Monday, June 29, 2009

Where to shop

I'm not one to promote a particular brand or store as being the best, but I have to say that Kroger has yet to let me down in the variety of vegan options they have. Here are the things that bring me to this store every week when I go grocery shopping.
  • Fresh produce - never moldy like Walmart, never crazy expensive like Albertsons (at least around here). Even a decent selection of organics (which I'm leaning more towards).
  • A large selection of vegetarian friendly options.They have the largest variety of any of the "regular" grocery stores around. Specialty stores like Sprouts and Central Market (and of course Whole Foods) have a greater selection, but Kroger's selection is about 10 feet long of shelving from floor to about 6 foot high - however tall the refrigerated section is in the produce area of the store.
  • Lots of ethnic foods - an entire half of an aisle to be exact. Everything from Thai to Mexican to European (British to German) to kosher foods (which is where I find the tahini).
  • Their store brand and their upscale store brand (Private Selection) products are inexpensive and often are better quality ingredients than the name brands. For example, Kroger Whole Wheat Whole Salad Rotini has exactly what the title says - the ingredients list says "100% durum whole wheat flour". Awesome.
  • Organic store brand. Sweet! For example - The words on the can of black beans that I just bought read "Private Selection Organic All Natural Organic Beans Black - Organic Black Beans packed in water - Net wt 15 oz (425 g)". And that's it. Simple. Straight to the point. And organic.
  • The packages that they use for packing the organic baby spinach (and other salad mixes) are made from 100% plant products - no petroleum plastic products. Cool.
  • And, last but not least, Kroger just mailed out a small booklet of coupons called "My Magazine" focused entirely on "budget-friendly vegetarian possibilities". Yeah, 'nuff said.
What stores do you like shopping at for groceries? For cooking supplies? For utensils?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cheers and Jeers

  • To places like Thai Tina's, Chipotle, and Taco Bell for having vegan friendly options that you don't have to ask for off the menu without cheese, eggs, etc.
  • To people like the guys who run Perotti's Pizza near my work - I got the odd eyebrow raise when I asked for a personal veggie pizza without the cheese, but they made it with an extra heap of veggies just for me. How sweet.
  • To the City of San Francisco for being very forward in promoting (and even mandating by fines) recycling and composting programs citywide. Check it out here in this article.
  • To the last day of the worldwide vegan bake sale week to help animals. Check out some details here and here.
  • To all the cute flats and flip flops that I keep seeing that are made from leather. :-( Poor animals.
  • To people ragging on Michael Jackson for being vegan in his lifestyle or not. I believe he was compassionate enough in more aspects than most other people are today. Geez, give the dead pop star some respect! He's a legend!
  • To the fact that PETA has stooped as low as Vegan Vixens to get people's attention, to no avail for the real goal of saving animal lives.
  • To all the vegetarian/vegan restaurants that pop up on Urban Spoon being on the other side of Dallas, whereas I live in northwest Fort Worth. Argh.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Four weeks today!

I officially became vegan on June 1st 2009. But really I started a few days before my goal day which would be four weeks. I've noticed some great things in these four weeks.*

  1. I have more energy. I used to go to bed around 10 pm and have to drag myself out of bed at 7:30 am and didnt' feel like I slept well. Now I'm going to bed around 11:30 getting up about 6. I almost always wake up before the alarm, or four year old, wakes me up!
  2. My skin looks better. The texture, so to speak, looks smoother.
  3. Did I mention I have more energy?
  4. I have a healthier relationship with food!
I haven't lost any fact I've gained a little bit. I think this is because I not only changed my diet I also gave up diet coke! Or it could be my body is getting all this great nutritious food and is holding on to every single piece of it because it's worried I will quit eating so well?

I'm having lots of fun trying new and different things. Like Quinoa. I'd heard Kristie talk about it a bit. It's awesome! My favorite recipe is this one. And eating lots of different veggies I haven't tried. Grey squash anyone? It's awesome. Pattypan squash? Again yummy! And lets talk steel cut oatmeal. Made with some diced apples and apple juice (unsweetened of course), it's a perfect breakfast for my entire family!

I'm also having a blast making my food art. I try each meal to pack as many colors and textures into what I'm eating as possible!

