CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG!!

Hey Guys!

I know it’s been AGES since I last posted, but, like I said in my previous post, I’ve been doing some re-arranging in the career/life department and decided to create a whole new page for the direction I’d like to go!

Check out my new blog at TheBroccoliBitch.com!

It’s basically going to be comprised of the same type of content as this blog (recipes, ramblings, favorites, etc.) but it’s going to be more organized, consistent, and more pleasing to the eye 🙂

Anyway, thank you so much for reading and connecting with me throughout my little vegan journey and if you’d like, please give my new blog your love as well!

🙂

Thanks again guys!

-Taylor

Lentil Bolognese!

Picture this…

A stormy Friday afternoon…you’re drenched in sweat from a hard run, and make your final dash to the liquor store to pick up a bottle o’ red for a fabulous night in…then you’re stuck in traffic due to a downpour and arrive home HANGRY as hell.

I’d say that calls for some pasta.

I must admit, I am not much of a pasta person and I don’t really enjoy Italian food all that much, aside from the random cravings like the aforementioned one.

I’m a rice girl through and through, and would take a giant bowl of rice and veggies over pasta and sauce any day. But, on an occasion where all you want to do is be cozy, drink wine, and have a huge piece of crusty bread involved in your meal, there’s no denying that the only cure is pasta.

Hence, this lentil bolognese.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 container of mushrooms, diced (any kind will do, but I used baby bellas)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and zucchini, and cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Once the veggies are softened, add the lentils and toss to coat with vegetables. Next, add veggie stock and both cans of tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, simmer over medium heat until lentils are mostly done, but have a little bit. Add the wine, rosemary, and seasonings, and simmer for about 15 minutes more.

Adjust seasonings to taste, add to pasta, and top with fresh basil. Best served with a giant slab of crusty bread with balsamic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

This is a perfect rainy day meal that has the body, texture, and flavor of a “meat and potatoes” type of meal. Plus, it’s pretty damn easy and tastes even better the next day!

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Spaghetti Squash Pesto Mac & Cheez!

I guess I must have forgotten that Fall and Winter are now behind us when I scooped up a giant spaghetti squash at the store last week in my grocery shopping frenzy.

I immediately regretted it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love squash in all its forms, from butternut and acorn to zucchini, and summer squash. But, I truly squashed myself out throughout the cold months, and even looking at the daunting spaghetti squash sitting quietly in the corner of my cupboard made me feel guilty/resentful of the stupid thing.

Usually when I look at my fridge or the ingredients around me, I feel inspired, my creativity sparks immediately, and I’m already cooking up a concoction in my mind.

I just couldn’t catch the creativity bug with this damn squash.

Since I’ve been short on cash lately, I’ve been avoiding larger shopping trips to try and use up all of what’s in my kitchen, and the time finally came for me to bake that motherf***er.

Since I had basil on hand, I thought I wanted to make pesto to go with it, but wanted something less oily and more comforting.

So, I threw together a pesto mac and cheez sauce from what I had on hand, roasted up some broccoli, and made a meal that made me grateful for that stupid squash and comforted by the fact that I could make something tasty even when my culinary juices weren’t exactly flowing as usual.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, sliced down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 peppadews (I didn’t have bell peppers on hand so I used these…so good!)
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Possible Toppings: Roasted broccoli or any other veggie, wilted spinach, pan fried tempeh.

For the Squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash halves skin side up on a greased cookie sheet. You can add oil and seasonings if you like. Bake for about 45 minutes or until halves are fork tender and filling is soft and string-able.

For the Sauce:

In a blender, combine chickpeas, nooch, garlic, basil, peppadews, tumeric, mustard, lemon juice, rice milk, and salt & pepper. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. It took me about 4 turns through my blender to get everything smooth and blended.

Head a large pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil in the pan and use a fork to shred squash into the pan. Top with the sauce and mix until everything is coated. Stir until squash and sauce are hot. Top with whatever you like!

This dish is surprisingly easy and quick, especially if you cook the squash the night before! It’s comforting, healthy, and filling, and an excellent way to get rid of any cold season squash lingering in the depths of your cupboards.

