Shortcuts for Your Veggie Lifestyle

Not everything has to be super-healthy, or super-complicated. Today I used two packets of Uncle Ben’s Spanish-style rice for the rice portion of this dish.

Now I haven’t read those ingredients in awhile, but I’m sure there’s all manner of ‘less-than-perfect’ stuff in there, like palm and canola products perhaps, and preservatives… whatev!! Thing is, if I gotta chop up & wash a bunch of veggies, I may not be inclined to go the whole nine yards w/the rice. Maybe I want to just ‘press the easy button’ when it comes to the rest of it! Yes, it was somewhat labor intensive to start this off w/fresh garlic, red onion and EVO, plus spices, AND to cut up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and red & green squash… but when you buy this stuff, you simply HAVE to use it. Broccoli does not have a long fridge life.

By the time I was done with that, I was in NO MOOD to cook a separate batch of rice. So I simply dumped 2 packets of Uncle Ben’s rice in there w/the veggies, added a splash of water, a can of black beans… and let it simmer. I had some taco shells, and for the base of the taco I used avocado. I would have preferred refried beans, but I didn’t feel like opening another can! Added heat courtesy some raw scorpion pepper, topped off with Louisiana Crystal hot sauce, Garlic Edition. Oh yeah, and you know how I’m always harping about “Don’t add salt in the beginning…”? Well, for this dish I totally forgot to add any salt. It’s fine. There’s so much sodium in some of the other stuff… it turned out fine.

Eating vegetarian should be EASY, at least sometimes. You shouldn’t always have to slave away.

Here are some of my absolut FAVE veggie shortcut dishes:

  • Amy’s burritos (toaster oven’d, not microwaved)
  • Amy’s no-cheese roasted veggie pizza
  • Amy’s soups
  • Sweet Earth Veggie Lover’s Pizza
  • Quorn, or Morningstar Farms, Chik’n nuggets and patties, buffalo and regular
  • Tinkyada rice pasta w/Yo Mama’s organic tomato basil sauce
  • Tomato sandwiches w/Ezekiel or Genesis toast
  • Beanito’s chips and hummus

If you are able to, PLEASE compost your veg trimmings. (below) It saves our planet an incredible amount of garbage. Just incredible. After I cook just 2 veg meals I have a compost bag that weighs like 5lbs! To throw all that away in plastic is just silly and irresponsible. I have had a few unwelcome wintertime visitors (meeces) so I keep my compost bag in my big oven. AFAIK, they can’t get in there!

Below is the Breville Mini Smart Oven. It’s only big enough to fit an 11″ diameter pizza, and it’s also REALLY TOUGH to find a covered baking dish that fits inside w/cover on. Next toaster oven, I’m going up a size so I’m not so hampered by all the size restrictions. But truth be told, I saw immediate electric bill savings after I purchased this. Running my large oven @ 425° for burrito after burrito really jacked up my bill. This little bugger saved me about $40/month! It was only $160 new so I saw ROI after only 5 months, LOL!

And speaking of shortcuts, I certainly need to make mention of a few kitchen tools that make food prep quicker and life easier. One is a garlic smasher called Royal VKB. (below)

The Royal VKB garlic crusher. It’s THE BEST!

This hefty solid SS tool allows easy smashing and separation of the entire cluster. Once you get the indiv. cloves apart, pressing and rotating the serrated grooves of the tool into the curve of the cloves rips off the skin AND the node, in one shot. (The node is the little tough part where the clove was attached to the larger cluster.) If you do it right you can shuck the skin and the node in one simple twist. When you get the node the skin comes off like magick. Once shucked I prefer to chop garlic w/a knife, not crush it into a wet, stringy mess w/this tool. I’ll have to do a video to show you how effective this thing can be. I’ve read about its use on other sites, but it seems they don’t get it. Afterward washing your hands against the SS w/soap completely cancels out the garlic smell on your skin. Amazing.

Another really ‘revolutionary’ tool is this matching bowl and chop knife set, something I like to call “The Pit and the Pendulum Salad System”, available at

Chopping/serving bowl by Eileen Russell, USA Creations, LLC

The branding is terribly confusing. The website URL doesn’t match the name of her company, which in the past didn’t match her email… Ahhhhh!!! This chopping bowl doesn’t show unless you click on the “products” tab. It’s come up a LOT in price since I got it in 2014. But if you’re chopping a lot of stuff all at once for cooking, or even moreso a salad that you can carry & eat in the same bowl as you prep, this thing is well worth it.


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