Salad pitas
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The other night Kristie informed us all that oreo's are vegan so of course I sped to the store and picked some up. And instead of dunking (yes I'm a dunker) them in milk I poured myself a glass of soy milk and when I finished my snack, 2.3 seconds after starting, I realized how odd it was that I just drank a glass of soy milk. You see before I was vegan (or had kids) I HATED soy milk. I thought it was gross. I don't know if it's because my taste buds have changed or, if it's because I'm determined to make this work?

My two year old daughter has had a runny nose for MONTHS. She was lactose intolerant so while nursing I took all dairy out of my diet. She finally transitioned to milk about 18 months. About that time is when the problems started. When researching to become vegan I saw that it could be milk causing her problems. I took her off milk and literally just hours later her nose was better. The next day no runny nose. The husband didn't think it was the milk so after three weeks were were at breakfast. They didn't have soy milk and the juice bottles were huge so I grabbed two organic milk containers. Guess what? Within HOURS her nose was runny. By the end of the day it was better and the next day it was fine. The husband became a believer after that!

What's the thing you either want to change by becoming vegan or the first thing you noticed was different by being vegan?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Applesauce Muffins

I was interested in finding something that would take a short amount of time and produce a good quantity that I could devour for breakfast or snacks. So what better than some muffins? Especially those made from applesauce. Quoting the cookbook I got the recipe from: "These delicious, low-fat muffins ... don't use eggs or butter, which eliminates a great deal of unhealthful fat and all of the cholesterol" (The Cancer Survivor's Guide). Also, these bad boys have 4.8 g protein and 4.5 g fiber to get you going.

Recipe: Applesauce Muffins

Servings: 10

Time (approx): 25-30 minutes

- muffin pan (12 holes)
- muffin paper cups (optional)
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons

- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup fortified soymilk or other nondairy milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon light molasses
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup raisins


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly mist 10 muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Combine the applesauce, soymilk, oil, molasses, and vinegar in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the raisins.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

5. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, Applesauce Muffins will keep for up to three days. If longer storage is needed, freeze the cooled muffins in heavy-duty zipper-lock bags for up to one month. Defrost at room temperature or in a microwave.

Now, when I made this I changed up the recipe a little bit. Instead of soy milk I used vanilla rice milk, maple syrup instead of the molasses, and opted to use half the amount of raisins because I only put them in half of the muffins I made so I can try one with and one without the raisins. Also, the way that I divided my batter made me 11 muffins. (And, I'll just put this out there, I was short on the muffin cups, so six have the little paper cups and five were just baked straight in the pan that I sprayed with a little cooking spray.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Things I can't live without.

When I transitioned to being a vegan I wish I would have had a list of things that were vegan in one place. A reference book of sorts. As time has gone on I've learned from trial and error. I've learned to always read labels and then read them again to double check.

Once I bought plain breadcrumbs (Walmart store brand) and was shocked to see, after I'd used half the container, that my plain breadcrumbs contained a list of ingredients a mile long and that they contained milk. I was floored. Plain apparently isn't plain to all people.

Here's a short list of products that I know to be vegan and that my family and I use on a regular basis.

Breadcrumbs (see I got smart!) When I use breadcrumbs (if I don't make them myself), I turn to these. Whole Wheat and a nice rough texture. I've found these in my regular, well stocked, grocery store.

Butter There are more expensive brands out there that some prefer over this brand but I find those brands less available to me and I just can't stomach paying almost $5 for a small thing of butter. By the way, it's not really butter, obviously, but I think I call it butter because I've always called it that. It's like calling a tissue a Kleenex even if it's not.

Peanut Chews I try to not eat junk food or candy very often but sometimes a craving is just a craving and it needs to be satisfied. Once in a while, in my pre-vegan days, I'd eat one of those fun size Snickers bars that my Dad always seems to have and I sort of miss having one every once in a while. That was until I found these. They don't taste exactly like a Snickers but they are pretty darn close. I plan on buying these in bulk around Halloween for the kids that come to my house. I might sneak a few for myself also.

Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers We love our crackers in my little family and I was so pleased to see that these fit the vegan bill. They do contain, further down the ingredient list, HFCS, which annoys me but we don't eat these so often that I worry about it much. It's not like it's the second ingredient like it was in the jelly I bought once.

