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The Past Month: Meals + Thoughts

(5-6 min read)

I never thought April would come but today is April 6th – what a wonderful thing. April has always been the month that has showers that inevitably lead to budding and blooming flowers but this year, the recipe is adjusted a bit. Floral beauty will still arrive on it’s own, but we aren’t able to see it in the same ways as years prior. As I sit in my living room – the sun still tucked away in it’s blanket of the very early morning – I look at my house plants. These little guys are doing alright, but it’s as if they are craving fresh air, in person conversation, and a meal out in a restaurant like I am. At least they’re safe inside, just like we’re told we are too.

Welcome to my thoughts on what the past month has looked like and what kind of meals I’ve been eating to get me through.

Before reading any further, I wanted to disclose: I’m not aiming to get wildly dark with this post but I also feel as though it’s important to not be deep in toxic positivity (sounds like a make believe term but it’s real) in a time that truly is uncomfortable and full of shared grief. I like being real and despite my tendencies to sugar coat situations in my life as a coping mechanism to not really deal with them properly – this isn’t that! Stay real, stay safe, stay healthy and maintain the excited learner mentality right now as that’s really all we can do. Proceed!

I scrolled through my camera roll to find out what photos I took and what I was doing a month ago between March 6th + 7th. Crying over how I missed my boyfriend, organized my fridge, saw my friend’s two and half week old baby, got a hair cut, went out to visit said boyfriend at a bar that he worked at. I was sitting. in a bar. sipping away on prosecco. as everyone was briefly mentioning coronavirus (what is that? hmm sounds really strange) and moving onward with their conversations. 1. That feels like a year ago since that happened. 2. A month ago, we were all out and about surrounded by strangers in public places without a care in the world. 3. Why do I feel like an idiot and how do I process what I just wrote?

Answer to point three is: You just move on and don’t really process it. We’re in a time of response to trauma which inhibits your ability to concentrate and navigate through current experiences based off of past ones. My thoughts for weeks about that night out (which was seriously two full hours at most) were: was I exposed? What did I touch? Did I touch my face that night? Did I get more personal germs that could be the virus from my boyfriend as I hugged him when I left? I don’t remember these simple things not because I drank too much, but because we have never been so parented by the CDC and media in my lifetime until this whole thing happened. We are not programmed to be 1000% aware of our bodies and every single move they make as we go about our day. But now we are.
Toxic. Toxic. Toxic. Panic. Panic. Panic. (but for good reason and flattening the curve of course. Still sucks?)

The month of March was later filled with finding a stray cat under my apartment building, making some digital drawings, going on hikes, making a plant video I never posted, having my first ever food event canceled, not having my two part time incomes, feeling terrified, being overly tired – and here we are. Things are not all bad though and I want to emphasis that despite the narrative of the past few paragraphs. Real!

HERE ARE SOME POSITIVE THINGS I HAVE DONE

  • Support a local farmer for fresh meat and eggs that she so kindly delivered to my doorstep.
  • Bought art from four artists that supports them or a cause they care about! (@jhumanofficial + @charlavail for their Nashville Tornado Relief sticker, @vicbits for a print, and @abetensiaillustration (on insta but clickable link for Etsy) for a ‘pandemic opossum’ drawing.
  • Donated to Little Woodfords’ go fund me to help support them during this tough time.
  • Began to offer by donation digital pet portraits on my art account
  • Eating the most intuitively and as guilt free as I can

EATING

Thankfully we still have that! I’ve been craving lots of carb and starch heavy foods, which has a direct effect on your serotonin amount and the mood boosting need is certainly there in my life. Here’s a peek at a few meals I’ve eaten!

My send off thoughts: Support an artist if you can, donate or utilize a take out/curbside service (if you feel comfortable or in a financially safe place to do so) from a local to you business or food establishment, work out with a buddy over face time, nourish your body in the ways that truly make you feel good, start seeds if you have them already, REST, try some art out maybe? get creative with pantry items, reach out to family members, keep all the distance possible – you know the drill.

We’ll get through this together, separately. Everything is temporary.

Thanks so much for reading! If you want any ideas on how to utilize items in your pantry or just want to chat, contact me any time. Hang in there and get to eating!
love, Sav

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PLANNING MY FIRST EVER FOOD EVENT

The style of this post particular post is going to be part one of a series, showing a timeline of my planning, progress and overall thought process leading up to my very first food event! STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!

I can’t believe I’m writing this post, I kind of want to throw up! It is currently under a month until March 22nd where I am doing a pop-up small bite style set up at an open house for the golf course I work at part time. I’m very fortunate to have venue to show up to and promote myself at no cost – thank you so much to Allen and Johnny for allowing this to happen!

February 12th, 2020

I got confirmation today that this event is definitely happening. It’s not just an idea, but a whole planned out thing! I finished the flyer design for promotion and we’re waiting to post on social media – I’m excited to tell everyone but I also need to start planning. Here it the flyer that I made. I am proud of the design – it just really validates my ability to create, as does every digital piece of work that I make on the spot!

I am aiming to do sample sizes of the food I’m making which is how a food pop-up should be anyways, so people can try multiple things. Since this is free to the public, there’s no profit from this part of the open house directly, and I want to keep costs for the business that’s supporting me being there low. Sample sizes will also allow me to not get too overwhelmed in the days leading up to the event when it comes to making batches of what I’m planning to serve!

