We look Zeppelin home with us on July 4, 2008. He was not quite six weeks old, and certainly too young to be adopted, but his mom had abandoned him and his siblings. Right from the start Zep was very different from our other cat, he was more loving, sweeter, friendlier…but he was also a jerk who wouldn’t cover up his poop in the litter box, who insisted on cleaning himself in my lap, and who wanted to sit as close to my face as humanly possible. I mean, the cat liked to sleep on my pillow. Zeppelin was my little buddy. Wes and I have three companion animals, and I love them all, but Zeppelin was MINE. He and Wes had issues, Zep liked to pee on Wes things-frequently. He never did this to me. Our friend Jeff likes to tell the story of how at our old place, Zep was dying to go outside and Wes didn’t want to let him out; so Zeppelin, while looking straight at Wes, walked over to a $300 pair of hiking boots and peed in them. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Wes so mad. “YOUR CAT RUINED MY SHOES!” Zep liked to pick fights with our other cat, and cuddle with our rescued dog. He liked sitting on heating vents and sleeping on my pillow next to my head. He liked to cuddle.
About six weeks ago on a Saturday I woke up and Zep wasn’t in the house; which didn’t concern me at first because our cats have a habit of sneaking out the dog’s door. By that afternoon though, I was worried. I started to think he’d run off. A week later, i was convinced he was in someone’s house. He’s easily the friendliest cat I’ve ever been around.
I was cleaning trash out of the back yard yesterday (our rescue likes to steal trash and put it outside). I looked up and saw my poor baby dead. He’d been attacked (very recently by the looks of it) by an animal that was clearly much larger than him. I miss him so much. It’s been a really rough couple of days.
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So i got a LOT of food related items for Christmas. This is likely because I’m a food obsessed girl who’s not really into clothes, makeup or seriously girly stuff. I use to be. I’m unhappy with myself physically though so i’ve gotten away from loving those things. sigh. work to be had.
Hot Apple Cinnamon Syrup: this stuff is interesting. Not everyday syrup.
THis is what happens with FOUR KIDS open presents at once. Yes, only four. The rest of us cleaned this up then opened our gifts.
Wes and I hosted Christmas dinner at our house. We had 18 people. INSANE.
Thanks, in-laws. Still haven’t used this thing. I’m overwhelmed by it and the instruction booklet confuses me. Which is very frustrating since I’ve never had a problem figuring out kitchen devices
I made this INSANE raw kale salad for my family. It was all eaten up. EIGHT bunches of kale with a lemon-tahini dressing. mmmmmm.
Heirloom quinoa. Black quinoa tastes no different than the regular stuff if anyone ever wondered if it was worth the extra money. It’s not!
I had no idea this existed but it’s awesome and has become a regular staple.
vegan buttermilk pie. basically this is like a lemon custard pie.
sparse decorations at my house; my husband is not a fan of holiday decor.
The Raw zucchini salad that was also part of dinner.
dance party for the holidays.
i made chocolate cookies with this. AMAZEBALLS.
haven’t tapped into this yet-saving this for something special.
the best grits in the world; the only ones i like. you should buy them online. you won’t regret it.
Happy Herbivore Cupcakes for the kids
As some of you may know, I was presented an opportunity to assist Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore back in September, just as she was heading to do her book tour of Finland and Ireland for Everyday Happy Herbivore. I’ve become close to Lindsay online and have immensely enjoyed assisting her. Now, Lindsay has a full time assistant, I handle helping out with Instagram and Twitter now, but It’s a real pleasure being part of something I really believe it. it’s with great excitement that I submitted to participate in 31 days of giveaways.
1. What’s your favorite easy-to-make breakfast?
2. How did you choose Lily and Quaid’s names?
As for LB, since *I* technically named Quaid, Scott thought he should get to name our daughter. He wanted her to have a really girly name and picked Lily. I thought Lily was too simple so I asked about adding “Bean” to it — and he agreed. I got to pick her middle name – Andalusia after my favorite part of Spain.
3. What’s the least plant friendly place you’ve traveled to and how did you handle it?
4. What’s your best rebuttal for when people want to include non plant items in holiday menus because it’s “tradition”?
5. What’s your favorite US city?
6. We know you don’t eat broccoli and you’re not an eggplant fan; are there any other plants that you don’t care much for?
