Mac & Cheeze, Please!

Ahh, what a nice day in the sun 🙂 I think today was the last pretty day though because I looked at the forecast for this week and its supposed to get quite chilly and icky. I gotta get in the sun when I can! I snacked on some whole wheat crackers and leftover pineapple chunks (what I didn’t use in my quinoa last week) while I studied then I came back inside and cleaned up a bit and set out to make my dinner! Now before I tell you about my dinner, I just want to make something clear because I have received a few questions regarding this recently:

I am not a vegan. I know that my diet appears to be very vegan, which it is, but I still eat seafood, honey and the occasional dairy product. I don’t want to go all out extreme right now for a number of reasons including I just think overnight extreme changes don’t last that long, and the fact that I still want to be able to enjoy meals out with my family and Ryan and not stress out over a smidge of butter in my potential dish. True, I have reduced my dairy intake quite significantly…but if the time came and I felt like having a bit of cheese in my bean burrito, then I would do it….but I still don’t think I will ever drink milk again or eat all the yogurts that I used to. I believe that dairy should only be a very occasional (if at all) addition to our diet. Our bodies don’t need it and, in my opinion, the less animal products the better. But still, I’m not a vegan..even though I love experimenting with vegan cookbooks and baking! With all that said, I don’t know why I felt the sudden urge to express this to all of you, except for the fact that I want to keep this blog as honest as possible and I don’t want anyone to wonder what’s going on if I tell you that I ate my mom’s shrimp scampi or a cookie made with an egg (even though I am really quite addicted to vegan baking!!). The lifestyle I lead does not have have a label or name, except for what works for Jenna. I urge you to try different things to see what works for you!

Okay–enough with that and on to my dinner!! I found a new blog that I really love! It’s called The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. After scrolling around and reading compulsively Susan’s lovely recipes and thoughtful posts, I have been conspiring to make her rendition of “Macaroni and Cheeze”. This was SO easy to make, first of all! and WOW was it ever tasty!!!!! All you do is cook the pasta and throw all the other ingredients into the blender then toss the pasta with the blended sauce. While this doesn’t taste like the velveeta shells and cheese that I ate as a little kid (or as college student!), it’s pretty darn good. I love the addition of the tahini in the sauce and the delicate spice from the cayenne pepper, which I added more of because I’m a spice freak! Seeing as this is my first experience with vegan mac & cheese, I don’t have anything to really base it upon, but I would def. this make this again and I loved how I didn’t get that heavy, bloated feeling I would always get after downing a whole big bowl of the real cheesy stuff. This was light, tasty and creamy. A winner!

With my shells and cheeze, I ate leftovers of the red cabbage dish my mom made last night as well as a small salad. I was so happy when she sent me home today with tons of leftover beans and cabbage! I’ll def. be eating them all week long! I asked her today to post the cabbage recipe so that should be up soon. I’ve never made it myself but she says its super easy.

Okay–off to school! We have a quiz and usual lecture tonight, but I’m not sure what we are baking. I guess it will be a surprise for all of us!!



Note that I used whole foods brand whole wheat shells and doubled the cayenne pepper for a real kick! I also added some earth balance margarine for more creaminess. This stuff is super addicting!!

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  • Kristin
    February 25, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    THAT looks like a delicious non dairy meal. I’m slightly lactose intolerant as well, so although I enjoy my cheese/yogurt, I’m always looking for delicious non dairy options to make me feel a lot less “yucky” after eating! I’ll be trying this soon!

  • Romina
    February 25, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Your honesty is very noble. If you do choose to transition towards a fully vegan diet, I think your path is a good one. It’s not easy to just go “cold tofu” overnight. People rarely do, and when they do, they fail because they start to crave things they are depriving themselves. Whatever you choose, it’s ultimately your choice. I think labels are silly, because no one is a label, we are individuals. We live our lives to the best we can, and if that includes seafood or the occasional dairy product, it’s your choice because you have to be happy with your life, not others. =)

    That being said, it’s great to see you made Susan’s Mac and Cheese! It’s my favorite recipe. (I think it might be the tahini that adds the fantastic flavour). I made a few recipes before finding this one, and I use this one on an almost regular basis. The thing about vegan “Mac and Cheeze” is that people too often expect it to taste like the real deal, and get disappointed. If they think of it simply as macaroni and nutritional yeast, they’re less likely to think of it as a bad substitute. Nutritional yeast wasn’t something I enjoyed when I first tried it, but now I even like it on its own! It’s so guilt free, and adds great flavour to pasta dishes, or anything really. And it’s good for you!!

  • arimcg
    February 25, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I forgot all about nutritional yeast – my mom used to put it on popcorn when I was little and I loved it. I might have to try this out.

    Romina, “cold tofu” is pretty funny.

  • curious
    February 25, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    If you don’t eat dairy that much, what are your main calcium sources?

  • Emma
    February 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Wow I just bought some mac and cheese. This makes me crave it. That may just have to be a meal this week…it’s been about 2 years since I’ve had it!

