The Vegetarian Vixen

The Vegetarian Vixen

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vegan Product Review - ION COLOR SOLUTIONS Cool Blonde Shampoo (Purple Shampoo)

I purchased Ion Color Solutions Cool Blonde Shampoo at my local Sally Beauty for about 7 bucks. These products are 100% vegan, which is great!  Here's what's not so great.

First, it is extremely drying to the hair.  After I lather and rinse, my hair literally feels like straw.  Dry, cracking straw.  And my color was only done recently, on virgin hair, so it is not like I have been coloring and highlighting for years over damaged hair.  I have not.

When I first used it, it did a great job at toning down the color.  Now, I only see a slight difference, and I stress slight.  

There is absolutely no way you can use this product without conditioner.  The sales girl at Sally never mentioned that this had an accompanying Cool Blonde Condtioner, and sold me the Ion Color Solutions Deep Daily Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair.

I used this conditioner immediately following the shampoo, and had to leave it in for 3-4 minutes (Directions state to leave in for 1-2 minutes and then rinse) before even being able to attempt putting a comb through my hair.   It was so knotty from the shampoo!

After finally combing the conditioner through (that took almost another two minutes), I left the conditioner in for an additional minute, and then rinsed.  My hair did feel soft after that, but nothing compared to products I have used in the past,  (Loreal Total Repair 5, which I am not sure doesn't contain animal products.  I have to check on that.)

My hair still looked dry on the ends, but the color did look a bit brighter than it had.

All in all, I would recommend this shampoo only for newly color blondes, or in a pinch.  I would definitely not recommend this product for every other shampoo as recommended on the bottle. 

Here is a pic after I blew out my hair.  I had to add a drop of oil because it still looked and felt slightly dry.




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WHIP IT UP WEDNESDAY.... Gardein Vegan Chick'n Piccata

Wednesday.  Damn smack middle of the week.  Not quite as energized as Monday, and not yet filled with the excitement of the impending weekend.  Who the heck wants to cook a gourmet meal on Wednesdays?  Not even me, and I LOVE to cook!  But that doesn't mean we have to settle.

Here is a great meal I whipped up in about twenty minutes and you can too!  It is a slight variation of the one posted on the Gardein recipe (exactly the same actually, except I doubled the recipe, and added shiitake mushrooms as a side dish with the remainder of the sauce).

MY HUSBAND AND SON LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS DISH!  Unfortunately, my daughter is allergic to peas, and cannot eat this. :-(

VEGAN CHICK'N PICCATA

INGREDIENTS:


  • flour for coating (optional)
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 4 pieces (1 bag) Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (My local Target has a HUGE selection of Gardein products!)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (I use Trader Joe's Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth)
  • 4 TBSP capers
  • 2 TBSP vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 TBPS lemon juice
  • OPTIONAL:  I added 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms to the meal which was amazing!  I soaked dry Shiitake mushrooms for a few minutes, and then threw them in the remaining sauce at the end.  (I love the mushrooms distributed by Walong Marketing, Inc.  I find them at my local Chinese market.  They are amazing!  I think they would also do great as a mock clam.  Will work on that soon!)
Prepare medium high heat nonstick pan with 1 TBSP of vegetable oil.

Saute gardein chick'n scallopini for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside.

Add white wine, stock, and capers to pan. Reduce by half. Turn off heat, whisk in butter, and add lemon juice. 

Return scallopini to pan and coat with sauce.

Place and serving plate, topped with sauce.  

**You can keep a small amount of sauce in the frying pan, and see OPTIONAL note below for addition of shiitake mushrooms.  AMAZING!!!

*OPTIONAL:
Soak 1 cup dry shiitake mushrooms for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Saute quickly over medium heat in remaining sauce.  Serve as a side dish to the Chick'n Piccata.

***I served spinach as a side dish, with Trader Joe's quick cook (Ready in 15 minutes) Organic Brown Basmati Rice. *Note if you choose to use this rice, I would recommend boiling the water FIRST, before you add the rice, otherwise the cook time is much longer than stated in the directions.  (I have emailed Trader Joe's about this and awaiting a reply.)




Monday, January 6, 2014

Meatless Monday Recipe - VEGAN STUFFED PEPPERS

So I decided that it would be fun to post weekly "Meatless Monday" vegetarian recipes.  For those just wanting to get their feet wet, Meatless Monday is a great way to test the waters, so to speak.  Living meat free is far from boring, and I hope to show you that with a new recipe every Monday.

I should warn you now, that I am a big shopper at Trader Joe's.  I have a 7 year old daughter, Sofia, (www.sofiarodriguez.com), and she has anaphylactic food allergies to many proteins.  She is allergic to milk and all dairy products, eggs, beef, pork, lamb, soy, nuts, seeds, all beans, and all fish (not seafood).    Trader Joe's meets almost all of my needs for her, so we spend a lot of time and money there.

Whenever possible, I will tell you all of the exact brands that I use for my recipes.  Of course, you can substitute any brand of your choice.

