More stories

  • in

    I’m a Vegetarian and My Boyfriend Isn’t. Here’s What I Make in a Week

    Cooking is my love language. Some people give gifts and some people write love letters, but I cook. Though my boyfriend knows a thing or two about roasting veggies and makes a mean pasta sauce, I like to do the cooking because it’s the way I take care of the people I love. It’s an activity I look forward to all day long, and let’s be honest, I’m just way better than he is (he’s better at doing the dishes, so win-win!). However, every meal I make is vegetarian. I’ve never eaten meat in my life (nope, not once!), so I wouldn’t even know what to do with a chicken breast, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between an oyster and a clam. My boyfriend grew up on chicken wings and steak, so I knew his adjustment to my plant-based lifestyle would not necessarily be seamless. 
    While every relationship is different, having dinner is something we like to do together. Eating together is our special ritual; I like to cook for him, and we hang out in the kitchen to catch up on our days. While many couples prefer to eat separate meals (especially when they have different dietary needs), I’ve found ways to make my cooking style work for both of our preferences, so I recorded my meals through an entire week of dinners from Sunday to Thursday (you best believe Friday is reserved for sushi takeout!). Read on for my tips, tricks, and recipes for cooking dinner as a vegetarian for my meat-loving boyfriend. 

    Sunday: Pasta Night

    My boyfriend and I are both Italian, so pasta is the natural go-to in our house. Seriously, there have been weeks where we have same kind of pasta every single night. It’s a good Sunday meal because it’s easy, simple, and delicious. Plus, whether or not you eat meat, everybody loves pasta, right? For plant-based options, I use quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea pasta, or I’ll make spaghetti squash. As for sauce, I love a homemade pesto or quick marinara, but I’ve also been known to get adventurous by adding avocado or hearts of palm to make a vegan “pasta alfredo” (at this point, my boyfriend has stopped asking what’s in the sauce). Don’t forget a simple side salad!  

    Monday: Korean Savory Pancakes

    The secret to getting your significant other to eat less meat? Get adventurous. Since I love to cook and try new foods, I make sure to experiment with different flavors and learn about different diets I would not otherwise be exposed to. In other words, my boyfriend is never bored. I was inspired by a recipe from Bonberi of bin dae tteok, or savory mung bean pancakes, which is a traditional Korean dish. Due to lack of time, I replaced mung beans with chickpea flour (very untraditional) and put together these delicious and dip-able pancakes in under 20 minutes. Trust me, he’s not missing his steak dinners. 

    Tuesday: Fried Egg Tacos

    Pro tip: If you live with someone who has totally different dietary preferences, taco night is the way to go. They’re easily customizable, and all you have to do is prepare a few different toppings and a couple of different fillers. I’ll fill mine with veggies and beans, but my boyfriend can add any kind of meat to his if he’s craving some extra protein. Another favorite hack is to top quesadillas or tacos with a fried egg for extra flavor and protein. I love using eggs for dinner as a protein we both can eat. 

    Wednesday: Blue Apron Meal for Two

    And now for my best cooking-for-two-different-diets hack: Blue Apron. Let’s be honest, yes, I love cooking, but I don’t always have time to meal plan, grocery shop, and DIY an entire meal from scratch. I think of Blue Apron as an investment in our relationship because we both can get what we want. Sometimes the vegetarian option is so delicious and filling that my boyfriend doesn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat. But when he is craving some chicken, steak, or seafood, Blue Apron offers the ability to have two separate proteins for the same recipe, so I’ll add tofu and he’ll add pork—no separate meal required. 
    Sign up for Blue Apron to get up to 14 free meals!