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What I Eat in a Day!

Ever since I became a vegan, I have been constantly bombarded with questions about what I eat during a typical day, if I “miss” meat and animal products, and how can I “possibly be satisfied?!”

So, I decided to give a little glimpse into a typical day of eating for me to clear up the misconception that veganism is A. Super expensive, B. Just salad and C. Doesn’t leave you satisfied.

Now, I don’t count calories unless I want to ensure I’m eating ENOUGH food, and even then I just log my calories maybe once a week to see if I’m getting all my nutrients and getting in enough calories to support my daily runs. I eat loads of carbs, meaning vegetables, fruits, grains, starches, and oats, and eat until I’m full and guess what? I am ALWAYS satisfied at the end of the day, and maintain my fitness and physique without starving myself.

I do not crave meat, dairy, eggs, whatever. I crave the nutrients I honor myself with every day and I have never felt more vibrant, light in my body and heart, and energetic, and as an added bonus, since the last time I was training for a half-marathon, my mile times have improved more than they ever have before without the exhaustion that used to always plague me.

Bottom line: veganism RULES and I truly love the food I eat every single day.

P.S. Sorry these pictures are shit, I either was in a rush to eat my food, forgot about taking a picture until I was half way done, or the lighting was bad. But, you get the idea 🙂

BREAKFAST:

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1/3 cup uncooked old fashioned oats, cooked in 2/3 cup rice milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. I topped the oats with 1 sliced banana, 1/2 cup defrosted strawberries and peaches, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. shredded coconut, and 1 tbsp. maple syrup. On the side I had some steamed kale and a cup of green tea.

AM SNACK:

Clif bar before my lunch break 4 mile run

                                               Clif bar before my lunch break 4 mile run

LUNCH:

Big bowl of leftover vegetable noodle soup and a 1/2 sandwich with frozen grilled veggies, avocado, grainy mustard, and spinach on a huge piece of french peasant bread.

Big bowl of leftover vegetable noodle soup and a 1/2 sandwich with frozen grilled veggies, avocado, grainy mustard, and spinach on a huge piece of french peasant bread.

PM SNACK:

1 pear (I like my fruit super ripe hehe) and 20 almonds or so (I ate some before I took this pic).

1 pear (I like my fruit super ripe hehe) and 20 almonds or so (I ate some before I took this pic).

DINNER:

Again, I started to eat my dinner before taking this I was so hungry after work! It's a huge bowl of 1 cup brown rice, 1 small sweet potato, 2 cups roasted broccoli, 1/2 cup roasted chick peas topped with tahini, 4 peppadews, balsamic drizzle, and nurtitional yeast.

Again, I started to eat my dinner before taking this I was so hungry after work! It’s a huge bowl of 1 cup brown rice, 1 small sweet potato, 2 cups roasted broccoli, 1/2 cup roasted chick peas topped with tahini, 4 peppadews, balsamic drizzle, and nurtitional yeast.

DESSERT (KINDA):

I had a square of the best chocolate in the whole world, dark chocolate with coconut shreds alongside a mug of mint tea before bed.

I had a square of the best chocolate in the whole world, dark chocolate with coconut shreds alongside a mug of mint tea before bed.

I hope this gives you guys some ideas about vegan meals or reminds you that this lifestyle is super accessible, is super affordable (I mean, broccoli, rice, beans, oats? Come on, cheapest food staples ever) and most importantly, DELICIOUS!

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Couscous Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

All hail the sun, blue skies, green grass, and daffodils popping up around every corner!

With a full week of spring weather (almost) officially under our belts, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve turned the corner towards a pleasant season and a bomb ass summer.

While I was pumped to bust out as many soups, roasted root veggies, and piping hot oven dishes as I could when the colder months rolled in, I am happily bypassing the butternut squashes and parsnips at the grocery store, and instead find myself heading straight for anything with color, crunch, and coolness.

To me, seasonal cooking not only connects me more to the food I’m making, it reminds me that I’m a child of the Earth and should stop, drop, and listen to her when she doles out the differing bounties of each season.