7. Do you ever have to cook separately for you and Scott? I know he is plant based, but sometimes that doesn’t mean he eats the way you prefer eating?
8. How do you handle family potlucks when non-plant based people are your hosts, do you cook your own full meal and bring it along?
I have about a dozen posts on happyherbivore.com‘s blog about potlucks and what to feed omni’s if you need recipe ideas.
9. What recipe creation are you most proud of?
10. What’s your favorite main protein source: tempeh, seitan, tofu or beans?
This post is dedicated to my Mom.
Whenever we chat on the phone, she likes to ask me how I am doing eating through my pantry. Are you still eating all your noodles? What about your beans?
I've tried to reassure her that yes, we are eating through our pantry. I am still eating through my kelp noodles, my collection of beans and polishing off assorted grains like…
I got a ten pound spaghetti squash for $2 at the farmer’s market. It was so big that I wasn’t able to slice the top off without assistance from my husband. I *never* have to ask for help cutting something. Anyways, I cut that bad boy in half, removed the seeds out with an ice cream scoop, chopped up 8 cloves of garlic, threw them in the squash halves, and baked them cut side up at 400 for about an hour.
I scraped the insides and ended up with around 6 cups of spaghetti squash. I thought there would be more!!
After baking this, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a lot of ideas, but at the end of the day, I decided to do something new rather than something I knew would work. I’ve been in a food rut, so eating outside of the box is a great way of getting myself to be healthy and stay interested. After a few searches, I found a recipe for vegan spaghetti squash gratin made with almond milk and cornstarch. I didn’t have cornstarch, and I’m really not fond of what it does to sauces anyways, so I decided to wing it and make a vegan white bechamel. The catch is that I’m trying to eat clean, so I was reallllllllllllly winging it.
Vegan Spaghetti Squash Gratin
Preheat the oven to 400. You want it nice and hot.
6 cups cooked spaghetti squash
8 roasted garlic cloves
Place the above in a baking dish and set aside.
2 T raw coconut oil
2 T whole wheat flour
2 cups room temperature unsweetened coconut milk (carton-not canned)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic granules
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
Heat coconut oil over medium in a large skillet until very hot. Sprinkle in flour and stir together for 2.5 minutes. Slowly whisk in coconut milk stirring constantly to combine and keep lumps from forming. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic granules. Taste to check salt/nutmeg/pepper/garlic levels and add more to taste. Heat over medium high heat until bubbling. Stir constantly until sauce thickens; for about 9 minutes.
Pour sauce over spaghetti squash and stir well to combine.
1/2 c whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 t melted coconut oil
Combine the above and sprinkle over the top of the spaghetti squash and bechamel sauce mixture. Top with a few turns of fresh ground black pepper.
Bake for 35 minutes; until sauce is bubbling.
Don’t judge my ugly square metal pan. My husband has managed to break two baking dishes and my small pyrex pan. He’s a disaster with glass!!
In a perfect world, I’d have an open food budget and I could afford to buy whatever I please, from wherever I please, whenever I want. That’s not reality. However, sometimes I can afford to splurge. Here are some of my favorite, simple things.
Raspberries and coconut milk yogurt for breakfast on a hot summer morning:
Quinoa and Toasted Almonds with hot sauce, and a cooling seaweed salad for lunch.
Pictures are hard to judge at times. This was easily 2 cups of seaweed salad. I got this generous portion at Sushi Yobi.
Before I went vegan, I’m pretty sure you could not have convinced me to try a seaweed salad. Even though I love sushi, I am not a huge nori fan, so the thought of a seaweed salad was kind of off-putting. Until I learned that not all seaweed was created equal that is!
A raspberry and milagro blanco tequila cocktail with just a tiny bit of agave. Smashed berries+agave mix wonderfully with a good blanco tequila.
And dinner would be a long, lazy affair.
First some raosted cauliflower soup with a bit of truffle oil and green onions:
Followed by my current absolute favorite southern meal, kale, red onions, and grits that took 45 minutes of constant stirring to make.
I generally cook my kale in lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic and a little bit of coconut oil when it’s going on top of grits. Otherwise, I stick to hot sauce/oj/tamari/garlic at all times. It’s my go-to.
