Dining Out

•December 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Here is a really cool sitethat gives reviews, a price guide, location and links to vegetarian restaraunts. They also say whether or not the restaurant has vegan food.

This website isn’t just specific to the Phoenix/Tempe, AZ area, you can also customize the site for your city, or perhaps a city you will be travelling to during the holidays.

This is a similar site that allows users to vote on their favorite vegetarian restaurants. They also show menus and other customer and media reviews.

These sites are great because they give you a better idea of pricing and other people’s experiences before you go and the reviews seem to be accurate reflections of the restaurants.

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Not just plain old Broccoli!

•December 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who knew broccoli had so much more potential than just being on a vegetable platter or steamed to death? Here are three great recipes, that are easy to prepare are taste delicious.

  1. Top of the Stove Ziti
  • Takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and is cooked in all one pan. Less time to prepare and clean up; more time to enjoy!

    2.  Broccoli Salad from the Southern food menu

  • The mixture of mayonaise and vinegar makes a creamy and tangy dressing for the salad. The recipe includes crumbled bacon, so for the vegetarian option you can remove the bacon completely or substitute with fake bacon strips.
  • Also, another option is substituting the half cup of raisins with cranberries for a sweet twist.

3.  Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • The recipe is completely vegan, but you can easily substitute soy milk for regular if you want, or even add some grated cheddar cheese. This is a very flavorful soup, especially with the dash of soy sauce in it. You can also control the consistancy of the soup by how long you blend the ingredients.

At the Supermarket: Fake Chicken

•December 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So this week I picked up a box of the regular Boca Chik’n patties and the bruschetta style with sundried tomatoes and basil, since a vegetarian friend of mine swears by them. Unfortunately I was really disappointed.

Why I like them:

  • They’re meat free…

Why I don’t like them:

  • Their consistancy is similar to compressed meat… lots of little pieces stuck together
  • The tomato basil wasn’t so much a flavor as it was just tomato chunks
  • The tomato flavor was good at first, but not a pleasant after-taste
  • The breading of the burger added little taste to the whole event

There are other fake “chik’n” products to try, like the chick’n nuggets, but I think I’m sticking to the Boca vegan burgers. Perhaps the chik’n patties would be better suited sliced up in a salad?

Vegetarian Nutrition

•December 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Alot of the criticism that vegetarians face is based on the assumption that “vegetarians and vegans can’t get all the vitamins and nutrients they need!” Not getting adequate nutrients from our diets is a worry for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, since most of us are so busy we forget the importance of a balanced diets.

Luckily there’s a lot of resources available online to help vegetarians eat a balanced diet even without eating meat.  The Mayo clinic offers some helpful tips, especially for vegans, about how to substitute food for animal products and still get nutritional value. 

For instance, they talk about the importance of B 12 which is found primarily in animal products. However if you are not vegan, you can still get a good portion of B 12 in milk, eggs and cheese. But, if you’re vegan you could drink soy milk, or the Mayo clinic suggests fortified cereals or supplementary vitamins.

Another cool website is Vegetarian Nutrition, which is a center for all things vegetarian. They tons of resources about becoming vegetarian, the different benefits of specific herbs and spices used in cooking, and tips for a vegetarian meal plan.

Tired of Thanksgiving leftovers?

•December 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So am I. So in an effort to ditch the yams and green bean casserole I found a delicious basic recipe for egg fried rice which I turned into stir fry! The original rice recipe is here. I have padded out the dish with extra vegetables and some homemade teriyaki sauce.

Before you start, cook about three cups of rice according to the directions on the package. You can use brown or white rice, but I used white rice, and cooked it a little longer so it is soft. If you end up with more than about 4 and a half cups of COOKED rice, you can either add it all to the stir fry or save it and make rice pudding.

The meal is cooked over a medium-heat in a non-stick skillet or a wok. The recipe suggests using a cooking spray but I substituted with a tablespoon of olive oil, but you could use vegetable oil too. Then you add 1 cup of egg beaters as an egg substitute, it’s a lower fat and cholesterol alternative but if you want to use real eggs you could use two medium sized eggs. Fry the eggs for about 2 minutes as you would cook scrambled eggs so they don’t stick to the bottom, then add the rice, stir frying it for 3-4 minutes.

At this point add the salt, pepper, and beansprouts. The recipe calls for 2 cups of bean sprouts, but I added only 1. Also, I didn’t use any salt because of the teryaki sauce we are adding later. Then I added a can of water chestnuts, some fresh cut carrots (about half a cup), and some cut cauliflower and broccoli. Fry for about 4-5 minutes.

Then in a separate bowl, add about 2/3 cup of soy sauce (you can’t beat kikkoman), two tablespoons of brown sugar, one tablespoon of cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. You could also add a teaspoon of ginger if you like.

Mix the ingredients and the sauce to the rice and vegetable mix, stirring frequently for about 3 mins.

Enjoy!

Other vegetables you could add include: snap peas, bamboo shoots or red peppers.

Applebees 2 for $20 Rocks

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I think we all have a few friends and family that almost wretch when the word “vegetarian” is in the name of any restaurant, regardless of whether the food is fantastic or not.  So to appease those with a more traditional vocabulary, Applebees is awesome.

Why I love it:

  • An appetizer and 2 full size entrees!
  • Delicious appetizers that appease vegetarians and omnivores alike: smooth spinach and artichoke dip or crispy onion rings
  • Your choice of entree: oriental chicken salad (hold the chicken, my personal favorite), Caesar salad and three cheese penne (once again hold the chicken); and for the non-vegetarians in the group: riblets, cheese burgers, and salads with grilled and breaded chicken.
  • At two dinners for $20, you can afford to splurge on happy hour!

Other Great dinner options for traditional food with veggie options:

  • Olive garden: Endless salad, pasta and bread sticks… need I say more? Good and cheap.
  • Souper Salad: Delicious soup and salad, and plenty of it.
  • Cici’s pizza: From salad to spinach or mac and cheese pizza, there’s something for everyone.

At the Supermarket: Boca ground beef

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

At last there is a way to still enjoy tacos and sloppy joes without losing the consistency and flavors of the traditional way, but I’m still not sold.

The product: Boca ground burger.

I fryed up a pan of this meatless burger to make tacos, using just the traditional “taco seasoning” packets found in supermarkets, however I’m not sold.  The motto “less is more” does not apply here.  When frying the ground boca, it reduces to pretty much nothing, so plan to use more than you would with traditional ground beef.  I added a good amount of water when adding the spices and the boca tended to tick to the bottom of the pan. Perhaps oil would be a remedy to this?

Why I like it:

  • It provides a cool alternative to all veggie tacos and fajitas
  • Is a good flavor base to build upon with spices.
  • The consistency is comparable to traditional ground beef

Why I don’t:

  • You have to add seasoning of some sort, or else the flavor is a bit bland
  • It cooks down considerably; more is just about right in this case
  • Sticks to the pan; a lot.

I’m not opposed to trying other recipies with the boca ground burger and Boca has some great recipies to try, although I’m not convinced the meatloaf recipie will be successful. The product doesn’t appear to have the consistency to be bound together as a loaf.