Falling Off The Train

Since moving to York, I’ve fallen off the vegan train… hardcore.

No bueno. 

It’s partially because the stress of moving and starting graduate school has just made seeking out vegan products kind of a chore. So I’ve been pretty lax about my eating habits – cheese, eggs, meat a few times a week, etc. I’ve managed to find vegan butter in all these different grocery stores everywhere so I bought myself a big ‘ol tub. It’s sitting in the fridge and it’s delicious, especially on potatoes.

Since my money has officially come in (praises!and most of the relocating/uncomfortable part of moving is over, I’m ditching my dairy ways and gradually transitioning back into a vegan lifestyle. I’m going to eat through the rest of my omni foods, just to be as resourceful as possible. And I’m planning to visit my local farmer’s market way more often.

But the amazing thing about England is that they have tons of veggie options. A lot of places cater to vegetarians and the idea of coming across a vegan is not unheard. They’re pretty great about putting warning labels on all their food and what “allergens” it contains, even trace contaminants.

So, I’m getting back “with it” and vegan-izing my life up.
Stay tuned for more recipes and fun UK veggie finds!


Veganism: My Rules

So, most of you guys know that I’ve transitioned into an almost totally vegan and low-gluten lifestyle. I get a lot of questions about how I eat out at meals or go to people’s houses. But let me say this, it’s kinda tough! No one likes to be “that” girl at the restaurant or dinner table. So here are my “rules” to committing to my food preferences within a real world scenario.

Rule One: DIY Food
Cooking at home allows me to have complete control over what I eat. When I make or buy food for myself, it’s typically organic and vegan. I see nourishing my body and eating healthy as a priority and investment, so I love shopping at farmers markets and health food stores. I also take lots of nutritional supplements and probiotics, to make sure my body is getting all the nutrients that it needs! Since I love to cook and try new things, staying in for meals becomes an adventure!

Rule Two: Be Gracious
If I am a guest at someone’s home, I always eat what I’m served. I generally avoid red meat if I can, which has never been a problem when I’m with friends that eat beef. If my host asks beforehand what my food preferences are, I usually tell them that I’m a vegetarian. I don’t worry about the whole dairy/gluten thing too much. Like I said, I want to be gracious and kindly accept other people’s generosity!

Rule Three: Play Restaurant Roulette
Eating out affords me variety and I treat dining out as a “free pass”. If I’m feeling like having a green salad or chicken wrap, I get it. I never order soda or sugary drinks and, if I decide to eat meat, always pick the lean types. Since I don’t eat out often, I don’t feel like it clashes with my lifestyle and eating preferences. This way, I get to enjoy any type of restaurant and the company I’m with!

Any vegetarians or vegans in the house? What are your rules for eating out or eating in general? Share with me in the comments!

Roasted Garlic Dill Dip

This stuff is for real, people. I’ve made this and have gotten rave reviews. Not only is it insanely easy, it’s delicious. I found the recipe on Pinterest and decided to share it with you! Bon Appetit!

– 1 fifteen oz can of cannelli beans, drained and rinsed well
– 2 bulbs of roasted garlic (learn how to roast garlic here)
– 3 tablespoons of fresh dill
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more to taste
– salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve with pita chips or flat-bread.

(Recipe & Image Source)

Veganista: Cauliflower Buffalo “Wings”

Yeah, guys. I’ve done it. I’ve figured out a way to, in a sense, have my buffalo wings and eat them too.
Before I begin this post, let me tell you that I am obsessed with buffalo sauce. Aw man. I even had my parents send me a bottle or two when I was living in France because I could not find it anywhere. And believe me, I tried. One of the things that I really missed when I transitioned into a vegan lifestyle was boneless buffalo wings on a Friday night, half-priced after 9pm at Applebees.
Dude.  That is some powerful goodness, right there.
But I digress…

And ever since then, I’ve been scheming of a way to get my fix, to have my buffalo sauce and sort of “recreate” the boneless wings that I had come to know and obsess over love. I set out to create a low calorie, gluten-free, crowd-pleasing recipe that’ll tickle my tastebuds without making my waistline go crazy. And plus, it’s veggie based, so it has some definite nutritional value. I started out with tofu and it was okay but nothing to go crazy over. Family and friends liked it, I tweaked the recipe a couple of times but nothing really “stuck”.

And then, I had a “eureka” moment: Cauliflower.
Ever since then, It has been on.
I’ve made this dish a couple of times for my dad, who is the best vegan guinea pig because he has an open omnivore mind and enjoys my cooking. (And I know that he reads this blog! Hi Dad!) Needless to say, I think I’ve stumbled upon something good. REALLY good.

Buffalo Cauliflower
(Serves two very generously or 4 normal portions)

– 1 head of Cauliflower, washed and broken into bite-sized “trees”
– 1 cup of flour (I used gluten free, but you can use whatever you have in your pantry)
– 2 tsp garlic powder
– 1 cup of water/unsweetened almond milk
– 1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
– 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance Vegan Butter (Or any butter really, but let’s keep it vegan!)

– Preheat your oven to 450F.
– Mix the flour, garlic powder, and water/milk, whisking together until a soupy batter forms.
– Once the cauliflower is washed and broken into pieces, coat each piece in the batter.
– This step is kinda important: Put your battered pieces on a glass baking dish with some sort of Pam spray or oil on it to keep from sticking.
– Bake for 18 minutes. While your cauliflower is baking combine the butter and hot sauce in a dish. Microwave until the butter is liquid and stir to combine. Instant buffalo sauce. Yum.
– When the timer goes off, take the cauliflower out of the over and pour the sauce over. Toss to coat.
– Put the cauliflower back in the over for another 5 minutes.
– Eat and enjoy! I usually make a little extra buffalo sauce just “because”, especially if you have a wing fan at the table!

(Original Recipe)

Quinoa: South of the Border Style

Here’s a recipe for the best quinoa ever! My dad, who is a total newbie to the whole “veggie” diet scene, gives this two enthusiastic thumbs up! Chances are, you have these ingredients somewhere in your house or they’re easy to get ahold of!

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa (Any color will do, I chose white)
– 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
– 1/4 red onion, finely diced
– 1/2 lime, juiced
– salt and pepper

– Cook your quinoa. Rinse the quinoa with a cup of water and strain it through a cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.
– Add two cups of water to the cleansed quinoa (with a pinch of salt for good measure) in a covered pot and bring to a boil.
– Once it’s at a boil, reduce the heat to simmer (low) and let it hang out for 15-20 minutes until it’s looking light and fluffy.
– Turn the heat off, fluff it with a fork, and let it rest (covered) for 5 more minutes.
– Once it’s all cooked, transfer the quinoa into the serving bowl of your choice, adding the onion and cilantro.
– Evenly mix and slowly pour the lime juice over it, turning as you go. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And there you have it, the easiest and tastiest quinoa, south of the border style!

(Image Source, Recipe Inspiration, Quinoa know-how)