    Thursday: Asparagus Soup

    Some nights, I cook something that may not be filling enough for my boyfriend, so he’ll plan ahead to make his own meat if he wants something extra. Tonight, I was craving soup (it was a rare occurrence, I swear), so I prepared a thick asparagus soup and topped it off with pumpkin seeds and toasted baguette. Bonus life hack: Throw any soup into the blender, and it’ll immediately taste richer and creamier, even if it’s totally vegan. While that was enough for me, my boyfriend roasted some chicken for himself to eat with the soup. Bottom line is, if you have a meat-loving significant other or your roommate is fully plant-based while you can’t give up bacon, any vegetarian main meal can be turned into a side dish for a meat-lover. 

    Super Simple Vegetarian Trader Joe’s Recipes
    that anyone can make!

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

  • in

    Matcha Is Not Just a Trend: Here’s What You Should Know About It

    Move aside, espresso! Whether matcha is a new ingredient you spotted at Starbucks or a longtime staple in your household, this superfood packs some serious benefits that many Everygirl editors have experienced for themselves. FYI, matcha isn’t just a trendy caffeine craze taking over coffee shop menus and health food store shelves; it has roots in ancient Chinese and Japanese history. The powerful powdered tea is said to have originated in China (over 4,000 years ago!) before making its way to Japan and becoming a key part of tea ceremonies for thousands of years. With a history like that, you know it’s gotta have the health benefits to back it up.

    In this article

    What is matcha?
    “Matcha has been an all-star for centuries and was traditionally used in Chinese medicine,” explained Shizu Okusa, founder of Apothékary, a brand of plant-based medicine supplements based in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Japanese Kampo Medicine. “Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are grown in the shade to avoid direct sunlight. This process increases the content of nutrients, including amino acids and antioxidants, and is rich in chlorophyll.” In other words, it’s a powdered, more concentrated version of the green tea you’d find as loose leaf or in a tea bag, giving it a bright green hue, earthy taste, and high levels of antioxidants. 

    What are the benefits?
    “Matcha is known for boosting the metabolism, sharpening cognitive function, and basically keeping you on your A-game,” Okusa said. Yes, matcha is known as a coffee alternative because it contains caffeine, but the effects are very different. According to U.S. News & World Report, matcha gives you a calmer, more sustained energy, whereas coffee can make you feel jittery or leave you with that dreaded caffeine crash. Every body is different, so it’s important to experiment for yourself, but if you’re experiencing negative symptoms from coffee, like energy crashes or trouble sleeping, matcha might be a good alternative. 
    Beyond the caffeine, matcha itself is a powerful health food. It contains a high amount of antioxidants (one study found the number of antioxidants in matcha is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea. That’s a lot of antioxidants!), can help boost brain health, and may help promote heart health. Traditionally, matcha was seen as having energetic benefits as well. “This powerful superfood contains both Yin and Yang aspects by increasing energy while promoting calmness,” Okusa explained. 

    How to DIY Your Own Matcha at Home
    Matcha is a simple ingredient to incorporate at home, and even DIYing a frothy matcha latte is just as doable as brewing a cup of coffee. The traditional method is to put matcha and hot water in a tea bowl and whisk with a bamboo whisk, called “temae” (or a procedure for making tea). Also, be aware that matcha has not only been used for health benefits or as a delicious morning beverage, it also has important ceremonial ties. A tea ceremony is a Japanese ritual based on principles like hospitality, minimalism, and simplicity. To honor the tradition (and reap the benefits), view making and drinking matcha as an opportunity to take a pause from busy life rather than just a quick caffeine fix. Try a few minutes of meditation while drinking or share a cup of matcha with a friend. 
    If you prefer something a little frothier or sweeter, try adding your favorite latte sweetener, like honey or stevia, and whatever milk or creamer you prefer after whisking the hot water and Matcha powder together. Think of the whisking process like your machine making coffee or espresso. You have to fully blend your coffee before adding milk or sweetener, right? The same goes for matcha. Whisk with less hot water if you want to add more creamer to make a latte (think: similar to an espresso shot). Alternatively, whisk with more hot water if you want a thinner consistency. Pro tip: Matcha also works in baked goods too. 

