How to practice sustainable agriculture
in college and still have time to study.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A New Direction

The New Direction of Veggie Hoo

As you can see, I changed the subtitle of my blog from "how to be a healthy vegetarian in college and still have time to study" to "how to practice sustainable agriculture in college and still have time to study". This year, the word BALANCE has taken on a new meaning. Balancing school and friends, balancing exercising and sleeping, balancing relationships, balancing vegetables and carbohydrates, balancing my academics and extracurriculars. To balance is to give equal distribution.

For example, a place where I experienced balance and change was in my diet. I joined a crossfit class during the spring semester and as a result of continuous exercising early in the day, I was always hungry. I had stopped eating plant protein sources and was eating only vegetables and carbohydrates. During that time, I went to a healthy eating seminar at UVA and the speaker emphasized having a balanced diet. She said that 70% of the time she subscribed to a vegetarian diet, and 30% of the time she ate meat. The key to eating meat she said, "is that you have to be very stringent and cautious about where it's from and how the animals have been treated". At a farm that I was shadowing at, a farmer stated that stressed out chickens create eggs with more cholesterol so couldn't the same principle apply to any animals? Because of the eating seminar, I decided to start incorporating meat into my diet (very slowly) in February and my first meat source was wild sockeye salmon from Trader Joe's. I am not much of a fish fan so buying salmon was a bold move for me and incorporating it as my first animal protein source in lieu of a plant source was even more surprising! I marinated the salmon in lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, wrapped it up in aluminum foil, and baked it in the oven and voila! Flaky delicious fish. 

In the meantime, I joined the gardening club at UVA and also went to the community garden events. My first flower ever planted at UVA was a calendula. We cut open 20 oz. soda bottles, put 1/2 cup of potting mix inside, and planted our seeds in them. I placed the flower in my apartment windowsill and the flower bloomed beautifully! And recently, I just learned that calendula's can be used for medicinal purposes: if you make a lotion or paste, it can be applied to your skin to reduce pain and swelling. 

This past year, I've realized my focus shifting. Here is my train of thought in 2 years and hopefully it can serve to explain the evolution of my blog: 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana-Pecan Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana-Pecan Muffins

This recipe is easy to make, but it requires a little bit of cooking knowledge. First of all, you don’t need an electric mixer in your apartment – just use a whisk and some man-power! It’s very important to note that your melted butter has to have cooled to room temperature. If you immediately pour the hot melted butter into the liquid batter, you will have scrambled eggs! This recipe takes less than half an hour to prepare and then 20 minutes or so to bake, so reserve an hour for these delicious muffins!
Recipe Adapted and Courtesy of: Banana Nut Muffins


·        2 cups whole-wheat flour

·        1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

·        1/2 teaspoon salt

·        4 overripe bananas

·        1 cup brown sugar

·        3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

·        2 eggs

·        ½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·        1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For vegan Banana Pecan Muffins:
-substitute ½ cup of applesauce for the eggs
-substitute ¾ cup of oil for butter

1.      Melt the butter: Microwave for 1 minute and then in 15 second intervals until liquefied. Be careful to not burn the butter. Let cool.
2.     In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3.     Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. Whisk the remaining 2 bananas and sugar together until well mixed and fluffy. Add the COOLED melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
4.     Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. You want the muffins to be fluffy!
5.     Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
6.     Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Use the toothpick test to see if they are cooked by poking the inside of a muffin with a toothpick. Clean = ready. Unclean= need more cooking.

I'm back!

Hello world! (I'm taking a leaf from my intro to computer programming class). 

I have officially returned to the blogging realm. Unfortunately, when time became of the essence and my grades took a toll, I gradually seeded out writing in this blog. I never subscribed to a meal plan however! As an engineer, many of my lunches were not spent socializing in the dining hall or at a local cafe, but rather in the library! The cool thing about college libraries is that you can eat in them! So, my go-to lunch was prepared the night before. It was a life changing discovery... the Mason Jar salad a.k.a the Tupperware salad a.k.a the Any Container with a Lid salad. 

Here is a visual and tutorial from this website.

