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Happy New Year, My New Years’ Resolutions, & Roasted Vegetable Recipe

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First of all, I want to wish everyone a happy new year. I realize that I’ve been slipping updating my blog and I will do my best to post 2-3 times a week for everyone. Last January, boyfriend and I gave up eating meat. This included: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc. We still eat seafood occasionally. I am so proud that we have kept up with it and cannot wait to conquer another year. It is not longer a struggle but part of our lifestyle. This year, as I was thinking of resolutions to set for the New Years, I decided that I’m going to conquer ‘monthly’ resolutions instead. Having a long list of resolution for the new year can be extremely overwhelming. And to be honest, who keeps up with the resolutions for the entire year? Resolutions tend to fail within the first month. I decided that I’m going to have a new goal for every month and commit to it for the 30-31 days, which is still a LONG time! These resolutions can be anything that would be make me become a better person. If I enjoy the outcomes within that month, than I will continue with it. If I don’t enjoy it, I can always stop or adjust it to my liking. “Diets”, food, exercise, hobbies, and service is all an experiment to me. Try it, commit to it, and if you like it, stick with it. If not, change it. No need to beat yourself over something that doesn’t work for you. Acknowledge the uncomfortable and move on.

JANUARY 2013: Give up dairy and chips.
I’ve always wonder how it would feel to not eat dairy so I’m going to experiment with it. I’ve done some research and there are many benefits to not consume it. I’m going to have to do even more research to ensure that I’m getting enough calcium and nutrients in order to get the essentials that my body needs. Chips has always been my weakness and I KNOW it is not very healthy. I want to challenge myself to find healthier alternative. This is going to hard for me because I’m always craving salty crunchiness. I’m going to do weekly updates so that I can hold myself accountable.

Week 1 – Jan 01 – Jan 06
Giving up chips has been easy. I’ve been able to find healthier, baked crackers to satisfy my salty craving. Eating them with hummus or homemade guacamole gives me a satisfying snack. Giving up dairy has been HARD, HARD, HARD. I LOVE CHEESE. I make bomb bean and cheese burritos that my family LOVES and they constantly eat it in front of me! I’ve learned to substitute cheese with avocados and also discovered an awesome vegan cheese – daiya. Boyfriend and I actually made vegan pizza yesterday! Will post the recipe for that soon; it was delicious. I also have a fat sweet tooth and can’t have any of the store bought stuff. I usually have a piece of chocolate everyday and giving that up has been hard. So far I’ve made healthy oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle to help with my cravings. Both with vegan butter of course. Also, went to Whole Foods yesterday! Boyfriend and I got two vegan donuts: blueberry & crumb, and a german chocolate walnut cookie. All 3 were delicious! Thank you whole foods!

Oopsie Moment
I accidentally ate dairy ONCE. Boyfriend made toasted up some waffles with peanut butter for breakfast today and I forgot to look at the labels. Dove right into it and then realized that it was made with milk. =( But it’s okay. I’m going to keep going with it. Slipping up once doesn’t mean that your whole day is ruined. Many people tend to just give up and say that “they’ll start again tomorrow”. Haha. It’s okay, I’ve been guilty of that too. Continue RIGHT NOW. Slip ups happen. Don’t let them discourage you! =)

Finally, a new recipe from me: Roasted Vegetables.
This recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS. I can just eat them as a snack and be happy. Here is what you need…

Ingredients:
– 1 butternut squash
– 5 shallots
– 1 fennel bulb
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 asparagus bunch
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Chop your butternut squash into bite size pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook.
3. Quarter your shallots.
4. Slice the fennel bulb into small slices.
5. Chop and rinse asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
6. Toss your butternut squash, shallots, fennel, and garlic with the olive oil & balsamic vinegar.
7. Place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
8. Toss the asparagus into the oven and roast for another 20-25 minutes; until butternut squash is soft. (toss the other vegetables as well so the other sides can touch the pan!)RoastedVeggies1
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Tip: use a large baking pan. don’t crowd the vegetables on top of one of another. You want the sides to touch the pan because that’s where it is hottest. You’ll get a nice golden carmelization on the sides. Do it in two batches if you have to.

