Saturday, December 29, 2012

Making The Change

As one year comes to an end, people start thinking about what changes they want to make for themselves in the new year.  Lose 10 pounds, save more money, help people more.  With a new year, people feel renewed.  They are empowered to make a change they have always wanted to.

Many people have came up to me and told me that they have either tried to become vegetarian and failed, or really want to but never got around to it.  As an advocate for animals, it is important to me to help those that are looking to make the change to vegetarianism.  Would I love for everyone to change their eating habits? Of course.  But one of my goals is to not be one of those "stereotypical" vegetarians.  You know the kind I mean. The ones that tell all their meat-eating friends, and even strangers, how they are terrible people for eating meat and blah blah blah.  Becoming a vegetarian was a personal change that I made for myself and for my love for animals, and no one should ever tell anyone else how to live their lives.

However, if someone comes to me interested in making the change I feel obligated to help them on their journey.  That is one reason I started this blog.  If you fall into this category, then I have some simple tips to help you start out.

1. Baby steps.
Trying to cut out a large part of your diet cold turkey (no pun intended) can be very difficult.  Start small.  Begin by cutting out one kind of meat from your diet, like beef, pork, or all red meat.  One reason I was easy for me to stop eating meat was because in my household we never ate red meat to begin with.  I only had to cut out chicken, fish, and turkey.  When going out to eat opt for a turkey burger instead of beef, or the lemon chicken instead of pork chops.  It might feel limiting at first, but will soon become second nature.  It will then be easy to cut out poultry, and then finally fish.

2.  Get to know your local food locations.
Before going out to eat  I always make sure to check out the menu online (gotta love the internet age).  Soon you will learn which places have options for you and which ones don't.  Places you can bet on not being veggie friendly are steak houses and seafood places.  Diners tend to have every single food under the sun, and if they don't have something on the menu for you they can always make it.  Also explore your supermarket.  Find where they hide the tofu, and the vegetarian friendly food brands.

3. Find those substitutes.
If I only ate veggies and carbohydrates, I would feel like my diet is limited too.   When cutting out one kind of food, make sure to replace it with another.  Tofu is a vegetarian's best friend.  It is protein packed and tastes like whatever you cook it in making it a great addition to any meal.  There are some food brands, like Morningstar and Boca, that make vegetarian meat substitutes like chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and even maple sausage!  I find myself eating the veggie version of foods that I didn't eat the meat version of! These have really expanded my diet which has made being a vegetarian very easy.

4. Find support.
It is easy to feel stuck when making a change.  Find people that have both recently given up meat and those that are old pros.  Find a friend that wants to try vegetarianism too and you can go on the journey together.  It is always easier when you are not alone.  And find people that can give you advice if you lose your way.

Hopefully these tips were helpful for those looking to try vegetarianism.  Remember, even just cutting out meat from one meal a week can make a difference!  And happy new year everyone! Good luck with any changes you hope to make.

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I have been a strict vegetarian for 12 years.  Next year that will mean HALF my life and a vegetarian.  I, like many others, started out rocky.  I was only 11 years old and uneducated about how most food was made.  I ate Jello and Sno Balls because who would think animals would need to die to make those.  One time my mom even told me that the Chinese food dish i was eating was tofu, when It turned out to be chicken. As I got older I made less and less mistakes.

Still everyone slips up.  As a long time vegetarian, I have set rules for myself in order to avoid mistakes.  I only eat yogurt if I can read the ingredients. READ READ READ!  I always read ingredients.  I made so many rookie mistakes just because I assumed something was meat free.

Everyone strives for perfection in the area that is most important to them.  I want to be the perfect kitty mommy,  the perfect girlfriend, and the perfect vegetarian.  Because, when it comes to being the perfect vegetarian, your mistakes don't just effect you, but they take the lives of helpless animals.


The other day I was grabbing a late night snack.  I reached for a bag of chips that I brought home from a restaurant.  As I was collecting my laundry from the dryer and munching on chips, I noticed a weird taste, but didn't think much of it.  Halfway through the bag I couldn't get over the taste, so I decided to check the ingredients.  Lard...LARD.


I felt sick to my stomach thinking about how I had a dead pig in there.  I know no one is perfect, and that everyone makes mistakes, and that I shouldn't beat myself up over an innocent mistake.  But all I could think about was that poor pig.

I am sorry little piggy.  I didn't mean to eat you.

How do you feel when you make a vegetarian or vegan slip up? Do you feel as bad as I do?

Bye from the Veggie Side

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Amy's Alphabet Soup

Hello hello!  Another amazing Amy's Soup to share with everyone.  What I love about Amy's soup is that they are hearty and delicious without screaming VEGETARIAN in your face.  They offer healthy, organic versions of some of your favorite soups, which is what I am going to show you guys today.


I was going through the soup section at my super market in hopes of finding a new Amy's to try, when I spotted Amy's Alphabet Soup. Alphabet!  I remember having alphabet soup as a kid, and now I found a healthy version!  What's also great about this soup is that its vegan.  Just another step to help me on my quest.


