Carrot Chips – 2 Delicious Ways!

Carrot Chips – 2 Delicious Ways!

You guys…it happened. I almost gave in. It was just before pay day, my stomach growled and I ransacked my cabinets looking for a fix.

It was like a cruel & surreal joke..cereal, no milk…peanut butter, no jelly. What was I to do? My cup of hunger-induced tears ranneth over.

It doesn’t help one bit that I live next door to a McDonald’s, and the smell of chicken nuggets rose throughout my building. As much as I like to avoid McDeath, that chicken nugget smell really takes me back..

Then I found it.. a small mostly eaten bag of veggie chips. The blend included sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, YOU NAAAAME IT!…

But for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. I’d already picked out a majority of the sweet potato chips, my favorite of all the chips in the bag.

Bruh..

Remember that gargantuan, donated bag of carrots I mentioned in my  ‘Brown Sugar Baby Carrots’ post?

Behold my loves, Carrot Chips!

carrot chips prep

They’re so easy to make. I recommend making a bunch at one time because once you start snacking it’ll be hard to put these babies down. Be advised these are super delicious so prepare yourselves.

If you happen to find yourself binge eating carrot chips, no worries! They’re lower in calories and fat than traditional potato chips.

So “romaine” calm & “carrot” on. (haha, I couldn’t help myself with that one)

Pack some for your lunch or keep them in the car to keep you from pulling into the drive thru after work.

 

And for added measure, I’ve given you 2, count em..TWO seasoning options.

So whether you prefer a savory snack, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, these are sure to satisfy either way.

carrot chips finished
Carrot Chips! It beats buying a can of Pringles

Carrot Chips 2 Ways

 

Ingredients:

2 or 3 large carrots

Olive Oil

Seasoning Options

  1. Salt & Pepper, Parsley for garnish
  2. Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Using either a knife or mandolin slicer, cut carrots into circular disks
  3. Toss carrots in olive oil & whichever seasoning option you like (see above)
  4. Spread evenly across greased baking sheet
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes

Enjoy! Leave a comment & let me know if you love it!

-A

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Brown Sugar Baby Carrots

Brown Sugar Baby Carrots

I have a close friend of the family who is like a mom to me. Lately, she’s been receiving an abundance of leftover produce from her employer, items that regularly would go bad or be thrown out. Luckily for me, she had me in mind. She will call or text me at work to let me know that she has another haul of veggies and that she’s headed my way.

First of all, y’all just don’t know how this generosity blesses me AND my wallet. That’s grocery shopping I don’t have to do! (Cues shout music)

fresh carrots
Ehh..what’s up doc?

Her most recent haul included a large bag of carrots. This bag was huge, and a bit overwhelming. Now I couldn’t be out here in these streets on my Bugs Bunny ministry, chomping down on these bad boys, so I took some time to prep said carrots & came up with a game plan.

I’ll be real with you guys, prepping your produce is a pain, but it’s definitely worth it because it ends up saving you time during the week. I’ve found that if I don’t buckle down and get on with my prep, I’m less likely to ever touch that piece of produce during the week, and it ends up sitting in the crisper until it’s not salvageable. How many times have you all done the same exact thing? Bought a bunch of fresh produce, put it in the fridge, and never touched it again?

Yeah, I’m not about that life.

For me, prepping fresh carrots means thoroughly washing them in the sink. Then I cut off the stems and tips using a large knife. Next, using a potato peeler, I’ll peel each carrot so that it’s void of any brown spots or imperfections. Depending on the recipe, I’ll then cut the carrots down to size

cut carrots

Of course, you can always just buy a pack of baby carrots, but preparing them yourself can save you a few coins. I just so happened to receive mine completely unprocessed, so some sort of prep was necessary. Honestly, I’ve got more carrots than I know what to do with, so bear with me because carrots might be the star of the show for the next few recipes I post.

Haters gon hate, but I don’t really carrot all. (lol see what I did there?)

 

Stumped & in need of a side dish? Check out this easy carrot recipe using only 5 ingredients. 

