Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Summery Dessert

I found a perfect dessert that's healthy, filling and sweet! This recipe is really just a guideline because you can mix and match, add or subtract to your tastes.

Soy Topped Fruit Dessert:

1 6-8 ounce vanilla dairy-free yogurt (I have used the Silk brand but any would be fine I'm sure)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup

This is the soy topping for whatever fruit you desire. Mix all the above ingredients until smooth and top on your fruit. Here's where the recipe can be your own. You can use a flavored yogurt, yesterday I used cherry flavor or keep to the vanilla. If you don't have maple syrup (because of the awful price tag that goes along with it) you can use agave nectar or other sweetener. Don't like vanilla or cinnamon? Leave them out or if you love them, add more to taste!

The fruit I used yesterday was one banana, one nectarine and a bunch of grapes. A few days ago I used raspberries, an apple and a white peach. Both were equally yummy.

Try this easy, delicious dessert, I promise you'll love me for it.

Also, I haven't done this yet, but this could a breakfast parfait like at McDonald's (minus the cholesterol) if you add some granola. Yum!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipe - Lentil and Brown Rice "Stoup"

"Stoup" is my way of saying chunky soup - not quite a stew, not quite a soup - right in the middle. Quick and dirty, but great results. Pictures coming soon, seeing as I'm hoping to make this tomorrow night's dinner.

Recipe: Lentil and Brown Rice "Stoup"

Servings: 4-6 (depends on how much you want)

Time (approx): 45-50 minutes

- large stock pot - the double-handled kind is the best kind
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons

- 12 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon whole celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Bring the water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add the lentils, rice, onion, parsley, garlic, oregano, thyme, pepper, celery seeds, and cinnamon. Lower the heat, cover loosely, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are tender.

2. Season with the salt to taste.

3. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftovers will keep for up to three days.

Some side notes and suggestions from me:
- I add in chopped carrots, celery, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini. Or whatever else I feel like throwing in.
- Instead of 12 cups water or 12 cups vegetable broth, I mix it 50/50. I use a few of the vegan vegetable bouillon cubes - enough to make 6 cups of broth. Then add 6 cups water. A good mix so the end product isn't too watery, nor to brothy.
- So good in the end that my husband will asks for thirds! (And he's not vegan!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A new diet book

There are TONS of diet books out there. Go google 'diet book' and you'll get hundreds of thousand of hits. I've read the South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers and a few others. The first two were before I became a vegan, also know as before I got smarter. But I think I've found the best diet book out there.

The Engine 2 Diet

In a nutshell, this is all about living a plant-based diet. I wouldn't call it explicitly a vegan diet because the book does refer to eating honey but in reality it's a vegan diet for most. It's a great diet for those who are ready to kick the junk food, fast food, animal food way they've been living.

People who follow this plant-based way of eating are going to have many benefits which include, but aren't limited to: losing weight, reducing the bad cholesterol levels and regular bowel movements.

It's such a simple diet to follow. No calorie counting, no points or figuring out net carbs. If you're hungry you eat something, it's as simple as that. The hard part is staying away from those fatty, buttery laden sweets, the white flour breads and pastas and all those pesky animal products. Once you get over that stuff, it's easy.

I'm following my own recommendation and I'm going to do this diet, full on, for one month. No added sugars, no added fats and no processed foods that contain stuff my body doesn't need. I can't very well advocate a diet book if I don't follow it, right?

If you've got this book, please tell me what you think.


Also, it helps that author of this book is in Austin, TX. Represent for the Texans! We aren't a bunch of steak eating people!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When time gets tough, or at least short

Words of encouragement from a some what new vegan....

When things get tough, meaning time is short and you are so busy you can't remember what day it is, the first thing for me to go whacky is my eating habits. I get super lazy. I don't want to cook - not even a spaghetti, rice, a PBJ, or even a a bowl of cereal. Pathetic, I know. I want something quick, yummy or just kind of eh I don't care, but something that doesn't require the time to clean the dishes. So I eat out. Definitely not easy to do when vegan - hence Taco Bell and Chipotle a few days in a row. Oi. But, I do surprise myself in times like this. The thought never crossed my mind to eat meat or dairy and eggs on purpose. I didn't crave chicken or cheese just because I was tired and frustrated and worn out. So I give myself props for that. And it's not an easy thing to do. Although I must mention that Taco Bell and Chipotle does not consitute the image of health that I wish to portray. :-)

So this week I start with a much better stocked refrigerator and pantry with a gameplan for meals - some quick and some that require a little more time but are definitely worth it. The meals I am looking forward to this week include "meat"ball subs (one of my favorites, so quick and yummy), stuffed bell peppers, Indian something or other (I like to buy weird things that sound delicious and try them with rice or couscous), and last but not least my lentil and brown rice stoup. Yes, stoup. No, not a spelling error. I call it stoup because it's a mix between a soup (nice and brothy) and a stew (lovely and chunky). Definitely looking forward to that one. So is my husband, seeing he likes to ask for seconds and thirds when I make it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's my one year Veganversary

One year and a few weeks ago I watched an episode of 30 Days that forever changed the way I eat, the way I view food and the way I live my life. That episode was the catapult to my choice of becoming a vegan for my health, the planet and for the animals. It's been a whirlwind year full of researching this lifestyle and I feel now, more than ever, that I made the right choice.

