I finally was able to embed my blog into my personal website, so please continue to follow my blog through http://brokeandhungry.melissamott.com/
More posts have already been added, so be sure to subscribe to the new site!
I finally was able to embed my blog into my personal website, so please continue to follow my blog through http://brokeandhungry.melissamott.com/
More posts have already been added, so be sure to subscribe to the new site!
Sooo…this is what is looks like to be a real vegetarian on a college student’s budget (“real,” meaning that I’ve been eating meat-free for about 15 years and I don’t only eat salads and kale). With that in mind, I’d like to point out that I am a religious carb-eater. Because of this, many people ask me, “If you only eat carbs, how are you not overweight?” The answer is simple—portion control (and I don’t only eat carbs). Is it absolutely 100%, perfectly healthy? No, but I do take my multivitamins and iron supplements every day while also visiting my doctors regularly, just like everyone else. Trust me, all of my doctors have known that I’ve been a vegetarian for this long, especially since I’ve been going to some of them for most of my life. They have never once been concerned about my health, weight, or lifestyle.
Now that that’s out of way, I’d like to talk about maintaining my vegetarian diet while also currently suffering from “broke college girl” syndrome. Living away at college was tough for me to adjust to—my mom wasn’t there to cook any specialty meals for me anymore and the dining hall at my school only offered pizza, salads, and french fries as vegetarian options. I was completely on my own, budget and all. Therefore, for the first time in my life I had to figure out what to buy, where to buy it, and how much money to set aside for groceries each month. And I know what you’re thinking. My lunch today definitely didn’t seem so exciting, but for a total of maybe .50 cents, I think it did its duty as well as filled my stomach.
Besides the fact that I’m a vegetarian living away at a non-vegetarian-friendly school, I’m also an incredibly picky eater. As you can probably tell from my Skippy Natural Peanut Butter (no jelly) sandwich picture with a few of Snyder’s “eatsmart” Sea Salt Garden Veggie chips, it’s clear I’m not one to go too outside of the box with any vegetarian meals. However, I do have a way of staying healthy and happy with my lifestyle. As of today I will try to post at least one picture of any meal I eat each day to show what it’s like to be a broke, picky eater, and vegetarian living away at college. And how I survive it.
Follow me on my journey through the rest of my time living away at college and beyond.
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With March just around the corner, more of the sweet fruits and crisp veggies are finally beginning to come back into season, which means no more sour fruits and limp lettuce! Yay!
But what exactly is in season right now?
Throughout February and March, broccoli and cauliflower are in season. As of March, lettuce finally gets that perfect crispness. But that’s it? Well….yes and no. Although these veggies don’t seem as if they can satisfy your deprived green needs, they definitely can.
For the rest of us who live on the east coast and are getting hit hard with snow and ice this year, what can warm us up better than broccoli cheddar soup? You mean…just like… Yep! Just like Panera! This recipe from Alyssa on The Recipe Critic calls for 1 heaping cup of fresh broccoli and only takes 45 minutes from prep to inhalation (because who just sips their soup anymore?). I think what really gets me is that you won’t have to leave your house to get Panera’s creamy soup or have to pay $5.09 per bowl. This soup is perfect to get your broccoli fix and keep you warm in the bitterness of the winter. And who doesn’t love free seconds?
Well, considering America’s new obsession over pizza, why not try a pizza with cauliflower dough? Sound odd? Probably. Look mouth-watering? Absolutely. This recipe from iFoodReal hardly tastes any different from original doughy pizza. But why would I even want to try that? Besides the fact you’d be using an entire head of incredibly fresh cauliflower, have you even thought about the health benefits? An entire pie of regular cheese pizza is around 2,269 calories and 294.8g of carbs while a cheese pizza with a cauliflower crust is around 510 calories with 5.6g of dietary fiber and 5.7g of carbs. So when you’re stuck inside from snow all day and get an itch for greasy pizza, instead of ordering out, try making a cauliflower pizza. It takes only a half hour from start to finish so how could you even turn down this healthy alternative?
When it comes to lettuce, I know what you’re already thinking: vegetarian + lettuce = plain salad. But that’s not the case. Ever try spicy tofu lettuce wraps? This recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious kind of reminds me of grilled chicken wrapped in a tortilla, but this is much healthier (and obviously veg-friendly). For recipes similar to this, it’s vital that you use fresh, crisp lettuce so that your meal isn’t nearly as bland and un-enjoyable as it could be. So while you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds before spring break or prepping for your summer body, this is a great quick and easy meal to try that even non-vegetarians are sure to love!
In March, pineapples and mangoes are finally beginning to ripen to their perfect juiciness. But again, that’s it?! Although fruit smoothies are delicious, they’re not always ideal for people (…like me) who don’t do well with cold, especially in the winter. So here are some other options for foodies who love fruits.
