Monday, February 14, 2011


Who needs a Valentine when you have awesome parents like mine??

I had a pretty good day, although it was just like any other day. I got up and did some Carl Sandburg Stretches. I'm gonna try to make it a point to do those every morning. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to do them and I can do them the second I get out of bed. I went into work for a while, but I've had to cut back my hours recently, because I don't have enough money in my support account. (The ups and downs of life as a missionary). I'm hoping I'll still have enough money to pay all my bills this month. :/

After work, I was able to relax some before joining my mom at the gym for a fitness class. Parts of it were easy, but some of the other stuff, mainly the cardio, truly kicked my butt. I have a lot of work to do with my cardiovascular endurance. As far as my fitness level, that's the area where I'm weakest. But I'm gonna keep pushing myself so that I can improve that.

Then I stopped by Mom+Dad's house after the workout and my parents gave me my Valentine's Day present:

I've been wanting these books for a while now and I told Mom about them, so she ordered them for me. :) The Better World books are awesome because they grade certain companies about five different areas: environmental sustainability, human rights, community involvement, animal protection, social justice. It helps me decide where to eat, where to shop and what products to buy. Since my job is about bringing an end to human trafficking, it's important for me to be committed to buying from responsible companies.

For dinner tonight, I made Mama Pea's Lemon Chickpeas + Farro, but I substituted rice for the farro. It was pretty good. And I have leftovers that I plan on putting in a pita for lunch sometime this week. And I made some chipotle hummus for veggies this week. So, I think I'm set for lunches. Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with healthy lunches to take with me to work, but it helps when I have versatile leftovers or some fresh veggies to enjoy.

I promise I'll have some more interesting posts coming up soon! The social life vs. sleep post will appear this week sometime. It's gonna be really important, for me, so I'll need lots of feedback.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I ate awesome pizza.

Seriously, it was amazing. The fam and I went to Jockamo Pizza tonight after church (I visited my parents' church for a special sermon series). It was CRAZY busy and our order got lost a couple times. :/ But the waiting was all worth it because that pizza was SO good! I ordered a 10" cheeseless pizza with mushrooms and pineapple (my fave combo). Mmmmm... I took half of it home with me. Here's the beauty:

They just opened this place in Greenwood, so I'm looking forward to visiting again. Just maybe not on a Saturday night at 8pm...

We did our Whole Foods run this morning, along with some other stops at Trader Joe's, Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company and the Apple Store. (And Chipotle for lunch!) Mom bought a ton of produce so that we can make some juice this week, so as soon as we got back to her house, I got to work making Green Juice. We didn't have a green apple, so we substituted red. And I forgot to remind Mom to get ginger at the store, so we didn't have that in it.

It was pretty decent. I like the grapefruit blend we first tried a bit better, but I think I'd have to get used to vegetable juice. It tasted a bit like drinking a salad, which I didn't have a problem with. The kale had a really strong flavor and I used a whole lemon. And I think the ginger would have given it a different flavor. But overall, it was pretty yummy.
Whenever I thought of juicing before, I never really thought of the leftovers. But it's definitely something to consider, seeing as how it takes a bit of effort to clean them up...

Hahaha. That's all the pulp that's leftover when you're done juicing. Thankfully it's mostly dry, but it's still funny. It'll be nice when the snow melts and I can just go throw it out on the compost pile. (It's all the way in the back of my parents' yard and there was still about a foot of snow covering the yard when I juiced today.)

Tomorrow is my day to relax. And go get the groceries that I left in Mom's refrigerator...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just a little bit.

So, I started my day intending to take pictures of all the food I ate and give a run-down of my meals. But that only worked for two of them. I was so hungry at lunch that I dug right in and forgot to snap a pic! But I had Panera again. I decided to treat myself to Garden Veggie Soup (no pesto) in a bread bowl, since it was Friday and I've had such a stressful week.

