Saturday, June 26, 2010

Market Fresh

Nothing inspires my kitchen attitude more than a visit to the local farmers' market. It warms my heart to see so much wonderful, organic, local produce available, and of course the home-made treats are irresistable! Fresh mint lemonade was the winner for the day.

Armed with my Farmers' Market Guide (courtesy of Vegetarian Times), I already had a head full of ideas. I came home with almost everything I needed (a quick stop to Whole Foods provided the rest) to make tonight's dinner...avacado soup. Absolutely delicious, and perfect for a balmy summer night! The recipe can be found in the above mentioned magazine edition, and I HIGHLY recommend it! For dessert, fresh strawberries with Greek yogurt. Perfection.

And if you happen to need proof that organic produce rocks the socks off nonorganic, just try the tomatoes. If you've never tried an organic tomato, they will change the way you think of this common staple! By comparison, nonorganic tomatoes are just little blobs of flavorless red mush. Personally, I'm hooked on organic grape tomatoes and eat them by the handful, but organic heirlooms are quite the treat as well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Festival Eats

So brilliant me decides to start this initiative just a few days before attending Bonnaroo. Now, the good thing here is that at least the menus of the vendors were more vegetarian-friendly than those of most festivals I've been to, but it still seemed to be a lot of fast-food type stuff. And really, when it's eight hundred degrees outside, who wants to eat a chili dog, anyway? I would have killed for a good salad the whole time I was there!

However, if you look carefully, there are some decent options out there. One vendor, God bless him, offered stuffed grape leaves with a side salad, and another offered the most aromatic vegan burrito I've ever seen. Or smelled. It was stuffed with spiced sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, peppers, and rice. Because of his food allergies, my brother made this an even healthier dish by having them skip the flour tortilla altogether and serve him the contents in a bowl. I think I also would have preferred it that way. In fact, I may try this at future visits to my favorite Mexican spots.

What I really learned was that granola bars are my best friends in energy-sucking, outdoors activities. It's essential to have a good, reliable, protein-packed snack to get you from one decent meal to the next. And as always, my favorite vendors were the ones that offered Greek, Indian, and Middle Eastern fare. In my experience, no one does more flavorful, truly interesting, healthful dishes than these guys. I'm starting to crave curried vegetables just thinking about it....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


So far, so good. It's pretty easy to eat healthily when your only cooking for yourself. I've learned to keep crunchy granola bars stashed in my desk at work, as they're absolutely essential for mid-afternoon survival. Especially since the Evil Candy Basket still lives near my work area. I've also taken to bringing fresh fruit with me when I can remember to, and that seems to get me through the tough times even better.

Tonight I had the challenge of cooking for others, keeping the meal purely healthy, and cooking something quickly. True to my nature, I had pretty much forgotten I had invited my girlfriends over for dinner until I left work this afternoon. I also forgot that I had promised to serve a meal to demonstrate how yummy vegetarian food can be. So...what to make? Thinking about what I had at home, this is what I came up with:

Chunky veggie pasta:
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper
1 zucchini
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
fresh basil
whole wheat pasta

Ok, so it wasn't the most gourmet meal, or even very creative, but it was light and colorful and worked well in a pinch. I paired it with a romaine salad, and fixed up a fresh batch of hummus as an appetizer. Of course, there's no limit to the possible variations for the pasta, it really just depends on what looks good in the produce section.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Away we goooo!

I certainly picked good month to start this! I can't put my finger on why, but the last few days have been somewhat stressful. So far I've done a decent job staying on the healthy side (I think), but mid-afternoon is definitely my hardest time to stay afloat. My lunches and dinners have been very veggie-heavy, which I know is good for me, but it only gives me energy for so long. I need an extra...something. Protein boost maybe?

Anyway, after three days of feeling stressed and tired, I was dying for some comfort food. Portabella burger and sweet potato oven fries. Pure happiness. But now that I've found a great comfort meal to turn to, I could use some ideas for a delicious, satisfying snack when I'm in a pinch. Help, please!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Gras

The night before I start my trial month, I felt a strong need to feast before the fast. I guess it's the Coastie in me, mixed with the fact that I still haven't developed the will-power to decline an invitation to a good Mexican restaurant. I think I did fairly well by ordering the vegan burrito (steamed veggies, avacado, black beans, tomatillo sauce), but I still can't stay away from those stupid tortilla chips. On top of which, my friends wanted to get ice cream afterwards, which I ate but justified to myself given that we walked to the ice cream shop.

So now I'm wondering, does justifying these indulgences ever help? Why do we feel the need to talk ourselves into these things? I could have easily given myself the extra exercise without the extra calories.

But such as it is, I'm armed with my brand new bagful of fresh fruits and veggies and hearty whole grains. I've gone through my fridge and pantry and thrown out every bit of fatty, starchy, sugary junk I can find. I'm ready to start fresh tomorrow! Here's to finding some sort of workable balance....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The beginning

This blog came about as a way for me to track my thoughts and habits, namely my eating habits. I'm new to vegetarianism, but of course that doesn't automatically mean I'm reaching for the healthiest choices (so glad tortilla chips are vegetarian!). I also tend to binge both when I'm stressed and when I'm bored, which usually equals pretty constant grazing. And that leads to me feeling bad physically and mentally.

Lately I've noticed my habits getting worse than usual, which I've been blaming on heightened stress over the last month. So, this is an attempt to regain control.

No junk.

No alcohol.

For the entire month of June, I'm going to attempt to consume nothing but nutrient-rich, healthy foods that are largely more beneficial to my body than not. This may seem like a common-sense plan (it is), but the tricky part will be dining out and spur-of-the-moment situations. How do we know what the best choice is when we're not always presented with all the information?
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