Give it a try & drop a comment to let me know if you love it!

brown sugar baby carrots

Brown Sugar Baby Carrots

Ingredients:

  1. 1 package baby carrots, or regular carrots cut to size
  2. 1/2 cup butter
  3. 3 tablespoons honey
  4. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  5. Chopped dill

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel, and cut carrots if necessary
  2. Place carrots in large pot of salted water
  3. Bring carrots to a boil, about 10-15 minutes
  4. Drain
  5. Return empty pot to stove
  6. Melt butter
  7. Stir in honey & brown sugar
  8. Add carrots and stir to coat
  9. Allow carrots to cook another 5 minutes
  10. Garnish with dill

Stay (mostly) meatless 🙂

-A

Banana Oat Pancakes (Dairy & Gluten Free)

Banana Oat Pancakes (Dairy & Gluten Free)

If you’re just now catching up with me, welcome to my (mostly) meatless world!

Now what kind of woman would I be if I didn’t give you guys a post with a recipe? That’s what you’re here for right? (and of course to take in all of my awesomeness, jk jk) 😉

And what better way to kick off the recipes than with…BREAKFAST?! (woot woot!)

This recipe has me so excited I just couldn’t wait to share.

Pardon my midwest slang, but I can eat breakfast food ALL DAY, ERRDAY. Lol.

Seriously though, I live for all things breakfast, brunch, all of that. Of course, the usual breakfast template for the western world is riddled with high-fat processed meats and meat byproducts. We don’t have to limit ourselves to this alone though.

I’m here to tell you: Sausage, Bacon, & Steak, does not a breakfast make!

(Not always, at least)

I promise you can have an amazing, fulfilling, easy to make breakfast, without any of these western breakfast staples.

I heard a song once called “Banana Pancakes” by a guy named Jack Johnson. It’s the perfect Saturday morning lazy song. And up until I heard it, I’d only ever tasted pancakes made from a mix of flour, eggs, & milk. Ihop & Aunt Jemima could do no wrong in my eyes. The song alone was catchy, but when I figured out how to make pancakes out of bananas….oh, baby it was on like popcorn!

If you’re lazy like me, don’t worry, the base recipe only calls for 3 main ingredients.

*If you like fluffier pancakes add about ¼ tsp baking powder

Banana Oat Pancakes

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Very Ripe Bananas (the blacker the better, you’ll need the mushiness)
  2. 1 Cup oats
  3. 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Mash Bananas with a fork
  2. Place mashed bananas in a blender
  3. Add Oats and Vanilla extract to blender
  4. Blend
  5. Heat skillet with oil
  6. Pour mixture into skillet
  7. Top uncooked pancake with your add-ins (See Below)
  8. Flip and cook the other side
  9. Once finished cooking on both sides, transfer to plate & enjoy!

The best part about this recipe is that you can add in whatever you want to the base recipe.

A few flavor combinations to try include:

  • Shredded Carrot & Walnuts
  • Chopped Apples & Cinammon
  • Chocolate Chips & Raspberries
  • Pineapples & Coconut flakes

Or my personal favorite…Blueberries!

3 ingredient no egg pancakes
Banana Oat Pancakes with Blueberries. Issa win!

 

You can pair these beauties with some syrup, honey, agave, Nutella, cookie butter, or even fresh fruit.

And that’s breakfast, baby!

Give this quick breakfast recipe a try & let me know if you love it.

Stay (mostly) meatless  :-*

-A

How Sway?! : 3 Ways To Stay Meatless While on the Move

How Sway?! : 3 Ways To Stay Meatless While on the Move

Shortly after graduating high school in 2009, my best friend of 15+ years started her own theater company. I’ve never been much of a visionary, but I’ve always been kind of a worker bee…a get-it-done type of girl. You give me a task, and I’m on it! Now, I’ve always had a love for the arts, so when my friend told me what she’d set out to do, I knew I wanted to be front & center to help her bring her dream to fruition.

 

madame director lady stg mgr
Opening Night with  Lauron Cosby, Artistic Director  of TLT Productions, LLC

 

Around the summer of 2014, she asked me to serve as Stage Manager for her upcoming stage play. I had never stage managed before, but I quickly found out that I had a certain knack for it. If the saying goes “all the world’s a stage”, then the Stage Manager is God. Lbvs!

They are responsible for lighting & sound cues, placement of props on the set, carrying out the director’s vision, and making sure all actors are where they’re supposed to be.

Three years later, and now I’ve stage managed shows working with award winning lighting designers, and local start-up organizations. 

stage manager 2

Which brings me to say this: It is sooooo hard to eat meatless while on the move!

