Saturday, July 3, 2010

a fourth of july menu to truly delight about

as a vegetarian, i have been dreading the fourth of july for several days. every summer barbecue i have been invited to seems to be lacking in the vegetarian options. so when i found out that i would be spending the fourth of july with my family of non-vegetarians, i began to worry.
however, my worries quickly went away today when i saw that the daily green has posted a wonderful menu that can cater to both herbivores and carnivores alike.
if you're like me and looking for a menu to cook your friends or family members a meal that doesn't involve meat, take a look at this menu. the bulgur bean burgers (pictured) are a delicious alternative to the normal beef burgers, and the wonderful flavor will keep your friends coming back for more.
another great alternatives to a regular burger is to have a teriyaki inspired burger. the black beans go great with a teriyaki sauce on the bun, and a slice of pineapple adds the perfect touch of sweetness. together, the spicy black bean and the pineapple create a burger that's both sweet and savory, and sure to please a crowd.
their honey glazed grilled plums are also a wonderful recipe that i tried in the early days of my vegetarianism. it's a healthy alternative to the traditional pie and is a great way to mix things up at your upcoming barbecue.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the facts about protein bars

many of my friends and family members have a go-to nutrition bar to rely on when they are on the go and do not have the time to eat a real meal. for me, i tend to always keep a luna bar in my purse. even when i am caught up in my studying at home and i'm unable to really cook, i turn to luna bars.
with protein bars serving as a huge staple in the lives of many vegetarians, i started to wonder- just how healthy are nutrition bars? and which ones are the healthiest choices?

[the facts]
high in protein and vitamins, protein bars are a great way satisfy your health needs and fill up while you are on the go.  
protein bars are also a great snack for vegetarians, since they can provide you with the protein that you are unable to get in your diet.
however, many protein bars are unable to support their claims- they are not as healthy as their advertisements would lead you to believe. in fact, only 1 out of 12 protein bars actually meet the requirements to be considered a protein bar. many bars are packed with as much sugar and saturated fats as a candy bar. if you are shopping blind, without reading the labels, you may end up with just another chocolate bar instead of the nutritious and healthy bar you were wanting. 

[know what you're looking for in your bars]
so what should you look for when shopping for your protein bar?
the first thing you need to do to is determine that you are looking at protein bars. there are three bar types- each created to meet a particular need. however, if you are not careful, you can easily pick up a meal replacement bar instead of a protein bar.
a protein bar is created to provide you with additional protein for your dietary needs, and to provide you with extra vitamins. you will typically find 15-35 grams of protein in every protein bar.
an energy bar is usually high in fiber or protein to provide you with an extra energy boost. these bars often have fewer than 10 grams of protein and are low in carbohydrates.
a meal-replacement bar is meant to replace a meal, and so will often have a high calorie content of around 200-500 calories. these bars are high in protein (15-20 grams) and have 30 grams of carbs and 5 to 10 grams of fat.

[choosing your protein bar]
the best protein bars will be made with soy, milk and whey products. these mixtures of ingredients enable the bars to provide you with three different types of protein. whey protein (a popular type of protein among body builders) reduces your appetite and improves glucose regulation. milk protein will reduce body fat and improve lean muscle mass. and protein from soy will reduce your risk for heart disease.
when looking for your protein bar, be sure to check the content of saturated fat. a good bar will have fewer than 5 grams of saturated fat. 
also be sure to check the calorie content. you will see many bars with 500 calories, which needs to be avoided. there are protein bars that have fewer than 200 calories and can still provide you with 15 grams of protein. you do not need to sacrifice calories in order to obtain all of the protein you need for your diet. 

[best protein bars]
permalean protein bars provide 21 grams of protein for under 190 calories. if you have a difficult time fitting any protein in your diet, these bars are the best choice for you.
clif bars are a popular type of protein bars among the health nuts. they often have 11 grams of protein and 230 calories. 
luna bars are the women's only type of protein bars, with an average of 9 grams of protein, 180 calories and nutrients that cater specifically to women.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

eggplant tomato bake

i've recently been in an eggplant mood and i just can't seem to get enough of it. so when i came across this eggplant tomato bake, i was really excited.

this recipe is a new staple for my diet- it's really easy and requires only three ingredients.

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated fat-free parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 400 degrees F
spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray; arrange eggplant rounds on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with parmesan. 
layer one slice of a tomato on top of each eggplant round.
sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
bake for 10 to 15 minutes.


this recipe serves 4 and is a healthy option with only 55 calories per serving with 0.3 grams of total fat. i love to serve this for an italian dinner at home, with a side of parmesan asparagus. 

happy eating,

college vegetarian cooking

while it's titled "college vegetarian cooking", i think this cookbook is perfect for just about anybody. it initially piqued my interest because it was labeled as a cookbook for vegetarians. however, what made me love it most was that it provided cheap, inexpensive and quick recipes that any vegetarian can come to love.
i think everyone has days where they just want something low-key and delicious. as a vegetarian, it's hard to find those options. if you want quick, you have to go with a salad. anything else, and it's pretty much you spend half an hour or more. i could stick with mac and cheese from a box, but i like to make everything fresh. the fresher the ingredients, the fewer the preservatives and other unhealthy additions. i eat it the way nature made it.

back to this cookbook, though. the recipes in this book range from simple recipes from your childhood, to unique dishes like pasta with broccoli and caramelized onions (yum!). this book also has many recipes influenced by both asian and indian dishes. two recipes which i can't wait to make are vegetable kung pao and spicy potato samosas.

the skinny vegetarian rating: B+
pros: many simple dishes that require little time to cook and few ingredients.
cons: the way the cookbook is divided is confusing; there is not the traditional "appetizer", "salad", "slow-cooker", etc. this cookbook divides the recipes by "cheap eats", "basics", etc.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

poblano, mango and black bean quesadillas

the poblano, mango and black bean quesadilla is a recipe from "cooking light" that i found last year. from the first bite, i became obsessed with this recipe. all of the flavors come together so perfectly to make it such a sweet and savory dish.perfect for a light lunch, these quesadillas are quick and easy to make.

to make these quesadillas, you first want to cook/ sautee the filling of black beans, poblano and chopped onions. before you add the mixture to the tortillas, you add in some chopped mango to give it a sweet taste. you then spray a broiler sheet with cooking spray, and create your quesadillas on top of that. once you broil the quesadillas, they are all ready to serve.