First, I started with a homemade balsamic dressing that I used up in 2 weeks. I also stored that in a Mason jar. I found the recipe on Pinterest and the basic ingredients were: balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, brown sugar, lemon juice, onion, and salt. The key is to place your salad dressing on the bottom and to put your least "vulnerable to sogginess" vegetables on the bottom layer. The final layer in your salad will be the lettuce. Just give the jar a little shake and it's ready to be eaten!

Another staple meal that I prepared ahead of time was overnight oatmeal. I first learned about overnight oatmeal from a healthy eating seminar at UVA OpenGrounds. OpenGrounds is a concert, poetry, seminar venue on the Corner and it's a great opportunity to plug into local movements! While at the food seminar, I met Kath, of the blog Kath Eats Real Food and the owner of the Great Harvest Bread Company in Charlottesville. I was in a gym glass first thing in the mornings so I was getting very hungry by the time lunch rolled around. Therefore, the night before my workout, I made overnight oatmeal in a Mason Jar and included: Greek yogurt, peanut butter, flax seeds, fresh fruit, and oatmeal. My hunger was definitely satisfied. Below is an awesome pic of the many combinations you can have with overnight oatmeal taken from the blog Milu's Kitchen

Stay tuned for a plot twist...!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tropical Slow Cooker Jamaican Stew

Tropical Slow Cooker Jamaican Stew

I find that ethnic foods are really easy to enjoy as a vegetarian because rather than emphasizing portion sizes, salt, or fat content, they really take advantage of complimentary flavors. An obvious great combination is the sweet potato and cinnamon. Another delicious flavor combination is the curry powder and coconut milk. This recipe sounds complicated but it’s another sneaky, easy crock pot recipe. Definitely try this one!

·        1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
·        2 cloves garlic, minced
·        2 cups sliced baby carrots
·        ¼ large onion
·        1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
·        2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
·        2 tsp. curry powder
·        1/2 tsp. dried thyme
·        Dash of cinnamon
·        Dash of nutmeg
·        Freshly ground black pepper
·        2 (16 oz.) cans pinto beans (or kidney as substitute)
·        1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
·        2 cups vegetable broth 

1.   Chop up the garlic, carrots, onion, sweet potato, and tomatoes and combine in a bowl. (I did this the night before so the next morning, it took me 5 minutes to place everything into the slow cooker).

2.   Pour the oil into the slow cooker and start heating. Stir in all the spices and heat.
3.   Add the remaining ingredients.
4.   Reduce heat, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Spinach Dahl

Slow Cooker Spinach Dahl (Vegan)

Dahl dishes are made up of legumes and hundreds of different types of legumes are used in Indian cooking. They include: dried beans, peas, and lentils. This recipe features lentils. The combination of spinach and lentils combine nicely to be mild but satisfying.

·        2 cups dried lentils
·        3 garlic cloves, minced
·        1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger (I use Gourmet Garden  ginger)
·        1 10oz package of frozen spinach
·        1 tablespoon curry powder
·        1 teaspoon ground cumin
·        1 teaspoon ground coriander
·        2 teaspoons mustard
·        Ground cinnamon (to taste)
·        4 cups vegetable broth
·        1 cup of water

1)      Put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
2)      Can serve alone or with rice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salsa

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salsa

Sorry for not having written in exactly 2 weeks, but these past two weeks have been such a struggle to get my work done... let alone to find time eat AND blog about it! I made this recipe very quickly based off a recipe from
Peta's Vegan College Cookbook. It's a tried and true quick + delicious recipe. 

·        1 can of black beans, rinsed
·        1 can of corn, rinsed
·        1 tomato, chopped
·        ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
·        1 teaspoon dried basil
·        1 teaspoon of sugar
·        2 teaspoons of salt

1)      In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and spices using a fork.
2)    In a large bowl, mix together the beans, corn, and tomatoes.
3)    Pour the dressing over the bean mixture. For ease, I put all of the ingredients into a Tupperware container and shook the Tupperware container around.
4)    Store in the fridge.

Possible uses:
·        Main meal
·        Salsa with chips

·        Topping for a salad in combination with sour cream, cheese, and/or guacamole.