Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Inspiration? The Food Network! And … These Books!

Where do I get my inspiration? Well, the award for the start of it all goes to my mom, who I think is the BEST. CHEF. IN THE WORLD. Second, I have a secret love affair with The Food Network channel, and I’ll watch it every chance I get. Third, I read cookbooks like it’s my job.  I’m usually not patient enough to actually follow recipes, so I tend to gather the gist of the recipe and then execute freestyle.

For your reading pleasure, I’d like to introduce my top 5 favorite cookbooks:

1. The Best Ever Vegetarian Cookbook
best ever veg

 

2. 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes
1001

 

3.  A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: The Best Vegetarian Recipes
soup soup

 

4. Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook: Revised
STUDENTVEG

 

5. Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
slowcookveg

All of these glossy, pretty books are available from Amazon and none of them are too expensive: ~$10 to ~$15 each.  If you’re looking for something else to add to your Christmas wish list – these are great additions!

They’re full of varied recipes and even if you don’t have a slow cooker, or some other fancy kitchen tool, there’s ways to alter recipes to suit your needs.  If you’ve ever got a specific question about a recipe, just e-mail me:  vieshnavi (at) gmail (dot) com.

Before Winter REALLY sets in – Jamba Juice

jambaaaa

Featured: Chunky Strawberry Topper and Mango Topper

It’s about to cool down to freezing in Boston (and let’s face it, in anywhere north of Florida) and soon it will be too cold to justify one of my favorite dining establishments: Jamba Juice. The Tampa, Florida locations opened years ago, so I’d already become familiar with Jamba Juice by the time of my arrival at Boston University. Then, I found out that the only New England location was conveniently located in the George Sherman Union – a student center/food location in the center of BU’s campus. Success!

When I had dining points as part of my BU meal plan my first two years at BU, I’d have Jamba Juice for lunch every day, literally.  My Jamba intake decreased exponentially when I moved off campus and began cooking more at home, but recently I’ve been on a Jamba craze.

My favorite blend is, without contest, the Chunky Strawberry Topper. This Jamba “Ideal Meal” is a blend of frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, nonfat plain yogurt, soymilk, organic pumpkin flax seed granola, and peanut butter topped with fresh granola and fresh bananas. The 12 oz keeps me full for hours, so it’s the perfect lunch for me. I tried the Berry Topper too, but I think I’m partial to the peanut butter and granola in the Chunky Strawberry Topper.

For an afternoon snack, I love the Strawberry Nirvana. This Jamba “Light Smoothie” is made with lower calorie dairy base, frozen strawberries, apple strawberry juice blend, frozen bananas and ice. It’s delicious and it’ll keep you full for a couple hours – at least until dinner!

Unfortunately, the Jamba Juice location in the BU GSU is limited and doesn’t have the Jamba Bakery, which is an excellent source of delicious, healthy, and sometimes vegan goodies.  The Sourdough Parmesan Pretzel, Zucchini Walnut Loaf, and Greek Goodness Wrap make my top three!

If you’re a BU student and you haven’t gone to Jamba Juice yet, you’ve been missing out! This is a healthy, tasty and wonderful choice of dining out, and they will be cutting their hours soon for winter, so grab a Jamba while you can!

  • If you’ve been to Jamba Juice, what’s your favorite drink? Why?
  • Do you find the Jamba Light as fulfilling as the regular Jamba blends?

P.S. Jenny at Enjoy Your Cheerios blogged about Jamba Juice a while back.  Check out her blog if you’re a college student motivated by living a healthy lifestyle!

Nachos Nachos Nachos!

It’s a Saturday night and I’ve a bunch of homework to do (I know, I know, most college students go out on Saturday nights … I’d prefer a movie or a nice book at home. Call me granny if you want to.), and of course I’m looking for every possible method of procrastination. I might call up my friend Karen to see if she wants to go to Sunset. Where we would get beer, but more importantly, nachos. Now, nachos could really mean any manner of things, but the nachos I’d get here are a vast improvement from the nachos I used to eat at Target when I was 6 years old.

