5 mouth-watering vegan recipes for amateurs

Going vegan almost a year ago has opened so many doors for culinary creativity. It has been the hardest/best trail and error year for me when it comes to food. I love being vegan so much and it has really made me learn about the food I put in my body. Going vegan has not automatically made me a nutritionist but it has made me more self aware. I can say that I appreciate food more now than I did when I ate animal products. When it came to what i’d eat, at first I was depending on the internet for recipes. As the year went on I experimented with some of my favorite foods to make staple recipes in my diet. I’ve decided to share 5 of my favorite recipes that do not take a lot of culinary experience or veganism knowledge to make and master.

Crispy bbq tofu flatbread with avocado and caramelized onion

This is one of the favorite dishes to make. If you’re only looking to make food for yourself, this recipe will leave you with lots of leftovers/meal prep for another sandwich! This recipe is good for a nice lunch or dinner and can be served with a fresh side salad.

what you will need: (servings size: 2)

  1. 2 flatbreads

  2. 1 1/2 cups of firm tofu

  3. oil ( I use coconut oil but avocado oil, vegan butter or your choice of will work)

  4. 1/2 cup of bbq sauce of choice and 1/2 cup of cajun teriyaki sauce

  5. 1/2 of an avocado

  6. 1/2 cup of onion

    Directions: Take your tofu onto a cutting board and cut 1/2 inch thick slices. This will be the protein of your meal so make sure your getting the recommended 3/4 serving size per sandwich. Heat oil in pan and place tofu slices, cook for 5 to 7 minutes on medium-low heat until crisp, golden brown color (this will ensure crunchy texture). Once cooked, turn heat to a simmer and add bbq and cajun teriyaki sauce to the pan.

    Cut 1/2-inch off the end and roots of an onion. Cut the onion in half, place the half’s cut side down and then make 1/2-inch cuts from root to end. I’m not a fan of using a ton of pots and pans when cooking. It creates a more stressful workspace. Once the tofu is done, put it on a plate and clean the pan to use for the onions. Coat the pan with either vegan butter or your oil of choice and put on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes until brown (depending on how strong your stovetop is, you might need to cook for more or less time). You can also add salt to the onions.

    Mash the avocado up into a bowl and add salt, cut the flatbreads in half and toast. Once the flatbreads are done you can spread the avocado on, add the tofu slices, onions and additional sauce if wanted.

Peanut butter and Jelly oatmeal with banana

I’ve never been so obsessed with breakfast foods until I became vegan. Some might think breakfast foods might be the hardest to make since a lot of them incorporate milk, yogurt, or eggs. But I became heavily obsessed with meals like toast varieties, tofu scrambles, and OATMEAL! There are SO many oatmeal varieties it’s insane. I love how every morning you can make it a completely different way so you don’t get bored. This recipe has become a morning ritual because of how easy and amazing it is.

what you will need: (serving size: 1)

  1. 1/3 cup of rolled oats

  2. 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)

  3. 2 tablespoons of vegan peanut butter (I love Just Great Stuff organic powdered peanut butter)

  4. 1 tablespoon of jelly of your choice (my favorite brand is Bonne Maman)

  5. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

  6. 1/2 of a banana

    Directions: Combine oats and milk into a small saucepan. Simmer the milk until it absorbs into the oats, stirring frequently so the oats don’t burn. This should only take 5-7 minutes.

    pour the oatmeal into a bowl and stir the peanut butter + jelly all together. Add the chia seeds and banana as your toppings.

Sriracha style Mac N Cheese

Comfort food, mmmmmmm. What people tell me when I share that i’m vegan is that they could never do it because they “ love mac N cheese way too much.” So do I! I’ve tried so many recipes, you can even ask my roommates about the horrible homemade styles i’ve tried to make along the way. It took me some trial and error to find the best way to make it. Finally I found one worth sharing with y’all.

what you will need: (serving size: 1)

  1. 1 teaspoon of turmeric

  2. 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

  3. 1/2 cup of shredded vegan cheese (I love the brands

  4. 1/4 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk (again, i used unsweetened almond milk)

  5. 1 tablespoon of vegan butter

  6. 1 serving size of pasta of choice (majority of pastas are vegan but make sure to check the side of the box for the listed ingredients to make sure there are not eggs or milk)

  7. 2 tablespoons of Sriracha

    Directions: Cook the pasta and drain, then place in bowl. In the same saucepan used to cook the pasta, add milk and simmer until it comes to a boil. Add cheese, sriracha, butter, turmeric, and garlic salt. Stir until thick consistency. Mix in the pasta and serve! For more texture and flavor, you can also add chives as a topping.