But here's how I started my day:

I got up early before work to go to the gym--a first for me! I woke up at 7am, got my gym clothes on, and ate this rice cake+PB so that I could have some work-out fuel! I got to the gym at about 7:30, and I thought that would be a great time, since most of the early morning exercisers would be headed to work by then! WRONG! The parking lot wasn't crazy full, but when I got upstairs to the weight room, all of the ellipticals, treadmills, and bikes were full! There weren't many people there, but they all seemed to be on the same machines I wanted to use. So I went out next to the track and did some Carl Sandburg stretches. (Mentioned in The Engine 2 Diet) These felt great and killed a little bit of time, but when I was done, only one machine had freed up and that was the treadmill: my LEAST favorite.

I sucked it up and walked/ran on it anyway. I did a shorter time though, because my knees were killing me. But I still got my heart rate up into the target zone, so I made good progress, I'd say. Planning to do yoga in the morning before our Whole Foods trip. :)

I also had to hurry up a bit because I needed to get into the office by 9am. That didn't happen. After breakfast and getting ready, I came in at 9:30am. I'm lucky to have a job with flexible hours like that! Breakfast was a bowl of yummy Kashi cereal.

This Go Lean Crunch! is amazing. It has a great sweetness to it. I had mine with coconut milk. (I also recommend the Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble. Mmmm...) I generally prefer almond milk on my cereal, but I'm out. I need to pick up more from the store tomorrow. I plan to make smoothies this week!! (Like always...)

Mom and I had a juicing adventure tonight. :) She was able to borrow a juicer from a guy at work, so we're gonna buy some produce at the store and experiment with juices this week, to see if we want to invest in buying one. We went ahead and used some produce that she already had on hand. (She's always overflowing with yummy produce.) We tried a grapefruit/apple/carrot/celery blend. I really liked it, Mom thought it was pretty good (she thought we should have only used half the grapefruit) and Dad was disgusted. haha. He's not a huge fan of grapefruit and isn't actually allowed to have it because of one of his prescriptions. (One sip of the juice wouldn't harm anything, though.)

I'm really excited to see what other concoctions we'll come up with! We didn't take any pictures--we were too enthralled with the new toy!! (Plus Mom was too embarrassed by her kitchen--has she seen mine???) But we'll get some pics up this week. I also have a few more posts planned out. Hopefully I can get some grocery pics tomorrow and I'm contemplating a picture-less post about sleep vs. social life that I've been struggling with lately. I'll keep you "posted" on those!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working Out.

Just another short post tonight. I haven't had a lot of time the last couple days to write anything really extensive that includes pictures. I'll try to do better this weekend.

The last two days I have had AMAZING workouts. I decided that I wanted to go to the gym and work out at least five days a week. (My gym is only open six days a week). And I needed to start doing some serious cardio. Usually I just do strength/toning exercises or every once in a blue moon, I'll do yoga. But I've been realizing lately that cardio is so important and if I'm going to be in shape, I have to make it a priority. I can't get out of breath every time I climb a flight of stairs.

So, yesterday, I worked on the elliptical for 25 minutes. (I would have done thirty, but it took forever to figure out the buttons.) I like the elliptical better than the treadmill, because I've never really been a runner, but I like the gliding effect of the elliptical. I also have some knee issues, so it's much easier on my knees.

Then, today, I did all of my weight exercises, but I did two sets. I used to do two sets and then I was six for a few weeks around the holidays. Since I've been back working out, I've been slacking and only doing one set or even just part of a set. I realized that if I'm actually going to make an impact and get in shape and tone up the way that I want to, I need to push myself to do better. So what if I it's hard? I just gotta do it!! I do a combination of machines and free weights. Here's the break-down:
- Leg Extension Machine (Quadriceps--front of thigh)
- Seated Leg Curl Machine (Hamstrings--back of thigh)
- Leg Press Machine (Quads/Hams/Glutes--butt)
- Abdominal Machine (Abs--stomach)
- Hip Abduction/Adduction Machine (Don't know the exact names of the muscles, but it works your outer and inner thigh)
- Bicep Curls w/ Free Weights (Biceps--top part of upper arm)
- Hammer Curls w/ FW (Biceps)
- Side Bends w/ FW (Obliques--side of torso)
- Forward Bends w/ FW (Back muscles--basically, love handles)
- Dumbbell Row (Triceps--bottom part of upper arm)
- Shoulder Press (Deltoids/Trapezius--shoulders)

