Saturday, April 27, 2013

Melted Mozzarella Minestrone

Hello veggie lovers! I hope everyone is doing well. Today I have a quick and easy lunch that I love to make all the time.  I came up with this soup a few years ago taking inspiration from some others I have seen and tried.  What I love about it is that its a meal in its own.  I'm not big on just eating a bowl of soup, but with some added touches you can turn a bowl of soup into a meal of its own!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Couscous Salad

Hello everyone! Today I have a salad that is just perfect for spring!  It combines light and fresh flavors, with couscous, to make you forget you are even eating a salad. Not only is this easy to make, but it is vegan too!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Hello everyone and happy Earth Day!  Earth Day is one of the most important holidays in my book, and I love to celebrate holidays!  When I was in high school, my friends and I would enjoy the day by cleaning up a local park, but with my busy schedule now I have had less time to go out and do what I love on the day I love.  This year I wanted to show my love for the Earth and spread Earth Day awareness on my nails.

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Head over to my other blog, Claws Up, to see my post on Earth Day, and ways to go green!

Bye from the GREEN veggie side!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dr. McDougal's Asian Entree Ginger Soy Noodles

Hello everyone! I have more instant noodles to show you!

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I can't get over how much I love these Dr. McDougal's Asian Entrees.  I always got jealous when I saw people eating their cup-o-noodles, especially at work or in college, where the name of the game is "quick lunch."  Not only did those have meat in them, but they were full if chemicals.  It makes me happy to have instant noodles to feel good about, whether you are a vegan or not!

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These noodles have a pretty strong ginger flavor, however the soy flavor inst very noticeable. I love to add a little Siracha sauce to these for an extra kick!

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Are you going to add these ginger soy noddles to your shopping list?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicken and Caprese open faced sammy

Hello everyone! Today I want to show you a typical lunch in the Simple. Easy. Vegetarian! household.  Two things that we always keep stocked on the fridge are tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  I love adding them both to all kinds of foods like pastas and soups, and also slicing them to make sandwiches.  Whether hot and melted, or cold with the classic flavors, tomato and mozzarella.

For today's lunch I decided on hot and melty, I love melted cheese!  It has been a long time since I have ordered a sandwich with meat at a restaurant or deli, but I have seen some and I try to gain cooking inspiration from that.

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I started with my tomato and mozzarella staple, and then I got creative from there.  After broiling the cheese on top of a slice of oatmeal bread, I added a layer of sliced tomatoes, and then a piece of my favorite veggie chicken, Boca Original Chik'n, which looks and tastes just like a chicken cutlet, without any of that pesky chicken, of course. I finished off with my absolute favorite hot mustard from the Jewish deli by my house.

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I love the mix of hot, melty cheese, spicy mustard, and the classic chicken flavor!  This meal was a little messy, but a lot of delicious!  Now go ahead and tell me that vegetarians can't enjoy a hot open faced chicken sandwich! 

What is your favorite sandwich to make? Do you like experimenting with veggie meats too?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Amy's Veggie Loaf

Hello everyone! I hope you have all been enjoying the nice warm weather, I know that I have! Although I do have to say I'm happy that April is almost over and May is on its way! I hate how much rain April brings. Usually right about now I am planning my move to the desert...You know, until summer hits and then I plan my move to Alaska.

Today I have an Amy's meal that I consider the substitute teacher of Amy's frozen meals. When I first became a vegetarian, many years ago, one of the very first Amy's frozen meals I found was the veggie Salisbury steak. Salisbury steak is another food that I never ate as a meat eater, but have eaten the veggie version.  I remembered how good it was, and how my mom used to microwave it to me and serve me in my room back at our first house.  I ate it for years..until one day I couldn't find it in the supermarkets anymore.  However, right about the time the Salisbury steak disappeared, the veggie loaf made its debut. I decided to give it a try, and while it wasn't exactly like the steak, it was still very good, and I knew I had found its substitute.

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The Veggie Loaf reminds me of those classic 1950's TV dinners.  It comes with a veggie loaf made of lentils and other vegetables covered in a really tasty veggie gravy, mashed potatoes, and a mix of peas and corn.  I love mixing the gravy with the mashed potatoes and pretending I'm an all-American meat eater.  I have never actually had real gravy on mashed potatoes!

