Saturday, June 29, 2013

Trader Joe's Fusilli with Vegetables & Basil Pesto

Hey everyone! Today I have a scheduled post as I am currently in Pennsylvania loading up the moving truck with the things in Ben's house. I can't believe that tomorrow we are finally moving in together and I will be living on my own for the first time! Its a big step, but I'm ready for it!

Today I have a Trader Joe's meal that I recently tried for the first time.

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Trader Joe's Fusilli with Vegetables & Basil Pesto was filled with perfectly cooked pasta, tasty pesto, and tomatoes, zucchini, and pesto.

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I loved the description on the side of the box! I don't think I could have said it better myself!

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As this was cooking, my whole kitchen smelled like a vegetable garden! These veggies smelled and tasted so fresh.

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When I mixed it up I found the pesto hiding at the bottom, that sneaky devil! It was so delicious and the Italian flavor went perfectly with the veggies.  The zucchini was so crunchy and the hot tomato juice burst in my mouth with each bite. This dish tasted like it came from a restaurant, and I made it in my microwave in 5 minutes!

This was such a light and tasty meal. I am glad I tried it, I will definitely get this again!

Have you tried this Trader Joe's pasta dish?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Peanut Ramen Noodles: Part 1

Hello everyone and welcome to the last post being broadcast from my home in New York!  On Friday, I will begin my journey to move with my boyfriend to Virginia!  I am so excited that finally after 4 years of long distance dating that we will finally be close. However, I am not too thrilled about leaving my home state of New York. No matter what I will always be a New Yorker!

Today I want to show you a quasi recipe that I put together from inspiration I got from good ole' Pinterest.  I have loved Ramen noodles since I was about 8 years old. My dad would cook them for me all the time by microwaving the noodles in the water, then mixing in the spice packet.  When I gave up meat at 11 years old, I stopped eating the chicken flavor (and all the other meat flavors) since they have the stock of the animal in the spice packet. Luckily there is ONE flavor of ONE brand that is vegetarian: Top Ramen Oriental flavor.  I gobbled up these quick noodles until I went off the college.  While all of my classmates ate more Ramen while at school, the local super market didn't carry the Oriental flavor, so I stopped eating them.  Once I came back home I rediscovered my love for the noodle soup and it was all Ramen all the time once again.

Then while browsing Pinterest, I saw some "recipes" that people had created using Ramen. With my love newly restored, I was so excited to try some of them out.  I wanted to start simple my first time. I mixed together a few ingredients, and Peanut Ramen Noodles Part 1 were created!

What you need:

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For these noodles I grabbed the jar of peanut butter that I had in my cabinet, asian chili garlic sauce, and of course Top Ramen noodles in Oriental flavor.

What to do:
Fill a bowl with water and add in the dry noodles. Microwave for 3 minutes making sure to stir up the noodles halfway through.
Once they are all cooked, carefully drain out the water making sure to leave a little bit of water in the bowl.
Mix in the Oriental flavor packet, a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter, and chili sauce to taste.
That's it! How easy is that?

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I am literally obsessed with these spicy noodles. The peanut butter makes them creamy, while the Ramen flavor packet is the perfect mix of Asian spices. Finally, I love how the chili sauce takes the Ramen to a whole new level of spice!

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After I made these noodles, I actually stopped eating Ramen the "normal" way! Adding a few simple ingredients really takes Ramen from a poor college kid's food, to an easy to make Asian dinner!

These totally inspired me to take my Peanut Ramen Noodles to the next level.  I plan on trying these again but with CRUNCHY peanut butter, so it will have bits of peanuts in it just like in pad thai! I also want to try adding veggies or even tofu. I can't wait to keep enjoying and experimenting with Ramen Noodles!

Have you ever dressed up Ramen? What would you add?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dr. Praeger's Spinach Pancakes

Hey everyone! First of all I wanted to start off by saying that this is my 100th post! *Throws confetti*

Second of all, today is my very best friend in the whole world's birthday, Sara! *Throws even more confetti* We have been friends for 16 years and I am so happy that we have been friends for so long. We have shared so many amazing memories and she is always there for me if I need help. She even created my lovely blog banner! Happy birthday Sara, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with happiness! :)

Now on the the food.

I am going to show you a product that I have loved for years: Dr. Praeger's Spinach Pancakes.  Dr. Praeger makes all kinds of pancakes from spinach, to broccoli, and even sweet potato. They even have ones in dinosaur shapes so the kids can have fun while eating veggies!

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I love the simple ingredients in these and the fact that there is no cholesterol or fat!  But of course what I love most is the convenience and the taste.

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These are amazing and flavorful little patties. I love spinach so much and I love that I can enjoy a pancake made of spinach. They are so delicious and fluffy and taste fresh off the pan coming out of the microwave.

