Vegetarian Honey Lime Sweet Potato Tacos

Recipes

These honey lime sweet potato tacos are a serious staple in my house. Whenever we have people over and I want to make a vegetarian recipe that will shock and awe my meat-eating friends, these tacos are my go-to. They have the perfect amount of spicy and sweet while also being filling and providing a good source of protein. Need something completely vegan? Easy peasy – substitute the honey for agave and leave out the feta cheese (or use a vegan feta sub). The other great part about this recipe is how easy it is to make as well as clean up. All you need is one large skillet on the stove and a baking sheet which you can line with foil for even easier clean-up.

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This recipe is adapted from Cooking Classy with a few differences. As with some of my other recipes, I often substitute onion powder for the real thing (hubby is not a fan of onions, and let’s be real, dicing them sucks). I also leave the skins on the sweet potatoes for some extra health benefits including extra fiber and potassium (and because I’m lazy). I also don’t take the extra step to heat my corn tortillas in oil on the stove. Usually I just use the microwave, or turn on my gas burner and heat them up directly on the stove. Both options work fine for me and are much easier and less messy than the alternative. I make white rice as a side with salt, cilantro and lime – this is a little Chipotle copycat trick I use fairly often. If you have leftovers from dinner, the sweet potatoes go amazingly on top of the rice as lunch for the next day (heck, I’ve even made that solely for meal prepped lunches). Top it all off with a little cheese. I’ve used cotija and feta interchangeably as they are fairly similar in texture and flavor. I do find the feta cheese to a bit more snappy so I do prefer that one myself, but I know alot of people don’t care for feta so definitely use cotija if you don’t. I’d imagine you could also just use monterey jack if you’re not a fan of smellier cheeses. You can also top these with avocado which is a nice addition. These can be harder to find this time of year even in California. I mean, you can find them, but you bring them home and BAM the next day you’ve got rotten avocados, which to me is the absolute worst.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe. I would definitely recommend using it to impress your meat eating friends. Anyone I’ve ever made these for was super skeptical at first (“sweet potato tacos? say wha?”) but each of them ended up loving the flavor in the end. I think it’s a surprising combination for a fairly standard meal. Don’t forget your favorite Mexican beer and you’ll be on your way to a delicious Taco Tuesday!

Honey Lime Sweet Potato Tacos

2 large sweet potatoes (sometimes called yams), cut into smallish cubes – about 1/2in

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can sweet corn, drained

3 limes, 1 for garnish 2 for juicing

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Olive oil – for drizzling over sweet potatoes, and cooking your garlic, I’d say a few Tbsp at least

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and place diced sweet potatoes on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil (a couple Tbsp) over the top and season with cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. Toss with hands to coat evenly.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet and cook minced garlic and onion powder for about a minute.
  5. Once garlic is slightly browned, add the beans, corn, honey and about 2 Tbsp of lime juice (plus salt and pepper to taste). The other lime you can save to slice and squeeze on top of your tacos. Let sit at low while potatoes finish cooking, stirring occasionally.
  6. When the sweet potatoes are finished roasting, remove them from the oven and add to your skillet. Stir to combine.
  7. Add cilantro when you’re ready to serve and stir to combine.
  8. Heat your tortillas however you wish and fill with the sweet potato-bean mixture. Top with your choice of cheese and toppings. Squeeze lime slice over the top to finish.
  9. Crack a beer and sit back and relax with a tasty taco treat!
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Plain Bagels

Recipes

I am a breakfast fanatic. It is hands down my favorite meal of the day and one of my favorite meals to cook. It’s even more satisfying to make breakfast with breads that I’ve made myself. I’ve used my french bread recipe for french toast, regular toast and avocado toast – all of which were made so much better by having homemade bread. But what’s the next best bread you can get for breakfast? Bagels. You can make bagel sandwiches, toast them and add cream cheese, top them with avocado and tomato and pretty much anything else you can think of! Heck – you can even use bagels for lunch! So when I found this bagel recipe from 2009 on a blog called Sophisticated Gourmet, I knew I had to try it. It ended up being much easier than I expected and the results were delicious. Bonus – not only do they taste great they look so impressive! The first time I made them I was dorkishly proud of myself for having accomplished what I thought might be a total disaster.

