to work out more frequently, so I’ll have to let you know if I see any difference.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit, so of course I knew I wanted to add them to my salad as well. Normally I buy frozen strawberries because they are cheaper, but since the DTA has started increasing SNAP funds due to the pandemic, I’ve been able to splurge a bit and buy fresh strawberries. And what a beautiful treat it is! I love how shiny and vibrant they are, and they’re truly my favorite element of the meal. Just like kale and pineapple, strawberries also have lots of healthy antioxidants!
Pecans are one of the few nuts I actually like, so that was my topping of choice for this salad. They compliment the crunchiness of the broccoli and kale very nicely, and even though nuts are relatively expensive, I felt like they were worth it for this meal. Also, pecans have loads of health benefits for you! They improve digestion, aid in weight loss, prevent skin problems, and boost your immunity. All good things that I would love to carry with me in 2020.
The complete list of everything I use in this salad is the Taylor Farms Sweet Kale salad mix, a small container of canned pineapple, 4-5 strawberries, a sprinkling of pecans, and I finish it off with the Panera Poppyseed dressing. It’s sweet and vibrant, and it all mixes together beautifully! I’ve been enjoying this salad a lot lately, and I’m sure you guys will love it too. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, which means it’s also a very inclusive salad.
Thanks for tuning into Recipie of the Season! I’ll see you guys for another installment in the fall.
Now that I’ve been living on my own for about a month, I’ve learned that there’s one element of adulting that I love more than any other: meal prepping.
I’ve always been such a planner and I love discovering new recipes to try, so it’s no surprise I look forward to meal prepping every week! Grocery shopping can be kind of a *fun* challenge for me, since I’m living off savings until I get a job and I need to find the best ways to stretch my grocery money. What I’ve learned is that non-perishable items are usually the way to go, so that’s why you’ll see I buy a lot of frozen fruit, canned fruit, nuts, granola, etc. I enjoy shopping at Target and BJ’s the most; Target carries a lot of the vegetarian products I like, and BJ’s enables me to buy in bulk for super cheap.
Here is everything on my grocery list this week:
Individual yogurt containers – $1.50 each
Granola – $4
Almond milk – $3
Frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries) – $5
Canned fruit (oranges, pineapple) – $20 for 32 cups
Romaine lettuce (this is safe again, right?) – $2
Sweet kale salad base mix – $2
Pecans – $8 (whyyy are nuts so expensive?)
Apples – $2
Poppyseed dressing – $5
Vegan ‘Chicken’ Scallopini – $5
Broccoli – $2
Meal 1: Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats are a super simple recipe that makes for a healthy, filling, and easy breakfast. What I like most about this recipe is that it is extremely customizable, so you are bound to find a flavor that works best for you. For the basics, you’ll simply need quick oats (I buy a giant container for a couple of bucks, and it lasts me for months,) and the milk of your choice. From there, you can flavor your overnight oats however you want! Today I’m going to prepare the flavors blueberry muffin, strawberries and creme, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores. I also really like banana bread flavored overnight oats, but I didn’t buy any bananas on this past grocery trip. For the ‘blueberry muffin’ oats, I tossed in about a quarter of a cup of oats, a handful of frozen blueberries, a dash of cinnamon, a quarter of a cup of blueberry granola, and then I filled about half of the jar with almond milk. The rest of the oats have the same ratio of oats and milk, but different toppings. For strawberries and creme, I added about 2-3 large frozen strawberries and a hearty dollop of strawberry Greek yogurt. For the mint chocolate chip and s’mores flavors, I used those individual yogurt cups that come with the dry toppings included, and just mixed those all in with the oats and the milk. After you lid your oats, give them a good shake, and you can keep them in your fridge for up to four days! As you can probably infer, they’re called ‘overnight oats’ because you’re ideally supposed to prepare them the night before to let them chill and mix together. Side note: you can also add chia seeds to your overnight oats for an extra health boost, but I didn’t have any on hand this time.