Please, please try out this recipe and let me know how you like it. It is seriously DELICIOUS!

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No Money?? No Problem! HEALTHIER Alternative for College Students – Ramen!

Being a college student, money is TIGHT. Eating healthier is awesome but it can cost a lot. A staple in every college student’s dorm room or apartment is RAMEN. Ramen usually costs 30 cents to one dollar. Many college students LIVE on this stuff because it’s so cheap. One night my boyfriend was craving ramen so I decided to make a healthier version of it and then a lightbulb clicked! This would be a perfect recipe for college students. It is much much healthier and filled with more nutrients. So college students (and ramen lovers), listen up, this is what you need…

Ingredients for 1 serving:
– 1 ramen pack (the one in the bag, NOT cup)
– 1 egg
– cubes of tofu
– handfuls of romaine lettuce and spinach (sometimes I use bok choy. Nom Nom)
– mushroom seasoning – no MSG!
– 4 cups of water
– sea salt

1. Boil your water and put in 1 tsp of mushroom seasoning, a dash of sea salt, and the onion packet without the fat. You can buy mushroom seasoning at an oriental store. The ramen pack usually comes with two packets of seasoning. One will have onions and fat (oil) and the other is powdered seasoning. TOSS the fat and powdered seasoning. Tons of MSG in those powders.
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2. Take a smaller pot and boil two more cups of water.
3. While waiting for water to boil, slice your lettuce and spinach and put it in a big bowl. You can put a lot, everything will wilt when it comes in contact with the hot soup.
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4. When water in the small pot is boiling, drop in your ramen. Leave it in there for 2 minutes, drain it, and then pour it into the bigger pot of boiling water. (Boiling it in just water first will take away some of the seasonings on the coating thats not very healthy for you.)
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5.Once you put the ramen in the bigger pot, crack the egg into the pot and drop in the tofu cubes. You can either poach the egg or just break it up a bit. I prefer to break it up because it will cook much faster. Don’t leave the ramen boiling in the water for too long or else it’ll get soggy.
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6. Pour all the soup over the lettuce and spinach. Within a minute, it will wilt. Put some fresh pepper if you’d like. Enjoy! The broth is clear and delicious.
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Yummy!
Give the healthier version of ramen a try! ❤

Namaste,
Jenn

Happy 15th Birthday to My Sister! <3

My sister turned 15 this year on November 5th. It’s amazing how fast the younger members of my family are growing. I still think that most of them are 7-8 but in reality, they’re 13-14-15. Crazy! Now I remember how old I’m actually getting…haha! Of course we had to have a big family birthday party. My sister and I are the only ones in our family that are on a pescatarian diet. My extended family has a hard time grasping the concept of pescatarianism, let alone vegetarianism. We both wanted the party to be only vegetarian, however, my mom was convinced that our guests would not be so happy. Therefore, she included both vegetarian and meat dishes. It has been about a year since my mom has cooked meat in our house…it was weird to see the frozen duck defrost in the sink. Terrifying image. My boyfriend, sister, and I were ‘What the 239871293?!’ when we saw it in the sink. I knew my mom was right when all my uncles asked where are all the meat egg rolls after they saw that we only served vegetarian egg rolls. =/ It baffles me that some of my family members can’t even eat ONE vegetarian meal in celebrating my sister’s birthday. But whatever, you can’t change everyone’s minds. Still, I wanted to share with everyone what we served at our party (both meat & vegetarian dishes). My mother prepared most of these meals and I’ll be sure to post some of her recipes in the near future. She’s a pretty fantastic chef. ❤

Fried Shrimp Balls from King Eggroll – San Jose, CA


Vegetarian Thai Fried Rice – Homemade – Absolutely delicious (boyfriend’s fave!)

Banh Beo from Long Phung – San Jose, CA. These are steamed rice cake with dried shrimps & mung bean paste. Usually eaten with fish sauce.

Banh Cuon from Long Phung – San Jose, CA. These are steam rice wraps with ground meat inside them. It is usually eaten with fish sauce and fried onion.