CURRENT “THREE COURSE” MENU IDEA
APPETIZER: Fresh veggies and chips with two homemade dips (unsure of the dips yet)
MAIN COURSE: Vegetarian Chili with Bite Size Corn Bread Muffins
DESSERT: Black Bean Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream

February 15th 2020

Today I have some free time to crunch some numbers on how much food I’ll need to supply 100 samples of each menu items – whew! A little overwhelming but eager to see what I’ll need in list form, and how much I’ll need to make. Here’s a look at my ingredient list.

I’m sure I’m missing some ingredients + I have yet to get around to quantities.

February 19th, 2020

Took a break from thinking about this whole thing for a few days but here we are again! Currently at my place of work where the event will be held and I’m getting more excited. I’m going to have to prepare a majority of the food in the kitchen at the golf course which has me a little worried for the sake of space – but I think it’ll be fine! I also have to provide a cost sheet very soon that way I can buy all of the ingredients and not have to front the money myself, which is another really considerate of my manager and boss to do for me. In addition, some logical decisions needed to be made that I did not want to press myself on too hard until recently. On that note. here is an up to date (and hopefully finalized) menu for the 22nd.

MENU
APPETIZERS: Sliced peppers, carrots, and cucumbers with homemade hummus + crackers with spinach and artichoke dip (probably veganized!)
MAIN COURSE: Vegetarian Chili with Bite Size Corn Bread Muffins
DESSERT: Black Bean Brownies

February 24th, 2020

I am going to end on a note that is concise and let’s you into my mind as this event is less than a month out. Below is a break down of what is currently on my to-do to make this event happen.

  • Place an Amazon order for sustainably made or compostable serving cups + spoons
  • Get a rough idea of the recipes – write them out on paper, then figure out big batch quantities
  • Test recipes before the second week of March
  • Get 10 personal RSVPS*
  • Get cost sheet to management two weeks before event
  • Get stickers and more shirts if it makes sense to sell at event*
  • Promote two more times on FB, and no more than four times on Insta (on both yours and Sunset Ridge’s Instagram
    • * indicates non-necessary tasks as they may create stress

The next time we check in will be after the event and I am thoroughly looking forward to reflecting and discussing what I learned from the experience.

Thanks so much for reading! If you have any feedback, feel free to reach out! 
love, Sav

SPECIAL LAST CALL ANNOUNCEMENT

I have ONE shirt left for purchase to promote your love for me and what I do. It is a white relaxed fit t-shirt with the SSWS logo within a circle in my favorite shade of green, available in the size LARGE. It can be yours for $10 + shipping (or free if you’re local!) Message me directly if you are interested. There will be more shirts later on, so keep your eyes peeled!

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MY TRUTH WITH MEAL PREPPING AND MINDFUL EATING

(4 min read)

I felt compelled to chat about the two topics of meal prepping and mindful eating as it’s something I’ve been doing for quite some time. I always love hearing about the authentic experiences of those who I can relate to and just bits on these topics in general – so here’s my input!

I have quite a few jobs that keep me rather occupied, the list is kind of endless! Something that allows all of these responsibilities to flow together truly, is being level headed and fed. I used to be top notch at meal prepping when I was in college and while working a part time nanny gig in addition to the part time hours at the greenhouse center. I’d hard boil eggs, make big batches of vegetarian chili, cook up stir fry and cut up fresh veggies with hummus. I did my best and it always saved me in moments of pure hunger in between jobs and tasks.

Life is a little different now with longer commutes to my places of work, more to remember and keep track of, all while trying to maintain a personal life – oh adulthood! Fast forward to right now, the last day in January as I’m writing this post in the midst of answering phone calls from customers and devouring some yogurt. This morning I realized I had next to nothing to bring to work to eat today. I had five quick minutes before I left to come up with something. Plain greek yogurt, raspberry jam, and chia seeds with a banana for later, which I can promise you is not what I’d want to get me through a six hour shift. Here’s the truth about meal prepping, sometimes it just doesn’t happen when you need it the most. I’m here to remind you, it’s okay. We are all human and we all kind of throw good habits to the side sometimes and that’s just life. I’m going to shift that perspective to tell you how I utilize mindful eating and planning habits whenever I can to make sure I have more than just a small yogurt bowl to eat.

MY TRUTH WITH MINDFUL EATING

I do it about 95% of the time with cooking, thinking about what I am craving and also really needing, while remaining a taste-as-you-go mentality while physically making my meals. My body also always feels like it needs many ingredients and spice filled meals so I almost always honor that interest of my stomach too. When it comes to eating solely, I am a little less in touch with my body’s cues. I over eat sometimes. I eat too late sometimes. I make “unhealthy” choices sometimes. Sometimes is not every time and that’s my focus! I aim to be as intuitive as I can.

MY TRUTH WITH MEAL PREPPING

I love the idea of it and only do it maybe 30% of the time. I want to work towards being better come spring time at meal prepping for a myriad of reasons. It’s totally doable, it just takes achieving the mindset I had years ago and being consistent!

Here are three things I’m currently doing and plan on maintaining as healthy habits to allow this goal to be met

USE MY PLANNER EVERY DAY

I keep track of my meal ideas and grocery pick ups in my passion planner, which I love so much! In addition to keeping my food priorities out on paper, my passion planner allows me to keep my schedule in check too. If you haven’t got your hands on one for the new year, now’s your chance! Not only is there “space for infinite possibility” for list making, there’s hour by hour mapping, goal sections and more to maximize your time and planning potential. Using my code, you get a 10% off your order – and I’d love to be the reason to save a little on a excellent tool to help you invest in organization in your life!

