31 March 2010

Say Cheese!

Tomorrow marks the start of National Grilled Cheese month. I can't believe it, an entire month devoted to that delicious comfort food- cheese! A meal of cheese and bread may not be the most healthful, so I went digging for ways to upgrade this bad boy to fit into my lifestyle:

- Adding tomatoes and avocado's increases the nutrient value of grilled cheese and it's delicious!

- Heck, add all kinds of veggies to it- roasted red peppers, sprouts, arugula, whatever!

- Use whole grain bread

- Skip the butter usually used to brown the bread and use cooking spray/oil instead.

- Use low-fat cheese (or simply a lower fat cheese like mozzarella)

- Vegan cheese: This is hard to find in a lot of stores, but many Whole Foods (and I would assume Central Market) carry some version. The internet is a flutter with Daiya, which makes a shredded vegan cheese that is supposed to be amazing. You can check out their website for where it's sold. If they don't have it near you, let your local health food store know you want it! You can also order it from Pangea Vegan store.

What is your favorite way to enjoy this traditional treat?

[side note: I found the above picture on a cool blog called Healthy Chow. Check 'em out!

30 March 2010

Breakfast is My Favorite Time of Year

You know what they say when you plan ahead- Be prepared for change. Yesterday's Meat Free Monday went off without a hitch, though not quite in the way I expected. An unexpected call to dinner sent me out into the streets, and without my yams! I was good though and had a salad, green beans, and mashed potatoes for dinner. Still, all I could think about were my poor lonely sweet potatoes at home. I can't wait to eat them today. I am also planning the Green Eggs No Ham for dinner tonight, except I just realized I don't own a muffin tin. How do I own every other piece of cooking equipment save a muffin tin? I wonder if I can use a coffee mug. Can you put coffee mugs in the oven?

My favorite thing in the world is having a day off work. Not necessarily because I won't be working, but because it is the only time I get to really make breakfast. Pancakes, breakfast tacos, migas; you name it. Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. I was never one to skip it, even in adulthood. You just feel so much better during the day if you have something in your belly, and you find you're actually hungry for lunch, not just eating to eat.

Breakfast meats were my favorite- sausage, bacon, oh my! When I stopped eating pork over 10 years ago it made breakfast a bit trickier. Thankfully, we live in a world where beef, turkey, and vegetarian options are becoming more and more available. My favorite breakfast sausages come from Tom Thumb/Safeway under their "Eating Right" brand. I've tried Morning Star Farms and another brand I don't remember (I think I've blocked it from my mind), but these are the best. I've had their vegetarian sausage patties and links and can honestly not tell a difference. It's also so much better for me then the beef or even turkey options available. As they are a store brand, they are often on special (not to mention cheaper normally). Give them a try and let me know what you think!

29 March 2010

Meat Free Monday

[side note: I don't know why Blogger isn't working properly, but if the recipe doesn't show up let me know and I'll post it somewhere else.]

Since February, I have participated in Meat Free Monday (aka Meatless Monday) which was founded by the McCartney's (yes, of Beatles fame) to support environmental causes. From their website:

"Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. Many people are unaware that livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transport sector."

Forgoing meat every Monday turned out to be a lot hard than I anticipated, mostly because I often forgot it was Monday and had to have a meatless Tuesday instead. Whenever you choose to participate, the edict is clear- skipping meat one day a week will lessen pollution, better your own health, and bring attention to animal rights/causes. So easy! Meat Free Monday's website not only contains information and links to environmental causes but also delicious recipes. The U.S. version of MFM also has an email newsletter full of recipe ideas they will send you every Monday. You can sign up for it here.

Today's newsletter featured the cutest idea ever and I just have to share it with you: Green Eggs No Ham. I am totally making this for dinner tonight; I've even already made pesto so I'm ready to go!

My menu for today is:
Breakfast- Cantaloupe, tea
Lunch- Roasted sweet potatoes, salad
Dinner- Green Eggs No Ham, green beans, ??

On a sad note, I was so excited about the avocado's I purchased at Whole Foods Friday. All I could think about all day was avocado. Guacomole. Avocado Ranch dressing. Avocado salad.

28 March 2010

Soy what?

I spent my Friday wandering around the new Whole Foods that just opened not far from my house. The news on the street (okay, from a girl who works there), is that it is bigger and better than ever. Having completed one week on my new diet lifestyle kick, it was definitely time to clean and restock the fridge.

Everything was beautiful! I'm trying to buy mostly what's in season and as local as I can get it. That's a pretty tall order at the grocery, even one like Whole Foods; so I'm looking forward to visiting the farmers market a little further into spring. So, what is in season now? It all depends on where you live and the season (obviously), but you can find a handy list Sustainable Table, one of my favorite websites for information on organic, local, and legislative information. From there, I made a list of what was in season that I liked: cabbage, celery, grapefruit, greens, herbs, onions, oranges, spinach, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. Yum!

Part of what got me into this was health reasons. I've been suffering from allergies a lot lately and it hasn't been pretty. I love milk and cheese and yogurt, but the mucus it causes/exacerbates has become a heavy price to pay. I heard about the brand Soy Delicious from The Kind Life, a vegan lifestyle website founded by Alicia Silverstone. It is a great source for recipes and knowledge. I've tried soy milk before but just couldn't get behind it. It does not taste like milk and has a consistency I found troubling. This is where Soy Delicious comes in. Not only do they make soy based products, but they also have a line of coconut milk products like ice cream and yogurt. Let me tell you, the yogurt is divine! I tried the Passionate Mango (love that name) coconut milk yogurt. On first glance, the consistency reminded me of baby food, but it went down smoothly and I finished the whole thing. I don't even normally finish my milk yogurt. It also didn't have chunks of fruit in it which I like as well. Their products are all vegan, kosher, and organic. You should definitely try them out. You can even print off a coupon from their website here.

Happy eating, and let me know what you think after you try it!

This is the end...

Some of you may know me from my other blog The Art of Throwing Stones. Recently, I've decided to dramatically change the way in which I approach food, so of course I started blogging about it. However, that blog was never meant to be food centric so I decided to start another one just for my rants. A place to include more recipes, links to articles and other blogs, information, and anything else I think is important or that you would like to know more about.

I should open by saying that I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. I am just a girl who wants to know more and feel better.

I grew up, as many of us did, in a meat centric household. I was a very active kid with a high metabolism and it was never a problem. However, I never stopped to think about where my food came from. My sister became vegetarian many years ago and I totally respected her for it even though it was often hard for her (socially, etc). Now, I'm almost 30 and I don't feel or look great. It's all downhill from here, so they say, so I need to take charge now!

My plan for the next month is to live a more vegetarian lifestyle. Unfortunately (fortunately?), I love meat- a good NY strip steak with shallots, BBQ chicken, turkey on Thanksgiving- yum! My goal is:

* To whittle my meat consumption from 7-10 times a week to 2-3 times.
* To only eat responsibly raised, organic meat, fish, and eggs from now on as well.
* Eat more organic produce and as much as I can muster.
* To feel better about myself inside and out. Losing a couple pounds through simple dietary changes sounds like a plan!
This is to serve as my journal and progress report. I would love to hear from you- recipes, thoughts, your own story, anything!