Pizza, Pizza!

Along with cheese, I think the hardest thing to get past is the craving for pizza...the kind packed with pepperoni, sausage and a TON of that cheese. So, in hopes of avoiding the frozen pizza aisle, with it's tasty treats packed with thousands of calories, fat grams and sodium milligrams....I tried this. 

Pizza Fix


  • Italian bread, 1 loaf
  • Sharp bread knife
  • 1 large portabella mushroom
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Boca crumbles
  • Kosher salt
  • Pizza sauce (I used Meijer Naturals brand) 
  • Veggie Shreds (Mozzarella) 
  • Kraft Italian cheese-finely shredded (and totally optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium to med-high
  3. Peel and chop onion in thinnish slivers
  4. Slice pepper in thinnish slices, lengthwise, then cut slices in half
  5. Slice portabella cap in thin slices, probably 1/4-inch, then cut slices in half or thirds, if it's an exceptionally LARGE cap. 
  6. Saute veggies and Boca crumbles for 5-6 minutes, sprinkling with Kosher salt. 
  7. Cut Italian loaf in half, width wise, then cut one half in half lengthwise....not sure I'm explaining that correctly, but if you want to make FOUR pizza pieces, cut the entire loaf in half, then cut each half in half. Something like that!  
  8. Spread a generous amount of pizza sauce over each half....(we found that it did get kind of dry during baking, because I didn't use enough sauce, so don't get skimpy, or you get pizza-flavored croutons)
  9. Top each saucy half with the veggie/crumble mixture, heap it on! 
  10. Top each half with a layer of Veggie Shreds, and a very thin layer of Italian cheese (because it was here and I cannot throw away food, so yeah, this is Vegetarian vs. Vegan!)
  11. Bake on cookie sheet for 9-11 minutes, depending on how done you like it. I probably could have stopped at 9 minutes, but I think I actually went for 12...and that was TOO many minutes, yet it was still good, damnit!  

That did it for me.....filling, tasty, pizza-esque. No meat. Though, I do sincerely miss pepperoni!!!  I have found some TVP-Pepperoni, so I might have to give that a try one day soon!  

The whole concoction took less than 30 minutes to prep and cook. The beloved said it was missing something, like garlic. O.O....Garlic on pizza is not for me, but it's what he said it missed, so maybe next time I'll add crushed garlic to the veggies. I don't know. 

Regardless, enjoy!  

Beating Meat: Days 5 & 6

Nothing much exciting going on in the world of being meat-free....except for that I must say my all-Vegan Split Pea Soup kind of rocks!

Lunches have been fairly uneventful with PBJs and experimenting one day with COLD Boca burgers. Probably not the best plan, but it did the trick for the moment. It was semi-edible. The beloved is kind of liking the idea of eating oatmeal first thing every day (first thing, meaning his first meal, several hours after he leaves for work. That's cool.

I am taking iron supplements again, because I think the lack of meat stuffs is not helping me to get over the long-lingering anemia. Sucks, but what are you gonna do? Taking iron supplements is better than adding the fat and calories of PBJs to my own diet, and thus far I am not consuming adequate portions of iron-rich foods, like beans, spinach, etc. to make up for the loss of the iron in meat. I think if it continues for another month, I'll have to get back to the doc to see what I can do about it, and to make sure it IS anemia and not something else.

I do have to tell you that ALL the changes we've made with regards to food have almost totally ramped up energy levels. There are few to ZERO sugar comas going on, no crashing, no running out of gas, no nothing. Oh, and if  you eat those 'energy' bars, the ones with all the fiber and stuff, the ones they tell you should be GOOD for you?  Full of sugar. All kinds of it. My husband got one, one day during work, thinking exactly what they told him to think, that it would be good for him. Instead, he said he felt just like he used to after eating tons of sugary candy, cookies, etc. Save your money....just eat better foods.

We tried a new 'meatless' product...

Results were mixed.  I am thinking I didn't cook them long enough. Due to such undercookage, they kind of gave off the impression of FISH sandwiches.....NOT my husband's favorite. I'm thinking though that if I cooked them longer, the outcome might be better. They were NOT all that Hot & Spicy to me, but to him they were..and fishy.  

So, we made it through SIX DAYS. It's a new first for us! Stay tuned because I'm going to show you what I made for dinner last night. I was fairly impressed and shocked!  


BBQ, Pork Roast and Cake

At work today, Brittany asked me what you do with pork roast. Ignoring the fact that we're starting Day 7 of Beating Meat tomorrow, there are too many things you can do with pork roast and, more importantly, pork roast and a crock pot (Crock Pot, Crockpot, who the hell knows if that's a proper noun or just two words randomly spaced or together?)!

