Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Candy Vegetarian Style


Hello everyone and welcome to my favorite holiday! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday so far, but I know its early and the real Halloween fun will happen when the sun goes down.

 But why am I so obsessed with this day?  First off, I love the fall! And Halloween is the quintessential fall holiday.  I love the emerging pumpkins as both decorations and food.  I really enjoy the darkness of it too. Ok, ok, so I might be a little weird, but I just love skulls, blood, bats, and pirates.  In fact I actually HATE all things scary, but I do like dark and creepy.  But most of all, I just love dressing up.  I feel that every time you leave your house, you are dressing up.  When I go to work I wear my work costume (khaki pants and a uniform shirt), when I go out with my friends I wear my going out costume (usually a pair of jeans, a cute top, and lots of accessories), and when I need to be somewhere nice I wear my dressy clothes costume.  While most kids stopped playing dress up at a young age, I played until I was almost 15 years old.  I don't think I enjoy dress up because I don't like the person I am (though my crack pot shrink said that was the reason, glad I don't see her anymore), there is just something about being totally weird that really appeals to me. I hate the normal, to me it is a synonym for boring.  I love completely crazy, outlandish, and different. What I don't love is judgement.  Dressing up as a princess on just a random Wednesday, and walking down the street would yield the strangest of looks and remarks.  But on Halloween you can dress up as anything you want, can wear the strangest clothes and insane make up and no one would even think twice.  I wish every day were like Halloween, where you can go out completely expressing yourself and not one person judges you.  Only in a perfect world.

So I know this is a food related blog, so I will stop talking about the deeper meaning of Halloween and what It means to me. I don't really have the biggest sweet tooth, but seeing that its Halloween, I thought I would do a candy related post.  I haven't been trick or treating since I was 19...ok so that was only 3 years ago, but I'm most of you stopped that tradition way before that.  But it is Halloween, so you know there is going to be candy..everywhere, and you might as well know which ones are meat-free!  Here is a list of my favorite Halloween candies.

1.Reese's Peanut Butter Cups


I am obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate, peanuts and chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter  caramel, pretzels and chocolate.  If if has peanut butter, chocolate, and no meat, I'm pretty much in love. So it is no surprise that my favorite candy of all time is Reese's.  Not just the cups, but all the variations they make.  There is just something magical when chocolate and peanut butter comes together and get wrapped in orange.  When I went out and collected candy I was always thrilled when I got a Reese's in my bag, especially the pumpkin shaped ones!

2. Sour Patch Kids


As I have mentioned here, the majority of gummy candy contains gelatin, however, those little sour colorful kids do not!  Not only do I love buying a big, over priced bag of these at the movies, but I love the little fun sized bags floating around the stores this time of year.  The are sweet, sour, chewy, colorful, and vegetarian. Winner in my book!

3. Twizzlers


Now, unlike Reese's and Sour Patch Kids, Twizzlers are a candy I pretty much only eat during Halloween.  I love the chewy, fruitiness in those long strands.  And while the straws are great, nothing will ever beat pull and peal! Its like the candy version of string cheese.  Nothing beats a fun sized Twizzler after a night of trick or treating.  Again, chewy sans gelatin!

4. Almond Joy


While I can't wait for pumpkin in the fall, I have almost the same amount of excitement for coconut in the summer.  So I love a little bit of summer coconut on a cold fall night.  Sometimes I am amazed of the perfectness of these coconut and almost covered in chocolate.  We all know you got your Mounds, which is just coconut and dark chocolate. But the amazingness of almond joy has both a delicious almond plus milk chocolate. Perfection.

I am interested to hear what your favorite Halloween candies are! And don't forget to keep an eye out for those not so friendly candies.  Make sure to always check your kids candy! Explain to them why you need to throw away certain ones.  By the time I was 12, after I came home from trick or treating I could check my own candy.

