Your friendly source for all things vegan! Recipes, reviews, information, and inspiration! I eagerly welcome your questions and comments! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How It All Vegan!

This month marks Jordan's and my FIVE YEAR VEGAN-versary!  FIVE delicious, compassionate years!!!  I can hardly believe it?!  In celebration of this momentous occasion, I wish to expound more upon what has helped me along this wonderful journey...

I was already close to being a vegetarian when I officially chose the vegan path in April 2006, spurred forward entirely by the powerful read, Diet For a New America, by John Robbins.  But by no means was I well educated in day-to-day vegan cooking and whatnot!  I yearned to be vegan with all my heart, but my head had to play catch-up!  All I knew was that certain foods were not going to be purchased or eaten anymore--a boycott, plain and simple.  But beyond that, it was all just a journey into a vegan wilderness.  But it was a journey I was excited to embark upon!  I'd just have to do without those familiar, yet cruel, foods.  And do without them my husband and I did!  No butter, cheese, milk, eggs, meats!  I didn't even enjoy the compassionate alternatives or faux varieties of such items!  The fact of the matter was that I didn't realize they existed!

So you can imagine the joy I felt when we discovered vegan mayo... OH MY GOSH!  Follow Your Heart Vegenaise?  Pure Elation!  It had been so long...  And Earth Balance vegan "butter"?!  WOW!  I'd been using peanut butter to make cinnamon toast, and mashed bananas to make frosting!!!  It never was quite what I wanted.  But now, all was well--my vegan journey was comfortable and complete!

It seems silly today, but my Jordan and I were very lonely vegans for well over a year. Outside of ourselves, we didn't know a single vegan!  We didn't think to visit a health-food store to look for alternative foods... we thought they only stocked vitamins.  We also didn't understand the magnitude of blogging and networking or we certainly would have tuned in sooner... it would have been so easy to tap into the culture and be in-the-know about all things vegan.  Oh well.  We eventually stumbled on a few old time acquaintances who happened to have chosen the vegan path as we had.  Through them, we became connected to even more vegans in the Salt Lake Valley!  What joy!  We were no longer alone!

But before all that...  The very first thing we did as "green" vegans was go to the library and look at the vegetarian cookbooks.  One particular selection caught our eye: How It All Vegan! By Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.  Being timid chefs, we scoured the pages, looking to see if these recipes were within our ability to create.  We saw promise, and immediately checked the book out and took it home.  We utilized that cookbook, to the best of our ability, for weeks on end.  We'd return it to the library on day 30, then turn around and check it right back out again.  We did this for at least 6 months straight!  We finally broke down and bought our own copy so that some one else could get some benefit out of the poor book! :)

 I always swear to people, (well, not swear, but you know what I mean...) that How It All Vegan! saved Jordan's and my vegan butt!  Even though it was a year later that we discovered a local health food store carrying a plethora of additional and "unknown" ingredients we could use to make the remainder of recipes with, still, we wouldn't haven't known what to do or how to proceed with the very real everyday food questions and concerns we had as brand new vegans without this book.  It was a timely find, and a blessing to be sure!

We have now whipped up everything from chili to chocholate cake from Sarah's and Tanya's cookbook and verdict is always the same: FABULOUS!!!  I have already shared a few of the recipes from this cookbook here in my blog, as well as Jordan's and my variations on them.  That was before I realized the power of networking that blogs can accomplish.  I want to honor the authors--not tarnish there source of income by putting their work all over the web.  So I will not be typing out their recipes word-for-word on my blog anymore.  But I just may type up a review and add a photo of their tasty creativity here for you to browse!  Then maybe you'll want to check out How It All Vegan! at the library for six months straight too!  :)  Or perhaps you'll behave like a normal person and just go buy it!  Who knows!  :)

But whatever you do, I just want you to know that I have a very soft spot in my heart for How It All Vegan!  By Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.  I sincerely thank these two ladies for educating me with practical vegan know-how!  They are inspirational women who are not ashamed to live their values in the kitchen, everyday!  I am very grateful to have fallen upon such good fortune as to have their sassy cookbook resting on my countertop.  It was the perfect follow-up to Diet For A New America.  I don't know how I would have survived in the vegan wilderness without it, much less FIVE YEARS!   

Happy Vegan-versary!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm surprised I don't miss this food anymore...

Cheese! 

