About Us

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The purpose of our blog is to share our journey through life with family and friends while we leave our mark on this world. Our 20's have been very kind to us and as we enter the 30's we are hoping to continue to enjoy our time in this thing we call life. I should have called this blog "Traveling through Life".

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Veg Out Recipes II

Barley Hoppin' John (so delicious & filling)
1 tblsp olive oil
1 onion , chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz vegetable broth
1 cup quick cooking barley
2 teasp lemon juice
1/4 teasp crushed red pepper
2 15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook until softened. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add broth, barley, lemon juice, crushed red pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until barley is done, about 15-20 mins. Remove from heat and add black eyed peas. Cover and let stand 5 mins and then serve.

Veggie Chowder
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream-style corn
12 oz can fat free evaporated milk
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
pepper to taste
shredded cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine broth, potatoes, carrots, and onion. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins until veggies tender. Add corn, milk, cheese, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook and stir 5 mins and serve.

Winter's Best Bean Soup
10 cups vegetable broth
3 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package (10 oz) frozen sliced carrots, or use fresh
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teasp dried rosemary
black pepper

To a crock pot add all of the ingrediants. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
As an option place pieces of toasted italian bread in bottom of serving bowls and cover with soup.

Three Bean Chili
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chili beans, undrained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chili-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup veg broth
2 teasp ground cumin
2 teasp chili powder
2 cloves garlice, minced

In a crock pot add all of the ingrediants. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Serve and top with crushed tortilla chips or cheese if desired.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Veg Out Recipes

Vegetable Dumpling Soup(Serves 4)
2 tblsp EVOO
4 tblsp butter
2 onions, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 qts veg broth
4 tblsp flour
1 teasp Dijon Mustard
1 box of Jiffy Mix(dumplings, prepare to box instructions)
1 cup of frozen peas
2tblsp parsley

Heat EVOO in pot. Add celery, onions, carrots, potato, zucchini, bay leaf. Stir and cook covered for 10 min, Add veg stock, raise heat to boil. Meanwhile melt butter in a bowl, add flour and mustard. Whisk mixture into soup. In another bowl prepare the dumpling mix and add parsley. Stir peas into soup. Drop by teaspoons the dumpling mix into the pot. Cover and cook 6 mins. Serve.

Greek Goddess Salad
3 tblsp fresh parsley leaves, minced
4 pitted kalamata olives, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 tblsp lemon juice
medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
pita bread

In a bowl combine parsley, olives, and garlic. Whisk in lemon juice. Add cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, and feta cheese. Toss together. Eat with pita bread.

Veggie Burgers
2 tsp oil
1/4 cup minced onion, green pepper, carrot, celery
2/3 cup drained canned white kidney(cannellini) beans
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cups seasoned dried bread crumbs

In a skillet heat 1 tsp oil. Add onion, green pepper, carrot, celery; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft. Set aside to cool.
Using a fork in a medium bowl mash beans, stir in egg. Add bread crumbs and veggies. Mix throughly. Shape into 4 patties. In same skillet heat 1 tsp oil. Cook patties over medium heat until brown on both sides.

Brushetta Eggplant
1 lb eggplant, cut into cubes
3 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tblsp fresh basil, chopped
pepper, salt, and garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place eggplant in a single layer on sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 min. Flip and bake 7 to 10 min more until tender.
In a large bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and serve. Serve with bread or chicken if you desire.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meat Free for a Year

For anyone who doesn't know already, I challenged myself last March to give up meat for 30 days. I completed the 30 days better than I thought I would and kept going and going and going. Now it has been 1 year this weekend! It started as something I've always wanted to try and I finally picked a start date and told myself to try it for 30 days. During those 30 days of researching recipes and trying to meet my dietary needs I learned so much about our food industry and what meat does to our body that I made the choice to try as long as I could. So as the year passed on I really lost the desire to eat meat and cooking without it was really simple. Sure I miss some things but usually only when I'm really hungry. Matt has also been on board with the diet. He did it for 30 days with me and then would eat meat only when something really good came along. Now he has been 100% meat free since September. We experienced all of the changes they said we would in the beginning. You feel better overall, your gut feels light as a feather and digestion is way quicker! Did you know that meat can hang around in your intestines for up to 3 days! It's hard for me to feel the changes now because it has been so long but in that first 30-90 days I felt great! We also tried the vegan thing for 1 week, where you eat no animal products, milk, cheese, etc. That is way harder to do and I have respect for anyone who does it. We still have vegan days but I really don't think that's for me.

So now to some of the common remarks I get from someone.

Have I lost weight from it?
Actually no. We both gained just a few pounds in about a 9 month period. I think this is because we ate a lot of carbs in the beginning and we had the mind set that if it wasn't meat we could eat it. I also noticed that I started craving a lot more junk food to make up for the fat I wasn't getting anymore. Plus we weren't exercising much during that time. Now we have all that under control. I do believe that someone could lose a lot of weight from it if they watch their carbs from the get go.

Be careful that you get your protein!
In the beginning this was something that I was very cautious of. People had me so freaked out at work that I was afraid I would just fall over because my muscles were so weak! I have learned that this is the biggest concern with people trying it. I have also learned that people think we need a lot more protein than our body really does need. It's something we still need to watch but if you have a good diet you will get plenty of protein! I've actually been working out a lot lately for a weight loss competition and my muscles are doing great!

So what happens if you want to eat meat again?
This is actully interesting. I've heard stories from several other people that didn't eat meat for a while that when they tried it again they threw up. How can that be good for you? I'm pretty sure if you didn't eat lettuce for 6 months and then tried it that you wouldn't throw up....unless it was tainted with salmonella :) Matt actually had a bad effect from meat after not eating it for about 4 months. So if we start eating meat again we will have to slowly phase it back in to our body.

So to celebrate my success that I never thought I would have I'm going to share some of our favorite meat free recipes through this month. If you are afraid you won't get full off of some of these than just make more of it or have a little salad also.

Southwest Pileup
whole wheat flat pitas
hummus, preferably red-pepper flavor
black beans, drained
red onion, cut into small strips
red bell pepper, diced
tomato, diced
fresh cilantro, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese
guacamole (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Place pitas on cookie sheet. Spread hummus on pitas. Top each pita with all the other toppings. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until cheese is melted. Slice pita into 4 wedges and eat.

Black Bean Lettuce Bundles(makes 4)
1 can black beans, drained
1 avocado, mashed
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tblsp lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup salsa
8 large romaine lettuce leaves

Mash beans and avocado together. Mix in all other ingrediants except lettuce. Place about 1/4 cup of filling into center of each lettuce leaf and roll like a tortilla.

More to come!