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This meal really reminds me of my grandma's cooking, because she always used healthy ingredients..and a lot of lentils!  I always feel good after eating this really healthy meal, full of protein and veggies, but I like pretending that its bad for you! :-P

Have you tried Amy's Veggie Loaf?  Do you like vegetarian meat loafs?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vegan Gluten Free Broccoli Pasta

Hey everyone! Today I have a cooking/recipe post for you guys! Technically I shouldn't be calling it a recipe.  I have 2 different ways that I like to cook. The first is to follow a recipe, and the second is just throwing things together that I have in my kitchen and hoping they work out.  There are many foods that I love making, and that I have made many times, like mashed potatoes, that I just cook by feel.  I dump in ingredients, take a taste, and then dump in more.  In the end I have a really tasty dish, unfortunately I have NO idea how much of what actually went into it.  As a food blogger, that at times will want to share with you the foods I cook, I probably should turn my creations into actual recipes, but in the end that's juts not my style.  I will continue to show you all my vegetarian food creations and the process that I go through to get them.  Hopefully it will inspire you to try to do the same! :)

As I have told you guys, my friend Michelle is gluten free, and has opened my eyes to a whole new diet and eating restriction.  While I am by no means gluten free myself, as a person with certain dietary restrictions, I can respect others'.  Pasta with broccoli in garlic and spice oil is one of my cooking staples as it is really easy to make, but I wanted to really push myself to cooking other kinds of foods, and decided to make this one vegan AND gluten free! This is my very first time making gluten free pasta so I was nervous at first, but with some advice from Michelle, I knew what I was up against.

Here's what I used:

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Vegan brown rice pasta
Frozen broccoli
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Here's what I did:
Michelle warned me that gluten free pasta can be a a lot harder than regular pasta, so I made sure to start the pasta boiling early.  I cooked it as I would normal pasta, just for a little longer, frequently testing the consistency.
Once the pasta was in the water and boiling, I defrosted the broccoli.

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While the broccoli was defrosting, it was time to start the sauce.  I set the burner on medium and poured in some olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, and then stirred.  Once it started boiling and the garlic turned brown, I reduced heat.

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Then it was time to add the broccoli, stir, and let it simmer until the pasta was ready.  I can't tell you how incredibly amazing this made my kitchen smell! Mmmm!

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Finally it was time to drain the pasta, and pour the broccoli and garlic and spice sauce on top. Mix and serve hot!

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The pasta definitely had a different taste than normal pasta, but once it mixed with the flavors of the broccoli and the sauce you couldn't really tell.  Each bite was filled with so much garlic flavor, it was amazing!  I felt really good about making good food choices and trying new things.  It also shows that even with different dietary restrictions, you can create amazing food.  I took some in to Michelle and she said that it tasted great! I'm glad I got her gluten free seal of approval!

On a side note, she warned me that gluten free pasta is awful when its cold.  I love me some cold pasta and I took a bit of it right out of the fridge the next day at lunch, BAD idea. I listened to her and threw it right in the microwave. Never doubt the experts!

Do you like trying different foods?  Will you be making this vegan gluten free broccoli pasta?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Veggie Burger Chronicles: 97 Lake

Hey everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your first weekend of April!  Actually my least favorite season is Spring, and my least favorite month is April!  I hate all the rain.  Hopefully this April passes quickly, and we can get right into May, which is full of flowers, and other wonderful things :)  The transition from Fall/Winter to Spring/Summer also means the retiring of pumpkin everything and the reintroduction to coconut everything! I love my pumpkin and coconut!

Today I have another installment of the Veggie Burger Chronicles.  This, or should I say these, burgers are from a local restaurant and bar called 97 lake, in White Plains NY.  My one friend, Michelle, is gluten free, and 97 lake is a completely gluten free restaurant! The first time I went I ordered a veggie burger, but since then they changed the menu a bit and added veggie burger SLIDERS! I have never ever eaten a slider burger in my whole life, so I jumped right on the chance to get these!