    Try it:

    Shop Our Favorites

    What Experts Add to Their Coffee
    check out what nutritionists, doctors, and wellness bloggers drink in the A.M. More

  • in

    What I Make for Dinner When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

    No matter what I do or where I am in my life, it’s absolutely inevitable that a couple of times a week, I just do not feel like cooking. But a girl’s gotta eat (and doesn’t always want to order takeout) so an arsenal of easy dinner recipes has a permanent spot in my brain for when I just can’t muster up the will to really cook.
    It’s easy to turn to scrambled eggs or PB&J for those dreaded nights, but I’m here to inform you that that need not be the case. You can make easy meals with just as minimal effort, but that will give you a little more oomph (and ideally, a little more nutritional value). Hitting that sweet spot between minimal effort and filling you up is key, and the balance is one that can be mastered with a bit of trial and error (and for me, the help of my air fryer).
    Looking for some go-to, simple recipes to add to your weekly rotation? We’ve got you covered.

    Source: Gimme Delicious

    Source: Recipe Runner

    Source: Cookin Canuck

    Source: The Modern Proper

    Source: Pinch of Yum

    Source: My Everyday Table

    Source: The Modern Proper

    Source: Tastes Better From Scratch

    Source: Tasty

    Source: Peas and Crayons

    Source: Live Eat Learn

    Source: Morning Star Farms

    Source: Taste of Home

    Source: Taste of Home

    Source: Damn Delicious More

  • in

    7 Hacks That Have Transformed My Cooking Routine

    I’m a firm believer that when it comes to cooking, you either love it or loathe it, and that’ll never change. For most of my life, my feet were firmly planted on the side of hating cooking—that is, until I started relying on cooking hacks that would easily transform raw ingredients to a meal on a plate.
    Unless I’m cooking with friends or family, 99 percent of the time, I want to get it over with as quickly and efficiently as possible. I envy people who enjoy chopping and grating and treat cooking like the ultimate form of self-care—I’m just not one of them. So instead of forcing myself to be, I use a few go-to tricks to make homemade meals in a way that doesn’t make me feel like it took all day.
    Ready to transform your cooking skills? These are some hacks I use in the kitchen that have transformed my cooking experience from dreaded to enjoyable.

    1. I treat myself to Blue Apron

    One of my biggest issues with cooking used to be that I would eat the same five or so meals over and over again. Even if they’re five meals I really like, it quickly gets boring and makes the cooking process feel redundant. To curb kitchen boredom, I’ve turned to Blue Apron to push me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to new, delicious meals.
    With up to 35 meal options available each week, there’s something for everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions or taste preferences. If there’s something about the recipe you don’t like or can’t have, you can add, swap, or upgrade your ingredients to make it perfect for you.

    My favorite part of Blue Apron is how much it’s made me look forward to cooking. The parts I don’t like (last-minute grocery store runs and searching the aisles for hard-to-find, expensive sauces I might not ever use again) are already done for me , and I can truly look forward to having a well-made, delicious meal that I can make in my own kitchen. None of them are too difficult or time consuming, since most of the recipes can be prepared in under 35 minutes. If I’m busy or out of town, Blue Apron is flexible and allows me to skip weeks or change my plan with zero hassle. Blue Apron’s meals have taught me to enjoy the process of cooking, and it spices up my weekly meal without takeout or delivery fees.
    Get 10 free meals and free shipping when you switch to Blue Apron!

    2. I turn to my air fryer to do the heavy-lifting

    There’s nothing that I use in my kitchen more than my air fryer. I’ve always been a bit weird about meat, and while I’ll eat it, I absolutely hate preparing it. With my air fryer, I can season my meats and veggies however I want. Then I toss it in, and it does everything for me, leaving me with the perfect crispy-but-tender results every single time. From homemade french fries to baked oats, my air fryer makes delicious foods like a little chef who lives in my kitchen and makes everything just a bit better than I can. 

