back roads and mason jars

live country. eat plants. be happy.



are you scared? part 2

What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?

Part 2 of this mini-series addresses the second fear from last week’s post which you can see here if you missed it.

Are you scared of being deprived?

At first, I was worried about missing some of my favorite comfort foods – mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pizza and buffalo wings.  All of these things were in my top favorite foods.  I felt scared thinking that I could never have those things.  Boy, was I wrong!  There are so many alternatives available to you.  There are alternatives for cheese, butter, milk, sour cream, pepperoni and even wings!

Here are some of my favorite comfort food recipes or products that I have found and enjoy.

Mashed potatoes can be easily made vegan.  In my house, my husband is the mashed potato maker.  I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never had the magic touch that is required to make really good mashed potatoes.  In the past, we used butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.  To make them vegan is so simple.  Just replace the non-vegan products with vegan alternatives.  Vegan butter (Smart Balance or Earth Balance) and Tofutti sour cream are easily found in most grocery stores.  I also like to add chives to my potatoes.


earth-balance-watermarkI feel like macaroni and cheese is a staple comfort food for everyone.  I traditionally bake my macaroni and cheese with jalapenos and chipotle breadcrumbs.  It was a staple in my house.  In order to get that cheesy comfort in a quick fix, I turn to Earth Balance macaroni and cheese.  It comes in cheddar and white cheddar flavor.  I have tried both products and they are excellent replacements for that quick dinner side dish.  I do prefer the white cheddar flavor.  The instructions couldn’t be easier and all you need to add is vegan butter and your non-dairy milk of your choice.  I prefer to cook with oat milk or unsweetened almond milk.


Pizza.  Everyone loves pizza.  If they say they don’t, I’m pretty sure that can’t be trusted. What’s better than pizza? Having it delivered to your door.  There are a lot of options when it comes to pizza.  PETA’s website is a great resource if you are ever in doubt of which crusts may or may not be vegan.  Follow this link for tips if you are dining in at your favorite pizza joint.  I don’t have access to a lot of these restaurants so I usually opt to follow this link for common pizza delivery options.  The crust is the biggest concern since ordering no meat or cheese is a easy decision.  My favorite crusts are Domino’s thin crust and Pizza Hut’s Thin ‘N Crispy or Hand Tossed Crust.  I have never been a fan of meat on my pizza.  Pretty much every time I have ordered pizza it has been full of veggie toppings so it was a pretty easy transition to just get used to no cheese.  If you are eating at home, you could add some vegan shredded cheese or vegan pepperoni and broil the pizza for a few minutes.


cauliflower-watermarkBuffalo wings were always my favorite happy hour bar snack.  When we lived in the city, a local bar that we visited frequently happened to have a vegan chef where I tried cauliflower wings for the first time.  I haven’t had chicken wings since that night.  Now the restaurant serves theirs deep fried, but this baked recipe is even better with less calories!  I follow hot for food’s cauliflower wing recipe pretty closely.  You can get the recipe here.  For the sauce, I use one part of Frank’s Red Hot and three parts of a honey or sweet barbecue sauce.

Hopefully this shows you that you can still have your favorite comfort foods – cruelty free!

Bye y’all!

are you scared? part 1

What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?

Are you scared of tofu and meat alternatives?

Are you scared of being deprived?

Are you worried you’ll never get enough protein for those gains you’re working on?

Are you scared you’ll never have anything to eat?

Is it just too expensive for you?

But I can’t live without cheese!


I’ve been there with you.  I’ve had these hesitations and fears too.  I’m here to tell you that it’s OK.  The biggest advantage you can give yourself is to be open minded.  That changed everything for me.  I also challenge you try eating a few vegetarian or vegan meals each week.  If you do, let me know how you feel – Did you enjoy it? Did you hate it? Did you feel better or worse? What did you try?  Over this Friday mini series, I’ll show you that it is possible and worth it to try more plant based meals in your rotation.

Are you scared of tofu & meat alternatives?

Image result for tofu turkey everybody loves raymondI know what you’re thinking.  Tofu is what TV sitcom nightmares are made of in disguise as a tofu turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.  It can be so good!  My favorite use of tofu is baked crispy in an Asian stir fry, a tofu scramble as an egg replacement or silken tofu added to frozen fruit in a smoothie to add a delightful texture and protein boost.

In addition to tofu, there are LOTS of companies that have spent a ton of time and resources creating delicious replicas of your favorite meals as well.  Some of my favorite companies for meat alternatives are Gardein, Beyond Meat, Boca, Morningstar and Field Roast.  Most of the nutrition is comparable to the meat version or less in terms of calories and packed with protein.
pizza-watermarkGardein provides lots of options like fish, crab cakes, sweet and sour pork and even pizza pockets!  What’s better than cholesterol free pizza?



Beyond Meat is the new standard for beef beyond-watermarkalternatives and they do not disappoint.  Currently they provide a seasoned and original ground beefless product and a variety of chicken alternatives.  These delicious sliders pack 23 grams of protein in a single serving! Not too shabby!



boca-watermarkBoca and Morningstar make vegetarian and vegan options but the products are labeled clearly to distinguish which diet you follow.  My favorite Boca products are their beefless crumbles, chick’n nuggets and they have the BEST spicy chick’n pattie.  Morningstar offers more vegetarian products than vegan options.  The morningstar-watermarkvegetarian options that we enjoy are the wings – buffalo and parmesan garlic flavors, chipotle black bean crumbles and corn dogs.  Our favorite vegan option, hands down, is the hickory BBQ riblets.  Most of these products are found in the frozen food section of a lot of grocery stores.



field-roast-watermarkField Roast provides exact replicas of breakfast sausages, frankfurters and burgers that are worthy of any backyard BBQ.  These are usually found in the natural section of the grocery store.



Bye y’all!

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