Case in point:

1. Nachos at Target – Tasteless tortilla chips doused with heated queso. I’d get jalapeños on these nachos just because otherwise those nachos were boring…

2. South of the Border Fiesta Nachos at Sunset Grill & Tap / Sunset Cantina – Here’s the description, straight from the menu: Hot nachos topped with choice of chili (Vegetarian, Taco Beef Black Beans) , jalapenos, scallions, tomatoes, black olives, jack and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.  You can get the guac, sour cream, and salsa on the side, and you can substitute BBQ pulled pork, or add in BBQ/Cajun/Buffalo chicken. Or something. Choose a meat if you don’t want vegetarian chili, basically. But if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably looking to keep the veggie.

While rooting around the interwebs, I found a blog titled El Tour Del Nacho, written by several students in Boston who made it their mission to try and rank nachos all around Boston.  While I’m appalled that they’d rank it as such – they give Sunset the Bronze Medal for most delicious Nachos. They hold fast to The Pour House as the Gold Medal Champion. However, they give you a comprehensive analysis on the nachos. If this seems excessive, you must be new to the area. Or not from the South.

3. Repeat mention: The OTHERSIDE Nachos – I’ve professed my love for these nachos before, on this blog, but here it is again: This plate of delicious starts with a bed of tortilla chips topped with melted cheddar, jalapeños, their homemade vegetarian chili and salsa.

If you’re at home and you’re strapped for ingredients, try this twist:

Simple Nachos

  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Scallions/Jalapeños
  • Tortilla Chips – Choose a brand that ISN’T Tostitos and you’re golden
  1. Sprinkle the cheese and scallions/jalapeños on the chips to your heart’s content.
  2. Microwave 30 seconds (or less if you’ve got a really powerful microwave. The cheese should not start bubbling.)
  3. Eat!
  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do you make nachos at home?
  • If so, what do you put on them?

Baked Vegetable Frittata

The Frittata.  When I was in Copenhagen this past summer, my friend Jason introduced me to this Italian vegetable and egg dish.  Since then, I’ve discovered  numerous recipes for making frittatas, realized that each calls for the vegetables to be cooked differently, the eggs to be poured in at different times, and for the dish to be baked or broiled or cooked differently.  Alton Brown of the Food Network has a carnivorous version of the frittata recipe, for those of you cooking for a mixed party.

Because it’s slightly different from the allrecipes.com Potato and Vegetable Frittata Recipe, I’m providing Jason’s frittata recipe, which in all honesty, knowing Jason, he probably improvised the majority of it.

Potato and Vegetable Frittata

  • Large Pyrex-style oven safe glassware
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced in rings
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in thin circles
  • 2 cups potatoes, sliced in thin circles
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, sliced in rings
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper , roughly ground from peppermill
  • Dried oregano
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat your oven; set it to broil.
  2. On a frying pan, heat oil and saute the onions and garlic over a low heat until the onions begin turning clear and the garlic begins turning golden. Remove from the heat.
  3. Beat the eggs with the salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne in a separate bowl.  Mix in milk and heavy cream.
  4. Arrange the vegetables in the Pyrex (ours was an oval shaped dish). Cover the bottom of the dish with one layer of potato circles, arranged in a spiral of overlapping potato slices. Next, layer the zucchini and tomatoes,  then pour the bell peppers over the tomatoes.  Take the onions and garlic off the pan and top off the vegetable stack.
  5. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the vegetables, leaving a 1/2 inch or an 1 inch between the top of your vegetables/eggs and the top of the dish.
  6. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the mixture.
  7. Place dish in the oven and let bake/broil for about 45 minutes.  I think it took an hour for our eggs to set completely in the middle, but it really depends on your oven.  Check the dish at 30 minutes, because it could be fully cooked.
  8. When the eggs are firm and have started to brown around the edges, remove from oven and check center of dish to see if it is fully cooked.
  9. Cut into wedges and serve with hot sauce.

Enjoy!

  • What about you? Have you ever made a frittata?
  • Did you roast the vegetables beforehand?
  • What side dishes do you usually serve with frittatas?

