Drop the Formalities; Eating “Semi-Homemade”

Hey! Hope you had a good Tuesday night. 🙂

Just so you know, I’m slowly compiling recipes into a categorized recipes index. It’s going to take a while but I really do think that it will make linkbacks so much easier. My priorities are the recipes that show up repeatedly in my posts, namely overnight oats, Arctic Green Icebergs Green Titanics :P, and sauces. I still haven’t decided what to write up formal recipe pages for, regarding everything else. For instance, do you think salads count as recipes? Most of the time I just throw things together. And you know how hard it is for me to share measurements and amounts of the ingredients I use. I eyeball almost everything! I’ll have to try my best when writing those up. Be patient 😉 The index is on its way!

Anyway, I’m at my sister’s apartment in the city right now, as usual on a work night. I usually don’t blog when I’m here because I don’t feel very inspired. More details on this in a bit. First, some recap…

Sunday morning started with a couple of medjool dates (those little things are so energizing!), a post-run Green Titanic, and this bowl of Sweetheart overnight oats. Yup, they have real names now. “Semi-frozen green smoothie” and “cherry papaya oats” are too impersonal to me. We’ve loosened up with one another now–time to drop the formality. 😉

Lunch was just leftover lasagna, slightly jazzed up with baby carrots and some spinach-artichoke hummus humhum. (lol)

Dinner was with the fam at Macaroni Grill. The others munched on lots of bread and olive oil. I tried some of the bread but it was too oily for me. Instead I attacked the small plate of olives. Mmmm! That plate was seriously way too small for $3.99.

I was really looking forward to creating my own pasta. I had the whole wheat penne with fresh mushrooms, fresh broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes, tossed in arrabbiata (spicy red) sauce.

The great thing about eating here is that I was able to check online for my options. I love it when I can view restaurant menus ahead of time. They even had a list of menu items that are vegetarian, also indicating which ones contain eggs, dairy, and honey. Of course, as with all restaurants geared towards omnivores, the vegan items may not truly be egg, dairy, or honey-free. Even the vegetarian items aren’t 100% guaranteed to be (insert ingredient)-free due to sharing equipment and cross-contamination. It sucks but I’m not too bothered with that though. I think I accidentally had some dining hall quiche that had ham or bacon in it. I couldn’t taste it, and by the time I realized it, it was already being digested in my stomach.

Here’s my take on these “accidentals”–as long as I don’t intentionally eat meat, I’m good to go. It’s not something I stress over because sometimes it’s beyond my understanding and control, so why stress over the inevitable? I’m doing enough on my part to make the conscious decision to order something that’s meat-free; the actual preparation of the food is no longer in my hands. I think it takes a little bit of trust and a lot of “ignorance is bliss.” (The only thing I would be concerned about is if I had food allergies, in which these accidentals might actually be fatal. I don’t think I have any major allergies though.)

Yesterday I picked up some groceries at WF, including Annie’s Goddess dressing (tastes like humhum in liquid form)

and soy yogurt I found on sale…

After work I dug into a peach soy yogurt and a frozen Larabar.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor was so good! Really peanuty. After dinner I couldn’t resist snacking on another new flavor. Just as delicious.

This morning I had a Berry Volcano, hot oats style. Cooked oats, blueberries, almond butter, 1/2 container of vanilla soygurt. Yum.

Afternoon snack was the last of the new flavors, frozen of course.

I loved it. So chocolatey and Jocolat-esque.

I stopped by Zeytuna on the way home from work and picked up some bread and this:

I think this might be my first time buying non-frozen, packaged prepared food. I don’t really know what exactly was so appealing about it. The simple ingredients list? The 11 grams of protein per serving? My love for Asian-style noodles?

Hmm. Probably the best thing about it was the convenience–just open and dig in, cold or warm.  I popped half of the container in the microwave and enjoyed it over a bed of more carrots, some celery, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil-massaged kale. (I added a few drops of Goddess dressing half-way through.) Yummm! It was the perfect salad topper. Quick and effortless.

Healthy, too. I feel lucky to be able to go to a grocery store one block away and pick up locally-manufactured vegan food already packaged, prepared, and ready to eat. Meal-wise, it’s pretty much impossible for me to make anything too involved (read: on the stove) over here because my sister’s kitchen’s teeny tiny. There’s not enough space or time for me to stock up on enough groceries, and also, quite frankly, I just don’t feel like making anything creative or blog-worthy. At the same time, I really prefer not to eat out or buy frozen or ready-to-eat foods at the supermarket. So I make do with what I have. My dinners and work lunches are usually just raw veggies, salads, you know–those meals that you just throw together and eat without bothering to make pretty for the camera.

Eating a meal based more heavily on prepared food was a welcomed change. It was made locally in NY, and at least it wasn’t a frozen TV dinner. Plus, the texturized veggie protein was really delicious! There’s nothing wrong with a semi-homemade meal here and there, right? I think I’ll be seeing more of these in the future. Sometimes a girl’s gotta adapt to her surroundings because it’s not realistic to eat the way she wants.

Questions: If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, how bothered are you when you accidentally eat some meat or meat product? What about the uncertainty of foods living up to their veg status at restaurants? Do you freak out or go by a “don’t ask don’t tell” mindset? Also, what is your favorite storebought prepared meal? Any semi-homemade meals you make a lot?

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4 Responses to Drop the Formalities; Eating “Semi-Homemade”

  1. Your soba salad looks so good! There’s a time and place for semi-homemade, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I also love checking out restaurant menus online, and I’m guilty of not trying places that don’t seem to have veg-friendly offerings. But I’ve also gotten more comfortable asking for small changes (mostly leaving off meat) or seeing if there is a vegetarian option not on the menu. Some places have really surprised me with this.

    I try not to think of cross-contamination, and I like to think restaurants will be careful also due to allergies. But it’s not a big deal. Only once did I not eat a dish served to me — I was at an Italian restaurant and thought my mushroom ravioli had a marinara sauce, but it was chock full of meat. I couldn’t get past that. I was also shy and nervous — it was one of the first times I’d met my husband’s parents back when we were dating. I don’t remember if I misread the menu or what, but now I’m more careful to voice my preference to the server or ask questions.

  2. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan says:

    Ohh, but Mac Grill’s bread is SO GOOD!
    Your pasta looks a lot like what I always get there – WW penne w/ arrabbiatta, roasted garlic cloves, and broccoli :]

    Yay for flexibility! And I’m loving your new names for your oatmeal creations.

  3. Jenny says:

    I am soooo bothered by accidental ingredients. This is why I rarely eat out, except on vacation at vegan restaurants. I’m not just a vegan because I think it’s the ethical thing to do – the thought of eating certain things also reeeeeally grosses me out. I actually feel envious toward those who can separate it out as – I didn’t intentionally eat this so it’s okay. I’ve been this way since I was a little girl so it’s too ingrained in me. I actually do not ask a lot of questions at restaurants for my kids, though. Even though I do hope they decide to remain vegan as they grow older, I would prefer they be more relaxed than I am, for their sakes.

  4. Pingback: Fresh and Right at My Fingertips « VEGeneration

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