Not a perfect workout, but I'll work on those for awhile before I start some more difficult stuff. I know that I definitely need to add in more ab work, since that's one of my biggest problem areas, but I'll get there. One step at a time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soda is Addicting.

Someone posted this article on Facebook today and I must admit, it helped me think twice about drinking soda.

I've given up a lot of vices recently: meat, cheese, eggs, COFFEE. But one I haven't been able to totally let go of is soda. I definitely drink it much less and I never buy it in bulk and keep it in my fridge. It's usually just one when I'm at work or with a meal at Qdoba.

But I should really stop drinking soda. It is quite icky. Especially with all the HFCS used. And don't listen to those dumb corn commercials. Meaningless propaganda meant to brainwash Americans who refuse to do the proper research. High-fructose corn syrup really is bad for you. And it's even worse for the environment. The corn companies use GMOs and toxic chemicals and are basically giving you sweet-tasting chemicals instead of real live plant substances in your food. HFCS is sick (and totally makes me feel sick.)

Hope you have fun reading the article. Interesting, to be sure.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Lots of yummy vegan deliciousness today. I overslept this morning, so my first meal was lunch at Panera with the family. I had a Greek salad.

Mom had a cup of black bean soup and a Mediterranean veggie sandwich.

Dad had an Italian combo sandwich and Stephen had mac+cheese and Sierra turkey sandwich. I didn't get pics of theirs, 'cause they dug in pretty quickly.

Then, we decided to get together for the Super Bowl. Really, it's just an excuse to hang out and have lots of delicious food, otherwise known as pretty much every Sunday. I decided to make veggie chili for Mom and I. (I also brought over some white bean chipotle hummus, cranberry nut bread and chocolate chip cookies--all homemade!)

Vegan Chili
**All of these ingredient measurements are approximations. Adjust to your taste.
1-2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil (i.e., NOT olive oil)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cans of beans (I used two cans cannellini beans and one can of black beans.)
1/2-3/4 c. chopped peppers
1 small zucchini
24 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2-1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Chop onion, then peppers. (I used seven sweet mini peppers.)

Sautee until onions are translucent and peppers are tender. Then chop zucchini and add to pot.

I love all these colors.

Drain and rinse beans with cold water.

Add them to the pot and stir.

Next, add the spices and diced tomatoes.

These are local tomatoes that my mom gets from her biweekly Green BEAN delivery.

Finally, add the can of tomato sauce. [Mom didn't have any tomato sauce, so I had to use water to thin it out. Not terrible, but I could definitely taste the difference.]

My SUPER BOWL of vegan chili. I added vegan sour cream and several shakes of Frank's RedHot for some extra heat. [I love for my chili to burn my lips.]

Chili is one of my favorite foods, especially during really cold winter days. How spicy do you like *your* chili?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Perfect Smoothie

The last couple of smoothies I've made have been utterly fabulous. Super thick, super yummy and 100% vegan.

Emilee's Perfect Smoothie
1 frozen banana
2 c. frozen fruit of your choice (this one was strawberry/pineapple)
1/2 c. orange juice or frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. almond milk

Blend for a few minutes in the blender until smooth.