    Compact Air Fryer
    I have a small kitchen, and this is the air fryer I bought to save space. I absolutely love it and find that despite it’s smaller size, it does the job just as well as my parent’s larger, full-size one. I’ve recommended this to just about everyone who will listen.

    3. I freeze my herbs

    It took way too long to realize that the reason my cooking was so underwhelming was because I wasn’t using enough spices and herbs to give it flavor. To solve this problem, I started growing a few of my own—basil, mint, and cilantro—on the windowsill in my apartment to always have access to a few fresh ones. To make sure none of my precious harvest ever goes to waste, I regularly trim them and keep what I’m not using in Ziploc bags in my freezer. That way, I always have them ready to add to soups, sauces, and smoothies—no trip to the grocery store necessary, and no waste in sight. 

    4. I pay attention to the order I measure ingredients in

    One of the least beloved parts of cooking is obviously the cleanup process. I used to measure my ingredients any which way, but now, I pay close attention to the order so cleaning up isn’t so tedious. 
    When I’m using wet and dry ingredients, I measure the dry first to make sure I’m not putting dry ingredients into an already-wet measuring cup where they’ll be sure to stick. If I’m using any sticky ingredients (like honey or agave), I’ll measure the oily ones first, which helps the sticky ones slide right out when it’s time to wash dishes.

    5. I prep sauces and dressings in bulk

    While I’m not opposed to using pre-made dressings and sauces, I usually like knowing what’s going into mine to avoid any unnecessary additives. I often turn to a few easy, go-to combos—like mayo and sriracha or olive oil and lemon juice—to top off my meals.
    It isn’t difficult to reach for a couple of different bottles, but when you’re doing it every day, it can add to the headache of cooking. For sauces and dressings I use multiple times a day, I’ve started making them in bulk and keeping them in glass jars in the fridge to speed up the process. I’ve noticed that when I’m hurrying to throw together a meal during my lunch break or at night before a workout, this little change makes all the difference.

    6. I shortcut halving produce

    Cutting produce like cherry tomatoes or small potatoes can feel tedious, so when I do need to do it, I place them between two plates, then hold the top one down and slice through the middle. It makes the entire halving process take less than 10 seconds, and anything that speeds up chopping is an immediate yes from me.

    7. I pre-prep smoothie ingredients

    I drink a smoothie almost every day, most of them a mix of both fresh and frozen ingredients. Rather than pulling them all out every day, at the start of each week, I throw single-portion ingredients into plastic baggies (which I keep to re-use every week) and put them in the freezer. Then when it’s time to make my morning smoothie, all I have to do is grab the baggie and put the ingredients in my blender with some almond milk, and I’m good to go. 

    An Editor Shares the 6 Easiest Meals She Makes on Repeat

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

  • in

    13 Health Experts Share Their Favorite Salad Recipe

    You might hear “salad recipes” and think of dull greens and boring veggies. But this roundup is not about lackluster healthy food. No, this article is for those who don’t particularly like salads, who don’t believe anything healthy can also be delicious, and who are struggling to keep up with a healthy diet. You see, the true experts know that the key to staying healthy is not to force yourself to eat the same dull foods like chicken and broccoli or—you guessed it—a plain salad.
    The actual key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle is to turn good-for-you foods into delicious meals that you’ll crave all the time (read: “Salad Pizza”). I quizzed some of my favorite nutritionists, doctors, and all-around wellness gurus for the salads that not only pack a nutritional punch but are also so good that they can’t get enough. Read on for some much-needed salad inspo. Your meals are about to get so much more green.

    1. McKel Kooienga, MS, RD, LDN, Author and Founder of Nutrition Stripped

    “My favorite go-to salad is my Eggs, Beans, and Greens Salad Bowl. Salads can easily be unsatisfying or leave you hungry. This salad uses my Foundational Five system for creating a balanced meal, ensuring you’re consuming the nutrients you need to support digestion, steady energy, sound sleep, clear focus, and long-term health. What I really love about this salad (aside from how easy it is to make) is the homemade dressing, which brings it all together in a really flavorful way. Get the full recipe here.” 