Betty Crocker Bac-O's I eat usually one giant salad a day and sometimes I like a little crunch and a different flavor. I wouldn't dare use real bacon bits but I'll use these with wild abandon and I often do. I live life on the edge, I know.

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls It's an ongoing joke in my family that we need to buy a TON of these tubes for family get togethers because one of my brother's eats them like crazy. Who doesn't? It was a pleasant surprise to hear they are vegan. *Throws fist in the air and pumps it* I could make these plain, add some Smart Balance butter, use veggies dogs to make pigs in a blanket or even add some jelly for a dessert. The options are limitless.

Oreo Cookies So, I have to be honest here and say that when I found out these were accidentally vegan I practically ate 7 containers worth. Then I remembered that I was vegan for health reasons also, so I needed to cut back on the super junk food. But it's sure nice to know that if there's a bowl of them around at a party somewhere that I can feel at least partially good about reaching for one of these delicious cookies.

Bisquick Baking Mix Usually I make my own pancakes from whole wheat flour and other ingredients but I always keep a box of this on hand for those spur of the moment pancake attacks. Sometimes a girl needs to just throw a few things in a bowl, stir them up and be done with it. And sometimes she's got a two-year-old tugging at her pants telling her to hurry it up already, sheesh lady.

Last but never least...

Swedish Fish These little guys saved my movie going career. It also gave me a great option of candy to disperse to the little kids last Halloween. I didn't think they'd appreciate me giving them apples or kale. I love these little things so much. The Swedish fish, that it.

I should point out that none of these things, except maybe the breadcrumbs and the Bisquick, are healthy. But I would assume that I don't need to tell anyone that broccoli, whole wheat bread with the least amount of ingredients and soy milk are vegan. It's all about making healthy choices that you can live with. But at the same time it's OK to live a little and eat an artificially colored gummy fish now and again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hi-Pro-Tatoes (High-Protein Mashed Potatoes)

I wanted to make a summery side dish to go along with my veggie burger and green beans, so what better than some mashed potatoes? I found this recipe in 101 Things to Do with Tofu. Great little book by the way - easy short recipes, although not all are vegan but are easily adaptable. And what's even better is that it's spiral bound with thick plastic covers so you can open it up and lay it flat, and wipe off all of the splatters that get on it while cooking.

Anyways... here's the recipe. I like to break things out in little chunks, so please excuse my format below.

Recipe: Hi-Pro-Tatoes

Servings: 4

Time (approx): 50 minutes

- large pot to boil potatoes
- small saute pan
- food processor
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons

- 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered.

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)


Boil potatoes until they give no resistance when poked with a knife, about 40 minutes. While boiling, heat oil and garlic in a small saute pan over low heat. Stir frequently until garlic is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Place tofu in a food processor, add garlic and oil and then puree together until smooth; set aside.

When potatoes are done, drain water and return potatoes to their pot. Mash with a ricer or fork to desired consistency, then add tofu-garlic mixture. Season with salt an pepper, and garnish with fresh chives if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Now, I would like to mention that it never takes me 40 minutes to boil potatoes, but it does take about 5-10 minutes to get the water boiling. Also, I like to use new red potatoes for mashed potatoes and leave the skins on. Yummy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Saturday Mornings

Our families ritual on Saturday morning has always been pancakes! It started with me while I still lived at home. I would wake up and make pancakes for my parents while they got to sleep a little longer. Then they would get up and we would sit around the breakfast table and eat pancakes and enjoy being with each other! That's why I continue the tradition with my kids. There's no rush and bustle of evening dinners with them. It's laid back, relaxed and fun!

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They are also versatile! There's many different ways to top a pancake. The four year old likes them with syrup while the 2 year old likes them with cherry berry topping! I like them any way I can get them!

When I decided to be vegan I just knew I couldn't give up the pancakes! It was part of who I am so, I set out to make some ultimate pancakes!

Ultimate Vegan Pancakes.

  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (depending on how thick you want your pancakes)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used butavan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
1. Preheat griddle.

2. Mix water oil and vanilla. I use a salad dressing shaker and mix like crazy. Set aside.

3. Thoroughly mix flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the oil mixture. Mix until just moistened.

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I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Cancer Project

This past weekend my sister-in-law (Jenni, she posts here also) and I participated in a class put on by The Cancer Project. I heard about this class through a local vegan restaurant and was intrigued. Eating related to cancer? I wanted to know more.