This recipe was created by me.

Enjoy!

VEGAN STUFFED PEPPERS

Makes approximately 8 peppers
I usually make only 4 and then put the remaining quinoa mixture into several tupperwares for my family to take for lunch during the week.


Ingredients:

2 cups Trader Joe’s Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth
1 cup dry Trader Joe’s Organic Tricolor Quinoa
2 TBSP Trader Giottio’s Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 - 10 oz package of Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Beef
2 - 18 oz jars Trader Joe’s Traditional Marinara Sauce
1 - 15.2 oz can Trader Joe’s Whole Kernel Corn (beans can be substituted, but my daughter is allergic, and lots of protein already with beefless beef and quinoa)
4-8 large green bell peppers

Salt, pepper, garlic poweder, spices to taste.  Have fun with it!

First, combine 2 cups of quinoa and 1 cup vegetable broth, and cook according to directions on bag.

While quinoa is cooking, heat 2 TBSP olive oil in medium skillet, and then add onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Sautee over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  

Next, add Beef-Less beef, and sautee for 2-3 minutes, crumbling and mixing it together.

When quinoa is done, combine all ingredients (excluding the bell peppers of course!) in a large bowl and mix well.  Season with your favorite seasonings to your liking.  

Cut tops of the green peppers, and remove seeds.  

Stuff peppers with as much of the mixture as you can, and place Place in a baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until peppers are tender.

***These can also be made in a slow cooker. 
***For a vegetarian option, you can add some shredded or grated cheese to the mixture as well.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Restaurant Review: BEYOND SUSHI NYC * 100% VEGAN

BEYOND SUSHITHE GREEN ROLL229 East 14th StreetNew York, NY 10003

(646) 861-2889

"You do not need to be vegan to enjoy our menu."  
FROM BEYOND SUSHI WEBSITE:
Beyond Sushi is a healthy lifestyle brand offering a fresh approach to traditional sushi.  Husband and wife owners, Guy and Tali Vaknin have created a 100% vegan sushi eatery with two locations in Manhattan.  "I wanted to offer patrons a unique and exciting 'experience' when dining at Beyond Sushi", quotes Guy Vaknin, "an enticing and ethical way of eating well while nourishing your body and soul".  At Beyond Sushi, we strive to promote an all natural diet by pairing locally grown, fresh ingredients together and crafting delectable works of art, each bite being consistent with the last.  Beyond Sushi commits to a sustainable and cruelty-free environment with an excellence in customer service.
Sushi, which originates in Japan is a dish that refers to a specially prepared rice, and not the raw fish itself. This is commonly mistaken amongst frequent restaurant-goers.  Each vegetable and fruit sushi gem at Beyond Sushi is wrapped with Forbidden black rice or a six- grain rice medley and topped off with colorful tofu, fruit, and veggie pure├ęs;  which are house made.  "You do not have to be vegan to enjoy our menu", says Tali," it's all about taking a moment to detox  from your daily eating habits and enjoying something wholesome. After all, it's a fun way of enjoying your essential fruit and vegetable servings".

And what an enjoyment it was!  My husband and I stopped by while we were in Manhattan with our two children.  The place is extremely small, (I'm not even sure it has a bathroom), but who the heck cares.  The food was AMAZING!!!  Each roll exploded with its own unique flavor.  Even our 12 year old son loved it!  

My only complaint is that they weren't very accommodating to my daughter's allergies at first.  After explaining that my daughter had food allergies, and asking if they could accommodate me with a small bowl of plain black rice, I was told that they could not.  They do not do side orders of rice.  I kindly explained again that my daughter could not eat anything from there, besides the rice, (even showing them our travel first aid bag) and that we would like to sit down as a family without excluding her.  The gentleman said again that they didn't do side orders.  

Surely there had to be an exception under the circumstances!  I started to get a little bit testy by this point (We've been dining out with our little girl for almost 8 years and never, ever had this happen) but thankfully another gentleman came in and I repeated my plight to him.  He easily accommodated my little girl, and we were all happy again. lol


Beyond Sushi is a definite must visit for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.  You will not be disappointed!  They also cater and deliver.   And they're vegan too!  We ordered the following:

CRUNCH N' MUNCH ROLL  Black Rice - Alfalfa - English Cucumber - Baked Tofu - Kiwi. Served with Gluten Free White Miso Sauce.

SPICY MANG ROLL  Black Rice - Avocado - Mango - Cucumber - Spicy Veggie. Served with Gluten Free Spicy Cayenne Sauce.

HARICAT ROLL  Black Rice - Grilled Haricot Vert - Carrot - Mango. Served with Sweet Soy Mirin Sauce.

MIGHTY MUSHROOM ROLL  Black Rice - Grilled Haricot Vert - Carrot - Mango. Served with Shiitake Teriyaki Sauce.





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Introduction


Hi Everyone and Happy New Year!

My name is Rosalie Rodriguez.  I am 40 years old and married with two children.

