So it has been a month of eating mostly vegetarian and I have to say guys, I think it’s honestly not half bad.  I figured by now I’d be ripping my hair out, screaming at the top of my lungs, WHERE IS THE MEAT????  But ya know, I think I enjoy not having meat in every meal…  I know what you’re thinking, I am probably losing my mind due to the lack of meaty goodness in my diet but the differences that I’m noticing in my energy and the reduction of body fat is incredible.

I use to eat meat in every meal, except breakfast because for some reason I always skip that meal.  It’s horrible for you, I know, I am making a conscious effort to eat breakfast this year and this week I’ve done pretty good.  Anyways back to meat, I use to have it up to 12-13 times a week — I mean, that’s a lot of meat.  I would also eat a lot of red meat during dinner time as well: steak, pork, bison…okay YUM.  But seeing that our bodies are made to be mostly vegetarian (the proof is in our teeth!), like our common ancestor the Monkey, it just made sense for me to cut down my meat consumption to 3-4 times a week.

Trust me, Collin was geekin pretty bad when we first started this venture.  “What are we going to eat if we can’t eat meat?”  “Does this mean we’ll be eating beans all the time?”  “Should I get beano?” “No really, what are we going to eat to stay full?” All valid concerns, and I don’t blame him.   I’ve eaten at vegetarian restaurants and I always feel like something is missing…like meat.  Then I realized, why make something that “tastes” like meat when obviously you know it’s not — I mean it’s just down right disappointing.  So I’ve embraced the flavors, textures and colors of vegetables and enjoy them for what they are, not for what they can “substitute”.

For this lovely dinner I prepared last night I used a whole grain called “wheatberries”.  Basically it is the entire wheat kernel: the bran, germ, endosperm and all except for the husk.  The textures of these little “berries” are incredible, they are a chewy consistency and very firm in texture and also provide an excellent source of dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber not only gives you healthy poops (tee hee) but also lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease and several other benefits that keeps your body strong and in good shape.

I mixed the wheatberries with some diced bell peppers and toasted pecans.  I placed it on a bed of peppery argula greens and thinly sliced tomatoes and topped it off with a poached eggs and some potato crisps I baked in the oven.  It’s one of those meals you wouldnt expect to be soul satisfying, but it truly is.  It’s all of earth’s wholesome goodness in a bowl.

Ingredients for Wheatberry Salad with Poached Egg and Potato Crisps:

(serves 2-3)

  • 2 cup wheatberries, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed, juice only
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 medium red skinned potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup arugula greens, rinsed and dried
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • salt pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium heavy bottomed pot, place your wheatberries and cover with water — cook at medium high heat for 30 minutes, or until softened.  Meanwhile, take your thinly sliced potatoes and minced garlic and place them on a prepared baking sheet.  You can either spray with cooking spray or evenly coat with olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

While you are waiting for those items to cook, this is when you can prep the other vegetables like the diced bells, tomatoes and arugula.  You can also begin poaching your egg during this time as well, for those of you who have never poached an egg, it is better to use fresh eggs when poaching so it holds together better while cooking.

My friend Dhale has great instructions as to how to poach eggs on her site that can be found here. If you prefer a less runny yolk, leave it in for 4-5 minutes, if you like yours runny (as I do) leave it in for 2-3 minutes.  Be sure the whites are fully cooked before you consume them, you can check the whites by raising the poached egg out carefully with a slotted spoon.

Take your potato crisps out of the oven and set aside.  Once the wheatberries are fully cooked, strain and place in a large mixing bowl.  Place the lemon juice and honey along with the chopped bell peppers and pecans and mix together.  Plate your arugula and tomatoes and place a spoonful of the wheatberry salad ontop.  Top it off with the poached eggs and potato crisps and season with salt and pepper and a little bit of grated Parm — I actually kicked it up a notch and used “smoked salt” which is VERY yummy and can be found at the bulk spice section at Central Market.

Heh heh heh, thought I’d share some pictures with you guys — both of my animals and some of my food art.  I would love some feedback so tell me what you guys think!!

I am not sure what Lily is doing here, she looks like she’s recovering from a hangover, oooh kitty….

Heh heh heh heh

It didn’t work quite as well on Lays — and just so you guys know (because it is not seemingly evident in the pictures), my animals love me hahahahaha :)

Can anyone guess what this is?