  • Serena
    February 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I really subscribe to the “Jenna diet” because I sort of do my own thing too! Who wouldn’t be in favor of a diet that makes you feel great?! I hope you’re not feeling badly about it at all though because you definitely have a lot of support here and you’re inspiring to both meat and non-meat eaters! Although it’s pretty funny – after your long preface, I thought for sure your dinner was going to have some real dairy in it! Mac and “cheez” looks great though!

  • Sherry
    February 26, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I stopped eating beef for 9 months and I lost about 30 lbs. I added beef back and gained the weight too. I cut out beef a second time and lost 30 lbs again. I did add the beef back but didn’t gain the weight (until I got pregnant). I haven’t read any thing about beef and weight loss/gain, but I know it did wonders for my body. I rarely eat meat as it and if I could have it my way, I would eat veggies 24/7. I was a “vegetarian” for about a month but felt sick and thought I needed protein in my life. I’d like to try it again though.

  • Betsy
    February 26, 2008 at 12:15 am

    you’re always so open about your dietary choices, it’s so refreshing! thanks! i’m also starting to cut out dairy cause it has never set with me well, and I’m feeling so much better. Now that you’ve gone vegetartian and cut out dairy, I love your blog even more!! (not that I didn’t love it before).

    Oh-and my new favorite milk-sub is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I like using the hemp milk for oatmeal, but this is perfect for cereal. Delish!

  • Kristin Point
    February 26, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I like your style jenna. I do what works for me as well. I’ve stopped eating meat yet eat seafood, eggs, occasional yogurt, cottage cheese. I’ve been trying out lots of vegan products too like fake meats, soy yogurt, milk, hemp milk etc. I’m trying tofurky deli meat for the first time tomorrow 🙂

    I can’t wait for the cabbage recipe, i just bought a head of it bc i love the stuff! Also, I got the almond ezikiel cereal because of your reccomendation! i’ve had regular ezekiel and i like it but the best part was that it’s on sale at my whole foods! The price we pay for healthy foods its nice to get a break sometimes!

  • Erica
    February 26, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Good for you Jenna! You do what works for you, and I find that quite admirable. I too do what works for me instead of focusing on maintaining a certain “title”.

    The mac & “cheeze” looks absolutely delicious! Did you make the whole 8 serving recipe, or did you make just enough for your dinner tonight? If you only made a single serving, would you be able to post the recipe with the ingredient adjustments for the one serving? Thanks Jenna!! Have a great night. 🙂

  • LT
    February 26, 2008 at 12:25 am

    arimcg – what the heck does nutritional yeast taste like!?! i love to pop my own corn on the stove and experiment with different toppings. Some faves are: spicy curry, cinnamon/sugar, parmesan(duh), and sometimes i like to dip the popcorn in stuff (pb, nutella, goat cheese, melted choc., etc.). No wonder people always comment on what I eat as being WEIRD!

  • Natalie
    February 26, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Wow, look at those colors!

  • Meghan
    February 26, 2008 at 1:19 am

    To continue from the lunch post…….

    Patricia, I like Savannah alright. Of course it’s not the same as home at ALL (maryland) and I’m not too crazy about all the crime (I live in the historic district), but the weather is wonderful! I bet all you normal college-goers get a laugh at many of us art school hooligans (I know I get a kick out of the boys wearing super skinny girl’s jeans!)

    In my speech I’m talking about buying healthy foods as OPPOSED to junk, not in addition to it, which is where I think a lot of people get confused. A lot of families I know say “but healthy food is so expensive!” but if they put back all the processed cakes, cookies, crackers and such and instead put an emphasis on buying whole foods (in bulk?) and looking to save money at sales, studies show it’s not SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive. Also, I know a lot of people who think only organic is healthy. I can’t lie, organic IS a lot more expensive than processed mass-market food. Yet buying regular old apples for $1.59/lb is a lot better for you than buying a HUGE bag of “fruit chips” for $3.99!

    Jenna, your mac and cheese looks absolutely AMAZING. My boyfriend has been begging me to make him salmon and my homemade mac and cheese, but I may compromise with him tomorrow and make this instead (but still have salmon, of course!) Where can I buy nutritional yeast flakes? There are barely any natural food stores in Savannah. 🙁

  • VeggieGirl
    February 26, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Jenna, you know that I support you and your lifestyle, 100% – no need to explain yourself! :0)

    You managed to incorporate two of my favorite colors onto one dinner plate – purple and yellow!! Too fun!! :0D

    Best of luck with your quiz!! Enjoy class!!

  • Kelly
    February 26, 2008 at 1:35 am


    NOOOOOOOO…..Make the weather in Orlando be nice. My mom and I are coming on Wednesday night for 4 days of a mother/daughter WDW, shopping, eating, etc. trip. GIVE ME GOOD WEATHER!!

  • Lisa
    February 26, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Meghan…I just posted this on the lunch post but I was wondering what you’re majoring in at SCAD?? I studied interior design at another school but I SOOO badly wanted to go SCAD when I was in high school but it was too expensive 🙁 Also…where are you from in Maryland?? My husband is from the Fedrick/Hagerstown area!! I LOVE it there! Oh… and good luck on your speech!