Basil, Oregano, & Garlic: Flavors of My Winter “Pasta Primavera”

primavera

After eating one too many meals out this week, I spent the entire BU vs. UNH Men’s Ice Hockey game Saturday night (-we won, 4-2!) getting progressively hungrier and wondering about what I could make for dinner. The contents of my fridge really need to be emptied before I skip town for Thanksgiving. I thought about what I had – zucchinis, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic… Combining those ingredients with the Italian herbs I had in my spice cabinet, I put together my take on a pasta primavera … in the winter. (For those of you who don’t know, “primavera” means “spring” in Italian.)

Wintertime Pasta “Primavera”

  • 1 cup large shell pasta
  • Barilla Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped in long thin strips
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped in semicircles (width – a little thinner than a centimeter)
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped in thin semicircles
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Fresh Basil, garnish, optional
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan until it is al-dente.
  2. Once the water for the pasta is boiling, cut the vegetables.
  3. Heat oil on a flat pan – enough for all of the vegetables – 3-4 tbsp, more if needed, then lower heat to medium
  4. Throw some garlic salt and basil on the oil as it heats up.  Once it starts to snap, add the onions and cook until they start to turn clear.
  5. Add more basil and some oregano as well as the bell peppers and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once the bell peppers begin to become tender, add the zucchini and some salt.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and crushed pepper and let cook until the tomatoes start to soften and liquidate.
  8. Add the tomato sauce, mixing until all of the vegetables are covered lightly. Let simmer until sauce is thoroughly heated or vegetables fully cooked.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables. Toss together, turn off flame.  Let cool slightly, garnish with fresh basil, then serve.

This made about 2-3 servings, which was great because now I have leftovers for today. Yay!

  • What about you? What vegetables do you include in pasta dishes?
  • What spices do you use for Italian food?
  • What is your favorite type of tomato sauce? Or, do you like to make your own?

Scrambled Eggs or Omelettes?

Vegetarians often have a huge problem with variable sources of protein, so growing up, my parents always stressed the importance of eating eggs and cheese.  Conveniently, I’m not a vegan – there’s nothing that could get me to give up ice cream, milk, quesadillas, scrambled eggs… and the list goes on.

Backing up to the scrambled eggs, let’s talk about more breakfast options.  I have to be in the mood to eat eggs, but once I get into the mood, I love them cooked in several different ways.  However, my favorite has to be two classics: scrambled eggs and omelettes. I’ve experimented over the years with different types of cheese, different combinations of vegetables, and different ways of cooking the vegetables. I’ve also switched to Egg Beaters (egg substitute in a carton) instead of real eggs in order to keep my cholesterol in the normal to low range.  Yes, I realize I’m 21, and I also realize that most people don’t worry about cholesterol at this age.  Genetics, however, likes to spite me, and I’m reminded that high cholesterol tends to run in my family and that my father had his own fight to bring down his cholesterol levels several years ago.

Because I don’t want to go on a seriously restricted diet and take medicines in 5 or 10 years to combat this unnecessary sign of aging, I watch my cholesterol intake carefully.  So long as I avoid fast foods – done easily as most restaurants don’t use different frying oil for say french fries or chicken fingers (take Rhett’s, located in the Boston University George Sherman Union, for example) and most don’t section off their grills when cooking hamburgers and veggie burgers (UBurger, and I’m sure many others I’m unaware of) – and maintain awareness of how I cook my foods, I know I’ll be fine.

Sorry about the cholesterol tangent – back to eggs.

Step 1: Choose your eggs

  • Real Eggs (I grew up eating white eggs in FL, but my friend Karen grew up in MA eating brown eggs… so it’s really personal preference. I’ve never noticed a difference in taste.)
  • Egg Beaters (egg substitute)
  • Egg Whites

Because Martha Stewart would disprove of any method otherwise, if I’m cooking with real eggs, I’ll always beat them with a whisk, and never with a fork.  I add a little milk to make the eggs lighter and fluffier (amount variable, never more than 1/4 cup per 2 eggs), salt and pepper.  I like to use a spice grinder with a coarse setting, otherwise I feel the eggs drown out the flavor of the pepper.