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My favorite way to enjoy these is on top of some toast with garlic sprinkled on top, but there is something amazing about enjoying them on their own too to really appreciate how amazing they are!

Have you tried any of the Dr. Praeger's Pancakes? Which ones do you want to try?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Amy's Breakfast Scramble Wrap

Hey everyone, I hope you all are having a great week! I spent father's day going on a hike and a motorcycle ride with my dad. Then we had dinner at a Greek festival. I enjoyed some of the best and most authentic Greek food. I love the food of my people!  I've been spending the week continuing to pack and enjoying my yoga class. Plus, I am so excited because tonight I am going out to dinner with my friend at The Melting Pot! Even though I am excited for dinner tonight, right now I am going to talk breakfast.

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As you know, even though I'm not a vegan, I try to avoid eating eggs, and I rarely ever eat them on their own, so I am always looking for fake egg meals. The first time I saw Amy's Breakfast scramble wrap I was so excited to try it!

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This wrap is filled with tofu eggs, veggies, and soy bacon all in a flaky and crispy wrap. The first time I ate this I started to panic when I tasted the bacon. It tasted SO realistic that I thought it was real bacon. I freaked out and ran to the recycling bin and triple read the ingredients. Totally vegetarian.

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The eggs had a pretty mild flavor, not super eggy, but it was more flavorful that tofu. The Fake-on gave it a bit of a meaty taste. Add in some veggies and a bit of cheese and you have a perfect vegetarian breakfast in each bite! I decided to add some hot sauce to give it a bit of kick.

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I have to say this is my favorite of the Amy's tofu egg meals. It really makes the perfect breakfast. All you need is a side of tater tots!

Have you tried the Amy's Breakfast Scramble Wrap? Will you be?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dr. McDougall's Asian Entree Pad Thai Noodle

Happy Saturday everyone! I am spending the day taking a rest from yoga, doing some more packing, and tonight I'll be going out for my friend's birthday!  But first I needed to share another Dr. McDougall's Asian Entree.

This is one is Pad Thai Noodle.  All of the Dr. McDougall's Asian Entrees are vegan, but this one is also gluten free!

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This bowl was filled with clear and chewy gluten free noodles in a sauce that was a bit sour and a bit spicy.  It was definitely not a traditional pad Thai sauce, but it was still quite tasty.  I love that each bite was filled with veggies, tofu, and crunchy peanuts giving it that Thai flare.

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 The Pad Thai Noodle bowl isn't my favorite of the  Dr. McDougall's Asian Entrees but it feels great making vegan meal choices. I love that its gluten free too. I know knowing that its totally possible to be vegan and gluten free!

Have you tried these Asian Entrees yet? Will you be adding it to your next vegan and gluten free shopping list?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Amy's Not Just for Kids Meals-Baked Ziti

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having a great week. I have been spending my time packing for my big move to Virginia, taking my kitty to the vet, and Bikrim yoga.  I just started taking classes and I am really liking it.  Bikram yoga is a set of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises done in a 105 degree room! It is really intense but it leaves you feeling great. I suggest that everyone goes out and tries it!

Anyway, on to the food!  Taking yoga is making me want to make good food choices.  I actually read that taking yoga decreases your cravings for junk food! I wanted to show you another Amy's meal that is fun and delicious: Not Just for Kids Meals-Baked Ziti.

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I completely LOVE that these are vegan and gluten free! Its such a great feeling knowing that I can have pasta with cheese and bread and it not to have any animal products or gluten in it.  These might be aimed for kids, but like the box says, its not just for kids. Anyone can enjoy a healthy, vegan, gluten free dinner. Of course, if you have kids this is a great meal for them too.  It has small portions which are good for small bellies, and the inside of the box has games and puzzles!

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The baked ziti meal comes with ziti, vegan cheese, tomato sauce, broccoli, focaccia, and a apple crumb dessert. It is the perfect little meal from the bread, to the main course, and even the desert.  It reminds me of those Kid Cuisine meals, but a thousand times better for you!  The pasta and sauce tastes great and the broccoli tastes fresh.  I usually am not a fan of vegan cheese, but this one is really good.  It doesn't have a strong cheese flavor, but it melts really well. The focaccia was really flavorful and its great for scooping up the sauce that's left over in the dish. The apple dessert is hot and sweet. I love the apple cinnamon flavor and the crumb top is perfect!

I love this little meal, its perfect for when you want a complete dinner without all the cooking.  While I'm all grown up, I am a kid at heart and I love feeling like a kid again with these meals.  These are perfect for kids and adults of any age!

