I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat

Caroline Armstrong

I became a vegetarian almost 7 years ago after an unfortunate night involving too much red meat. After the worst stomach ache I have ever had, I vowed that I was going to stop eating meat all together. And that’s exactly what I did. It has been a struggle to find meals that still resemble the taste of meat. Here are some of my favorite recipes that even my meat eating friends love.

1. Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/02/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings/

These buffalo wings made from battered cauliflower are the #1 requested meal from my friends. They are great for parties or barbecues and have an added bonus of being super easy to make! The recipe also includes a vegan ranch sauce for dipping.

2. Chick’n Noodle Soup

Vegetable Chik'n Noodle Soup
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/vegetable-chik-n-noodle-soup-recipe.html

There are definitely some “fake meat” products I would advise you to avoid, but luckily the chick’n from Morning Star Farms are not one of them. It is currently 4 degrees Fahrenheit where I live and sometimes I just crave a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. These chick’n strips are a great addition to soups and salads.

3. Spaghetti Squash

Learn how to make Roasted Spagehtti Squash the easy way! This method works PERFECTLY every-single-time.
https://bakerbynature.com/roast-spaghetti-squash/

Spaghetti Squash is a great alternative for pasta and they are super cheap. Add your favorite sauce or some olive oil, salt, and pepper and enjoy!

4. Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/loaded-nachos-recipe.html

Nachos are a quick and easy snack, and these ground beef crumbles from Morning Star Farms are a great addition. My boyfriend didn’t even realize they weren’t real beef at first!

5. Sesame Cauliflower

Sweet, sticky, addictive sesame cauliflower, a healthy & delicious meatless recipe
https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2017/01/09/sticky-sesame-cauliflower/

This sesame cauliflower looks like it could be sesame chicken when you first see it. Add some rice and vegetables on the side for a delicious meal.

Advertisements

The Amazing Natural Benefits of Coconut Oil

You have probably heard this many times: NUTRITION=BEAUTY. It’s a truth we can’t deny, what you eat impacts everything from your fat content, your skin, your energy level, and everything in between. For my first post I thought I would write about coconut oil, which is on my “5 items I would take if I was stranded on a desert island” list. This is because coconut oil has unlimited benefits for beauty and nutrition. After using it for 5 years I will vouch for it’s many benefits actually working! My personal favorite use for it is as a skin moisturizer, because it helps unclog my pores and get rid of acne. I use it on my face, legs, back, wherever I need. Also I put it in my hair 2-3 times a week. I use to be bleach blonde and that has created a lot of dead ends, the coconut oil replenishes my hair from roots to ends. Don’t worry it doesn’t make your hair greasy at all! I also have incorporated coconut oil into my everyday cooking, usually with eggs in the morning, or maybe a tad bit in a smoothie. Anyways while I could go on and on and on about how much I LOVE coconut oil I will just go ahead and list some of the nutritional and beauty benefits it provides.

Beauty:

  • It contains anti-fungal properties which is why when used on your skin it helps with acne (I try to use it every night.)
  • Moisturizes skin and can even be used to treat eczema and psoriasis
  • Deep moisturizer for hair, restores split ends, helps manage frizz, and some swear it can help your hair grow faster (I will put melted coconut oil in my hair and put a little on the roots and soak the ends. I try to leave it on at least 20minutes then wash my hair normally. For very dry hair try putting a pea size amount on your fingertips then rubbing it through your ends after you shower but before you blow dry or straighten/curl.)
  •  Create the BEST body scrub with only 2 ingredients; coconut oil and Epson salt (I use lavender Epson salt for a good smell, or add 2 drops of vanilla extract.)
  • Use for oil pulling. Take 1 Tbs. of coconut oil and put it in your mouth then swish around for 20minutes and finally spit. Not only does this kill the bad bacteria in your mouth and whiten your teeth, it’s also been proven to help with sensitive teeth, joint pain and arthritis, heart conditions, and diabetes. 

Nutrition: When worked into your daily diet

  • Helps brain health and said to help prevent Alzheimer
  • Can naturally balance your hormones (every girls dream!)
  • Increases your bodies fat burning capability by helping break down fat into energy, which supports weight loss 
  • Natural blood sugar stabilizer, encouraged for people with diabetes to use for help with diabetes management
  • Manages your bodies natural yeast correctly, and can treat Candida infections
  • Natural detox for your liver

I try to buy extra virgin coconut oil from my local Good Food Store, or you can purchase it off Amazon. I have not tried Walmart’s or any other stores yet; but coconut oil is coconut oil so I don’t believe any can be bad! I just use one jar for both my beauty and nutritional uses. I store mine in the fridge so it stays in a solid form, but you can store it in the cupboard too, which will make liquid. When I want to use it on my body I scrape off a bit with a knife, and put it in my hands. It melts very quickly by just rubbing it in your hands and then can be used on your face, hair, ect. Make sure you have clean hands. When using it in food just scoop some out into your pan, or if you want it melted put it into a container and microwave it. (It will take less than a minute to melt.)