    2. Berrion Berry, Period Educator, Practitioner, and Founder of The Flo Academy

    “I’m obsessed with Caesar salads, but they’re not always the most nutrient dense, so I’ve jazzed it up to be a lot more Flo-friendly and liver-loving. Instead of a traditional romaine for the base, I like to use kale (hot tip: massage the kale to make it easier for digestion). Swap the croutons for roasted chickpeas, add nutritional yeast for cheese, and top with your dressing. I like a dairy-free caesar dressing made with Dijon mustard, lemon, water, and tahini. Mix it all together and it’s the best of both worlds: classic but packed with nutrients.
    You can also do a lot with a Caesar salad to make it your own. For example, I have recently been adding Loona Seeds (which are perfect for seed cycling) and it’s taken my salads to the next level. Click here for the full recipe.”

    3. Dr. Mona Vand, Pharmacist and Digital Creator

    “Whether you’re fully plant-based or not, getting in your raw greens just does the body (and skin) good. I have a sour palate because I grew up eating Persian food, which includes a lot of lemon, lime, and sour flavor. So this salad has a salty and sour taste–it’s so yummy! Find the full recipe here and my favorite salad dressing here.”

    4. Dr. Alejandro Junger MD, Cardiologist and Best-Selling Author

    “The Superfood Rainbow Salad is perfect for summer! It uses a rainbow of colors and is so fresh. Try this salad on its own, or pair with your favorite protein. For the full recipe, click here.”

    5. DJ Blatner, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and NOW Wellness Expert

    “My favorite salad is a salad pizza with lemon-flax vinaigrette dressing. This super summery salad pizza is made with thin raw zucchini, arugula, tomato, fresh basil, and ricotta cheese and topped with lemon-flax dressing for a dose of healthy vegetarian omega-3 fats. Whatever salad doesn’t fit on the pizza, I eat on-the-side. For the full recipe, click here.”

    “This refreshing Cucumber and Hijiki Salad is a delicious alternative to the traditional seaweed salad. It contains hijiki, which is black seaweed that is used in many Japanese soups and salads. Hijiki is revered in Japan as a food that enhances beauty and adds strength and shine to your hair. It’s the most mineral-dense of all seaweeds, and the highest in iron and calcium. I love this salad because it’s easy to make, highly nutritious, and has the most yummy crunch. You can make it with dried hijiki, one large cucumber, half a red bell pepper, and green onions. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, finely minced ginger, olive oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and salt and pepper for the dressing, and enjoy!”

    7. Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN, Health Coach and Founder of BZ Nutrition

    Source: The Infatuation
    “My favorite salad is the Insalata Verde from Via Carota in the West Village, NYC. It’s such a simple green salad, and yet, it is so flavorful and filling. I always aim to have 2-3 cups of green veggies (raw or cooked), so this salad does the trick, and it is packed with filling fiber to keep me satiated. The variety of greens contain extra hydration (especially for hot summer days) and are a great source of folate for any mommas-to-be. Thanks to this NY Times recipe, I can recreate the salad at home.”

    “This Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad combines a few of my favorite things: buffalo sauce, fresh veggies, and cilantro ranch. I love this salad because not only does it feature some of my favorite flavors, but the air fryer chicken nuggets add the protein content that takes this salad to the next level. Salads that keep you full for a few minutes are a thing of the past: with the protein from the chicken nuggets, the healthy fats from the avocado, and the fiber from all of these delicious vegetables, this salad will have you feeling fueled up and energized for hours.
    To make, toss air fryer chicken nuggets with buffalo sauce, and then combine chopped romaine, cabbage, carrots, diced celery, and avocado. For a dressing, pulse together Bolthouse Farms Ranch Dressing and cilantro into a food processor until well-combined.”

