Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There's a First Time for Everything (Well, Almost Everything)

I have always been a food lover. I didn't believe in strict diets and restricting oneself from all things fattening and well, delicious! I'd always loved Ms. Paula Deans' A stick of butter makes everything better, y'all.  But the spark of the "foodie" hit me about 2 years ago. I became wildly passionate about trying new foods and hitting the best restaurants all the locals raved about; and finding those little diamonds in the rough so few knew about. It became a sort of, new hobby that I was able to enthusiastically share with my husband, because believe me, the man can eat! A goal of mine was to visit as many of the places that have been featured on the Food Network; such as Man vs. Food, and Diners, Drive-in, and Dives. Also, I wanted to catch the food trucks whenever they were close by. Luckily, military life allows us to travel to different states and there are tv show and food truck apps that display where these gems are located.

Now, the quandary is, trying new culinary masterpieces that include meat that I have not had the chance to try.

(curtesy of lingolunch.wordpress.com)

This is the new predicament that has been on my mind for the last week or so. I had always dreamed of traveling the world, seeing ruins and historical monuments and first and foremost trying all the food I could possibly get my hands on! Would I be such a hypocrite if I were to only eat meat when it came to something new? I don't care much of what others say or think about me so I suppose if others were to think that to be hypocritical of me it would not affect me so. But would the possible hypocrisy stand foully on my conscience? I don't believe I will make the decision anytime soon; possibly not until I come across a situation like so. Guess we'll have to wait and see how it all pans out... I

Until then, good vibes and happy days everyone.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

Recently, I had been on the hunt for a recipe of broccoli cheddar soup that didn't include chicken broth, and subsequently came across this recipe. I did end of finding the broccoli recipe but I was out of the green goodness and I had a head of cauliflower in my fridge just waiting to be used. As always I didn't follow the recipe to the tee, but ill go ahead and copy the original here for you along with my tidbits so you can pick and choose how you would like to make it :D

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • (I didn't have leeks so I diced up 3-4 stalks of celery)

  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)

  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

(I added a mix of italian herbs and a bit of oregano)

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

(I added chopped chives at the end)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is soft, remove the bay leaf and stir in the milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese and lemon juice.

(courtesy of eatingwell.com, sorry I forgot to 
snatch a pic of mine lol)

I found this recipe on EatingWell.com. The hubs and I really 
enjoyed it, and we hope you will too!

Good Vibes and Happy Days <3


Sunday, January 20, 2013

"You Don't Win Friends With Salad"

Hey there everyone, sorry its taken me a bit to write, I've been working like crazy and honestly nothing new has really happened I would say is worth posting about. So here, I will finally get to write about certain happenings that I hadn't gotten a chance to share.

 When I first contemplated creating this bog, I was having some trouble coming up with my domain name. I went to trusty google to look for some inspiration and typed in "vegetarian". As the results popped up, I noticed a website for poetry and quotes, click. It was a web page with poetry, quotes and snarky snippets from pop T.V. and movie culture. As I began to read them one by one I was strengthened in my motivation to make the switch and pleasantly surprised that a number of great, influential people were veggies as well. Unfortunately there, I did not find my inspiration for my name but I did come across a moment of hilarity (well I found it funny) in one of the excerpts on the page, that continues to enter my mind from time to time. 

The quote came from the husband of a well known and loved American family. They were established in 1988 (year of my birth!) and have brought much joy and laughter into the hearts of many. They are the yellow, dysfunctional fam bam from good 'ol Springfield, The Simpsons. The funny came from the episode in which the prodigal daughter, Lisa, decides to become a vegetarian and tries to get her dad, Homer, to throw a meatless BBQ; which he is throwing in order to outdo "stupid, sexy Flanders". In his response to her crazy notions he states:
     All normal people love meat.  If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say, "Yo Goober!  Where's the meat?"  I'm trying to impress people here, Lisa.  You don't win friends with salad.