Kale and spinach salad with roasted brussel sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli and chickpeas

I have always been a veggy-head. But since I have been cooking a lot of my meals myself, I have really started to love more and more vegetables. Some include kale and brussel sprouts. When I’m looking for a filling and flavorful dinner I try to think of different ways to incorporate my vegetables. This is an easy and tasty salad I make at least 2 times a week. It only takes about 15 minutes to make including the prep.

what you will need: (serving size: 1)

  1. 1 cup of chopped kale

  2. 1 cup of chopped broccoli

  3. 3/4 cup of mushrooms

  4. 3 cups of spinach

  5. 1/2 cup of chickpeas

  6. 1/3 cup water

  7. 1/2 teaspoon of seasalt salt

  8. 3/4 cup of apple cider vinaigrette

    Directions: Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Coat a skillet with avocado oil or oil of your choice, add the vegetables on low heat. For a minute, stir all the vegetables together then add water. If needed add more water. Steam vegetables for 5-7 minutes until mostly soft. Drain the vegetables, run under cold water to harden them a bit more, then place back in the skillet. Add salt, pepper, and stir.

    Pour spinach into a drainer and wash with cold water. Then place in a large salad bowl. Add the vegetables, chickpeas, and dressing!

Tofu scramble with broccoli, spinach, peppers, and vegan cheese.

Something that I do miss occasionally in the morning are scrambled egg whites and mixed veggies. Only recently are egg substitutes hitting the selves for consumers. But for the most part these products are only being sold on the west cost. One brand i’ve been dying to try to call JustEgg. It comes in a bottle and looks like eggs when you beat them. Until this is indroduced in New Jersey, I’ve been forced to come up with other egg substitutions. One I enjoy very much is tofu. The secret to making your tofu the same consistensy as scrambled eggs and making sure you pick the right tofu. There is silken tofu (good for cream cheese, dips or smoothie substitutions), regular tofu (good for egg substations), firm tofu (the most verscitile of the tofu’s) and extra firm (good for deep frying). Here is my take on ‘scrambled eggs’ with vegetables!

what you will need: (serving size: 1)

  1. 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli

  2. 1/2 cup of chopped sweet bell peppers

  3. 1 cup of spinach

  4. 1/3 cup water

  5. 1/2 teaspoon of seasalt salt

  6. 3/4 cup of regular tofu

  7. cap size of oil

  8. teaspoon of garlic powder

  9. teaspoon of turmeric

    Directions: Chop broccoli and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Coat a skillet with avocado oil or oil of your choice, add the vegetables on low heat. For a minute stir all the vegetables together then add spinach and water. If needed add more water. Steam for 5-7 minutes until mostly soft. Drain the vegetables, run under cold water to harden them a bit more, then place back in the skillet. Add salt and stir. Add tofu and about a cap size amount of oil of your choice. chop until it looks like scrambled eggs. Add garlic powder and turmeric, stir for 3 minutes on medium-low heat.

    You can serve this meal with bread of your choice!

Going Vegan

Hi everyone, I am so excited to be back writing and sharing with all of you! I always have so many ideas for blogs and I write them down whenever they come to me, but during the summer it becomes really difficult for me to fulfill my ideas because I never can find the time. The idea does sound strange that I can't ever find time during break when I can find all the time during school. But, this is true! When i'm not at school I try to stay as active as I can, I try to stay off my phone and computer. I try to just live my best life as much as I can, being surrounded by nature, music, family, friends; people and things I love the most. I do whatever I can't do at school because isn't that what a break is all about? That being said, thank you to all my readers for sticking by me during the past months that I have been MIA. I love you and this is for you xo.


