At the end of 2015, I decided to start eating a vegetarian diet. I can’t say I know for sure what prompted the decision. I think it was a combination of getting tired of the same old chicken I always ate and the fact that I had done a bit of preliminary research advocating the health benefits. It’s been over a year now and so far no regrets with the decision. I never really ate that much meat to begin with so I can’t say I noticed an incredibly drastic difference, but I can say I rarely “miss” meat. Bacon’s really the only thing I think about occasionally.
One of the biggest challenges to this new lifestyle was figuring out what to eat. Growing up, I was an incredibly picky eater and had an aversion to many different types of vegetables. I also decided at the end of 2015 that I wanted to run my first half marathon, so I knew I needed to make sure I was getting enough calories to sustain a training plan. Over the past few years, I’ve also been getting into cooking. My new choice to eat meatless foods seemed to pair really well with my desire to find new and unique (and photogenic!) things to cook.
Eating a healthier plant based diet (still with some dairy and eggs in moderation) I think has somewhat changed my taste buds and I now like and eat tons more varieties of foods and vegetables that I never would have looked at growing up. One of the biggest misconceptions about people that eat vegetarian is that they only eat salad, but over the past 12 months, I’ve eaten and made tons of different foods and thought it would be fun to share!
So this is “A Year in Food”:
I freaking love avocado toast. It appears at least three times in this post I believe, but many more times in my diet. Although not obvious from this picture, when eating toast it’s important to cut the pieces DIAGONALLY and to almost burn the toast. It won’t taste good otherwise, trust me.
Pancakes. I can’t remember specifically what recipes I used when making these different ones. When I make pancakes for myself I try to make them vegan, so googling vegan pancakes should find you some good options. The last picture also features some homemade granola on top of bananas.
Tempeh scramble with potatoes -replaces eating scrambled eggs in the morning. Tempeh does take some getting used to, it has no taste however and will just taste like whatever you flavor it with. I do try to eat meat substitution (tofu and tempeh) in moderation though. This particular scramble is topped with some tomatoes and avocado for freshness and color.
Cinnamon rolls. A bit of splurge here.
Acai bowls. So many acai bowls. One of them technically has dragonfruit instead of acai berries, but you get the gist. The last picture features some ginger lemongrass tea, as well.
My normal weekday breakfast is usually a banana, rice cakes, a banana smoothie, or some granola—whatever is easy to grab on the go.
Spread the Health‘s sweet potato steaks and veggie stir fry. This is a meal that costs less than $5 to make a serving for 4.
Cobb salad. This is my take on a meal I had at the restaurant in Houston, Americas. No link here, just some couscous, edamame, corn, spinach with a honey mustard dressing and avocados.
Mushroom and leek galettes (the link to this pin is broken so I can’t find the recipe )
Orange Cauliflower. Honestly, this was meh in my opinion because the fried cauliflower was a little too heavy for my liking, but I would totally make it again with just baking the cauliflower with no batter. The orange sauce was great!
Thai pizza (made with pillsburgy dough, because sometimes we need to take shortcuts)
Swiss chard with chickpeas and couscous
Black pepper tofu, veggies and rice
Sandwich with hummus, grilled veggies and corn (Inspired by the leftovers in my fridge that day)
Butternut squash and sweet potato enchiladas
Roasted chickpea, mushroom, swiss chard, couscous and avo bowl
Spread the Health‘s honey crisp apple salad and ratatouille. Another meal that costs under $5 to make!
Simple teriyaki roasted brocollini with pine nuts and white rice. Another meal inspired by the leftovers in my fridge.
Brothers Green Eats’ Kimchi Stew
Zoodles and tofu & Chickpea quinoa salad
Another taco bowl
Sweet potato lentil chili
Walnut couscous with lemon basil cream
Teriyaki cauliflower rice bowls
These are things I will normally cook in bulk on Sunday (#mealprep) and then eat throughout the week for lunch and sometimes dinner. If we are being honest, I eat a baked potato 8 times out of 10 for dinner, but my lunches are on point!
Spread the Health‘s Chickpea Wraps
Sweet Potato Fries/Regular French Fries – I’ve gotten in the habit of taking homemade fries on airplanes. It’s great and filling! I’m not linking a recipe because you should be able to google this one.
Infused Water –this was an obsession I had back in the summer when it was really hot out and needed something refreshing. Also doesn’t this picture look cool.
Energy Bites –No recipe provided here because I can’t remember which one it is, also google.
A trio of dips: carrot hummus, black bean, and red pepper cashew
Sweet potato mousse (can’t find the recipe link, sorry). Also for the record, I took the edible flowers off after taking this picture because I’m not sure how I feel about eating them.
I don’t eat out a lot, mainly because I hate spending money but also because it can be hard to find healthy options. I’ve found a couple of go-to restaurants in Houston and I’ve also documented some of the things I’ve eaten while traveling in the past year.
True Food Kitchen –Edamame dumpling and butternut squash pizza
The Kitchen at Dunlavy –Avocado toast, tempeh sandwich and Southwestern breakfast bowl
Local Foods –Chia seed pudding and vegan taco salad
Indika –Chickpea crepe stuffed with mushroom and tomato masala and millet pancakes with banana blueberries. This was one of the courses from a brunch during Houston Restaurant Week (month)
Pondicheri –Thali (sample platter)
Grand Canyon/Sedona –I visited the Grand Canyon with my sister back in May and we stayed in Sedona. We started off every morning getting an Acai bowl from Berry Divine. We also went to a restaurant called ChocolaTree Organic Eatery. We ordered a sample platter, wraps, and potato/lentil pancakes. Unfortunately, the food here was a bit bland but the patio had tons of hammocks which is the main reason I wanted to go.
I also had the chance to visit Banff National Park last year. On the last night in Canada we stopped in a restaurant in Canmore, AB and I ordered this curry.
While in Breckenridge, we ate at this restaurant called Modis and I ordered a cauliflower steak with bok choy and other vegetables.
I visited San Diego with two of my best friends from college Katia and Hari (also another veggie). We went to some restaurant and got vegetarian sushi of some kind. I don’t remember the details. Katia and I also went to a brunch place the last morning and I ordered all this fruit and granola which was perfect for the hangover I may or may not have had.
On the way back from Six Flags in San Antonio, Adam and I stopped at Senor Veggie and got these amazing vegan nachos.
On the way back from Fredericksburg, Adam and I stopped at Bouldin Creek Café in Austin and got this tofu scramble and veggie plate. The veggie plate has zucchini, vegan corn bread, spinach and brown rice. For the record, I ordered an “Asian Slaw” and not spinach so they brought that out later.
My family vacationed to Lake Tahoe in May. We went to Garwoods, which had a special vegetarian menu apart from the normal menu and they made this great tofu stir fry. I also ordered avocado toast from the hotel for breakfast every morning because –treat yo self.
On my many visits back to Pittsburgh throughout the year I stopped at these great restaurants.
Smallman Galley –Lentil loaded fries and more avocado toast (look I love avocados, okay)
Nicky’s Thai Kitchen –Vegan Duck
The Commoner –Tikki Masala
Kaya –Jamaican Green Curry
Basically, I feel like I’ve eaten tons of good food in the past year and I plan to continue that into 2017! So if you have any good vegetarian restaurants or recipes please send them my way.
I’ve also made other things not pictured from these boards: