Friday, August 6, 2010

College, Running, and Nica Night

Hoooooly man, I have been so busy! I can't remember the last time I was this busy, except maybe during the school year when I don't even have time to sleep. As I mentioned earlier today, I've been taking a college essay-writing class which was SO helpful. I got my Common App essay done as well as my activity description. Now all I have to do is my supplement essay! Boo, more essays...

Well, I usually feel this way, anyways. I actually really enjoyed writing my Common App essay. It came so naturally and everyone loved it! (not to toot my own horn at all, I was surprised when they liked it so much!) I really hope the acceptance officers like it. I wrote about my passion for cooking and nutrition and how it's driven me. I'm not going to put up a copy of my essay (ever! I don't know why people do that), but it sounds exactly like me and rolls perfectly. Ahh, one less thing to do for college :) I'm planning on applying Early Decision, so being proactive is really important. I'm also almost (half-way) done with the Common App!

Do y'all have any stories about applying to college or advice for applying and essay-writing? All suggestions are welcome :)

Not only am I slowly getting back into the swing of the Blogosphere, but I got back on running today! I started off my workout with 2 miles on the tread, then 20 minutes on the elliptical, stretching, abs, and arm weights. Ahhh, it felt so good! :) My legs thanked me.

I wasn't very hungry after working out, so I grabbed a juicy farm-fresh peach. It was so good! It's the little things in life that make us happy... :) for me, it was a juicy peach. I haven't had a brightly-colored fuzzy-fresh peach (with a large paper towel for catching juice!) in a very long time. I like to rotate my fresh fruit that I keep in the house to keep from getting bored. But, there are some fruits I always keep in the house:
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • cameo apples
  • grapefruits
What fruit do you always keep in the house? I'd like some funky ideas to add to my kitchen :)

Right now I have a watermelon, two mangoes, peaches, bananas, The Staples (see above), cherries, and blackberries. I love cherries!! So much. I used to not like them, but now I can't get enough of them! Funny how taste buds change over the years.

I've also discovered my love for brussels sprouts. Most people would make an "ew!" face at the sound of "brussels sprouts" but I love them! I preheat the oven to 350F, trim and slice the brussels in half, and put them on a lightly olive-oiled baking sheet. Then, I drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt, and grind some fresh black peppercorn on top. They are good in the oven for about 15 minutes, or more if you like them crispier. I like them crispier :)

I'm currently "watching" Star Wars (the first one). Rebecca and I are sitting in my room watching it, and I love this movie! I just watched about half of it a few days ago though with a friend, so I'm blog blog blogging until we get to the part I stopped at.

I used to poo-poo this movie because of all the dorky hype that's been made about it, but it's actually a really good movie! I have yet to finish it, but I'm sure the second half is just as good as the first.

Tomorrow is Saturday! Yayay. I had a great Friday. I went to class, had breakfast in the sunshine (outside on the patio, obvs), and then went to the gym. When I got home, I took some surrious "me-time" and read tons of blogs, which always makes me feel energized.

For dinner, I cooked up some plantains, but this time they were ripe :) This means they were sweet! Definitely different than tostones, but I love them so much. They're the ones we usually get at breakfast in Nicaragua, but I couldn't resist making them for the whole fam at dinner.

Quick note: do not make plantains with olive oil to make it healthier! It completely compensates for taste. Canola/vegetable oil is the only way to go. It's not as nutrient-rich, but since plantains are a delicacy in my house, it's definitely worth it to make it with canola oil.

Of course, I paired this with brown rice and black beans (a killer combo), fresh salads, and cooked veggies. I love Nica Nights :)

Tomorrow I'll try to get up all of my birthday pictures. I am such a lazy blogger :) Yes, my birthday was a whole week ago. I've been a busy busy little bee. Shame on me.

You'll die when you see the pictures of my birfday carrot cake. Not only was it my first vegan birthday cake, it was AMAZING. And when I say AMAZING I mean I had a huge slice and somehow that wasn't I sneaked some crumbs (okay, more like chunks) later on. And we enjoyed delicious carrot birfday cake for dessert for the next two nights until the last piece was devoured. And I mean devoured.

Goodnight, and happy friday! Have a blissful Saturday morning :)


On Taking "Me-Time"

I'm going to start by giving the best piece of advice I've ever given myself: Take some me-time. Every day.

What is me-time, you might ask? Taking time for yourself. This can mean many things for different people, but it's often sleep, reading, journaling, and just sitting and listening to your own thoughts. Take time to take care of you. Paint your nails! Make some dessert :) Listen to some music, go for a run, watch some tv or a favorite movie but just do something every day that's for you.

I've always been adamant about taking my "me-time", but lately it's been very difficult: college essay class, applying to college, filling out job's all very stressful, time-consuming, and totally necessary. The only problem is I got too caught-up in my work. Many of us do this, doing extra paperwork or homework just to get it done...but this isn't always good when you forget to listen to your own needs. I've been bogged down, unenergized, and unfortunately, totally uninspired. But once I took the time to have some me-time, I feel a thousand times better! Energy, inspiration, passion..haaay! :)

You may notice that this blog post is different from ones I've written before. I've decided to try writing a little differently, making this more about health and life so that people who are not vegan don't feel like this blog isn't for them. I finally made this decision after spending an extensive amount of time reading this blog and realizing that it's the right way to go for me and for my readers. Notice how I said "me"? :)

I want everyone to be able to read this and feel at home, even though every recipe and photograph will be completely vegan! :) I'll encourage everyone to make them, not forcing the fact that it happens to be vegan and super-healthy (which, of course, everything I make is) :).