During the weeks leading up to opening night of a show, I will typically leave work, go straight to rehearsal, and not get home until well after 10 or 11 pm. I don’t always have the time or the energy to meal prep beforehand, and by the time I’m leaving rehearsal there’s nothing open except for fast food restaurants.

So how do I keep from giving in to a late night trip to Jack-in-the-Crack?

Here are 3 ways I’ve learned to stay Meatless while on the Move:

1) Utilize Gas Stations

QuikTrip is my absolute go-to gas station. If I’m on a road trip I refuse to stop for gas unless there’s a QuikTrip nearby, mainly because I just KNOW their bathrooms are the cleanest by far. But before I went meatless, the hot dogs alone were heaven. Now they have the nerve to launch the QT Kitchen?! Just take all my money, QuikTrip! Just take it!!  Lol. But seriously, I love heading to QuikTrip after late night rehearsals because they’re always open, and they always have salads, sandwiches, wraps, and fresh fruit cups….amongst the Slurpees, ice cream, snack cakes, and other guilty pleasures. I mean, where else can you get 2/$1 bananas at 11:30 pm with no grocery store in sight? So,  if you’re trying to remain meatless, it’s late at night, you’re in a bind, and you have enough self-control to bypass the donut section, by all means, please find a QuikTrip.

2) Portion Out Your Lunch

I’m very blessed to receive free lunches through my employer. The head cook knows me so well, he’s begun to bring me extra vegetables rather than throw them out. If he makes lasagna, he always has a small veggie version available for me and I love him so much for it. On rehearsal days, I’ll order a soup & a salad, but if I know I won’t have time to stop for food later, I’ll eat my soup & a piece of fruit, and save my salad for later. The same strategy can work for you though, even if you don’t get your lunch free from work, just read on to #3

3) Don’t Be A Stranger to Delivery

If you happen to have your lunch delivered to you at work, order a large enough portion that you can split it in half for later. That way when you’re leaving work and riding past your fave fast food joint, you won’t mindlessly pull into the drive through because you know you already have a meal option that you enjoyed from earlier.

I will also order my favorite meatless foods to be delivered to me at the theater during rehearsal. My absolute faves for nights like those is Jimmy John’s and Snarf’s. JJ’s has a really tasty vegetarian sandwich (#6 I believe), and they really are freaky fast! But my absolute faves from Snarf’s are the Eggplant Parmesan and Mushroom Provolone sandwiches. Both are meat free and absolutely delicious! For portion control, I’ll request that they cut my sandwich in four parts, rather than two. Doing so forces me to chew my food more, which helps me to feel fuller faster.

Of course, nothing beats a good ‘ole meal prep, but let’s be real..life happens and we don’t always have the will to do it. These 3 strategies have been my lifesavers, especially during long hours of rehearsals, and especially during tech week.

Give these 3 strategies a try during your busy days, and even on your not-so-busy ones. And if you happen to give in and go for a QT hot dog, don’t beat yourself up about it…just grab a salad on your way to the register 😉

‘Til next time guys, stay (mostly) meatless.

-A

Married To A Meat Eater: Keeping the peace in my fridge & my marriage

Married To A Meat Eater: Keeping the peace in my fridge & my marriage

My husband and I met in 5th grade. Of course, it sounds really cute & romantic, but I promise the process was anything but magical. We each had many obstacles to overcome during our adolescence and early adult lives, but thanks to the rise of social media networking and parents who paid the phone bills, we were able to cultivate our relationship throughout the years. We broke up & made up many times. We dated other people and tried to carry on our lives apart. Our love grew and matured like a well cared for plant. Eventually, we would always come back to each other. And once some of those obstacles were removed permanently, we headed right down to the courthouse & got married.

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It was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life.

A friend reminded me not too long ago that people search this whole world searching for the kind of love we have. That being said I had an epiphany:

LOVE MAKES PEOPLE FAT

Yep, I said it. Love makes people fat. Nevermind genetic predisposition, the overabundance of processed foods, lack of nutrient-exercise balance, or whatever else they’re saying these days. Never fear my fellow foodies, I have found the real culprit to all the fatness!

(In my Jilly from Philly voice) “Ooooooooh ooooooh…It’s Looooooove.”

I mean, think about it…when you first start dating….