Can you believe it?!  I actually don't miss cheese in my diet!  Before I chose to live vegan, I used to eat it EVERYDAY!  Bought gigantic, warehouse-sized bags of it every week!  I grew up on the stuff!  And now I never even think about it...  

I miss cheese so little that I hardly even buy the dairy-free alternatives like Follow Your Heart or Daiya, which I used to rely on more heavily as a "younger" vegan.  These brands are a taste treat, don't get me wrong, only I don't need to consume them on any regular basis.  And no one is more amazed by this than I...

While talking to my Jordan the other day about this very subject, he confided that he feels the same--he doesn't pine for cheese either.  We both just shrugged our shoulders and laughed at how far we've come.  It is a liberating feeling to finally be "weaned" (pun intended)  :)  from such a fatty, artificial, and cruel product.  Mostly, I just feel grateful. 

Many people think they cannot live without cheese.  They're wrong.  It's an addiction that CAN be broken. 
I'm proof of that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Rambutan


Guess what?  

I tried a new variety of fruit the other day!  I saw it at the grocery store and thought,  
"What is THAT???  I should try it!"  
So I did!  It's called a rambutan, which basically means "hairy" in Malay, and this makes perfect sense upon glimpsing the rind of this unusual little fruit.  After reading a little bit about them on the internet, I learned that they are grown far, far away from my native Utah, typically on the Southeast Asian side of the world.  Here in the U.S., they may be an exotic sight.  But in many cultures, they are as ubiquitous a food as an apple is to us. 

They sure are beautiful, fresh, on the tree! 
(By the way, this garden photo doesn't belong to me, but the other two pics are mine.)


To reveal the edible inside, I began by using a sharp knife and cutting around the soft-spined outer shell.  Here is what I discovered: a milky-white, pearl-like, fruit-flesh.  I took a nibble...  It had a chewy consistency.  And the flavor... Mild, quite mild.  It reminded me slightly of the taste of raw coconut.  Probably the easiest way of putting it is this: eating rambutan is kind of like eating a large grape, but without the extreme sweetness and juiciness of a grape. 


And do you know what else?  There really wasn't much flesh to eat, what with the big ol' gray pit I found in the center!  I ate around it.  And it looks like that was a good thing to do because from what I read about the rambutan, the pit is bitter and potentially poisonous.   So...  don't eat the pit!  

Rambutan also appear to have some useful nutrition factoids.  I read that they are a quality source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus. 

It was a strange experience, the rambutan.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. The taste was so indistinct and the texture so... somewhat gummy, I don't know quite what to make of it.  In all fairness I may have selected a past-its-prime piece, in which case that may explain the so-little-flavor and lack of moisture.   The web says to choose a rambutan that is bright red, its little spines devoid of any black color.  My rambutan was nearly all black before I even purchased it!  Just look at my photos!  Oh dear... 


As of this moment, I don't feel a pull to consume any more of these exotic fruit.  But I ought try rambutan again because maybe I still don't know what I'm truly missing--maybe I just didn't select a good juicy one. 

So when I decide to give rambutan a second chance, I'll be certain to write a follow-up. Stay tuned!  :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Perilous Perfection

As much as I try to push it off, to overcome it, to ignore it, I always feel this dread need to be perfect in everything I do.  I tell you this because it is the reason behind my lack of posting.  I write a little more frequently on my other, less-advertised blogs--it seems safer there, where few-to-none will ever read.  But especially with this my "Foodie Blog", I want every word and every ingredient and every picture to be, well, perfect.  It is debilitating--crippling even.  What a fantastic, utterly unattainable effort.

Perfection.  Perilous perfection.  

I have infinitely more to give, but I am afraid of failure.  

Please forgive me my weaknesses.  I still have so much to learn about life and A WORLD of room left to grow...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vegan Does Not Equal Healthy

One of my vegan blogging pals, Danielle, inspired today's post.  You should read her post too--it's better than mine!

Vegan does not equal healthy.  It should, but really, in today's world of vegetarian junk food, the two are not synonymous. This knowledge shocks people--can't tell you how many individuals have stared, mouth-agape, at me upon hearing this information.  But it is true.  I don't want to make waves, but the roots of Veganism did not begin with weight loss.  Although, sometimes that is a fortunate by-product!  :)

Being vegan is about compassion for the animals. I am glad there are so many health-concerned men and women who call themselves vegans.  I only wish that those who live it purely for personal health reasons, would call themselves "Complete Vegetarians", or something understandable like that. The title 'Vegan' denotes a spiritual, moral code of kindness, not a fad or diet, and I believe it is important to respect that.  