So that's enough for now, I'll reflect more on my day later!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spinach Pie and a Summer Panini

As you will see, I'm on a bit of a trying-new-recipes spike. Two nights ago, I had the itching for making a quiche (I haven't had one yet since going vegan) and decided to make one. However, my Dad saw and tasted this quiche and said, "This is too good and elegant to be called a quiche. You should call it something like...Spivegan, or Vinach, or...Viche." Hahah, I do love my Dad. We eventually dubbed it "Spinach Pie", since pie sounds much classier than quiche. Also, this was made with no tofu, fake cheese, or nutritional yeast so it actually doesn't much resemble a quiche in its components. It was amazing. It was perfectly creamy, and spiced just to the right spot. Also, it's incredibly filling and very healthy! It's loaded with vitamins, protein, and good fats, making it a perfect main dish. I served it with roasted asparagus, and it paired perfectly.

I combined a couple of recipes I had seen, but mostly I based it on the quiche recipe from Veganomicon and changed a few things based on what I had and what I liked. It turned out perfectly, so here's the recipe! Try it out :)

Spinach Pie
Serve as a hearty main dish with a side of roasted asparagus. Even in the summer, I like something to warm up my tummy! Feel free to substitute or combine different green vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus.

Serves 8
  • 1 whole-wheat pie crust (I used Wholly Wholesome brand)
  • 4 tbsp. evoo
  • 1 pound spinach, asparagus, or broccoli
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 cups cooked, or one can, great northern beans
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • thyme, fennel, anise, and oregano sprinkled generously to your liking
  • several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs, divided in half
  • slices of tomato, enough to cover top of quiche
  1. Thaw your pie crust if you bought frozen. Cook your vegetable of choice until just soft.
  2. Meanwhile, put walnuts, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse into crumbs, leaving no whole walnuts left.
  3. Cool vegetables in a shallow bowl.
  4. Sauté cloves of garlic in 1 tbsp. of the evoo, being careful not to burn it, for about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer to vegetables and let cool for a few minutes
  6. When vegetables are no longer steaming, add them to the food processor. Process and scrape down the sides.
  7. Add beans and puree until relatively smooth. Add cornstarch and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  8. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon filling into the pie crust and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle top with half of the bread crumbs, and drizzle with about 1 tbsp. of evoo. Place tomato slices on top of bread crumbs. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, some freshly ground black pepper, a few pinches of salt, and drizzle another tbsp. of evoo over the top.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, cool for 20.
  11. Slice, serve warm and enjoy! :)

After I got home from my workout today, my momma wanted lunch so I made her something yummy today. She's been in a let cast from a car crash a couple of weeks ago, so I love being able to make nice lunches for her. This one just kind of came together, and it smelled delicious. She loved it, which means it must have been pretty good! My mom's a tough crowd to please :)

Pan-Grilled Summer Panini
Serve with a fresh green salad with chopped fresh vegetables on top. Perfect on a warm summer day :)

  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 slices of Ezekiel 4:9 bread (or any hearty sprouted or whole-wheat bread)
  • 1/4 package of tempeh, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/4-inch thick slice of vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart Monterey-Jack)
  • slice of a large tomato
  • small handful of baby spinach greens
  1. In a small skillet, sauté the tempeh slices in a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Once they are crisp, place them on a piece of bread. Next, layer the cheese, the tomato, and then the lettuce. Put the other piece of bread on top.
  3. If you have a panini press, use it for this part. Add another tablespoon of evoo to the skillet and place in the sandwich. Cook for a few minutes and then carefully flip, adding another little bit of evoo to the pan before flipping. Be sure to be pressing the sandwich down often, to mimic a panini press. Cook sandwich to desired crispness, or until the cheese begins to melt.
  4. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Spiritual, Personal Rant

When one of my girlfriends was over last night, I started listening to what I was saying during my passionate vegan ramble that my friends somehow don't find totally ramble-y. I listened to how much I love being vegan, how everything is delicious, how much I love cooking and nutrition, how much energy I have, all the weight that I DON'T gain even if I skip workouts (for an entire week..), and how happy I am. Sure, I've been happy before; being in love has its happy points, as well as getting a good SAT score or finishing a run I didn't think I could finish. But this feeling is so clear. So real, lightweight, and so airy. My head is so free of rubbage that I've realized there's room for so much more. I've delved back into my yoga practice (which had taken a long hiatus) and started looking into meditation and Buddhism. I've begun to take initiative, carpe diem and seize the day. My life is now completely in my hands.

My relationships with everyone in my family have become what I never thought they could become. My sister is like my best friend. My Dad and I actually get along now, and I've discovered he's a chill guy to talk to. My Mom and I don't fight as much, which is a huge improvement. It's as if everything was out of sync before, and now it's running like a perfect machine. The gears were all moving to a different rhythm, to a different tune, and now they're all moving together. And truly, I owe this all to becoming a vegan. I was skeptical when I first read Skinny Bitch (in one sitting), but soon I had to do it. I saw the videos of animal cruelty, and it drove me to tears. It pained me so much to see that happen to living creatures with families, friends, babies, and emotions. That topped off the decision for me.