A note about grits. I actually always thought I hated grits until a couple of years ago. It turns out, I just don’t like instant grits. Real grits are just a white cornmeal version of polenta. It’s funny though; my husband still hates polenta. I think he’s just being picky.
A delicious day like this would certainly need to end with dessert; but let’s be real for a moment; I’d rather have an alcoholic drink than sugar. So I’ll leave dessert to your imagination. What does a delicious day look like to you?
Today is 50 days from Thanksgiving. I can’t take credit for knowing that though, It was Cassie over at Back To Her Roots. In fact, most of this blog post is kind of taken form her, because her post really inspired me this morning.
Her post inspired me to meet 10 goals in 50 days. I know I can do this and telling the blog world will only help me stick to my guns on this! Now, Cassie is not vegan, but she does post quite a lot of vegan recipes. So while my goals will be very similar to hers, they will not be the same-specifically her #5. Goal, which is to eat at least 75 meatless meals. I do that anyways
So I want to lay out my goals:
1. Log at least 2000 fitness minutes. That means an average of 40 minutes per day. This one will actually be easier for me now than it would have been in the past; specifically because my husband and I recently rescued this handsome guy:
He’s the reason I’m late to work almost every day. He likes 2-3 walks a day and I’m definitely okay with that!
2. Walk or run 1000 miles. See above. THANK YOU CHANEY!!
3. Learn 10 yoga poses. I’ve never done any yoga, so this should be fun
4. Eat 250 servings of vegetables.
5. Eat 75 oil free meals.
6. Drink 500 8 ounce glasses of water. This WILL be a challenge. I really slack on water consumption.
7. Go at least 25 days without consuming any refined sugar.
8. Complete 25 random acts of kindness
9. Go 50 days without complaining about my body or anyone else’s. I have noticed that females in general are pretty guilty of criticizing the bodies of others. It’s not fair and it’s not okay. I don’t like it when people do it to me, I need to stop doing it myself.
10. Convince my husband to participate in Meatless Monday on a permanent basis. I know that goal is related to him, but if I’m pushy enough, he’ll do it
What does this have to do with vegan mofo? Oh, I’m not really sure, but I think it’s an excellent plan and I challenge anyone out there to try setting their own goals. Hey, if you’re not vegan, why not make it a goal to be vegan for the next 50 days?
I wasn’t really sure I was going to sign up to participate in VeganMofo this year. The thing is, October-April is my busiest time of year. I work in the employee benefits industry, and this is the time of year when everyone meets about their benefits and decides what they’re going to do for the upcoming year. For me, this means traveling and a lot of public speaking. However, I’ve been working on changing my eating habits, and I’ve found that tracking my food and blogging really helps keep me on top of things. My theme this year is going to be along the lines of eating Whole Foods. It’s not going to focus on living without oil or salt, but I will focus on consuming whole foods. Over the weekend, I experimented with making a curry without adding oil. I don’t have a lot of curry experience because my husband is not a fan of curry in general. (Yes, he’s crazy.)
one medium butternut squash, seeded, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 medium sized sweet onions, halved and sliced
1 15 OZ can full fat OR light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 vegetable broth cube (not-chicken is a favorite)
4 tablespoons of panang curry paste (I like Arroyo D, it’s oil free) If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, reduce the curry paste to 2T and add more to taste.
Saute onions and butternut squash in a bit of water until they soften, for about 10 minutes. Add in curry paste, and stir to coat all veggies. Then add coconut milk, water, and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine and simmer of medium heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover, and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Serve over quinoa. Makes 5 servings.
I tend to start the quinoa right as the first round of simmering finishes. I always make quinoa the same way, I rinse the quinoa, then dry cook it until the water has cooked off and the quinoa toasts a bit, then add double the amount of vegetable broth (or water+broth cube), and cook the quinoa, covered, for 20 minutes. I never add any seasonings until it’s cooked, and typically I ONLY add black pepper to it.
This is the story of a picnic that didn't happen, twice.
We had full intentions of getting together with friends, having a picnic together on the island. However, after a weather forecast of 100% rain, the plans were abandoned. Rob and I stayed at home and relished in a relaxing afternoon together.
Together, we still continued with our picnic menu: Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Iranian Limes.