While one of my reasons for getting this soup is to feel like a kid again, it is really great food to give to your actual kid.  How nice would it be for them to only know about vegan, organic, delicious and fun alphabet soup?


This is a tasty tomato soup filled with all kinds of veggies, and of course, alphabet shaped pasta!  It really hits the spot on a cold winter day.

This soup is amazing! It is perfect for kids and adults, vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters!  So what are you waiting for? Go out and get some!

Have you tried Amy's Alphabet Soup? Will you be picking some up?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chik'n Fettuccine Alfredo

Hey everyone!

One of my favorite things to do as a lazy vegetarian, is to put together meals that make me feel like a normal ole' meat eater.  Its fun to tell people that you just had chicken nuggets and fries for dinner.  With all the rudeness and questioning I get on a daily basis, its nice to still stick to my convictions, but just pretending that I don't.  It is pretty easy to do, you just need to find the right meat substitutes and food combinations.

One of my favorite "normal" people foods is chicken fettuccine Alfredo.  Its a  simple, classic dish, that is really easy to veg-ify, without adding actual veggies.  You can always start by making your own pasta and sauce, or being lazy and buying a box of pasta and a jar of sauce.  But once you have reached my laziness level, you start with frozen fettuccine Alfredo.


Stouffer's fettuccine Alfredo is not the healthiest frozen pasta out there, but the sauce is really rich and creamy, and it tastes amazing.  When I eat it on its own I love to load it with fresh ground black pepper!


In order to pretend I am eating chicken Alfredo, I turn to my trusted Boca Original Chik'n.  As i have mentioned before, on its own it has an amazing flavor that really resembles chicken.  It has the perfect amount of spices to be enjoyed on its own with a little bit of lemon juice, or added to meals to make them fake-atarian.

Just cut up some Chik'n and add them to the fettuccine Alfredo, and there you have it!  A perfect meal and makes you feel like a meat eater, with none of those pesky dead animals! I call it a win-win.



This really hits the spot when your craving regular chicken fettuccine Alfredo.  I hate when people say they can't give up meat because they don't want to only eat salads.  Well you can be a vegetarian and enjoy some chicken fettuccine Alfredo. How 'bout them apples?

Have you tried Boca Original Chik'n or Stouffer's Fettuccine Alfredo? Will you be combining them for yor next meal?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Amy's Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

Hello everyone! Now that I have finally finished my Thanksgiving series, I can finally get back to some regular posting.  As you all know, I LOVE Amy's brand food.  Its frozen food that I can really feel good about putting into my body.  It is always vegetarian and organic with no MSG or preservatives!

Among the many varieties of foods Amy's makes, she makes three kids of lasagna, and they are all amazing! My favorite of the three is the Tofu Vegetable Lasagna, and I always make sure I stock up on it at the grocery store.  The other varieties are Vegetable, and Cheese.  I have have them both before and like them. I promise to keep and eye out and pick them up if I spot them to show you guys.


Amy's Tofu Vegetable Lasagna really is the perfect lasagna   It is packed with chopped mixed veggies, tofu and delicious sauce in layers of whole wheat pasta, and topped with mozzarella soy cheese. All the flavors come together amazingly.



So. Good. Amy's has does it again.  I recommend that you all go out and try this.  If you like Italian food, veggies, and tofu, this one is for you!

Have you tried Amy's Tofu Vegetable Lasagna? Will you be picking it up?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Happy 12/12/12!

Well everyone, I have finally reached the end of my series of Thanksgiving dinner posts! And what comes after Thanksgiving dinner? Thanksgiving dessert!  Pumpkin Pie is the classic Thanksgiving dessert, and the one two I make every year.  The canned pumpkin and recipe I use makes two whole pies.  I usually keep one, and give the second to Ben.  You can never go wrong with too many pumpkin pies!

I have been making the same pies since I was about 12 years old using the same recipe on the back label of the same canned pumpkin. And not to toot my own horn, one of  the best pumpkin pies I have ever had. Hey, if its not broken, why fix it?

Here's what I used:


Here's what I did:
Like I said, I have been following the recipe on the back of the Libby's canned pumpkin for ten years.  It is a great recipe  that you just can't go wrong with!


Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl.

Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shells.



Mmmm two perfect pies!  The perfect end to a great meal (and great set of posts!)  And I just feel fat enough to not was to work this hard, or eat this much, until next year!  I hope everyone enjoyed my Thanksgiving posts, and that you all had a wonderful dinner.  I hope you guys try out some of these recipes, I can speak from experience they all taste amazing!

Will you be trying out this pumpkin pie recipe?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Hello everyone!  This post is brought to you from the kitchen of my boyfriend, Ben.  Every year, Ben and I do our best to try and make it to each other's Thanksgiving dinner.  Sadly, in the three and a half years of dating, I have only been able to make it to two of his.  His family gatherings are always difficult for me.  His family are big meat eaters and most of them are strictly meat and potatoes people, so I always have a hard time eating at these events.  On the menu for this year was ham, turkey, mixed veggies, cream of asparagus and crab soup, and chicken broth stuffing. Lets count how many of these foods I can eat...ONE.  So this year I decided that if I was going to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, I was going to have to cook some of it myself.  I made my famous Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes, stuffing with out chicken broth, balsamic roasted carrots, and a pumpkin pie.