I am a vegan for primarily health reasons, but I never would have made the change without being so pained by animal suffering. And now, I have found my love for cooking and my passion for nutrition. I've always been kind of a health nut, ever since the eighth grade, but looking back, I realize that I actually was not eating very healthfully. I sure thought I was, and was always improving or changing my diet in some way, but I never was eating in a way that brought me such serenity and balance in my health, my mind, my choices, and my life.

For my entire life, I hated milk. Wouldn't drink it, made me gag. However, my family was always saying the typical, "You need milk to grow!" spiel, trying to get me to guzzle down a glass. No thanks. Dairy has always made me feel icky, and gave me bad breath (but it does that to everyone). I also never really liked meat. I always looked at it with an "icky face" on, and avoided eating it, usually having to coat it with lots of salt and sauce. I didn't like the idea of eating an animal. Thinking of what I was eating would cause me to nearly vomit on my plate.

So it makes sense that as a vegan, everything is more in-sync. I'm eating what I'm supposed to, and living with the compassion and awareness that all people should have. My life is right now. It's in its order, every puzzle piece in its plate, with a perfectly smooth surface for walking. Everything I need is here for me, and all I have to do is follow my passion in everything I do. I've learned that my passion is my most powerful asset, and whatever I do with it, I will be happy because it's something that my whole heart and soul is in. I love nutrition. I love food. I love helping people better themselves, I love learning how to better myself, and I love cooking for people and allowing them to taste the beautiful flavors that are good for them and have respect for other living beings.

So last night as I was getting ready for bed, I reflected on my life since going vegan and looked at myself in the mirror with the most loving, cherishing, happy smile I've ever felt myself give and thought to myself, "I've never been so happy in my entire life." Going vegan is the best choice I've ever made for myself and for my life.

So namaste, girls. I hope everyone got something out of my passionate wordflow. Have a good day :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You must all remember the FADS and amazing TV shows from the 90's. But, mostly the food!
I could probably list a storm of everything, which i will do! Yeah.. i loved the 90's, but some things could've been changed. Like come on! You rememeber the Kool-Aid man telling little kids how good that juice is for you? It's purely sugar. We couldn't resist all these new foods, so we bought them without knowing how unhealthy they were. Welll here's a list of what I can remember from my childhood, and what i adored!

Here it is:
Teddy Grahams
Papaya Pieces
Honey Sticks
YooHoo Chocolate Drinks
Fruit by the Foot
Kid's Cuisine
Purple/Green Ketchup
Potato Bread
Pizza Rolls/Nuggets
Rice Krispies
Fruit Punch
Stuffed Crust Pizza
Trix Yogurt
Zebra Gum (Fruit Stripes)
Altoids Mints
Bottle Pops
Ritz Bitz sandwich crackers
Bagel Bites
Candy Necklaces
Jaw Breakers
Peanut Butter M&M's
Ramen Noodles
Fruit Gushers
Scooby Snacks
Sunbelt Chocolate Chip Bars
Frosted Mini-Wheats
Eggo Waffles & Cereal
Mint Ice Cream
Sugar Cookies
Apple/Grape Juice
Kraft Mac&Cheese
Whole Milk
Mustard Pretzels
Doughnut Holes
Hot Dogs
Fig Neutons
Rice Pilaf

In these processed foods that everyone was grabbing for, they were filled with excess amounts of sugar, fat and hydrogenated whatever. When i was little, I always knew that cookies and cake weren't exactly good for you on the healthiness scale. But, I always thought that Goldfish somehow was a healthy snack. I mean, what was i thinking! I can't blame myself, I was probably 5 years old. But how come no one had told me when i was eating hot dogs, thinking those were healthy for me too, that i could be eating cous cous or even a smartdog? I don't blame my parents, but they always told me to drink my milk (aka. we have osteoporosis and cancer running in our family) and to not eat red meat, only white meat because ohh yeaah, because white meat was better? No. I used to believe that stuff, but now i know the truth. Yeah, i know i let down my parents offers for me to eat veggie burgers once or twice.. but hey, come on i was little. Veggies sounded like poop to me. They didn't sound appetizing at all when i was little! My dad had always reminded me that "Veggies are healthy for you, eat some". Well, would a 5 year old think that healthy food would taste good? Nahh. Thats why we bought most of these foods listed above, sadly. I wish someone had told me about veganism earlier and the good benefits of it. Vegan is really the only way to go to become healthy, and stay healthy! Without meat or dairy, you reach your healthy weight and maintain it. You have healthy, glowing skin. Lucious hair. Energy (without the need of coffee). Good food. And, a long long life!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alicia Silverstone

On Saturday while working out, I turned on the TV, went to MTV and the movie Beauty Shop was on. It had Queen Latifah in it so i knew it was going to be good. But there was also another actress i've seen before. You know that girl from the Scooby Doo movies and obviously Clueless, Alicia Silverstone.

