veggiefueled.

adventures of a plant-based athlete


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So we meet again, Cauliflower.

Ok, so I know it’s been a while… I’ve really been a slacker when it comes to my veggiefueled obligations. I know I shouldn’t make excuses, but I’m going to anyways:

  1. We’re in the process of packing up our apartment
  2. We have some big life plans in the making (no, I’m not pregnant)
  3. I was employing the quality over quantity method…
  4. …Because I had writer’s block

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Proof of the craziness in my life, extra stressful because I thrive on neatness and order and shrivel up into a stressball in chaos

But enough with the excuses! Hopefully you can forgive me and we can reignite the flames of our reader/writer relationship.

For my “comeback” post I’m going to bring back an old favorite: Cauliflower! In my first recipe post, Cauliflower: The Ninja Food, I explained how cauliflower was the answer to my texture prayers. How it was the perfect “ground beef” alternative, providing great texture and flavor versatility.

Here is another Latin dish recipe, but this time a Cuban (rather than Mexican) favorite! I present to you… Cauliflower Picadillo. I came up with this one a while back (after I figured out that Cauliflower makes great taco filling). I wanted to figure out ways to incorporate the traditional Cuban dishes my mother made growing up into my new plant-based diet – and the result was a great success!

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Ingredients, missing the cauliflower because I had already started cooking before I remembered to take pictures.

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Yummy roasted cauliflower!

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Looks just like the real deal! But veggiefueled…

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Look at the crispiness on that thing… oh ya!

Cauliflower Picadillo

Preparation & Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6 people

Ingredients*:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 large potato (diced)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped fine)
  • 1 small green pepper (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Oil for roasting & sautéing

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small pieces and coat LIGHTLY with olive oil, place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  3. While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare vegetables (potato, onion, green pepper and garlic).
  4. When the cauliflower is done, crumble into smaller (ground beef size) pieces, place in bowl and combine with the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
  5. In a large pan sauté the onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft (about 5-7 min)
  6. Add the cauliflower mixture, vegetable broth, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the diced potato. Cover and cook another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.
  8. Remove the cover. Cook uncovered around 15 minutes or until the liquid is fully evaporated but the mixture is still moist.

*Note: I do not like olives AT ALL; however they are a big part of the traditional recipe. Feel free to add green olives during step 7.

This last time I actually ended up making empanadas after letting the mixture cool. I just used store-bought (vegan-friendly) pastry dough, but will make my own dough next time. Unfortunately, while the dough was “vegan-friendly,” the ingredients listed looked more like a science experiment rather than something I should be eating. Definitely not something I would want to eat all the time. BUT to make things a little better, I did bake the empanadas instead of fry and they came out super crispy and delicious.

But honestly, the best way to serve picadilllo is over some freshly made rice (brown is healthier, but white tastes so much better), with a side of sliced bananas. I like to pair it with a delicious Haas Avocado & Heirloom Tomato salad. Super simple recipe, and so delicious!

Avocado & Heirloom Tomato Salad

 Preparation time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 1 medium / large heirloom tomato (or regular tomato)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces
  2. Chop avocado into bite size pieces
  3. Combine tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a bowl
  4. Let sit to marinade while the rest of dinner is being prepared

Hopefully this really simple and delicious recipe makes up for me being M.I.A. for the last couple months. There are some big events coming up that will provide for some awesome blog posts… but until then I’ll have to settle for boring ‘ole recipes. 😉

Enjoy.


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Work Late. Eat Great.

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It’s all in the planning. Taking a little extra time to plan and prep one day a week will help save time later and ensure that you still eat delicious healthy meals for lunch and dinner. Time and convenience may be one of our biggest enemies when it comes to eating well.

Trust me, I completely understand what it feels like to get home from work late and be completely unmotivated to cook (or do anything you need to do). I’ve been known to chow down on bowls of cereal (notice I said bowls not bowl) instead of nutritious meals because I simply can’t bear the idea of having to cook and clean after a meal! Not to mention that I’m usually famished when I walk in the door.

So, I’ve come up with a few ideas that seem to help keep me on track and have provided for about of month so far of home-cooked meals.

Menu Planning – Think of your kitchen as your family Café. Plan a menu for the week and try your best to stick to it. Make sure to be realistic with the amount of time you want to spend prepping and cooking for the week. Also, we like to include a date night (or night eating out) so that we can have a break from the cooking and dishes.

Menu planning also helps with staying creative and finding new recipes. If you don’t know what to make each night and you simply go by the ingredients on-hand, you’re likely to fall into making the same old thing, week after week.