Goi – Homemade. A variety of vegetables seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar. It’s the vietnamese cole slaw.

Mom’s Macaroni & Cheese – Delicious! Favorite of Kids.

Chow Mein – Homemade. Mom made a meat version and a vegetarian version. Meat version had Chinese BBQ pork and Veggie had tofu slices.

Thai Noodle Pandan dessert – Rice flour w/ pandan juice & coconut water.

Basil Seed w/ Jelly blocks & Canned Lychees. Refreshing.

My grandma made this jello for my sister. Pretty awesome huh? Tastes great too! Each color represents a different flavor.

The Fruit Cake I made! Tangerines, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries over a thin layer of angel food cake. Was delicious! Light and sweet but not too sweet. Will post recipe soon! =)

How was your guys’s weekend? Hopefully everyone had a good one just like I did. I always cherish the times that I get to spend with families and friends.
Hope everyone likes the pictures!
Namaste,
Jenn

Bean & Cheese Burritos!

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I’ve been on a burrito quick lately and when I was in high school, the lunch lady made THE BEST bean and cheese burritos ever. The beans were tender and it oozed with cheese. I decided to make and freeze some for an easy lunch for my sister and I.

Ingredients:
– wax paper
– freezer ziplock bag
vegan pinto beans
– monterey jack cheese
– flour tortillas (9inch)
– tapatio or your favorite hot sauce!

Direction:
1. Cut your monterey jack cheese into slices.
2. Tear off a sheet of wax paper, it should be a little bigger than the tortilla.
3. Heat up tortillas on pan or in microwave (20 secs) then place it on the wax paper.
4. Place on a ladle of beans.
5. Place 3 slices or however many slices of cheese you want.
6. Wrap your burrito.
7. Wrap your burrito with wax paper if you plan to freeze them.
8. Place in freezer zip lock bag and label!

Ta-da!! These burritos were delicious and super gOooOooey with cheese. To prepare, take off the wax paper. Wrap the burrito in paper towel and microwave for about 4 minutes. Top with tapatio with a little bit of spiciness!

Hope you guys try it! =)

Namaste,
Jenn

Breakfast: Avocado Toast w/ Toasted Flax Seeds

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Gooooood moooorrrrnnniiiinnnnggg!!

Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day. When I was younger, I used to be one of those children that would NEVER, NEVER eat breakfast. I wouldn’t even drink milk. My mom always said that I drank milk like a cat…I literally licked the milk. Haha. So I’ve been trying to slowly adjust over to the vegan lifestyle..trying to find alternatives to my favorite foods so that I can be successful. My two FAVORITE foods that are not vegan are sushi and cheese. I love cheese & carb..definitely my comfort food. I haven’t been able to find a good cheese alternative. I have tried daiya cheese while I was in Portland, OR because I had vegan pizza and it was honestly the best pizza I’ve ever had. (I’ll do a separate post on my trip to Portland and the best VEGAN spots there..) The best thing I’ve found that is super creamy, delicious, and could replace my obsession with cheese is AVOCADO. When I put avocado in my sandwiches, toast, burritos, and burgers; I don’t really need the cheese and I don’t miss it!

Here’s a SIMPLE recipe to my favorite breakfast. I eat this about 4-5 times a week and seem to never get tired of it. & Best of all, it’s VEGAN!

Ingredients:
– Your choice of bread (my favorites are whole wheat and sourdough)
– Whipped Earth Balance butter
– Sliced avocado (I use about 1/2)
– 1 tsp of toasted flax seeds (I get mine at Trader Joe’s and it costs about $3. Good deal)

Directions:
1. Toast your bread.
2. Spread a layer of butter on it.
3. Slice the avocados and place it on the bread.
4. Sprinkle some toasted flax seeds.
5. ENJOY. Honestly, it is SO delicious!

Sometimes I will substitute the flax seeds with chia seeds and it’s equally delicious. The good thing about chia seeds is they have great nutritional value and expand in your stomach, keeping you fuller for longer! *Good diet tip! Let me know if you guys try it and what you think.

Namaste,
Jenn

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