Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes – Day 12 of 31

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL for the past few days.  I’ve been exhausted and had ZERO writing bug.  Every time I thought about writing, I was like Nah!

So today I’m back with the writing.

On Thursday, I shared with you my favorite meat substitutes.  Today I’m going to share one of the ways I use the meat substitute.

One of our favorite meals is sloppy Joes.  So instead of eating Sloppy Joes with ground beef, I make mine with the meat substitute.


What you need:

  • 1 batch of the meat substitute
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • yealow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1 batch of the meat substitute 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil -1/2 bell pepper, finely diced -2 garlic cloves, minced -1 yellow onion, minced -1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz) -1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz) -1 Tbsp. yellow mustard -2 tsp. apple cider vinegar -2 tsp. brown sugar -1 & 1/2 tsp. chili powder -salt and pepper to taste


Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, meat substitute, peppers, garlic, and onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium low heat. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. While it’s simmering, make sure you stirring it every so often.
  4. Serve on a bun with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

 

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

My favorite homemade meat substitute – Day 11 of 31

As I previously said, I don’t like textured vegetable protein as a meat substitute.  The only one I enjoy is the Ground “Beefless” Beef from Trader Joes.

Sometimes I want to make one without any weird ingredients.  So I found a way to have a meat substitute with only 2 ingredients.

Mushrooms can have a meatly taste to them depending on how you cook them.

Cashews provide the “crunch” and texture you get with browned ground beef.

Vegetable meat substitute

It’s so easy to make and takes less than 5 minutes to put together.

So what do you need to make this meat substitute?

  • 4 to 5 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup raw cashews

Combine in a food processor.  Pulse for 10 to 12 times until the pieces are minced but not pureed.

That’s all you need to make the meat substitute.  Pretty easy.

Tomorrow I’ll share one way I use the meat substitute.

Until then, happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Boy, Was It Hot! – What I ate at the Outdoor Experience – Day 9 of 31

During the first weekend in October, a local park has an Outdoor Experience.  Visitors can try out different outdoor experiences, watch dogs jump off a dock, and camp out, etc . . .

You never know what the weather is going to be like during this experience.  Sometimes it is cold, cool, or even wet.  This year it was record temperatures.  It was 80 some degrees outside.

The Imaginative One got super hot and didn’t feel good for a while.  He got some water and sat in the shade for a little bit and then felt better.

So what did I eat at this Outdoor Experience?

There was a lot of vegetarian options at the different food trucks.  Vegan quesadillas at one food truck, hummus and pita at the Gyro food truck, and a red bean and lentil burger at another food truck.  I chose one of my favorite food trucks to get my lunch.

I love Harvest especially the fries from there.  The fries are a mixture of russets and sweet potato with herbs and a sriracha ketchup.  Super yummy!

Harvest sign

Here is a list of what they had as choices.  As you can see there was 3 vegetarian options plus the fries.  It was a tough decision because I almost bought all 3 options.

Harvest sign 2

The Sprouts, Melt, and Black Bean and Quinoa Falfel Tacos were my choices.  I went with the Melt because you can’t go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Melt and Freies

As soon as Hubby saw my fries, he made a bee line to Harvest to get his own order.  I shared my fries with the Wee One.  He’s the more adventurous eater.  He also tried the sriracha ketchup.  Didn’t like it though.

I also got a frozen lemonade that I forgot to take photo.  I shared that with the Wee One.

The Wee One and Hubby went off to ride in the kayaks so I had the Imaginative One who got super hot.  We ended up getting food at a food truck called the McNasty.

McNasty

The Imaginative One was able to get a burger there.  I ate some Butter Pecan Ice Cream from my favorite dairy.

butter pecan

So that’s what I ate at the Outdoor Experience.

Do you want to see some photos from the experience?

Wee One and dogThe Wee One told me that all the dogs visiting the Outdoor Experience must be what Heaven is like.  He told me that he wants to be a professional dog petter as an adult.

Thank you random stranger who stood there while he got a photo with his dog.

Dog jumping – So cool!  One jumped 18 feet!

The Wee One kayaking.

 

Slack line

 

Very hot penguin – The Imaginative One told me he would quit if he dressed in a costume like the penguin on a hot day like Sunday.

penguin

High wire

White water

Now onto a serious matter.  As you can see all of my family members are wearing life jackets.  After the experience closed for the year, a man in his 50s went into the river without a life jacket.  They are currently searching for his body now.  Such a sad situation to a great festival.  Please pray / send good thoughts to that family.

Life jackets are important.  Please wear them.

