4 Vegetarian Meals Ranked By My Bacon-Loving Dad

4 Vegetarian Meals Ranked By My Bacon-Loving Dad

“If I don’t like it, I will make myself some bacon.”- My Dad

When I told my parents that I had decided to go vegetarian, they were supportive... yet slightly puzzled. My parents couldn’t imagine not eating meat, especially since my dad’s favorite breakfast food is bacon and as my mom said, “I couldn’t do that… I like my hamburgers too much.” When I came home for winter break, I was excited to cook my parents my favorite vegetarian meals in an attempt to prove to them that it really is not that difficult and still very appetizing! I think they mostly just enjoyed having someone cook them dinner regardless if it contained meat or not.

Also, when I told my mom and dad that I was writing this article they took it very seriously. My mom made sure I displayed my meals neatly on the nice china plates and my dad (and my mom) gave relatively serious feedback. In the end my dad ranked the order from his least to most appetizing meals. Bon Appétit!

4. Tofu and Mushroom Pasta

This meal consisted of wheat spaghetti noodles topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and tofu and drizzled with olive oil. The last rank came at no surprise considering I don’t think my dad has ever seen tofu before, let alone tried it. My mom made spaghetti sauce loaded with sausage as a backup… which my dad did end up eating. I will give him credit though, he ate at least four solid fork-fulls of my tofu pasta before switching to the spaghetti sauce. He declared, “I would eat it… but not when there is something else to eat….” On a happy note, my mom loved it!

3. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

Out of all the meals, this one is the easiest one to make. It is cooked cubed sweet potatoes and sautéed black beans and onions on a lettuce wrap (and I also would recommend adding sliced avocados and feta cheese). My dad’s plate started with three full pieces of lettuce as the base and ended with two and a half pieces of lettuce. His excuse was, “I am really not that big of a lettuce fan in the first place…”, thus placing it at number three.

2. Classic Black Bean Burger

I make my black bean burgers with black beans, carrots, an egg, bread crumbs, and various seasonings and use lettuce as a substitute bun. Again, the lettuce bun lasted one bite before switching to a nice fluffy bread bun. While I used avocadoes and tomatoes as toppings my Dad would recommend dipping in hot sauce and possibly using it as a taco filling… along with beef.

1. Zucchini Pizza Wraps with Pesto and Mushroom Flatbread

The winner is baked zucchini that is wrapped around mushrooms, tomatoes and onions topped with pizza sauce and cheese! And on the side, is simple flatbread with pesto and sautéed mushrooms and onions. I asked my dad the last time he had zucchini and in deep thought he replied, “Two years ago… your mom and I went to somebody’s house and they were making something or another with zucchini… I don’t know, I went for the beer.” We later confirmed it had been last year when my aunt made zucchini brownies. Nevertheless, my dad decided that it would taste even better if I had added pizza sausage.

Cover Image Credit: Original Photo by Karlee Onstad

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25 Secret Dairy Queen Treats

Order like an expert.

Flurries and soft serve cones from other ice cream chains can’t compete with the delicious treats served at Dairy Queen. DQ is the perfect place to stop after a family dinner, on a date, or on your way home from work; essentially, there’s never a bad time to eat ice cream. And Dairy Queen has been serving loyal customers for over 75 years, so they know what they’re doing. Blizzard flavors and specialty treats have come and gone over the past decades, but some still exist on the Dairy Queen secret menu. Although not displayed on the menu boards, these items can still be ordered and created just for you. If you’d like one, don’t hesitate to ask!

Secret Blizzard Flavors

1. Banana Creme Pie

Ingredients: sliced banana, pie pieces, and whipped cream

2. Cappuccino Heath

Ingredients: chocolate syrup, coffee concentrate, and Heath

3. Caramel Delight Pie

Ingredients: caramel, choco chunks, and pie pieces

4. Choco Cherry Love

Ingredients: cherry topping and choco chunks

5. Chocolate Chip

Ingredients: a ladle of chocolate cone coating

6. Chocolate Covered Cheesecake

Ingredients: cheesecake pieces, cocoa fudge, and choco chunks

7. Choco Covered Strawberry

Ingredients: strawberries and choco chunks

8. Choco Peanut Butter Brownie

Ingredients: choco chunks, brownie pieces, and peanut butter topping

9. French Silk Pie

Ingredients: pie pieces, choco chunks, cocoa fudge, and whipped cream

10. Georgia Mud Fudge

Ingredients: brownie pieces, cocoa fudge,

11. German Chocolate Brownie

Ingredients: brownie pieces, coconut, pecans, and caramel

12. Mint Chocolate Chip

Ingredients: mint and choco chunks

13. Mocha Chip

Ingredients: coffee concentrate and choco chunks

14. Ooey Gooey Caramel Brownie

Ingredients: caramel, brownie pieces, and choco chunks

15. Oreo Brownie Earthquake

Ingredients: brownie pieces, Oreo cookie pieces, hot fudge, and marshmallow topping