    9. Maya Feller MS, RD, CDN, and Cookbook Author

    “I love this salad because the pairing of sweet, sour, and tangy flavors of in-season ripe tomatoes with peach and strawberry is just perfection. It’s also quick and easy to prepare, and bursting with nutrients. Find the full recipe in my book, The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life.”

    10. Dr. Steven Gundry MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Best-Selling Author

    “A Green Mango Lectin-Free Salad is so fresh and tangy, and has a delicious vegan salad dressing. Once you make this salad, you’ll never go back to boring old lettuce and ranch dressing again. For the full recipe, click here.”

    11. Megan Roosevelt, RDN and Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl

    “Caesar salad is one of my favorite salads, thanks to the the crunchy romaine and flavorful dressing. My go-to recipe has a delicious brazil nut dairy-free parmesan and a creamy egg-free Caesar dressing. Click here to check out the recipe!”

    12. Dr. Poonam Desai

    “I love what I call a ‘balanced’ salad, which includes veggies, protein, carbs, herbs, and even fruits. I do about 8-12 veggies (kale, spinach, onions, sugar snap peas, radishes, fennel, celery, carrots, beets, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, etc.), a protein (chickpeas, lentils, bulgar wheat, tofu, etc.), carbs (like sweet potatoes or quinoa), herbs (dill, parsley, mint, basil, etc.), seeds and nuts (pumpkin, sunflower, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds), and fruit (strawberries, dried cranberries, oranges). Many store-bought dressings have added sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives, so I like to make my own. My go-to dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a dash of celtic sea salt, and a little black pepper.”

    “This Warm Salmon Citrus Salad is one of my absolute favorites because hits all three of my salad criteria: balanced nutrition, full of hearty textures, and packed with flavor. It’s a great balance of proteins, fiber, and leafy greens. You get high-quality protein from both the salmon and edamame to keep you full and satisfied for hours, and, once you cook the salmon, the salad comes together really quickly. It’s also versatile enough for those who are vegan, too: swap in tofu using the same marinade or take it out completely since the edamame has enough plant-based protein. For the full recipe, click here.” More

  • in

    I’m Dairy Free—Here Are the Delicious Alternatives I Swear By

    Several years ago, it would’ve been a cold day in hell before I gave up my beloved bagels and cream cheese, Alfredo sauce, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I had suspected dairy to be the cause of my digestive woes for some time, but it wasn’t until after becoming immediately sick from a single bite of milk and cereal that I decided to get tested for an allergy. Sadly, my suspicions were right—my body had other plans for me—and I could no longer ignore what had been staring me in the face for months: I’m allergic to dairy. Luckily, we live in a world where dairy alternatives are aplenty.
    Immediately after receiving the official news, I dove headfirst into research. I was shocked to learn that not only was there a world of options at my fingertips, several of the dairy alternatives didn’t just taste the same as my tried-and-true—some tasted even better.
    If you have a dairy allergy, are lactose intolerant, or simply want to swap your dairy staples for some ever-so-slightly healthier options, here are some products I love and wholeheartedly recommend. And if you haven’t seen these exact products at your grocery store of choice, I encourage you to take a closer look on your next trip. You may just find they’ve had their own dairy substitutes all along.

    1. Simple Truth Organic Plant Based Sour Cream

    Sour cream was the first thing on my list to find a suitable substitute for. Chipotle-style burrito bowls are a staple recipe of mine, and I would’ve been absolutely devastated if I had to give them up. To my surprise, this Simple Truth Organic Plant-Based Sour Cream was hiding right next to the Daisy and Knudsen brands at my nearest Ralphs; I’d just never needed to look for it. While it doesn’t have quite the same consistency as the kind you’re probably used to, the difference in taste is pretty much indiscernible. 