What do you think?

I don't wish to offend anyone with my views.  I recognize that we are all at different points on the path of awareness.  I certainly have a lot more room to grow.  And it must be said that the pursuit of good health often leads to veganism.  (That was my journey, after all.)  But learning about the animals themselves and accepting their souls to be as precious as mine, completely changed my heart.  I could never have stuck with veganism as a diet, but as a lifestyle of thoughfulness, it is as easy as breathing, for which I am deeply grateful...   

So, Vegan does not equal healthy--it represents infinitely more!  And even if the whole world disagrees with my choice, I am not afraid to stand alone, for I love being vegan!!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Delicious, Nutritious Day!

It's a little slow at work today, so I have a moment to create a post!  

I think about food a lot, not constantly, but quite often, when I'm not eating and when I am!   Sometimes, even while in the middle of a delicious, satisfying meal, I start contemplating the next one!  I'm not proud of that, but it's the truth.  :)

So as you may have guessed, I'm thinking about food right now.  :)  I am hungry.  (The organic grapefruit I had at 7 a.m. is long gone now!)  But I'm also looking forward to certain edible plans I made for the rest of the day...  Marcy and I are going out to eat for lunch!  Yay!  I love spending time with my sister.  But a Cutler's veggie sandwich is also a treat in it's own right!


classic Cutler's goodness...


Later, for dinner, I think I'll whip up Fantastic brand's falafel mix and a large kale salad.  I've been craving leafy greens lately, and for this I am grateful.  It's rather refreshing!  But this will be my first time trying falafel.  I'm excited!
 




I just peeled an organic banana and am now typing one-handed so I can hold it with the other and munch...  mmmm...  nom-nom...  This makes for extremely inefficient blogging, but it's a setback I'm willing to take!  :)



(These apricots look like a sunset!)

I also brought along some local, hand-picked-by-me, apricots and plums.  The apricots are from my generous neighbors, Blake and Nancy.  The plums, a gift from my dear childhood friend, Marinda, and her husband, Jamey.  (Thank you!  Thank you!)  I'll make a dent in these morsels when I get done with my banana.  Even though my breakfast is sort-of spread out, it is filling nonetheless.


Straight from the tree...


...a polished plum...


...is now a bitten plum!  :D

Looks like it's turning out to be a delicious, even nutritious, day, if I may say so myself, and I can't help but feel giddy about it!   

Yum-YUM!  :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

My New Mantra!


1. Rinse
2. Eat
3. Repeat!

It's my new mantra!  :D
 Lately, at the grocery store, I stock up on plenty of fresh, organic fruits and veggies for a change. It's also that time of year to stop off at a friendly farmer's market for some amazing local taste treats! Even my neighbors and family have offered to share their garden bounty with me!  It's a beautiful thing--the love, simplicity, and common sense of healthy eating.   

Now you be sure and get out there and "rinse, eat, repeat" for yourself!  I wish you health and happiness along the way!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rediscovering Greens


For whatever reason, I haven't been eating my greens lately.  
And I've been feeling a little down about it... 

So, when I saw Annie's Naturals Organic Goddess Dressing on sale at my local Super Target, well, I bought up a few bottles!  I already love the taste of this creamy, tangy, salad topper.  And if it helps me get back into the wholesome groove of enjoying a veggie-centered diet again, I welcome it!   

Annie's Goddess Dressing is mostly vegetable oil, so it isn't a fat-free food by any stretch.  Specifically, it packs 120 calories into a 2 tablespoons serving.  But it is vegan.  And in moderation, it is a delicious treat-- a tasty addition to any vegetable meal.  Which is exactly what I need right now-- anything that get's me excited about a salad again.  

So, here's to rediscovering greens, and here's to Annie's Goddess Dressing!  Yummy!  I hope you try it sometime.  :)

I am wondering, though... 


How do you spice up your salads and veggies? 

If you have any favorite products, tips, or ideas, oh please share!  I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter!  :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oatmeal "Wookie" Cookies

I discovered this cookie recipe behind the lid of a Quaker quick oats tumbler during the first year of my marriage.  But it's only recently that its clever title was acquired...  