Believe it or not, I didn't get my blog title Where's the meat? from this, but it did reaffirm my choice in the decision. It was the only title that was sticking in my head but felt it was mundane. You see, I was once a die hard Simpsons fan (soon to be again haha) and when I read Homer's dialogue I was literally LOL'ing; and took it as a sign that my blog was meant to be titled as such. I'm very thankful that the universe had me come across this website because I find myself singing "you don't win friends with salad", on the days I am having the hardest time coping with the switch. It brings a chuckle and a grin to myself and is a reminder to lighten up, don't be to hard on myself and it'll get easier; I got enough friends anyways haha!

As I had mentioned in my previous posts, my transition to my new lifestyle choice had started to take its toll on my stomach and mind. And though I caved in and feasted on our poor friend Jaques (read previous posts if you have no idea who I'm speaking of, shame on you!) I have yet to touch our bovine, swine and poultry friends (didn't really ever eat any other types of meat). However, this process has not been easy. The hub has tried to make it easy on me, helping me with salads and such, but unfortunately without him trying, he has made it quite difficult at times. I do look at this as a benefit though; I will eventually have to be used to being around meat and not wanting to snatch it and devour it on site. I highly doubt our friends will be so pleased to have me come at them from across the table to steal their steak... don't think so. 

Thanks to the advice on one of the sites I had visited in looking for tips on making the transition (their link is on my page), I began to think of all the reasons I had decided to make the switch. When the smell of hubbys' juicy steak covered in melting butter hit my nose, I would go over and over in my mind of all the reasons I did not want to eat that red meat. You may think it would be overly repetitive and old but if you have true, substantial reasons for your commitment and you're not doing it on a whim or because of a 'fad', I assure you, it helps like you wouldn't believe. And to tie in the Simpsons again, I suppose a PG version of what goes on in my head is similar to when Lisa is at the dinner table and she looks down at her plate, two lamb chops laying there, she imagines the poor little sheep baahing to her, "Liiisaaaa, what did I ever do to yoooou?". Yea after that, even though I want it badly, the meat is not going in my mouth, nope, not gonna happen! 

I of course have my weak moments, we all know that lol, and I am not kidding myself that this trick will help me 100 % of the time. So do not get discouraged if your aids do not get you out of every moment of temptation; if you have great reasons they will serve you most of the time. With that, I leave you all with one of my tricks. 

Good Vibes and Happy Days <3

- jess

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Giving Up is the Hardest Part"

So it happened, my will broke down and it finally happened today. The last 3 or 4 days or so I had been constantly hungry and thinking of ribs. Yea, BBQ ribs. It all started when I was checking my FB feed and saw two different people had posted pics of their dinner that evening. Both so happened to be thick, juicy ribs. I freaking LOVE ribs! At that point I thought to myself "damn I can't have those anymore," and in that moment I was slightly upset. It also didn't help that every other night I would think about them whilst I slept; it's pretty pathetic actually. But I made this choice for the betterment of my spiritual self so I'm going to continue trying.

The "bright side" is I didn't eat ribs today. Like I've said before, I live in BFE and don't know of any good BBQ/rib joints and none probably exist here. And I'm not gonna lie, if I had the opportunity to eat them one last time, well I just might. :( lol Since I luckily cant bring myself to chomping down cow or chicken anymore, I ended up eating shrimp. I made the hubs and I shrimp cocktail with the bag of frozen shrimp we've had in the freezer for about a month now. (Maybe even longer, oops) When we bought the bag forever ago it was initially for shrimp cocktail and camarones a la diabla, but I never got around to it. I suppose it was a good thing I kept putting them off or else that bag wouldn't have been in the freezer to help me with my transition. As people say "everything happens for a reason".

