Monday, November 30, 2009

Two vegan cheesecakes, one cup of sprite, and a partidge in a pear treeeeeee....

* To skip all this diet blah blah and see how I ultimately resolved the issue, skip to the end of this post :)

I have been following Eat To Live for about two weeks now. I have never actually experienced seeing such great and undeniable results from changing my eating and exercise habits. I have been gushing about it to people because I feel so good, but I have shyed away from calling it a "diet."

Gah! Today it felt like a diet, and I totally blew it up! I had a rather stressful couple of days, and really hit my breaking point, coping wise...not coping in the big picture, but coping as in avoiding unhealthy foods. I am also wearing thin on greens and salads, but I think this wouldn't be such a big deal if I weren't already craving comfort foods.

I know my transgressions ( sprite, a soy caramel latte, and vegan cheesecake) over the past few days are not a big deal in the grand scheme, but I feel dissapointed that I didn't deal with my feelings in a better day. Dr. Fuhrman, in Eat To Live, discusses planned breaks from the diet. I love that idea, because no eating plan that totally excludes wonderful treats is for me. I think the dissapointment comes in from the fact that my treats this week weren't planned or enjoyed, but really came from stress and a bad mood.

I want to respond to stank feelings with yoga or hula hooping or some making some glitter-filled mega crafts, not eating sugar!! I think that sometimes food, for me and others, is a control issue, like everything feels out of control, but I can pick what I put in my mouth. Thankfully in my case, that's emotional eating. For many people sadly, I think it turns into eating disorders. For everyone, it seems that there are way healthier  methods to managing this stuff. I do love that I can start all over again tomorrow (believe me, I am gonna enjoy every drop of this latte before it's time to get back on the wagon!).

I found a good piece of info on this topic:

"Tom Venuto, of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle fame, has an interesting post that revolves around coping mechanisms and the studies that show the difference between “maintainers” and “relapsers”…
Relapsers reported using food to make themselves feel better when they were upset. They also attributed weight gain to unexpected or unpredictable stressful life events.
Maintainers, by contrast, confronted their problems directly and looked for alternative ways to cope with them (other than eating)
These included relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise, focusing on productive work, seeking social support, getting professional help, or talking out their feelings with other people they trusted.
This by the way, confirms previous research in the area of addiction recovery which found that a person who has made a successful behavior change will return to a previous negative pattern if a stressful situation occurs and no coping skills have been developed to deal with it."


Here are some tips I gathered from around the Interpipe on avoiding diet relapses:

*Mix it up a bit. One common reason for relapse is your weight loss routine has become too, well, routine! Go shopping at a different store or a farmers market and bring home some different appealing yet healthy food. Take a new exercise class. Find a new walking route. Make it new and interesting again.

*Reward yourself. If you feel like your final goal is too far away to even think about, it will be easy to throw in the towel. Instead, set smaller goals and reward yourself when you reach them. Make the reward something good that you wouldn't normally do for yourself, as long as it is not food.

*The 6-Step Plan for Relapse Prevention

1. Step back and ask, “What happened?” Look objectively at what brought on the lapse.

2. Calm down. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself, “One slip-up does not make me a failure.”

3. Renew your vows. Remind yourself of how far you have come, and how disappointed you’ll be if this one slip-up undoes all your hard work.

4. Learn from it. Think about what pushed you to your lapse (your food diary notes can help). What can you do differently next time?

5. Implement your “back on track” strategy right away.

6. Call for backup. Ask for help from those people who are supportive and who want you to succeed.

Option B for sugar-snack induced self-pity and temporary life stressors:
Go listen to the awesome MEN Simultaneously LF Remix by Lauren Flax. Yes!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vegan Care Package Swap

I participated in the Vegan Care Package Swap over at Cooking For A Vegan Lover. Jodie at Picky Vegan was my partner, and she sent a fantastic box of goodies. Check it out!!