While savoring a warm-from-the-oven dozen with me and Jordan, my mother reported that the dessert was soft and chewy...  Chewie???  We looked at each other, laughed, and it all came together in an instant...  I guess we all had Star Wars on the brain!  Chewie, the nick-name of large, furry character, Chewbacca, is a member of a race of creatures called Wookies.  And obviously, "Wookie" rhymes with "cookie"...  Before we knew it, the three of us had transformed a batch of seemingly ordinary baking into something even Han Solo could be proud of!  :)

An old-fashioned delight with a space-age twist--what fun!  As a fan of oatmeal cookies and all things Star Wars, I affectionately recommend you these tasty morsels!  And if, perhaps, you're not into science fiction, that's okay.  Call this treat what ever you like, just so long as you give it a try!  I modified the ingredients a little to make everything vegan-worthy.  But not to worry--they're still easy to bake and taste delicious!  I even think a big brown hairy space pilot "long ago, in a galaxy far far away..." might take a liking to them as well!  :D

Oatmeal "Wookie" Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen.

Organic Ingredients:
1 cup Earth Balance spread
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup white sugar
2-3 Tbsp dairy-free milk or 2 bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt (or 1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats, dry (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup raisins or vegan chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Just a note: for a thicker cookie, as pictured above, cut the milk requirement.  Begin by beating together the spread, sugars, milk, vanilla, and salt.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, oats, and raisins.  Combine the two bowls well.  Roll dough into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Brandi's Chik'n Enchiladas




My friend, Miss Brandi, better known as Vivacious Vegan, posted a delectable recipe to her blog a few months back, and I've been threatening to try it for weeks now!  Well, it finally happened...  I recreated her creation!  Chik'n Enchiladas!  All the equivalents and instructions are found on her website.


Let me tell you--it was vegan deliciousness!  My pictures may not have turned out as beautiful as Vivacious', but I'm almost certain that the meal itself was probably just a tasty!  The Daiya cheese was melty!  The Morningstar Chik'n Strips were oh-so satisfying!  The Ortega green chili sauce was mild and spicy, all at the same time!  We topped our servings with dollops of Tofutti sour cream!  Yumm!   


As you can see, I was exceedingly pleased with the results of Brandi's Chik'n Enchiladas, and so was my cute husband, Jordan.  He said it was his new favorite food, and that's really saying something--Wow!  The only unfavorable aspect of the recipe was the final price tag.  Certain organic and vegan specialty items really add up fast.  We won't be able to afford this casserole every week, but once in a while, this recipe is really going to hit the spot!  

Thank you, Brandi!  We absolutely loved it!  :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

a breakthrough?


While lingering at my dad's tonight, he broached a subject to me that I was surprised to hear him voice.  Strangely, it felt like progress... 

The main course this evening was hamburgers and hot dogs, personally barbecued by Dad himself.  They were not vegan.  But I was aware of what was going to be served, so knowing I'd likely be the only vegan present, I brought along my own animal-free patties.  This way I could easily blend in with the festivities and not compromise my compassion.  (Not that I wanted a cow burger anyway--that gets a friendly "no thanks"...)  Well, I blended in so well that many family members, including my step-mom, Marie, thought I was actually biting into a regular old burger!  Knowing me, she nearly stopped in her tracks when she saw what she thought was on my plate!  Smilingly, I reassured those concerned parties that it was only a veggie burger, and as such, was no cause for alarm.  We all had a good laugh about it.  :)

But later on, during a conversation, my father randomly piped up,  

"There's something I doesn't understand about vegans--why is it that you eat foods that resemble meat but aren't really meat?  Why not just eat whole foods as they are?  Why do you try to disguise other foods as meat?" 

Well, his question quite surprised me!  But in a good way!  I was honored that he would even feel comfortable to voice his query to me; to trust that I wouldn't go off on some long tangent, and for lack of a better phrase, throw-up a bunch of unwanted information on him.  We see each other fairly regularly, and this is the first time I can recall that Dad's asked me anything about my being vegan in all the four years I've lived this lifestyle!  I'm loathe to read too much into this, but it felt like a breakthrough!  Like a vegan dialogue of sorts had been opened!  It was like the elephant in the room had finally been acknowledged in some small way!  How liberating! 

I gave him a brief reply.  Feeling caught a bit off guard by such a question from my meat-and-potatoes father, I shared the first and foremost explanation I could think of.  It could have been better--it could have been worse.  Still, it was from my heart.  I replied,  

"When everybody is enjoying a certain traditional meal, it's nice to be able to join in with them, but still hold to one's personal values."... 

I said something like that.  I could have given any number of good answers but that was the one that was really resonating with me at the moment. 

