Monthly Archives: December 2011

The year in review and the year ahead

It might not seem that a lot happened in 2011, but it did.  I am coming out of it stronger and more aware of what’s going on and what I need to do.

(Yes, my daughter and I are hugging giant chickens.  It just had to be done.)

Food in 2011 was awesome!   One of the biggest things we did was purchase a freezer.  We can stock up when things are on sale (BOGO Gardein for the win), cook ahead for quick meals, and keep fruit and veggies at the ready no matter how the vegetable bin looks.

New cookbooks were added to my collection and I’ve been giddy.  Decadent goodness from Vegan Diner sits along side Radiance 4 LifeEat to Live, Happy Herbivore’s books, The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Get Healthy, Go Vegan, and Appetite for Reduction.  I’ve been cooking a lot more, reduced my sugar intake, and eat out less.

I’ve also changed my mindset somewhat.  While the scale may not move as much as I’d like, I’ve noticed major changes in my body.  Three weeks ago I bought a pair of size 20 jeans.  Two days ago, those jeans were falling off of me, but the scale stayed the same.  Not long ago I’d be upset about the scale, but now I celebrate the clothing size.  The weight loss will follow the size change.

And it’s easy to change how I think about my body when I can look at how far I’ve come even with the pain. Remember this?  I do, and I still cringe when I look at it.  But that was August, and the chicken-hugging pic is from yesterday.  I knew it would be a full body shot and I didn’t care.  Scratch that, I wanted it to be a full body shot.  I had no fear of it.  That is huge for me.

I think 2011 is ending on a positive note and am so excited about 2012.  Why be exited about the year when something scared the Mayans into ending their calendar? Well, I’m not a Mayan and have plans. Both the daughter and I are graduating in 2012, and those big days will be celebrated.  I’ll hit the big 4-3 and tackle my first big race since my high school track and field days.  The year will kick off on a fantastic vegan note (and another PCRM 21 Day Vegan Kickstart will start on January 2) and the weather in town will be lovely.

I’m sitting here with a silly grin, blogging and smiling at hubby on the desktop ad listening to the kids game in their rooms.  I am a happy wahm this New Year’s Eve and hope that you are happy, too.

For the last time in 2011, peace.

Merry Christmas to Me!

Yes, it was a good Christmas.  

We kicked it off with a killer breakfast – pancakes, eggs, ham, and sausage for the omnis; tofu, green pepper, red onion, and Soyrizo scramble for me; biscuits and berry salad for all.  It was lovely.  While the coffee warmed our souls and awakened our senses, the unwrapping commenced.  The kiddos scored games, hubby scored Stephen King books, and the dogs scored bones.  I scored cookbooks!  :squee:  While cookbooks may not appeal to all, they make me giddy.

Be on the lookout for post and pics from The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East, Appetite for Reduction, and Viva Vegan  in addition to goodies from Everyday Happy Herbivore, meals and snacks from Tess Challis‘ books, and whatever inspires me that day.

Today’s inspiration is due to the rainy weather outside.  Bright colors are required, so Mexican will be on the dinner plate.  

Until later, peace.

Showing Love for Everyday Happy Herbivore

I have lots of love for Happy Herbivore.  I can’t remember when or how I first stumbled across Lindsay Nixon’s blog, but I have been drooling over and cooking from it ever since. The omni family has loved most of her goodies, too.  I have a well worn copy of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and received my copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore a couple of weeks ago.  I’m digging it, too.

When Lindsay put out a call for stops on her blog tour, I jumped at the chance to pick her brain a little.


Me:  You’ve mentioned Charleston in both of your books.  How much did the Lowcountry inspire your cooking?  Were you introduced to many new ingredients or techniques?


Lindsay:  I lived in Charleston, SC for four years to attend the College of Charleston (c/o 2004). My husband is a graduate of The Citadel (Hotel, 2000) and he was also raised in Summerville, South Carolina. 
My experience with Southern food and cooking was none before I moved to Charleston. I’d never had or heard of grits or collard greens or she crab soup… so I was constantly dazzled by all these new ingredients and foods when I lived there. Even after we left, my husband was always after me to make low country staples he grew up with — and when we switched to a vegan diet, he insisted I learn how to recreate all these dishes that were traditions in his family and had been staples in our diets. (That’s how they ended up in my cookbooks!)

I have a soft spot for Low Country cuisine — and cajun, too. They’re magnificent and really understand the concept of sticking to the basics, using hot spices and fresh, local foods to make something amazing. 
Was it difficult it find a variety of vegan eats when dining out? 