Have you tried the Baked Ziti Not Just for Kids Meals? Will you be buying these for yourself, or a kid you know?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Hey everyone. Today I have a post that's a bit different from my others.  While its still has to do with vegetarianism (of course) it's not about food.  My post is actually about an old cartoon called Braceface.  I remember watching this cartoon all the time as a kid and I have recently rediscovered it. For those that have never heard of or watched the cartoon, Braceface is about a girl named Sharon, who is in middle school, and gets braces put on.  There was a mishap while she was at the orthodontist and it causes electrical currents to occasionally run through her braces. The cartoon is a typical pre-teen show about girl problems, boy problems, school problems, and just struggling with being a pre-teen.

What I love most about this show is that Sharon is a vegetarian. She has an experience at a slaughter house and decides she will no longer eat meat.  It is really amazing to me that there was a kids show that had such an important message.  While on the surface the cartoon is about girls and pre-teen issues, many of the episodes cover really important animal rights topics.  I think it is so important that this cartoon gave young vegetarians a person on TV they could  relate to.  As someone that gave up meat at an early age, I was alone among my classmates who couldn't understand why I didn't eat meat, and at times I got made fun of. This show focuses on an average school girl that goes through all the same issues that everyone goes through at that age, but really highlights the positives of vegetarianism.

I want to show you a clip from one episode that I thought was really important. In this episode, Sharon has just finished finals in school and has been feeling tired and run-down after studying and not eating right.  Please keep an open mind while watching this.  Remember this is a kids show and it will be a bit cheesy and immature, it is meant for kids to watch!

You can go to YouTube if you want to watch the full episode.

I love how this show paints vegetarianism in a positive light.  I feel most shows that have a vegetarian character are portrayed as crazy hippies. It nice that there is a show for kids that lets them see that eating differently is a positive. It highlights that vegetarianism is healthy, easy, and that you are able to get all the nutrients you need without having to eat meat. These are themes that every vegetarian can appreciate. Sharon goes through issues on the show that I went through being a vegetarian in junior high. Vegetarianism is becoming more popular among adults, and even kids, and I wish this show was still around to give those kids a person to relate to. 

Want to hear a funny story? The episode where Sharon becomes a vegetarian, she holds up the lunch line asking the cafeteria lady if there is meat in the items she is serving. She asks if there is anchovy paste in Caesar dressing, and that is actually how I learned about that!  I was eating Caesar salad when I first became a vegetarian until I saw that episode of Braceface and I learned it wasn't vegetarian.

Every episode of Braceface is on YouTube. You guys might not be able to sit through too many episodes since it is really geared for kids, but for those that have kids that you are raising to be vegetarians or might have made the choice on their own, I urge you to show this cartoon to them. I hope that this cartoon can reach out to more vegetarian kids to give them someone they can relate to and a show that they can learn a little more about vegetarianism from a kid's perspective.

Have you ever watched Braceface? Are you going to watch it, or show it to your kids?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Awareness Wednesday: Miso

Hey everyone, its the first Wednesday of June and you know what that means...time for another Awareness Wednesday post!  This post is about another food that I continued to eat well into my vegetarianism, and only gave it up about 3 years ago.  I am talking about miso.

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Miso is an Asian soybean paste and its usually used to make soup. Sounds vegetarian, right?  Well I thought so too.  I even followed my own rules and read the ingredients on some miso soup that I bought from a supermarket years ago.  I saw that it was vegetarian, and I added another food to my diet.

This is where is gets tricky.  Some miso is vegetarian, and sometimes it can be made with fish stock.  In order to avoid eating fish, but still enjoying the sometimes-vegetarian food requires a few guidelines.

1. Only eat the miso you can read the ingredients for. I still enjoy instant miso soup from the supermarket that I can be sure is vegetarian.

2. Do not eat the miso soup from restaurants.  In my book, if you can't read the ingredients, you don't know what's in it.

3. Ask your server if their miso is vegetarian. If you are out and want some miso soup, just ask if there is fish in it.

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Until I learned about miso's semi-fishiness, I used to eat it all the time. Until one time I ordered a soup from a sushi place and the miso tasted a little different.  I decided to do some research and found out about the fish stock.  In order to be safe, I don't order it from restaurants anymore unless I am 100% positive that its fish free, like the vegan miso soup that I had in Austin.

Did you know about the fish in miso? Will you stop ordering it from restaurants?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Avocado and Pesto Pasta

Hello everyone! Rabbits, rabbits, happy first day of June! I hope the weather has been nice in you neck of the woods.  It had been really bipolar here.  Some days its sunny and beautiful, and the next its grey and rainy.  I'm hoping the weather can stay nice!  With the summer here avocados are popping up in my grocery store, which just fills me with joy! I can't get enough the the creamy and buttery taste.  They are pretty expensive here in NY so I don't get them too often, so when I do its a really nice treat.  I love them so much I usually just eat them on toast with a little bit of lemon juice so I can really enjoy them.  But I wanted to break out of my shell and try something new!

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