There's honestly nothing more to the tale, other than that Dad mentioned that while he was at Costco the other day, he tried a sample of vegetarian meatballs and thought they tasted horrible, to which the only response I could really give was, "Oh. I'm sorry."...  My dad.  I do love him though.  :)

Maybe next time he sees me, he'll have a new question to ask me about vegans or vegan food?  That would be cool!  Let's keep this dialogue going, that's what I say!  Dare I even hope?  It may be the tiniest of baby steps, but to my mind, it's a step forward nonetheless. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sprouting Mung Beans



I like to sprout!  

I have had delicious success with Alfalfa seeds.  So I thought it was time to branch out and give another variety of sprouts a try.  Enter organic Mung beans.  My blogger friend, Raw Oz Gal, originally made the suggestion.  I thought it was a good one, so I purchased some and gave it my best.  How did it go?



My Mung beans grew like weeds!  Even when I failed to water them as frequently as I should have, they still turned out amazing--crisp and juicy!  With their mild flavor, I can see why they would make an ideal snack, a lively addition to salads, or a perfect choice in any Asian dish.  Plus, these sprouts were giants compared to the Alfalfa shoots!  But of course, the Mung beans were much larger than the Alfalfa seeds to begin with, so it makes sense.  Most importantly they were refreshing and healthy!  You can order exactly what I purchased at this Handy Pantry Distributors link, as well as read a brief summary of Mung bean nutrition.  It's rather impressive actually! 

 I did miss my "day five" photograph.  Boo.  So if you notice a huge difference between my sprout's growth in a couple of the pics, you'll know why.


I really do hope you give sprouting a try!  If you want lots of how-to details, check out my "I Can Sprout!" blog post, where I chronicle my experience with Alfalfa seeds.  Simply treat the Mung beans with the same kind of care.  The only difference I noticed was that the Mung growing cycle seems to be about 48 hours less than the Alfalfa; I'm not certain to what length these sprouts are supposed to get, but I think I gave my batch a day too many.  Also, be sure not to over fill your jar with beans initially--they need room to grow!  One to two tablespoons will do the trick.


Just remember, sprouting is much easier than it appears to be, so take heart!  I know you can do it!

 Day Two- Mung emergence!

Day Three- Just look at those cute little tails!
  
Day Four- The Mung sprouts are casting off their hulls!

Day Five (No Photo)
I remember the jar was three-quarters full. They were probably ready to eat on this day, but for what ever reason, I neglected them. How sad.


Day Six- Jam packed! These babies are just begging to be released from captivity!


Now it's your turn to grow a batch of sprouts!  I wish you the very best of luck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Mauve"lous Miso Soup


I have discovered that I really like miso, especially in soup!  It makes a delicious stock no matter what else I add to the pot.  And since realizing this, I have started playing around more with miso in my cooking.  It certainly doesn't hurt that soup is so easy to ad-lib.  It is forgiving enough a category as to inspire my timid culinary heart.  Besides, it's pretty darn hard to botch a soup, miso or not!  Therefore, this recipe is the result of such open creativity. 

This soup is very simple.  It's not going to win an award or anything.  But it is warm and yummy all the same.  What surprised me and made me smile was that when it was finished simmering, I lifted the lid to give it a final stir and low and behold, my creation had turned pink!  A pink soup!  Even the tofu turned pink!  What an unusual sight, yet still absolutely charming, artistically accented by green peas and flecks of parsley!  I simply fell in love with it, in appearance and in taste.  Funny thing is what else could I expect!  When you see a certain something in the ingredient list below you'll understand why.  :)  

When I shared my miso soup with my mother, she immediately approved and deemed it "mauve"lous.  So that's how it came by it's clever name.  "Thanks Mom!"  I hope you find it "mauve"lous as well.  :)

"Mauve"lous Miso Soup
Makes four large servings

Organic Ingredients:
4 cups distilled water
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
7 oz. (1 cup) extra firm tofu, cubed
4 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 tbsp mellow white miso
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup peas
black pepper, to taste

Instructions:
Heat water to a boil.  Add onion, garlic, cabbage, tofu, Bragg's, and oil.  Stir.  Adjust heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  To the pot, add miso, parsley, peas, and black pepper.  Stir.  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Simple Carrot-Celery Juice


Last week, I was craving some fresh vegetable juice.  So I got in the cupboard and pulled out the old "Champion".  Even though, technically, this heavy duty juicer belongs to my parents, I'm the only one who ever uses it.  And even I don't use it as often as I should.  But I do love the machine!  After all these years it still appears to work like a champ!  