Vegans aren't so called "hippies", "too-healthy" or even aneroxic, they are people who know what they're talking about. Now, she's got the brains and she's sticking to what she knows, and what tastes good! In her new cookbook The Kind Diet, she gives amaazing recipes and tips for becoming vegan. Why kill other animals to satisfy your hunger? Not only will it be hard to digest, but brutally infesting your body with growth hormones. Yeah, some will ask "Where do you get your protein?", well if you haven't known already, the well-known vegan food quinoa is a complete protein. You'd be surprised how much protein tofu, tempeh and seitan have!

Here's some quick interviews with Alicia about being a vegan;

Now on the other hand, Ellen DeGenerous. Can't. Stop. Watching. Her. Show. Not only is she hilaarious, she's vegan! (Same with Portia) I just found this out after all these years of watching her show. Now, i love her even more! She became vegan mainly for the economic benefits to help the environment, save water and live a cruelty-free lifestyle, while getting the health benefits from it tooo!

Others who are linking onto the fantastic vegan lifestylee:

Demi Moore (General Hospital)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Ginnifer Goodwin (He's Just Not That Into You)
Drew Barrymore (50 First Dates)
Kevin Nealon (The Wedding Singer)
Toby Maguire (Spiderman)
Prince (Purple Rain)
Jason Mraz (I'm Yours)
Matisyahu (One Day)
Shania Twain (Man! I Feel Like A Woman)
Michael Franti (Say Hey)
Avril Lavinge (Girlfriend)
Chelsea Clinton
Leonardo DaVinci
Mohandas Ghandi

... and many, many more!

morning muffies :)

Ahhh, you know that feeling when you wake up early and want to cook up something absolutely divine? Last night before bed, I had been brainstorming recipes for making an apple-cinnamon-raisin muffin. I had visited Cornell last week and we passed by the campus bakery. The smell of apples and cinnamon came flooding out of it, knocking me out of my paying-close-attention state and suddenly needing to make the perfect recipe. I perused my millions of muffin recipes until I found one that seemed easily buildable and changeable. The result was a house filled with the scent of apples and cinnamon in every hallway. Can't wait any longer? Here's the recipe!

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Muffies
Adapted from Veganomicon by Moskowitz and Romero
With a small spread of Earth Balance, these are the healthiest muffies you may ever sink your teeth into. Totally guilt free, these are perfect as breakfast, a pre-workout snack, or served warm as a dessert with some vanilla soy ice cream. Mmmm :)

  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. natural, unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup NuStevia powder Baking Blend (or brown sugar, if you must)
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • half of one apple, chopped into quarter-inch dice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar; let sit for 1 minute to curdle.
  3. Add all of the applesauce and NuStevia powder; whisk to completely incorporate.
  4. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet; do NOT overmix! Fold in the raisins and chopped apple.
  6. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling. Serve warm or room-temperature with apple butter or Earth Balance. Or, if you're feeling spicy, use both!
  8. Enjoy :)
Makes 12 muffins

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Soy de Nicaragua

Okay, I'm not actually from Nicaragua, but it's like my second home. I know what you're thinking: "Nicaragua? Wtf?". I've been there twice on mission with my church, and both have been incredibly life-changing, each for different reasons. Besides that, the food there is not to be reckoned with. Yes, the eat a lot of pollo, but there is a world of Nicaraguan food that is so flavorful and satisfying, sans the meat. On both of my trips, there were three staples that we had at every meal without fail:

1. Rice and beans. No, not what you're thinking; it's all brown rice, the good stuff. And black beans. Every meal. Sound boring? It's not. It can be spiced up with, well, spices, and used as a base for something with a flavorful liquid or sauce, like vegetables. It's also pretty kick-ass by itself - I like my rice naked, thanks.

2. Plantains. Actually, these should be number one, since they are the greatest vegetable/fruit/thing in a peel you will ever eat. They look like giant green/brown bananas (depends on ripeness) and they are so versatile, we have them differently at every meal of the day. Breakfast: ripened, sweet plantains cut lengthwise about half an inch thick and caramelized. Deliciously sweet and perfect with some fresh papaya. Lunch: sliced lengthwise very thinly and fried crispy, like a chip - the healthy kind. Dinner: this is when we get the tostones. The only one I know the actual Spanish name for, and the only one I have successfully made in the States (lezzbeserious, you gotta be a pro to master the art of plantain-making). Tostones are sliced about three-quarters of an inch thick hamburger-style (pardon my omni-vocab) and fried, removed and pressed into 1/4-inch-thick discs, and fried again for about 30 seconds. The sweet ones are my favorite, but tostones have a soft spot in my heart; they are fantastic with some organic, agave-sweetened ketchup and devoured irrationally fast.

3. Fruit. You can't get enough fruit in Nicaragua. You want some freshly picked papaya for breakfast? Here you go! How about some mango? It's ALWAYS ripe. Always. It's magically ripe and perfect and probably organic. At breakfast there is always an array of freshly cut fruit to choose from, and at every meal some delicious freshly-made fruit juice. One night, we had a purple juice that was made from a flower. It was different, but I sure as hell had more than one glass!

So, after being away from my beautiful home-away-from-home for more than five months, I was getting an itch to make some Nicaraguan food; I bought as many plantains as my little hands could grab and spent a good hour over the stove, making sure my first attempt at tostones would be perfect. The rice and beans were simple, but chopping up tons of vegetables and plantains to all be ready at the same time made me wish I were a vegan octopus. The plantains turned out perfectly, and I made some vegetables that seem to be a bit more "tropical" than cauliflower, collards, or what have you. Just before eating, I squeezed half a lime over the vegetables for a more Latin kick. And let me tell you, it was all beyond amazing. It was like having a taste of my Latin-American home :) So, here's the goods!