Making bagels for the first time was a little terrifying – not gonna lie. Not only is the shaping part a bit daunting, but did you know you have to boil bagels before you bake them? But don’t worry! These are actually super easy to make. I think the hardest part is getting the shape right, but I was able to do it easily on only my second batch. These are also fun because of the combinations of fillings and toppings you can add. So far I’ve used sesame seeds and chia seeds on top and have really loved both. I left out the egg wash mentioned in the original recipe in order to keep these vegan, but if that’s not an issue for you you could always do an egg wash to make a sticky seal for your toppings. I found that adding the toppings after boiling made it sticky enough even if some of the seeds do fall off (doesn’t that happen to all bagels?). The next time I make these I want to try either blueberries or raisins and cinnamon. The original recipe doesn’t say how to do this exactly, but I think I’ll play with it a little bit and post an update if it ends up working.

Like I said before, the most difficult part of this recipe for me was the shaping part, so I wanted to talk a little bit about that. Once you have your dough separated and ready for shaping, you want to make sure you do it on an unfloured surface. I used flour my first batch when trying to roll “perfect dough balls” and quickly realized I made a mistake. The extra flour actually made it more difficult to remove the creases and folds. Roll the dough balls on a clean, unfloured surface to make sure you can get good smooth textures on your dough balls. I found that creating little round loaves first made it easier. Do this by slightly flattening out each peach of dough and then folding and pinching the edges underneath. This will give you a rounded top with all the seams on the bottom. Then you can roll the seamed bottom on the counter top lightly with your hand to smooth it out as much as possible. I went to Youtube and looked up “how to roll out dough balls” and that helped me, but maybe it’s not as difficult for other people. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the recipe.

First ever batch of bagels

Plain Bagels

1 packet of active yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)

1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar

1 1/4 cups of warm water, split into 3 parts – 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup

3 1/2 cup bread flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Toppings – you can really put whatever you want on top, I used sesame seeds and chia seeds

  1. Add the yeast and the sugar to 1/2 cup of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. At the end of 5 minutes, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. While the yeast mixture sits, combine your bread flour and salt in a large bowl and create a well in the middle.
  3. Once yeast mixture is foamy, pour into the well in the flour along with an additional 1/3 cup of warm water.
  4. Using a stand mixer and a bread hook, mix ingredients together slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup of warm water until a firm but somewhat sticky ball of dough forms in the bowl.
  5. Once dough is form, use the stand mixer to knead for about 5-7 minutes. You want a firm dough at the end.
  6. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with damp paper towels. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. After 1 hour, punch dough down and let rise another 10 minutes.
  8. Once dough has risen, separate into 8 equal parts. You can use a scale for this, but I just estimate it by sight.
  9. Roll each section into dough balls. You want these as smooth as possible on top. Once you have all your dough balls set out, cover a finger in flour and press through the center of each ball to create a hole. You want the holes to be fairly large as they will shrink quite a bit in the next rise and when they back in the oven.
  10. Once all of your dough balls look like little raw bagels, let rise for another 10 minutes on a baking sheet (covered in another damp paper towel, or I use the same one from earlier).
  11. While the bagels are rising, bring a large pot of water to boil and preheat your oven to 425°F.
  12. Once the bagels are done rising, turn down the heat on your boiling water and gently place each one into the water using a slotted spoon. You can do these one at a time or do as many as you feel comfortable at one time. I do batches of 4. Boil each side for 1-2 minutes. The longer you boil, the chewier the texture of your bagels will be.
  13. After you’ve boiled each side, place them back onto you baking sheet and add desired toppings. Make sure they are still a bit soggy when you do this so that the toppings will stick.
  14. Place bagels in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  15. Once completely baked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  16. Pat yourself on the back because you just made your own bagels. Take that Noah!
  17. Enjoy!