So for those who are interested in living a plant-based lifestyle, I am here to tell you how and why I went vegan. Plus, I will share a couple tips on how to stay vegan. There are a lot of reasons for why I went vegan and no it is not because I wanted to lose weight. Yes, if you go vegan you can lose weight and it is not because you don't eat. But I will get into all of that more in a second.

Out of all the many reasons why, the two main reasons I switched to veganism are 1) I wanted to be more energized and happy 2) I became more in touch with my surroundings. I never really noticed why I was overly tired, sluggish, and unhappy until I went vegan/researched it. Yes, I have only been  fully vegan for 4 days now (yes, you can laugh because I laughed at myself too when I read that) BUT, in my defense, I have been on and off vegan for awhile so I have experienced the differences in my moods and energy before. Also before I went vegan, I knew about how horrible the meat and dairy industries were (I tried really hard not to think about it) but never knew what it was doing to our environment until I researched more on veganism. 

One of my first blogs on here was about my battle with depression and anxiety issues throughout my entire life. I hate taking medications, even when I'm nauseous or have a headache. I'm just not a pill kind of gal. So when I started realizing the changes in my moods after I cut out animal sourced foods, I became overjoyed. But I never knew why until I did some trial/error and did my homework. I was feeling better and the fact behind this is simple; fatty acids (arachidonic acid or AA). Fatty acids are higher in meat and fish diets. Most of the meat us Americans contain in our diets have very high AA levels. It has been proven that higher levels of AA can cause mood-disturbing brain changes. Also, animal foods are hard for humans to digest and they cause our digestive systems to become very overwhelmed. This made me feel like it was sucking all of the energy out of me and I didn't even realize that it was because of what I was eating. Becoming a plant-based eater was a great way to restore my energy, be productive and maintain a good sleeping schedule. I have been enjoying 14 hour days with no crash or burn for the past 4 days. That is just crazy amazing to me considering in the past I would sleep non stop or always felt burnt out no matter how much sleep I got. 

I have always loved nature and my surroundings. Not to mention if you don't already know, I am a HUGE animal lover. But during the past couple months I have felt like such a hypocrite and it just felt wrong to me. How could I post about how much I love the earth, nature, COWS, but be putting all of those things in harms way? Cows are my favorite animal hands down. But how could I sit there and cry when seeing one playing in a field and call it my favorite animal when I'm staring at it on my plate? I couldn't do it anymore. I'm not going to sit here and write paragraphs about how f***ed up the dairy and meat industries are. We all know it. Not only for the animals but for the planet we call home. We see, read, and hear about the climate changes yet overlook the most important contributor: our food. I think many people are becoming more educated on this, me being one, and realizing that at least we can help climate change and rescue innocent lives by changing our diets. This was a big factor into why I really wanted to become vegan. I wanted to make a difference in not only my own life by everyone else who lives on this planet and for the animals that I adore. 

No, I didn't want to become a vegan because I wanted to lose a lot of weight. When you become vegan you will lose weight, but that comes with any diet that you cut out bad things. You can lose a good amount of weight from cutting out dairy and meat products because of how bad they are for your body. These products contain large amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol and can cause obesity. Where as having a plant based diet promotes healthy weight loss and helps maintain a healthy weight. Meat, fish, and dairy products clog your body and cause unnecessary weight gain. Studies show that vegans have better BMI's then others. So, if you're looking for a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle, research the benefits on veganism!

As for how I went vegan, it was really simple and easy for me. I switched to veganism from being an egg eating, chicken eater in 24 hours. I am not saying everyone is going to be able to do this but, I was able to do that because I wanted to and because I did my homework. When you want to do something, it becomes very easy to do. I think that is a lot of the reason why people have such a hard time staying vegan. Ultimately, it comes down to you and what you want. You're not going to be able to stay vegan if you're dreaming about chicken or thinking that one more milkshake isn't going to hurt you. I knew I wanted this lifestyle and I have been sticking with it. There are so many foods and desserts and substitutes for things I used to love. You don't have to give up everything. We are at a point in time where we have almond and soy products and substitutes in mostly every grocery store, super market, or hypermarket. It is not hard, you just have want to make the change. You also have to know your research. Because I have gone vegan many times in the past, it was easier for me because I already had a lot of knowledge on it. But it is like riding a bike on two wheels, you have to learn first. If you're thinking about going vegan, educate yourself on it. 