Hippie shit aside, I think eating seasonally has become a frighteningly rare occurrence in our culture, and even though obviously I eat bananas, out of season tomatoes, and frozen berries, I appreciate in-season produce so much and try my hardest to revolve my cooking ventures around the natural turn of the planet.

As the weather takes a turn for the better, my fridge is fast becoming a rainbow and my creative culinary juices are flowing once again, HALLELUJAH! To me, summer dishes mean vibrant hues, grilled goods, huge salads, and tons of fresh herbs. I broke the soil of spring with this couscous salad and swear I could taste summer on my spoon.

couscous

INGREDIENTS:

For the Salad:

  • 1.5 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large red swiss chard leaves, including the steams, chopped
  • 4 large kale leaves, stems not included, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly minced
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can afford)
  • 2 tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, add couscous and put lid on. All liquid should be dissolved and couscous should be cooked and tender in around 10 minutes.

Put cooked couscous in the fridge and let cool while you prep the rest of the salad. In a steamer pot, steam swiss chard and kale for just a few minutes until leaves are wilted and the chard steams are fork tender. Take out of pot immediately and let cool.

While the couscous and greens cool, make your dressing by mincing the garlic, and putting it in a small bowl with the oil, vinegar, and oregano. Whisk until everything is combined and set aside.

Once couscous has cooled, grate your carrots, dice your cucumber, drain and rinse your chickpeas, chop your parsley, and through everything into a large bowl along with the greens and couscous. Mix thoroughly, pour vinaigrette and pumpkin seeds over salad, sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper, and mix again, ensuring that everything is well coated in the dressing.

Serve immediately or let cool in the fridge until it reaches your desired temperature.

I enjoyed this alongside some Asian style BBQ tempeh on my cute little balcony after a long day’s work. Sink your teeth into the season with this salad, folks!

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once again, HALLELUJAH!

Current few of my favorite things

As we leave winter (or at least try to) and enter Spring, I always find myself gravitating towards new routines/products and practices.

I’m not sure if it’s the shift in weather, the bounce in my step, or the promise of warmer days, but when I know Spring is upon me, I just love finding improvements in my beauty, exercise, and eating habits.

I’ve been loving a few specific things as of late, and this list will show ya what I’m talking about with the whole “light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to winter” thing.

  • Lemon Water!

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I’ve been know to hate lemon water so much that whenever I get a lemon in my drink at a restaurant, I immediately throw it in the glass of whomever has the pleasure of dining in my company. I used to think it wasn’t refreshing, never quenched my thirst, and was all around gross. But, my skin has been having a hell of a winter in its own right, and I’ve been desperate to stop the cystic breakouts around my mouth.

I eat right, I exercise, I use only all natural products, and still nothing was working. After reading article after article, trying cinnamon masks, new cleansers, and no cleaners at all, I’ve started drinking 1 litre of lemon water immediately upon waking up, and at least 1 more litre of it after work (along with the other million cups of regular water I always down) and what do ya know, my face has been clearer during the past few days than it has been in weeks!

I still do not enjoy the taste, but I do have a jar of lemon, ginger, and rosemary water infusing in the fridge that will hopefully make my morning elixir more my style!

  • Vegan Bowls! 
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My Mediterranean grain and veg bowl

I swear I could eat rice, veg, and beans at every meal and never get tired of any of them. With endless pairings, so many combination options, and sauce ideas, vegan bowls are my go-to dinners and lunches when I want to have just about everything in my fridge.

The one above is what I whipped up for dinner last night. It’s a Mediterranean bowl with a lemon-dill tahini dressing. All I did was cook a sweet potato in the microwave, sautee onion, kale, frozen spinach and broccoli, orange bell pepper, and garlic with some olive oil and then glazed with balsamic vinegar. In a small bowl I made a batch of lemon-dill tahini dressing which is just 2 tbsp. tahini, 1 clove minced garlic, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast, and 1/3 cup water. Just whisk it until smooth.

Next, I layered a large bowl with cooked brown rice, added some chickpeas, my sweet potato which I sliced into medallions, and topped with some of the sauteed veg and tahini dressing! You could also add pumpkin or sunflower seeds for extra crunch.