    2. The Honest Stand Nacho Plant Based Dip

    I had pretty much given up all hope of having a good plate of nachos ever again (vegan cheese just doesn’t melt the same), but this spicy nacho cheese dip is a real game changer. Maybe I just can’t remember exactly what real nacho cheese tastes like, but to me, this truly tastes the same.
    3. Primal Kitchen Avocado Alfredo Sauce

    I have been loyal to Alfredo sauce since I was a kid making Pasta Roni for myself several nights a week (I thought it was cool that I cooked). Even after I grew out of Pasta Roni, I made pasta with Alfredo sauce all the time. Needless to say, losing Alfredo was a shock to my system. 
    I’ve tried switching to marinara (but I don’t love it), homemade varieties (the taste is never right), and foregoing sauce altogether in favor of olive oil (fine, but boring). When I saw the Primal Kitchen Alfredo Sauce on the shelf at Whole Foods, I knew I had to try it, even though it costs $8 a jar. It’s not a perfect substitute (it’s lighter, less creamy), but it is very good. While I hate the price point, I find myself buying two or three of these every time I go to the store. I use it with pasta or Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (a favorite of mine) whenever I want a tasty, easy, and quick meal.
    4. Kite Hill Cream Cheese

    I know I’ve described every dairy loss as a heartbreak like none I’ve ever felt before, but bagels were another regular dairy-centric part of my routine. I was extremely determined to prevent them from completely disappearing from my life, so I tried every cream cheese alternative I could get my hands on. The Kite Hill options are really the best; they certainly do the trick whenever I’m in the mood for bagels (which is often).

    5. Daiya Provolone Style Slices

    I’m seriously underwhelmed by the vegan cheese offerings of the world. They’re fine, they work, but they’ll never be a like-for-like substitute. I use Daiya shreds as a topping for my burrito bowls (though I’ll get whatever vegan shreds are available at the store I happen to be shopping at), but I found the Daiya slices to be a great option for dairy-free grilled cheese sandwiches. When cooked in a pan on the stove, the cheese actually melts really well. 

    6. Country Crock Olive Oil Butter

    Every time I have to remind my grandma of my allergy, she says, without fail, “so, you can’t have butter?” To her, it’s the end of the world. I’ve explained countless times that right next to her favorite tub of butter at the grocery store is usually a dairy-free alternative. I use the Country Crock avocado or olive oil butter and they’re perfect for all of my cooking needs. But honestly, a spread on some toast? I’d pass on this and make an avocado spread instead.

    7. Silk Almond Dairy-Free Yogurt

    At this point, I don’t know why I’m surprised to find dairy-free products hiding amongst your everyday grocery items. But when I found the Silk Almond Yogurt, I was so excited to try it, I threw caution to the wind and immediately bought five. I used to have yogurt, granola, and fruit in my breakfast rotation, and this option from Silk was the perfect way to bring it back. More

  • in

    5 Ways I Get Excited To Cook When I Really Don’t Feel Like It

    So you like cooking. Maybe you even like it enough to read about cooking tips (like this article) or at least don’t hate it enough to allot a medium-sized fortune into your UberEats budget. But after a year when going out to eat was nonexistent, sourdough bread recipes were a bigger part of your life than pants with a zipper, and to-do lists get longer and longer by the day, you might be battling a twinge of cooking fatigue. If “cooking fatigue” was in Webster’s Dictionary, it would likely be defined as “cooking so freaking often that you are bored, tired, and so over it.” While I can’t speak for Martha Stewart or Ina Garten, I can confidently say that we’ve all wanted to break up with our kitchens at one point or another.
    But cooking does not have to be a chore. In fact, cooking should feel–dare I say–fun. This might be the most unrelatable thing about me, but I rarely get tired of cooking. Like I purposefully don’t meal prep so that I have to take a full lunch break to cook an entire meal because that is the happiest moment in my day #HumbleBrag. But I didn’t just pop out of the womb with a frying pan and a spatula excited to cook (yeah, I also hated that imagery); there are a few key strategies I use so that cooking always feels exciting, fun, and stress-free. How, you ask? Read on for five secrets that help me stay excited to cook. 

