Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reassuring Parents: Telling parents...

On Yahoo! Answers, there is a vegetarian and vegan category that I often answer questions in to help people who would like to be vegetarians. A very common question asked by teens that I have not covered yet in this how to tell your parents you would like to become a vegetarian.

I have to admit, this is a pretty tough thing for me to answer, because my parents knew I wanted to be a vegetarian. Basically, the conversation went like this:

"Mom, can I go vegetarian?"
"If you get a very well updated book on being a vegetarian, and learn the ins and outs: how to get a balanced diet, how to do this, how to do that, then yes."
"Okay!"

So, I did my research and now here I am today. But, for some teens it might not be so easy... Here are some steps you can take to get the response you want.

1. Do your homework: No, not your algebra homework (well, of course do that too, because if you don't, most likely your parents won't want to listen to you!). I mean, you vegetarianism homework... researching! Figure out how to get a properly balanced diet, and be prepared to answer questions your parents might have about getting a proper diet. Also, make sure you stick to the diet after you tell your parents, because if you don't, they may want you to eat meat again.
2. Pick a good time: Telling them at the dinner table when there is a big hunk of steak in front of you isn't the best time. I would suggest to tell them while you aren't eating, at a time where not much is going on.
3. Sound well-educated on the subject: Chances are that this will prove to your parents that you're serious about this. Also, it will lessen their worries.
4. Offer to cook: Tell them that you can cook your own food, or eat around the meatless part of their food so that it will not be more work for them.
5. Be patient: Your parents might freak out, but most likely they wlill get used to the idea over time. Just be patient with them.
6. Calm their fears: Perhaps they might be worried you'll starve, not get enough protein, not be healthy, not enough vitamins, etc... Reassure them that these myths are not true with most vegetarians, and that you will not fall into the category that these myths do apply to. Also, you can see a nutritionist to get help!
7. If they say no... Even after all of these, your parents still might say no. If this is the case, then you can do what some teen vegetarians do: eat meat at home when they make you, but outside of the house, avoid it.

Here are some good ways to tell them:
~Cook them a well-balanced, meatless meal (maybe one that usually has meat in it), and tell them as they are enjoying it.
~Write an essay or formal presentation on why they should let you go vegetarian.

And always, always, always keep this in mind... Your parents love you, and only want what's best for you.

Hopefully, this will help you tell your parents! Also, if you have any other suggestions for telling parents, please let me know!

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwich

Though it may sound gross, this is a very common sandwich in England. But trust me, it's not gross! I first tried it a few years ago and I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I loved it. This can be served on a bagel, a fancy piece of bread, or just regular bread. Either way tastes great! This makes a great lunch to put in your lunchbox if the cafeteria is serving sloppy joes or some other meaty dish.

1 bagel, or 2 slices of bread
2 tbsp cream cheese (plain)
Sliced cucumber

1. Spread the cream cheese on the bread/bagel. You can do both sides or just one, whichever you prefer.

2. Put cucumbers on the sandwich, and put slices of bread together. Enjoy!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fruit Pancakes

Ah, these pancakes are what made me love cooking! I've been making these since I was eight, and they're really awesome: ten times better than bacon you might have used to eat at breakfast time! I like to add fruit to them, but if you don't want to add fruit, feel free to leave it out. Also, you could chop up some berries or peaches put them on the plate to enjoy with pancakes. Either way tastes great! Try making some on Saturday morning, then freezing them so you can heat them up before school. This recipe only makes eight tiny pancakes, so I usually double it if I'm making these for my whole family. I got this from D.K.'s Children's Cookbook :) (I've had this one forever!)