Now that you know all the benefits of coconut oil, and I am here vouching for it, I hope you will use it! Beauty starts from the inside out, and this multi-use product is guaranteed to make a difference in your life!

If You’re Not Doing This, You Should Be

How To: Never Be Ill

It’s that time of year again where any office space, classroom, or restaurant turns into a battleground between our health and the bugs that cause illness and run rampant through our communities.  If you’re anything like me then you have entirely too much going on and can’t afford to lose the battle to the common cold, seasonal flu, or whatever else they’re calling it these days. I decided after a victory over a sinus infection three years ago that I would do anything it took to not get sick, ever. This is why I have developed a quick and inexpensive regimen to keep myself guarded and armed all year long. I haven’t had even an inkling of illness in three years and think that everyone should benefit from these simple ways to stay healthy. Here is 5 ways to arm your body and never get sick again.

 

Garlic Bombs

Perhaps the most importangarlict weapon in the arsenal is the garlic bomb. Packed full of fiber, vitamins C and B6 as well as minerals like potassium and calcium, garlic give the immune system a HUGE boost, allowing it to work overtime in destroying any virus or unwanted visitors that may enter your body. While most people like garlic in small amounts and mixed into food, I have found it highly effective to finely chop a clove or two and drop it in about ¼ cup of water and down it quickly to avoid the garlic aftertaste that lingers in the mouth after chewing it. It also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, prevents dementia, detoxifies heavy metals in your blood and improves athletic performance.  You can’t have too many of these so drop them as often as you’d like!

 

 

 

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Shots

A shot of this one or twice a day will bring your whole body to the equilibrium that it is constantly working to achieve. This allows for your energy to be used in other ways, like fighting off infection and increasing brain function. It balances the pH levels inside of your body as well as on the outside such as nourishing your skin and hair. It aids in weight loss, removes candida which causes sugar cravings, poor memory and fatigue, and can reduce heartburn. Take a standard sized shot (1 oz) of this with turmeric to reduce the acidity or dilute with water. The ‘raw’ part is imperative because it contains probiotics that help with digestion. I use Bragg’s brand which can be found at any grocery store. If you can take a shot of whiskey, you can take a shot of this!

ACV

Turmeric Powder

Bright orange in color, this spice does not try to camouflage it incredible benefits. Turmeric is a root that is harvested and ground into a fine powder. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, fights infection and destroys any free-radicals (cancer-causing organisms) that enter the body. It severely reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart-disease, and contains repairing properties for brain stem cells. The daily recommended amount is 1-2 tablespoons. I get my turmeric fix by mixing 1.5 tablespoons in a standard sized shot glass with apple cider vinegar. Adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper increases bioavailability of the turmeric so you can reap all the benefits. If the turmeric and ACV is too much for you, try mixing it with ¼ cup water instead. This one is a must not just for fighting off colds but for a long (and cognitive) life!

Hot Lemon & Honey Water

This has not only changed the way I think about coffee, but chalemonnged the way I think about mornings. Drinking this on an empty stomach (before coffee) cleanses and hydrates the lymphatic system which, when dehydrated, is the leading cause of illness. It also cleanses the colon, skin, and digestive system. The enzymes in the lemon give a nice, clean boost of energy first thing in the morning without caffeine. If you’re interested in a beautiful healthy glow outside and highly functioning system inside, then this is drink for you. I use a half a lemon and 1.5 teaspoons of raw, natural honey and look forward to this treat every morning! A must have while fighting a viral invasion.

 

Ginger Tea

This last one is a bit more time consuming but equally as important. Ginger has been used for centuries for its preventative, healing and aiding properties. It allows for better absorption of vitamins and minerals, cleanses the body of unwanted bacteria and boosts the immune system to fight infection. It is also an anti-inflammatory and reduces risk of colon and stomach cancers and ulcers. Steep 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger in hot water and drink like tea 1-3 times per day. Ginger tea helps pull the rest of the regimen together and keeps you getting the most of everything you put into your body.