Here are the rules my family went by:
1. No candy that comes in a twisty wrapper (like Jolly Rachers).  It is easy to untwist them, add poison, and then re-close and look like nothing happened.
2. Nothing with no wrapper.  Again, sick people might poison it and just leave it out.  That means no fruit, or candies out of a bag.  One year a woman gave me a hand full of cookies from a box. Those when straight into the trash.
3. Check for open wrappers. Double check that all candy is 100% sealed.  Even the slightest opening might be evidence of being tampered with.
4. For the vegetarian houses, make sure to remove the candies that are not compatible.  I gave up meat at 11 years old, so that was 8 years of removing candy that wasn't meat free.  Check candy for gelatin and carmine color.  If you are unsure what's in your candy, the internet is a wonderful tool.

I hope you guys enjoyed my Halloween post.  I hope everyone as a safe, fun, and candy filled holiday!

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thoughts on Veganism

Ah, veganism.  I have touched briefly on the topic in my FAQ's.  I have been a strict vegetarian for almost 12 years.  Wow, sometimes I am even amazed at how long that really is.  Also I am amazed at how old I am getting, with my 23rd birthday around the corner.  I gave up meat at 11 years old and have never eaten meat since (aside from a few mess-ups back when I was first figuring it out).  It has been the best decision I have ever made. Sometimes I just think about how happy being a vegetarian makes me.  Lately, however, I have been thinking about veganism.  That is a scary word to me.  I respect vegans more than almost anyone else.  It amazes me how much will power and commitment a human being can have, I sometimes strive to be like that.  When people would say to me "I would give up meat but I love it too much," I would say they lack will power.  But now I find myself hypocritical. I would be a vegan...but I love milk and egg products too much.


That's a lie.  I hate milk, it makes me sick, and eggs really creep me out.  But what do eggs and milk help create? Cake, bread, pasta, pie, ice cream, even so many of my favorite meat substitutes that I don't know where I would be without them.  As a New Yorker I live for bagels with cream cheese and real New York Pizza.  At what point does my happiness out way a life, the life of an animal?  I have been feeling that I need to practice what I preach. How can I tell people that meat is not as important as a life, when I eat cheese? With out the cheese industry, there would be no veal industry.

I have been on the fence about veganism lately. I want to do it SO BAD, I just don't know if I can.

Then I remember this "fad" that has been gaining popularity by perfect 4-person families, and girls that think they are models: Meatless Mondays. At first this made me laugh, kid of mocking vegetarianism.  As if to say "vegetarianism is great and all, but only worth 1/7th of my time."  However, thinking more, it is a great gateway.  Want to try something new? Baby steps. And I think I have come to that decision.  Meat-dairy-eggless Mondays, inst that a mouthful?


Who knows that the future might hold? Vegan Mondays might turn to vegan Monday through Friday.  I tell people all the time, just ONE vegetarian meal a week helps save lives, the same goes for veganism.  So here I come Vegan Mondays! Lets see where this takes me...

If you are a vegetarian, have you thought about going vegan? And vegans, what is some advice you have?

Bye from the VEGAN Side!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Amy's Soups No Chicken Noodle

Good morning!  Today I have a great soup to share with you!  One food I used to love as a kid was chicken noodle, but hey, what kid didn't?  That was one food I needed to find a replacement for, and luckily I did very shortly after giving up meat.  I have showed you guys some Amy's food already (check them out in the labels list on the right hand side of the blog).  Amy's makes amazing vegetarian organic food.  And while I love her frozen meals, she also makes a huge verity of soups!  One of my favorites is her No Chicken Noodle.  It has all the flavors of the classing get-well-soon soup, but completely organic and vegetarian.   It is filled with veggies, noodles, and tofu all in a warm, comforting veggie broth.  This is the kind of soup you can curl up with on a cold day.



Love those natural, vegan ingredients!


I like to enjoy my No Chicken Noodle with a handful of crackers for dunking! Mmm!


This soup is a great alternative to regular chicken noodle and not just for vegetarians.  If your'e just looking for a tasty, organic soup, give this one a try!

Have you tried Amy's No Chicken Noodle Soup? Are you going to go get some?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trader Joe's Creamy Polenta

Hello everyone!  Today I have another frozen option from the awesome Trader Joe's!  I love Trader Joe's.  There is such an amazing verity of foods for everyone whether you are a vegetarian or vegan, or even have food allergies like to lactose or gluten.  Everything is all natural and most things are organic.  I have never tried polenta in my in my life, but on a routine Trader Joe's trip, they were giving away free samples of their spinach and carrot polenta.  It was AMAZING! So creamy and flavorful and filled with two of my favorite veggies.  Can't go wrong with that!  It has turned me into a polenta lover!




This is what the polenta looks frozen, right out of the bag.  You can see all the frozen spinach and carrots.  The yellow Hershey Kiss shaped things are the frozen polenta.  All you have to do is microwave it and mix it all up for a perfect meal or a side for dinner!



I can sit here and tell you how amazing this stuff is, but really you need to just get off you computer right now, head to Trader Joe's and try it for yourself!  I know it will win you over!

Have you tried Trader Joe's Creamy Polenta? Will you be picking some up?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Boca Original Chik'n

Hello everyone!  Today I have one of my favorite meat substitutes to show you!  It's called Original Chik'n by Boca.  Boca, like Morning Star, makes a variety of meat substitutes.  As you guys know I used to love chicken back when I was a meat-eater, so having chicken substitutes is important to me as a vegetarian.  Like all veggie meats, Boca offers food that has less fat and calories than the real thing, often with more protein too. And they say us veggies don't get enough protein. Ya right!



Boca Original Chik'n are frozen chicken substitute with a delicious breading.  They have a lot of flavor and are really reminiscent of real chicken patties.  What is great about them is that they are super versatile.   They are great as a chicken patty sandwich, or in your favorite foods that call for chicken.  They are really great on their own too. My favorite way to enjoy them is with just a drizzle of lemon juice on top. Mmm!  My dad is a regular chicken consumer, and he loves these chik'n patties too!

Will you be trying these chik'n patties for your next meal? Have you had them before? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Super Easy Meat-Free Nachos

Hey everyone!  Today I have a simple recipe that my mom makes for me: vegetarian nachos. It doesn't take much cooking or skill, but it is so delicious and fun to eat!


What you will need:
White corn tortilla chips
1 tomato
1 Avocado
Salsa con queso
Sour cream

What to do:
1. Pour the tortilla chips in a large microwave safe bowl and spread out evenly
2. Pour salsa on queso on top of all the chips, more if you like it really cheesy, less if not
3. Microwave until warm.  Try 1 minute then add extra time to make it warmer
4. Cut up tomato and avocado in bite sided pieces and sprinkle on top
5. Cook Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs according to package.  Cut in pieces and sprinkle on top
6. Top with a dollop of sour cream

These nachos are super tasty and really fast and easy to make! Great for a quick meal or to bring to a party.

Will you be trying out these vegetarian nachos?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wawa: The Shy Person's Subway

Hello everyone! Today I am going to review a dining establishment.  My boyfriend, Ben, lives in Pennsylvania.  Sometimes I can be difficult finding food to eat going from the vegetarian's haven of New York, to Pennsylvania full of farms and sports lovers.  We have been dating for almost 3 and a half years (plus I spent 4 years of college in PA) so We have found a few locations with great veggie options that are staples in our diet when I spend the weekends with him.

Ask any person that lives in the Philly area, Wawa runs through their blood (just like how pizza and bagels runs through a New Yorker's blood.  Wawa is a convenience store/gas station/food place.  As with most things in Pennsylvania  advertisements highlight their dead animal options.  However, if you look a little deeper its not hard to find some great veggie choices!

The isles of Wawa are filled with snacks and junk food, with a small refrigerated section that has veggies, fruits, cheeses, and of course meats.  However, the gold of Wawa is located on the other end. This is the Made to Order section.  How this works is you go up to the touch screens and choose from a wide variety of sandwiches and other foods, that they will make the way you want it.  I always opt for the cheese sandwich  which I pile high with veggies.


What you see here is pepper jack cheese, cukes, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, parmigiana cheese, salt, pepper, and pesto sauce all on a 6 inch whole wheat role. Yum! All the ingredients are fresh and the bread is always so soft.  The best part is that you can pick any toppings, bread, cheese, or anything else you like to make it perfect for you.  I Love myself some subway but I hate telling the people all the things I want of my sandwich and getting weird looks like why I always skip the meat.  This way I could make the most random combination of foods, hold the judging.