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My mouth is watering thinking about these again!  This basket came with 3 little veggie burgers all on grilled potato bread buns.  The burgers were full of flavor, crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  You could see all the veggies and beans in the burgers when you bite in, which I love!  They were topped with cheddar cheese and jalapeno mayo! The cheese and spice of the mayo tasted amazing with the burgers.  They finished off this dish with coleslaw and fresh cut french fries!

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Overall these were amazing! They tasted so good and I loved how little and cute they were. And for all you gluten free eaters out there, this is a great place for you.  If you ever find yourself in White Plains, make sure to stop by 97 Lake!

Have you ever had gluten free veggie burger sliders? Plan on trying out 97 Lake?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Awareness Wednesday: Nail Polish Remover

Hello and welcome to another Awareness Wednesday post!  This one is a little unique, as its not actually about food at all!  I became a vegetarian in order to reduce the suffering and killing of animals. To me that doesn't just mean I needed to stop eating meat, but also to not use products that contain forms of dead animals.  That means I don't wear any leather, and I am conscious about what cosmetics I use.  As you may know I am a nail fanatic, so this vegetarian unfriendly item is nail related.

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A plain ole' bottle of nail polish remover.  I used to use this all the time, until I found out about an unfriendly ingredient  Any guesses?

Gelatin, again.

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Gelatin is used as a strengthener in nail polish remover.  The main ingredient, acetone, is what actually removes the polish, is a very harsh chemical that really damages nails.  Adding gelatin helps to reduce some of the damaging effects.

Instead of regular nail polish remover, I opt for pure acetone.

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When weighing out the options, I would rather have damaged nails than dead animals.  I just use hand lotion after I remove my polish to moisturize my nails after.  On the plus side, pure acetone can be found at any drug or beauty store, and is usually cheaper.

Another option you have is acetone free, vegetarian nail polish remover.

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I have tried this Almost Natural nail polish remover before, and while it is a cause that I can totally get behind, I found it very ineffective at removing nail polish.  For just the occasional nail painter, this might be the right option for you.  However, in order to keep up with my other blog, and my love for nail art, I am constantly doing my nails, and I can't be wasting time waiting for my nail polish remover to work.

Will you be switching your bottle of nail polish remover to a gelatin free one?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Muffin!

Hey guys! Happy 1st day of April. Remember to say "rabbits rabbits" and try not to get fooled!

While everyone was celebrating Easter yesterday, I was celebrating my kitty's 14th birthday.  It makes me sad that she is getting so old, at 14 she's one old lady.  My lucky number happens to be 14, and when I turned 14 my mom told me that it was going to be my special year.  Well this message is for Muffin: I hope 14 is your special year too.  You have been there for me for the toughest times and the best times, and even my own 14th birthday.  For those that don't know Muffin's story, I would love to share it in honor of her birthday.

Ok, are you ready for a tear jerker? When I was young, around 8 or 9, I was allowed to get a kitten for my birthday.  Her name was Sugar and she was the sweetest cat.  I carried her around; my dad even took her to work to show his dental patients.  She was really my best friend.  When she was 9 months old she got very sick and it progressed to her brain.  And when she was 10 months old, I had lost my best friend.  I took her to the vet to put her to sleep, and I was crying and hugging her in the waiting room.  The vet took her and I said my last goodbye.  But he felt so bad.  He told me that a very little kitten, about 4 weeks old, was abandoned at the door of the vet with a broken leg.  He said that once she was healed and old enough to adopt, that I could have her.  I was still sad about losing Sugar, but I said yes.  A few weeks later, I picked up Sugar’s ashes (which I keep on my shelf) as well as my new kitty, that I had named Muffin.  She had a pin in her leg while it healed, and she was so small.  But very soon she became my best friend, and the rest is history.  Are you guys crying? Because I am!

She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love, and I don't know where I would be without her.

Since it was such a big birthday for her, I wanted to celebrate right!  Muffin loves to take nibbles from my cupcakes when my dad brings me home one, so I got her her own cupcake for her special day!

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I made her a special cat food dinner, wished her a special happy 14th birthday, and then we enjoyed a vanilla cupcake. Only the best for my boo!

Do you have a special pet in your life too?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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