The Spread:

The tostones. Ugh, I could just die.

Rice and beans! Holllla

The picture of my veggieveggies isn't cooperating, but just imagine some cooked green vegetables. Everything was scrumptious, and we ended our meal with some raw brownies and a scoop of chocolate-peanut-butter nice cream. We ate most of the pan (I had three brownies..couldn't help myself) but you can just imagine some fudgy, chocolatey, nutritious raw brownies sprinkled with vegan chocolate chips. Too good to be true.

With the food on top of everything, today was a fantastic day. I woke up before the rest of the house (ahhh, my favorite time) and made French toast with cinnamon-raisin Ezekiel bread. It was truly divine. Recipe? Here you go!

French Toast

4 slices of cinnamon-raisin Ezekiel bread (defrosted)
2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)
2 T. whole-wheat flour
1 t. vanilla
1 T. pure (grade A) maple syrup
1/2 t. cinnamon
Spray bottle of canola oil

  1. Whisk together the milk, flour, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Prepare a large non-stick skillet by spraying a thin layer of canola oil. Heat it up over medium-high heat.
  3. When pan and oil are hot, dip toast slices in bowl, making sure both sides are completely soaked. Try to fit as many as you can in the pan, making them in batches if necessary.
  4. Watch and listen carefully, being sure to flip every minute or so, spraying the pan in-between flips.
  5. Cook to desired crispness and serve warm.

I had mine with lots of fresh berries and other fruit. The french toast was flavorful enough on its own, I didn't even need maple syrup :)

After our lovely Sunday brunch, I headed off to yoga class with my sister. It was the perfect way to start my day. I love yoga in the morning, it guarantees that the rest of the day will be good and happy (but then again, have you ever met an unhappy vegan?).

It was a perfect day. Now, off to bed, lovlies! Hopefully reading some Eat, Pray, Love while I'm snuggled up in bed. Goodnight! :) xoxox

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blast to the Past

As a child, my parents always took me to Indian restaurants. My dad was an American born abroad in India because my grandparents, great-grandparents, and my other ancestors were missionaries in Oman, India, and Saudi Arabia. So, knowing how picky little kids can be, they always ordered me a safe selection: a mango lassi. I would get my lassi, taste it, and then slurp down the whole thing before my parents knew what had happened. I would beg for another one, and usually they cut me off at one or two, for good reason; typical lassis are loaded with yogurt, and not the fat-free kind. For awhile I had tried making my own lassis at home, with absolutely no success. Since I was not a vegan during these attempts, I tried every recipe out there, but none tasted like my beloved restaurant lassis. Recently, though, I found a vegan mango lassi recipe and immediately bought some mangoes. Last night, they were perfectly ripe, so I cut them up and stuck them in the fridge for the morning. So this morning, each person in my family enjoyed a fresh mango lassi upon waking. They were delicious and I slurped mine down in seconds, to the amusement of my family members. Here's my recipe!

Mango Lassi (adapted from 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson)
Makes 4 lassis

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut
  • 1.5 c. vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1/2 c. vanilla soy milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  1. Put the mangoes and yogurt in a blender; combine until smooth.
  2. Add soymilk and cubes; puree.
  3. Serve immediately, and garnish with a mint leaf if you like.
  4. Slurp and enjoy! :)
Ahhh, doesn't that just look scrumptious?


Yummy is really all that comes to mind at the moment. Yesterday I cooked up some fig bread that smelled and tasted amazing, but after it had been out of the oven, it sank. Despite it's appearance, though, it was amazing! Here's the recipe:

Fig Bread
Makes 1 loaf

  • 10-12 fresh figs
  • 1 c. + 2 T. applesauce
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. NuStevia powder Baking Blend
  • 2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  1. Slice off the tips of the figs and halve them. Place in a large bowl and mash them with the skins on.
  2. Stir in applesauce, vanilla, oil, and sugar.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir into wet ingredients until well-mixed.
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan, or if you like, in a muffin tin!
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes.
Dinner turned out nicely despite an unexpected setback - I was planning on making a stuffed eggplant recipe, but one of the eggplants was rotten, ruining the meal. So, we used the good eggplants in a vegetable sauté with onions and tamari sauce, which was delicious. Then, I was in a little bit of a predicament, so I whipped together some things I had lying around: kale and sweet potato with some vegetable broth and red onion. It was so good! We still have leftovers that we ate for lunch. It was tasty, and looked pretty nice as well:

Monday, Monday

Ahhh my Monday in Ithaca was so nice. We woke up early and walked over to the GreenStar Co-Op (which was very impressive) and got our morning juices. I ordered a combination of apple, orange, carrot, beet, and kale. It was so amazing, I've decided to ask for a juicer for my birthday. Yes, I know, dorky. But seriously. It will be so useful every morning, especially when I go off to college and have my own apartment.

We toured Cornell and sat in on an info session for the College of Human Ecology. It was a great experience to be able to talk face-to-face with an admissions director and allow him to see my passion for nutrition. Cornell has an amazing nutrition program, and it's everything I could ever hope for. There are so many amazing courses and opportunities through Cornell that would help me to extend my passion and help other people.