*Cut up bananas into four pieces and place on a baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze for a few hours, then transfer to a freezer bag. That way, you'll always have frozen bananas at the ready. (They really make a difference.) Just drop four pieces into the blender.
*Experiment with different flavors of fruit. You can use all one kind or two or three different kinds. Try strawberry/blueberry, pineapple/orange or a triple berry combination.
*Frozen orange juice concentrate works best, but if you don't have it on hand, regular orange juice will work as well. It will make it a little more liquid. If you want it just as thick, use only 1/2 c. of milk.
*I used to always use coconut milk in my smoothies, but almond milk just seems to taste better. Plus, it gives the smoothie a bit more protein.
*You may need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, depending on how hardcore your blender is. It gets pretty thick, so you may need to stir it a little bit too.
*This is enough for two servings or one really big serving, which is how I usually do it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soup+Salad, Mexican-Style

Sorry about no post yesterday. I had been stuck inside for over 48 straight hours and I absolutely had to get out of the house. Of course, when I finally did, things got a little stressful, like I rented a DVD and then it got stuck in my laptop. It's due back to the video store tonight, so hopefully I can get it out. Also, I realized it's probably time for me to get a new computer, as mine is five years old and starting to fall apart. (Of course, it still has lasted me twice as long as my PC did...) The only problem is, I have no money to buy a new computer. So, in case you weren't aware: I'm broke.

But I did have an awesome thing happen yesterday before all the stress: My brother bought me lunch at Qdoba!!

We love Mexican food in our family, and though we often prefer Chipotle for their fresher ingredients and commitment to social responsibility, the closest one is about 20 miles away, whereas this Qdoba is about a half mile from where my brother and I live. [We could probably walk there when the weather gets nice.]

I got the wonderful tortilla soup [one option that Chipotle doesn't have, so I usually take advantage when we come to Qdoba]. It is super spicy and I love getting it with the tortilla strips to give it some crunch. I omitted the sour cream and cheese, of course, but this has plenty of flavor and I wouldn't want to mask it with those anyway... [Even if I did eat dairy!]

I also had this amazing "naked" taco salad. [That means it doesn't have a taco shell bowl, which is fine since those are deep-fried anyway...] I just got the romaine lettuce [so glad they don't use iceberg], black beans, pico de gallo and salsa roja, which is wonderfully spicy.

It was a perfect lunch, especially since my awesome brother paid for it! :) Both of us were stuck inside all week, so it was good to get out and be around people again. And to not have to cook!! [That reminds me--My kitchen is a mess!]

I love Qdoba!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preserve It.

I pack my lunch at least three out of five days during the work week. There used to be a time when I would pretty much always pack my food in one of these:

Sure, it seems pretty "normal" but when you start reading all the stuff out there about BPA plastic and about how we rely so heavily on plastic that can't even be recycled, it starts to get you thinking. Then, when you look at huge corporations like Glad and Rubbermaid who make these containers and see that they aren't the best businesses to spend your money on, you might decide you need a change.
And that's what I did.

I started purchasing these:

Preserve containers!!

I love these things! Preserve makes products from recycled #5 plastics (which cannot currently be recycled at most recycling centers in Indiana), as well as Brita filters and makes really awesome containers like mine. [To learn more about how to recycle your #5 plastics, click here.] Every month or so, I pick up a new container and I want to eventually get to the point where I only use glass containers or Preserve.

I also totally love the green color, but they also have products in other colors. They make bowls, plates, colanders, cutting boards, cutlery, cups, razors and toothbrushes!

I use the toothbrush as well (green, of course!). [I would have included a picture of it, but I actually left it at work, so I'm using my temporary back-up now!] I get the type that comes in the mail-back package so that when you finish using the toothbrush, you just stick it back in the container it came in, seal it up and put it in the mailbox. Preserve will recycle it over and over again!

As a single, broke vegan I don't have a lot of money to go green in my entire household or buy a Smart car or anything like that. But doing small things like this gives me confidence that even a little change makes a big difference.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Living Alone

Today seems like the perfect day to discuss this topic, as most of Indiana (and the Midwest, for that matter) are shut inside their homes due to Icemageddon 2011.

I am single. I love being single. Sure, it has its depressing moments. Like when I need a date for a party or something and there is no one there to help me out. But I'm only 24. No rush, no fuss.