I did feel a little guilty when I was making the dish. As I was peeling the shrimp, hubby helping me at my side, I couldn't help but think of the little guy we had seen at the Aquarium of the Pacific. During our christmas vacay, we visited the aquarium with my older brother and nieces. Inside they have small tide pools where one can see and touch the little critters under water. A new addition (or at least new to me) to these touch pools were shrimp. As I was holding my finger in the water right in front of one, it began to crawl onto my finger. I watched closely as it started to eat at my cuticle. It's claws were so dainty I couldn't feel a thing but it was an amazing sight to see. I put him back in the water and joined the rest of my fam who was at the tide pool next to me. There, I see my husband doing the exact same thing trying to show our nieces the beauty of nature. They were so amazed to see that the shrimp was "cleaning" his nails. It reminded us of Jacques, the cleaner shrimp, in Finding Nemo. :D

I was content with myself that I felt guilty, because in that moment I knew that I would be able to give up all meat someday. So I guess at this point that makes me a pescetarian on my way to vegetarianism. ??
If your reading and new to this too and are struggling, don't give up on yourself. Just because you give in once or even a few times doesn't mean you'll never accomplish your goals. Things take time and like Jess reminded me, your body will need time to transition to the new lifestyle. Take it day by day, we'll get there!

Good vibes and happy days <3

- jess

Saturday, January 12, 2013

blegh! Dumb Dogs!

 I was quite disappointed to find that the only veggie/vegan "processed" foods I could find at the grocery store, did not turn out as I had hoped. The item of topic is the good 'ol hot dog; or veggie dog in this case. Now when I tried these links I didn't eat it as a hot dog. Instead, I decided to use a few to make my hubbys' spam and rice recipe. I cut the links up into cubes, tossed them in the skillet, poured in some soy sauce and layered on the sirracha. Once done cooking, I mixed some pieces with rice in a bowl. I grabbed my fork and dug right in... 'spit take'. I spit the food right back out into my bowl and threw it away! I then commenced with grabbing the rest of the links to throw them away too. As I opened the trash can to discard those puppies my husband stopped me. "What are you doing? Don't throw them all away!" I told him it was gross and there was no way I was going to try them out again. I suppose he thought I was over reacting because he asked to try a plain link. I gave him a dog and he took a bite. "BLEGH!" He spit that sucker right out, no hesitation. HA! We abhor being wasteful, but those hot dog frauds had a one way ticket to trashtopia.  

So yea, unfortunately my creative culinary theory of a meal was a major failure. And I was stuck enjoying the yummy aroma of my husbands dinner. It was a veggie lasagna from stouffers for me (quite tasty but probably not the healthiest). Don't know how many people enjoy spam, but I used to be scared of the processed junk. I also have only tried it the way my husband makes it and it is so freaking delicious! If your a meat eater you gotta try it cubed up with soy sauce, sirracha, diced onions and an egg over white rice. But if you don't eat meat, well even better! lol

Again, not sure if I would enjoy those veggie links as an actual hot dog; I have read online they taste better grilled. But the universe sure as heck knows it will be a long time before I decide to try those things again!

Oh well, they all can't be winners.

Good vibes and happy days everyone!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tofu veggie stir fry with udon noodles

I finally made my first vegetarian dinner (finally!) I knew that I was going to make some type of stir fry with my beloved wok but I didn't know exactly how I was going to do it and if it was going to turn out any good. So, I was perusing in my fridge and pantry trying to figure out what exactly I was going to throw into the meal and I just started grabbing most of the veggies we had bought at the grocery. The last two thing I grabbed were a package of Udon noodles and tofu... yes, TOFU. Now, I have nothing against the white, pastey looking stuff, I love it in miso soup and this beef stew I used to get at the Korean restaurant I used to frequent in high school. It was the thought that the flavor, tenderness and overall not suckiness (i like to invent words) of this little soy delicacy was in my adequate hands. I didn't go in completely blind however, I decided to test out one of the new veggie food apps I had downloaded to my phone. 