I told Brit about this recipe for BBQ Pork, which works exceptionally well in my antiquated, 23-year-old Crock Pot!

I don't have a picture, because every time I made it, I got so excited about eating it that I couldn't be bothered to locate the camera. Just know, this recipe ROCKS, even when you tweak it to account for the fact that you do not have, nor do you want to purchase any sort of bourbon (PUKE). Still traumatized from years of the hard liquors...no need to be reminded of it in the middle of a perfectly delightful BBQ Pork Sandwich! 

Another bonus, when you make this recipe, you can save all the liquid, freeze it and use it again for a different version of pork roast. It is A.MAZ.ING!  

Since I'm long winded, I decided I should just share my recipe for Pork Roast here instead of just tweeting the link, because by the time I see Miss Brittany at work again I will have long forgotten the subject at hand!  ADD. I have it. 

Here's the other thing to do with the pork roast, Brit...

This kind of pork roast, not the Pork TENDERLOIN thing that they have at work, in the plastic shrink-wrapped tubular shaped package....

Gently, very, very gently borrowed from here....(more later on "here")

Season the pork roast liberally with coarse-ground black pepper, fresh or dried rosemary, kosher salt and for added zing, Montreal steak seasoning. Place it in the crockpot, and cover with chicken and beef broth or 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 water. Add 1 peeled, chopped onion and 1-2 peeled cloves of garlic (or you can crush them if you want). Turn on high for an hour, then turn heat down to low and let it cook for at least 2 more hours, but you can let it go for up to 4 hours. 

VOILA! Pork Roast. Yum. Meat. I miss it. 

Hope that was clear enough, Brit. 

I always served this with mashed taters, pork and mushroom gravy, using some of the broth from the crockpot, and some format of rolls or biscuits...and threw in a vegetable of some sort to make it seem like we were having at least ONE thing that was healthy. :)  


More on the "here".....

Bacon & Garlic Encrusted Roast Pork Loin

Dear. God. If we ever get back to meat, I want THIS!!! 

For the rest of you, I am anxiously awaiting the moment when Brit decided to take a picture of the gorgeous cake she made today. It was like a piece of very flourescent pink ART, covered from top to sides with roses. Just roses. Just beautiful!  


Beating Meat: Day 4

What a day Day 4 turned out to be. Frankly, there just wasn't much time to obsess over food and actually it was really difficult to resist the urge to go buy a GIGANORMOUS pepperoni and sausage pizza loaded with damnable CHEESE!

I may have finally encouraged the Beloved to start eating breakfast....that, or I just added to the offerings in his lunch pail, who knows?

His lunch:

Oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon with a touch of sugar
2 PBJs
Bowl of cous cous
2 cookies
1 pop
Tortilla chips
1 black bean wrap on Flat Out whole grain
Grape tomatoes

Enough to keep him busy.

My menu:

More coffee
3 Boca sausage links on whole grain white bread (still not sure how THAT works?)
Lean Cuisine vegetarian meal (meaning it probably had cheese....fail).


Roasted veggebles (peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, brussel sprouts, parsley, a tablespoon of olive oil and several shakes of balsamic vinegar, and a splash of sea salt...)
Buffalo Chick'n Burgers on Whole Grain White buns (again, how does that work?)


1/2 a whole grain bagel with vegan cream cheese
Cookies....2 or 3 each?

Not too shabby for Day 4.


Beating Meat: Days 2 and 3

Day 2...come and gone. Came and went. It was kind of screwy. We both had the day off. I forgot to eat breakfast until about 8:30 AM. OOPS (considering I was up around 4 AM) and forgot to take my vitamins as well.  Oh well.

Got adventurous and made two different kinds of soups so I can have lunch ready every day and not succumb to the temptations in the workplace.

I think the husband is already experiencing MEAT withdrawal...but he's determined to stick this out, which makes me admire him even more than I did before!

The day's foraging included:

Boca Sausages (3 to be exact)
Boca Burgers and baked steak fries (no grease or oils used whatsoever)
A grapefruit
1/2 a bagel with vegan cream cheese (must say, not too shabby at all!)
Black bean burritos with vegan cheese, sauteed peppers and onions and salsa...
And probably something else, but since I slacked and didn't write this til now, I can't remember!!!

All in all, it was a fairly successful day, eating wise. I will admit, however, that we did use up the remainder of the sour cream (fat free) with the burritos. Rome was not constructed in a day nor will we become Vegan overnight. But, it's all gone, so that is most definitely the end of that!  And, the end of Day 2.