I've managed to convert two people to veganism and that just makes me so proud. I also think I have helped to reduce some people's dependency on animal products which I am equally proud of. I've had the opportunity to talk openly about my choice with, mostly, supportive people who may not understand my choice but are open to listening to why I live the way I do.

There have been a few bumps along the road but it's been a fun journey and those bumps have taught me something about myself. I anticipate that more bumps will cross my path and I anticipate that they will just be another way to learn a lesson and improve. That's what life's all about, right?

Today I celebrate one year of a more compassionate, conscious, environmentally friendly way of living. I feel good about where I am and I hope that, when people are ready, that they will open up to a less invasive way of living.

If you'd like more information about veganism or just feel like lightening your dependency, please explore these links:

The Post Punk Kitchen
I use the forum on this site. It's a great place to ask questions and learn things. Also, the food porn is fun to look at.

Vegan Yum Yum
Need a vegan cooking blog? Here's a great one. There's even a free iPhone app for this site.

Newport News
I've found some super cute shoes here. I am avid about not buying animal leather (who wants to wear another creature on their body?) and the selection, although not entirely non-leather, has a good selection at awesome prices.

All sorts of information. When I buy things at the grocery store I always get excited when I see it's been "certified vegan".

Type in vegan in the search field and you'll get thousands of hits.

The link is the the "I can't believe it's vegan" list. There are a TON of foods out there that are "accidentally" vegan which makes my life just that much easier. Oreo cookies, anyone?

Recipe Zaar
1,515 recipes is what I get when I type the word vegan in the search box. That'll keep you busy for a while and I bet you won't even miss the stuff that's not in the recipe.

Meatless Monday
You can save animals, water and fossil fuels. Not to mention you can lower your cholesterol, maybe lose a few pounds and feel good about a cruelty free meal.


Cross posted at Momma K

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vegan learning curve

I'm not going to lie. This post was supposed to be about the places I love to eat some vegan food at. Until I, being the good blogger that I am called to verify ingredients before I told the internet about them, found out I was WRONG.

First up is Fuddrucker's. They have a great veggie burger. I even asked before hand about eggs (FYI their buns do contain eggs) there veggie burgers don't. So I've had a few in the last 6 weeks. Only today to find out they don't contain eggs but they do contain mozzarella cheese. Why?!?! Last I checked Mozzarella is NOT a veggie so why does it need to be in a veggie burger. So cross this joint off the list.

Moving on to Sugarbaker's Cafe. This is a cute locally owned bakery. And they have fantastic fresh fruit plates. A cup of fruit is under 2 bucks. A bowl is 8 bucks. And by bowl they mean a bucket. It fed myself and the kiddos with leftovers. Included yummy stuff like fresh strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple etc. Also comes with their famous Strawberry Dressing. I LOVED this dressing. It was like a smoothie dressing for your fruit. The kids didn't like it which was great. More for me. Today I find out one of the ingredients is sour cream. Again what? Why? Scratch that off the list.

So lesson learned. Always ask specific questions. Don't think that the only bad thing in a veggie burger (which I ASSumed meant vegtable burger) is egg and ask if it just includes egg. Ask if it includes ANY dairy. Don't assume that a strawberry dressing is just strawberries and worst case senario some corn syrup. Who would have thought it was 1 cup strawberries and 1 cup sour cream. Shouldn't it be called Strawberry CREAM dressing since it includes equal amounts of strawberries to sour cream?

At least I still have Pei Wei and their awesome Tofu! I've seriously considered working there just to find out how they get their tofu so chewy!
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Monday, July 6, 2009


I've always been a reader, an avid one. I enjoy curling up in my big comfy bed and reading till my eyelids cannot stay open any more. When I began the research process of my diet and lifestyle change I inhaled lots of books. It was comforting to read all the proven scientific research, tips, recipes and other information that made me feel like I'd made the right choice.

Here's a list of books that I recommend. Some are cookbooks, some are for information, I may even add a documentary or two. I hope that even one person reads one of these and makes a positive change for themselves, it will make the time I spend on this that much more worth it.

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

I read this book when I was experimenting with being a vegetarian. I attended a cooking class at a local vegan restaurant and the instructor recommended this book. It hadn't occurred to me that John Robbins also wrote Diet For A New America until after I got home with my new book. It was strange because I distinctly remember reading Diet For A New America (the book preceeding this one) several years ago and I remember reading about pigs at slaughter and I just couldn't stomach reading anymore and I never did finish that book. I just wasn't ready to face the truth, yet. The Food Revolution changed my life because as I was reading it I made the choice to become a vegan. I highly recommend EVERYONE read this book. When you are ready, it will change your life. The majority of people think of their food as just that, their food. They don't think of the suffering, the filth and the toll it takes.