DIVE IN AND DON’T LOOK BACK

I use this idea as a way to think about starting and finishing tasks I struggle with. I personally am terrible at keeping up with doing the dishes, so if you just dive into it and not dilly dally, the dishes get done! When I moan and groan and find something to clean or some other distraction, the dishes continue to sit there. This habit is not the best and I have the same attitude with meal prepping from time to time. Give yourself two 45min-1hr blocks during the week. Maybe an hour on a Sunday afternoon and 45 minutes on a Thursday night so you can make a variety of foods throughout the week for those longer work days. Dive into slicing up vegetables for a stir fry, you can’t look back once you’ve already started prepping the ingredients! You’ll save money, you won’t be hungry, and you’ll feel better that you invested loving time into in your eating.

UTILIZE COUPONS AND APPS THAT HELP SAVE MONEY

Whenever I make meals for later, I don’t like to have a simple sandwich. I like curry, rice bakes, stews – the more ingredients, the better! Before I shop, I try to use the My Hannaford Rewards app which has coupons tailored to me and also a categorized list of additional ones to look at. Some weeks, I use the food on sale on the app and base a meal off those! I find it really helpful with planning and saving money over time. If you aren’t a Hannaford shopper, find out to see if your local grocery store offers a reward system and other virtual coupon options!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and found my tips helpful! If you have any feedback, feel free to reach out!
love, Sav

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HEARTY HUMMUS

I eat hummus all the time. I’ve tried so many flavors and dipping combinations, it’s kind of crazy. All summer this past year, I ate hummus on sandwiches multiple times a week – you could say it’s one of my favorite foods! Now that I’ve made it a couple times, I feel like sharing a simple staple recipe with you is the right move! Making your own hummus is pretty empowering because it’s way easier than you’d think, requires ingredients that you definitely already have on hand, and it’s just more cost efficient! The only ingredient that stands out as being slightly out of the ordinary is tahini – I recommend the Trader Joe’s one as it’s cheaper than other brands!

The light was beautiful today so I couldn’t help but take lots of photos while whipping this up so please enjoy a slight photo how-to this time!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 2 tbsp of tahini
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of fresh dill *optional*

Disclaimer! It’s important to allow blending to occur in between all the ingredients. This is definitely a bit of a time consumer but blending in layers will ensure much smoother hummus and have the ingredients be more evenly mixed rather than just throwing everything in all at once.

THE STEPS

  • Start by adding tahini and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and blend in a food processor for 30 seconds.
  • Use spatula to move the mixture away from the edges, as it’s sticky in this part of the process. Add in 1 tsp of minced garlic. Blend for another 30 seconds.
  • Move mixture away from edges again, a nice smooth paste should be forming at this point. Add in lemon juice (watch out for the lemon seeds!) and 1 tbsp of water. Blend for 30 seconds.
  • Throw in one full can of rinsed chick peas, spices, 1 tbsp of water and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Let mix for 1-3 minutes until desired texture is reached. Add in dill and mix for another 30 seconds.

Best when served chilled with fresh cut veggies, pretzels, or even just by the spoonful!

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav
Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you! 

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TREAT YOURSELF WITH SOME KINDNESS

“By taking care of myself, I have so much more to offer the world than I do when I am running on empty.” – Ali Washington

Today, I’m opening up about the uncomfortable. The raw and not so Instagram worthy. The topic with 2,930,000,000 results that show up in an instant on google.

Self care.

A very buzzy word the last two years but something that matters more than we realize. I wanted to talk about it in written form because I’m laying on my couch, not in a leisurely way but a – I called out of work for the first time in two and half years because I am not well, sincerely way. I can’t help but feel a little teary and I need to let this uncomfortable feeling be released.

We all require different levels of attention from ourselves and our environments. Some people thrive on five hours of sleep and starting the day with a morning workout, others sleep ten hours and do so by doing yoga before bed and drinking sleepy time tea. Some people go to therapy on a weekly basis, others have never been. Productivity levels are highest at a morning centered coffee shop for one adult, while staying up til 2AM in a bean bag chair in their room, writing away is optimal for the other. Being alone is one’s dreamy escape, while it can be a nightmare to someone else. We all are different. Caring for yourself is more than just showering every day, eating meals and all the snacks, reading a good book and getting enough sleep. You feel energized once all your needs are met, wanting to socialize, feeling full in your heart, your belly, and in your mind. There are several simple ways to improve your overall well being, and it’s important to experiment to find your self care tasks. I know a few of my tasks, but struggle very much with implementing them into my daily life.

I do a pretty poor job at taking care of myself. From the outside, I look like relatively happy and energetic person. Involved in a lot of different things, always documenting, working my butt off, and eager to chat. “Oh wow, good for you!” said the urgent care receptionist when my response to if I was employed and needed to provide a job was, “I am, I have three, which one do I say?” I guess she’s right, it’s great that I’m so motivated. But in all honesty, it comes out of necessity. Necessity to pay my bills and try to obtain things I want but also feeling like I can never get ahead. I’m also a complete workaholic, busy body, and really anxious human being. So the more time I have to spend committed to a task rather than actually letting my tornado of a mind slow down, the better. In all honesty, this need to never stop makes me feel like your iPhone does when it has no other thing to do but to show you that screen when it’s already died, “please, just plug me in already.”
So I work hard and I am completely committed with every fiber of the multitude of my emotions to every job I have. To every project I am part of. To every relationship I am so fortunate to experience. To trying to be helpful person in my community, in general society, in the world. That’s great! “Good for me!” But, am I as committed to myself and my needs as I am to every external aspect of my life?