Step 2: Choose your grease

Okay, that’s not as gross as it may have sounded. Unless you have a large egg skillet – mine is really only large enough to fry an egg on – or a nonstick pan, you’ll want to grease the pan before cooking the eggs. Otherwise, they’ll stick and they’ll burn and your whole place of residence will reek of eggs.  These are my usual options:

  • PAM cooking spray – this is the low cholesterol, flavor-retaining option.  Don’t overdo the spraying though, or you WILL taste the PAM, and trust me that’s gross. Dab the pan with a paper towel once you’ve sprayed it to make sure you’ve just coated the pan lightly.
  • Butter – real butter, on a stick.  You don’t need to cover the whole pan, just run the stick over the surface of the pan lightly in a zig-zag method.  Remember when you’d use a glue-stick in elementary school to paste something onto paper? Same idea.
  • Spreadable butter – place a pat of butter on the pan, turn on the stove, and as the butter melts, slowly lift and rotate the pan to spread the butter.
  • Margarine – I really dislike that margarine is high in trans fat, so I only use it if I have nothing else.  And usually, I don’t have margarine anyway.

Step 3: Choose your cheese

  • My favorite: Grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar.  I love the flavor of cheddar and sharp/extra-sharp stands out against the flavor of the eggs.
  • Kraft Mexican Blend
  • Grated mild cheddar
  • Cheddar & Monterey Jack
  • Swiss

Step 4: Choose your veggies

This step is wholly dependent on personal preferences, but here’s the assortment of veggies I love to choose from.  Several friends of mine love to roast their veggies first before putting them in the omelette, but I prefer them fresh, thrown into the omelette/scrambled eggs halfway through cooking the eggs.

  • Diced red onions – yellow onions work too, obviously. I just like the color of the red onions.
  • Diced bell peppers – choose a mix of colors.  Orange peppers are pretty.
  • Diced tomatoes – yes, coming from the girl who doesn’t really like raw tomatoes.
  • Sliced black olives – I dislike green olives, but if you don’t, go for it.
  • Diced zucchini
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Fresh spinach

I never put in all of these veggies at once, though it would probably still taste good if I did. The last three, I would probably roast a little before adding them to the eggs, because they tend to be tougher vegetables if uncooked and the texture would contrast a little too strongly with the eggs.

Step 5: Cook it!

Before you begin doing anything with the eggs – put the toast in your toaster! For toast options, see my breakfast post from November 4th.

My first instinct is to assume everyone knows how to cook eggs, but assumptions are dangerous.  So here’s a short crash course on cooking eggs.  Whether scrambling or making omelettes, crack your eggs on the side of the bowl or edge of the counter and open them up into a bowl.  Add salt, pepper and milk. I also add crushed red pepper, but only add that if you can handle the spice.

Whisk using a whisk if your like your eggs properly beaten or beat with a wooden spoon if you like the white/yellow mix of color more distinct in your eggs. Turn your stove on and grease the pan with your choice from Step 2 above.

Once the pan is warmed up, pour in your egg mixture and let sit for a minute. Make sure you keep the stove flame on low/medium otherwise the eggs won’t cook from the inside out and you will burn your mixture.

Scrambled eggs

As the eggs start to whiten and solidify on the bottom, start moving them in the pan with a flat spoon or spatula.  The trick is not to let the eggs stick or sit for too long.  You can flip the eggs as they begin to fluff up to make sure they’re cooked evenly.  When the eggs are 2/3 cooked, add in the veggies so they cook a little with the eggs.  Just before you remove the eggs from the pan, add in the cheese and mix into the eggs thoroughly so the cheese melts.

Here’s a short YouTube clip from One Pot Chef, an Australian guy who simplifies cooking in an easy-to-follow manner:

Omelette

As the eggs start to whiten and solidify on the bottom, move the eggs gently from the outside edge toward the middle and tilt the pan in the direction of your flat spoon/spatula so the still-runny part of the mixture moves off the top of the solidifying eggs and fills in the space you create on the outside.