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 pinches salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
Butter or margarine (to fry pancakes)
Fresh or frozen berries, peaches, bananas, or any other fruit you think would taste good in this (optional)
Maple syrup (optional)

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl (large bowl if doubling). Set aside.
2. Crack the eggs into a glass measuring cup, then add milk. Whisk together, then pour into flour mixture. Combine all ingredients until wet.
3. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large frying pan. When the butter begins to bubble, put in a quarter cup of pancake mix.
4. Fry the pancakes for approximately 2 minutes for each side. You will know when the underside is almost done when the edges are hard and bubbles appear on the top of the uncooked side. Check to see if the underside is golden-brown.
5. If desired, put the fruit in the uncooked side, and flip. Fry until cooked throughly. Put on a plate and serve with syrup and fruit!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Summer Spaghetti

This has been one of my favorite recipes since I was about eleven years old! I got it from a recipe book called "500 5 Ingredient Recipes". Literally, all of the meals have 5 ingredients. I was looking for another recipe book, and I dug that book up! I've had to for a while, so I was not a vegetarian when I got it, so there are a lot of recipes containing meat. However, there is a meatless section, so I'm planning on putting some recipes from that book. In the mean time, here's the summer spaghetti recipe!

2 cups of mixed vegetables (any kind you think would be good! I like to use snow peas, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, etc...)
8 ounces spaghetti
2 tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Place vegetables in a colander. Cook pasta according to package directions. When draining pasta, pour the water over vegetables in colander.
2. Transfer the pasta/veggie mix to a serving bowl. Drizzle with oil, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

That's it! It's a really simple recipe, and without the cheese, it's vegan! Just make sure to use vegan noodles.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mexican Soup

This soup is really yummy and... Mexican-y! Haha I need more adjectives... Anyway, I got it from my mom's Woman's Day magazine, except for originally it called for chicken broth. I just changed that to vegetable broth and it was really good!

2 tsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth or stock
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 11 oz can corn niblets, drained
1 cup mild or medium salsa
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can black beans

Optional: sour cream and cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion for 3 minutes or until softened and translucent.

2. Add sweet potato, broth, and cumin; cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until sweet potato is tender. With blender, process soup until smooth.

3. Stir in corn, salsa, tomato sauce, and black beans. Simmer covered for 5 minutes to blend flavor. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

This recipe is vegan if you skip the sour cream garnish!

Sweet Potato Burritos

You may be thinking that this title sounds gross, but try these anyway because they're awesome! I wasn't sure if I would like these but I loved them! And the best part is, it makes a lot, so you can freeze them to take out on a night you don't feel like cooking.
I got this from Allrecipes.com. The recipe originally called for kidney beans, but my mom used black beans. Use whichever you like best.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney or black beans, drained
2 cups water
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces of shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water and heat until warm. Remove from heat and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce.

2. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style and place them on a baking sheet.

3. Bake for 12 minutes and serve.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Restaurant Survival Guide

If you're a vegetarian, going to a restaurant might be a little bit more tricky than it used to be when you weren't a vegetarian. This guide will tell you what to order, even at McDonalds and Steakhouses!

~Baked potato: Found on almost every restaurant menu. If you don't see it in main dishes, try looking in appetizers or side dishes. Careful though: a lot of restaurants put bacon bits on their potatoes. Just be sure to ask for yours without bacon!

~Mac 'N Cheese: Pretty much every kid's menu has this :)

~Cesar Salad: This is what I like to get at McDonalds... its about the only lunch item they have for vegetarians. Make sure to ask them to hold the chicken, if it comes with chicken. Also, cesar dressing usually has anchovies in it, so if you don't eat fish, ask for a different kind of dressing.

~Cheeseburger, hold the burger: This is great if you don't want to get a salad at McDonalds! Just order a cheeseburger with everything but the burger!

~Fries and Shake: Not the most nutritious, but you can find it anywhere.

~Salad: Yay, salad!

~Pizza: A very common menu item... and very yummy!

~Soup: Depending on whether you eat beef/chicken broth, you may want to avoid this or live on it! I don't really like to eat the beef or chicken broth so I usually stick with other things.

~Grilled Cheese: Very good, and very common.

~Sandwiches: Even if you don't see any vegetarian options, its very easy to ask the waiter/waitress to hold the meat on sandwiches.

~Pasta: There are a lot of vegetarian options for pasta!

These options aren't the healthiest, but the good news is: usually they aren't the only ones! These are just standard, find on any menu options. You can always check the restaurant's website and see if they have a copy of the menu online, or even call them! So anyway, I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, just leave a comment!