Winter Soup and Salad Selection

Who doesn’t love a good soup and salad, especially when it’s chilly outside? I was desperate to find an alternative to Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar soup. Being dairy free, it makes me miss certain pleasures like this recipe. Every time, I go to Panera Bread with my boyfriend and he always gets this soup. My mouth waters and I was tired of wanting it despite my allergy. So I said, I want it. I made it friendly-and healthier-recipe for you to try!

broccolicheddarsoup Continue reading “Winter Soup and Salad Selection”

The Vegan Life: Is it really the life for me? *PLUS* a quick DIY!

So here we are on week 2 of living the life of a vegan. I have to say, it hasn’t been all that bad but it has made me think more about what I’m making for dinner. I rely so much on milk, some type of meat, cheese, or eggs that it really does throw a wrench in the works when you need to find something to eat. I shared quite a few meals last week and this week I only have two: Vegan Chili. 20140811_184933Yes, we ate other things but I didn’t remember to photograph them all haha. The chili really didn’t taste all that different from regular chili; we typically have beans in our chili so leaving the meat out didn’t change it up much. Something new about it was the Tofu Sour Cream though; didn’t exactly taste like regular sour cream but it filled the void by giving you a little creamy something to mix into your bowl.

The other meal I want to share is Vegan Subway sandwiches! Just choose any vegetables you want and load them onto a mini sub bun, then drizzle with some Subway copycat vinegar and oil.

Best Dupe for Subway Oil and Vinegar Recipe. INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup apple cider/red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon basil 1/2 red pepper flakes 1/4 teaspoon dried onion flakes (rehydrated if using within 2 hours) 1/4 teaspoon parsley 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder DIRECTIONS: salt and pepper to taste, stir well or put in jar and shake. Refrigerate. Overnight is best, but 2 hrs. is still fantastic. It will go bad after a week or two.

Deeeeelicious!! If you want to just go the vegetarian route, throw some mayo and cheese on there! The possibilities are endless. And where is the recipe from? I really couldn’t tell you- I found it on pinterest but the recipe is just in the comments of a picture that doesn’t go anywhere 🙁 sad day huh?

My husband remains convinced that this is the lifestyle he wants from now on, well for week days that is, but I still struggle with giving up dairy. I confess, Ihaven’t been entirely vegan this week; I eat an occasional slice of cheese or something that has milk or egg baked into it. It’s hard not to feel guilty but then I remind myself: DAIRY IS NOT EVIL. Just because we have decided to avoid animal products, doesn’t mean they are bad for me. There are a lot of other things that I could name that I know I SHOULD feel guilty eating, or letting my daughter eat, but I don’t (enter any fast food-aka pink slime meat-, including fries etc etc etc…). Anyhow, for now- vegan/vegetarian is the life for us. I got a few books from the library that have great recipes, “The Everything Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Amy and Justin Snyder, as well as “Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook” by Del Sroufe. Seriously, if you are considering trying the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, check them out!

Okay, so enough with the food, I want to share with you a little project that has been in the back of my mind for a few weeks now but I finally acted on it last night 🙂 Check out this old, corkless bulletin board that was being discarded by my in-laws! 20140814_001422 I saw it and immediately wanted it for my sewing room. All I did really was find some coordinating fabrics and cut them to the approx size I needed. Then I straightened up the edges and ironed them under. I hotglued it all into place and then glued the rickrack over the seams!! And voila! 20140814_005111My new command center to help keep me sane! I have sections for both my businesses as well as a “Home” and “Gifts” section where I can put ideas for future/current projects. I also hot glued some binder clips (is that what they’re called?) to the frame so I can change out the sections in the future if I need to! What do you think? I’m in love…..

What vegan recipes have you tried and been pleasantly surprised by? Any quick organizing projects you have tried lately? Please share below!! As always- thanks for reading 🙂

A Peek into the Life of Vegans

I am always trying to find a new recipe that not only tastes great but is also super healthy for my family. I look for recipes that contain little to no processed ingredients and lots of veggies. Recently, my husband came home from work talking about how he had a salad for lunch and how he even made it “vegan”. In response, I was a little confused as I didn’t realize we were TRYING  to go vegan; sure we try to not eat a ton of meat but attempting to cut out all animal products had never come up in our house. Well, as of this past Saturday, we decided try it out. For those of you who don’t know, according to vegan.org

 “a vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.”