When no more runny mixture remains but the eggs are still whitish, flip the pancake-shaped eggs and let the top cook for a minute.  Sprinkle your veggies and eggs on top and fold over the eggs like a quesadilla. Let cook another minute or two, but don’t let it burn.

Place the toast and eggs on a plate, put some ketchup or hot sauce on those eggs and enjoy!

P.S. Cholula hot sauce is the best.

No, You DON’T Need Chicken Broth to Make Soup, Thanks.

Every time I walk into Panera Bread, I look up at the menu and die a little on the inside because all I want is Broccoli Cheddar Soup, but of course, it’s made with chicken broth. Tell me why they can’t make it with vegetable broth?  Some of my friends like to tell me that the taste is significantly improved with the stewed dead animal base, but I will never be able to judge for myself.

When I was in Geneva last spring, I found myself thinking, What should I make for dinner? I have… broccoli. And cheese. OH HEY. Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Okay, so it may have been Broccoli Gruyère Soup, but Gruyère is better than cheddar anyway (and it IS available at Star Market in the imported/specialty cheese sections.  It’s a bit pricey, $20/lb, so I don’t really recommend adding it to your weekly/bi-monthly grocery list.)

Here’s the recipe for Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup, altered to account for my vegetarianism:

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Substitute Gruyère in same quantity if you’re feeling international)

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the vegetable stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

 

Fruit & Granola Smoothies with Toast

It’s a Saturday morning, which immediately calls for an elaborate mid-morning brunch. While my go-to for brunch is the standard American veggie omelette, pancakes, and breakfast potatoes, every once in a while I find myself thinking: If I didn’t fill myself up with such heavy breakfast foods, maybe my Saturdays would be far more productive. Well, in my search for something equally delicious, but significantly healthier, I settled on smoothies and toast.

Now, the specifics of the smoothie and the style of and spread on the toast are entirely up to your personal palette, but as I generally do, I’m going to offer my two cents on what I believe are delicious smoothies and types of breads.  The only heavy machinery required for smoothies is a good blender (okay, I’m kidding about the heavy machinery part, but really, invest in a good blender).  My favorite blender is the Oster brand.  Oster is relatively inexpensive, running about $20 for an average quality blender, but you can invest in a $60 stainless steel blender if you happen to be a blender enthusiast.  Here’s my blender, a basic 10-speed:

osterblender

Strawberry Banana Granola Smoothie

(Change the quantities to taste – I’ll admit I’ve never actually measured my smoothie ingredient measurements.)

  • 5 oz. fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 3 drops vanilla extract

Making the smoothie is extremely simple: Wash strawberries and remove stems. Process all ingredients in your blender until smooth.

Now, for toast: I personally love whole grain or oatmeal breads because they have a distinct flavor that isn’t lost in the toasting process.  I grew up eating Nature’s Own Honey Wheat, which is still my go-to bread if I’m having trouble choosing from the generally extensive bread selection at Shaw’s (now Star Market).  There are two brands that make oatnut bread, one is Freihofer’s which I simply cannot stop eating. Cinnamon Raisin bread is great for toast, but I find the combination of a smoothie and cinnamon raisin toast entirely too sweet.  I toast my bread via toaster oven to a medium toast, flipping the toast the second it starts darkening. Black & Decker makes a simple, functional, but high-quality toaster oven.  This is the one I have:

toaster

For toppings, I love simple buttered toast with my smoothies because there’s enough sweetness in the latter as is.  Land O’Lakes Spreadable Butter and Country Crock Original (Margarine) are my favorites, because they spread easily without crushing or tearing the toast. Currently, I’m enjoying homemade peach jam, courtesy of my friend Christina’s dad, but otherwise I would opt for strawberry jam or orange marmelade.

And, I almost forgot. The best part of smoothies is they can be taken to go.

Enjoy your breakfast!

P.S. If you’re craving pancakes, Jenny offers a healthy alternate recipe for Banana Oatmeal Pancakes at her blog: Enjoy Your Cheerios.

Salads: Beyond a Plateful of Lettuce

Upon finding out that I’m a vegetarian, people always ask me, “So, what do you eat? Salads?”  I used to respond with annoyance about how I hated salads, that vegetarians are people, not rabbits, and that everyone on the planet is completely narrow-minded, but now I suppose I have to eat my words. Sort of.