Initially I didn't have high expectations because I assumed they would tell us to eat healthier, with no specific direction on how to achieve that. Boy, was I wrong. From the moment the class started till the very end I was fascinated that people were talking my language. They had similar information to what I had been reading and researching and it was presented by extremely knowledgeable people that weren't throw away doctors.

You see, I've read book after book after book about diet and health in relation to not eating animal products and it's always the same end. Don't eat animal products and you will likely live a longer, healthier life because of it. End of story. But in this class there was talk of actual proof of this fact. It amazes me that 1.) I never related how I eat and what I eat to my health, not really at least and 2.) that people don't talk about this, especially our doctors. We are so quick to put people on medications and be done with it.

I was diagnosed with high cholesterol about two years ago and the only thing my doctor said was to watch my diet and get some exercise. That's it. No mention that if I cut out the cholesterol clogging foods (PRESENT IN ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS) that my cholesterol would likely go down on it's own. When I left that doctors appointment I'm ashamed to say that I did nothing to change my eating habits or exercising habits (non existent at that point).

High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and other ailments. Why on earth are our doctors not telling us these things? I wondered if it was just my doctor but it turns out it's not. Many doctors don't believe that food and health are related for the most part. It was refreshing to attend a class where they talked about just that.

After I changed my diet and started to exercise my total cholesterol went down 73 points from increased risk of heart disease to normal. I bet if I got it tested again it would be lower. My doctor was shocked when the test results came back. She just was incredulous that a diet change like the one I had done would lower my cholesterol so much. I hope that I taught her something that day, something she might research and pass along to other patients.

This class put on by The Cancer Project is a free class that's available to anyone who wants to better understand how diet can affect your well being, how you can make big changes that don't require big sacrifices and why it's important to make those changes. I highly recommend everyone to attend. Do it for your health, please.

Here are a few recipes that are on the site, ones that they actually made during the class:

Easy Bean Salad (perfect for a potluck and SO SIMPLE to make it's almost criminal)

The simplicity and widespread enjoyment of this salad has made it a Cancer Project classic. Plus, it has tons of fiber to help move carcinogens, excess cholesterol, and hormones out of your body to improve overall health.

Makes about 10 1-cup servings

1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free Italian salad dressing
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked peas
1 10-ounce package frozen lima beans (preferably fordhook lima beans), thawed completely,
1 1/2 cups cooked lima beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked green soybeans (shelled edamame)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed completely, or cooked fresh corn, chilled
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Toss all ingredients together. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Place leftover bean salad in a covered dish and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Nutrition Information
Per serving (1/10 of recipe): 183 Calories 3 g Fat 0.5 g Saturated Fat 14.6% Calories From Fat 0 mg Cholesterol 9.9 g Protein 31 g Carbohydrate 2.9 g Sugar 8 g Fiber 539 mg Sodium 43 mg Calcium 2.7 mg Iron 36.7 mg Vitamin C 311 mgc Beta-Carotene 0.8 mg Vitamin E


Penne with Kale, Tomatoes and Olives (Simple and tasty)

The kale in this flavorful combination provides highly absorbable calcium and isothiocyanates, which have strong anti-cancer effects.

Makes 4 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 bunch kale, cut or torn into approximately 1” pieces (about 5 cups chopped)
2 14.5-ounce cans chopped, preferably fire-roasted, tomatoes, undrained, or 3 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes plus 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces dry whole-wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup dairy-free (vegan) parmesan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast (optional)

Sauté onion with vegetable broth or water over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add kale and tomatoes and their liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add olives and parsley. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add kale mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately. Sprinkle vegan Parmesan substitute or nutritional yeast over top, if using.

Nutrition Information
Per serving (1/4 of recipe): 281 calories 3.3 g fat 0.5 g saturated fat 10.5% calories from fat 0 mg cholesterol 12 g protein 57.6 g carbohydrate 8.3 g sugar 8.7 g fiber 497 mg sodium 166 mg calcium 5 mg iron 53.9 mg vitamin C 6796 mcg beta-carotene 2.9 mg vitamin E

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jenni's Introduction

Well hello! Welcome to this vegan blog. I'm Jenni - a friend, a wife, a mother. Intelligent, thoughtful, reliable, opinionated (in a good way). Whatever else you want to say about me. First off, I would like to apologize in advance because I know that there will be times that I may not post for days on end, and then have a ton come out all at once. Life gets busy. But I will always take pictures of my food and make mental notes to type later into posts for your reading pleasure (and drooling pleasure over the pictures.)

