Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snacking

I've never been big on convenience junk foods, but I've realized that staying vegan and staying happy for me means having a little stockpile of vegan junk!

I'm not sure of it goes for everyone, but I find that the biggest challenges to my vegan lifestyle generally are related to cravings or emotional/impulse eating. Having plenty of options to choose from on-hand really makes a big difference.

Here are some of my favorite junky goodies.
Vegan Donuts! (Check out this neat recipe on Vegan Verve...although I usually just buy my vegan donuts!)



Eco-Planet Cookies & Crackers- There's nothing like a vegan cheddar cracker in the shape of a wind turbine!


Alternative Baking Company Cookies- I LOVE the espresso chip cookie. Love it!! This blogger says they are the best in the galaxy!!

What are your favorites?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Purple Sushi!

Note: the wedding was awesome! Pics to come :)

And on to the food!!

Last week I tried a couple of new recipes. The result was purple sushi and oodles of noodles!
We mixed up some wasabi, got out some pink ginger, poured the soy sauce, and let loose with the chopsticks!

We had a great Asian noodle salad. It started as a Sarah Kramer recipe but morphed, because I hate mushrooms. I replaced them with lots of broccoli and garlic. I used tofu noodles, which I really like, but the man finds toooo chewy! (Pup likes them and managed to jump up and snag one that was dangling over the side of the bowl!)





We also had some sushi. The fillings were avocado, green onion, cucumber, spinach, and asparagus. I used some wild looking purple sticky rice I bought at the health food store. It wasn't as sticky as I would have liked, probably due to being a blend, but it tasted great and looks neat. Someone with some patience and sushi skills could use this rice to create some real stunners for a party or some such!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Girl On The Run!

Between learning the ins and outs of being first-time home buyers, and planning a wedding in our backyard (countdown: tomorrow!), life has been extremely busy.

Eating a buncha junk and drinking too much caffeine catches up with me pretty fast and reminds me why I try and stick to a healthier diet!

Here's a fairly healthy breakfast meal I threw together this week and repeated several mornings!


Vegan English Muffin (are they all vegan? I dunno!)

Vegan cheese

tomatoes OR strawberry jam


magical tea drinks on sale for $1 (Honest Tea Pomegranate Red Tea With Goji Berry or Tazo Berry Blossom White)

It's a fun way to start a day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

City Smells: Collected Writing, Collected Writers


From Lulu.com:

"Cities are as much collections of smells as they are collections of bricks: smells define them. From one block to another you can be overwhelmed by any number of odours: the garbage outside a busy restaurant, flowers on display outside a florist or freshly ground coffee as you meander past an open door to a café. Some city smells make you sigh warmly and think of old friends; others, like those that seep out of dank alleyways, make you skip a step and screw up your nose. Those of us that live in cities cannot avoid the olfactory messages that the streets bombard us with. Nor should we. This book is an international collection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction dedicated to celebrating the redolent urban bouquet. So take a deep breath, and enjoy this assorted mélange of City Smells."

This book is a compilation of pieces from Edit Red writers, myself included. Although my pieces were written a few years ago, and what seems like lifetimes ago, I am very proud to be published in this collection!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yummiest Pasta Salad

We went on a little mini-vacation last weekend to our friends' wedding on the beach. Vacationing for vegans takes a little forethought, as small-town grocery stores and random convenience stores have little in the way of healthy food. I did find two tomatoes! Heehee! We packed lots of apples, veggie snacks, crackers, and tea (ok and some box wine, beer, and a hula hoop!). I still was craving something healthy and fresh when we got back. Thus...this awesome pasta salad!


Ingredients:
sauteed tempeh
vegetable spiral pasta
yellow bell pepper
tomatoes
broccoli
asparagus
chickpeas
pinto beans


Sauce:
garlic red wine vinegar
tahini
dark miso paste
little water





Yum yum yum!


Beach bums!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Candy Sushi Wedding Snacks!

Yay! My friend Jen is making candy sushi for our wedding! It's so great! She did a practice run and here's the finished product!



I can't give instructions on how to make them, cuz I wasn't there, but Jen says they were easy and fun to make. Cute cute!

Also reminds me of Kittee's excellent posts on Candy Sushi. Sweet!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marriage License!

Remember way back in December, that fateful engagement night!!!



Here's what we looked like today.
Marriage License Lunch Break!!!
Wedding in 9 days!!!
B says: Sun's in my eyes!!!

L says: My tongue's sticking out!!



Ah, finally got it!


Indian Excitement!