Fast Food Options for Vegetarians

Ramble On

Fast food isn’t ever a great life choice. It’s generally unhealthy, creates a ton of waste and usually doesn’t taste too great either (compared to home-cooked meals). But sometimes ish happens. Sometimes you need a quick meal for cheap. Sometimes you have to ignore your better instincts and simply put some food in your belly. In this post, I hope to be able to give you some options for when you’re stuck in a fast food pinch. It’s exciting to see more and more options becoming available for vegetarians (technically I’m a pescatarian but would NEVER EVER eat fish from a fast food restaurant). Here are some of my favorites for when I find myself needing a little sustenance without alot of time or money.

Taco Bell

This option may not seem very surprising considering the variety of menu options at Taco Bell. But let me tell you something you may not have known before – you can substitute the beef in other items for beans. For example, that Crunch Wrap you used to love so much? Substitute the beef for extra refried beans. My personal favorite is to order the crunchy tacos and substitute the beef for black beans. This gives you a taco with a similar consistency without all the, ya know, meat. Taco Bell is also great because of all the items they offer that have beans in them. Beans are a great source of protein and are a major staple in a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet. They also offer a complete vegetarian menu on their website and are probably one of the more healthy (and cheap!) fast food options out there.

Carls Jr. Beyond Famous Star

Starting in 2019, Carl’s Jr. began offering their Beyond Famous Star with the Beyond Meat patty. I used to like their Famous Star burgers so I was incredibly excited when I learned that they are now offering a meat-free version. I’ve loved all of the Beyond Meat products I’ve tried so far, and this patty (also available in grocery stores to cook at home) is no exception. The texture is very similar to a traditional meat patty, and it doesn’t have any of the dryness or blandness sometimes found in other “veggie patties”. Not a fan of the Famous Star? You can substitute the Beyond Meat patty into any burger on their menu. You can also order their Beyond Burger without cheese and mayo for a vegan option (or so I’m told).

In N Out

In N Out is an exclusively west coast (and maybe Texas and Utah?) fast food chain that prides itself on the quality of their ingredients and the freshness of their made to order menu items. But, their main menu item is a hamburger. They don’t offer a veggie option (yet?), but you can order off of their not-so-secret menu to get your meat-free fix. Order a grilled cheese with grilled onions – seriously it’s so good. It comes with all the same fixings as a cheeseburger just without the meat patty. Another great option are their addicting animal style fries – french fries topped with melted cheese, grilled onions and their famous In N Out spread. If you don’t have an In N Out near you, my sincerest apologies. If you ever get a chance to make it to the west coast, be sure to try their cheesy meat-free options and their delectable milkshakes.

Burger King

Before Carl’s Jr. came on the scene with their Beyond Burger, the only other veggie burger I could find from a fast food place was the MorningStar Veggie burger from Burger King. In my opinion, it’s not as delicious as the Beyond Burger, but I think the difference is in the veggie patty. I’m not as big of a fan of the MorningStar patties, even when I purchase them separately from the grocery store. In any case, it’s a cheaper alternative to the Carl’s burger and is a good simple burger for when you need one in a pinch. Order it with a side of fries, and you have a classic fast food burger meal that’s meat-free.

Del Taco

Carl’s Jr. isn’t the only fast food joint to hop on the Beyond Meat train. Del Taco is testing the success of using the Beyond Meat crumbles in their tacos as well. Unfortunately, this option is only currently available in certain locations in Southern California and Oklahoma (does anyone else think that’s random?). I hope they are successful in this new offering and decide to expand it to all of their locations. If you are in the area that serves them, be sure to go get one and tell me what you think.

Chipotle

Some people may not consider Chipotle fast food, but I thought I’d include their options anyway since it is in fact a fast and relatively inexpensive place to get a quick bite. I used to love their chicken burrito bowls with a bag of chips. Once I stopped eating meat, I tried their Sofritas (which is their staple vegetarian/vegan soy-based option), but wasn’t really a fan of the flavors. Instead, I now substitute the chicken for guacamole. This is great because without meat they don’t charge you the extra fee for the guac. Make your bowl or burrito with brown rice and black beans (I also love their corn salsa) and you have a mostly nutritious meal with a protein punch. They also offer fajita veggies if you’re looking to add more substance to your veggie bowl. I’d imagine you could probably order their tacos this way as well.