After the 1:00 info session, we were starving. We headed over to the Mann Library and got lunch at the Manndible Cafe, the only vegan cafe on campus. We all ordered a veg burrito in a cup (no whole wheat tortillas) with a scoop of guacamole. It filled me up right away. Our burritos were filled with brown rice, cooked veggies, beans, and salsa. The guac added the perfect compliment. As we were finishing, Dad surprised us with a date bar he bought from their huge selection of vegan desserts, snacks, and baked goods. It was scrumptious, and I'll be making my own version soon! Hang tight for a recipe.

Since we were so full from the late lunch, we didn't plan any dinner when we got home. I went to a friend's house later and we ended up pigging out on cherries, apples, pita chips with hummus, and oreos with peanut butter, my only vice. Do NOT get this chick around oreos and peanut butter, because it will be gone. I felt awfully guilty about eating so much, but it was so good. One guilty pleasure won't kill ya. Just no desserts for a week! That's my plan.

So, that was my Monday. Next up is my Tuesday and Wednesday morning!

Oink! ...forreal

SUCH a crazy past four days, but so fun. I've been far too busy to write up everything I've been wanting to, so finally, here it is! This will be the first in the series, starting with the Farm Sanctuary :)

On Sunday I drove down to the Farm Sanctuary with Rebecca and my dad, which was so fun. I love animals, especially my cows and pigs, so it was nice to see them in a habitat that makes them happy.

Piggies! Oink :)

The layer hens:

The coolest-looking turkey I think I've ever seen! He was a sweetie, and made some funny noises.

A chicken they saved from being made into someone's dinner:

A lonely goatherd! (I think that's how you spell it..Sound of Music reference) The goats were so friendly!

The bunny wabbits

I. Love. Cows. And this one's name was Larry. It doesn't get any better than that!

Those were the precious animals! Once we were done petting the animals and perusing the People Barn and gift shop (I wanted to buy everything!), we drove over to Ithaca and had dinner at the Food for the Planet restaurant. The only 100% vegan restaurant in Ithaca, it was nothing less than scrumptious. I wish I had brought my camera, everything was so beautifully put together and delicious.

Our tumblies were grumbling, so we ordered both of the specials: a jerk sandwich made with grilled tempeh, plantain, and pineapple, served with a spicy dipping sauce; the raw pad thai made with zucchini noodles, the gazpacho, and the caesar salad. All pleased our palates and were gone in minutes.

My personal favorite was the jerk sandwich. I love plantains! Having visited Nicaragua twice on mission, plantains have become one of my favorite exotic fruits (or is it a vegetable? who knows). Combined with grilled pineapple (my mouth is watering!) it was fantastic. The pad thai was delicious, but certainly unlike any other pad thai I've had. The gazpacho was deliciously refreshing, and the caesar salad tasted like the caesar salads I ate in my non-vegan years. The tofu was breaded perfectly, and tasted better than any croutons or chicken I had ever had on my salads! Absolutely scrumptious.

For dessert, all of their options sounded amazing, and I decided on the raw brownie. It was SO delicious, healthy, and hit the spot! Made with dates, nuts, and raw cacao, it was complemented perfectly by a mint-coconut filling. Since I'm not a raw-foodie, I got my brownie a-la-carte with a heaping scoop of vanilla soy ice cream. It was spectacular. If I had a dehydrator, I would certainly make my own version.

So, that was my Sunday! Coming up next is my Monday in Ithaca, visiting Cornell and scoring some amazing vegan eats :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Want to know what's in your "green" or "clean" products? They are literally taking over! This made me giggle despite the very important message. Watch this:

Good Morninn'

Wake up to a delicious new smoothie!

R's Tuty-Fruity Smoothie

- 1 Cameo Apple (or any other apple you like, but i like cameo's the best!)
- 1 Kiwi
- 1/4 Cup Blueberries
- 4 Large Strawberries
- 1/2 Cup Soy Milk (I use Vanilla Silk Light)

1) Cut Apple & Kiwi into pieces.
2) Add All Ingredients Into Blender.
3) Serve and Drink upp!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Morning Booster

Did you know that for breakfast, instead of scrambled eggs, have scrambled tofu! My dad bought some this morning during breakfast while we were at the GreenStar Coop in Ithaca, NY. Even though, some people some might shrug away at the name of the breakfast because it includes tofu, but it was madd good if you ask me! :) Actually, it was even better than normal scrambled eggs (which is loaded with cholesterol)

Try it for yourself!
*Serves 6*
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 16-ounce block firm tofu
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin (1-1/2 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions, scallions, chives, or 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce


  1. Drain the tofu and crumble it.
  2. Sauté the garlic and diced pepper with the olive oil in a medium sauté pan on medium heat, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the crumbled tofu first, then add turmeric, salt, pepper, green onions (scallions, chives, or onions), and soy sauce.
  4. Cook the tofu for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Breathe In, Ahhhh

Good morning babies! Ahhhhh don't you just love the feeling of waking up bright and early? I love having quiet time to make my tea and enjoy the morning sun. It's too beautiful. Mornings are especially nice with that slight coolness that is so calming.