Hope you enjoy my photos from the Outdoor Experience.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of October 8, 2018 (Vegetarian) – Day 8 of 31

Sorry that I’m late getting today’s blog post up.

I planned out the menu yesterday.  However after my day in the heat yesterday, I was exhausted.  Join me tomorrow to see what I was doing yesterday.

Anyway you’ll see some of the same meals from last week.  I didn’t get to make all of the meals.

Sunday – leftovers – Hubby got us Chinese on Saturday evening so I ate the left overs for dinner.

Monday – Enchilada skillet pasta

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Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – Minestrone Soup

Thursday  – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


Just like last week, I’m going to post what the rest of the family is going to eat for dinner.

Sunday – They ate over at my mother-in-law’s house.

Monday – Sausage and chicken rice a roni

Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – BBQ chicken wings

Thursday – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


As you can see some of our meals are the same.  They can add some meatballs to their spaghetti if they want meat.  I have some meatless meatballs for myself.

I have a meat sloppy Joe in the freezer for the family while I’ll make a non-meat version for myself.

When I make potato soup, they can add some cooked bacon to theirs while I have bacon bits on mine.  Did you know those are vegan?


When I’m in the mood for a baked potato, I’ll have it with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits.  Not necessarily healthy but good comfort food.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Better than Restaurant Oven Home Fries – Day 7 of 31 (Sheet pan recipe)

While I was sick with my gallstones last year,  I had one food that did not bother my stomach.  Okay, it did bother me if it was greasy but if it was cooked with no oil or grease, I had little to no problems.

Potatoes were my friend during those 4 months.  I would spiralize potatoes and then cook up like hash browns on the stove.

That is until I started to cook the home fries in my oven.  We love a roasted potato in the household so this made things so much easier.

Hubby might debate if these potatoes are better than the ones we get at a local breakfast place called Butter Cafe.  He adores their home fries.


What you need:

  • 2 red potatoes or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Oven Home Fries

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 red potatoes, cubed, or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes, quartered or even cut into eighths
  • 1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. extra olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes, bell pepper, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the veggies. Using clean hands or a spatula make sure the veggies are covered with the oil.
  4. Sprinkle the seasoning over the veggies.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
  6. Enjoy!


I enjoy using the onion salt from Trader Joes on my potatoes.

We love to use sriracha ketchup from Red Gold on our fries and roasted potatoes.

This recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan. Score!

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Sometimes You Need “Beef” Tacos – Day 6 of 31

I’m teaching my students how to write narratives so I’ve been doing a lot of model writing for them.  A good narrative has a hook that gets the reader to want to read your story.  This is a skill that I struggle with when I’m writing my blog posts.

However it is important for a writer to have a hook so you can get the reader wanting to read what you have written.

Just like a writer needs to have a hook, sometimes you need a beef taco.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have the typical beef taco.

I’ve tried TVP which is textured vegetable protein but it usually turns into a brown soupy mess.  Yuck!  Not appetizing.

Then I tried the Beefless Ground Beef along with their soy chorizo.  It’s just the right texture.

“Beef” tacos get into my belly.


What you need:

  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef
  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
  • a third of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce

  • Servings: 2 to 3 tacos
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef -1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, make sure you take the casing off -1/3rd of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (You may need a little more.) -tortillas (hard or soft) -Your favorite toppings


Directions

  1. Combine the “beefless” ground beef, soy chorizo, and enchilada sauce in a sauce pan.
  2. Cook on medium heat until heated through. (Add more sauce if you discover it’s not coated enough.)
  3. Enjoy on your a hard shelled or soft shelled tortilla with your favorite toppings.


This recipe is vegan before you add your toppings.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

One frustration with eating vegetarian (Day 5 of 31)

It’s not always easy eating a vegetarian diet.  The Standard American Diet is a meat based diet.

Most restaurants have a variety of meat main dishes but little variety when it comes to vegetarian main dishes.  This can be infuriating.  Plus you never know if the dinners are truly vegetarian.  Sometimes they will use ingredients like chicken stock in their recipes.

Similarly when you go to a potluck, you never know what ingredients were used when they were cooking the food.  In late August, I went to a family reunion.  I took a helping of what I thought was regular mac and cheese.  I found out that it was actually mac and cheese with shrimp.

I ate some other food at the reunion.  My stomach ached for the rest of the evening.  I’m wondered if I ate something that was made with meat.

One way you can remedy this by making a dish or two that you know is safe.  I cooked a vegan baked bean dish and a potato salad that was safe to eat.  However, it was not a main dish so I decided to try eating some of the other dishes that were prepared.  Bad mistake.