Absolutely. not.

My behavior is habitual. My lack of self care was born from the thought process that I have to do it all. I need do whatever I can, no matter the lengths to receive validation from everyone I come in contact with. I need to keep in touch with everyone, or feel super guilty if I don’t. I need to give my time. I need to give my money. I need to give my energy. I need to give my love. All of those things are amazing things to give, for a healthy and well balanced person. For someone like me, who does not give the same and more back into myself, mental health, and physical body – those things are depleting all sources of energy. I end up completely unwell and burnt out – just like I am in this very moment. I am neglecting all of my needs while my body is screaming at me, and I just shut it out with more good deeds done and extra time spent at work. It’s unhealthy and I seriously see it now. I went to ER last week for something and the doctors today with a completely different issue, I need to cut this out.

Rather than knocking myself even harder than I already have, I wanted to open up about my favorite self care activities. Give myself credit where credit it due. You may also find these not so by the book self care tips, hence why I’m sharing!


COOK. Cooking always makes me feel better. If I feel stuck in any way, I’ll cook something. I’ll especially make meals I have never tried before or are made from the most random ingredients I have on hand. It’s fun, adventurous and usually tasty! I made up a yogurt bowl today which I haven’t had in months and it was delicious. *see photo at the bottom of this post*
CREATE. Making art does not have to be a start to finish painting, or words worth sharing in some *~magical~* way. It took me nearly my whole life to realize this. Lately I’ve loved just shooting raw photos and editing them in lightroom. I especially love shooting other people in their element and pictures of my plants. Making art is also the absolute best but I haven’t had a ton of inspiration, it’ll come.
QUALITY TIME. Just one on one with someone else. Spending time with people I care about helps them and it helps me. (there’s that need for others talking) It’s a win win and when you have connected, uninterrupted conversation with another person for hours on end, I think your heart grows a few sizes.
LISTEN TO MUSIC. I am a very music driven person. I feel it the most and can really belt it out to so many songs. Using singing in my car or just tapping along on my knee to the beat really fills my cup.
ACTIVITY OUTDOORS. I have fallen out of working out within the last year but absolutely love to get my sweat on during a hike, extensive walk up on rocks at the beach or even with a set of snow shoes! Being outside is so healing on it’s own so throwing in some activity only makes things even more beneficial.

Not your standard bubble bath, face mask, zen answers but those work too. Like I said, we all require different activities to feel whole again. Now that I’m writing this, I realize I actually do those things often so I do a better job at taking care of myself than I thought I did when I opened up my computer to write this.

Three tips to maintain positive habits that have an emphasis on care for your being:

1. Don’t make excuses (unless that’s what’s best for you in that moment and accept it as an act of self care rather than an excuse)
2. Prioritize time daily or weekly. Your schedule does allow it. Just write it down, stick positive words on your mirror and say them while you brush your teeth, bring some cheezits and a seltzer to the nearest sunset and watch it in your car alone. DO ANYTHING YOU CAN TO PRIORITIZE YOU.
3. Do less. Things can feel daunting if you have a big elaborate plan to accomplish something, sometimes less is more. Just showing up is enough.

I appreciate if you read this. I know this is not really food related but this is my website god damnit and I’ll do what I want.
love, Sav

Plain greek yogurt based bowl with all the goodness

Featured

VEGAN RICOTTA PASTA

I got a massive Hamilton Beach food processor for Christmas (thanks mom!!!) and I am so thrilled! I can’t wait to see what recipes I come up with in the new year, my game is about to be STEPPED up. The first thing I wanted to make with it was vegan ricotta, as I knew it was easy and I already had all the items needed on hand. I took it a step further and mixed in some tomato sauce and other vegetables.

Now you may be wondering, vegan ricotta? How the heck? It’s so easy to make if you have a blender or food processor and really only requires seven ingredients, most being items you probably already have. Now the more important question, is it actually good?To be completely honest, it is completely passable as ricotta made with cow’s milk and I’m amazed. Let’s get to it.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

(for ricotta starter sauce)

  • 1/2 block of extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup of soaked cashews
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 3-4 tbsp of water
  • 1-2 tsp of salt
  • pinch of pepper

(for the remainder of the recipe if you choose to expand the sauce like I did)

  • 1/2 jar of tomato basil marinara
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms (optional)
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • pinch of nutritional yeast
  • more salt for taste (optional)
  • 12-14 oz of pasta of your choice

THE STEPS

  • Before you intend to make this recipe, soak cashews for 4 hours or more to ensure extra softness. That will help with the creaminess of the ricotta sauce.
  • Begin by chopping up tofu into small blocks, add into a food processor.
  • Toss in cashews, garlic, s+p, lemon juice and 3 tbsp of water into processor as well.
  • Begin to puree the mixture for two-ish minutes.
  • Add in another tbsp of water if the mixture isn’t looking so wet.
  • Continue to blend mixture for another two minutes or until fully smooth.
  • Begin pasta water, and diced up mushrooms and chop spinach.
  • Add spinach, mushrooms with nutritional yeast and paprika to an oiled pan and let fully cook over medium heat.
  • Add in 1/2 jar of tomato sauce in with the vegetables, and adding in the ricotta also. Stir slowly on low heat until pasta is finished.
  • Drain pasta, mix in with sauce and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav
Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you!

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STUFFED SQUASH BOWLS

Looking for something to make as a meal prep option? How about a side for this Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving even? Look no further – this is the perfect recipe that you are guaranteed to enjoy and feel full after eating! It’s also an affordable recipe to make too!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 2 medium sized acorn squash
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion
  • 1 cup of quinoa (I used 1/2 cup of white, 1/2 cup of tricolor)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch(es) of salt for taste
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • oil to sauté veggies and drizzle on squash (no specific amount)
  • 3 tbsp of breadcrumbs (I use Trader Joe’s since they don’t contain dairy!)
  • 1 tbsp of vegan butter of your choice

THE STEPS

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 375°. While oven preheats, slice squashes in half and de-seed and start water for quinoa. Baste with cut sides with oil, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice and salt on top. Toss in the oven for 25 minutes with cut side up.
  • Add in quinoa and cook based on the package’s directions.
  • While quinoa and squash cook, dice the onions and add to a pan with oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and honey. Cook until translucent.
  • Dice up 1/4 cup of dried cranberries to make them very thin and small to add into quinoa later on.
  • Pull out the squash after 25 minutes and flip the cut sides down and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Squash should cook for a total of 35 minutes.
  • In a small sauce pan add in 1 tbsp of vegan butter and 3 tbsp of bread crumbs over medium heat. Stir together and let crisp up for 3-5 minutes.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork and add in lemon juice, onion mixture and cranberries. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pull out squash and fill with quinoa mixture, topping off each squash bowl with bread crumbs.

Since this recipe calls for honey, it’s not technically vegan but pretty darn close. Enjoy the subtly sweet and savory flavors these bowls have to bring.

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav

Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you! 

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“HOW CAN YOU NOT EAT MEAT?”

(8-10 minute read)

“Your choice of diet can influence your long term health prospects more than any other action you might take.” – Former Surgeon General C. Everett Coop

We all grow up eating things based on what is served in our house. Our parents try their best to feed us home cooked nutritious meals more times than on the go meals out. I can remember the standard three item meal every night from the time I was young until I moved out.

1. Meat
2. Pasta/Potato/Rice/Bread etc.
3. Vegetables

Sounds balanced and whole right? Point being, I ate meat every single day from the time that I was probably a toddler to when I was 19. To meat eaters, this may not sound so bad. To a more plant based person, this could sound disastrous. I am here to tell you that everyone has opinions on food and diet related topics. Bottom line, education and science matter over most things, especially what I am discussing today. It’s up to you if you want to believe and apply it to your life or not. I’m just excited to have a platform where I can share my experience and you can take what you want from it!

I never thought twice about consuming meat throughout my life. What we eat very quickly becomes mindless. Never turning down my mom’s cooking, or a slice of free pepperoni pizza, or eating a quick McChicken (that last one is shocking for me to even think about now). I knew about vegetarian and vegan diets and always wondered the same question on top of this post, “how can you not eat meat?” which is something I get asked all the time. I’d be lying if I said the inquiry doesn’t irritate me slightly, but I respect questions as I am a heavily pondering person myself.

So what changed for me? Why did I have this sudden interest to maybe think about eating less meat? I can think of two things that really influenced my decision to start cutting it out in the beginning.

  • My roommate at the time, Emily (you can find her @emjmfit on Instagram) had been a vegetarian for about a year and a half at this point. Seeing that she could do it made me feel like I could too. She was the only person in my life at the time that made the switch so she was a piece of inspiration!
  • Documentaries that scared the HELL out of me when it came to meat filled diets and their impact on our bodies, mass meat farming and it’s effects on the environment and how terrible the animals were treated at larger scaled farms.

I started by cutting out red meats, then chicken, then seafood – completely. Here I was not eating meat at all within just a few months and I felt damn good about it. I became a Morning Star queen and I find it funny now because there are sooo many options out there that taste much better in regards to meat alternatives. I am trying to eat a little less of the frozen alternatives because almost all of them (with the exception of Quorn, Dr.Prager’s, Hilary’s, Beyond Meat, and a few others) contain soy and there’s soy in so much stuff we eat anyways – you almost don’t even know it’s there unless you read labels. One very important thing that came from this new food journey was the completely consuming desire to be more exploratory with cooking. I felt more clear headed, creative at times, physically less sluggish and even more compassionate. Eating a healthful and mindful diet takes work at first but why would you not owe it to your body, the animals, and the planet to do so?

So how can I not eat meat?

*Disclaimer*
I recently started eating salmon 2-3 times a month for a reason I can’t quite back up, but I am doing it. My body craves it with every fiber of my being sometimes, and I am a big supporter of listening to your body. I plan on cutting it out again but situations like this one are a big reason why the vegetarian label does not always resonate with me – sometimes I’ll eat animal products. I try to be gentle with myself and remind myself that this is way better than eating meat multiple times a day for years. Moving on!