    1. Utilizing meal delivery kits

    When you’re finding the recipes, making the grocery lists, going to the grocery store, and prepping the ingredients, of course you’re going to get exhausted. One of my secrets to keep cooking interesting is that I love to order from Blue Apron. That’s right: even people who love to cook can utilize a meal delivery service too. Not only does a Blue Apron box at the door give you a (much-needed) break from grocery shopping and meal prepping, but their delicious and inventive recipes serve as some major cooking inspo.

    They offer recipes and cuisines that you might not ever think to make for yourself, and you will be shocked when you find out how easy they are to cook IRL. Bonus: Blue Apron offers wellness options like vegetarian, WW-approved, etc., so you’ll feel good about what you’re eating too. Trust me: order a box today, and you might find your new favorite go-to recipe (without the hassle and time-suck of cooking on your own). 
    New customers: click here to get $80 off across your first four boxes!

    2. Reading cookbooks

    Maybe you get your meal inspo from screen-shotting Instagram accounts, or maybe you go off of TikTok trends to spice up your cooking (feta pasta, you have my heart). While I love social media for inspiration, I attribute my unwavering love for cooking to reading cookbooks. That’s right: those old-fashioned things your mom keeps on a shelf are not just meant to be gifted when you need a classy housewarming present; they can be a useful tool to make cooking more exciting. While other people are reading a thriller or romance novel, I’m devouring a cookbook (yes, that does mean reading front-to-back). Feeling immersed in a cuisine and learning everything the chef, author, or nutritionist offers about their meals makes me so much more excited to cook them. Bottom line: reading a cookbook turns cooking from a chore into a learning experience. Not sure where to begin? Here are my favorites. 

    3. Trying one new food every week

    Stuck in a food rut? Get out of it by trying a new star ingredient. While we typically stick to the same grocery lists and the same sections of the store, getting out of your comfort zone at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods doesn’t have to be difficult and can spark creativity in the kitchen. When I go to the grocery store, I challenge myself to pick up one new fruit or vegetable that I’ve either never tried before (looking at you, Japanese sweet potatoes) or have never cooked before (example: I love a good beet salad at a restaurant, but have never cooked with beets). Sometimes this requires a little bit of research (googling “how to roast beets” or “Japanese sweet potato recipes” typically does the trick), but it is a little hack that has prevented cooking from ever feeling routine. Plus, I’m getting a wider variety of nutrients by exploring a wider variety of produce.

    4. Experimenting with new tools

    Since changing up what I’m cooking helps keep it exciting, I thought it might be time to update how I’m cooking. Whether it’s an air fryer, spiralizer, or poached egg maker, there’s a wide variety of affordable, easy appliances and tools that can transform lean proteins and healthy veggies into meals you could have never imagined to be as healthy as they are. Low key, the air fryer completely changed my life, and a salad chopper somehow turns boring salads into drool-worthy creations. The truth is that healthy cooking is easy when you have a kitchen full of tools to help you do it. Simultaneously make healthy cooking easier and challenge yourself to get creative by not only changing up what you cook, but the way you cook it. For some products to try, click here. 

    5. Perfecting a couple of easy recipes I love

    Yes, getting excited about cooking is all about trying new things, but it’s also about knowing when to pull out your old-faithfuls. One of the main reasons I still love cooking so much (after doing it on a nightly basis) is because even my go-to recipes don’t feel boring or repetitive. For example, I will never get tired of cooking (or eating!) pasta. I love the experience of boiling water, chopping up garlic, and letting a simple tomato sauce cook on the stove while the spaghetti boils.
    Plus, I can make it with any pasta shape or switch up the sauce with a few easy swaps. It’s simple and easy for the days where I don’t have time (and energy) to revert to my cookbooks or experiment with something new, but it feels comforting rather than boring. Don’t settle for mundane frozen food or a basic recipe you don’t even enjoy, even on your busiest days. Instead, perfect an easy recipe that feels fun to make, and cooking will become your escape instead of a chore.

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

    I Fell In Love With Cooking This Year—Here Are 12 Recipes I Love More