Hi everyone! Welcome to my food blog! My name is Janani and I hope you all enjoy my recipes and vegetarian food hacks.
I was born in beautiful San Diego and moved shortly after to San Francisco, where I lived for 18 years before I moved to Irvine to study materials science engineering at UC Irvine. My parents raised me as a vegetarian, as their parents did with them, for generations back in my family tree. I grew up in an Indian household so I ate delicious home cooked Indian food every day.
I am almost 22 years old now (and about to graduate college!!) and upon graduating from high school I started wanting to experiment with food. I considered starting to eat meat for a while, as a lot of people I know started doing in college, but quickly realized that eating meat did not align with my own ethical values.
I have always loved food (who doesn’t??) and I have loved cooking. When I made the transition to college, I was having a really difficult time coping with the change in academic expectations. In high school, I was a straight A student, but now I was struggling to deal with the pace of college. My first two years of college, my eating habits and lifestyle weren’t that great. I was lost without my mom and dad’s food and as a vegetarian, college dining hall food just wasn’t tasty. Combined with the stress of being in such a demanding major, I lost a lot of weight my first year before I realized that something had to change.
Enter: cooking! People have different ways to deal with stress, and it just so happened that cooking was mine. I discovered this in my third year when I was taking my very first upper division classes and I was stressed beyond recognition. I started with really simple dishes, like pasta. The real change and spark for my passion came when I discovered meat substitutes. I was now able to make delicious “bolognese” sauce and “beefy” pasta shells, which tasted like the real deal, according to my meat eating friends. I got really excited because people would often tell me that I was totally missing out on delicious meat, but now I was able to enjoy meat, meat free! I then set out on a quest to start transforming traditionally non vegetarian dishes into vegetarian/vegan.
That brings me to today. Most of my cooking has been trial and error and I think that has been half the fun! I have had many cooking “fails,” and those roadblocks have helped me understand how ingredients work (or don’t work!) together, what modifications can be made to add that extra little kick to the dish, and just generally customizing dishes to fit your personal tastes.
WHY I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE
Too many of us vegetarians and vegans have fallen victims to rude comments comparing us to rabbits, because all we eat is lettuce, right? RIGHT?? I know I have. I also know a lot of people that have started to eat less meat or ease off of it altogether for personal or health reasons, and they initially have a really tough time because it feels like they have nothing to eat.
THE GOAL OF VEGGIE HACKS
One of my goals here is to create a platform for people to read and experiment with my recipes in a way that gives them the opportunity to have more than one measly option on a restaurant menu. I want to encourage people to incorporate more vegetarian meals into their diet, to give it a chance. I want us to leave a smaller carbon footprint on this planet and move toward a more sustainable future!
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, please leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out!
See you soon!