↓ THREE BIG REASONS ↓

THE ENVIRONMENT

Scary, scary times my friends. Mass meat lots and livestock farming are some of the biggest contributors to pollutants to the land, air, atmosphere (you get the idea) and users of water out there. There is staggering evidence that shows this and is not even worth arguing. Despite the defense narrative that The Beef Cattle Research Council is supporting, they have some of the most recent numbers to date on how much water in used in production of beef. The BCRC states that for one pound of beef from the ‘pasture-to-plate journey’ there is 1,910 gallons of water used. The subcategories beneath the water content umbrella are blue, green and gray. Blue ➝ “ground water to water cattle, make fertilizer, irrigate pastures and crops, process beef,” green ➝ “how much rain water falls on pasture and feed crops,” and gray ➝ “how much water is needed to dilute runoff from feed crops, pastures and cattle operations.” Beef production is not the only culprit when it comes to unnecessary sounding amounts of water for production, other things use up water in their growth process too. I wanted to show a chart of water used for crops vs animals. Although a bit dated, it still provides a nice break down. Clearly the water use numbers for animal meat production are what we need to bring into our awareness here, as the difference is rather large.

We cannot forget about deforestation as an act that goes hand in hand with the demands of the animal agriculture business. The Rainforest Partnership indicates that “beef is still the primary reason for cutting down the forest,” whether it be for pastures or to grow feed for hungry cattle. Nearly 25 million hectares in Brazil at the time of this article were used to grow soy, “80 percent of which would end up as animal feed.” Just to rattle you up a little, one hectare = 2.47 acres = 107,593.2 sq ft
– That’s 61,750,000 total acres for feed alone –
YIKES.

MY RIGHTS TO MY BODY

As someone who is has a constant underlying feeling of anxiety at all times, I get a little freaked out when people scrutinize my choices when it comes to my body. (I’m already doing that and I will ask for your opinion if I want it.) I don’t owe an explanation to anyone (as do you!) but I wanted to head on debunk a concern that gets brought to my attention often. Everyone’s first assumption is that I don’t get enough protein on a daily basis. Here’s an average day of eating for me and my protein intake.

BREAKFAST
2 eggs: 12g
1 cup of kale: 2.9g
1 cup of mushrooms: 2.2g
1 slice of cheese (varies): around 7g
1 banana: 1.3 g
1-2 pieces of oat nut bread: 4-8g

SNACKS
(throughout the day):
apple with 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter: 8-12g
1 Chobani flip yogurt: 12 g
1 RX bar: 12 g

LUNCH
1/2 cup of Banza pasta: around 28g
1/2 cup of Prego farmers market red sauce: 4g
1 chopped zucchini: 2.4g
1 Hilary’s veggie burger: 4g
1/2 avocado: 2g

DINNER
1 cup of cooked, chopped sweet potato: 4g
1 cup of cooked broccoli: 2.6g
3/4 cup of chickpeas: 11g
1 cup of cooked quinoa: 8g
3 cups of spinach: 2.6 g
2 tbsp of tahini: 5g
2 tbsp of nutritional yeast: 7.6 g

I completed a quick DRI Calculation, (Dietary Reference Intake) and based on my information, the suggested daily amount of protein I should be getting is 60g. My math here shows that I get around 145g on a good food filled day (which is nearly every day for me!) How much protein I get despite my lack of meat is not an issue with these numbers.

THE ANIMALS

I feel like this is pretty self explanatory. Ending an animal’s life is not something I could physically do myself, so why should I expect other people to do so for my benefit? Again, I know I probably sound a bit hypocritical with the fish thing, but I am aware of that and it works for me currently. It’s an interesting perspective to think about and is my most solid reminder when I get moments of considering to eat meat products again. I whole heartedly believe in ethical farmers who treat their animals with love and nurture their growth experience on this Earth. If something changes within me and the time comes where I start eating meat more consistently, I will 100% put my money where my mouth is and support local farmers. I encourage you to support local farmers that are professional and ethical with their practices over buying meat that comes from one of the few major meat processing companies. Shopping locally is great for your state’s economy and probably has a much less significant impact on the environment.

Here are a few Maine businesses and farmers that I shop from and trust personally and have also heard good things about from people in my community!

Raychell Libby + Jay Horne – Fervor Farm 📍Hollis, ME
The Farm Stand 📍South Portland, ME
Emery’s Meat & Produce 📍Gardiner, Brewer, Waterville ME
Maine-ly Poultry 📍 Warren, ME
(Farmers’ Markets all across the state!)

Thank you for reading this rollercoaster of a post. I am still trying to get the hang of feeling confident talking about the things I am passionate about and as this has an impact on my life daily, I consider this a big passion! As always, if you have any questions or comments – feel free to reach out!
love, Sav

RESOURCES MENTIONED AND ALL FACTS FROM:
1. http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/cattle-feed-water-use/
2. https://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/water-footprint-crop-and-animal-products/
3. https://rainforestpartnership.org/the-beef-industry-and-deforestation/
4. https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/


Featured

VEGETARIAN GOODNESS BOWL

Nothing beats vegetables cooked in some way and serving them with a rice, quinoa, or pasta base. So filling, so warm, so simple! I eat a mash up of ingredients in this fashion maybe three times a week. Therefore, this type of meal is a staple in my life and I love to switch up the base and toppings every time I eat it. I have a recipe you need to add to your weekly cooking plan! I hit the jackpot on this creative and tasty meal, plus – I kept track of the recipe so you can make it too.

I picked up a new harvest grains blend from Trader Joe’s that is really similar to the Celebrating the Chef Quinoa + Couscous Medley, which I love. I may love this stuff even more since it’s cheaper! Follow the recipe below to see how I used this grain base!