I am so excited because I haven't ever tried kale chips till now, and I love them. These have sesame seeds too. I also loved the Sugar Cookie herbal tea and incense. I am saving the sweets for a rainy day, especially the Sweet and Sara Rocky Road bar! There's soap and bath goodies, hand sanitizer, and Coco Mole' sunflower seeds too. It was a wonderful box full of vegan goodness! Thanks again, Jodie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eat To Live/Adventure Cleanse Tune-up

Hi all! That's how I feel up there! I'm winding up a week of healthiness! (To be followed by several more weeks). Somewhere along the way of looking into the ACT on Crazy Sexy Life, I started reading Eat To Live and morphed my plan. I found lots of great ETL recipes on Fat Free Vegan. I am still working on exercising 5-6 days a week, eating healthy, having fun, and sleeping well. It's brilliant! As I mentioned last post on this topic, that scale inching on down isn't hurting my motivation either. My skin, hair, and nails seem to be enjoying the abundance of fruits and veggies as well.
I've had one Starbux since last check (damn those deeelicious and evil holiday mochas!) but otherwise am solid in my resolve. I decided I can have one weekly cheat anyway, and thank goodness, because my Vegan Care Package swapper blessed me with raspberry chocolate and a Sweet and Sara Rocky Road Bar. Whoa! Yum! She also really helped me out..she sent a Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie herbal tea. It's all healthy, but sooo satisfies that sweet tooth. Yesterday I was caught gazing longingly at a creme filled eclair in the work vending machine, and I stood for a long while in front of the cabinet at home that housed the party-leftover Oreo bag. But...the tea did it! Thanks, Picky Vegan!

In other news, the healthier I feel, the spunkier I feel. Isn't this scarf so cute?! I found it on Shanalogic, and although it seems to be not sold anymore, that site is full of cuteness that I want, want, want.

Hope everyone is gearing up for a nice Thanksgiving. I get to see relatives, eat veganized favorites courtesy of mom, and break into my first Tofurkey! Tis the season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crazy Sexy Life Thanksgiving links

Here are a couple of great Thanksgiving-themed articles on the magical Crazy Sexy Life site. Enjoy!

Holiday Meal Survival Tips

Hey Thanks

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Delicious Recipes for Holiday Gatherings: Vegan Soul Kitchen

As is obvious from previous posts, I have a giant cookbook crush on Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. Please run fast to your nearest store or library and get this book!

I bought these Choplets and decided to give them a go with some yummy vegan soul sides. Verdict on the choplets: meh. They were really dense, but tasted pretty good. Brad didn't like them, citing the considerable rubbery-ness. I breaded and cooked them in a pan. They were so-so as is, but tasted great chopped up in a nice vegetable soup after the fact.

From Vegan Soul Kitchen I made these cumin-spiced mashed potatoes. Oh so good! These are spicy and hearty and deeeelicious!

Easy gravy from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah!

A nice looking, and tasting plate if I may say so. I added in some spicy smothered cabbage from VSK as well. Vegan Soul Kitchen is FULL of great dishes that would be really easy and impressive for the holidays. Make one for a family gathering or potluck and get ready for raves!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Easy Meal Roundup

First...Yay! I won the Tsp Spices giveaway at Cooking For A Vegan Lover. I am so excited! Thanks, Lindsay :)

Secondly...the ACT. Let's see here. I have done really well this week sticking to exercise. Monday I biked, Tuesday I bellydanced, and Wednesday, I Zumba'd!! Zumba is craziness! Lots of dancing and fun, and sweating! It was quite a workout. I'm 3 for 3 on exercise! I skipped the coffee yesterday and ate well. I am having a little detoxing going on (stinky, anyone?) but I am feeling really good. The scale is lower than it's been in almost two years. Just by a little, but every bit helps in getting fit!I am incorporating a lot of Eat To Live ideas in there with the ACT recommendations to sort of build something that is right for me. Every source I have been reading recommends the cutting out/down on sugar and refined foods, so I know that's a safe bet!

And on to the food...

Life gets busy this time of year...yes it does. Here are a few meals and snacks I have made with very little prep, using leftovers of stuff already in our kitchen.

A local favorite pizza place sells a Sweep The Kitchen pizza- this is my version. I usually just grab everything remotely like a pizza topping in the cabinets and fridge and go nuts! This one has spinach, onions, olive, peppers, pine nuts, nooch, tomatoes, leftover BBQ tofu...all manner of goodness! Easy and quick :)

This is one of my favorite recipes, made bowl-style in homage to the popularity of bowls this Vegan MoFo. It's sauteed kale, brown rice, and avocado, topped with a little lemon juice: yummy and healthy!