Overall, it’s encouraging to see how many fast food restaurants are embracing change and trying to offer items that coincide with their customers values. I hope this list is helpful to you when you have to settle for fast food. Hopefully more places continue to follow suit by offering more meat-free options. Let me know in the comments below if you know of any other fast food menu items that are being offered for vegetarian customers.

I should also note that not all options are available at all locations. Check with your local restaurants to see what’s available in your area. All images used above are the property of the respective restaurants and were taken from their websites.

Until next time!

MelissaRose

Easy Vegan Chili

Recipes

If you didn’t know by now, I am a huge fan of all Beyond Meat products. Their chicken-free strips are amazing as a chicken substitute in enchiladas and “chicken” noodle soup. The new Beyond Famous Star at Carl’s Jr. is my first ever fast food obsession, and their Beyond Beef crumbles are great in just about anything that calls for ground beef. I particularly love using them in spaghetti and pasta recipes and this chili recipe. I suppose I should also mention that this post is not sponsored, nor am I sponsored in any way by Beyond Meat (hello! that’d be awesome though!). I sincerely very much appreciate their products and the versatility of them and love how easy they’ve made the transition to vegetarian for me (well, mostly – will do another post on that entirely at some point).

It seems like most of the United States lately has been cold, cold, cold. And not just a little cold, but like polar vortex cold. Luckily, I live in California where cold to me is not the same as cold to most people; however, that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s as cold as it’s ever been here. In order to counteract that on a gloomy Superbowl Sunday, I made this vegan chili with some super hot, hot, hot baked potatoes. My plan was to make a big baked potato bar with all the fixings, but once I tasted this chili I sort of forgot about the rest of the things that were supposed to be options (sorry, guests). This chili was the perfect amount of spicy kick and cuddly warmth to battle not only the cold outside but also the terribly lackluster football game inside.

It’s a fairly simple recipe to make, and for those of us who aren’t completely vegan, it’s surprisingly no-fuss and tasty too. Most of the ingredients are items I typically have in my pantry as well which makes it an easy weeknight dinner that doesn’t usually require a trip to the store, because who likes that. Also keep in mind, that if your local grocery store doesn’t offer Beyond Meat products, you can always substitute with your favorite ground beef alternative or leave that part out entirely. Serve with your favorite chili accoutrements, we like cornbread (who doesn’t), sour cream, cheddar cheese, mustard (yes, I’m a weirdo), or throw it on top of a baked potato for an extra filling meal. Also, I don’t have photos for this, because, life, but will try to get some once I make this again.

UPDATE!!! PHOTOS ADDED – I really do make this pretty often and FINALLY remembered to take a pic. Doesn’t it look delish!?

Easy Vegan Chili

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15.5 oz can sweet corn, drained

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1 10 oz bag of Beyond beef crumbles, the unseasoned kind

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup water, or depending on desired consistency

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil for cooking onions and garlic

  1. Add olive oil to the bottom of a large sauce pan along with onion and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat until onion starts to brown on the edges.
  2. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Once chili comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least 1 hour. This allows all the ingredients to really cook in together and give you a good depth of flavor.
  4. If chili is too thick after simmering, you can add more water to reach desired consistency.
  5. Add desired toppings or use on top of a big baked potato.
  6. Enjoy!
homemade pizza with vegetables

Easy Pizza Dough

Recipes

Good pizza can be hard to find. With so many restaurants offering low-cost carry-out and delivery pizzas, it can be difficult to sift through what’s delicious and what’s just cheap. The worst is when you pay a higher price for a pizza and are disappointed when you bite into it. A fool-proof way to avoid either of these instances? Make your own. I think pizza dough can be as daunting as making bread because of the yeast, kneading and rise time but it’s really quite easy once you try it out. And the results are so worth it! Making your own pizza is cheaper, more tasty and more satisfying than buying it from a chain restaurant. And not only that, I find that it’s usually more filling too.