In Charleston? No. I was actually pleasantly surprised when we went back to visit last November (2010). I contacted the Charleston Vegetarian Group on Facebook before I went for some restaurant recommendations, but some of our friends wanted to go to other places, and I admit I was worried I’d be limited to salads. Boy was I wrong! Every restaurant we went to had something on the menu that was already vegan (not necessarily identified as such — but no dairy, meat, etc) or something that could be made vegan if we left off cheese. I thought FOR SURE when Scott’s friends made us go to Wild Wings I’d starve and I actually had a really delicious meal there!
In Everyday Happy Herbivore, most of the items can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.  Are there any other quick cooking tips that work for you?

I can’t stress the importance of a well stocked pantry and spice rack — that is the secret to fast cooking.

We’ve all had kitchen failures.  My most recent involved misreading a recipe and adding 1/2 cup of agave nectar instead of 1/s TBS to bread.  What was your most memorable kitchen fail?

I once turned my blender on without the top on. Green smoothie EVERYWHERE. Seitan also blew up once and splattered on the wall and ceiling. That was awesome.
The holidays are upon us and omnivore family members sometimes have low expectations of the vegan’s contribution to the family meal.  Should herbies stick with appetizers, entrees, sides, or desserts?  What knockout recipes do you recommend?  Desserts have won over my family 

Desserts are always a safe bet — but I try NOT to bring a vegetable side or a soup because I want to dispel the notion that we only eat the side dish or vegetables only compliment meat. I like to show off how beans and vegetables ARE the meal and not just a side. BUT it’s important to do whats right for your situation — we all know our family and friends pretty well and that can help us decide what to bring. When in doubt, Cake.



While cake helped bring my family on to the herbie train, burgers and fries keep them coming back time and again.  Lindsay shared one of her burger recipes from EHH.  Not only is it quick and easy, it’s pretty cheap, too.  This would make a great quick lunch or dinner on a crazy night. 



Quick Burgers | makes 4 

I developed these burgers in a hotel room: they’re quick, easy and require very few ingredients. (In fact, except for the beans and a seasoning packet, I sourced all the ingredients from the complimentary “breakfast bar”). I make these burgers any time I need a super fast meal or I’m really low on ingredients.

15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/3 c instant oats

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties with your hands. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside. Slap into a bun with extra condiments and eat!

Chef’s note: If you only have rolled oats, chop them up in a food processor or blender so they are smaller and more like instant oats. Rolled oats left whole tend to make the burgers fall apart. 

Per Burger: 109 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 17.6g Carbohydrates, 3g Fiber, 2.2g Sugars, 5g Protein


Thanks again, Lindsay for the inspiration, tips, and fantastic food.  Go Cougars! 

6 Days and Counting

The big day is almost here!  Well, our big days are almost here, Yule and Christmas.  I’m sort of at a loss because I’m officially on winter break and won’t have an assignment due until January!  W00T!  I still have to work, but I have a backlog of articles and blog posts ready to roll.  I planned ahead and it feels good.

We decided to do a fab feast for Yule dinner and brunch for Christmas morning.  The kitchen will be busy this week and I plan to cook some things ahead of time.  Instead of a table full of the usual heavy, fattier fare, there will be a mix.  Unfortunately, the final menus are still up in the air.  Greens, acorn squash, broccoli, rice, and bake (hubby’s request), and cornbread will be on the table Thursday night, but I’m not sure what else.  The family will want meat (meh), and I want a centerpiece of sorts.  I’m thinking seitan pot roast surrounded by roasted veggies.  I’m torn between the versions in Vegan Diner and Vegan Lunch Box.  

For Christmas brunch, it’s on!  Pancakes, sausage (homemade vegan patties), roasted potatoes and onions, broccoli quiche (vegan), and fruit are going on the table for sure.  Again, the omnis will want meat of some kind, and hubby can cook it.  I won’t.

Regardless of what we eat as the main dish, we will have a lot of produce to choose from.  And we’ll be together.  That’s all we really want, isn’t it, to be with loved ones.  It doesn’t matter if they’re related by blood, marriage, or in spirit, family can be bliss.

And now it’s time to get in a walk.  Peace, all.

Yes, I still hurt.

I’m trying to get through as best I can, walking more slowly than usual and taking more frequent breaks for stretching when working.  Sitting isn’t as nice when getting up makes you want to scream.

It amazes me, though, just how far I’ve come.  When this level of pain hit before, I’d curl into the fetal position for days.  Now I can move as I need to.  It’s still hurts like crazy, but I’m mobile.  Meditation has made a huge difference.  My patience level is not where it should be, but it’s getting there.  I just need to remember to stop and breathe when the pain-fueled crankies kick in.  

Happier posts are coming.  I just wanted to dip my toes back into the blogging pool.