Here we have leftover veggies topped with an easy noochy gravy. This meal is tasty, and all about leftovers!

Finally, this humble and awkward looking little dish...I know it's ridiculous looking, but let me tell you....yum! I finally got off my booty and salvaged what was left of  my copious basil plants. I made an amazing sweet basil tapenade from an internet recipe, then smeared it on some sprouted grain bread with tomatoes and kalamata olives. This stuff was so good I was eating it for breakfast!

What are your favorite go-to meals when things get busy?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Adventure Cleanse Tune-Up Days 1&2

I am giving Crazy Sexy Life's Adventure Cleanse Tune-up a try! It's a 28 day self-guided program to sort of get out the gunk and start really feeling awesome all day, every day. Perfect!

Yesterday was Day 1. I started the Food & Lifestyle journal yesterday. I wasn't super excited about how my day looked on paper, so I jumped out of bed (it was nightime, but not too late) and took a brisk bike ride around the neighborhood. I drank a fresh green juice and did a little dry brush. I felt about 100 times better than I had all day!

Today was Day 2. I started the day with raw buckwheat cereal and fruit. I experimented with greener juice (bok choy, zucchini, apple, carrot, lemon, and ginger). I got my exercise in a 1 hour bellydance class- fun!

My downfall both days has been those *bleeping* holiday drinks at the Starbucks! I have got to break my sugary coffee habit!

I'll keep updating on the ACT progress. Have a great day!!

Holiday Foods: Best Vegan Cheesecake Ever!!

Generally I shy away from recipes that call for several packages of brand name stuff, but this recipe is an exception! It has delighted every mouth it's passed through, and none of those I've served have been vegan!  It doesn't have any funky tastes or aftertastes like some vegan cheesecakes can. This recipe is a 100% winner for fall and winter gatherings. Just don't eat all of the batter before you get it in the oven!

One thing I am considering for this year is making my own vegan cream cheese to use in place of the Tofutti that is called for. Here are a couple of recipes. This page looks promising.

Drumroll, please!.....Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake!

What are your favorite holiday desserts?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vegan Dish, Olive The Turkey, and Curry!

This is a happy little odds & ends post.

First, I am so excited to have won a Vegan MoFo giveaway like none other! Jeanette at Vegan Dish had a contest on her blog to win some of her handmade mugs and keychains with the Vegan MoFo logo on them. I have been eyeing Jeanette's gorgeous dishes with longing for some time now, so I guess the karma elves decided to reward me for all my good deeds with a mug! It's so great and makes me really happy at work. I'm scampering about very smugly drinking my soy-creamer doused coffee.

I am still lusting after her cupcake stands, which I think would also make awesome little placecard holders or stands for vegan dish signs at potlucks and such.

Second news is, my adoption paper came from Farm Sanctuary. As you may remember, I adopted Olive the turkey to help sponsor Farm Sanctuary this year. Olive's sign is hanging on our pantry door and has garnered quite a bit of attention from friends and family :) I've been perusing homemade tofurkey recipes, and am considering trying one out. Anyone have good experiences? It sounds sort of labor-intensive, but fun.

 Thirdly, just a little ole curry! NOT! This is the best curry ever. It's from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah/The Dirty South. The magic is in the make jasmine rice, then mix it with this obscenely good cocnut milk/cilantro blend. Yum! Try this one out ASAP.

Happy trails, everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dealing With Holiday Stress

A big part of the holiday season for many people is STRESS! I read this article from Dr. Ben Kim and really liked the advice within. I'm giving it a try! My office has a new sign that says B-R-E-A-T-H-E in it!

Have a looksie!

"If you regularly feel stressed and want to transcend an
anxiety-ridden existence, I encourage you to give the
following tip a try:

Every hour, or even more frequently if possible, close your
eyes and breath deeply for a full minute.

Do your best to focus on nothing but your breathing. Feel
your abdomen go in and out as air enters and leaves the
deepest corners of your lungs.