  • Anna
    February 26, 2008 at 2:15 am

    I LOVE fat free vegan kitchen…you must make her fat free brownies…they are amazing 🙂

  • Heather K
    February 26, 2008 at 3:04 am

    I do the same thing as you, Jenna. I feel the same way because I have a boyfriend, and I like being able to go out and not have to worry and still be able to enjoy myself. mmm that looks yummy! Gonna have to try! I have created such a big list of things I want to make and buy from reading yours and Kath’s blogs it’s so great! I love new ideas. Keeps things fun! 🙂 and it really inspires me how much variety you get in your diet. Something I don’t get enough of, but I am trying!!

  • Courtney
    February 26, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Jenna (and everyone else too!), I just wanted to let you know, I spotted a new flavor of Luna Tea Cakes at WF!! It’s called Mint Chocolate, and it’s delicious! I highly recommend it!

  • Meghan
    February 26, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Hey Lisa! I’m from the Silver Spring area, but I’ve met a TON of people from the Frederick/Hagerstown area here at SCAD. Silver Spring is more a mix of the suburban but also city life, and Hagerstown is just plain beautiful….the scenery and outdoors!…..(and outlets!) Anywho, I’m majoring in fibers. It’s a relatively unknown major, even here at this school! Our major building is about the size of a 4 bedroom house. Haha. In HS I took a summer course at Pratt in interior design, but I decided I was much to much interested in the fabric, textile and fibers aspect of it to not just major in fibers! My speech is almost complete, and it’s funny you said that SCAD was too expensive because I began my speech by saying something about how college students are on a tight budget, ESPECIALLY SCAD students.

    Ok, so I have to comment again on that mac and cheese….and also your leftovers from your mom. Mac and cheese and leftovers is definitely the only thing that actually makes me feel so good inside! I love eating mac and cheese, but I especially love eating leftovers because I know that my mom made them with love!

  • nicole r.
    February 26, 2008 at 4:16 am

    That mac & cheese actually looks really good! I’m kind of suspicious still of vegan cheese (sorry, I’m Italian…) but I’m really intrigued and definitely want to try & make that, I love mac & cheese and this seems less devoid of nutrients than the regular mac & cheese I usually make (which is delicious but has 4 different kinds of cheese and is totally worthless without whole milk…).

  • beachbum_
    February 26, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Hi Jenna, I was just wondering what the link to the website is called that you got the mac and cheeze recipe from. My style of eating is very much like yours, I don’t eat meat or chicken but I do eat seafood and I don’t eat dairy at all because I’m lactose intolerant but I also have another tricky aspect, I can’t eat gluten either because I have an intolerance to it aswell. So anything vegan is always exciting for me thanks!

  • Scott @ One Food Guy
    February 26, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I am a slave to good mac and cheese! Oh man am I ever!

  • rb
    February 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Hey Jenna-
    I think your last post was really cool, but you don’t have to justify what you are, vegan or not. Although I TRY to avoid meat due to my own beliefs (which I never force on anyone, especially my meat-loving boyfriend!) I really dislike labels. People change, and if you stick to only one thing, where’s the adventure?

  • Lizzy
    February 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I haven’t tried Susans Mac&Cheeze yet. But I think your post convinced me to 😉

    Looking forward to the cabbage recipe. The easier the better =p

    And about that vegan thing, I don’t really like labels so whatever works best for you is the right choice.
    Who cares if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, as long as you enjoy the lifestyle you lead and it’s healthy no one can complain about an egg appearing here and there. It’s all a personal choice anyway. I think everyone should be able to tolerate another persons choices. And if they don’t – screw them.

  • jenna
    February 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm


    I simply cut the entire recipe in half to make 4 servings so I could nibble on it all week!


    There are tons of great ways to get calcium. The nut milk I drink, Hempmilk, provides 46% of our daily value in just one glass! I take a vitamin to boot and always eat dark, leafy greens everyday, all which contain calcium. Beans, tofu, oranges, nuts and seeds….they all contain calcium. I have monitored my diet and have found that I actually get over the daily value that is recommended for americans every day simply bc of my vitamin + hempmilk.

  • jenna
    February 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm


    Wed and Thurs are supposed to be chilly but the weekend, I hear, is supposed to be gorgeous!!!!!! 🙂

  • SusanV
    February 26, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I’m so happy you liked the mac and “cheese!” I’m always a little worried about serving it to non-vegans, but hearing that you liked it has given me courage; the next time my parents visit, I’m going to test it out on them. Thanks for writing about it!

  • erica
    February 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    thanks jenna! i’m making the mac and “cheeze” tonight, i’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

  • ashleystravel
    February 26, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I can so understand the desire to cook vegan even when you are not one. I am a meat-eater (mainly fish) who has loved every vegan baked good that I have ever made. Usually they are tastier than the non-vegan versions!

    With that being said, thanks for being transparent on the foods you eat! It is always nice to know a person’s views on the food 🙂