Vegetarianism 3.0 Recap: Weeks 2 & 3

It’s the start of a new week, which means that I am done with Vegetarianism 3.0 Week 3!

Which means that we’re HALFWAY THERE!

Goodness gracious, who knew where the time went?!

Since we haven’t had a vegetarianism recap in a while (we missed Weeks 2 and 3), I decided that my thoughts will be better expressed via random list!

 

  1. Despite the signs of spring popping up everywhere (warmer temperatures, the days getting longer, Easter decorations everywhere, etc., etc.), I still crave my favorite Fall flavors… like pumpkin and cinnamon.

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A craving that I satisfied with easy pumpkin pancakes.

 

  1. We have fallen into a slight Asian food rut this past week (not that I’m complaining).

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My mom whipped up Ellie Krieger’s Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce for a spontaneous visit from E.

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And then we continued the Asian food tour with Clinton Kelly’s General Tso Chicken, swapping shrimp for the chicken. But be warned – the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of red pepper flake (which can be super hot for some)… I used 1 teaspoon and it is still perfectly spicy without burning the roof of your mouth.

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Finally, I had to make Asian sugar snap peas

We definitely like a theme in this house!

 

  1. My final realization for Vegetarianism 3.0 Weeks 2 and 3 is that baked goods are vegetarian.

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Chocolate cupcakes are healthier when they are served at Nutrition Symposiums, right?

 

It has been a delicious two weeks – I can’t see what else we make for the second half of this vegetarian journey!

Your chocolate lovin’ vegetarian friend,

C

Asian Sugar Snap Peas

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Who loves sugar snap peas?

Me too!

Sugar snap peas are a magical vegetable. A perfect shade of green, delightfully crisp, and chock full of vitamin C. If I’m not careful, I can polish off a one-pound bag in an afternoon… It may be my favorite vegetable of all time (at least right now!).

But what makes sugar snap peas so great is that they stand up to cooking and retain that bright, crisp texture. And nothing showcases my favorite vegetable like this quick and easy stir fry.

It starts with some steamed or blanched sugar snap peas.

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They are cooked until they are just starting to become tender and very bright green! Like springtime! Resist the urge to snack on them while you continue with the recipe.

Then grab yourself a big skillet…

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… and throw in some thinly sliced garlic and red pepper flake.

When they become fragrant, add in the sugar snap peas.

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Again, resist the urge to snack on the peas while you toss them together with the garlic/red pepper flakes.

Now we build the sauce.

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Add in chicken or vegetable stock, some granulated sugar, and some low-sodium soy sauce (which also has a spring green label… can you tell that I’m totally over winter?).

Then pour in a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water).

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Please excuse the pale, alien-esque hand photo… but this is real life, man!

The finishing touch is a sprinkling of scallions.

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Toss and serve alongside your favorite broiled meat!

 

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your sugar snap pea lovin’ friend,

C

Asian Snap Peas

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1 pound sugar snap peas, steamed

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flake

½ cup chicken or vegetable broth, low-sodium

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

2 scallions, thinly sliced

 

Steps:

  1. In a deep-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and red pepper flake and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in the sugar snap peas and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in broth, soy sauce, and sugar and mix together – bring just to a boil. Gently pour in the cornstarch slurry and mix until the sauce forms.
  4. Top the sugar snap peas with the scallions and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

Vegetarianism 3.0: Week 1

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I cannot believe that it is officially the end of my first week in my 40-day journey of vegetarianism. And what a week it has been!

As it has been for the past two years, the night before involves a big meat-centric supper. A last supper, if you will…

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We had a big traditional roasted chicken. So long, chicken wings… see you in 2 months!

But no meat doesn’t mean that we haven’t been eating well.

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We ate farro salad studded with kidney beans, haricot vert, and red pepper (delicious!).

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And spinach/feta cheese quiche (divine!).

Snacks were also big hits this week.

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Tex-Mex Bruschetta Dip is delicious and colorful and hearty enough to be a lighter dinner if you want.

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And sometimes you need to munch on popcorn while you watch TV – it’s a whole grain, low-cal, vegan snack that always satisfies.

It has been a great week – I can’t wait to see what my family thinks up our next week of dinners!

So, kiddos, what do YOU think I should make this coming week? Any recipe you want me to try? Let me know.

Your (temporary) vegetarian friend,

C

It’s A Three-pete! Vegetarianism 3.0

It’s that time of year again!

As many of you know, for the past two years I have gone vegetarian for Lent… which makes this the third year I will be purging my diet of all things meat-related (goodbye, bacon!).

I will be embarking on my annual journey of meat-free meals tomorrow (different calendars) and to be honest, I am both excited and very apprehensive at the same time.

I’m excited because I was really creative last year and made some amazing food. Apprehensive because this year will be a little different than last year. I am currently living at home with two other people (hey Mom and Dad!) and their tradition is to not only go vegetarian for all of Lent, but go full vegan on Wednesdays and Fridays. *gulp*

Needless to say, the next 40 days will be interesting… but as always, there will be good food and good stories.

Follow along on my Vegetarian adventures and let me know if you have any tips, tricks, or recipes!

Wish me luck!

C

Vegetarianism 2.0… Week One (Tuscan Winter Vegetable Quinoa)

TUSCAN WINTER VEGETABLE QUINOA THREE

Like I discussed in an earlier blog post, I decided to go vegetarian for Lent. Whose first day coincided with Meatless Monday and the third day of National Nutrition Month. Basically, it was an epic day (and week) of veggie goodness.

And this week was not as much as a disaster as I thought it was going to be. I ended up eating basically the same thing for dinner each night (something that I vowed not to do) but it worked with the “cleaning out the fridge” mentality that goes along with the business of the week before Spring Break.

But boy was I glad to eat this for four days straight…

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Tuscan Winter Vegetable Quinoa…

It is beautiful, simple to make, gluten-free, and full of wonderful healthy things that help you stay healthy and focused as this endless winter goes on and on.

This dish really highlights all the food customs I learned during my time abroad in Florence. Tuscan kale and sweet potatoes are in season where I am (which also means that they’re cheap!) and provide lots of color and good nutrition to the dish.

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And nothing says winter more than dried cranberries!

Quinoa and white beans provide a basic backdrop that lets everything shine and a lemon vinaigrette brightens the dish and keeps everything fresh.

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All in all, I shall be making this dinner, vegetarian or not, all the time. It’s perfection.

It was a good first week! Now I’m home and I actually will be eating different things each night. Stay tuned for lots of pictures of Mama-made meals!

 

Tell me kiddos – are you going vegetarian for Lent? Or are you just a vegetarian? Let me know if you have any favorite meat-free offerings – I would love to try them!

Your veggie lovin’, Italy missin’ friend,

C

 

Tuscan Winter Vegetable Quinoa

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

½ cup pearled quinoa

1 cup water

½ to 1 bunch of Tuscan kale (depending how much you like kale)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1-15oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

⅓ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped parsley

Juice of ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

1. Cook quinoa to package directions.

Basically: rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer (those grains are tiny!). Bring 1½ cups of water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot and add quinoa. Bring back to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Just like rice (why did I struggle with this?)! Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

2. Sautee sweet potatoes in 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until potatoes are soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Add kale to sweet potatoes and continue to cook until kale is wilted, 2-3 minutes.

4. Add in garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional).

5. When the quinoa is cooked, place into a large bowl and add the vinaigrette.

6. Add kale-sweet potato mixture, cannellini beans, dried cranberries, and parsley to the dressed quinoa. Stir to combine.

Enjoy!