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Monday, December 13, 2010

3 Common Misconceptions About Being Vegetarian

  1. You’ll be Skinny & Malnourished
Ha!  If that were true, there wouldn’t be vegetarian Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem.  A well done vegetarian diet is very healthy, however, many people take it as an excuse to eat a poor diet heavy in processed soy products and copious amounts of sugar ( ‘Chicken’ sandwiches and doughnuts for dinner?  I LOVE being vegetarian!  No!!).  If you go vegetarian properly (plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables), you’ll probably notice yourself feeling healthier and maybe even losing a few pounds…but that’s probably not why you’re doing it.

  1. You can’t get any protein
It always amazes me when people ask me that question.  Don’t people read food wrappers anymore?  There are so many places a real vegetarian (that includes not eating fish & chicken, people!) can get protein: tofu, nuts, beans, seeds, dairy products…the list goes on!  Personally, I usually end up having a soy protein bar about mid-morning when I get the munchies.  It satisfies any sweet cravings and fills me up with delicious, delicious soy protein (I recommend GeniSoy brand).
  1. You’re a Birkenstock Wearing, Granola Eating, Protest Participating Hippie Lunatic.
You don’t have to be if you don’t want to!  Many hippies are vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are hippies.  For proof, just look up famous vegetarians.  You may be surprised at what you find.

Everyone has their own reasons for going vegetarian.  What are yours?  How do you respond when people ask you ‘why’?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fast, Easy, & Delicious: Spinach Gnocchi Al Telefono

This is my favorite 'staple' meal: you know, those ones that are so easy and delicious that you find yourself making them almost weekly?  This is one of them.  Disclaimer: I did not come up with the basic gnocchi recipe myself.  I found it on AllRecipes (told you it was fantastic!), and made a lot of changes to it to make it healthier, and ahem....mine:)

1 cup dry potato flakes
1 cup boiling water
1 cup raw spinach
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups jarred tomato sauce (my favorite is Prego HeartSmart- lazy, I know, but I'm a busy college student!)
1/2 cup FRESH mozzarella cheese


1. Place potato flakes in a medium size bowl.  Pour in boiling water; stir until well blended.  Stick in freezer until cool.

2. Meanwhile, chop the spinach finely.  It's important that it be FINELY chopped.

3. Stir in egg, salt, pepper, and spinach.  Blend in the flour- the dough should be fairly stiff.  Flour your hands, and make sure your cutting surface is well floured too, otherwise the dough is going to be sticky and all over the place.  taking small handfalls, shape each section into a long thin roll, about the thickness of a breadstick.  With a flour coated knife, cut into small, bite-sized pieces (remember, the smaller the piece, the faster it cooks, so keep that in mind when cutting).

4. Place a few in boiling water (I try to keep it 10 pieces and under so they don't stick together).  As the gnocchi rise to the top of the pot, remove them with a slotted spoon.  Repeat until all are cooked.  Drain on a clean, dry cloth.  When all are cooked, empty the water, and put the sauce into the pot.  When the sauce begins to bubble, add the cheese.  When the cheese begins to melt (it'll form long thin strings of cheese when you stir), add the gnocchi and stir to coat.  Serve!

For those of you who hate spinach, don't worry.  The spinach doesn't have a pronounced flavor: all it does is add nutrients and color to the dish.  Eventually, I'll put up a recipe for a good home made tomato sauce, but I just haven't one I like yet....someday:p

Until next time!