In these scary times, we all need a little bit of help getting through the cabin-fever, the anxiety of worrying about loved ones, and the wishing that things would change (for the better) rapidly. Quarantining is tougher than we think – and most of us are going on two, three or even more weeks cooped up in the house. Many of us rely on our routines to keep us sane, healthy, and going. In this post, our resident nutrition expert, Izzy Fischer, shares tips for enjoying her favorite plant-based health and comfort foods – all of which you can make at home.
1. Plant-Based Quaran-tini’s for Virtual Happy Hours:
I don’t know about you, but I have spent more time talking with friends and family video calls than I have in a long time – most of them in the form of virtual happy hours! Below you will find three cocktails that can be enjoyed with or without alcohol. Kombucha is one of my favorite ingredients to add to beverages – it gives the drink the perfect light edge and sharp flavor no matter what the other contents of the beverage might be.
- Cranberry, berry, or pomegranate flavored Kombucha (32 oz)
- Fresh Rosemary – chopped (1 sprig)
- Pomegranate seeds (¼ cup)
- Pure Unsweetened Pomegranate Juice (⅓ cup)
- Cranberry Juice (⅓ cup) - add more if you can’t find Pomegranate Juice
- Fresh Cranberries for garnish
- Optional: Splash of vodka to turn your mocktail into a cocktail!
2. Plant-Based Pantry Dinners
In today's quarantined world, going to the store can not only cause anxiety, but also may put yourself or others in danger. Now is the time to use your pantry items so that you can go to the store as little as possible. For many of us, eating out of the pantry automatically feels like a sacrifice to our health; however, with these four simple resources below, you will be eating gourmet, healthful plant-based meals at home with very few ingredients!
Stock up on the following pantry items: Rice, Beans, Italian Seasoning, Canned Tomatoes, and you can make so many varieties of Rice and Beans. My favorite recipe from The Spruce Eats is first on the list: Italian Style Rice & Beans.
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (do not drain)
- 1 14 oz can great northern beans or cannellini beans (or other beans), drained and rinsed
- ⅔ cup instant rice (uncooked)
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- sea salt
- black pepper
Instructions: Place the diced tomatoes and their juice, the Great Northern beans or cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), instant rice (or you can also use leftover pre-cooked rice) uncooked in a medium saucepan, and season lightly with a bit of Italian seasoning, sea salt and fresh black pepper. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The dish is done once the rice is cooked and the beans and tomatoes are cooked through. There will still be a bit of saucy moisture, some of which will evaporate as the dish cools slightly. Add additional seasoning to taste.
Other favorites with easy pantry ingredients are linked below:
3. Plant-Based Lattes & Smoothies
Being home all day can cause cravings and urges to dip into that pint of ice cream. Or, it can cause you to miss your daily coffees and smoothies that you may be used to grabbing on-the-go at your favorite cafe. Below are my favorite treats that get my morning going – when I really need the pick-me-up.
Do you have a milk frother at home? If so, use that to make the best ‘barista-at-home’ drinks. If not – use a sauce pan and a stove top. This also works for bubbling up the milk a bit, but is mostly essential for heating it up and melting all of the flavors.
Simple Cinnamon Latte:
- coffee (6 oz)
- ½ cup of plant-based milk
- ½ tsp stevia
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Brew one cup of coffee, or two shots of espresso. While your coffee is brewing, froth some plant-based milk or heat it up on the stove top. Add / whisk in your cinnamon and stevia. When the milk is warm and the coffee is brewed, pour your milk mixture on top of your coffee and enjoy a slightly sweet cinnamon latte.
Some of my other coffee & morning bev faves:
4. Work From Home Snack Plate
Some of us who work in an office are now transitioned to an at-home workplace. For me, the urge to snack all day is very very difficult to ignore. So, I find myself planning ahead and making decadent and wonderful snack plates for myself. This makes it so I am allowed to snack, but also helps me limit the amount of handfuls I am grabbing directly out of the pantry boxes and bags. My go-to is the Rabbit Girl. When I am feeling slightly down, I’ll migrate to the Sweet Tooth for some comfort healthful snacks.
- baba ganoush
- red pepper slices
- snap peas
- cacao nibs or stevia-sweetened vegan chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 apple
- dried mango
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 banana, sliced
- unsweetened coconut flakes
5. Netflix and SNACK
Have you finished Tiger King yet? Slow down the process – take a snack break and make this nutritious and low fat popcorn. This is my go-to movie snack with just a few ingredients.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- Optional Toppings: sea salt, black pepper, and/or nutritional yeast
Heat oil and 3 popcorn kernels in a large pot on medium heat. Once the 3 kernels have popped, add the rest of the kernels, cover pot with lid, and remove from heat for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, place the covered pot back on the stove for 60-90 seconds, until all kernels have popped. Listen closely and remove from heat immediately (once the popping stops) to avoid burning. Sprinkle with sea salt or any other toppings.
About the Author:
Izzy Fischer, born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, as a musician, triathlete and outdoor junkie, found a plant-based lifestyle through a combination of her personal battles with inflammation and food allergies. Currently, she lives in Boston and works as a data analyst at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University while pursuing her Masters in Science in Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.