Meal 2: Autumn Salad
The salad I am going to prepare this week is an ‘autumn salad’ that I found on pinterest. This salad also calls for pears, but I couldn’t find any at the store because they’re not in season yet. For salad, I like to make about 3-4 servings in advance and then stack them in my fridge, in tupperware, for when I’m ready to use them. First I add a thin layer of romaine lettuce, then I mix that in with this delicious sweet kale salad base I found at Target. I honestly was never really a kale person until I tried this mix- it’s so crunchy and sweet, and the broccoli adds such a delicious touch. After I mix those two bases together, I’ll throw in my toppings: sliced apples, craisins, and pecans. When I’m ready to unpack it and eat it, I add my dressing, which is the Panera brand strawberry poppyseed dressing. I’m really picky about the dressings I like, but this poppyseed dressing goes great on everything and it doesn’t completely overpower the salad. I’ve been enjoying this salad for about two weeks now, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Meal 3: Lemon ‘Chicken’ Scallopini with Broccoli
I’m honestly not really a cooking expert, so even though this recipe sounds fancy, it’s actually really easy to make! On my last shopping trip, I found Gardein vegan ‘chicken’ scallopini, and I decided to give it a try. I cooked it on my stove with about a cup of broccoli, some garlic salt, parsley, oregano, and a squeeze of lemon, and of my god, it tasted amazing. It’s also super easy to make, considering it basically only consists of two main ingredients, and then a few spices. I know vegan chicken isn’t for everybody, but I actually really like the way this tastes and I’m looking forward to making it again! The lemon really added a juicy, zesty kick to the fake chicken. I have a lot of microwavable Tupperware containers that I’ve saved from restaurants, so I think I’m going to make a large batch of this ahead of time and then stash it away in my freezer.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article and found some food inspiration, particularly for you fellow vegetarians! Let me know if you try any of these recipes, and what you think of them yourself.
Since moving into my new apartment, I’ve been spending a lot of time discovering new hobbies, recipes, and tv shows while in quarantine. I’ve certainly had a lot of time on my hands, and I’m so excited to share everything I’ve been loving this month with you!
Music | Grateful Dead
First of all, let me preface by saying that Nathaniel is the biggest Grateful Dead stan on planet earth, so it’s impossible for me not to like them. In the past three months, I’ve probably listened to about 100 hours of the Grateful Dead, and I’ve genuinely grown to love the band dearly. It’s definitely an acquired taste for some, but there are a handful of songs that I always have stuck in my head. Usually, I cycle through the same six songs when I’m making my dinner every night, starting with “Sugar Magnolias” and ending with “Touch of Grey.” I think my favorite Dead song right now is “Hell in a Bucket,” but I honestly can’t pick a favorite.
TV & Movies | American Horror Story
Considering how much I enjoy watching dark, twisted television, it was a shock to even me that I never really got into American Horror Story before now. If you read my Apartment Tour article, then you know that Erin and I have been watching the show almost every single night. I just finished watching Asylum last week, and while it was absolutely gripping and outstanding, I’ve also been joking that I think it “damaged my psyche.” If you’ve watched the season yourself, then I’m sure you can agree with what I’m saying. I think I’m going to watch 1984 next, though I’m open to other suggestions.
Food | Overnight Oats
I’m pretty sure my friends and family are sick to death of me talking about overnight oats. I’m sorry that oats make me so happy, but the possibilities with this recipe are endless. You can customize them with tons of produce, from frozen fruits to ripe bananas, or you can make dessert-like flavors using yogurt cups and dry toppings. My personal favorite overnight oat recipes are strawberries + creme, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores. Tune into my meal prep article next week to learn how I make them! It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s easy to prepare an entire week’s worth of oats in just a few minutes.
Health & Beauty | Eylure ProMagnetic Liner + Lashes
After I saw Jenna Marbles use magnetic eyelashes in her “Get Ready with Me to go Nowhere” video, I knew I had found my new holy grail makeup product. I love wearing false eyelashes, but I hate all the gluing and mess that comes along with it. Then, when I went to Target a couple of weeks ago with my boyfriend’s mom and his sister, I knew I had to pick up a pair while I was there. I mean, they were only about $15, and considering you get an entire tube of liquid liner as well, I thought it was a pretty great deal! They work relatively well for only 15 bucks, and I’ve been wearing them almost every day since I bought them. Definitely a worthy purchase.
Hobbies | Painting
Like I said, I’ve needed to get back into a few hobbies now that Boston is in quarantine and I don’t have a job at the moment. I’ve always loved painting, but a few weeks ago, I had the idea to paint a jean jacket and I haven’t looked back since. I LOVE painting clothes! After I painted the jacket, I also went ahead and painted a button-up (which is on my Etsy shop, by the way,) and this secondhand suede jacket. It’s a great way to individualize your clothing, especially secondhand items, and I’ve really loved the way everything has turned out!
