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I love being a southerner; there are absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Growing up some of my favorite memories involved my family getting together and having dinner. Whether it was a traditional Sunday afternoon dinner or an impromptu midweek get together.
Most times our meals consisted of the traditional baked macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, collards etc;. As I have gotten older and have become more conscious of the foods I am eating, I have backed away from those traditional southern meals. However, my family has not.
Since September was National Organic Harvest Month, I wanted to share how I make it through our family dinners, and still manage not to stray away from my normal eating habits. As much as I love getting together with my family it can be taxing knowing that they will be serving foods that my husband and I no longer indulge in. But being the crafty mom that I am I have learned to get around this! Here are a few ways that you can still enjoy traditional southern family meals that stray from and personal dietary choices you have made.
Instead of scarfing down sweet snacks before meal time, I prefer to have a trail mix or a dried fruit mix readily available. Whether it’s before dinner or an outing during the week or weekend, I love to create a trail mix of my favorite organic snack foods. The Simple Truth® Organic Trail Mix has become a family favorite. It contains a great mix of Organic Raisins, Dry Roasted Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Dates, Pumpkin Seeds, and Walnuts. Because these 8 oz snack bags are so convenient to have on the go, my husband loves to take it to work with him so that he can have something to snack on at different points throughout the day.
Before dinner I will create a mix that will help keep most of my hunger at bay, so I don’t stray away from my preferred eating habits. This mix features Simple Truth Organic® Trail mix (by itself), or a mix of Simple Truth® Tropical Blend & Cinnamon Apples (because they taste amazing) and is easy to make. I like that I can quickly make this and portion it out as needed as the perfect on the go snack.
Tropical Trail Mix
- 1 cup Organic Simple Truth Trail Mix
- 1 cup Simple Truth® Tropical Blend
- 1 cup Simple Truth® Cinnamon Apples
- 1 cup Pretzels
- ½ cup of Nuts
- ½ cup Raisins
- Combine 1 cup of Organic Simple Truth Trail Mix, or 1 cup each Simple Truth® Tropical Blend, and Cinnamon Apples into a large bowl. Add 1 cup pretzels, ½ cup nuts, and ½ cup raisins.
- If you bowl has a top that will fit, cover bowl and shake to mix. Otherwise, you can mix with your hands.
Sunday afternoon get-togethers for meal time have been a tradition in our family ever since I can remember. Now that my taste buds have changed, I am able to share some of my favorite vegan southern recipes with my family (but shh! Don’t tell them!).
While the rest of the family indulges in the traditional southern drink of choice, I always make sure that I have my Honest Tea® Half & Half Lemonade or Honey Green Tea with me. Honest Tea is just a tad sweet and is a great replacement for traditional sweet tea.
Vegan Hoppin’ John has always been one of my favorite Southern meals. I use home-cooked black-eyed peas, long grain rice (white or brown are okay), to achieve the perfect flavor and texture.
What makes this meal great is that families who are constantly on the go, can prepare this meal over the weekend and then save it and eat it later, or stick it in a crockpot and have it ready when you come home in the evening.
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup long grain rice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups veg stock
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet.
2. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeño, and celery, and sauté until the onion turns translucent about 3 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and brown rice, and stir well to toast for about 30 seconds.
4. Add the bay leaf, dried thyme, black pepper, and water + veg bouillon. Stir well, cover with a lid (leaving it ajar), and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the rice for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cooked black-eyed peas, and continue to cook until the rice is tender and fluffy about 20-25 minutes.
6. 7. Serve hot with hot sauce, and chopped parsley.
Honest Tea® and Simple Truth® products can be found in the organic food aisle at your local Kroger store. For more amazing recipes, and Honest inspiration check out ideas here!