Nothing makes me happier than finding a new potato recipe, and this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and pineapple from Martha Stewart is just dreamy. It calls for one entire fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch pieces and two sweet potatoes for four servings. After taking only 30 minutes to cook, this recipe will make the perfect side dish to just about any meal. These super sweet potatoes are sure to give you just a little taste of summer while you’re bundled up for winter.
Lastly, this recipe from Alexandra Cooks for Quinoa Salad with Mango, Snap Peas, Ginger and Lime is perfect for your sweet tooth and would taste incredible with mangoes that are perfectly in season. But I don’t want to eat a salad. Well, it’s not entirely a salad. The typical lettuce is replaced for snap peas, quinoa, and scallions with the two cut and peeled mangoes acting as croutons. Now what about that screams plain salad to you? The entire recipe takes just about 15 minutes and suggests letting it cool and marinate for an hour in the fridge before serving, but if you just can’t wait after eyeing-down that beautiful bowl, I say go for it!
So go ahead and search the grocery store or farmer’s market for the perfect fruits and veggies once March hits and pick out broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, pineapples, and mangoes. But remember that you don’t have to make boring meals with these ingredients, either. There’s a lot more that can be created other than plain salads and smoothies; a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring.
Every vegetarian/vegan tries to make the argument that they can “find something to eat on any menu” of just about any restaurant. That way, they don’t feel like they are the ones keeping their friends from going to their favorite fast food joint. The truth is, that’s much easier said than done. However, about a month or so ago, Peta published an article on their website giving a relatively descriptive list of every restaurant that a vegan and vegetarian can happily dine at (and yes, happily means not just plain salads).
Here’s a simplified version of their list:
*Always check or ask for ingredients. Just about all items listed above can be made vegan by asking for no cheese*
But wait—there’s more! Just today Huffington Post claimed that White Castle announced they will begin serving Dr. Praeger’s veggie patties starting tomorrow, December 30th! The sliders were tested for a short period in select stores back in July, and it seemed that the carrot-zucchini-pea-spinach-broccoli-based patties have done well! Is this finally the start of the vegetarian empire in fast-food restaurants? Will we finally be able to eat anywhere we want without frantically Googling a menu beforehand? Only time will tell.
If you read my last post, you’ll see that I provided you with the dishes that I chose for my own vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner last year. If you wanted just a little something different or want to mix and match different dishes, well, I’ve really done all the hard work for you! Here are some of my favorite vegetarian recipes that I think would be perfect for your veggie Thanksgiving dinner that even your meat-eaters will love.
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
This recipe for veggie minestrone soup by Laura from allrecipes.com is one of the greatest I’ve seen yet. Why? Because it’s so easy. While you may be running around all of Thanksgiving morning trying to make 8 completely different dishes, this is one that you can cook overnight. Laura’s recipe calls for this soup to be made in a slow cooker, or a Crockpot. Just take roughly 20 minutes the night before Thanksgiving to put the vegetable broth, spices, vegetables, etc. into the slow cooker, give it a little stir, and then let it cook on low for 6 ½ hours. The next morning, all you have to do is boil the water and cook the macaroni (or you can even leave out the pasta to make a lighter appetizer) and this dish is completely finished!
My favorite part about this site is that you can change the serving size to however many people you’re planning on serving that day, and the recipe automatically changes and is tailored to that. There’s also a little box next to the ingredients that has some ingredients currently on sale in food markets that are near you right now! This entire website is very intuitive, which makes it really fun to navigate through.
This recipe from marthastewart.com puts a little twist on your classic bruschetta appetizer. Instead of just the tomatoes, basil, and olive oil, now you’re getting tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice, and olive oil. I chose this recipe because it’s not a drab appetizer that everyone’s used to seeing at every fancy dinner—this makes everything just a little more exciting! And what’s better than that? The fact that it takes only 20 minutes from prep to serve. This recipe only is enough for 8, but it’s simple enough to be able to double with no intricate math needed.
This has always been one of my favorite meals, and with 5 out of 5 stars from inspiredtaste.net, how I could I not include this in my roundup? This recipe by Joanne and Adam Gallagher requires only 20 minutes prep time and 1 hour cooking time. Realistically, you can use any kinds of vegetables you’d like—this recipe calls for zucchini, yellow squash, roasted red peppers, and tomatoes. Joanne just suggests that you keep it to 8-10 cups of mixed vegetables altogether. This is a great and traditional dish that just about everyone is sure to love, whether they prefer meat or veggies as their main food group.
Joanne and Adam Gallagher really make attempting this recipe super easy with all of their instructional pictures and even videos! They even have suggested recipes that you may like based on the one you’re currently viewing, like baked ziti with spinach.
Looking for something other than a generic pasta dish? Try this recipe for vegetarian stuffed peppers from tasteofhome.com. Although this one may take a little longer than the other recipes on here (30 minutes prep time and 3 ½ hours cooking time), it definitely is well worth it. However, this recipe is also incredibly easy. Just like the minestrone soup, this stuffed peppers recipe is cooked right in a slow cooker, so all you have to do is put together the ingredients, sit back, and relax. You may think that eating only stuffed peppers may not be so filling, but when you’re eating all of the rice, tomatoes, corn, cheese, olives, black beans, red beans, as well as the actual pepper, too, it actually turns into a pretty substantial meal!
Tasteofhome.com allows their readers to add all of the ingredients of recipes directly to their “grocery list.” Readers can add all of the ingredients (or just some) of recipes they’ve found to their list and print it out when they’re heading to the store! You also have the option of saving recipes you’ve found into your “recipe box” for later use. Now, how handy is that?
So now that you’ve gotten your appetizers and main dishes figured out, you probably want some dessert, right? This recipe for vegan sweet potato pie by Jolinda Hackett from vegetarian.about.com is to die for. The best part? It’s also incredibly easy! Maybe while your stuffed peppers are cooking in the slow cooker, you’re pie is cooking in the oven! This recipe only takes about 10 minutes to prep and roughly 1 ½ hours to cook in the oven. To those who aren’t vegan, the ingredients may seem a little odd (a container of silken tofu and a container of extra firm tofu—what?!), but I promise this is nothing out of the ordinary. An extra perk to using this recipe is that since you’re using tofu, this dessert pie is actually a great boost of protein, too!
Okay, so maybe you want to try something a little more classic for dessert. Here’s a vegan and gluten-free recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in only 7 ingredients! This recipe was created by John and Dana over at minimalistbaker.com. These cookies are made only with date, a ripe banana, peanut butter, almond meal, oats, peanut butter chips, and semisweet chocolate chips. They’re so incredibly easy because they’re so simple to make from scratch! All you do is roughly combine all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl (with a few minor other processes beforehand) and then bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The perk? They’re healthy, too! John and Dana claim that they’re even “’healthy’ enough to enjoy as a post-workout snack or after-meal dessert.” So after you stuff your face at Thanksgiving dinner, this is surely a guilt-free dessert that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Want more recipes like this? John and Dana’s blog is full of them! If you sign up for email updates on minimalistbaker.com, you’ll even receive a free copy of John and Dana’s ebook “7 Ingredients or Less.” And who doesn’t love free and easy?
It’s getting to be that time of year again when I start having to listen to people constantly ask me: “But what do you eat at Thanksgiving dinner?” Or my personal favorite: “Don’t you miss eating the turkey?” Honestly, no. One of the main reasons I’ve stayed a vegetarian for so long is because I don’t miss eating the meat. However, both my sister and I are full-blown vegetarians, and finding things to eat for Thanksgiving has always been the biggest struggle (there are only so many times you can eat plate full of mashed potatoes before you get sick of it).
Last year, we tried something new by cooking an entirely vegetarian meal for our whole family. Everything was healthier than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and after everyone agreed that they didn’t even miss the turkey, we’d call it a success. Here’s what we did:
Replace Turkey with Veggie Pot Pie
Turkey has anywhere from 161-482 calories and typically 25g of protein per serving, depending on which part of the turkey you’re eating. This veggie pot pie is 339 calories, 13g of protein, and 10g of fiber per serving! Besides, this veggie pot pie takes only about 45 minutes to prep and cook compared to the typical 3 hours it takes to cook a turkey! The best part about this recipe is that it can be made vegan with just a simple swap of the buttermilk for soy milk. Realistically, you can even make this with any combination of vegetables that you want. In this case, celery, red bell peppers, carrots, green beans, and peas are used. This recipe makes enough for 6 people, but with a little math, you can tailor it to however many people will be eating with you.
Feeling lazy? You can buy pre-made vegetarian pot pies that are vegetarian, vegan, and kosher from Amy’s!
Replace Gravy with Vegetarian Gravy
Still want that sense of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? At only 70 calories per serving, this vegetarian gravy will make a great addition to your veggie pot pie or mashed potatoes. Although it may take a little longer to make than you’d probably want to spend (1 hr, 45 min), I can guarantee that it’ll be well worth it and make the rest of your guests feel as if they’re enjoying a classic Thanksgiving dinner, with everything drenched in gravy!
Replace Sweet Potato Casserole with Green Bean Casserole
Now I know what you’re all thinking—but they’re both vegetarian already. True, but sweet potato casserole is generally 285 calories and 5g of fat per serving, while green bean casserole is just 161 calories and 9g of fat per serving. Besides that, green beans are just plain good for you. They’re rich in vitamin K, fiber, and vitamin C. This green bean casserole is a relatively easy recipe to make for 8 people in just a little over an hour. Besides, this will provide some “comfort food” for the non-vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner since they may be used to having it every year. If they have never had it before, it’s still a great plate to make, and they’re almost guaranteed to love it!
Replace Traditional Stuffing with Veggie Stuffing with Cranberries
Although some people may be unaware, because stuffing doesn’t look to be non-vegetarian, stuffing isn’t vegetarian. Most recipes are made with chicken stock, chicken broth, or some other form of meat. In this meat-free recipe, you’re getting all the perks of stuffing, like the tastiness of the bread and spices, plus some. This recipe calls for ¾ cup of cranberries to add some extra flavor and fiber to this dish. Ready in only 35 minutes, this is one of the simplest veggie Thanksgiving recipes that you can prepare and everyone is sure to love.
Looking for a Sweet Side?
Try Caramelized Butternut Squash
This recipe for caramelized butternut squash is one of my favorites. Although the recipe claims it’s enough for 6-8, I’d say more of 10-12 because, as a side dish, people shouldn’t take too many— especially if you’re cooking everything else above! This is also a fairly easy dish to make, so beginners shouldn’t be shy to try this. It does take just a little over an hour to prepare, but every minute taken to create this is well worth it once you take one bite.
So you’re family may want to whine and moan about missing the turkey on Thanksgiving, but if you serve all of this (or more), I’m sure they’ll forget all about it. Or if you don’t want to serve it to all of your family and want it for just yourself, cut each recipe down to just one serving. Either way, I promise this menu is one to leave any meat-lover drooling over your plate this Thanksgiving.
Have any ideas or your own recipes for your favorite vegetarian or vegan meals you love to serve on Thanksgiving? Mention them in the comments below!
DISCLAIMER: There are spoilers in this post regarding AMC’s The Walking Dead
WARNING: The pictures within this post are gory. I wouldn’t recommend continuing to read if you don’t think you can handle the gruesomeness
Because of the extreme bloodiness and goriness the actors experience in AMC’s hit thriller television show The Walking Dead, many of the show’s actors are now turned off completely to the idea of meat and have become vegetarians. In the show, zombies are constantly biting into and tearing up human bodies with their teeth. Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), a lead role in the series, has publicly come out in a radio interview about being a vegetarian and says he’s “kind of bummed about it.” In the same interview, it is said that roughly 80% of the show’s food being catered is now vegetarian-based instead of other meat-based meals; after watching or personally biting raw meat out of another person’s body, most actors don’t want anything to do with eating meat for lunch.
The Walking Dead is known for using real-life raw meat as prosthetics for actors so that zombies—as well as the occasional other human actor—can take bites out of humans that look much more realistic than other foam or latex prosthetics. Typically, actors have a choice of biting either chicken or beef, but in a recent episode from season 5, “Four Walls and a Roof,” there was an additional option to make this scene look just as realistic: pork. Lawrence Gillard Jr. (Bob Stookey) was killed off in this episode, but not before a cannibalistic community lead by Andrew J. West (Gareth) barbecued Gillard’s leg for their dinner that night. To make this scene come to life, the special effects crew used small pieces of roasted pork, blackened on the outside to match Gillard’s skin tone (pictured below). You can watch West and some others in his group chowing down on Gillard’s leg nonchalantly in this gruesome scene here.
Near the end of season 4, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), the lead role of the series, had the pleasure of taking a big bite out of a human’s neck in order to save his group from the harm of another. It was reported to The Guardian that Lincoln had the option of biting into chicken or beef and whether it would be cooked or raw. He asked Greg Nicotero, the director, which he believed would be more realistic to human flesh. When Nicotero said raw would be better on camera, Lincoln, probably thinking about his strong desire to maintain the portrayal of realism on set, opted to dig his teeth into raw chicken. You can see the incredibly morbid and frightening scene here.
After filming these gut-wrenching scenes for the show (buh dum tss), I don’t blame the actors for turning to vegetarianism. People make the choice to eat a plant-based diet for numerous reasons, and it turns out that being disgusted by raw meat from it resembling human guts and flesh is just another viable motive. As far as the show has revealed, Norman Reedus hasn’t ever even had to bite anyone, so it’s interesting that he’s one of the leading roles that has become a vegetarian; I guess that’s what years of watching zombies tear apart human flesh can do to a guy. As for Andrew Lincoln, after he had to viciously bite a “human’s” flesh from right off of their skin with a demonic look on his face, I don’t know how he, or anyone else for that matter, could ever look at chicken the same way again. The only question I have left is whether or not they will use tofu chicken and beef in later episodes to accommodate their now-vegetarian cast!