Salads aren’t inherently awful.  But, the simple garden salad with ranch dressing and croutons, aside from serving as a delicious side to a pizza hut Veggie Lover’s pan pizza, bores me to tears.  Creativity, wins again though, and I’ve found several places in Boston that serve delicious varieties of salads – go figure. Here are my two favorites:

1) Sal’s Pizza – Located in the center of Boston University’s campus (BU East T stop on the Green Line B), Sal’s offers multiple varieties of giant-sized, boxed salads to go.  The garden salad and Greek salads are my favorite because they each have distinct sets of ingredients and generous helpings of veggies aside from lettuce.  They offer about 10 different options for dressings, which is great if you’re me and tend to get bored quickly.

2) Panera Bread – The Greek Salad: This salad offers a healthy blend of romaine lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, feta cheese, peperoncini, red onions, Kalamata olives, pepper & the house Greek dressing. A classic for all time, this salad is only topped by the Tomato & Mozzarella Salad, a seasonal salad which is a mix of, you guessed it, chunks of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

If you’re looking to make your salads at home, but you’re looking for something other than the traditional garden, greek or caesar, here’s the recipe of a Waldorf-style salad I really enjoy.  Some people prefer mayo, others yogurt – I like both, but I prefer yogurt in my salads.

Waldorf Salad with Yogurt

  • 1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green seedless grapes, sliced (or a 1/4 cup of raisins)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 Red Delicious apple, cored and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Fresh Spinach Leaves

To make the dressing, mix together the yogurt, lemon juice and spices. Toss the apples, grapes, raisins, celery, and walnuts with the spinach. Then, mix in the dressing and serve.  This salad is great followed by a small bowl of ice cream.  It’s perfect for late summer/ early fall, or really, for as long as you can find good apples.

Sandwiches. And no, not just PB & J.

I tend to grow bored of eating the same or similar types of foods really easily.  Growing up, I frustrated my mother countless times when I told her I was sick of [insert food item of choice here] and didn’t want to eat that for another month or so.  Since my take-out food options for afternoon snacks/early dinner were already limited she would continually search out new food options or simply ignore my protests.

1) Subway Veggie Delite

veggie delite

I’ll admit, this is my favorite veggie sandwich when eating out.  Though I ask the Subway food preps to change their gloves (annoying the customers in line behind me) and to wipe down the counters and use a clean knife, the sandwich itself never fails to deliver.  My favorite type of bread is the Parmesan Garlic, and I load the sandwich with American cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños, pickles, onions, black olives, and a mix of seasoning.  Ask for spicy mustard – it’s not actually spicy, it’s just a better flavor – mayonnaise (unless you’re vehemently opposed to it), oil and vinegar.  Best combination ever.

If you’re just aching for a hot sandwich – try the Flatbread Veggie Delight with the same toppings listed above, but ask for the bread toasted. It’s a whole new level of delicious.

2) Panera Bread Mediterranean Veggie I liked this sandwich much more on the original ciabatta bread with the cucumber sauce.  While you have the option of switching out the tomato basil bread to ciabatta, the corporation has ceased to offer the cucumber sauce. Instead, the sandwich includes “Zesty Peppadew piquant peppers,” which to me are entirely too sweet, contrasting sharply with the rest of the sandwich.  The cucumber sauce was replaced by cilantro Jalapeño hummus, whose flavor is lost in the expanse of the sandwich.  I do like the ingredients of the sandwich otherwise: feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions (hold the tomatoes, please).

3) Espresso Royale Caffe – There are two locations in Boston I’m familiar with.  I usually go to the location on Commonwealth Ave, in the center of BU’s campus.  The restaurant on Newbury St. provides the same menu options, so really it’s a matter of convenience.  There are a variety of bagel sandwich options available here, and everything is vegetarian friendly.  The sunrise sandwich is one of my favorites – scrambled eggs, bagel of choice… unless you’re vegan, there’s no way to go wrong with this one.

So, sandwiches? Seriously Delicious.

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