The app I used is from ifood.tv and when you see it, the picture looks like it says if vegetarian. I looked up tofu stir fry but I really didn't follow any particular recipe, my main concern was learning how long to cook the tofu for and if in fact you can overcook the stuff (it can overcook ;) ). The makeshift recipe is as follows:

1 package extra firm organic tofu (I only used half since its only me)
 - Cut the tofu into even cubes about an inch or so around

1 head of broccoli
 - Cut into bite size pieces or size of your liking

1.5 bell peppers (i used red) 
 - Sliced and cut in half

2 green onions/ chives
 - roughly chopped

3 small mushrooms
 - finely sliced

1 package cooked Udon noodles
 - Cut in half

Soy sauce

Teriyaki sauce

Sesame seeds (to your liking, also a good source of fiber heehee) (video stated it added a "meaty" flavor to the dish and I thought it did help)

and for kicks I threw in some chopped red onion and a whole bunch of minced garlic 
(gotta pack on that garlic!)

Cooking the stuff:

-Add some oil to you wok or skillet or whatever it is you may have and let that heat up a bit (basics haha)

-When the oil is warm throw in your tofu (garlic if you'd like) and toss it around so it all gets coated

- Drizzle some soy sauce

- Let the tofu cook a few minutes and then throw in your sesame seeds, garlic and drizzle on the teriyaki sauce, as much as you'd like 

*** Do not throw the sesame seeds in too soon after the tofu because they will fly out at you like fireworks!!! I got hit right in between the twins (or where there should be some lady lumps lol)

- After 5 mins or so, or when the tofu is looking brown and firm throw in all your veggies of choice (and more garlic if you'd like)

- In the last 2 mins thrown in your noodles, mix around, salt and pepper to taste
 and your all set!

(told you I love garlic!)

I had enough for leftovers for the next day and it was actually tasty enough for me to enjoy 2 days in a row... (I'm picky about eating certain leftovers.. weird, this one is :D ) 

After completing my meal, it was time to make the hubbys. 

His consisted of all the same except swapping the tofu for beef. Yea.

I thought I was going to be salivating while stir frying his steak and veggies but I was surprised that the sight and almost smell of it made me cringe a bit. Now I admit I think that it was due to the cut of meat b/c the next day or so he made himself a steak and that sh*# smelled SO Bomb! (Don't worry I didn't try it, though I wanted to so so so badly). But this time it just looked absolutely disgusting to me and it made me happy haha. 

I was very pleased with myself and super happy that my first veggie endeavor was a complete success!!! 

If only I could've said the same for attempt #2. ugh. 

lol Until then, good vibes and happy days! <3

- jess

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is it cheatin' if??

Please be forewarned that this post may seem a little here and there and just plain huh? I'm sleepy and tired but I need to get this down before i forget and because I keep thinking about it.
Alrighty, so a day or two ago after I had gotten home from work, I was way too tired to make myself my first authentic (I guess u can call it that?) veggie dinner. So I decided to make myself a simple, mayo packed (I always load up the mayo) egg sandwich. I open the fridge to get the foods out and I see a "to go" box sitting there, Pandora's box waiting to be opened. I look at it, I look at my husband, box, husband, box... And it's buffalo wings! Delectable, spicy, tangy, the kryptonite of all chicken, dam buffalo wings!
To further help you understand my love for these little beauties, when I ate buffalo wings, I ate the Sh#+ out of them! I mean down to the cartilage and all. I would always poke fun at my husband and would tell him to "finish" his wings when he was done eating. And he'd strike back with "sorry I don't clean my bones off like a starving child." Hey I grew up with 3 older brothers and I've learned many of my ways from them... And devouring wings was one I was much proud to have picked up from them.
So I make my little egg sandwich, he heats up his wings, and we sit on the couch. We start eating and watching TV as usual. Then it begins. The smell, the sweet sweet tangy smell of those wings starts to linger from his box and into my nostrils. I finish my food and I'm honestly full but that doesn't stop my nose from telling my brain "hey u need to get on that!" So I look over and I start taking a few small whiffs but I refrained from it, didn't even taste the sauce (which my hub believed wouldn't be cheating). And as I'm sitting there watching TV and my hub is eating away, all I can picture is Ben Stiller's character in dodge ball doing unmentionable things with a pizza.
*if u haven't seen Dodgeball, please go google so u have an idea of what the heck I'm talking about. Thanks*
Not that I would ever do unmentionable things with food, I mean I know I'm weird but that's just gross. But that scene would not exit my brain, thinking of the things people do when they are "depriving" themselves of something they want so bad, I could not stop laughing at myself. So is sniffing cheating?? I dunno but it's not something I plan on doing a whole lot of in the future. Guess I couldn't help myself this time, oh well :D
Happy days! Or night in this case.