Day 3...

Let the challenge begin. Mainly because now I have to figure out what to feed my Beloved for lunch, at work.

My day started out with cereal and almond milk and a banana....
Work menu included:
15-Bean soup with 3 small slices of cornbread

For him, it went something like this:

1 Boca Burger
1 Boca Bruschetta thing (can't remember if it was the chicken or beef varietal)
Grape tomatoes
Fruit salad (banana, cara cara orange and blackberries with a sprinkle of stevia)
Tortilla chips
2 cookies
1 pop
1 yogurt (the last one....his favorite, but now it's all gone).

Dinner went something like this:

Mixed green salad with tomatoes and poppyseed dressing
Whole grain french garlic bread

Then, I had these:

1 cookie

and he had this:

Cheerios with Silk Vanilla

When I mention things like PBJ and cookies, we've been doing lots of explorations into the world of healthier choices and thusly have switched to things like all natural peanut butter....the kind which has only PEANUTS in it. No added anything elses. Jelly? Pollaner All Fruit...in place of colored, sugary, gelatinous stuff.  Of course, it's not quite as cost effective, but if you stop buying the junk, then you can afford the other stuff in place of the junk.

One piece of advice when switching from cow milk to vegan milks.....use LESS milk and pour less cereal....because, I am guessing it's the high water content in the vegan varietals, that cereal gets really soggy, really quick, so unless you can eat all of it in 5 minutes or less, you end up with a bowl of mush. Not so sexy.

Oh and the black beans that I made for the previous evening's menu go absolutely PERFECTLY with the tortilla chips!

I'm thinking that we're going to need to invest in some Beano.....for the foreseeable future. All this fiber, in the form of whole grain breads, beans, grains, and veggies, is causing an ENORMOUS amount of gassy type stuff...which, you know, is all well and good and sometimes FUN, yet more annoying than anything.

3 days gone already and we're starting Day 4 already....it's not TOO bad. Challenging, definitely, but doable, just the same.

Anxious to see how another 2.5 weeks will make us feel!


Pots to Pea In

Whilst sometimes it might feel like we don't have a pot to piss in....we DO have pots for peas....and other assorted beans. I may, however, be absolutely lacking in lids. 

So, yesterday, I set forth to make up a metric fuque-ton of soups for lunch. Beans and split peas abounded all over the place. One recipe amended from a recipe given by Susan Powter, a recipe which I cannot find for the life of me...the other a concoction of my own creative thinking. 

Let us keep the peas, shall we?  

Split Pea Soup-The All-Vegan Variety

What You Need:

1 C. Split peas, dried
3-4 strips of soy bacon, torn or chopped
2 small onions or one large (I use yellow), peeled and roughly chopped
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
Kosher or Sea salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Olive oil, 1-2 tsp
1 C. Vegetable stock
4-6 C. Water
Large pot/Dutch oven thingy
Stand blender or a blender/wand/handheld thingy-rather, and IMMERSION blender....

What You Do: 

 1. Prep your veggebles and soy bacon. No need for fancy cutting or garlic pressing, because by the end, everything will either be melted down or blended to a perfectly split-pea-soupy consistency. 

2. Heat olive oil to medium in pot, then add onions, garlic and soy bacon. Saute for several minutes until onions begin to carmelize. 

3.  Add salt and pepper (I used about 1 tbs each.), split peas, vegetable stock and water. Stir to mix it all up. 

4. Raise heat and bring soup to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes. Stir. 

5. Lower heat to medium-low...(that's about a "4" on my stove) and cover, leaving a little space for ventilation. 

6. Depending on what consistency of soupiness you prefer, you might wish to add another cup of very hot water during the simmering process. I like mine to be almost stew-like, so I added about 1/2 a cup. You could also go for a very thin, split-pea BROTH if you wanted too and add a TON more water. All up to you!  

7. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  

8. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15-30 minutes. 

9. Place soup in blender or use immersion blender to completely break down all left over split-pea bits and create a smooth, lovely soup.  

This is sort of what it looks like right after adding all the liquidy stuff.
 Click on it to get the riveting visual of floating split peas!  

This one freezes well. Just allow it to cool completely, then add to freezer-safe containers with air tight lids and freeze. And, as gross as it might sound, this is not bad as a cold soup, or a room-temperature soup. Seriously!  