Food | Fruity Salads
I think I’ve officially reached peak suburban mom energy: first the overnight oats, and now this. I wasn’t really a huge salad lover until recently, but now that I’ve realized you can put fruit in your salad, I’ve been preparing them every single week. For a while I was mimicking the Panera strawberry poppyseed salad (blueberries, oranges, pineapple, and strawberries,) but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been really enjoying an autumn-themed salad (apples, craisins, kale, and pecans.) Probably not very interesting to people who aren’t foodies, but for me, I really love coming up with new salad recipes and meal-prepping for the entire week.
Anywho, that’s going to be my monthly favorites for the month of May! I hope you guys found some inspiration from my list. Stay safe during these strange times!
I’ve been a strict vegetarian for about two and a half years, and in that time, I can honestly say I have never regretted that decision. The reason I went vegetarian in the first place was actually not because I dislike the taste of meat- it was because the suffering of animals in the food industry is upsetting to me. If you’re in a similar boat or if you’re thinking about becoming vegetarian, then this is the article for you!
Beef Patties – Beyond Meat
Regardless of if you’re a vegetarian or not, you’ve probably heard of the meat-replacement burger called the Impossible Burger. The Impossible Burger is a great burger replacement that tastes almost exactly like meat, but company ethics-wise, they’re not my favorite. That’s why I tend to choose Beyond Meat burgers over Impossible Burgers. For one thing, you can buy Beyond Meat burgers at the grocery store, while you can only order Impossible Burgers at a restaurant or a food chain, such as Burger King. Beyond Meat burgers have 20g of plant protein per serving, and in my opinion, they taste extremely similar to a regular burger (although I admittedly don’t really remember what most meat tastes like.) Beyond Meat offers lots of other meat replacements as well, such as Italian ‘sausage’ and breakfast patties.
Beef Crumble – Lightlife
The next few items are all from Lightlife, a company I love and have been buying from for years. If you’re looking for a beef crumble as opposed to a beef patty (for cooking purposes, for example,) their ‘beef’ tastes delicious, juicy, and extremely convincing. When Eli and I made garbage plates last winter, this was the brand of ground ‘beef’ I used to make that spicy red sauce. In the beef replacement department, Lightlife also sells plant-based beef in a ground form, which you could use to mold your own burgers, such as you would with regular ground beef. Just like Beyond Meat, the Lightlife beef substitute offers 20g of protein per serving.
Hot Dogs – Lightlife
I feel like enjoying hot dogs is kind of an unpopular opinion, but nonetheless, I do. There’s something about the taste that reminds me of the summers of my childhood, so of course, I was really happy to learn that Lightlife offers a hot dog substitute as well. The taste of hot dogs is pretty easy to replicate, I think, because a normal hot dog is already so highly processed and fake. They don’t taste exactly the same, but they’re close enough, and you can grill them or boil them just like you would with any other hot dog. According to the Lightlife website, these dogs contain 8g of protein each, as opposed to only 5g of protein in a normal hot dog.
Deli Meat – Lightlife
When I was in college (I feel so old saying that,) the Lightlife deli meat was really a huge staple of my food journey. Obviously, my dining hall didn’t offer any fancy meat replacements like vegan turkey or vegan bologna, but the Star Market down the street had a wide variety! I used to buy it and keep it in my mini fridge, and whenever I wanted to make a deli sandwich at the dining hall, I would just bring a few pieces with me in a ziploc bag. Now that I’m out of college, I don’t have to go through that hassle, but I still really love buying the Lightlife deli meat and making sandwiches with it. It’s surprisingly realistic tasting, particularly the sliced ‘turkey.’
Bacon – Morning Star Farms
Last but certainly not least, Morning Star is a company that makes tons of delicious meat replacements. My personal favorite is their bacon, though it’s important to note it contains eggs, so it is not vegan. Even my non-vegetarian friends agree that this veggie bacon is absolutely amazing and convincing! Additionally, these veggie bacon strips contain 36% less fat than normal pork bacon, making them a healthy alternative as well. If you’re trying to encourage a friend to consider going vegetarian, the Morning Star bacon strips are a great place to start.
Those are all my favorite vegetarian/vegan meat replacements! I feel like there’s still such a stereotype that vegetarians only eat salads and nuts, so hopefully this inclusive list will help spread the word that vegetarians love juicy, fulfilling, ‘meaty’ meals too!