Strategic Recipes – When making your weekly menu, try and keep prep and cook time in mind. Save the extravagant gourmet meals for the weekend and look for quick, easy and healthy meals for during the week. Found a recipe that requires rice? Make the rice the night before you plan on eating that meal. Then you can prepare the rest of it right when you get home from work instead of having to wait on the rice for 40 minutes.

Leftovers – I’m not a huge fan of leftovers, but I’m willing to make enough for leftovers if its a meal that I really enjoy.  During my husband’s busy season (he’s an accountant) I would usually cook one night that way he could bring dinner with him instead of ordering food every night. The important thing with this tip is to find recipes that keep well – rice w/ beans, baked potato w/ grilled veggies or one pot pasta dishes. The simpler the better. You definitely don’t want a meal that makes a point of it to “serve immediately.” It’ll probably lose its luster if reheated the next day, yuck! Also, avoid things that should be crispy, as they will likely be soggy leftovers.

Afternoon Snacking -This is a big one for both my husband and me… and I’m assuming lots of other people. When I walk through the door with a growling stomach I’m very short sited and can’t envision how great it will be to eat a healthy home cooked meal. Instead I have the “I want it and I want it now” mentality. That’s when take out, cereal, or binge snacking occurs.

The way to combat this issue is to either eat a small snack (apple, small handful of nuts, larabar, etc) on your way home from work or to have “appetizers” planned to munch on while you cook. Having Mexican? Make some quick and easy guacamole (see our recipe at the bottom). Asian? How about defrosting some frozen edamame?

The trick is to make sure your snacks or appetizers are healthy nutritious options. That way if you do accidentally fill up on snacks and appetizers at least it was still nutritious.

Walk in and start – The number one trick I can think of is to start right away. Don’t change, don’t sit down. Walk in and turn on the oven (if it needs to preheat), or pick out all the ingredients that you need from the fridge and pantry. Then change into comfy clothes and continue cooking. Too many times I’ve become a prisoner of my couch; it usually goes hand-in-hand with my bowls of cereal. As exhausted as I am when I walk in, I’m always happy and proud of myself when I stay strong and cook anyways.

Unfortunately these tricks may only be useful if you enjoy cooking in the first place. If you despise cooking, you may require a little more motivation. It might be helpful to buy portions of your meal pre-prepared and cook part of the meal at home. Whole Foods has all their hot bar foods available in large or small portions in the refrigerators. You could always pick up some rice and beans and roast some veggies at home or make yourself a green salad. Start small and hopefully when you see the benefits of eating home cooked meals you’ll start to change your mind about cooking!

If you’re not quite as organized or a planner like myself, then maybe you’d be interested in having someone else plan your meals each week. So I figure, why don’t I share? I’m going to plan my meals each week anyways, how hard would it be to send you my file with the recipes, menu and grocery shopping list!

So here’s my offer: Send me an email at veggiefueledblog@gmail.com with your name and email address and I’ll send you my file each week. Feel free to rearrange when you cook particular meals, how many days you choose to cook, the serving size of the meal and when/whether you have a date night or family night out – but it should be helpful to have a general guideline of dinner ideas. I’ll try and have the list out by Friday night for you Saturday morning grocery shoppers.

What’s that? You think that’s such a nice offer that you’d like to do something for me in return? Aww shucks, you don’t have to do anyth… ok well since you offered. In return for those weekly menus I would love a follow on instragram and twitter @veggiefueled, on my blog http://www.veggiefueled.wordpress.com and to share my blog with friends who might be interested! Thanks!

Have any ideas that would help you stay motivated to make home cooked meals? Let us know!

Dylan’s Quick and Easy Guacamole

Serving size: 2 people (as a snack or appetizer for dinner) You may want to double, triple or quadruple for a party sized portion!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe haas avocado
  • 1 large spoonful of Green Mountain Gringo salsa
  • Green Mountain Gringo Sesame Blues Tortilla Chips

Directions:

Mash avocado. Mix in salsa. Enjoy!

*Note: Dylan wanted me to add that I was in fact very against the creation of this recipe. I had always made my own guacamole, with lime juice, spices, etc… and didn’t think there was any way mixing some salsa in with avocado would be any good. So here, on this day, I will put in writing… He was right. IT’S AMAZING!


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Tricked ya! It’s vegan.

 

So I just had a genius (okay maybe that’s subjective) idea today!

I brought some leftovers of my Asian veggie stir fry with spicy peanut sauce to work today. Apparently, my eyes were bigger than my stomach so I decided to share with a coworker. I didn’t really give him much detail about the meal (except for the peanut sauce – in case of allergies) and he welcomed my offer of free food.IMG_1316

This coworker of mine is very much a meat eater, a regular ‘ole “man’s man” if you will… not someone that would be welcoming, at least not without mocking comments, of a vegan meal. So after I handed him the food I wondered what he would think of this dairy free, meat free, no salt, little oil and plant strong meal. He handed me back a completely empty (and surprisingly, clean) container and said he enjoyed it!