 

There are many other spices, oils and foods you can eat to keep you healthy, but my personal five favorites continue work flawlessly for me. Since I have started this I have been sleeping more soundly, waking up with ease, have increased energy and stamina, clearer thinking, and an overall improved mood. Try one, or all of these amazing weapons and see for yourself the positive effects they can have. Your body will thank you and you will be glad when you are healthy and come out of the battlegrounds unscathed! 

 

Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates

 

Healthy Snacks for the College Budget

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 4.30.19 PM

Is there even such a thing as a healthy snack that isn’t bland, actually satisfies hunger, and doesn’t break your almost laughable college budget? The answer is YES! As an experienced waster of time on Pinterest, I have tried to make just about every recipe I’ve posted to my “College Food” board, and as many other Pinterest frequenters know, absolutely nothing turns out the way it looks on a pin…perhaps one of the more frustrating things in life. I would like to take a few seconds to inform you all that the following five recipes do, in fact, turn out just as beautifully simple as they appear in the pictures and won’t make you feel as though you’ve lost an arm or leg. A true blessing indeed.

ATTENTION DORM LIFE: these recipes are entirely attainable with painless modifications. Try them, I dare you.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 4.22.36 PM

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

This recipe is protein and nutrient packed and can be stored in the fridge/freezer for a convenient breakfast or on the go snack. My favorite use for these little bliss balls is as a pre-workout pick-me-up or as a cure for the infamous “hangry” hour. (serves about 16)

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 10 min   Total Time: 15 min

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1/3 c. almonds (or nut of choice), chopped
  • 1/3 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/2 c. nut butter (peanut or almond are great)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Bake oats, nuts, and coconut in oven for 5 minutes. Stir and let cool. (If you do not have an oven, this step can be skipped)
  2. In a mixing bowl microwave nut butter for 20-30 seconds, or until runny, and add the baked mixture, honey, cranberries, and flaxseed (if desired). Form 1.5-2″ balls and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. TIP: wet hands after every 3-4 balls to help formation.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 4.25.56 PM

Tuna and Avocado Bowl

This is by far the least expensive and easiest recipe consisting of only two main ingredients. Depending on the portion size, this can be used as a great protein packed, low carb lunch or snack at any time of the day. The ease of this snack makes it one of the best for on the go meal prep.

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 7 min

  • 1 can light chunk Tuna in water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 chopped stalk of celery
  • 1 Tbsp. light mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Strain tuna of the water, chop avocado into bite sized cubes, and finely chop celery.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a tupperware or serving bowl and enjoy.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 4.23.05 PM

Chickpea Kale Salad

This simple recipe is full of great and unexpected flavor. It is easy to package and take on the go and satisfies mid morning, afternoon, and late night hunger pangs. The chickpea kale salad is another snack that takes little to no time to toss together and the cost of the ingredients is very minimal. Plate it with a full lunch or pop open that tupperware for an on-the-go treat. This snack will never disappoint!

Prep Time: 7 min   Cook Time: 1 min   Total Time: 8 min

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and strained
  • 3-4 leaves of kale, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine chickpeas, kale, parsley and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl combine lemon juice and olive oil and stir.
  3. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over the chickpea mixture and top with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 4.23.42 PM

Cucumber, Avocado and Feta Salad

Quite possibly my favorite recipe to have on hand at all times is this salad. Great for pairing with a main dish or just a spoonful from the fridge on your way out the door. This is a salad that refreshes any time of year and keeps those jeans fitting the way they were meant to fit.

Prep Time: 5 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 7 min

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3 large avocados
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 c. crumbled feta
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Quarter the cucumber and chop into bite sized pieces. Slice avocados into bite sized cubes and juice lemon.
  2. Combine cucumber, avocado, feta, dill, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 5.58.04 PM

Spinach and Banana Smoothie

The simplicity of this smoothie makes it a no-brainer when in need of an in between meal snack. It is packed with greens, protein and potassium, making it the perfect filler. Store this smoothie in the fridge and shake it up when in need of an energy boost.

Prep Time: 3 min   Cook Time: 2 min   Total Time: 5 min

  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 banana

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in a personal sized or large blender and blend to desired consistency or until spinach chunks are not visible. Serve in a to-go cup or enjoy at home.

LET’S GET COOKIN!

Not only are these recipes affordable and quick, the modifications for personal preferences are endless. As a frequent sufferer of the “hangry”, I swear by these simple fixes and can say from experience that they actually look like their pictures.

DISCLAIMER: failure of recipe presentation that matches these images is probably due to user error 🙂