- jess 🐾

Sunday, January 6, 2013

4 Day Glutton

  First off, I'd like to thank (and blame) one of my best friends, Jessica, for setting me off on my journey. She decided for her new years resolution that she would be a vegetarian. Now I'm not sure as to whether or not its only for the year (didn't cross my mind to ask) but either way I was so proud and inspired by her. I had always wanted to become a vegetarian, in fact there was a point in time where I had given up chicken for a while after reading a disgusting PETA pamphlet about the poultry industry. However, I never believed that I had the will power and I guess support system to do so. It also seemed useless to try when I had a mom who cooked 5-6 days a week and every meal consisted of 90% meat. I'm talking about carne asada, albondigas, ribs, mole, ceviche etc... all the delicious mexican and quasi-american food you can think of. And not to mention she's an Amazing cook!

 So when Jess told me about her goals I thought, "YES!!! If she can do it, I can do it and we can DO IT TOGETHER!!!" Well, sort of.  (((current status: Hungry))) She lives in SoCal and I'm 8 hrs away in no-wheresville, Nevada. But I knew with her as my push and almost always available to me by phone or skype, for some reassurance, that I could (hopefully) successfully make the switch, for good. (maybe haha)

BUT, before I could make the switch, I had to eat everything I had been craving and couldn't eat in Nevada while I was in Cali visiting for the holidays. Luckily, I had already eaten a few of those things prior to new years. ((( grabbing an apple ))) Alright, so I wake up new years day and Jess had already driven to the mall and picked up some veggie rolls/food stuff from the only vegan restaurant in town (I think its the only one in town??). And the sweet angel she is, grabbed food for me too and dropped it off before she went home. So I gave it a shot to see what I was kinda getting myself into and I was a little pleasantly surprised... a little. After my sampling, the rabbit food was followed by:

Day 1: Feast at Ihop which included the largest omelet I'd ever seen or had and Mom's Menudo
 (may not seem like a lot of food but we woke up around 3 or 4 pm)

Day 2: yummy Pho, Calamari, and a bacon wrapped steak (which I surprisingly regretted later at night when I couldn't sleep, the steak that is), and some chicken pot pie

Day 3: Imperial burger (best grilled cheeses!), Moms' caldo de res, delicious chicken alfredo? pasta that my butter made me, and my favorite spicy chicken pasta that one of my guy besties got for me (shared it with the Hub of course)

Day 4: Moms' breakfast tacos, ramen, a salad (HA!) and a double cheeseburger from Mcdonalds (bleh)

*All with a healthy dose of jokes and funnies from the friends and fam (where I blurted out "where's the meat?")

At the end of day 4 we (the Hub, fur babies and I) had arrived back home in Nevada. That night I was so tired from the drive that it didn't occur to me that I would be starting my new "lifestyle" the next day.

To sum up that next day cuz this post is getting long --> I worked all day, I was tired and I was hungry, had pasta, I craved meat, got sad, ate a bagel, went to bed.

Sooo, so far it has not been easy and I'm hungry again right now and its time for bed. Finally went grocery shopping today so hopefully it starts to get better and easier from here on out.

doubt it. :D

Happy days <3