Another great and unique thing about homemade pizza are the toppings. You can put whatever you like on them! I’ve done honey sauce, with arugula and pears, the basic caprese style with pesto and tomatoes, and huge vegetable pizzas with almost every kind of veggie you can think of. The options are endless! You can use this dough recipe to make any kind of pizza that suits your taste. It stays great as leftovers if wrapped in foil or kept in a plastic bag. This particular recipe makes two rather large pizzas with thick crusts. You can split in half if you want smaller pizzas or just one large one. Like many of my other recipes, I use a stand mixer which makes this so much easier, but you can always make it by kneading by hand. The photo posted is a pizza topped with homemade pizza sauce (maybe I’ll post a separate recipe for this), mozzarella cheese, spinach leaves, grape tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms and chopped green bell peppers. It was absolutely scrumptious and I can’t wait to make it again!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza? Does pineapple belong on pizza 😉 ?

Easy Pizza Dough

2 cups warm water

1 Tbsp yeast

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

Olive oil, enough to coat a bowl and baking sheets and to brush on the crusts before baking – shouldn’t take more than a few tablespoons

  1. Place yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir to combine.
  3. Add remaining flour and salt and knead with dough hook until a dough ball is formed.
  4. Place in a bowl coated with olive oil, cover with either plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is rising, wipe the baking sheets down with olive oil and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  6. Once the dough has risen, split into two equal parts and roll out onto the baking sheets pinching around the edges to create a crust.
  7. Place dough in the oven for about 6-8 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and brush outer crusts with olive oil.
  9. Place toppings as desired and place back in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  10. Let cool and slice; enjoy your homemade pizza!

Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Recipes

We are now 5 days into the New Year, and I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself so far (cue laughter – a whole 5 days – wooo!) But seriously, everything is going just swimmingly. Still no alcohol, smokes or sweets, which is making me feel incredibly good and energized at this point. My meal plan and shopping for next week is complete. I purchased the majority of my produce from local vendors at my city’s farmer’s market this morning (as well as some other goodies I will share with you), and I even made “chicken” noodle soup from scratch as well as a loaf of French bread to go with it. I am on a roll (or on a loaf?)!

The farmer’s market this morning was amazing despite the freezing cold temperatures and the wind – oh the wind. At one point one of the vendors tents started to flip over, the poor young girl underneath didn’t really know what to do as I grabbed the leg of the easy-up and pulled it back down to earth. Luckily, the vendor next to her was able to tie their tents together and provide some weights for the legs – it was an all out event. Anyway, I was up before the sun this morning, which NEVER happens. I am going to attribute this burst of morning energy to my lack of toxic intake the past 5 days. It was so nice to have coffee and get ready at my leisure while the sun rose. I went to the window every ten minutes or so to see how the sun’s progress was going along with my own. I met my mom at the farmer’s market and we were able to pick up several items including carrots, potatoes, broccoli, celery and even some olive oil and homemade lotion. Here’s a little picture of the things I got that weren’t produce related:

I haven’t tried the biscotti or the spices yet, but both look and smell divine. I cannot wait to enjoy the biscotti tomorrow with my morning coffee. The biscotti comes from a local baking company called The Upper Crust Baking Co. They’ve been around for about 30 years and source their ingredients locally which I think is pretty cool. You can even order some of their products online and have them shipped to you (seriously, if you try this let me know how it goes). The olive oil is from a company called Theofani’s and is possibly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted. It’s difficult to explain, but something about the flavor is so fresh – so fresh that I wanted to sip the olive oil straight from the sample cup (which I did – no shame). I’ve decided to dub this my “special olive oil” which will be used only for dipping breads and making dressings and not cooking – this stuff is too delicious to be mixed with other ingredients. The last two items come from one of the nicest booths my mom and I met during our visit. Herban Wild is a family run business that offers everything from all natural lotion bars to spice mixes to loose tea blends. The lotion bar is made with local beeswax and feels and smells absolutely amazing. They were also offering samples of their Wild Nettle Chai tea that I cannot wait to purchase (although, my mom did buy some so I guess I could steal some of hers until I get my own). The owners made the tea with sweetener and a little bit of almond milk – it was absolutely divine! It was also a nice touch on a gloomy day that really required you get something warm to drink. All in all, there weren’t as many vendors as there usually are on a good weather day, but I’m grateful to have found the ones that were willing to brave the weather like my mom and myself.