This weekend we had over a few friends for some relaxation and conversation. I love having people over. One of my favorite recipes to make and share is the Tofu Coconut Milk Curry (can't remember the exact name!) and Green Jasmine rice from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah. It is soooo easy and so good! That green rice is a winner every single time! We also had some delicious vegan pulau that my friend Melanie made. Jen brought a delicious Bundt cake (I am laughing because this reminds me of the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding about the Bundt!) and the meal was awesome, start to finish!!



The next day, I made the 3 Bean Dal from Vegan Planet to enjoy with the leftover curry and pulau. Yum yum yum!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rainy Weekend = Sunny Forecast!!

It was a rainy, stormy, cloudy, gray weekend! Luckily for me, that meant I could stay in and be a lazy bones. I took the opportunity to drink too much coffee, read (finished Mirror, Mirror by Gregory McGuire, started Off The Map from Crimethinc), hula hoop, and make some home cooked meals. Ahhh, that's the life!! We also got a start on cleaning/arranging for our at-home wedding. This week's plans include getting a marriage license and attending our friends' wedding at the beach on Saturday! A mini-getaway before our big day sounds awesome! (But we have to make sure we don't get sunburns on the beach- we don't want to be lobsters at our wedding!)

First lemme tell you about some food I made. We have been working on healthier eating at home. I have learned a little about paying attention to things like sodium and fiber. I don't want to give up favorites, so I am just adjusting them. Here we have some whole wheat biscuits from Hot Damn and Hell Yeah. Since it was the weekend and I felt cheerful, I made shapes!


We also had peas, mashed taters, and gravy from Hot Damn and Hell Yeah! I was careful about using whole wheat and less salt than usual. Comfort food with a healthy twist!

Now about the hula-hooping...it's awesome!!! I got a silver and purple hoop from Ebay. It's heavier and wider than a kids hoop. I love it!! So far, my big accomplishment is just the basic hooping. I can't wait to spend a little time on YouTube- there are great instructional videos. It's so much fun, and it is definitely exercise. I pick the hoop up every time I see it in the house and spin around for a little bit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ten Ways To Be A Kick-Ass Vegan

I stumbled on this while reading one day and thought it needed some re-post love.
It's from Veg Blog. Enjoy!


"You’re vegan. Awesome. But are you the most kick-ass vegan you could be? Are you pretty kick-ass, but looking for ways to increase your ass-kickitude? Try these ideas on for size.

1. Make a vegan gift basket. Do you have a friend that just went veg? Harken back to your first few weeks… I remember thinking, “Jeez… am I doomed to a life of soy hot dogs and lettuce?” Go to your local co-op and grab some Red Star nutritional yeast, agave nectar, soy jerky, and some other fun convenience foods. Then maybe toss in a cookbook or print out some recipes from the web. Arrange them artfully and there you go: a vegan starter kit to help get your friend on the road to veganism. (Kudos to my wife who recently did this for a friend of ours that recently went vegetarian. Great idea.)

2. E-mail local restaurants and bakeries and ask them about vegan options. I pretty much stole this one from Isa’s article from the last issue of Satya, but it’s a really good one. You may not get many responses, but if you can start getting vegan options (with the word “vegan” attached to it) into some local eateries, the vegan love and wisdom will spread like a ray of hippie sunshine.

3. Talk to other activists. In person, if possible. It can get difficult when you’re sitting at a desk all day to remember that there are other people out there who take veganism and animal rights as seriously as you do. So talk with them. I’m not officially a member of any organizations, primarily because most of the ones near me are in DC, which isn’t really all that near me. But when I volunteer at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, everyone talks about activism, animal issues, food (usually while cleaning the pig yard), and social issues. I always come away from a day of volunteering reinvigorated and bubbling with new ideas and inspiration.

When I was in Portland last month, I attended a really great gathering of activists from different causes to discuss burnout and infighting. I walked away from that not only more inspired than I’d ever been, but wishing that I could go to something like that every month. Keeping the dialogue active is essential to keeping ourselves excited and motivated.

4. Donate small. Do you donate to one of the large animal rights organizations? Have you thought about whether or not your money is being spent in a way you approve of? If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” then consider donating your money (or time!) to a smaller, local organization. Small non-profits can have trouble raising money when directly competing with larger organizations for your dollar. With a small, local organization like a rescue or sanctuary, you can find out specifically how your money is being spent and you can physically see how your money is directly helping the animals.

5. Join a CSA. When a friend told me about the concept of Community Supported Agriculture a few years ago, I was floored. It was exactly what I’d been looking for: locally grown organic vegetables picked in the morning and delivered to you by that evening for about the cost of vegetables at the local supermarket. It really is one of the best things you can do as a vegan (aside from growing your own): you’ll support local farmers (with all the ecological benefits that go with it), you’ll get fresher, more nutritious vegetables, and the taste will be beyond anything you can buy in the store. It’s a win for everyone. Search for a CSA near you.