This recipe is super simple, yet deceptively refreshing!  I like it very much!  I hope you do too!

Oh, and if you have any awesome ideas of what to do with the leftover veggie pulp instead of simply discarding it, I'm all ears!  Mayhaps this generally cast away fiber can find a second life with just a little creative thinking.  Let me know!

Simple Carrot-Celery Juice
Makes approx. 2 cups

Organic Ingredients:
5 large carrots
5 celery ribs
1 lemon, halved

Instructions:
Rinse veggies well and trim away old/wilted ends if needed.  Save aside one attractive celery stalk as well as the lemon halves.  Run the carrots and the rest of the celery through the juicer.  Maximize your quantity of juice by running the damp pulp by-product through the machine at least once.  If you like, strain the top layer of foam off your juice by pouring it through a fine mesh strainer.  Pour into a favorite glass.  Now grab that half a lemon and add a generous squeeze to your juice.  Garnish with the remaining lovely celery rib!  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Strawberries!


I recently bought these organic strawberries at the Super Target just down the street from me.  I rinsed them well and then enjoyed them, all on their own, fresh, for breakfast.  Oh rapture!  I have to admit, I had nearly as much fun taking sunny, window-sill pictures of them as I did eating them!  Is that wrong?  I suppose a valid aspect of the joy of fruit is simply their beauty of color, shape, and variety.  They feed the soul, as well as the body! 


Strawberries are packed with nutrition, especially Vitamin C and the mineral manganese.  They're also low in calories and high in water content.  They even supply dietary fiber.  Cool! 

Of course, if you can purchase organic, do so.  DoctorOz.com reports that pesticides really stick to strawberries, more so than to other fruits and veggies, and we certainly don't want any pesticides in our tummies, no sir.  Better to support organic farming operations anyway--better for the field workers, better for Mother Earth, and better for us!  It's good karma!

The only thing that could have possibly enhanced my fruit meal further was if the strawberries were in-season, local, and ripe-from-the-garden!  But Summer will be here soon...  Oh, I can hardly wait! 


Well, what are you waiting for?  Go on!  Go get some organic strawberries and enjoy them!  :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

General Conference Pancakes!


Today is the first half of The 180th L.D.S. World General Conference Broadcast!  Woo-Hoo!  I love Conference weekend... figuratively sitting at the foot of my prophet leaders, listening to their words of wisdom, warning, and counsel.  It is a fond time of great spiritual feasting!  And add to it the Easter holiday tomorrow as well?!  It's almost more joy than I can handle!  It feels good to truly make Christ the center of my celebrations this Saturday and Sunday.


So what do flapjacks have to do with Jesus?  Well, nothing really.  But I always find it a fun tradition to partake of pancakes when Conference comes around.  So I fell back on my favorite breakfast standby in How It All Vegan! by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer: "Classic Pancakes" on page 44.  My Jordan and I have adapted the recipe slightly to our liking, nicknaming it "Padawan Pancakes".  But mostly, we stay close to the original.  This time I did use a little quinoa flour, also some almond milk instead of soy milk; unusual changes.  But the end result still tasted delicious!  I generously coated them with Earth Balance Spread and Pure Maple Syrup.  Yumm!


Well, I'm off to enjoy me some more televised Conference!  The weekend's talks are broken into four two-hour sessions and the second session is about to start.  Sadly, it feels like the entire program is nearly half over and really, it's only just begun.  But I always have the next broadcast in October to look forward to.  Rest assured, I won't wait until then to feast on another round of pancakes!  :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This amazing piece of literature started it all...



Diet For a New America 
How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth 

by John Robbins, 1987, 1998

It stood out.  Only one title, among hundreds, on those heavily crowded campus library shelves. Still, it caught my eye.  So in late 2002, on one such library visit, I acquired it. I'd been interested in the topic of healthy living for many years, so picking up a book like this was fairly routine.  But the content of this selection was far from routine. In fact, I couldn't put it down! It was beautiful and horrific, all at the same time. I wish I could say that upon reading nearly half the book in one sitting, I immediately took action. But for whatever reason, I didn't feel prepared to make the vegan commitment. I think it all seemed too overwhelming at the time, living away from home, attending Dixie State College. Nevertheless, the book resonated within me to such a degree that I bought my own copy.