Along with the health benefits, veganism also has to do with animal rights; vegans are against animal cruelty and so they do not want to consume anything that might have harmed an animal in the process. Am I for animal cruelty? No, however I have no problem eating a hamburger or a slice of cheese. Our main goal here is health. We had been trying to make it to the gym frequently but were finding it difficult due to the usual business of life, hence the oh-so-original idea of “if you can’t work it off, don’t put it in” idea was formed. Yes, we will try and continue to be active (we have an almost two-year-old who definitely helps with that HA!), but if we eat better, then our bodies will function better and do what they are supposed to do.

So, I have been scouring the internet and my recipe books to find either vegan recipes or regular recipes that I can leave out the animal products to make it vegan. Can I just say that this is extrememly hard for me because I LOVE cheese….and I LOVE to bake and you use a lot of animal products in baking. Sigh…the things I do for love. While we are only on day three, both my husband and I have been relatively satisfied with the meals I have prepared. 20140803_135839[1]On Sunday we had lentil wraps from The Garden Grazer (The picture of the filling). My hubby- who comes from a picky eating background – actually thought they were alright. They are a hearty wrap full of wonderful goodness…definitely try them out.

Sunday dinner was a black bean/corn taco salad bowl. I just made this recipe up as I went: threw in black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers, just a tad of diced onions. I then sauteed it all for a few minutes along with a pinch of homemade taco seasoning. To serve, I made a bed of chopped lettuce (you could really use any mix of greens here: lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) then scooped on the black bean mixture. 20140803_191455[1]Topped it all off with some diced fresh tomatoes, salsa, and some chopped hot peppers (for the hubby). Used corn tortilla chips to scoop the mixture or crushed them and ate it all like a typical taco salad. We were very happy with the results.

On Monday I served up a favorite but with white beans subbed for chicken: One Pot Pasta!

20140804_184231[1]You can find this recipe on multiple sites but the specific one I used was from Apron Strings. I steamed up some green beans and made some Honeyed Carrots (this is not the exact recipe I used since I sauteed them on the stove, didn’t use butter, and seasoned with dried thyme, but it’s close enough. I can’t even remember where I got my recipe from- its been too long!) to go along with the pasta. I had some left over Overnight Bread that I  made a few days ago that went well too. Altogether a great vegan meal.

Tuesday was a great day; started off with berry oatmeal! 20140805_094418[1]I made the oatmeal on the stove with half almond milk and half water for the liquids. During the last minute of cook time, I added blueberries and chopped strawberries.  For some sweetener, I stirred in some “brown sugar” sauce (put approx 1 cup brown sugar in pot and add water until sugar is covered. Boil for about 5 minutes, let sit for a minute). I also sprinkled some shredded coconut on top. My young daughter and I loved it! Lunch was leftovers with some sauteed mushrooms atop my pasta. And dinner consisted of a huge salad – with more homemade bread (best wheat bread recipe I have ever made) from Pennies & Pancakes.

So far, we have enjoyed our food and not really missed our usual diet. I have to say though, it is hard to pass up the cheese or yogurt that is still in our fridge – I LOVE yogurt and granola! And I’m not interested in finding vegan substitutes (I mean, WHAT is in them if it’s not dairy etc? I don’t think I want to know). I will post an update next week with any more cool recipes we try so definitely check back next week! Will we continue this long term? My husband is committed but I’m more of the vegetarian mindset, or even Nutritarian Lifestyle suggested by Dr. Fuhrman so who even knows.

Have you ever tried drastically changing your diet? How did it go? Did you stick with it? We would love to hear about your experiences!

Disclaimer: I am in no way discounting animals or those who fight to protect them, I am merely stating my opinion that I think it’s ok to use animal products. I don’t believe in animal cruelty and would love to see changes in the world regarding how animals are treated in the consumption industry. 

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