  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  presliced onion
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  poblano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  cup  jarred sliced peeled mango (such as Del Monte SunFresh)
  • 1/3  cup  cubed peeled avocado
  • 4  (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat broiler.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and poblano, and sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beans; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in mango and avocado.
Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Arrange about 3/4 cup bean mixture on half of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese over bean mixture, and fold tortilla in half. Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheddar cheese melts.


this recipe makes 4 servings, with each serving containing 334 calories and 13.2 g of protein. this is a perfect option for a light summer lunch, and a great recipe to feed any picky kids in your life.

the recipe can be found here.

happy eating,

ani's raw food essentials

i was looking at cookbooks yesterday at the bookstore, and i found this one. ani phylo is a raw food chef, which means that she only works with raw foods and vegetables. i've always been interested in cooking rawist, as your meals provide your with even more nutrients than you will normally have when you cook your food.
the recipes found in this cookbook all look really delicious. she has recipes for a whole variety of food types- breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothies, desserts. in addition, she breaks her book down and even lists essential tools and ingredients to raw eating. this is perfect for someone who has always wanted to try raw eating, but has never attempted it before.
all in all, i really think this is a wonderful book. the recipes require no cooking, which means it's an ideal book for a busy vegetarian. while i did not purchase it yesterday, i am definitely going to pick it up next time i go to the bookstore.

if you're interested in looking at this book, you can find it at barnes and noble.

a note to my readers

dear readers,

my main plan for this blog is to blog about unique and wonderful vegetarian recipes. however, for the next month and a half, i will be unable to do any cooking. i am currently staying with my mom at her beach condo, and the kitchen in there is TINY. so, until summer ends and i move back to my apartment at UF, i will be unable to cook.

but, i will still post some of my favorite recipes that i have cooked in the past, as well as great vegetarian dishes that can be found at restaurants. i will also post reviews of cookbooks.

once august 11th comes and i move back to my apartment, i will be able to post regularly about new recipes that i cook.

thank you for your patience!

tips for success

being vegetarian is a really hard thing to do, especially if you've been eating meat your entire life. for me, i grew up being vegetarian, but health-reasons made me stop when i was 10. however, i still had a little trouble switching to a vegetarian diet.

  1. the main thing you need to do is toss the bad foods out of your kitchen. i know it seems like the food is going to waste, but the food will go to waste either way. so why would you tempt yourself like that? even with the best willpower, you can still fall. also- when i say bad food, i am not just referring to meats. i mean anything that is not natural or wholesome. these foods are mostly just snack foods, but they're the most dangerous to your diet. potato chips, cake, cookies... they're high in calories and in fat, and they're not very filling. and given the choice between having a bag of chips (200 cal) or an apple (80 cal), most people choose the chips. so trust me, if you throw them away, your switch will be much more successful.
  2. pick up a couple vegetarian cookbooks. just because you're vegetarian doesn't mean your only options are tofu or salads. there's a huge variety of choices that we have available, and a cookbook will help open your eyes to this. i have found many great cookbooks that focus solely on vegetarian food, and i will post reviews of them on my blog.
  3. realize what your intents are. are you just going vegetarian to be vegetarian or are you doing it for health or personal belief reasons? if you have a strong devotion to your choice to become a vegetarian, the switch is much easier to make. 
with any major lifestyle change you make, the first month is always going to be the hardest. just push through and stay dedicated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

the skinny vegetarian [an introduction]

[who i am]
my name is kelsie. i am a 20 year old student at the university of florida.
about three months, i decided to become a vegetarian. after consulting my dietician, i conceded into being a "flexitarian". this means that while i stick mainly to a vegetarian diet, i will eat meat once or twice a week, since a lack of sufficient protein in my diet will hurt me severely. since i am not being a vegetarian for animal-cruelty reasons, but only health reasons, it was only logical that i heed my dietician's advice and eat meat a couple times a week.

[what this blog is]

like many people my age, i live on the internet. i love to spend hours looking at my favorite blogs that talk about my interests. however, i was disappointed to see how very few vegetarian blogs are out there. knowing that i am probably not the only one of there looking for a vegetarian blog, i was inspired to create my own.
so what is my vision for this blog?

i want to provide other vegetarians, or others who are thinking about pursuing a vegetarian lifestyle, a place where they can come to find great recipes and great foods.

many health food blogs aren't really blogging about health foods; they talk about ice cream that's "low calorie". while it is a wonderful product for those who love their ice cream, but want to shed a few pounds, i was wanting something that focused more on the organic and wholesome side of food.

i was also disappointed to find that there are relatively few websites that provide delicious vegetarian dishes besides salads. and even fewer that show you want wonderful, low-calorie dishes you can find at restaurants.

and so, i hope to bring all three of these components to my blog. each update i post will feature a new vegetarian recipe, a great vegetarian meal that can be found at restaurants, and reviews on some healthy products that can be found at a grocery store.

happy eating,