Vegetarian Delights: Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger & Sides

Greetings Lovely Spiiirits

Sending good vibes to every single one of you…right…NOW!

As you all may know, in my household, we are pescetarians moving toward vegetarianism. Therefore, it is not uncommon that we will have completely vegetarian meals. On last Tuesday night, Triiin & I used teamwork to make a lovely meatless meal that I’d love to share with you guys! We made a delicious Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger with Fried Jalapenos & Bean n Cheese topped French Fries. And lemme tell ya, it was to die for!

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Ingredients:

2 Portobello Mushrooms, Fresh Spinach, 1 Tomato, Fresh Garlic, 1 Onion, 3 Potatoes, 2 Fresh Jalapenos, Beans (any kind), 4 slices Whole Wheat Bread, Pepper Jack Cheese, Vegetable Oil, Butter, Garlic Salt, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Yellow Mustard, Flour, Cornmeal

Steps to Deliciousness:

1st we marinated the mushrooms in flavor. We coated it with a light layer of oil and seasoned it with garlic salt, parsley, mustard, and garlic powder. We let them sit and gain flavor for 30 minutes while we did other prep.

After this 30 minute period was over, we placed the mushrooms gill side up to prepare them for stuffing. You can gut the gills out of the mushroom if you want, but I think that’s a straight up waste of mushroom “meat”, personally! I’d only remove the inside if I was going to stuff the mushroom with more & heftier ingredients than the ones we chose for this recipe. We cut up the tomato and the onion as well as some fresh garlic and began stuffing the mushrooms with it. We also took some fresh spinach from the bag (how many leaves, I’m not sure) and stuffed the mushrooms with them as well. Once the ‘shrooms appeared to have a good amount of stuffing, we used a couple spinach leaves to seal in the stuffing, laying them over and tucking in the corners. After this, we placed them in a small metal pan with a couple tablespoons of oil (2-3) to ensure they didn’t stick. We covered the pan and placed the mushrooms in the oven on 350 degrees, for 20 – 25 minutes.

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For the fries, we took the 3 potatoes and cut them into fry-shaped slices. They were coated with mustard (as a flavoring and sticking agent), Tony Chacheres, garlic powder, & garlic salt. Then we placed them into a mixture of cornmeal & flour, being sure to get a good coating on each. The method for the fried jalapenos is quite similar. We cut them into ring shapes, flavored them with mustard, garlic powder, and garlic salt, and coated them effectively in the flour/cornmeal mixture. (Make sure to remove the seeds from the jalapenos to the best of your ability to avoid a spicy bum later, lol.) We heated up a pot of oil on medium to high heat and “deep fried”, so to speak, the fries and the jalapenos until they begin to float to the top & had the color we wanted. Then we removed them and put them in a strainer lined with napkins, to remove excess grease.

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Using butter, oil, parsley, and garlic powder, we made the toast  for the ‘shroom burgers in a skillet. We heated up the ingredients and flip flopped the toast in the pan until it was around the color and firmness that we wanted. Simple. Then we grated the pepperjack cheese onto the bread and spread barbecue and balsamic mayo onto them. We placed the stuffed mushrooms onto their perspective breads, closed the top of the sandwich and voila!

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After the fries were done, (though already quite delicious), there was still a tiny bit more work to do to prepare them to be the perfectly topped side for this dish. We heated up some leftover beans we happened to still have from dinner another day. (These were beans made from scratch, but never fear! You can use a can as well, for similar quick & easy results). We heated them on medium heat via the stovetop (we don’t even own a microwave, actually), and were careful to keep watch over them as to ensure they didn’t dry out in the reheating process. Once the beans were heated to a good temperature, we spread them evenly over the fries and grated some good ‘ol pepperjack cheese on top.

Le’ Results

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What do ya think? Have you guys ever tried anything like this? Planning to try?

If you give it a go at home, definitely let me know how it turns out!