Years later, in 2006, I revisited "Diet For a New America" a second time. Again, I quickly devoured it, cover to cover. Yet before I ever finished, in my heart, I was eager to change--there was simply no way I could ignore the ugly truth any longer. I was finally ready! I immediately turned back to page one and read the book through a third time.  But during this round, I read aloud to my consenting husband, Jordan. He, too, was shocked and disturbed and felt compelled to change. He told me that what made his decision clear was discovering the true story about fuzzy little boy-baby chicks, tied up in sacks and wantonly thrown away, alive...

It has now been four years since that definitive April 2006 and we have never regretted our choice to live vegan--not for a moment! And unlike I had previously worried, it isn't a hard lifestyle to live after all! There's support and open arms for animal-concerned individuals at every turn. What a relief!  Except that it makes me sad that I didn't choose compassion all those years earlier.

I know I've gone on a tangent, but "Diet For a New America" is an amazing piece of literature--a wonderful book with the power to change the course of a life.  It certainly played a pivotal role in mine!  Author, John Robbins' concern for the welfare of farm animals, human health, and environmental responsibility is absolutely contagious! This title will always have a special place in my heart for setting me, and my husband, onto a path of greater peace, kindness, wholeness, and enlightenment. I feel so thankful...

"Happy Vegan Anniversary!  Four Great Years and Still Going Strong!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brandi's Italian Stuffed Shells


I'd been wanting to try out my best bloggie friend, Vivacious Vegan's, "Italian Stuffed Shells" recipe.  And I did!  It was fun to make!  And easy!  Which surprised me because I've never fixed stuffed shells before.  The nice thing about this recipe is how you simply open up some of your favorite pantry standbys and layer everything together.  And disguising the tofu as ricotta is pure genius!  Why did I never prepare this before?!  I should do it again!  It was yummy!  I am excited to try out variations on the theme!  The possibilities are endless!  But I need a few vegan pointers.  So...  

How do you like to spice up a stuffed shells meal?  I want to hear your ideas!  

Be sure to check out Vivacious' blog for her recipe details and photos.  Thank you, Brandi!  Love you! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My New Favorite Snack!


While perusing the shelves at Good Earth Natural Foods, they caught my eye...   I know that vegan athlete, Brendan Brazier, touts them for their superior nutrition...   I've even noticed that many vegan bloggers toss them into their smoothies and over top green salads...  What am I referring to?  

Raw Organic Hempseeds!  


Oh Boy, are they good!  What soft, chewy, earthy, tiny morsels of deliciousness!  Their flavor reminds me a little bit of sunflower seeds, but they're nowhere near the same size.  Measured in tablespoons, these seeds are minute, yet jam-packed with natural goodness: protein, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, and omega-3's!  They are also super convenient--they are already shelled, ready to eat straight out of the bag, which is what I like to do!

I'm going to be sad when these babies are all gone.  They were a bit expensive, but the cost was totally worth it!  Besides, they are too yummy not to buy again!  

Raw organic hempseeds are my new favorite snack!  If you haven't already, you should give them a try!  I'm sure you'll like them as much as I do!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Raspberries!


Raw food is an important part of my vegan diet.  So, last week at the local Super Target, I splurged and bought a teensy container of organic raspberries.  They were $3.50 of pure berry goodness!  A real treat: low in calories, and high in vitamin C, fiber, and flavor! 

Over a couple of day's time, these raspberries were my breakfast.  I rinsed them off and then simply popped them in my mouth!  Heavenly!  Typically, I don't combine sweet fruits into recipes, unless it's an all raw, all fruit one.  I have learned that fruit digests and is assimilated by the body best when eaten alone, on an empty stomach.  For some, this might seem like too limiting a "rule" to follow.  But for me, it fits just right.  I always feel so uncomfortable when I eat foods of every kind all in one meal.  Simple is better for me.  My body concurs. 

You can learn more about the principles of proper food combining and Natural Hygiene by reading these classics, Fit For Life or Fit For Life II, both by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.  They are fun, funny, and so informative!  They changed my life!  (Even the authors in the popular book, Skinny Bitch, gave 'Fit For Life' a brief shout-out!)  Or, you can check out this website: RawFoodExplained.com.  The delivery is a little more utilitarian and textbook-ish, but still very accurate. 

Until then, just buy (or better yet, grow your own) organic raspberries!  They are healthy and delicious... all by themselves!