One of my favorite parts of being single: living alone. Now, I have lots of single friends. Some live alone, some don't. Of those that don't, they're split pretty evenly between living with their parents or living with a roommate. Living with parents (or a roommate, for that matter) is definitely a way to save on rent. But when I lived with my parents, I still paid them rent (albeit, very, very cheap rent) and there was only one bathroom. I also lived in my mom's craft room (this is post-college) and had less than half the room for all of my personal belongings. Not good.

A little over a year ago, I moved out to the apartment I'm living in now. And I love it. It's a very small apartment (I don't know the square footage, but it's not much), but all of the space is MINE! Yay!! I know that one day, I'll probably have to share my space with others, but for now, I'm enjoying making it my own.

I can leave my clothes on the floor:

I can fully take advantage of my OCD and organize my DVDs alphabetically and not have to yell at someone when they put it back wrong:

I can spend $25 on a funky, vintage couch from Goodwill and not have it match anything in my home and still love it. (In fact, nothing in my apartment matches anything else...)

I can go a couple days without doing dishes and no one will complain (except my mom if she comes over...)

I can dump my coats, sweaters, papers, etc on the futon in the living room once I get home and not have to worry about cleaning it up until I have guests.

Essentially, I get to be a major slob. But I also have my moments where I want everything to be clean, so living in a tiny apartment with no one else in my way means I get to clean the whole thing in about two hours. Score!

Some people would consider it a little scary to live alone, but it totally suits me. I love my neighborhood. (Now if only I lived within walking distance of a Whole Foods!)

And my favorite part of living alone?? I don't have to fight anyone for the bathroom first thing in the morning! Yay!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Endangered Species

I love this chocolate. Yum.

I've been eating Endangered Species chocolate for a few years now. Way before I was a vegan and even before I actually started eating somewhat healthy. I saw the chocolate bars with the cute animals and I was like, "Awww... how cute!" Now, it's much more to me than just a cute animal and yummy chocolate.

Each bar comes with info about an endangered animal and things we can do to help. 10% of the profits are donated "to help support species, habitat and humanity." The company is located in Indianapolis, my hometown, so I'm even supporting a local business! Yay!!

The Dark Chocolate with Cranberries & Almonds has always been my favorite "flavor." Fruit+nuts+chocolate = deliciousness. Plus, the wolf is so pretty. Way prettier than Jacob Black.

I decided to make a snack bar using my favorite ES flavors, but without spending $3 per bar (which is what an ES bar typically costs). I found a fruit/nut bar recipe and adapted it to my specific needs (well, wants...). The result?

Snacky goodness.

Here's the recipe:

Wolfy Bars
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1/2 c. agave nectar
1 c. coarsely chopped almonds
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. vegan chocolate chips
extra chocolate chips to sprinkle on top
**The original recipe (and the one I used) called for a teaspoon of salt. I would recommend omitting this, as it made my bars a little too salty. But if you're adventurous, toss it in.

Stir together the flaxseed and agave nectar in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the chopped almonds, shredded coconut, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Pour in the flaxseed/agave mixture and stir together until everything is evenly coated. Grease an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray and press mixture into pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 23-25 minutes, until edges are crispy. Cool for about 15 minutes before cutting them, as they may still be rather soft. Once they're cool, they should be rather crispy.

So, if you decide to make this recipe, think about the endangered wolves. And if you see one, give him a hug. Unless he's in Twilight...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thanks, Mama Pea!

I posted a couple days ago about some of my favorite books and blogs. I mentioned Mama Pea's blog. She has some amazing recipes and today, after a Whole Foods trek with *my* momma, I tried two of her yummy treats: Curry Kale Chips and Smoky Chipotle Zucchini Hummus.

Currently, the kale chips are still cooking, but I tried a couple after turning them at the hour mark. They are SO awesome!! Here's a pic of what I've got so far:

And the zucchini hummus is quite delish. This was my first time working with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but oh, they are quite yummy! I'm definitely gonna use this as a chip dip and maybe a salad dressing (after I share some with my momma, of course!).