Then the stuffing incident happened.  Here is the set up: There are two bowls of stuffing that started out the same, as we both used the store bought-in-the-bag stuffing.  Ben's sister prepared hers using sweet butter, onions, and chicken broth. I prepared mine with salt butter, and water.  We are all sitting down to dinner, and Ben's dad asked us which stuffing was the vegetarian one.  We pointed it out, and right in front of my face he takes a big scoop of the other one. I WAS FUMING! I can't remember the last time I had felt so insulted.  Just because I made my stuffing with water instead of chicken, you would touch it, not even TRY a taste?  Ironically, my stuffing my have been vegetarian, but the non-vegetarian one is the only one that had actual VEGETABLES in it!  How can someone be so closed minded and rude?  Don't get me wrong, I love Ben's family, and his dad has always been very gracious towards me, buying me clothes, dinner, and letting me stay over at his house, and I am thankful for that. But I am still mad about how he acted, and I am still hurt.

Anyway, this post isn't about stuffing, it is about balsamic roasted carrots.  I wanted to make another veggie for the dinner, and since Ben hate broccoli  and loves carrots, I opted to go a different rout than my own Thanksgiving dinner.  I found this recipe, just changed it a smidgen, and decided to give it a go!

Here's what I used (by mistake I deleted the photo of all the ingredients, sorry!):
8 medium carrots

1/4t freshly grated nutmeg
1T balsamic vinegar
1t brown sugar
2T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried parsley flakes

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 425.
Peel the carrots, cut them in half, and then slice them down the center lengthwise
Place the carrots in a casserole dish and spread them out
Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
In a small bowl, stir together balsamic and brown sugar until combined. Add olive oil. Drizzle the whole mixture over carrots. Toss to coat
Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender and caramelized (cooking times can vary depending on the thickness of your carrots).
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve immediately.





I loved these! They had a nice flavor from the vinegar, with just a bit of sweetness.  Definitely different,t but still very good!  They were super easy to make, and that makes them a winner in my book.  These are a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner, or just an easy meal at home.

Will you be trying out these balsamic roasted carrots?  Have you ever had a situation where someone inadvertently insulted you, your cooking, or vegetarianism?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Awareness Wednesday: Hostess (RIP)

Hey guys, I have quite the unusually Awareness Wednesday Post for you guys today.  When I first started my blog, I made a list of foods and topics that I wanted to be sure to talk about, which included a list of non-vegetarian foods for my Awareness Wednesday posts. Well the time came to write another post, so I am looking through the topics, and I see Hostess.  My first thought was "damn, they don't even exist anymore!"

But I have decided to talk about them anyway.  Why? Maybe to celebrate that another anti-veg food is off the market. Maybe just in case they start production again.  Or maybe so you can start using the remaining Twinkies you have stocked up to build that bomb shelter.


Here is another food that I ate in my beginning years of vegetarianism because I didn't even think twice.  Its cake, why would I even bother to check if it is vegetarian.  Well one day I did looked up the ingredients of my favorite Hostess snack, SnoBalls, this is what I found.


Beef Fat. Gelatin. Carmine. BAM, three culprits!

And this isn't just reserved for SnoBalls.  Twinkies, and many of the 100 calorie cakes also have beef fat.


So, thank goodness this "food" is off the market (for now).  Lets focus on some desserts that are vegetarian friendly,and not PACK with chemicals.

Were you a hostess fan?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli

Happy December! I hope you're not getting tired of my Thanksgiving meal posts because I still have lots more! While planning the dinner menu with my dad, I told him I was making three kinds of starches.  Well that was just ridiculous to him, but I was not planning on cutting any of them out of the menu.  Especially since everyone attending NEEDED to have at least one of the three at dinner.  I mean if my dad really didn't want so many starches, why did he make a whole other batch of stuffing?  Two  kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes now gives us a total of FOUR starches.  So I guess to combat the evil starch monster, my dad asked me to make two veggies.  I already showed you my corn salad, and my dad and I agreed on broccoli as the second vegetable.  I found this simple recipe online for roasted garlic lemon broccoli and with just a few tweeks, I knew I found the winner.

Here's what I used:

2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Look how simple that is! Not too many ingredients, but they work magic when combined.  These are all things you can find right in your kitchen!

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and garlic.
Spread the broccoli out in a casserole dish
Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes



OMG was this broccoli phenomenal! I couldn't believe that such a simple recipe came out as amazing as it did!  Every dish I made that night had so much leftovers, except this one!  Only about four florets left in the dish, I couldn't believe it.  It had the perfect amount of seasoning, and just enough lemon for a bit of a zest. Literally perfect. You must all go out and make this now. RIGHT NOW!

What is your favorite broccoli recipe? Will you be trying this one?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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