So the next potluck I went to I made a vegan pumpkin chili and brought along mac and cheese so I was able to eat safe foods.  I ate those two dishes and also had some raw veggies.

Another issue is when work brings us food.  Sometimes there is vegetarian friendly foods.  While other times there is no vegetarian friendly food.


It’s truly frustrating but with planning it can be doable.

With restaurants, plan ahead.  Check their menus prior to going out to eat if possible.  I also know the vegetarian friendly restaurants around my area.  I also know the best places to get a meal and what I can eat there.

Hubby told me that it is not easy to be flexible on road trips because I can’t eat at some restaurants.  It was harder finding places to eat when I was gluten free.

When you are going to a potluck, make sure you bring a dish or two with you that is vegetarian friendly.  Or bring something that you can eat.   Something that you don’t have to share with anyone else.

When you know your work is bringing food, have a back up plan.  I have cups of easy mac, cracker sandwiches, and cans of vegetarian veggie soup in my work closet.  So if there is nothing for me to eat I can eat something.


As I said, it’s frustrating but doable.  The key is to plan ahead.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Snack Boxes – The Hard Boiled Egg Version (Vegetarian Meal Prep) – Day 4 of 31

If I don’t have a plan of what I am going to eat during the week, then I feel out of sync.

There are some weeks that I know that all I’m going to be able to eat is snacky types of foods.  Foods that I can eat while working at my desk or even sometimes between students.

Here’s one idea for a snacky type snack box.  I call it my Hard Boiled Egg version.

I’m a vegetarian but not a vegan.  I still eat dairy and eggs.

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What You’ll Need for these Snack Boxes:

  • Hard boiled egg(s) – Store bought or make at home – Instant Pot or oven method 
  • Hummus – Homemade or Store bought
  • Your favorite snacking veggie – sliced cucumber, snap peas, carrot sticks, celery sticks
  • Slices of cheese
  • Mini Croissants, crackers, or some other carb
  • A container to put the snack in, cupcake wrappers (silicone or paper), and small containers to put the hummus in

To assemble the Snack Box:

  • Place in the container.  I used the cupcake wrapper for the egg so that it was separated from rest of the food.  You can leave the peel on or off.  It really does not matter.
  • I put the mini croissant in a small sandwich bag to keep it fresh.
  • The hummus was placed in a small container that I purchased at the dollar store.
  • Use within 4 days.

When you make the hard boiled eggs, it is best to use the eggs that have been in your fridge the longest but are not expired.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Greek Pasta Salad (Meal Prep) – Day 3 of 31

In August, I finally got to meet some family members I had never met  before.  They live on the west coast, Oregon, and don’t get to Ohio very often.

My mom’s first cousin, their mother, lives in the Phoenix area.  She comes into town more often than her children.  She was planning to visit the family and decided her children should also come to Ohio.

Since they came into town, one of my mom’s first cousins decided we needed to have a family get together with a potluck dinner.

My aunt flew into town from New York.  That was an adventure in itself. (Needless to say her maybe 4 hour trip took almost 12 hours because of plane delays and missed connections).

Any who, on the same day as the family get together, our church had their annual picnic.  I needed to make something that could be served at both the picnic and the get together.  That’s when I decided to make this Greek pasta salad.  It’s quick and easy to put together.

This recipe can either prepped for the week or eaten as a side dish.  If you decide to prep it for the week, add the dressing right before you eat the pasta salad so it does not get soggy.

The dressing I used for this recipe was the Greek Feta cheese dressing from Trader Joe’s.  However, you can use whatever Greek dressing you desire.


What you’ll need:

  • box of farfelle pasta (bow tie pasta) – Actually, you can use any shape like penne but I just like the shape of the bow ties.
  • Jar of artichokes
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Bell Pepper (orange, red, or yellow)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Greek dressing

Greek Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 5 to 7
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-16 oz. box of farfelle pasta (Any shape will work like elbow or penne.), cooked and drained -1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil -1/2 jar of artichokes in water, cut into smaller pieces -1/4 c. Kalamata olives, halved and pitted -1 bell pepper, diced -1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped into smaller pieces -1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese -1 jar of Greek dressing


Directions

  1. Cook the pasta. Drain it. Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil over the pasta so that it does not stick.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients except dressing.
  3. Stir until the ingredients are combined.
  4. If serving right away, pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Stir until everything is coated.
  5. If you are are going to use this as a meal prep, place individual size portions in containers. Pour the dressing over the salad when ready to eat. Keeps for 4 days in the fridge.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci