Archive for ‘vegan and vegetarian’

November 26, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Jalapeño Tofu Scramble

by Nicole Lee

Tofu is such an up in the air ingredient for some people. It’s something that puts a lot of people off as either a sub par “meat replacement” or just “totally bland”. I, on the other hand, find it both fun to work with and delicious- you just have to know what you’re doing.

That said, this recipe was a little…bland. I think if/when I try it again I am going to marinade my tofu overnight in either a dry rub or a sauce of some sort. It needed more time to take on some of the flavors this recipe put forward, but I think the theory is here and I’m definitely going to make a habit of having the ingredients at the ready! Without further adieu, the instructions below!

Serves: 3-4
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $2.25

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 143 calories, 8.5g fat (1.1g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 30.8mg sodium, 9g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 10.8g protein


 1 16-18 ounce package of organic extra-firm tofu
 1 tbsp. olive oil
 2 jalapeños, diced
 1/2 white onion, diced
 2 cloves garlic, diced
 1 tsp. chili powder
 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 c. chopped roma tomato
 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
 Garnish; fresh cilantro leaves


1. Drain tofu, cut in half (horizontally), squeeze as much liquid out as possible, pat dry with a paper towel and crumble into a medium bowl.
2. In a skillet heat oil and saute  jalapeños, onion and garlic until translucent. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt; cook for approximately 30 seconds.
3. Add crumbled tofu to chili mixture. Heat for approximately 5 mintues.
4. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice and serve.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and enjoy!

November 23, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Lemony Garbanzo Bean Sandwiches

by Nicole Lee

Night two of cooking at home out of the Vegetarian cook book I picked up Sunday. This recipe was insanely simple, incredibly inexpensive and yummy, yummy, yummy! I think I’m going to start adding the cost per serving to my list of “just so you know”s about each recipe.

Now this one I liked for dinner, but I think I prefer for lunch. I’ll be bringing the left overs to my office tomorrow and I have no doubt I’ll eat the heck out of it- I might even share if my coworkers are lucky!

Notes: I got stuck looking all over for focaccia, but I could not, for the life of me, find it. I got French bread and it was entirely wrong. I definitely suggest looking around more thoroughly than I was able to get it.

Lemony Garbanzo Bean Sandwich

Serves: 4
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $2.50

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 401 calories, 8g fat (0g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 472mg sodium, 71g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 16g protein


 1 15oz can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 1 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
 1 tbsp. olive oil
 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
 1/2 a large cucumber peeled, quartered and sliced
 1/2 c. arugula
 1/3 c. roasted red sweet pepper strips
 1 12″ loaf focaccia quartered


1. Combine garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon peel, lemon juice, red onion, olive oil, and black pepper. Gently mash beans with a fork or potato masher (leave it coarse, you want some texture). Stir in cucumber, arugula and roasted pepper.*
2. Cut bread in half and fill each portion of bread with a quarter of the bean mixture. Enjoy!**

* Honestly, as long as you’re not too harsh you can add everything other than arugula right from the start.
** I did not toast my bread, but I think next time I will. Having the crunch sounds like a really good idea!

November 22, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Southwestern Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

by Nicole Lee

Yesterday, Monday November 21st, 2011 marked my first vegetarian meal that I cooked myself on my road to transitioning entirely. (I didn’t even realize until I was eating it that not only was it vegetarian, but also vegan.) As my Turning Vegetarian – The Recipes That Made It Happen page notes I am working out of the Better Homes and Gardens 365 Vegetarian Meals Cookbook.

For whatever reason this ended being my first choice and boy am I glad! The recipe was simple, clean and delicious, not to mention inexpensive. The squash was my favorite part. There’s something about the nutty buttery flavor that acorn squash offers that I can’t find anywhere else naturally.

As a side note, I find it incredibly hard to shop for just one person. Either I buy too much and throw things away or I never have the ingredients I need/want to make anything worth eating. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Side note two, now that it’s getting dark at 6:00 and I don’t even get out of work until 5:30 I have literally no light when I finish cooking and start taking photos. So while I work with settings and learn how to edit them into something worth viewing please bear with me!

Without further adieu I invite you to review the recipe below and try this one out for yourself!

Southwestern Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 60 minutes

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 317 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 1mg cholesterol, 572mg sodium, 63g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, 12g protein


2 small organic acorn squash (mine weighed in around 1.25 pounds each)
1 c. water
1/2 c. uncooked quinoa (rinsed and drained)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ear fresh organic sweet corn with kernels cut from cob
1 c. chopped sweet pepper or approximately 1 medium (I used orange)
2 green onions, chopped
2 medium fresh jalapenos, diced (I do not seed mine, but if you don’t want too much spice then make sure to remove the seeds!)
1 tbs. olive oil
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half (either lengthwise or across) and remove all seeds. Place each half, cut side down, on a baking pan and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes (or until squash flesh is tender).
2. While squash is baking take the water, quinoa, cumin and salt and mix in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
3. In a skillet saute corn, jalapenos, pepper, onions in oil until vegetables begin to soften.
4. Stir vegetables, black beans and quinoa together and set aside.
5. When squash is ready remove from oven and spoon quinoa mixture in (it will look like you have too much and mounding will be necessary).
6. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 12-15 minutes and enjoy!


November 20, 2011

Decision Making and Lifestyles – Going Vegetarian!

by Nicole Lee


** This is going to be one of the few posts I put up without any pictures, but this decisions is important enough that I really wanted to share/document it and the thought process that led me to it.

So, for a while I used eat strictly vegetarian, but it was mostly for weight loss and other reasons that didn’t carry enough weight for me to want to stick through. Sometime in the last two years (either September/October of last year or the year before) a friend of mine had challenged me to a 30 day vegetarian test. I failed. Why? A number of reasons. The guy I was dating at the time had little to no respect for the fact that that’s what I wanted and I just sort of caved to the pressure. She, on the other hand, has successfully transitioned into a strictly vegan lifestyle. (Wow!)

Looking back, I see myself, now two years out of the vegetarian lifestyle I used to lead, feeling more sluggish. I’ve gained some of the weight back that I’d lost. My hair is dry and brittle, my asthma is more easily inflamed, etc. As a general feeling I am just not happy- a huge change from how I felt physically when I didn’t have animal proteins.

Logically I started doing research into the pros and cons of eating this way and the repercussions of being part of the “machine” that is required to continue producing animals for our consumption. I’ll tell you right now, if nothing else, it makes me sick to my stomach. I guess I’d read some articles on how terrible animals are treated. I’d her statistics and filed them under “things to know”. I’d read about how it affects the environment, but none of it has had the impact that my recent research has come up with.

I don’t live the most green life possible. I’m not entirely aware of how my personal life affects the world around me- but I really, really want to change that. So here’s step one. I’ll be documenting the recipes, products and meals that I come across as well as restaurants and local events. I am so damn excited!!



References and great places to start (please add to this list if you have anything!):

PETA – Vegetarian Starter Kit

Scotty Young – How to become a vegetarian

Try Veg

Become vegan – It’s easier than you think!

British Meat – 49 Good reasons for being a vegetarian