Now, back to the produce… The carrots, celery and potatoes were a part of my meal plan for the week. With the weather being as gloomy and as cold as it is I knew I wanted a soup mixed in for the week. And the only thing better than soup is bread – which I also made and will post about later on. My go-to soup is usually tomato bisque with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich, but this week I really felt like switching it up (especially since fresh tomatoes aren’t in season). I made the quick and easy decision of tagging in some vegan “chicken” noodle soup. I put chicken in quotes because I do not eat chicken and instead used Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken strips, which are actually just some type of plant protein formed and marked to look like grilled chicken. It really is a great substitute and worked out perfectly for my purposes. This recipe was fairly easy to make as well – as usual I did some research into a couple different chicken noodle recipes (vegan and non-vegan) and sort of mixed them together to create the perfect version for me and what I had on hand in my kitchen. (However, big shout-out to http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com who gave me the idea for using the Beyond Meat chicken strips in soup. I have used them as a substitute in many other recipes such as salads, sandwiches and even enchiladas, but I hadn’t tried a soup yet. Check out their blog for loads of other great vegan recipes and meal planning info.) The result – a comforting and tasty soup that will not only provide loads of leftovers for the week of rain ahead but provide a warm nostalgic feel of winters past with mom’s or grandma’s homemade chicken noodle.

What’s your favorite soup recipe to make when the weather is gloomy? Do you buy your ingredients from a farmer’s market? And, are there any go-to products that you’ve found from local or small shops?

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

3 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds

2 larger sized red potatoes, cubed (you can peel these too if you like)

3 stalks of celery, cut into slices

3 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp onion powder (equal to about 1/2 onion diced)

1 bayleaf

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced (equal to about 3 cloves)

1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

1 bag of Beyond Meat chicken strips (make sure to get the unseasoned variety)

4 cups vegetable broth

3-4 cups of water (depending on the consistency you like your soup to be)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place olive oil, celery, bayleaf, onion powder and garlic in the bottom of a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften or about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (start slow with the water to build up your consistency, keep in mind the soup will cook down so you may have to add more water as you go) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Once the soup comes to a boil, place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to low and let simmer until the pasta and potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, you can let the soup simmer longer to enhance the flavors, but the liquid will dissipate and the ingredients will become softer the longer you cook it.
  5. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with homemade bread or rolls for a real crowd pleaser.
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Ramble On // Cruelty Free is the Way to Be

Ramble On

pexels-photo-372166

I have been pescatarian for about 3 years now. The decision came because of inspiration from a dear friend who is a hardcore vegan who was always so sweet and encouraging about her ideals – not pushy and preachy like some can be. I grew up on a ranch, so hearing her claims about animals being “friends not food” was not alien to me. I had grown up feeding drop calves and pigs, I hung out with goats and full grown holstein cows and could not argue that they have personalities. Much of their personalities, in fact, reminded me of one of the most common household pets – dogs. I wouldn’t eat a dog, so why am I okay with eating other animals? Once I gave myself this perspective, I knew it was time for a change. And I love it! It’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and I really truly feel like I am making a difference for animals. Now, I do still eat fish, I left this in my diet because I felt like it gave me one last source of meat-based protein, and to be honest, I guess I just don’t feel that emotional connection with fish. Maybe someday I will venture down the vegan road, but for now, I am happy with my mostly vegetarian lifestyle with the occasional sushi roll.

BUT, another area of my life that I realized was still not completely cruelty-free was my cosmetics. I had never really thought about the “tested on animals” factor until I recently started getting back into purchasing makeup. Why would I cut meat out of my diet only to allow animals to still be tortured through cosmetic and chemical testing?