  • You don’t go for a 5k run & a movie do you?NO! You go out for DINNER and a movie.
  • You don’t wake up after a night of Netflix & chill to a granola bar in bed, right? NO! You wake up to a real BREAKFAST in bed (unless he’s a douche btw)
  • And when he starts messing up & wants to get back on your good side, do you think he’s bringing you flowers and a fruit cup? NO MA’AM! Flowers & CHOCOLATE it is!

Now I recognize that we are a society that interacts and bonds with each other over food. I mean, the sure fire way to make sure that everyone comes to the office party is to at least have a potluck, or a chili cook-off, or a cake walk, hell SOMETHING!

I was a residential advisor and a member of a sorority in college. And I guarantee you that if the events we organized did not contain food…oh, baby the attendance was sure to be low! Guaranteed!

And if you’ve ever been to ANY urban black church function, you grit your teeth through the half-day long sermons knowing that the program explicitly stated that “Refreshments Will Be Served Following Service”. And you go, not just to fellowship, but because refreshments usually means a restaurant sized to-go plate stuffed with the main dish, at least 2 sides, a roll or biscuit, a dessert AND a drink.

Jesus Christ himself, the ultimate example of unconditional love,  even said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20 ESV)”

Don’t let those 40 days & nights of fasting fool you…Jesus got hungry too, boo!

LOVE FOR FOOD, FOOD FOR LOVE

For my husband and I specifically, food has always held a special place in our hearts… It is the running joke amongst friends that the few most intense arguments we’ve had have been over food. They ain’t wrong though. To this day, I won’t let him live down our epic frosted animal cracker quarrel or the grilled cheese fiasco of 2013. That was a dark time for us, but God delivers. SHONDOOO!!!!

So for me to make the decision to go meatless, oh honey he was NOT having it!

I would make these full plates of garden-grown deliciousness..really thinking I was doing the dang thang..only to find McDonald’s, Rally’s, & Taco Bell listed on the bank statements multiple times.

Now as a single girl it was nothing for me to live on oatmeal & salad, but I realized real quick that if I wanted us to both benefit from a healthier lifestyle, I had to think of ways for us both to find more variety. When you’re raised on the cooking of a Mississippi-born grandmother, healthy eating literally puts your system in shock. I had to figure out how to cook in a way that ensured we received great nutrition without having to feel like we’re eating unseasoned air.

YouTube was and still is my saving grace. If there’s a piece of produce I’ve never heard of before in my life, you’d better believe YouTube has the tea on how to cut it, how to cook it, and all you’d ever care to know about its nutritional value. Like rutabagas…what the HELL do you do with a rutabaga?

YouTube be like “It’s cool boo, I got you. Now click on a video, any video”.

He couldn’t stand them before, but my husband now eats mushrooms.

Thanks, YouTube!

KEEPING PEACE IN THE FRIDGE

“So how do y’all meals go if he eats meat & you don’t?”

It’s surprisingly easy, actually. Western society has somehow conditioned us to believe that our meals won’t be satisfying and fulfilling unless they contain a meat, a bread, a veggie, and maybe a dessert. It’s just not true. You can be fully satisfied without following this formula. As for me, when I cook I’ll fix it up exactly how I ate before I went meatless..it’s tempting to nibble but I’ve trained myself to just make my plate omitting everything I can’t have and loading up on the rest to compensate. For example, if I make loaded sweet potatoes, I’ll top his with cheese, green onions, tomatoes, & bacon. Mine will have the exact same toppings, minus the bacon.

Or, if I have an abundance of ingredients, I’ll make two versions. One for me, one for him. This option is a little harder if you’re short on cash or short on time, but it is an option nonetheless.

As for eating out, I’ve found that ordering the vegetarian versions of my favorite foods is actually a money saver. A chicken bacon ranch foot long at subway will easily run you about $7-$8. But that veggie delight? 5 or 6 bucks, easy! (That’s 1 or 2 extra dollars you can put towards some subway cookies, fyi 😉

Speaking of cookies, I will say this… Don’t think that being meat free always means being healthy. A vegetarian eating 5 bags of potato chips in one sitting is no healthier than a meat eater polishing off a Double Rallyburger with bacon. Junk food is just that. Junk.

