5 Favorite Meat-Free Meals

My daughter was born in early November (2012) and since the holiday season immediately followed, I allowed my eating to get a bit out of control. I decided to begin eating healthier and more conscious this January, mainly for health reasons. I have been making a ton of yummy recipes, and for some reason a lot of the foods I have been drawn to lately are vegetarian or fully vegan.

Vegetarian and vegan foods are great because they tend to be packed full of veggies and/or fiber, which is so filling. I have found some of these meals to be way more satisfying and filling than some of their traditional meaty counterparts. I have been personally eating vegan for the last 3 weeks and have never felt better! I still cook meat since I have a carnivorous husband and if I only made vegan meals he would start sneaking off to Wendy’s and ordering 18 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers!

Another great thing about going meatless is you save money! If you are anything like us, meat is always the budget breaker when it comes to the groceries. I now cook meat for 3-4 meals a week, compared to 6-7 and the savings are immense. I don’t have a problem with meat (hopefully ethically sourced), just trying to be healthier and make some better choices about food, all while saving a buck!

1. Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili – this is a winner! My whole family loves it, it is packed with healthy stuff and it is so filling (aka – Man approved)! This chili is flavorful and comes together in less than 30 minutes. You probably already have most of the ingredients for this and it is very budget friendly. Makes yummy leftovers as well.

***Vegan***

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2. Rotini with Butternut Sage Sauce – This is a yummy pasta dish, great in the fall! I make this recipe and double (or triple!) the sauce to freeze for an easy meal later.

***Vegetarian/Vegan if you omit cheese and use vegan butter***

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3. Curried Potatoes & Chickpeas – Love this meal, and it is one of my husbands favorites. This can be a great side-dish or also great on its own maybe with a salad and/or some naan bread or roti. Omit cayenne pepper & jalapenos if serving to sensitive taste buds 🙂

***Vegetarian/Vegan if you use vegan butter and omit yogurt sauce***
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4. Double Crunch Honey Garlic Tofu – Okay, this one may be cheating because it is a pork recipe, but it is AMAZING with tofu substituted! Make the recipe exactly the same, except use thick (1/2-3/4″) slices of extra firm tofu. Also, you will probably only need to make 1/2 the amount of flour breading, I always have too much and end up throwing some away. The honey garlic sauce is TO DIE FOR -amazing on veggies or rice! It takes a while to thicken, so I usually make it first and then let it sit until the rest of the meal is ready. I also don’t dip the tofu in the sauce, I just serve it on the side because I like it super crunchy. Great with rice or quinoa.

***Vegetarian/Vegan if you use agave instead of honey and egg substitute***
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5. Macaroni & Cheeze – This one is a go-to for me now. Whips up in as much time as it takes to boil pasta. Great for easy weekday lunches, great alternative to Kraft dinner! For not having cheese, this sure tastes great.

***Vegan***
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These are my favorite meals but you can easily make a lot of regular meals veggie; spaghetti, chili, curries, pizza, soup, stir fries, pasta, let your imagination go wild 🙂 Feel free to share any of your favorite meat-free recipes. Thanks again for stopping by. Why don’t you give one of these recipes a try, and try what my sister-in-law does, “Meatless Mondays” -one set day of the week without meat 🙂

-Karley

PS – I won’t mind if you “like” me on Facebook and/or pin any of my posts on Pinterest 🙂

Tea Party!!

Oops, I planned to post this on Wednesday as usual, but I got a little preoccupied with life! Anywhooo… BC just celebrated a newly added stat holiday, Family Day. I personally had a great day with my husband and kids and think it is a good idea. I always thought February could use a day off! We celebrated with city Lego themed activities and a free concert downtown from local band Current Swell -check them out!

In my Canadian way, I try to support a few shows on the CBC, Dragons Den being one of my favorites (much prefering it to the US counterpart, Shark Tank). After watching one night I saw an awesome pitch for  a company called Steeped Tea. It is basically a Tupperware, Epicure, Avon type of sales model but for tea! I loooovvvee tea and since I have been trying to eat healthy, a flavorful tea is so great for subduing evening sugar cravings.

I decided to look the company up, do a bit of research and then host my own tea party (complete with tea sandwiches and scones)!

Due to illness and other reasons, only a few girls were able to make it, but we still had fun, got to try some amazing stuff and eat yummy food…  and check out the beautiful cake my friend Jenn just “whipped up”!

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**DISCLAIMER: I am not sponsored or do not work for this company, just an honest product review**

For the party I made some adorable tea sandwiches with inspiration from my friend over at Busted Button . I interpreted her recipe, along with her original source, the Oprah website.

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I made the egg salad almost exactly to the recipe (minus the herb garnish -couldn’t be bothered, and tarragon -none at the grocery store). This was probably one of the best egg salads I have ever had -it has BACON in it! This was one of those things that got me thinking, “why didn’t I think of that!” I mean bacon & eggs…. duh!

I made a simple cucumber and cream cheese which was yummy. I threw a tub of regular cream cheese in the mixer and added some dried dill… then it occured to me that you can probably just buy dill flavored cream cheese -oh well! I used a mandoline to slice the cukes, dried them on paper towel and spread a “healthy” portion of cream cheese on each slice of bread with a single layer of cukes.