It tastes and looks similar to roasted red pepper hummus, but it's made without beans and has a wonderful smoky flavor. SBV-approved!!

I didn't really eat breakfast this morning, because I was super tired when I got up this morning. I didn't sleep well and when I have a rough night, I am not at all hungry in the morning, so after I prepared these two dishes, I made myself a big lunch of sauteed veggies w/ black beans and rice. The veggies were: carrots, sweet mini peppers and broccoli slaw. I also added a touch of cumin and some black pepper. The whole thing was sauteed in coconut oil. That's the first time I've used it for cooking and it was really, really good! I saute them just enough so they're still crisp and colorful, but warm. Perfect lunch!

I only ate half, and I put the other half in the fridge for later. I'm looking forward to those kale chips for a snack in a couple hours!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Baking Night

I baked TWO vegan foods tonight!

Let me just go ahead and preface this entire post by saying that vegan baking has been a struggle for me. I love to bake. Baking is one of my passions. (Cooking is the other.) Since I started my vegan diet, I've had trouble making my vegan desserts and baked goods taste as good as they did before. A lot of it was because I would find recipes online. Recipes that people had made up. So, for Christmas, Mom bought me The Joy of Vegan Baking. And everything I've made from it has been quite yummy. :)

So tonight, I decided to make chocolate chip scones and corn muffins. The scones turned out pretty well. The texture is chewy and they have a good amount of sweetness. The recipe told me to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top, so I did, but I think that was a bit of a mistake. Next time, I'll leave it off. (Well, maybe a little bit of sugar...) Here are some pics of the scones:

I wrapped them in plastic so that I could share them with my mom and brother tomorrow as we go to Whole Foods (for my favorite hobby: grocery shopping!)

Let me tell you my story about corn muffins. Tonight was my third attempt at corn muffins. I tried to make corn muffins at Thanksgiving and I tried to make them another time. Both times, vegan, of course. I used rice milk those times, and I think that was my first mistake. Rice milk is a lot thinner than other nondairy milks and I'm pretty sure that was a major reason why they got messed up. I also used internet recipes, recipes that had not been tested over and over again to be published in a cookbook.

These corn muffins, however, were from my trusted cookbook and I used soymilk this time instead of rice milk. Major difference! I haven't tasted them yet, but the consistency is good and they look and smell great! Here are the pics:

I love baking and I'm so glad I have this book to help me figure out awesome ways to bake my favorite stuff. (Next step: cakes. I've never been good with cakes...)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Confessions of a Not-So-Perfect Vegan

Let me start off by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect vegan. I don't even know what being a "perfect vegan" would entail, but I certainly am not one. Vegans eat zero animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs. If an animal took part in it, we don't eat it.

Same with the wardrobe. No fur. No leather. No wool. No feathers.

Well, I hate to break it to you all, but I fail miserably at this all the time. Sometimes, I'll eat a piece of bread or a cookie that was made with milk or eggs. I eat it because someone I love made it or provided it for me. Most of my close family and friends know that I am vegan, so they know better than to offer me something non-vegan. But I don't like breaking people's hearts.

I also own two wool coats and a down pillow. The pillow is for my neck. Not an excuse, but maybe I'll switch up next time I go shop for a pillow. One of my wool coats was purchased several years ago when I was away at college. On sale at Marshalls for $25. What a steal. It's still in great condition and I love wearing it. The other coat was a hand-me-down from a woman at work. It's longer than my other coat, so it's great for dressing up and most importantly, it was free.

See, that's the thing about being a single, BROKE vegan. I don't have extra money to go spend on fancy dress coats at the store, even $25 ones. (As if I could find a deal like that again...) And I don't want to stress about being a "perfect vegan."

When I bring food into my home, it contains no animal products. When I feed my family and friends, most of the time, I'll feed them vegan food. (Except when my dad forces me to make him banana bread or cookies using eggs and butter. There's no compromises for that man...) When I go out to eat, I try to prepare ahead of time so that I can order a cruelty-free meal that is healthy for me.