This simple exercise has a powerful effect on your autonomic
nervous system.

More specifically, it calms your sympathetic nervous system -
the entity that goes into overdrive when you're stressed -
and it increases output by your parasympathetic nervous
system, which promotes relaxation and emotional balance.

Don't neglect to keep your eyes closed as you focus on deep
breathing. Removing stimuli from the countless neurons that
make up your visual pathway is critical to restoring balance
within your autonomic nervous system.

This tip is simple and free, which means that most people
are likely to underestimate the effect that it can have on
their health over the short and long term.

If necessary, post highly visible reminders around your
work and/or living spaces that will help make this breathing and
relaxation exercise an unbreakable habit in your daily routine."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Bites | Recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Geez, these look good!!!

Pumpkin Pie Bites Recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Stew in a Pumpkin!

Continuing with Fall and Thanksgiving food ideas, I give you Compassion Over Killing's Pumpkin Stew!

Pumpkin Stew

Makes 8 to 10 servings
■1 10- to 12-pound pumpkin

■2 16-ounce cans kidney, black, or pinto beans

■1 bell pepper, cut into inch-thick slices

■1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

■4 medium potatoes, cubed

■3 carrots, peeled and cubed

■2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

■2 celery sticks, sliced

■1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

■2½ cups water or vegetable stock

■salt and pepper to taste

■vegetable oil (for coating)

Carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds. (Be sure to save the seeds for the next recipe!) Clean out the stringy insides. Scoop out 2 cups of pumpkin and cube. Then set the pumpkin aside.
In a large pot, simmer the cubed pumpkin chunks, beans, bell pepper, onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic, celery, tomatoes, and vegetable stock or water for 35 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and season to your taste.
Place the pumpkin in a shallow pan and place the stew inside the pumpkin. Brush the outside of the pumpkin with a very light coating of vegetable oil.
Bake the pumpkin and stew at 350°F for 2 hours, or until the pumpkin is tender. Serve out of the carved pumpkin while hot.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nava Atlas Thanksgiving Ideas

Hello all! Happy November! As I mentioned on the first, November at Pixiepine is all about a happy and healthy cruelty-free Thanksgiving.

Here is a terrific link to lots of vegan Thanksgiving recipes from Nava Atlas, as well as a vegan Thanksgiving E-book.

Here are a couple of recipes from the site.


6 servings

In Native American mythology, squash, corn, and beans are known as of the "three sisters." These are the very crops, along with garden vegetables, that the harvest festival of Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate!

1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 large butternut or carnival squash (about 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into short, narrow strips

14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid

2 cups cooked or canned pinto beans

2 cups corn kernels (from 2 large or 3 medium ears)

1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock, or water

1 or 2 small fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the pumpkin or squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and fibers. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm (if using squash, prepare the same way). When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, and cut into large dice. Set aside until needed.
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the pumpkin and all the remaining ingredients except the last 2 and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Serve in shallow bowls.

8 servings
If you'd like an alternative to pumpkin pie, or an additional dessert, here's a good one. It's especially tasty served warm over vanilla frozen yogurt or nondairy dessert.

4 medium bosc pears, cored and thinly sliced

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons safflower oil

Nondairy vanilla frozen dessert or organic vanilla frozen yogurt, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the fruits with the next 5ingredients and stir together until evenly coated. Pour into a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine the first 4 topping ingredients and toss to coat. Drizzle in the oil and stir until evenly coated. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the fruits are soft and the topping is golden. If desired, serve warm in bowls over frozen dessert.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My New Headgear!

This post isn't so Thanksgiving-y, but I am thankful for the subject!

I scored a gooooorgeous and wonderful new bike helmet from a seller on Ebay for about 1/3 of the usual price. I am so excited! This thing is cute and feels great with the little ear flap part to keep you cozy!

I am itching to sticker it up (yay Microcosm!) but the mister thinks I should leave it neat and clean for a while. Whatchoo think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Adopt A Turkey!!!

I did!

Meet Olive, Pixiepine cruelty-free Thanksgiving mascot!!! She lives in California at a Farm Sanctuary Shelter.