Now that THAT is out of the way, I am currently experimenting with cornbread...because how can you have split-pea or bean soup of any kind and NOT have cornbread???  I used ground flax seed, via Care2.com's advice, and almond milk in place of the dairy varietal. It sort of LOOKS the same, but only lunch and tastebuds will tell. I WILL report back. And yeah, I'm lazy and used the Jiffy boxed variety cornbread mix. Sue me! :D  

So, tomorrow, I'll endeavor to repeat the recipe for the 15-Bean Soup that I concocted. It should be exciting! I hope you'll return.  You can also sign up for email notifications or follow me on Blogger, if you so desire. Good fun, eh?  


Beating Meat: Day 1

Could I think of a more obnoxious (and/or suggestive) title? Probably. This fits. Sort of.

So, Day 1 of the 21-Day Kickstart came and went. A fairly decent day, highlighted by an enormous amount of stress at work, but a phenomenal ending to the day. Over the past month or so, we've already made serious changes to the dietary intake, eliminating most processed sugars and processed foodstuffs, foods with high or any cholesterol content and fatty, junky, well-preserved foods. So, this foray into healthier eating really isn't going to be THAT difficult. Probably just a bit more fibery (read: Farty), grainy and more vegetable-full.

For me, the day's menu went like this (until dinner):

Coffee with non-dairy creamer
Bowl of Raisin Bran (with Silk Vanilla)
1 large grapefruit with about 1/2 tsp of stevia
Split pea soup (with soy bacon) and Sea Salt-flavored Pita Crackers
1/2 whole grain bagel (and THIS is where I cheated...because we had some Whipped Philly Cream Cheese left in the fridge. I used about one tablespoon. Fail)

For the Beloved:

1/2 Boca Chick'n patty
Peanut Butter and Jellies (using natural peanut butter (just peanuts..period)
Tortilla Chips

This is going to get a BEET long winded (pun intended)....so we'll break HERE. Click that little 'Read More' thingy to continue!!!


21 Ways to Leave Your Meat

In other words, tomorrow, (Monday), we are engaging in a 21-day health plan which we discovered whilst watching PBS one night. This doctor, Neal Barnard, was enlightening his audience about giving your body, health and fitness a 21-day kickstart. All it takes is going completely Vegan for three weeks!!! WHO KNEW, right?  Ha.

THIS is that book....

When you live in the country, surrounded by farms and their respective farmers, a hog farm and a cattle slaughterhouse on either side, it's kind of hard to imagine living life without meat or animal products. This is Ohio, for the love of all things Holy, seriously! Meat-free in a rural area? We must have lost our minds! Us? We, the parents who gave our son a whole, holy-hell ration of shit when he tried it out? We can't have gotten to the point where we, ourselfs, would even begin to entertain such thoughts. Could we?

We have.  And it starts tomorrow.....

I'm thinking the best course of action, one that will help us monitor our changes is to share them with YOU. LUCKY YOU!!!  I don't promise culinary delights or a complete mental transformation into the stereotyped Vegan. I just promise that we're going to give it our best for the next 21 days and see what happens. Stick around, you might learn something. If not, at least you'll get a sick sense of satisfaction (if you are carnivorous) that we're going without a lovely piece of blackened prime rib or a decadently grilled burger and YOU are not :)

I'm thinking I'll probably scour these webs of Inter and find assorted Vegan recipes, try out said recipes, search for and purchase assorted Vegan products and learn new ways to cook old things in a much healthier way. Hope you'll stick around for the next few weeks and get a giggle or three.

Until tomorrow!  


From Seed

It's been more than a while, I know.....starting a job outside the home, trying to juggle the schedules, the down time, the cooking, the shopping....got the best of me. But I am BACK! And, with a whole new direction in which to take this here corner of the Internets.

During the time I've been away, several events have transpired that have forced both myself and my beloved into reviewing our habits and making some serious changes therein. He found that he's got a dangerously high cholesterol count and I've got some minor thyroid issues as well as being in the range of being considered pre-diabetic. Not cool. Not cool at all.

So, in the interest of saving our own hides, we're exploring new alternatives and gradually making changes that will both improve our blood testing scores and get us into fighting shape. While some of my culinary creations here at Cooking Squared have been mostly healthy, some have not. That's about to change. Seriously. I'm doing some heavy research, learning new things, revisiting old things and kicking around the plans to create a new way of life that no longer involves copious amounts of fat, sugar and processed shite that passes for food.

I hope you'll stay tuned. If you're new here, feel free to Follow, via Google, or sign up for email updates. It might be a bumpy ride, but I intend to share what I learn, create new things and maybe even inspire you to make your own changes.

Take care!