Here's my story on "this vegan thing" - All through college I would just eat whatever was convenient, cheap, and sounded good enough to not really pay attention to it as I stuffed it in my pie-hole. I wouldn't mind that I had eaten fast food for ten meals straight, or that I had a week full of dinners that consisted of mac-n-cheese with chicken nuggets, a frozen pizza, minute rice and fajita strips, etc. I didn't think much of what I ate, nor how I ate it, nor what was in the "food" I was putting into my body.

Around January 2007, I decided that I was fed up with myself of being lackadaisical about my eating and overall health. I was always tired, mopey, touchy, irritable, and stressed. Something that the quality of food I was eating wasn't helping. I decided to get a personal trainer at the local gym and start writing down what I ate and tracking calories and fat grams, etc. Great idea - until I plateaued and went back to eating junk. Getting pregnant later that fall didn't help the fact that I was "allowed" to eat junk because I was going to get huge anyway with the baby.

Well... putting all of that aside, come April 2009, I'm still eating junk. Maybe not as much, but still not the best. I was making sure I wasn't eating a side of fries with every meal that I ate out. I made sure I was having healthier meals, like lean grilled chicken or pork, brown rice or whole wheat noodles (yes, I say noodles not pasta), and a helping of frozen veggies on the side from those cool steam bags that you throw in the microwave. Ok - so maybe not the most inventive meal, but better than the spicy chicken sandwich with fries and soda. It hit me one day that "hey - Kristie looks great and feels great all the time" (or at least whenever I see her). Something must be working with this vegan lifestyle she's been on for nearly a year now. So I thought to myself, how hard could it be? I can learn to cook (maybe) and make better meals and really think about the food that I am eating and the impact that I have on the world around me.

Fast forward to now, seven weeks later. Yes, nearly two months. A small amount of time in the view of a whole life span, but not just a chump change amount of time. Since starting a vegan lifestyle, I have learned and experienced and eaten so many new things. Who knew I would really like guacamole? I know that it's sad that at my age, I had never really had guac but once until now. No, I don't live under a rock, just in a world surrounded by fast food crap. Who knew I could make some mean sloppy joes with just barbecue sauce and tempeh? (I'll post that recipe later - so quick and easy to make - delicious outcome.) I feel lighter, happier, more energetic, healthier. People have noticed a glow about me and ask what have I be doing different. And so I tell them about this vegan thing.

I would like to mention that I love food porn. Yes, food porn. Go to Flickr and search for food. All sorts of pictures of yummy goodness pop up. And I love my camera at home. So this past week it has been in the kitchen with me nearly every night. I don't know about you but I am a picture learner - Fannie Mae cookbooks can kiss my butt. I need pictures. I like to see what my food should resemble (even if not closely). I like to see what my food will turn out like if I cook it following the directions that they suggest. Yes, suggest. I have found the recipes and cooking are not strict guidelines, not rules. I never measured anything to the exact amount. If I think something looks to dry, I'll add more water or rice milk or whatever liquid is called for (with the exception of oil, always opt for water when adding additional liquid). If you don't have this spice or that spice, don't worry. Make it without it and see how it goes. When you get some of that spice, try the recipe again. Nothing is ever perfect. So Top Chef, Iron Chef, Rachel Ray - you better watch out! My picture book recipes are coming to a blog near you! (Actually, this blog, specifically, but you the idea.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Raspberry Bread

I love fruit. I love bread. I love fruit bread!! I get tired of banana bread and I dislike blueberries ( I know!) but raspberry's and I get along beautifully! This used to be a non vegan recipe that I changed around a lot. I tried it on my very very omni husband, without telling him it was vegan, and his only question was why wasn't it sweeter. I personally thought it was fine but, you might keep that in mind !

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Raspberry Bread

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg replacer (if using EnerG mix together first before combining)
1 2/3 cup soymilk (or your preferred milk)
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla ( I used butavan)
1 tsp lemon zest
1.5 cups raspberries (or blueberries if you like them!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and oil loaf pan.
2. Mix all dry ingredients make a well in the center.
3. In separate bowl mix all wet ingredients. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just moist. Batter will be lumpy!
4. Gently fold in Raspberries and lemon zest. Pour into prepared pan.
(totally had to take a picture of the raspberries!)
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5. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center of loaf comes out clean!

Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then impatiently slice it, spread some earth balance on it and eat some! It's so good!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Melissa's Intro

I live in a town that doesn't have a whole lot of options when it comes to being vegan. I don't do everything organic because my grocery stores don't have that large of a selection. Sure I could order online but organic is expensive enough without having to pay overnight shipping so the produce won't spoil! I also am not a fan of some of the out there stuff. I won't be making chick pea faux "tuna" sandwiches but I will be taking every day recipes and turning them into their better vegan counter parts! Have a favorite recipe you love but are nervous to convert it? Send it to me! I love challenges!

My road to veganism is also different. I've always been curious about it. Before my transition I could go through a gallon of milk a day. I have never liked red meat but chicken was my favorite. Flash forward to 2005 when I got pregnant with my son. Chicken made me sicker than a dog and literally repulsed me! So I stopped eating it. Then with my daughter pork and milk made me sick. So I stopped ingesting those things. Left my diet pretty bland. I tried to go back to drinking milk after I had my daughter and couldn't.

I was vegetarian 90% of the time. I ate eggs and used butter and milk in cooking for the last year plus. I did have milk occasionally but not like I used to! I sat back one day and evaluated my diet. I wasn't eating very many animal products but the food I was ingesting wasn't great at all. I needed to start eating healthier. So I went to Kristie! The woman eats some amazing stuff, has GREAT recipes and eats really really healthy! I may not have cool cooking classes, grocery stores, or other options she does but she does a GREAT job of helping me out and I also started researching and finding my own (semi) normal recipes. It's like putting on night vision goggles and seeing at night. I'm eating some amazing stuff that not only tastes great, it's not loaded down with artery clogging fats, oils, and man made "things". It's truly great food that tastes great! Who knew!

I've been vegan (officially) since June 1, 2009. I'll blog about grocery shopping as a new vegan, recipes, along with my trial and tribulations. I'll post about questions I have, reviews on recipes (and the failures!), new products etc. I'll ask the other posters their thoughts on issues I'm having, like how to enjoy tofu, or changes I notice with my body.


Sunday, June 7, 2009


If you are reading this post then congratulations, you've stumbled on the first post ever for this blog. My name is Kristie and along with a few other people we are going to hopefully inspire you to completely change your diet habits, or maybe even just make a few small changes to help you lead a healthy, happy, brightly colored future without the dependence on animal products. For those of you who have already made the switch the we hope to help you to find new and exciting things to add to your vegan arsenal.

We'll post recipes with pictures, links to things we find interesting, books, vegan accessories and more. Being a vegan is more than just eating a certain way, it's a positive life altering choice and one we hope to inspire you to make also.

We are always up for constructive criticism so please feel free to let us know if we can improve something to make this blog more interesting, fun, helpful or all three.

As for me, here's my story to veganism. In June of 2008 I happened across an episode of 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock (see the entire episode if you click on that link). It was an episode where a meat lovin', gun totin' man went to live with a vegan family for 30 days. As I settled in on my sofa that night I thought to myself "Well, this is gonna be a good episode!" but it never occurred to me that it would catapult my entire way of eating and living. Right after the episode aired I made my way to my computer and went to PETA's website to Pledge To Be Veg for 30 days. I sent out a mass e-mail to my friends and family and challenged them to join in (not one person took me up on it) and thus began my 30 days of being a vegetarian.

During my 30 days I inhaled book after book, attended several vegan cooking classes and learned more than my meat loving brain could handle. By about the third week of being a vegetarian I knew I couldn't keep eating other animal products and wearing them on my body. I had learned so much and couldn't believe that this information wasn't widely shared.

This past year has been a HUGE learning process of how to change not only my eating and living habits but that of my two-year-old also. I've been met with intrigue, concern, eye rolling, support and love and it's been a fantastic journey that I am so proud to be taking. I know I'm doing the best thing I can for my family in so many ways. This change in eating has made me a better, more knowledgeable person on so many levels, not just the way I eat.

My hope for this blog is to inspire others to make changes, big and small, to better their life and the lives of their loved ones.