☮ XOXO A.T. ☮

Surviving a World of Frustration

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Today…I feel inspired to write because I desire to vent.
We live in a frustrated world. The reasons for this are many, but one of which is lack of emotional control. Another is ill communication. Those are the two issues I will focus on today.
The secret to contentment lies in control over the emotions. This does not mean to stifle ones emotions. It’s actually quite to the contrary. But it is to consciously acknowledge your emotions, fully understand the emotion (and it’s true source) and reflect before you react. This is how people who have attained true balance & peace handle situations.
However, living in such a world of imbalance, many of us are not trained to handle our emotions in this manner. Rather we have been trained to lean to two of either extremes; hide our emotions entirely or hyper-emotionally overreact.
The issue with these two methods of dealing with emotions is that they bring more problems than resolve. Many conceal their emotions (most times poorly, at that) but at the same time expect the party they have been affected by to know how they are feeling. And more so, expect the party to be sensitive to their emotional state. Well this is certainly absurd. Most people will not know exactly what you are feeling unless you tell them. Holding it in is unhealthy and counterproductive because this negative emotion, gone unchecked, will only manifest again either at a later time, or in other ways.
The hyper-emotional response is no better. It is acting immediately on a myriad of emotions before even giving yourself a chance to process what you are actually feeling. During the hyper-emotional response a person likely acts immediately to show they have been affected by an action, however this is highly deceptive. The reason for this is because this heightened, rapid emotional response generally does not give a true read. Usually, in such cases, the emotional response is over-dramatized and may be a masking emotion to hide the true root emotion that this situation triggered a response to. Sometimes, during this type of response, the person becomes angry or sad (and acts on said emotion) before even giving themselves a moment to analyze if this moment is really worth that response. Many times these responses are a cry for attention to a certain underlying issue. However this is of no help, because this person still wants the other party to know exactly how they are feeling and be sensitive to that…even though they have not expressed (or even analyzed for themselves, sometimes) their true emotional state or the true reason for it.
So we can see that, though these are two very different methods for dealing with situations that garner an emotional response, they both have the same fatal flaw. Ill Communication. WE DO NOT COMMUNICATE!!! We assume, we hide, we do anything to run from our genuine emotions. Never truly dealing with them or allowing for resolve from any other involved parties. But you can’t hide forever. Not happily, anyway. Rather than letting the shit hit the fan, we can open up the tunnels of communication. Analyze how you truly feel & why before you react (this may take a few seconds, minutes, hours…the timing is totally up to you & how good you become at quickly analyzing the root of your emotions). Once you have done this, you can determine if the situation is needing of a response at all. Are you really angry with this situation or just having a bad day? Now once you have determined the true root of the emotional disturbance you can communicate that to the other involved party. True communication is a two way street. Meaning that when you are communicating your feelings, reasoning, and desires to another party you must also be an effective listener. They will have reasoning, feelings, and desires of their own that they want to be heard. These things need to be communicated and received from both (or all) parties. You don’t have to ultimately agree with the persons perspective but you do have to open your eyes & ears to really, truly gain insight on the other persons perspective to make a genuine analysis of the situation. At this point, a middle ground of peace can be attained.
Peace & patience opens up the ability to have this sort of natural, effective, flowing communication. That is why meditation is such a powerful tool. When you are centered and at peace within yourself, occurrences outside of yourself will not even get the same negative emotional rise out of you! But even when they do, you will be able to quickly process and analyze your emotions and it’s true root and effectively communicate that. Also, with this self provided peace, you will have to patience to listen and really absorb the perspective of any other involved party. And that is when true progress can begin.
PEACE to ALL
XOXO A.T.

Pescetarian Delights: Amiiiri’s Seafood Pizza

Hey guys! I apologize for the non-existent  Menswear Monday & Trendspotting Tuesday posts. I have had class and work late nights both days, but today I am off and back to blogging! And…I have a very special treat for you guys.

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You know how I told you guys I’m a pescetarian right? Well I love trying to create recipes that keep my diet exciting. Plus I love to cook…so there’s that. but at any rate, about a week or so ago, I made this seafood pizza and it was just heavenly! I thought I’d share the process with you guys and, if you want, you can make your own!

Ingredients:

1 can Biscuit Dough, Flour (as needed), 1/3 can Alfredo Sauce, 3 slices Cheddar Chees, 1 tomato, 1 onion, 1/2 green onion, minced garlic, italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder,  Tony Chacheres seasoning, 12 shrimp, 2 sticks crabmeat

Roll the biscuit dough up into a ball adding flour as you go. Keep mashing it as flat as you can, then reforming the ball and repeating the process, adding more flour as you go. The flour will make the dough more responsive to shaping. Once you get the dough malleable enough and flattened to our liking, put it into a round pan and press and stretch the dough to the fill the pan in your desired shape. Be sure to oil and flour the pan as well before putting anything into it. Sadly there are no pictures of that part because we didn’t decide to photo-document until the dough as already in the pan. (SOWWY)

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Add the sauce of your choosing. We used alfredo sauce. Add seasoning as desired. If you choose to use cheese slices as we did, crumble them and sprinkle accordingly. Shredded cheese is also a viable option.

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Cut shrimp into three’s and season it(or your meat of choice) and add the shrimp and crabmeat to the pizza.

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Add tomato, onion, minced garlic, green onion, and seasoning. (or whichever toppings you desire).

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Preheat oven to 350, once oven is fully heated, put pizza in for 20 to 30 minutes (or until crust is desired color)

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Cut into slices and serve.

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This recipe makes about 8 slices. Enjoy!

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♥ XOXO A.T. ♥

Trendspotting Tuesdays: Clean Eating + the Beginning of Journey

Here’s one trend that shouldn’t be a trend…

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Clean Eating. I say it shouldn’t be a trend because trends come and go. But I believe once you come into the knowledge and practice of eating clean, that should become a life addition that never goes out of style. A desire to take care of my temple and a somewhat spiritual call to become a vegetarian is what drove me toward clean eating. I used to be an avid supporter of the mantra, “I eat whatever I want, when I want, no matter how bad for me, & no one’s gonna stop me!” I figured as a rather healthy, fit, young person, why should I give up tasty, fatty foods? But every year for Lent, I give something up. Even though I’m not catholic, I entertain the idea of sacrifice as a dear ideal that is very good for the growing and rearing of the soul, as well as closer relationship with God. In a quest to be healthier and take care of our temples more, Triiinity & I gave up fast food, together.