They also have plenty of hot sides to choose from on the made to order screen like soups and mashes potatoes.  But I always opt for the mac and cheese.  It is really cheese and a great side to my sandwich  Oh, and Ben's cat loves sharing some with me :)

Have you ever been to Wawa? If you are in the Philly area, do you plan on stopping by?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Health is Wealth Spinach Munchees

Hello everyone! Today I have another frozen option to share with you.  These are Health is Wealth Spinach Munchees!  Of course these are vegetarian but they are also all natural and lactose free, for all those that are intolerant.


I am obsessed with spinach. No seriously obsessed. I love it cold and raw, as well as stir fried and covered in cheese.  It really in a super food, especially to us vegetarians!  I know most vegetarians are concerned with getting all thier protein, but protein is super easy to get!  What we need help with is iron.  Meat, especially red meat, is packed with iron, so that means we need to find other ways to get it.  That's where spinach comes in. It is a great source of iron especially to those that don't eat meat. I have posted about spinach before and I'll do it again if I get the chance! Ya hear! 


These bites are super delicious and quick to make when you need that burst of iron.  They are stuffed with spinach and soy cheese in a chewy wheat wrap. Can't get much better then that! These are a great side to any meal or a snack on their own. 

Have you ever tried these Spinach Munchees? Plan on picking some up?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weight Loss Tips

Today's Post is going to be a little different.  While my blog highlights how to be a vegetarian but still eat like a meat-eater, I know that many people choose vegetarianism for the health and weight loos aspects.  I am a mere 95 lbs (on a good day) but I am a fat kid at heart.  My favorite foods are cheese, carbs, fried food, and...fried carbs. Here are some tips to help you drop a few pounds while not having to eat like a rabbit, which I really hate doing.


1. Go halfsies.  I find that when it comes to losing weight its not about the kinds of food you eat, but really the amount.  Are you craving those foods that aren't diet friendly like pizza and pasta?  Cut the portion in half and save the rest for tomorrow, or share it with a friend.  Foods like pizza and pasta are super high in carbs, which makes them really filling.  You will find you don't need too much to fill up and stay full.  Half the food means half the calories.

2. Graze. Ok, ok. So I might not like eating like a rabbit, but eating like a cow can help you shed those pounds.  Instead of 2 big meals a day, split up your food in 5-6 mini meals.  Spacing out your food helps move along you metabolism which will keep you slim.  When you graze you will feel full on less food, and eventually wont need to eat as much to feel satisfied.

3. Just a taste.  I am not the biggest sweets lover, but we all get those cravings for something sweet after a meal.  Instead of having the whole slice of cake, just have one bite! You will fulfill your sweet tooth without setting back your whole diet.

4. Spice it up.  It has been shown that spicy foods help you keep off the weight.  One way I stay thin is by adding heat to everything! I love hot peppers, chili oil and hot sauce.  Try adding more spicy food to your diet.  It will help you shed pounds and increase the flavor of a bland meal.

5. Not too saucy.  Many people don't know that dressings and sauces are loaded with fat!  Adding too much dressing to your salad can make it just as unhealthy as fried food.  However, I love sauce on everything! Instead of ketchup which is loaded in sugar, swap it for mustard. How many calories are in mustard? Some brands have 0 per serving!

6. Let it out.  Ok let's get personal for a second.  The quicker the food leaves your body, the less time your body has to absorb the fat.  Kicking up the fiber in your diet will help you stay...uh...regular, which also helps you lose weight.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If any of these work for you let me know!

Bye from the veggie side!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Awareness Wednesdays. Altoids.

Hello all and welcome to another Awareness Wednesday! As I have mentioned, Awareness Wednesday will now be on the first Wednesday of each month.  Today's food is one that most people would have never even thought of as being veggie unfriendly, and that is Altoids mints.

Even I didn't think to read the ingredients for many years after becoming a vegetarian. One day, just to see, I red them.  3 guesses as to what I found...


Yes. Even in a crunchy mint, they figure a way to add gelatin!  So far, I have found that most of the super strong, chalky mints are the only ones with gelatin (well those and the gummy mints).  So most mints are A-OK for us to enjoy.  Still concerned? You can always double check the back label to see what is in it.  As a general rule I do that for all foods.

Will you guys be swapping out Altoids for a gelatin-free mint?

Bye from the veggie side!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...