I’ve often wondered, as I chow down on my self-proclaimed amazing dishes, if others would find it as tasty. Not sure if I’ve just trained my taste buds to enjoy a particular style of food or if it would be considered good to outsiders.

This got me thinking, can I get other people interested in a meat free lifestyle by showing them that vegan food can be both nutrition and delicious?!

Here’s what I’m going to do – every few weeks I’m going to bring leftovers into work to share with different people. I won’t put too much emphasis on the vegan aspect of the meal, only offering information about potential allergies. I’ll let you know what they think…

And by the way, I’ve been sneaking loads of spinach and kale into my little brothers’ smoothies when they spend the night. Not only do the suck it down, they ask for refills! Maybe I can figure out how to get them to enjoy other vegan meals as well!

Let me know if you share your vegan food with unsuspecting patrons and what they think about it. You can share your stories or pictures with me on instagram and twitter: @veggiefueled, #veggiefueled, #TYIVegan

(Remember: Allergies are serious – make sure they don’t have allergies to any odd ingredients you may include).


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10 reasons you should follow me (online of course).

Hello there, welcome to my blog! After spending some time as a minor foodie and major annoyance posting all my food on instagram, I was convinced to start a blog. And as I have more to say than the proverbial “1000 words” or 140 characters, I thought it wasn’t too bad of an idea. But here’s the thing, I never really get past the first paragraph when reading a blog and almost ALWAYS head straight to the list of bullet points. So I figure, if I’m gonna hook ya… why not try a list?

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Reasons you should follow my blog:

1. I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes. As long as I don’t have to do the dishes (luckily my hubby and I have a great deal where I cook and he cleans!). I have always loved to cook, maybe it comes from having both parents as great cooks? I’m not really what you’d describe as the creative type, but when I’m in the kitchen something just clicks and the creative juices start flowing.

2. I’m a new vegan/vegetarian, so I haven’t forgotten the struggles. Sometimes the blogs I read about veganism/vegetarianism seem like the authors forget what its like in the beginning; When you’re still new to the struggle of giving up meat, dairy and eggs. When you’re still learning how to deal with people who don’t understand. When you’re still figuring out what seitan, tofu and tempeh are and whether or not you even want to eat it. I haven’t forgotten, because I’m still learning. So learn with me…

3. I’m passionate about my healthy lifestyle. Although I grew up with a fairly healthy diet, snacking on fruits and eating mainly home-cooked meals, I wasn’t always a “health nut.” But now that I’ve seen the light there’s no going back and I feel better than ever. I’d love to inspire people to cross that line, never look back and enjoy their lives to the fullest!

4. I love being fit, but hate working out. I know it seems inconsistent but it’s oh so true. I was never one to work out or visit a gym. From a young age I played sports and had an active lifestyle. When I stopped playing organized sports in college, there was a time where regular exercise was a rare occurrence. But I can let you in on my secret… training ≠ working out.

5. I am limited on time. I am not a professional athlete and I am not a professional blogger. I am a 9 to 5er (I wish it was just till 5) who drives 30 miles each way to work. I am tired and unmotivated when I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is cook a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal or get in a workout that I missed in the morning… but I do… and I can share my tips and tricks!

7. I am concise and efficient. I guess this could be re-worded as “I don’t like to read long, wordy blogs.” I plan on having TONS of lists, bullet points, pictures, and get-to-the-point posts.

8. I am funny. Ok this point may be debatable depending on your source. My mother thinks I’m hilarious, a regular ‘ole stand up comedian. My friends think I’m a hoot, I can entertain the lunch table for hours on end. My husband, not so much. I am told regularly that I am not funny at all. (Although every now and then I catch a laugh).*

9. It would make me happy. I don’t know what it would do for your emotional state, but it would make me so happy to have people reading my blog, learning from my trial and error and just simply sharing my passion for a healthy, fit and fulfilling lifestyle.

10. I am slightly OCD. I could only think of 9 reasons, racked my brain for 10. But to no avail I am left with only nine. But because I am slightly OCD, I only listen to music on volume intervals of 5, have the most organized pantry you’ve ever seen and just HAD to leave it as a list of 10. Nine would just not work.

So there’s my plea to get you to follow my blog and join me on my journey. You can also follow me on Instagram: @veggiefueled.

*I had my husband proof read the post, not a single chuckle.  -__-