Food art time!!

There ya go folks! Until next time …


  1. Vegetable Matter says: 21 Jan ’10 • 15:24:01

    Looks great. See, being vegetarian isn’t so bad!


    • Joy Zhang says: 22 Jan ’10 • 09:54:36

      No i’ts not bad at all! It’s really great actually, I had no idea it takes our bodies three days to digest meat, it kinda grossed me out hahaha

  2. dhaleb says: 21 Jan ’10 • 15:28:05

    I’ve never tried wheatberry before but you made it look so delicious that I may just go out and buy some! And the poached eggs… I’m sold! I LOVE poached eggs on anything. It’s sooooo good!

    Thanks for the link :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 22 Jan ’10 • 09:54:01

      Poached eggs are the bestest! You should try wheatberries!! I think you’d like them, they are quite fun to eat :) Thanks for the feedback!!!

  3. dhaleb says: 21 Jan ’10 • 15:29:44

    P.S. Your food art is beautiful! I love all the vibrant contrasting colors! Fantastic job, Joy!


  4. Kristan says: 21 Jan ’10 • 18:33:37

    LOL to your animal shots. We’re so mean to them sometimes. :P


    • Joy Zhang says: 22 Jan ’10 • 09:49:18

      Hahaha my neighbors probably think I am nutty as hell! It’s okay a little dressing up never hurt anyone…^_^

  5. Kat says: 21 Jan ’10 • 20:53:35

    I love topping food with poached eggs…no need to make an additional sauce! Yum!

    ps- your pictures are gorgeous!


    • Joy Zhang says: 22 Jan ’10 • 09:48:07

      Hey kat! Thanks for the kind words :) I am such a fan of poached eggs as well, there really is no need for additional sauce you are right!

  6. david says: 21 Jan ’10 • 22:08:12

    Wow this looks extremely invigorating, I love the creativity of from your food art and your animals crack me up. They look so funny. Thanks for sharing.


    • Joy Zhang says: 22 Jan ’10 • 09:45:35

      Haha thanks David, Layla and Lily are quite the couple :)

  7. Tracy says: 22 Jan ’10 • 11:01:27

    This salad is wonderful, Joy! I don’t eat meat, but still do diary, so anything topped with a poached egg–YUM! Beautiful photos… I feel very hungry now! All your photos here are dazzling… the animal photos have such charm & whimsy! Happy Weekend :o )


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:47:55

      Tracy — I am pretty much the same way. I will have meat every now and then, I am such a fan of this change! Thanks for the kind words :) I do feel very fortunate to have a pair of silly billy animals hahaha

  8. Rose says: 22 Jan ’10 • 11:44:41

    WOW! Your photos are GORGEOUS! Love the animal pics ;) My cats are always subjected to humiliating photos, it’s one of my favorite hobbies! hah!

    Wheatberries are delicious, aren’t they? I just made a mostly veggie chili with them. Just a great salad all around. I can’t wait to try!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:49:13

      Thanks Rose!! You will have to share some of those humiliating photos to me hahaha I am happy to know I am not the only one who likes to laugh at the expense of my pets hahahaha :) Wheatberries are VERY delicious, I discovered them a couple years back and haven’t stopped eating them since — your vegetarian chili sounds very very good I can’t wait to put my husband to work on that recipe :)

  9. Impromptu Diva says: 22 Jan ’10 • 12:46:22

    this is food art at its best… i love the vibrant colors… joy you are amazing!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:39:23

      Malou you are too kind!! I am glad you are luvin the fruit art :)

    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:50:02

      Malou you are too kind! I am happy you enjoy my food art :)

  10. MaryMoh says: 22 Jan ’10 • 14:10:03

    You are sure going healthy here….well done! But I need 2 or 3 poached eggs….my favourite :P Love all the picture. Love the cat in turquoise wrap. Awww….looks so sweet…must be thinking hard what in the world is Joy up to :D


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:51:15

      Thanks Mary for the words of encouragement — I am enjoying living a healthy lifestyle and the changes that have gone along with it! Hahaha I think my cat was thinking more along the lines of ” why the hell does she do this to me…all the time?” :) ! I tell myself at the end of the day she enjoys it, hahaha!!