I found some tips on how to stay vegan that have been really helpful to me when it comes to maintaining this lifestyle. Know that it is okay to slip up. In the past when I've tried to go vegan, I have had accidentally or really wanted to eat something off limits. Mostly eggs or chocolate or something containing cheese. But I thought it was the end of the world, I thought that at that point I had to give up and say "f**k it its over now, I'm just going to eat whatever I want to now and give up because I've already messed up". That was the worst mistake I have made. Do not be me. You're not going to die from eating these products if you slip up.

Try to cut out one of food groups at a time. Growing up, I was never obsessed with cheese, I never drank a glass of milk just because, I could go without eating yogurt, and a burger was never something I craved. Luckily, I was blessed. But, majority of people really do love meat and dairy products. I always suggest to anyone who wants to make the switch to start by cutting out of those food groups out for awhile to get used to it. Some people like doing a cannon ball into a freezing pool. But most people like to dip there feet in first and that is perfectly fine. Cutting out all the things you love and are used to can seem really diffcult though it isn't. This leads to people becoming frustrated because they do not know what to eat or what they like. That has happened to be in the past and one of the biggest reasons I have been an inconsistent vegan over the past years. Train your body, you don't have to go cold turkey unless you want to. 


Thats all for now! 

xo, T.

Why you should say goodbye to your social

Last week while my mom came to visit me at school I decided that I needed a break from something that I felt too attached to-social media. As I was laying in bed watching a movie it dawned on me that social media consumed my life more than I thought it did, so why not delete it?

Now I wasn't going to go crazy and delete the actual social media pages I had because it is such a big part of today's society. But, I thought why not just remove the apps from my phone for a week and actually live my life.

I have to say it was not easy and if i am going to be completely honest with all of you I did not make it a full week. But the five days that I was able to detach myself from something that consumed my every day life felt so liberating. 

The first full day without my social media was very weird. I found myself unlocking my phone A LOT, searching for things I really didn't need. Every pretty meal I made, every song I was feeling in that moment, every funny moment with my friends, I wanted to snapchat. More specifically, I tried to snapchat something over 70 times in one day and I know this because I documented every single time I tried to snapshot my life. Now this might sound like a lot but do you consciously know how many times you're really using your social media? 

The next two days it became a little easier to let go, to detach myself from the online world and really live each day without documenting my every move but it was still difficult. I found myself downloading random games on my phone and going on apps that I hardly would use just to still have the sensation of being on my phone.

On the fourth day as I was in my classes I would look around to see my peers scrolling through their twitter feeds and instagrams like robots, not paying attention to what we really had learn for the day. When I was with friends they would sit and talk about funny tweets they saw that day, see what people were voting for on their polls,  and ask If everyone liked their new picture they posted twenty minutes ago

By the last day I was able to leave my phone in my house for the whole day. No one was able to contact me via phone, only through personal interactions. It felt amazing to just not care about who was doing what, how many likes I got on my last instagram pictures, who looked at my snapchat story or if I was being tracked by the snapchat maps. I felt so free and observant to everything and everyone around me, something that I never felt or done otherwise.

After evaluating the past days without my social's I felt for first time in a long time that I did not need my phone or social media to survive. It is scary to think that I really did think that I needed social media every day in order to get through the day. This made me think, do people really care about what I'm doing? Or do I care more about showing people what I'm doing. I thought I needed the gratification and attention from other people in order to feel good about myself and get through the day.

Sometimes you become so wrapped up in the little things like social media that you become stuck and feel lost without them, when in reality your life isn't going to drastically change if they are gone. Your friends are still going to be there, your family is still going to be there. Social media is just a mask that really hides who you actually are. 