6. Clean out your cleaning closet. Cleaning products tend to last for a long time (confession: I still have a functioning “stain stick” that I bought before my freshman year of college in 1994), so even if you’ve been vegan for a while, you probably still have a bunch of cleaners that were tested on animals or contain nasty, unnecessary chemicals. I’m sure you’ve already switched to greener cleaners and only have the old cleaners around because you don’t want to put them to waste or dump them in a river. Well, donate ‘em.

7. I found out today that a local thrift store that benefits the homeless needs dryer sheets. Why? The store cleans up clothes and gives them to homeless men and women going on job interviews and, thus, needs dryer sheets. What a perfect way to get rid of those old animal tallow-filled beasts I have sitting down by the dryer! Look up a local shelter and see whether they’d be able to use your leftover cleaning supplies and then never look back.

8. Make an animal care kit for your car. In each of our cars (yes, we have two… thank the suburbs for that), we have a basic animal care kit. Making Kind Choices has a section on creating one that you may want to look to for suggestions (also covered briefly here), but here’s what I’d start with:
an animal carrier that could hold a cat or small dog, a very simple leash that can easily be placed around an animal’s head, a card with the numbers of local animal control, rescue organizations, and shelters, pull-tab cans of cat and dog food, a towel, and print-outs of what to do when you find birds, possums, turtles, owls, and other animals.

9. Read. At any given time, I’m reading 3-4 books. One of them is always somehow related to animal rights. Go ahead: build a reading list and see what your local library has in stock (or just walk and browse the shelves - start at Dewey Decimal 179.3). Read something that you may not agree with. Challenge yourself. Read outside of your comfort zone.
Give a talk. Here’s one I’ve been meaning to work up the nerve to do for a while now. Ideally, I’d like to find a group of young or beginning vegetarians to talk to about veganism, like a high school or college animal rights group. Spread the knowledge!

10. Stay healthy, like Dead Prez said. One of the best ways to promote veganism is to be happy and healthy. Don’t turn into a vegan cheerleader necessarily, acting bubbly when you’re not feeling it, but eat well, be positive, and be a good role model for veganism. Three cheers for the non-cranky vegan! "

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bag it!

Part One: Just a note to address the lack of FOOD on this food blog lately! The wedding is in 16 days, and our ceiling in a major part of the house is being repaired at the moment. Not too much time for home cooking, but I'll do my best! Until things settle down, look forward to some informative stuff and fun giveaway links! :)

On to the fun! I was looking at a neat blog today called Groovy Green. I clicked over and looked at an important piece on the plastic bag issue. I am as guilty as anyone else for forgetting my bags sometimes, so I love a nice reminder.

Change the way you shop - for good. Watch this video and make the pledge to use fewer plastic bags. Together we can keep one billion plastic bags from polluting our streets this year.





Take the pledge!

My best advice on remembering reusable bags is:

*Keep some bags everywhere! In your home and in your vehicle/bike/work bag/etc. We have some hooks in the kitchen where I hang bags. I also keep a small folded-up one in my purse, and several in my car.

*Spend a little money to get bags you like! Those little .99 store bags springing up everywhere are ok, but they tear up pretty easily and aren't gorgeous. Spring for several bags that you love to look at! It makes shopping more fun, and it seems to make it easier to remember the bags when they are fun to use. My favorites are from Blue Q, which you can also find on Ebay pretty easily. I'd love to try the EnviroSax too.



Have a happy day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shopping Day!

Yay! My friend Jen and I went on a pre-wedding girl's shopping day. She is getting married the weekend before we are. We (over)indulged in Japanese food, chocolate, and sweet sweet sugary soda! Hehehe! Fun!

I found a bunch of great little treats and thought I'd share!

Pardon the lame pic (stolen from the Interbot!), but whoa! Look at this crazy tote! I got one on sale for $7. It's made by Parcel and is recycled fabric. Each little colored part is a zippered compartment. My inner 3rd grader is VERY happy about this!!! Apparently it spells "Peace" which I did not know until I was googling pictures. I prefer to think of it as an homage to Lucky Charms marshmallows :)

And the makeup!! As I told Jen, for a girl who barely wears makeup, I sure do love it! Hard Candy is a cruelty-free company with lots of vegan items, which I love. I found some great eyeshadow palettes for $2.99! Bargain!