For me, being a vegan is about doing what is best for me, my body and the world around me. I want to live a healthy life. I want to make the world a little bit greener and a little bit happier. I want animals to live lives free of torture. And that's me. I'm not really a post-modern girl, but I'm also not one to tell anyone else how to live. If I ever make you feel bad about not being vegan, I'm sorry. It's definitely not my intention.

But I always welcome questions. Well, curious questions. I do not welcome rude, scathing questions that belittle me and the path that I've chosen.

A little deep, yes, but I didn't have pics for today and it's been a long day. I just wanted to get all of this out here early on before I start blogging more regularly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My first post back won't have any recipes or talk about a specific meal I ate. Instead, I'll talk about this book I've been reading: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Most plant-eaters have heard of this, I'm sure. Foer isn't a vegan, at least as far as I can tell from the book. I'm sure he eats vegan food every once in a while, but he mainly advocates a vegetarian diet. I'm only on the second chapter so far, so I've still got quite a bit to read, but I'm really enjoying it. He has a way of bringing his anecdotes to life and stirring the same emotions in you that he was feeling when he wrote them.

I've been reading a lot of other vegan books/cookbooks lately. Here are a few of my favorites:

Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. A fabulous health-driven guide to the nutritional benefits of veganism. It has a lot of medical/scientific terms in it, and several case studies, but it's a good read for those who aren't convinced of the nutritional values of a plant-based diet.

Skinny Bitch
by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. The title + subtitle pretty much say it all. Unbelievably sassy, but oh so lovable, this book was my first read as a vegan and the one that convinced me to stick with it. It's not as discriminating as it sounds (read the disclaimer in the back), but it definitely gives a lot of good reasons and tips on going vegan. Probably my favorite one!

Vegan Lunch Box
by Jennifer McCann. She started the Vegan Lunch Box blog, and eventually wrote this cookbook. I believe it was originally designed for packing vegan lunches for kids to take to school, but it's been helpful to me as well. Working away from home three days out of the week, I like to be able to bring healthy, quick lunches that aren't high maintenance to prepare when I'm at work. (As a nanny, both hands aren't always free for me to slowly eat a hot meal. That's what dinner at home, by myself is for...) Such a great addition to my library.

I have other books that I've grown to love as well, including The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

I've also been trying to read some more blogs lately, although when I don't have time to read several, I read my faithful two: Sentiments by Denise and Peas and Thank You.

Sentiments by Denise is my mom's blog, so you could say that I'm obligated to read it, but I actually do enjoy reading her food posts and getting updates on her weight loss progress, in case she forgets to tell me amidst all the other hundreds of things we have to talk about. I'm really lucky to have such an awesome mom who shares my love of plant food. It's actually because of her influence that I started eating less meat and more plants and then made the transition to a vegan diet. Mom isn't a vegan; she's a vegetarian. But she's quite adventurous in her meals, so even though she'll make herself a veggie omelet or a salad topped with goat cheese, she's still willing to try lots of my vegan dishes. This helps when my recipes make several servings and I know I won't be able to eat them all.

Peas and Thank You is my favorite vegan blog. Mama Pea + Pea Daddy are raising vegetarian (mostly vegan) kids: Gigi + Lulu. Mama Pea always has amazing vegan recipes to share and more importantly, *hilarious* stories about herself, her kids or her husband (and sometimes the cat). Her wit just keeps me coming back for more. Sometimes, I wish she had a constant stream of blogging (Twitter!!) so that I could get updates on her hilarious life. She has a new cookbook coming out this year and I can't wait to read it!

Other blogs I like: little birdy dirty feet, The Daily Garnish, Kath Eats Real Food.

So, check out the books and the blogs, or completely ignore everything I wrote in this post. It's totally up to you. Even if you aren't vegan and have no interest in becoming vegan, adding more plants to your diet is always a good idea and these resources have great ideas for doing just that.