  • Plants as Therapy by Elvin McDonald

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Since Collin and I have started some of the seedlings for our balcony garden, and have cultivated an impressive collection of indoor plants, I’ve really begun to develop a passion for plants and gardening. Since we plan on having our own organic farm someday, our mini garden is kind of like training for us as plant parents.

When we were browsing in a book store a few weeks ago, I came across this little guy and loved the cover and concept so much I bought it. I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion for plants or living things in general. The author is super quirky and endearing and it’s a great read for when you want a break from the norm!

  • My Future Bike!

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Since my bike was stolen last summer, my dad said he would go halfsies with me for a new one for my birthday this June! I’ll let you in on a secret though….I’m a terrible cyclist! I can run for miles and miles, do burpees until I can’t stand, and swim until I just can’t move anymore, but when it comes to bike riding, I just do not have it and I don’t know why! I’ve been wanting to get into cycling for a while, and it would be so awesome to  have a bike again to get around the city with and go for rides with Collin, as well as another form of an ass-kicking workout!

I’ve joined a spin class at 5:30 AM before work on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and am just so pumped to be getting a new bike to start a new leg of my health journey, and to conquer a different form of sport.

  • Apartment Parties and Soulmates

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Now that we are completely settled and thriving in our new place, Collin and I had our best friends over for a little partayyy to kick off the coming season of balcony grilling, star gazing, and beer sippin’. My best friend from college, Audrey, and my best friend Victoria came up to celebrate. Being around them and Collin’s friends, who I now consider some of my best friends was so wonderful, so comfortable, and just so much fun. I cannot wait for the summer of apartment parties ahead of us.

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Vegetable Pho Recipe!

Can anyone take a guess what it looks like outside at this very moment?

I’ll give you a few hints…it’s March, and it’s Rochester.

If you guessed that it’s raining and a film of depression-inducing, foggy gloom has settled itself comfortably over the entire city, then you guessed right!

When it comes to weather, there are no rules here in good old Roch; mother nature seems to take out her frustrations on our city. The winters last forever, the springs last about a week, and the in-betweens are just plain torture.

With all of this gloom and doom, I actually have to work pretty hard to stay positive and keep on truckin’ because no matter what, warmth will arrive and I will forget this terrible winter and gloomy spring transition ever even happened.

One good thing about rainy days and cold weather is that it’s always a perfect occasion to make some soup!

Lately I’ve really been craving take out food. While I keep our fridge pretty well stocked, I’m a busy bee. I wake up at 5, either go to spin class or workout at home, then it’s breakfast and off to work I go! Even though I love cooking, sometimes when I get home all I want is a huge bowl of rice and spicy veggies from my local Thai restaurant. But then I remember how wasteful it would be and I whip up something myself.

Though I had never tried pho before I made it myself, I have been dying to try it, considering Rochester is surprisingly full of restaurants boasting “greatest pho you will ever eat here.” So, I decided to use the soup weather, my stocked fridge, and my pho desire to my advantage and create a bowl of Asian goodness for myself.

Behold, Vegan Pho!

pho

INGREDIENTS:

For the Broth

  • 12 cups water
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, cut down the middle, skins on
  • 1 thumb ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped and crushed
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. tamari

For the Soup

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 package mushrooms, left whole (I used cremini)
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1/2 pack rice noodles, cooked

Garnishes

  • Bean sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Sriracha

In a large pot, combine all of the broth ingredients, and bring to a boil. Let broth boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Once broth has simmered, taste it and adjust seasonings as you like. Place a fine strainer over a bowl and discard/compost the veggies/broth ingredients so you’re left with a smooth broth. Place broth back in pot, and put over low heat. 

Add in whole mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, and let them simmer for about 15 minutes.

While your veggies simmer, cook rice noodles according to package. Once veggies are softened and blanched to your liking in the broth, place noodles in a bowl, ladle soup over them, and add garnishes.

Now, I know this may not be the most traditional pho, but after doing some research and reading recipe after recipe, this is what I came up with, and it satisfied both my soup and asian cravings perfectly!

Give it a try, even if you live in Mexico where the sun is most likely shining and soup weather doesn’t exist.

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