2013 proved to be a great year for me.  In the year leading up to my 40th birthday (On November 15th, 2013), I began to take better care of myself, and was able to shed almost 30 pounds.  Being in the best shape of my life really made turning 40 an exciting time for me.  I had accomplished the goals that I set out to and was ready to take on the world.  There is something truly liberating about going into 40 gracefully and proudly, enjoying and savoring every moment.  I felt like I had finally come in to my own.

On Sunday, November 17th, two days after spending a fabulous 40th birthday with friends and family, I was lying in bed doing some self reflection and thinking deeply about who I was and what I was putting into my body. On a side note, I have always had an issue with eating meat, and for 5 years in my late 20's and early 30's, I stopped eating land meat all together, but continued to eat fish.  After suffering a miscarriage, and immediately craving a roast beef sandwich when I left the hospital (I didn't even really like roast beef),  I began eating meat again.

So now here I was, 40 years old and thinking, really thinking about what it meant to eat bacon, or bacalao (cod fish) salad or chicken or a hamburger.  The irony was earth shattering.  Here I was celebrating the beauty of the 40 years of life that I had lived so far, looking forward to all the amazing years to come, while my choices were contributing to the suffering and death of so many beautiful creatures.  What did that say about me?

I grabbed the laptop and started to do some research.  I watched some videos years ago that PETA had put out, and surely there would be more on the internet now.  I woke my sleeping husband and asked if he wanted to finish off my birthday weekend (yes weekend lol), by taking the kids to the diner to breakfast.  He said okay and we agreed that we would wake the kids in half an hour and leave in an hour.  Great, I thought.  This gives me time to watch some videos and really see what goes in to the food on my plate.

With a bit of internet searching, I discovered that Ellen Degeneres had become a vegetarian after watching a documentary called "Earthlings".  It was funny, I had also been on an internet search to quit smoking in early 30's, when I saw that Ellen Degeneres had quit smoking using Allen Carr's The Easyway To Quit Smoking, and I ordered it and quit smoking within two weeks, never, ever looking back.  So now here we were again.  Me and my girl Ellen lol.  It was kismet.  I knew this was the video I needed to watch.

After only watching the introduction, I was elbowing my husband again (yes, he rolled over and went back to sleep) and telling him that he had to watch this with me.  G-d love him, he rolled back over, sat up, and we both watched the screen intently.  My husband broke the silence first.  Ro, you wake me up to go for breakfast and I'm thinking bacon and sausage, and now we are watching this?  How can I go to breakfast after watching this?  He was right.  How could anyone go for breakfast after watching this, I thought.

We never did make it to the diner that morning.  In fact we never even made it through the entire documentary.  We only made it a half hour in (my eyes either closed peeking through my hands like a little child most of the time), and had to turn it off.  We were sick.  Sick at what we saw.  Sick at what it said about our choices, and quite possibly about who we were if we ignored what we just saw.  Sick at everything.  Just plain sick.

That morning we made a choice.    I told my husband that I didn't ever want to eat meat again.  He said that he really wasn't sure that he could eat meat again either.  And so our journey began, together.  Thanksgiving was two weeks later.  I knew I was never eating meat again.  My husband, I knew it would be harder for him on social occasions and holidays.  I set out to Trader Joe's (my favorite store at the moment, since we are very limited in Staten Island), in search of some turkey alternatives.  To my surprise, I found two at Trader Joe's.



We drove up to friend's in Connecticut with our F'urkey as I like to call it (fake turkey) in tow.  I cooked two different stuffings for our host.  She had a recipe that she used every year.  I made one with the added bacon that her recipe called for, and one without.

We survived our first holiday as vegetarians.  For an Italian (me) and a Puerto Rican (my husband), this was a huge feat!  For anyone who is Italian or Puerto Rican, you know that someone is always trying to convince you that you have not eaten enough, must eat everything that they have cooked, and are "crazy" for not eating meat.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  If we could make it through Thanksgiving, we could make it through anything. Well, almost anything.  Christmas Eve wasn't too far away, and my brother goes bananas with fish and seafood.  Would be fine for me.  Wasn't sure about my  hubby though.

Turns out Christmas Eve was a little bit more difficult for him.  The pressure was too much.  A room full of Italian people screaming and telling you how one day won't kill you, and how you can start after today, can be quite intimidating.  He did have a little bit of seafood, (no fish) appetizer, but ate the food I had prepared for the remainder of the meal.

And it's okay.   I am not here to judge, and I expect the same respect from anyone else who reads this blog.  One day at a time.  One choice at a time.  What is easy for me might not be easy for you.  What is easy for you, may be difficult for me.  But we are awake now.  We can see the forest for the trees.  Still though, we are human beings.  We will make mistakes.  This blog is meant to be a place to share our experience, provide and receive support, and hopefully inspire others to do some soul searching of their own.  I hope you enjoy it.

Spread love!

The Vegetarian Vixen