Of course, after my morning tea, I checked out my DailyOm e-mail. Yes, yes, it sounds dorky, but seriously. This e-mail not only gives me my horoscope, it's like a spiritual uplifting every morning. It's also much more elaborate than the one that iGoogle gives me every day (which is always right - I swear by my horoscope!).

What should I have for breakfast? Should I whip up some blueberry pancakes? I bought so many at the farmer's market yesterday, I don't know what to do with them! I just love blueberries. I wonder if anyone's ever tried cherry pancakes..I have an awful lot of those. Time for me to hop in the shower and get ready! Enjoy your morning lovlies!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Zing! Energy

I'm calling these DIY not because I'm about to give you a beautiful buffet of ingredients to choose from, but because I stumbled upon an incredibly versatile vegan energy bar recipe. Since I peruse my collection of blogs every morning, I find handfuls of recipes every day that I print out and keep in a cute recipe book that my sister and I cleverly titled "VegRecipes" (original, I know). This one is from, a great blog by a vegan mom who makes some of her own recipes. I will be trying these very soon, and adding/substituting some of my own ingredients. Until then, here's the recipe! Add, switch, and substitute ingredients to your heart's desire.

DIY Vegan Energy Bars

  • 2 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. nut butter
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. granular sweetener (she used NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend, which happens to be my favorite!)
  • 2 T. ground flax seed + 6 T. water

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flax and water. Set aside. Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in raisins and chcolate chips. In separate bowl, combine syrup, sweetener and nut butter and mix until smooth. Combine nut butter mixture with flax/water mixture.
  3. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. The mixture will seem very dry, but just keep stirring.
  5. Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or greased with Earth Balance.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Allow pan to cool slightly, then cut into bars and transfer to a cooling rack.

Don't these just sound so scrumptious? Not as simple as my beloved Larabars, but certainly cheaper and with a whole-grain punch. I'll probably substitute the chocolate chips with more dried fruit or nuts, the whole wheat pastry flour for stone-ground whole wheat flour, and the maple syrup for agave nectar. I can't wait to try these! Unfortunately, tomorrow will not be the day. I'll be spending the day at the Farm Sanctuary with all of the cute cows and piggies. Oink! I just love animals. So presh.

So this morning when I woke up, I happened to feel awfully groggy due to the late night I had - just love being a senior. I had my ritual decaf green tea and lots of organic, fresh fruit for breakfast. Then I was off to the farmer's market! It's my favorite Saturday morning spot. There are so many people bustling, but they're all so sweet. Especially the farmers. And, the Amish! Yes, the Amish sell baked goods at my farmer's market. It makes my day. They are just the sweetest, most humble people, and talking to them always makes me feel happier.

Then, I headed off to the gym to get in my first workout this week! Traveling makes it so hard, especially when you're visiting the Eastern Shore of Virginia (keep in mind that it's, say, 90 degrees by 10 am?). Sizzle. Too hot for my little body to try and get a run in. I did get to bike ride on that visit, and it was perfect. Ocean breeze, sunshine, cute sister and I were in heaven. Love the beach life. But now we're home, and the gym was calling! I got in an hour of elliptical-ing, which is a good starting point considering my body hasn't seen strenuous exercise in a whole week. Surprisingly, I haven't gained any weight. That's another plus of being a's hard to gain weight. Unless, of course, you're a vegan who eats only junk food and desserts instead of something with real nutritional value like, say, a vegetable. Anyways, came home and perused the blogs. Dinner was leftovers and fresh farmer's market corn, which is ALWAYS delicious. Besides the fact that I hate leftovers (I forgot to halve the recipe last night..oopsie!), it was delicious. Quinoa with tomatoes and black beans is always good, especially when chilled and eaten outside on a balmy summer night. Yum! Add a glass of my favorite vanilla soymilk, and it couldn't have been better.

Later, I watched Fast Food Nation with my family. Talk about completely awkward. There's so much sex in a movie that's about food, I almost threw up my dinner knowing that my parents were right next to me. So. Weird. It was a good movie, and got the message of animal suffering across much more strongly than Food, Inc. The fact that they kept talking about shit in meat, though, was hilarious. And gross, but it got the point across. Eating meat is like eating shit. Literally. It has shit in it, and it's shitty for you. Plus, poop from any animal is gross. Okay, enough of my late-night rant. I have to get up extra-early for my run tomorrow morning so I can enjoy a day at the Farm Sanctuary! Goodnight lovlies, xoxox.

Friday, July 16, 2010


As a student, I'm starting to think about shopping for the new semester. I'm talking clothes, bags, and shoes (the fall vegan line from Toms!). From searching the internet earlier today, I found a few promising items for myself.

Vaute Couture, always filled with cute things I want to overspend on with my credit card, has these cute tank tops for the fall. I hate preachy stuff with "Don't eat animals!" slogans, so these are perfectly cute and subtle:

Click here to view larger image

As far as bags go, it's no secret that I like having a nice supply of totes. Bungalow 360's bags are usually a little too pattern-y for me, but this one caught my attention. I've always gone for simple, but this one is good for both sides of me. Reversible, one side is adorable with the bike-riding animals, and the other is simple with pink corduroy. One, please!