  11. Natasha – 5 Star Foodie says: 22 Jan ’10 • 15:44:12

    Love the salad – sounds especially good with the poached egg! Gorgeous pictures!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:52:16

      Thanks Natasha!! I am a huge fan of poached eggs :)

  12. glworks says: 22 Jan ’10 • 15:50:07

    the food art, at first it looks like sliced tomatoes, but the second one i have no clue, and then it looks like red bell peppers. ^_^


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:53:01

      You are right! The first is sliced tomatoes and all the rest are of red and yellow bell peppers — what a sharp eye!

  13. Natalie says: 22 Jan ’10 • 16:16:14

    Your pictures of Lays and Lily are beyond adorable. And as always the food looks delicious! I was vegetarian for almost 2 years and its amazing how easy it is to get by without meat… that is until you get sick for 3 weeks and can’t stop dreaming about steaming hot bowls of chicken soup (that was the beginning of the end for me). Cheers!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:54:36

      Thanks for your kind words!! You know it was very easy to get by without meat I really expected it to be harder hahaha but man chicken soup? Nothing really gets better than that when you’re sick so I can’t blame you — I always say “as long as it’s in moderation, why not?” :) A little meat here and there never hurts anyone ^_^

  14. The Little Teochew says: 22 Jan ’10 • 21:59:30

    You make salad look like a million bucks!!! Loved the food art. Capsicum!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:55:04

      Thank you Ju!!! Now if only my salad was WORTH a million bucks hahahaha

  15. kristy says: 24 Jan ’10 • 07:28:31

    As always, those photos are stunning! And that simple colourful meal looks awesome as well. Well done, Joy!
    p/s what have you done to your pets? haha…. I love Lily Avatar version! haha… So cute! My daughter laughs when I showed her this.


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 11:59:23

      Thanks Kristy!! Hahahaha ya like that?? I usually always dress up layla in different get ups because believe it or not, she actually enjoys getting dressed up. I never tried it on Lily so I had some old pantyhose I was going to throw out and then I saw her sitting peacefully on the chair, and then i looked back at the pantyhose and suddenly a light went off in my head — PANTYHOUSE HATS FOR ALL ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE!!! and the rest? Well… hahaha you can see what happened hahahaha

  16. Angie says: 24 Jan ’10 • 13:37:26

    So this is kind of the perfect recipe for me. Plus I’ve never used wheatberries before but I love eating it already prepared at Whole Food’s and have been meaning to do it. And your friends poached egg tips are helpful

    Aww puppy, kitty!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:25:11

      Angie — that is actually the first time I tasted wheatberries, at the prepped foods section at Whole Foods hahaha — they are really easy to cook so I think you will enjoy it! Tell me how it turns out :)

  17. zenchef says: 24 Jan ’10 • 19:46:43

    I figured i should let go of meat for a month or two but with my job it’s almost impossible. I’m sure you feel like a million bucks. And my gawd, this is a beautiful salad!

    Ok, i’m off to turn my dog into an Avatar now. :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:24:22

      Hahahahaha!!! I laughed out loud — I personally think everyone should dress their pets as Avatars why not? :) Yes I can’t possibly imagine you being a vegetarian in your job environment! Which btw, if you ever need a taster *nudge nudge* you have a willing guinea pig in Texas at all times :)

  18. Kristi says: 27 Jan ’10 • 15:08:35

    I love this recipe! I’m sure this is redundant, but your pictures are beautiful. I love that you posted pictures of your pets, that are so cute! I have an award for you on my blog here


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:12:55

      Kristi that is honestly so nice of you to think of me for your award and thank you very very much for your kind words!! (No one ever finds nice words redudant :) !!)

  19. Gaby says: 29 Jan ’10 • 02:55:13

    Dear Joylicious, I adore the photos you took of your pets! Especially the avatar kitty. Awesome! Also, I am thinking the last photos were of a red pepper? What is it? Its driving me crazy!!! All in all, I felt like I had stepped into Gourmet Magazine. It was so well presented, clean, photos clear and professionally positioned. I shall return for another bite of this wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing.
    Cheers, Gaby
    You can always visit me at


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:48:49

      Gaby you are right! The last few photos are of a red pepper, the first was a tomato :) I truly thank you for your kind words, they are so meaningful ^_^ It really made my day so thank you!

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