Olive says: "I'm a lover, not a platter! Save turkeys by celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving with me."
(I live at the California Shelter)

From Farm Sanctuary:
"Adopt-A-Turkey Project seeks to end the misery of commercially-raised turkeys by offering a compassionate alternative for Thanksgiving. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has rescued more than 1,000 turkeys, placed hundreds into loving homes through our annual Turkey Express adoption event, educated millions of people about their plight, and provided resources for a cruelty-free holiday. For a one-time $25 donation, anyone can sponsor turkeys residing at Farm Sanctuary. Sponsor a turkey and receive a special adoption certificate in your name – or give sponsorships as gifts for family and friends. Donations are also needed to support our lifesaving efforts to promote a compassionate Thanksgiving and protect all farm animals."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pixiepine Thanksgiving Month

November at Pixiepine Blog will focus on creating happy and healthy holiday experiences. Last year I posted a few humane Thanksgiving tips and recipes, and I'd like to devote the month to it this year :)

A great site to check out is Gentle Thanksgiving. There are tips, materials, banners, and so on.
What great ways do you make your Thanksgiving cruelty-free?

Welcome to November!

November Highlights in US Women's History

Nov 1, 1848 - First medical school for women, the New England Female Medical School, opens; in 1874 it merges with Boston University University to become one of the world's first coed medical schools.

Nov 8, 1910 - The state of Washington passes a constitutional amendment to permit woman suffrage.

Nov 8, 1984 - Dr. Anna L. Fisher, a physician, launches into space as the first American mother and third American woman to fly into space on the shuttle Discovery.

Nov 11, 1979 - Bethune Museum and Archives opens in Washington D.C. D.C. as a center for African-American women's history, honoring Mary McLeod Bethune.

Nov 11, 1993 - The Vietnam Women's Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. Conceived by former army combat nurse Diane Carlson Evans and sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, it honors the 265,000 women who voluntarily served during the Vietnam era.

Nov 13, 1938 - Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini is beatified. She is the first American woman citizen to become a saint.

Nov 14, 1889 - Journalist Elizabeth Cochran, aka Nellie Bly, sails around the world in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds, beating the fictional record set by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days.

Nov 14, 1903 - The U.S. Women's Trade Union League is established.

Nov 14, 1946 - Emily Greene Balch, co-founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nov 28, 1881 - The first organizational meeting is held for the predecessor group to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

November Birthdays

Nov 5, 1857 (1944) - Ida Tarbell, investigative reporter, wrote expose on Standard Oil that led to federal investigation and break-up of the company.

Nov 8, 1897 (1980) - Dorothy Day, social reformer, cofounded "The Catholic Worker" newspaper; active in the Catholic Worker movement.

Nov 11, 1744 (1818) - Abigail Adams, politically influential First Lady; early advocate for women's rights.

Nov 12, 1815 (1902) - Elizabeth Cady Stanton, feminist, suffragist, organized first U.S. women's rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, first president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Nov 15, 1887 (1986) - Georgia O'Keefe, innovative painter, known for her paintings of flowers.

Nov 18, 1857 (1950) - Rose Knox , one of America's foremost businesswomen, cofounder of Knox Gelatin Co. Following her husband's death, she revolutionized the company, initiating a five-day work week and two-week vacations.

Nov 18, 1945 - Wilma Mankiller, first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation, 1985 to 1995.

Nov 20, 1896 (1965) - Rose Pesotta, union organizer and first woman vice president of the International Ladies Garment Worker Union (ILGWU), 1934.

Nov 20, 1910 (1985) - Pauli Murray, civil rights lawyer, Episcopal priest, first black person to earn a doctorate at Yale Law School Law School Law School Law School, 1965.

Nov 22, 1943 - Billie Jean King, tennis champion, won 20 Wimbledon titles; first female athlete in any sport to earn $100,000 (1971).

Nov 24, 1921 (1992) - Yoshiko Uchida, author of more than 30 books dealing with the Japanese-American experience.

Nov 29, 1832 (1888) - Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.

Nov 30, 1924 (2005) - Shirley Chisholm, first African-American Congresswoman, (D-NY) 1969-1983, first woman and first African-American presidential Democratic nominee, receiving 151 delegate votes at the Democratic Convention in 1972.