The last sandwich I made was ham and swiss -pretty basic, I mixed up a ratio of 2 parts mayo to 1 part mustard for this sandwich.

Along with the tea sandwiches, I bought some scones from Cobs Bread and cut them each into 4 to make perfectly bite size pieces. I HIGHLY recommend the apple butterscotch scone! The bread for the sandwiches was also from Cobs and I had it sliced quite thinly.

I also made a pitcher of iced tea, ghetto style. I bought No Name brand peach drink and mixed 2 packages with half the amount of water it calls for. Then I boiled a large pot of water, added 4 tea bags (Orange pekoe), and let it steep for about an hour. I mixed the tea and the peach drink, chilled overnight and voila -peach iced tea. I call it “ghetto” because it seemed a bit white trash to serve compared to the gourmet tea we were going to be sampling!

I thought it would be nice to review the teas I purchased for you guys in case you want to try some of your own sometime:

Earl Grey de la Creme: I am a huge fan of Earl Grey and this did not dissapoint! It was smooth and creamy and not too perfumy like some teas can be. I didn’t even use milk in it, which I normally would!

Amaretto: I was not expecting to like this one because I am not generally a fan of amaretto flavored things, but this is yummy! It is a rooibos tea, caffeine-free and a really good choice for an evening sweet fix! **Note: This is the 1st tea we have run out of!**

Monks Blend: A black tea with vanilla and fruity flavors, this is probably my favorite after the Earl Grey.

Toffee Dream: A white tea with a subtle flavor. Similar to a green tea but a bit lighter, less bitter. I prefer the “Toffee Crunch” rooibos tea, which packs a lot more flavor, but this is good in a milder way.

Iron Goddess Oolong: I ordered this one because it is supposed to be good for encouraging weight-loss and appetite suppressing. To me it just tastes like a good, non-bitter green tea, not sure what the difference between green and oolong is.

Irish Breakfast: A really great black tea, perfect way to start the day.

Peppy Peppermint: Peppermint tea is one of my favorites, and is great with a sore or too full tummy. This tea is super potent and a great mint tea. I add cream to my peppermint tea which people always think is strange -what about you guys?

Along with all the teas, I also ordered a really neat glass travel mug with a tea infuser inside… glass mug and flailing 3 year old is apparently not a good combo, so I no longer have the mug. On the lookout for a similar style in PLASTIC!

Thanks again to the girls who made it out the party, and to our lovely hostess Sarah. If anyone wants any information about how to host a tea party of your own, or order product go to the Steeped Tea website.

Have a great weekend : )

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Skinny Superbowl Snacks

If you are anything like me, the only NFL game you watch of the year is the Super Bowl! I normally can’t stand watching, but it sure is a great excuse to get together with friends, drink, and eat some ridiculous food!

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Hubby & Me, 2011 Super Bowl (cheering for the Steelers)!

Normally we get together with a couple that we are good friends with (who have a new little baby only 5 weeks older than our baby girl) and eat our faces off! Since I am trying to stick with healthy, and have been experimenting with vegan food (that is a whooollllleeee ‘nother topic that I will get into later), I wanted to still get together and have fun without gaining 5 lbs. Automatic bonus for me, I couldn’t drink my calories because I am still nursing!

Here are the guilt-free recipes I made for a (Skinny) Sunday Funday that you can try at your next gathering, be it a hockey game, birthday, or just hanging out with friends. I got the Beer-garita recipe from Pinterest, and the food recipes from an article on BuzzFeed (majorly addictive time-sucker website) called “19 Delicious Vegan Super Bowl Snacks”. Forgive my pictures, I am by no means a photographer! Click the recipe titles to go to the original links.

Skinny Beer-garitas
These “beer-garitas” were pretty darn good. The only complaint was that they came out a bit too sweet, I used Splenda, which I don’t really like, but happened to have on hand. Next time I think I would use less sweetener and sub for Stevia or some agave syrup. DSC03001Also, I would recommend straining out the lime zest from the limeade before freezing. Other than that, it worked out super well. I made it the night before and kept it in the freezer and it stayed the perfect slushy consistency. I used beer my husband had bought, Phillips Blue Buck, a great easy drinker from a local brewery. Give these easy refreshing drinks a try and let me know what you think! (Did I mention it is only 4 ingredients?!)

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Stuffed Jalapenos
Yum! This recipe will fool anyone into thinking they are eating something to feel guilty about, just make sure you don’t eat the whole plate like I almost did! These are great for a party, easy to eat, and are a great offering for carnivores and vegans alike! The recipe suggests you use Daiya dairy-free cheese, which I did and it is an awesome substitute! Don’t worry about the heat with these either, the longer you bake, the less spicy they get.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip
This dip is normally one of my favorite appetizers to order at restaurants, although it is probably one of the most fattening. I decided to try a dairy and (almost) fat-free version and it turned out great. The only problem was that I don’t have a food processor so it could have been a touch smoother, but other than that it was delicious and quite filling as it was basically my Super Bowl supper! I even added a touch of the Daiya cheese and it was perfect.

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Thanks again for stopping by. If you give any of these recipes a try, let me know how it goes. Also -feel free to share any of your favorite “skinny” party foods!

-Karley