Vegetarian + Soy Free Goodness Bowl

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 cup of TJ’s Harvest Grains blend (or any grain base really!)
  • 1 head of chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 orange pepper, sliced thin
  • 1-2 cups of de-stemmed kale (I love greens so I use a ton)
  • 1/2 cup of northern beans
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp of butter for grains blend

*may need more salt for taste, optional sesame seeds for slight crunchiness*

THE STEPS

  • Coat pan with oil and begin sautéing garlic and chopped broccoli. At this time, also begin boiling water in a separate pot for grain mixture.
  • Add in all spices to really season the broccoli, as the flavors will spend the most time getting cooked into this hearty vegetable which takes the longest to cook to completion. Add in beans, peppers, kale, lemon and lime juices.
  • Let all of this simmer for 10-15 minutes so softness and even a little bit of crisping occurs.
  • Once grains mixture is done cooking, add in a pinch of salt and butter to it. Place mixture in bowl first, topping with the vegetables. As simple as that!

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav
Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you!

Featured

EAT PORTLAND (pt. one)

(5-6 minute read)

Hello! I’m so excited to share some food and friendship goodness in this post. I have a sweet friend who I met at the summer camp we both have attended twice now, Camp Gritty, and her name is Kelly! She is a ray of light, based out of Boston but representing New York with her cute as heck accent and is truly such a joy to be around. Kelly and I wanted to make it a point to keep the Gritty magic alive by planning an afternoon in Portland when we both had some free time. She shot north on the Amtrak and I picked her up just after 12pm. I told her we’d eat that day, and boy did we!

I’m calling this part one because I live relatively close to Portland and pass through on a daily basis via the highway. I can see myself taking numerous days in the future, spending time eating delicious foods this city has to offer (I’ve been eating my way through it for years). It should be a blast as time goes by to see where I end up when I do multiple stops in one day, like I did with Kelly. I am now letting this be the beginning of a developed series – hooray! Let’s get into it.

We started off at Rose Foods, one of the best little bagel shops Portland has to offer. Look at their menu below to see what can be crafted with the help of their delicious bagels made in house.

I wanted to keep things simple and went with a sesame seed bagel with plain cream cheese, capers, and fresh dill. *chefs kiss* Kelly got a decked out bagel sandwich that was so beautiful to look at – vegan cream cheese, lox, tomatoes, and cucumber slices on a cajun bagel. So good!

We then ventured to the Portland Headlight and walked around a bit to break up the afternoon! It was the perfect fall day for this activity and a necessary place to go to when in this area for someone who hasn’t ever been prior. We wanted to continue walking around, so I parked in the Old Port where we found our way into many cute shops. The Holy Donut and Cabot Cheese store caught our attention too. The Holy Donut is a must visit place for anyone who comes to Portland as they are vital part of Maine’s donut culture. We got pomegranate and dark chocolate sea salt donuts to eat right then, and toasted coconut chocolate and fresh lemon ones for the road. Look at these potato based doughy boys!

Let me let you in on a little secret about the Cabot Cheese store – THEY HAVE SO MANY SAMPLES. It was a fun time in our adventure mixing and matching cheese flavors!

After more wandering and the evening fast approaching, we knew we would have to eat dinner – of course. I had tried to go to The Green Elephant on my birthday but there was quite a long wait so I didn’t end up eating dinner there. I felt like there would be better luck on a Sunday night to get into the well known Thai vegetarian restaurant so we went for it. Sure enough we got right in!

We started off with the fresh rolls and vegetable dumplings to share and I had to get the Thai basil fried rice with soy meat as the option to add in, as it’s one of my favorite dishes of theirs. Kelly got the hot and sour soup to end on a warm note before her train ride on home. The Green Elephant has the perfect portioned meals, enough for a plentiful amount at the time of being served and for leftovers! Cannot recommend them enough.

I have realized since living in the Greater Portland area for three years now (where has the time gone?!), there are just too many food options to keep track of – which is a good ”problem” to have! The tourist season seems to be the cause of the floods of people down in the Old Port, more locally owned spots are popping up, I cannot complain about this increase in good quality eats. It brings wonderful economic growth to the city itself and gives this city and the people that work so hard in it the attention it deserves. Maybe all of these changes have something to do with it being named, Restaurant City of the Year in 2018? Either way, I’m happy to have the opportunity to live in an area with so many options and to be able to show someone else those tasty spots as well!

If you want to keep up with what’s new in Portland for food, here are a few of my favorite resources that I check regularly:

@frannieeatsmaine / Frannie’s Website
@portlandfoodmap / PFM’s Website
@mainefoodietours / MFT’s Website
@portlandmesips
@eatingportlandalive
@portlandeatsme


Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little write up about our awesome day. Check out @savoryservingswithsav on Instagram to see my occasional local updates that consist mostly of bagels, coffee and freshly made goods.

love, Sav

BAG BY BON APPÉTIT
Featured

beginning

You were born to create regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

(4 min read)

I have been working on having a website for quite some time now. Most of the time I’ve spent on it was resisting it though. The journey to get here was not as pretty as you’d think.

I have struggled for countless years on having the confidence and power within myself to try to stand out. Sure – I was rather artistic and kind, but that’s pretty much all I thought I had going for me. I was never athletic enough, talented enough, smart enough, blah blah blah. These things are of course not true, but I was just getting down on myself and really being the block that was feeding the narrative that being hidden from the world was better.