16. Cookie Jar

Ingredients: chocolate chip cookie dough, hot fudge, and Oreo cookie pieces

17. Peanut Butter Butterfinger

Ingredients: Butterfinger and peanut butter topping

18. Strawberry Banana

Ingredients: strawberries and sliced banana

19. Tripleberry Brownie

Ingredients: Tripleberry (from Julius station), brownie pieces, and choco chunks

20. Tropical

Ingredients: sliced banana, pecans, and coconut

Secret Royal Treats

21. Pecan Mudslide

This delicious creation can be created by putting caramel and hot fudge in a large sundae cup. Then, add the ice cream and top with more caramel and hot fudge. Finally, finish it off with some pecans.

22. Oreo Brownie Earthquake

Although DQ no longer has the sliced brownies for the classic version of the brownie earthquake, it’s still possible to make this. Start off with a round treat dish and add ice cream. Top it with hot fudge and marshmallow, and add plenty of brownie pieces and Oreo cookie pieces. Lastly, garnish it with whipped cream!

23. Peanut Butter Bash

Start off with a large sundae cup and pump peanut butter topping and hot fudge into it. Then, add ice cream and top with more peanut butter and hot fudge. Spoon some choco chunks on top, and it’s finished.

Secret Drinks

24. Arctic Rush Freezes

This is just your favorite Arctic Rush with ice cream. You can choose to have the ice cream blended or have the Arctic Rush served with ice cream floating in it!

25. Frozen Hot Chocolate

This can be easily made by filling a clear cup to the red line with Arctic Rush base. Then, add cocoa fudge and the desired flavor (Double Fudge, Caramel, or Peanut Butter). Fill the cup with ice cream and blend. Garnish with whipped cream, and you have a frozen hot chocolate!

Now that you’re a DQ expert, go ahead and order your favorite secret menu treat! Be aware, however, that toppings and candies may vary by location.

Cover Image Credit: http://assets3.thrillist.com/

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A General guide to a perfect cup of coffee

Making that cup is half the experience. Don't miss out.


A good cup of coffee is a treat in and of itself. The rich and earthy aroma of freshly ground beans when you wake up is a delight to the senses. Now I am not what you would call a coffee connoisseur, but like any other person, I am very particular about the coffee I drink… so much so that I had a Nespresso pod machine with me as I began my first year of college.

Now, most coffee aficionados would tell you coffee pods are a disgrace to the beverage and I agree. They don't capture the essence of the bean, the texture, or quality. But they are drastically better than instant coffee! Now that is horrendous. The coffee pod is a decent, minimally acceptable substitute. But I implore any coffee lover, to step out of Starbucks (that most definitely isn't good coffee) and quaint coffee parlors, and actually make an effort to learn about the beverage you consume and are delighted by.

I will be honest, I was never a coffee fan. I barely drank it to stay awake. Highly caffeinated tea was my poison of choice for late nights. My interest in what makes a good cup of coffee and my, let's say, pickiness when it comes to drinking it stems from my father's journey in making the perfect espresso, latte, ristretto etc…

Every process to make that perfect cup is crucial so let me paint a picture. Imagine freshly picked coffee beans sent in for processing and roasted at a range where it doesn't get burnt nor is it too blonde, a warm brown with undertones of red comes to my mind. For optimal extraction of the oils, the beans have to be used within 2 weeks of being roasted (so do not buy the beans from Starbucks usually). Instead of getting it grounded ahead of time feel as you grind the beans to the size you want because powder size plays a huge role in the bitterness and the very drip of the coffee. Finding the correct size powder is a crucial element to customize your coffee for your palate.

After the powder size has been recognized, a pressurized system lets the water seep through the powder. Whether it be an Aeropress because of its cheaper price tag and the opportunities for customizing it or a good old coffee machine, maintaining a good amount of pressure for the oil to be extracted is key.

Tamping is an important aspect if using a regular coffee machine, since it again determines the drip speed and bitterness as it packs the powder into compact form, allowing for maximum oil extraction for the espresso. And you can determine if the effort was worth it as you look at the thick creamy creamer on top of your espresso shot and breath in what should be a full-bodied and earthy scent.

If you are an avid coffee drinker, I ask you to give making your own coffee from scratch. If you don't like coffee, well, try making it your own. You might like it for all you know.

-Sincerely A Coffee Enthusiast

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