Raising Vegetarian Children : A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony by Joanne Stepaniak

Since I had made the choice to become a vegan I knew that I wanted my youngest son, Jackson, to be one also. (I'd like my oldest son to make a change also, but he's 14 so I think he can make his own choices.) It just made sense to alter Jackson's diet at the same time. When Jackson gets older and can make his own, informed, choices then I will allow him to make his own decisions. Until then I knew I needed to research this diet choice for kids and do it properly. I talked with his pediatrician and then bought this book. It's my favorite book for easy, tasty recipes and excellent knowledge about kids and a balanced vegan diet. It's touted as a vegetarian book but it's really geared more toward vegans which was perfect for me. We've like all the recipes and I often refer to this book when I want to boost a certain vitamin or mineral for Jackson. If you have children or are planning on having them or just have a few nieces and nephews, I recommend this book. 4 stars, seriously.

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell

One of my good friends, Jennie, works for the publishing company that publishes this book. She was so kind to get me a copy for my birthday last year and WHOA BUDDY, this book is crazy. It's chock full of scientific information that will blow your mind. Honestly, it was a bit like reading a medical dictionary but I found it simply fascinating and kept wondering WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL EATING ANIMAL PRODUCTS?!?!?!?!?!? This book is known, well known, in the vegan community as it should be. If you are interested in hard, scientific facts you'll enjoy this book.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

This really isn't an inherently vegan or vegetarian book, but it's fascinating. I used to be part of the fast food patrons. I ate at a Chick Fil A sometimes three and four times a week. I still get an order of fries and a salad on occasion, but my consumption of fast food has dropped by probably 98%. I was so intrigued by the relationship of crime and fast food and how our food has been taken over by big corporations to feed people "Happy" meals. Those meals are the antithesis of happy. When you are over your fast food addiction, please read this book.

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

I thoroughly enjoyed the other John Robbins book so much that I picked this one up also. Basically it's a combination of all the previous books rolled into one package. It's a fairly long book that basically says if you want to live to be 100 and in good health, quite eating crap. Our bodies deserve better and if we treat them well we likely won't have the diseases of affluence that we in the US think are normal. Dementia? Diabetes? Heart disease? High cholesterol? Cancer? All diseases of affluence, for most people. It's SO EASY TO LIVE LONGER AND LIVE IN GOOD HEALTH. That's the message I took from this book. If you need a boost to stop eating bad, read this book, it might help you see that taking care of our bodies is the most important thing we do. It's not just about food either, this book delves into personal relationships as a way to be healthy too, which I think is just as important as what we eat.

The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Jeffrey Masson

I haven't had seafood in over a year and I know now that I never will again. There is a section in this book about sea life and it opened my eyes. I don't know if sea creatures like shrimp and eel have feelings or can feel pain but it doesn't matter to me. The way they are raised and killed are just appalling and disgraceful and such a shock to mother nature. It's a miracle that our planet puts up with how we treat the sea life. I found this book a little wonky to read, there's not a very good flow to it, but it was so interesting. When we stop thinking of burgers as food and start remembering that those patties are an animal that used to breathe and had a family then I think we will make real changes. You are what you eat, as they say, and I don't want to be anything other than a plant-eating compassionate vegan.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

On to more lighthearted things! This cookbook is awesome. Every cupcake I've made from it got smashing reviews for vegans and non vegans alike. Just yesterday I made a sort of German chocolate cupcake except I used a vanilla batter. There were 12 and now there are zero. They were a total hit. One of my non vegan friends borrowed this cookbooks and I think she may have cried a tear or two when I asked for it back. Get this book if you love cupcakes.

V Cuisine: The Art of New Vegan Cooking by Angeline Linardis

The cover of this book deceived me, I thought it was going to be a super fancy, "uppity" kind of cookbook but it's really not. There are some really great, family friendly recipes that my family really enjoys. I've made the Coleslaw Divine many times and my toddler inhales RAW CABBAGE. This fact alone makes this cookbook a winner in my book. I have approximately 80% of the pages dog-earred to make all the different, delicious sounding recipes.

The Future Of Food

This is a documentary all about our food and it's riveting, to say the least. The food we buy isn't as pure as we think it is. It's altered and sprayed and so far from it's original state that I'm amazed that our country allows this to take place on such a basic thing we consume on a daily basis. This video is the reason I buy non-GMO (genetically modified) and organic foods more often than I used to. Please watch this video if you eat food. That means you!

VegNews Magazine

I enjoy this magazine and all the useful information it brings me in my mailbox every other month. I can find tons of food recommendations, a few recipes and stories about people, like me, who are just trying to be healthier and more aware of what they do and how it affects our planet. It's a great little magazine that I adore. I hope that as more and more people subscribe and there's more interest that the magazine will grow and have more and more content. Also, the website is pretty awesome too, check it out. Plus, who doesn't love a picture of a cute, innocent baby cow?

If you have any recommendations for books, magazine, cookbooks or anything you think is interesting, I'd love to hear about. I inhale this stuff as if it's the air I need to breathe and the water I need to drink.