Leading a vegetarian lifestyle can be complicated some days. We’re constantly at odds with the world in terms of dietary choice as the standard diet the world adheres to is predominantly pro-meat and pro-animal products. As a result, a lot of us need to watch what we’re eating, specifically whether some animal products are sneaking into common foods that we just aren’t looking through. For instance, have you been watching out for…
A very excellent place to start as both a vegetarian or a vegan is in the mighty soup, the great equalizer between the various dietary choices. In it you’ll find a simple and effective way to transition into a meatless life as soups can be made entirely without animal products and frequently are without even trying. However, because of how simple it is to make them and add just about anything together, it’s very easy for a soup to contain meat without your knowledge, until you take a bite of course. Even trickier, some soups are made specifically with chicken or beef broth, which you really won’t be able to tell unless you have the can in front of you. Be sure to check with the waiter if the menu doesn’t specify that a soup is vegetarian or vegan before ordering.
Similar to soups, you don’t necessarily think that sauces are the exclusive property of meat lovers. While you’ll find that a lot of sauces are made specifically with the purpose of flavoring meat, just as many are out there for rice, salads, veggies, and everything else you can think of. But just as with soup, you’ll frequently learn that a lot of sauces contain hidden meat within them, such as marinara having pieces of beef in it or Worcestershire sauce containing anchovies. Ranch as well regularly has pieces of bacon in it depending on the restaurant you’re eating at or the bottle you’re picking up. Essentially, you have to be careful and always check.
No, you probably aren’t consuming lard by itself on a regular basis, but lard is a very sneaky substance that people seem to forget about. Lard is animal fat, as gross as that sounds, and while you think it’s pretty easy to avoid, that’s definitely wrong. Lard pops up a ton as a means to solidify various bread-like items such as biscuits, tortillas, pie crusts, and even in refried beans. Typically you’ll have zero clue that you’re eating something that isn’t really vegetarian until much later, and by then it’s too late and the deed is done. It’s not rude to ask whether various dishes are made with it or not as it’s a pretty important question to clarify.
What could possibly be more vegetarian-friendly than a salad? In many cases, surprisingly, salads are the sneakiest of the bunch as they’re touted as “rabbit food” yet can contain quite a bit of meat products such as bacon, chicken, or shrimp. It all depends on the salad itself, but at the very least it’s usually simple to see right on the menu whether it has any meat products mixed in or not. Still, you might know right off the bat that it could contain meat, such as Caesar salad usually having chicken in it. When in doubt, make sure to ask!
This is much more of a vegan issue, but eggs aren’t just a breakfast food. Everyone can guess that when eggs need to be off the table, you need to make sure the menu specifically states something is vegan as so very many food items incorporate eggs into the recipe as eggs are used mostly to keep various food items, such as bread and baked goods, solid and together. Luckily you can get by with a lot of substitutes, but restaurants aren’t inclined to take that route. They’ll most likely proudly proclaim various items on the menu as vegan-friendly, so you won’t have to worry too much on that front, but still, asking always helps.
Living a vegetarian life can be fairly simple, but it still requires you to be diligent about looking at what you’re eating. Meat can hide in a ton of food, especially where you wouldn’t expect it to be, so be careful and watch what you’re eating. Asking questions about your food isn’t a bad thing either, so be willing to take charge of what you’re eating and ensure you don’t get ambushed by some rogue food items!
For simple vegetarian recipes that are sure to be meat-free, check out VegOnline.org!
If you’re like me the thought of entertaining guests in your kitchen terrifies you. Can’t we all just meet up at a restaurant or order pizza? Well, you don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen to make some great food. Don’t fret. There are things that you can easily master and whip out any time of day or night.
Here are my top 5 cooking tricks everyone should know:
• How to boil the perfect egg. Sure, boiling an egg is simple? Right? Wrong. Getting an egg to not be over or under cooked is a huge feat. Just ask someone who doesn’t like cooking. Take your eggs. However many you want or will fit in a single stack and place in the bottom of your pan. Add cool water until it stands 1 inch above the eggs. Place on the burner. Slowly warm the water until it begins to boil, this should take about 10 minutes. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, shut off the heat after 30 seconds. Let the eggs sit in the pan for approximately 3-5 min. Then add ice. Voila! Perfect hard boiled eggs.
• How to poach that egg. Okay, maybe you’re a genius when it comes to boiling an egg. But can you poach it? This is substantially more tricky than boiling a perfect egg. Here you will want to get your water to a rolling boil before you add the egg. The real secret of how to poach the perfect egg is actually adding a 1tsp. of white distilled vinegar to the water seconds before you add the raw egg. The other part is that you should stir the water so that it forms a small whirlpool in the pan as you drop the egg in. This will help it pull together. You’ll loose a little bit of egg white into the water, but the vinegar will help it stay together. How long you leave it depends on how runny you want the inside to be. I love runny poached eggs, but maybe you don’t.
• Perfect bacon is mythical. You remember the last time you ate perfectly crisp, smoked bacon and nothing else can replace that flavor. How do you get a crisp and juicy piece? Well, add your bacon to a cool pan. Cover with less than an inch of water. Turn on the heat medium-high. When the water has evaporated, fry your bacon until nice and crispy. It will be chewy and crunchy, just like the bacon you get at your favorite restaurant.
• Peeling garlic can take forever. If you’re not comfortable cooking for large groups it can be uncomfortable to sit and peel all of the vegetables as guests watch. That’s why I like to get it done before they arrive. Still, garlic left in the fridge can overpower any other flavors lurking inside, so it’s best to wait until right before you need it. A great quick way to peel lots of garlic is to actually take 2 or move cloves, place them inside of a bowl with a lid or two bowls stacked on top of each other and shake until the skins fall off. It might take you 5 good shakes, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you have perfect whole cloves of garlic ready to be minced.
• Stovetop popcorn is delicious, if you don’t burn it. So, how do you balance the oil, heat, and movement necessary to get that perfect pop? Easy. Start with melting the oil of your choice (coconut oil is really easy and has good flavor). Have three test kernels so you know when the oil has gotten hot enough. After they pop, take the pan off the heat, add 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels. Wait 30 seconds. Keep lid on top of the pan. Then add the pan back to the heat and wait for it to begin popping. Shake occasionally. Let it pop until it slows down to 3-4 seconds between each pop. I guarantee perfect popcorn.
Avery Lane is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. When not writing about travel, she also covers a wide spectrum of home improvement topics, such as guides to central air prices.
DISCLAIMER! Super Candy is a blog of a Newbie Cook aspiring to provide mouth watering reads. On this blog the author shares her personal cooking experience, dugged up recipes and reblogs of delicious and scrumptious looking photographs.
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