People become so used to showing so much of their life that they forget what life is really about. They forget that your twitter count, instagram likes and snapchat views mean nothing. You're showing people a persona that you want them to see, it doesn't really show who you really are as a person. You aren't going to die if Jason from your favorite frat didn't snapchat you back.

What I am really trying to get out of this whole blog post is stop living for people and start living for yourself. Go turn off your phone for the day, delete your social media apps, do other things besides living through electronics. It doesn't have to be for a week or five days, it could be just one. But say goodbye to your social media. Trust me, it feels really good knowing you did something and not everyone else knowing about it. 

until next time


Depression, eating disorders, and finding body positivity

Unfortunately, like many young girls across the world, when I was transforming out of my pre-teen body, I really started to understand why so many girls struggled with body positivity through my own forms of self-hatred. I truly did not understand my own self beauty and identity. To me, my body was disgustingmy unique features that made me, me, were ugly, I was never going to be the "it girl". Whatever that even means anymore. 

During lunch in 7th grade I went to the bathroom with my friend. After I was done, I waited by the bathroom sinks for my friend, casually looking myself up and down in the mirror. At this point in my short life, my body wasn't a concern. That all changed when my friend came out of the bathroom stall with bloodshot eyes and a toothbrush that had a puke smell lingering off of it as she washed it off. This was the first time I was ever introduced to the idea of throwing up, Yes, I used to watch degrassi, I had heard the stories, I knew about eating disorders, but I was never actually face to face with the effects of one until that day. I looked at myself again in the mirror after looking at my friend, "does that actually work"? I asked, the rest was history. 

When I got to high school, throwing up wasn't enough for me. I had lost the trilling feeling that I would get every time I leaned over the toilet. I decided to buy my first box of laxatives. After two years of laxative abuse and throwing up, my junior year I decided to take it a step further. In the past when I was younger, specifically during 4th-5th grade, I was taking adderall for my ADHD. At that time I hated it. It made me less social, made me lose my appetite, and lose so much weight that teachers were concerned.

I asked my mom if I could talk to my doctor about going back on my adderall and told her my excuse was "I needed more help concentrating" in school especially since junior year was a crucial time for preparing for college. Once my mom was on board, it was all up to convincing my doctors. They started me on 15mg of Adderall XR and I quickly moved up to 30mg, telling my doctors each time I would visit that my body was getting used to the doses and wasn't working as well. Once I was at 30mg, I started taking two of them each day. During this time I was still abusing laxatives any chance I actually ate food. By the summer going into my senior year of high school, I managed to get myself down to 104lbs. 

The end of my senior year was one of the darkest times of my life. I was going through a horrible depression after my first heart break, I was stressed about college, and I honestly felt like I did not fit in anywhere. I tried to take my own life after prom weekend and that is really when my life started to change for the better. I would NEVER condone someone trying to take their own life, but for me it was the biggest eye opener. Those next few months following my attempt, I was in and out of hospitals, intensive outpatients, and many many therapy sessions. During those months I met so many strong, funny, and intelligent teens just like me who helped me so much during the whole process. 

After being assigned to a eating disorder specialist, support from family and new friends, I started to gain for the first time self-love for myself and for my body. I learned that it was really okay to just be me and that there were really people out there who loved me for who I am. Now it is not going to take years of eating disorders and depression for all of you to learn self-love and body positivity. Here is my advice to all of you, aspire to inspire and be inspired because you are beauty.

Finding body positivity is realizing there is no such thing as an ideal girl or guy. Some girls and guys are so naturally thin that it is so hard for them to gain any weight. Some girls and guys have a harder time losing weight. Not every body is made the same way, So stop body shaming. Any shape or size can spread body positivity! No more shaming "skinny girls" or "plus-size girls" because they are different from you. By unlearning the idea that only certain bodies are worth acceptance and praise, you will finally feel comfortable and positive in your own skin. Realize that just because you find some body positivity doesn't mean you are not going to fall into the pressures of society every once in awhile. We are all human, I still reflect on myself in bad ways because of pictures I see of Instagram models, or seeing Kylie Jenner every where I turn. All you can do is treat your body like a temple, be kind and nurturing. 

This is my hopefully insightful post for today, lots of love