Now I’ve learned that the best way for me to keep myself from junk is to make it hard to access. I’m quite lazy, to be honest. And it’s particularly difficult for me to part with my money, especially around pay day. So I make it a point to fill our fridge with fresh produce. That way, if it’s late at night & we are craving fried chicken, I have to ask myself if I really feel like putting clothes on, and getting in my car, wasting my gas, just to go buy a 2-piece when I can make a veggie wrap at home? More often than not, the veggie wrap wins. I’d rather eat up everything I’ve already bought, rather than let the produce go bad and shell out even more coins at the drive thru.

But hey, if it’s a splurge day I’ll be front & center at that same drive thru loading up on the meatless side items  like…”Lemme get a uhhhh….green beans..potato wedges..hell, throw in a fried pickle if you got it…and uh……”

Y’all pray my strength. I’m a work in progress.

-A

But Why ‘Fo Doe?: Becoming Meatless

But Why ‘Fo Doe?: Becoming Meatless

  1. Junior year of high school. I’m out here living my life, doing my do.

Then all of a sudden I found myself in and out of the doctor’s office, falling behind on homework and missing out on activities. When I was actually in the school building, I’d eventually found my home in the nurse’s office, and spent a majority of my time there. This went on for almost three whole months.

Why? Chile my stomach hurt, and it hurt bad. I mean these were no period cramps, honey this was major. It started off like most cramps do, slightly easing in and eventually going away. But it came to a point where my abdominal pains were enough to stop me in mid-conversation. My pediatrician at first found nothing out of the ordinary so I took some pain meds & kept it moving.

But baby let me tell you, it got real in these streets when I began to see blood in my stool and urine. The pain was unbearable. I was taken to the children’s hospital where they ran test, after test, after test. I was dehydrated & restless. Then came the diagnosis:

Ulcerative Colitis

UC is a fancy way of saying that there are small sores called ulcers on inner lining of the digestive tract, particularly the colon and rectum. It is a chronic, inflammatory bowel, autoimmune disease characterized by T-cells infiltrating the colon.

I was immediately placed on medications and sent on my merry way.

By my sophomore year in college I’d become frustrated with the side effects of my medications.  They made me extremely sensitive to the sun, and I felt tired all the time. Eventually I was dealing with iron-deficiency anemia, and migraine headaches increased in frequency and intensity. Declining invites to go out & be with friends started to become a habit. And though I tried to keep myself busy with extracurriculars (gospel choir, sorority life, and even being a residential advisor) I started to sink into a depression.

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Like most college students, I was broke. One semester I could no longer afford my medications. I decided I could make it without them as long as I was cognizant of where the closest restroom was at all times. Well honey the abdominal pain came back, and this time it was accompanied by urgent, unpredictable bouts of diarrhea. Imagine dealing with that when you’re smack dab in the middle of the quad, trying to haul it to the other side of campus for an early class. No bueno.

After graduation, I’d assimilated into adulthood and became a “deskie” in an administrative healthcare environment. Like most millennials, I was overeducated and underpaid. The lack of personal funds, my family’s own financial issues, and crippling student loan debt caused me to look for ways to save and start eliminating things from my budget. And yep, the meds were first on the list to get cut. After working in healthcare, I became increasingly distrusting of the medical community in general. I decided I was too young to be out here dependent on pharmaceuticals anyway.

There had to be a better way.

I started by eliminating foods from my diet to figure out which ones triggered my flares. Fast forward a few years and here we are….MEATLESS!… at least for the most part.

I will still eat occasionally eat fish and eggs, but for the most part I’ve adopted a plant-based lifestyle.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I love fried chicken. I love bratwurst. Nothing better than a good turkey sandwich. And maple flavored breakfast sausage?…The absolute best!

I love it all!!

But it doesn’t always love me back, and that’s okay.

Now to be clear, this journey is not for everyone. I am not a doctor or dietician. And I’m by no means a die-hard vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian…though my diet may seem such from time to time. Not saying I won’t nibble on a hot wing, I’ve just gotta know where the restroom is beforehand….juuuusst in case 😉

There is no known cure for Ulcerative Colitis, and the condition itself is said to increase the risk of colon cancer. But I’ve been without my medications and (mostly) meatless for the last four years. And according to my gastroenterologist, my last colonoscopy was “text-book perfect”.

You can’t tell me God aint good.

So stay tuned kids! Keep reading & rocking with me if you’re one of those people trying to kickstart a meatless existence without spending your entire check at the health food stores. That’s the best kind of food there is anyway..frugal & frikkin delicious!

Until next time,

-A