Then, of course, there's the new line of vegan Toms shoes coming out this fall. I'll be walking on some cruelty-free sunshine when they come out. I can't wait to get my hands on a pair! (photo courtesy of VegNews)

When I cook, I never use an apron. Ever. I think they're slightly useless and uncomfortable. But, being the curious researcher I am, I searched for aprons online and found this beauty. If I ever buy an apron, it will be this one. It's too cute, and every chef has to have an apron, right?

The FAMOUS CHLOE Vintage Inspired Damask with HOT PINK Full Apron

Prepare for Forks Over Knives

I don't know about y'all, but as soon as I heard about this new documentary, I got super excited. A documentary proving the health arguments behind veganism? Fuck, yeah! Have a look:

Get super fucking excited. Colin T. Campbell is a genius if there ever was one, the nutrition god of veganism, and a professor at Cornell. Scientific evidence behind veganism is being brought to the masses. If it gets any better than that, I might have to piss myself. A fan of The China Study myself, this is probably what all of the Harry Potter-obsessed children felt like when it was being brought to the big screen. Pre-ordering the DVD? Yes, please!

Veg Documentaries #1

Last night, I had an urge to watch a documentary. Ha, ha, what a dork, I know. But listen. I had always looked down upon documentaries as boring lectures that don't deserve to be sold in DVD-form. However, I've opened my eyes to the land of documentaries that support veganism. I'm talking Food Inc., Fast Food Nation, Super-Size Me, and Earthlings (which I've continually avoided due to the warnings I've received). Growing up, I was never allowed to eat fast food, and now that I'm older and know about nutrition, I'm damn well happy I wasn't. Super-Size Me nearly made me sick when I first saw it four or five years ago. Quick note: the girlfriend in Super-Size Me was a vegan chef. Holla! Anyways, last night I was perusing the vegan internet, and realized that there are so many documentaries I haven't seen. So, I drove to my local Blockbuster and picked up a copy of Food, Inc. Now, mind you, I've seen PETA videos, so I was expecting something slightly stomach-churning. As Ellen Degeneres once said on her show, it's like a Disney movie compared to Earthlings. Now, I haven't seen Earthlings yet, but it was exactly as Ellen said. It certainly got the point of big business and industry across, but I thought it should have had a bit more oomph to it. As a starter movie for an American family, though, I'd say it's a pretty good movie to get the gears moving in peoples' heads. For myself, the only thing it made me think about was the issue of genetically modified soybeans taking over the industry. It irked me that I could be supporting the snuffing out of business for smaller soybean farmers by buying my Vanilla Silk.

In one scene, they showed a slaughterhouse where they were slitting throats and dividing beef parts, and I found myself angrily blurting out, "What makes them think they can just cut up something that walks around?". Seriously. What gives humans the right? We're not created to kill things bigger than us. Poor cows are so freaking cute and even hold grudges..why the fuck is it okay to stuff them in a house, powerfeed them, and then send them down an assembly line to be chopped up? They're animals! Animals walk, have relationships, have babies, and it makes them happy. Just because they don't speak our language doesn't give anyone the right to chop them up and package them with a picture of a happy cartoon cow.

As was said in the novel A Separate Peace, "It seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but instead by something ignorant in the human heart." Humans are ignorant. Not only is meat and dairy shitty for you, it comes from an animal. If all pigs spoke English and had college degrees and we were the ones oinking, they might be eating us. America needs to see beyond its traditions, cravings, and laziness. Animals do have feelings, they do feel pain when they are killed, and a life in a slaughterhouse is like living in Auschwitz. Yes, like a concentration camp from the Holocaust. Either you're starved or force-fed, forced into labor, and killed on an assembly line. If it's morally wrong to do that to humans, why is it not morally wrong to do it to animals? Would you send your jumpy new puppy down an assembly line to be chopped and sorted? Did you just shit your pants and look over to your puppy chewing on your new Toms? Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The First Step Towards Gemini Foods

We may not be big at the moment, but let it be known that we are two bitches on a mission. A self-proclaimed health expert and a food junkie, I've led myself to veganism. I've always been someone who likes to talk for a hot long time about whatever's on my mind, so of course when friends and family asked me about my new lifestyle, I gave them every drop of information I could get out of my mouth. However, I am not the type to be preachy and make people feel guilty for eating a carcass or something that might give them some precious disease, so I have always explained myself in a way that was full of excitement and passion about my own personal journey to veganism and how it has helped me to grow as a person, become the healthiest I've ever been, and have so much energy I sometimes don't know what to do with myself. I've become more vibrant, and I feel a hell of a lot better. As soon as I became a vegan, I learned that I have a deep passion for cooking. I got my hands on every recipe book I could find, as well as every book on veganism and health that piqued my interest. I began cooking every day for my family. They became amazed by the dishes I prepared, and soon enough, my younger sister followed in my footsteps. She, too, became a vegan after we spent hours talking about it. And now, it has forged a bond between us that is so strong, it put our days of fighting endlessly and near hatred to an end. Together, we love food. We love our health, we love our bodies, we love the Earth, and we love animals. So here's to all of you vegans out there, finding your niche and staying afloat amongst the friends and family who give you weird looks at the dinner table. Eat your quinoa with pride. Stick your tofu to 'em. Vegans are the healthiest, most conscious people in the world. Strut your plant-based ass down the sidewalk and know that you are saving yourself, your planet, and more animals than we can count. 'Cause vegans are hot shit. Own it.