They are called Sonic & Star...lots of foolproof combos in golden and purplish colors.
And finally, for good measure, some hippie-tastic organic Nature's Gate orange & patchouli lotion. I love this stuff! I especially love it at $3.99.
In conclusion...I heart those fancy discount stores who make my snobby taste in toiletries and accessories a reality!! (Also, thanks to Old Navy, who makes Popsicle colored underwear and cheap coffee thermoses with happy messages on them! Whooohooo!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spicy!!

Here is a little snap of Mr. & Mrs. (soon!) Pixiepine on a weekend road trip. Yep, I'm that person who is always like, "Smile!!" and snapping pictures at dumb times, such as in the car or coming out of a public restroom.



And here's the real stuff! Indian food!


I made Cousin Natasha’s Everything But the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Curry from La Dolce Vegan. It was awesome!
Here's the recipe.

Brown rice (or grain of your choice), enough for 2 people (I used a mix of red and white Alter-Eco rice that is still lingering in my health food store clearance stash!)

1 sm. onion, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 sm. sweet potato, cubed
1 lg. carrot, chopped
2 – 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c. vegetable stock (see note below)
1/2 sm. bell pepper, chopped
1/2 sm. zucchini OR summer squash, chopped
1-14 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cayenne OR chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. raisins
1 c. spinach, roughly chopped (optional)

In a medium pot, cook the rice accordingly. While the rice is cooking, in a large sauce pan (or soup pot) on medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent.

Add the sweet potato, carrot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.

Add the stock, bell pepper, zucchini/squash, chickpeas, turmeric, curry, cinnamon, cayenne/chili powder, and salt. Stir well. Reduce heat and cover with lid.

Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the raisins and spinach (if using), remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
My note: Eat with copious amounts of chutney!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hula Hoopie!!

I have a new goal! Well, really it's an old goal. I want to be a good hula hooper! I went to a music festival a few years ago and saw the most amazing hula hooping ladies rocking out while the bands played. I am unabashedly enamored of many things festival related, including cold & delicious beer, veg food booths, swirly cotton skirts, and magnificent stage shows. Bring on the hoops!

I am going to get a new hula hoop this weekend, as the one I have been playing with is cracked and full of rain water. I'm thinking purple! I had a pink and white one when I was little that smelled like peppermints when you swirled it around. I'm not sure those are around anymore...

Anyhoo, here's a few cool videos I found. Spin spin spin!!!





And then there are some serious hooping professionals!



Whee!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wedding Frivolity!



I am feeling part spoiled brat...but mostly excited about-to-get-married lady!!! Wedding presents have started coming in, and it's fun! I am also a big nerd who loves writing Thank You notes, so this is awesome for me
In a moment of girly glee, I registered for beeeyoootiful china at a locally-owned kitchen specialty store. We are garage-sale plate kind of people, but I decided it wouldn't hurt a bit to indulge in the thought of something more glamorous. I love what I picked out! I'm not sure what pieces we will end up with, but the beauty of this pattern is that it's all goes together, but the patterns are mismatched, exactly how I like things.
It's called Incanto, by the company Vietri. Here's a little background.

The Incanto dinnerware line from Vietri is glazed to a creamy white, and made of terra marrone, a clay traditionally used in Italian sculpture and church art. These pieces were created by an Italian designer who studied his family dinnerware heirlooms of many generations and the best art and architecture from Italy's rich cultural history. Each piece of Vietri Incanto has a different design, but they are all complementary, and all have that genteel unevenness that can only come from handmade dinnerware. Vietri employs artistic and uniquely Italian touches in this line, touches such as DeMedeci dots, baroque curves, lace, heraldic emblems, pomegranates, lemons, wildflowers, olive branches, and deep stripes. The Incanto line is more than just dinnerware -- it is dinnerware inspired by the best of the Old World.

I am excited about everything we picked out. We stuck with mostly daily necessities, albeit nicer versions of what we are using at the moment. I am really proud of making "green choices" for our home too, like registering for organic towels, renewable bamboo kitchen items, and home decor items made from recyclable materials. It will also be nice to bundle up some of our old stuff (the things that are still reusable...I don't think anyone wants our holey towels or melted spatulas!) and cart them to the Goodwill. Everybody wins!
Wedding in 22 days!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yummy Sweets!

Happy April Fool's Day!!!

Today Brad was having a bird feeder at lunch (our code for peanut butter sandwiches and originating from the Natalie Dee comic below). I decided I needed a bird feeder snack too.



I got out some Go Raw buckwheat granola. Then I defiled it with several globs of assorted Peanut Butter & Co. pb's. I made fancy little balls and froze them for a while. Oh gosh, were they yummy!!!! (Please ignore the giant Natural Calm and Alleve in the background...it's been a rough week!)
Snackies!!