Suddenly, about a year ago – something in me changed. A traumatic event and a lot of time to just sit and think catapulted me into this large concept that had no end goal – I needed to do something that showcased what I really thrived in. A food SOMETHING. Something bigger than the SSWS Instagram, since I already had that started up by this point. An e-book? Sure! I drew up plans on what the pages could look like. I began mulling over format, consistency, themes and other things that I really had no experience with. It did not feel right. A recipe-less cookbook? Now that’s what I’m talking about! After a conversation with a friend, who was upfront saying that a majority of people need recipes and are not as go with the flow at cooking like I am – I put that idea to the side. A restaurant? Not attainable in my life right now and that is just a fact.

Listen, I have a lot of ideas. My brain doesn’t shut off ever (long run history with anxiety and overthinking – it’s something I’m working on, I promise) and I love to overwhelm myself and say yes to everything. I wanted to make this all work somehow: an e-book that was easily accessible, a recipe-free inspiring cooking experience that would also impact people. I work two jobs, still want to pursue visual art, have a lot going on in my life personally and can’t say yes to everything. Burn out is real and I’m in my early 20s, I needed to be logical in my approach. So on a car ride home, I thought a little bit.

Here is what I knew to be true:
– I can articulate the relationship of words, thoughts and feelings rather well.
– I can cook.
– I can give a really in-depth detail filled description about cooking with no issues.
– I have all of the modern tools to make a blog run.
– I was willing to put all of the 15 other ideas I had in mind away in a box in the back of my mind somewhere for now.
– I felt ready.

After some self compromising and committing to one thing (okay two technically since I run an Instagram for SSWS too…), I started this website. I threw my lack of confidence and desire to not be seen out the window, and just WENT for it.

Here we are. The first post. Live and here for you to see. As soon as I decided to do this, I created this whole website in two days. I’m so excited just thinking about making this public, that I’m writing this first post days before I intend on sharing it. My goal is to pick a topic and release a standard blog post on that topic once a week. My other content will consist of behind the scenes of my cooking, a full on recipe, a product review or some other fun idea that I will share with you at least twice a week. I’m hoping that isn’t too ambitious but once I decide what schedule works for me, I’ll let you friends know.

Thank you for those who encouraged me to start a blog. To those that encouraged me to push through the creative road blocks and not be attached to an outcome. To those that had no idea I was going to do this but are still super stoked about it. I can’t wait for us to have some fun.

love, Sav

SIMPLE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

I’ve always been a mushroom fan ever since I was a little kid. I realize that the ratio of people who do like mushrooms is rather small compared to those who despise them but that’s alright, more for me! I wanted to make my own recipe for one of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms that I almost forgot about – stuffed! These quick stuffed mushrooms will allow you to make a delicious pop-in-your mouth side dish with your main course or work well as an appetizer for a big quarantine movie night in if you double the recipe!


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 10oz package of baby bella mushrooms (white works too!)
  • 1/3 cup of Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of shredded fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
  • pinch of pepper

THE STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Wash and de-stem your mushrooms. The package will come with 8-10 good sized mushrooms and this recipe made 8 for me, you might as well make the whole package!
  • In a bowl, add in bread crumbs, garlic and pepper. Mix up thoroughly.
  • Add in cream cheese, spinach and olive oil. Mix well, as this is the last step before filling the mushrooms!
  • Take a small spoon and stuff the mixture in the space that remains in the underside of the mushroom. Pack tight! (it’s okay if it’s overflowing a little!)
  • Set mushrooms on a baking pan or a greased mini muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy these creamy and crispy little bites of pure savory goodness!

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav

Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you! 

CREAMY GNOCCHI AND CAULIFLOWER BAKE

It’s kind of funny how an idea will strike you randomly. Out of nowhere, something will trigger a thought about something else and bam – you have a starting line for a story, the overall concept for a piece of art, or maybe even a recipe just staring at you right in the face! That was me this morning when the kid and I nanny for were talking about what to have for dinner. I was aiming to make something that wasn’t pasta, but close – so I thought of gnocchi. I asked her a bunch of question such as, do you like ____, have you ever had ____, and so on. Does she like cauliflower? ✓ A fan of Alfredo? “Can’t remember but it sounds good.” Therefore, ✓. Ever had gnocchi? “I don’t think so!” Worth a shot to try it, ✓.

Here is a simple, minimal ingredient recipe for a
Creamy Gnocchi and Cauliflower Bake

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2/3 cup of panko or standard bread crumbs
  • pinch of s+p
  • 1/2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of water
  • 1/2 tbsp of chopped dried basil leaves
    • Italian seasoning works fine too!

THE STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 355° and begin water for gnocchi.
  • Begin chopping cauliflower into smaller bite size pieces.
  • Add in gnocchi into boiling water and drain once they float to the surface.
  • In a saucepan, add in cauliflower, salt and pepper, basil leaves, oil and water. Let simmer with a lid for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Drain remaining water from pan after the cauliflower is done.
  • Add cauliflower and drained gnocchi into a baking dish and mix thoroughly with alfredo sauce.
  • Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 18-22 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble.
  • Serve alongside some steamed green beans, a salad, or whatever your heart desires!

    * For extra goodness, broil on low for an additional two minutes.

If you make this recipe, feel free to share on Instagram by tagging me @savoryservingswithsav or #savoryservingswithsav

Have a question about this recipe? Head on over to my contact page and fill out the form with the title of the recipe in the message section. Thank you!