I had been for some reason, around this time, started to feel a tug on my heart…and my stomach…to become a vegetarian. I was wildly opposed to the idea, yet it kept popping up all around me. This couldn’t be by coincidence. I shared this with Triiinity, who began growing toward the idea as well, and I succumbed to the inner desire. Or at least future “me” did. I told myself I would become a vegetarian one day. Though I gave myself no finite limit on that. At the time, such a declaration was big enough of a change of heart.

The more I stayed away from fast food, the more healthy changes I noticed in my body. I began to research just how bad fast food is for us. In that process, not only did I find out many terrible facts about fast food, but also about much of the food we buy on the shelves at our grocery stores each day. And how many of  those over-processed goods are responsible for deadly conditions, such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, hormone imbalances…and the list goes on. I thought that, out of respect for self and my Creator, I would take better care of my body and try to get others to do the same as well.

We decided that, even after Lent, we would not return to eating fast food. We sustained ourselves by eating only home-cooked meals or food from restaurant-style establishments. Anything that came from a source that appeared too processed had to go. We also stopped over-consumption of candy, potato chips, and things of that nature. On June 1st we gave up meat and decided to become pescetarians. This means we do not eat beef, pork, or chicken, only fish and other seafood. And of course veggies and grains. We have now set a finite date for vegetarianism and plan to become vegetarians on January 1, 2014. We hope to one day become vegans…but that’s a longgg ways off, for now.

Now are by no means the best clean-eating connoisseurs on the block, we are but beginners ourselves. But I’ve noticed, since the start of my journey, that a lot more people in my age group are becoming interested in clean & healthy eating. I want to share a couple facts & tips I’ve learned along the way, to help people stay on the path to their cleanest, healthiest, and best self.

Fact: GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), which are banned in many other countries in the world are now present in 75% to 80% of  conventional processed food in the U.S. GMO’s have been linked to numerous health problems, and cause tumors in rats (as well as the vegetables and fruits they are used to manipulate)

Tip: Keep most of your shopping in the fresh food sections of the grocery store. Your basket should look more like this, than this.

Fact: Products that contain GMO’s are not required to be labeled by our FDA.

Tip: Buy organic whenever possible. Things try to use words like “natural” and claims like “no artificial ingredients” but usually unless it says organic, its not. Meaning it has some sort of processed or artificial ingredients present. Buying organic goods is a great help in avoiding GMO’s

Fact: Most animals used for meat are fed GMO grains and  corn feed and are pumped full of HGH (human growth hormones). The animals are kept in super harsh conditions, in which sickness and infection is not treated. In occasions where the sickness is treated, it  is treated by pumping sick animals full of antibiotics. Many animals dwell in such horrible conditions that their dead lay among them and the sick, dead bodies are eaten by their own kind. The ones that survive to eat the sick/dead animals…are the ones we end up eating.

Tip: My personal solution to this is to just phase out meat entirely. However, if you would like to keep meat in your diet, look for meat that is labeled as treated humanely, hormone-free, cage-free, etc. This way you will keep from eating animals that have been kept in unsanitary conditions or given unhealthy feed.

Fact: Not only does the FDA here in the U.S. not require GMO products to be labeled, which makes them hard to avoid, but also, due to the spike in interest in eating clean, many products claim to be all natural, GMO free, etc., etc., but are not.

Tip: Look for foods verified by the Non-GMO project whenever possible. They are a non-profit organization that looks to verify the standard of foods that claim to be organic or non-gmo. They also have loads of information on their website, so if you’re interested in learning more about GMO’s,  that’d be good to check out! 

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It can be more expensive to eat healthy sometimes, but not if your strategic with what you buy, you can actually cut costs in many areas. It may take a little more effort to shuck corn yourself or cut carrots instead of buying canned ones. However, you can ensure that they are organic and you will save a little money, too, by not buying things in their more convenient (pre-cut, pre-portioned, preservative laden..) form. And while some practices may be a bit more expensive, spending a little more money to eat healthier is cheaper than the money you’d spend on treatment for cancer or diabetes (or any other ailments that can come from eating unhealthily). So think on that and make the choice to be a little healthier, each day.

Other tips for eating clean are to avoid milk, bleached flours, and refined sugars. These are steps we have started the process toward but are not fully enacted in our diet yet. For now, we are just pescetarians, trying to eat cleaner, and taking things one step at a time. 🙂

***Also, I want to make it clear that being a vegetarian or vegan is not the only way to eat healthy or clean. It is but a choice in the way you desire to go about your journey to healthy and clean eating. ***

I know this process can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but the best way to begin is with research. Just research a little something on the subject each day. Knowledge is power and it is the best place to start as it almost always propels you toward action :).  If you are interested in healthy eating and need further guidance on how to get started, feel free to email me at jazthejournalist@gmail.com. I’ll be happy to share the knowledge I’ve gained in my journey thus far.

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Namaste

♥ XOXO A.T. ♥