March 31, 2010

Hummus Wrap

Made a yummy Hummus Wrap for lunch today ... I used the Red Pepper Hummus that I made yesterday, then sliced up some cucumbers, red peppers, black olives, added some onion sprouts and wrapped it all up with a sprouted grain tortilla. Seriously yum and seriously easy!

Hummus Wrap

If you are considering changing up your eating habits (maybe not going vegan but at least to eat healthier) I know it can seem like a huge task. But I really, really, reeeeally want to emphasize just how easy eating has been for me since going vegan! Yesterday I realized that when I wasn't vegan and our fridge was full of frozen meals & junk, I would always say, "We have nothing to eat! I'm hungry!", then stare at all the food and randomly pick something unhealthy & quick. Now it feels like we have tons & tons of food and tons & tons of options ... even though the amount of food in our fridge is really not that different. The big difference now is that our veggie bins are full, our pantry is stocked with whole grains & the dairy products have been switched out. And ... I cook it.

I know in this day and age it seems like time is running out ... it feels like we are so connected that we don't have any time to do anything else in our days but our work, our errands and the connecting. But really, if you have the time to sit here and read my blog ... or sit there and watch a Mad Men marathon ... maybe talk to your best friend on the phone for 30 mins ... or play Farmville on Facebook ... trust me ... ya got time to cook! Take it from me ... a former World's Laziest Person contender.

Don't think of it as a huge task ... break it down into easy changes ... one-step-at-a-time. When you're ready to take that leap it will all just come together and fall into place naturally. If you are toying with the idea start with dessert! That is what I did. The first few recipes I made were all desserts. Yummy, decadent, vegan desserts! There are no rules that say you have to start with veggies & rabbit food (as my dad use to call it) ... ease yourself into it and see how delicious this adventure can be!

Breakfast: Whole grain cereal w/ sliced bananas & rice milk
Snack: Pomelo & Blackberries
Lunch: Hummus Wrap
Dinner: Dolma w/ Tofu Cream & Quinoa
Snack: Strawberries & a granola bar (Sunny Hemp by Nature's Path)

March 30, 2010

My Favorite Fruits

I've never been very fond of "American" fruits. By this I just mean apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc etc ... I have no idea the origin of these fruits ... I only call them "American" because they seem pretty typical in an American diet. I eat these fruits (of course!) but they are not my favorites. I grew up in Taiwan for the first 6 years of my life so my palate is naturally drawn to tropical fruits. In order of preference, these are my favorites:

Pomelos (Chinese Grapefruit)
Rose Apple (Wax Fruit)
Asian Pears
Passion Fruit

So imagine my surprise when 2 weeks ago we hit the local Farmer's Market and there was a stand selling pomelos! I nearly lost my mind. I've only had pomelos in Taiwan ... didn't know they could grow in California. I am reeeeeeeeally excited about this find. I plan on getting up really early this Saturday just so I can get to the Farmer's Market before our day's plans begin ... and I am going to buy myself at least 7 pomelos. One for each day of the week! I highly recommend checking out your local Farmer's Market to see if you can find some new & interesting fruits to try. And the price can't be beat ... pomelos at Farmer's Market = $1/ea ... pomelos at specialty market = $1.49/per lb! The small ones weigh about 2 lbs each so it really makes a difference.

Pomelo (Chinese Grapefruit)

Brunch: Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin Oatmeal w/ a tspn of flax oil
Snack: Asian Pear
Dinner: Big Salad topped with Annie's Goddess Dressing
Dessert: Corn Muffin
Snack: Red Pepper Hummus w/ red pepper slices & Strawberry Kanten

Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal

Oatmeal ~ Instead of apple juice concentrate I peel, chop & purée a fresh apple. I also stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup when I add the raisins ... let it sit (covered) at least 10 mins ... really soaks up the maple flavor & the raisins get nice & soft. Yum!

About to whip up the Red Pepper Hummus.

Hummus ~ I use a fresh red pepper instead of store bought jar of roasted red peppers. I also use unsalted garbanzo beans & then add fine sea salt to taste ... I don't know if it makes a difference but it makes me feel more in control of the sodium level.

Enjoying a funny moment on yesterday's hike.

March 28, 2010


I really enjoy Sundays. I like the idea of Sundays. I even like the way the word "Sunday" looks. It's relaxing ... it's quiet ... it's just a nice, mellow, confident word ... SUNDAY.

I baked up these yummy morsels today. Cornbread Muffins. They are delicious! Yes, I realize cornbread is usually yellow ... but these are made with maple syrup and soy milk ... so the yellow-i-ness of the cornmeal is gone. I also may have baked them about 1-2 minutes too long ... but they still turned out pretty amazing! I had one earlier for a snack with some Earth Balance Butter (soy). Very, very satisfying. I plan on having one or two in the morning for breakfast.

Cornbread Muffins

Salad w/ tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives, onion sprouts, avocado, carrots & pumpkin seeds. Topped with Annie's Goddess Dressing.

I also figured out how to add links (yay!)... so I will link up any recipes I use that I've found online. If it's from a book I will type it out for you guys. I am too new to cooking to come up with anything creative on my own yet ... maybe one day. For now all the recipes come from ... somewhere out there. I will add recipes to the end of my postings.

Brunch: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (leftovers from yesterday)
Snack: Pomelo
Snack: Cornbread Muffin
Dinner(1): Salad
Dinner(2): Brown Rice w/ Tomato & Basil & a bit of Kale n' Corn Delight

Just for fun on this Spring-y Sunday:

Our backyard is in full bloom ... oranges, jasmine & honeysuckle.

Lavender & Bamboo

And our two loaves of Frenchie Love ...



The Cornbread Muffins recipe is from The Kind Diet.

Serves 12

1 cup sorghum or maple syrup
1 1/4 cups soy milk (or soy/rice blend)
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn fine sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 9x9 baking dish or 12-cup muffin tin. Combine syrup, soy milk, and oil in a medium bowl and mix well. In another bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, baking soda & salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They will be golden brown & crazy delicious.


March 27, 2010

In The Beginning ...

It all started innocently enough.

One day in 4th grade I woke up and inexplicably I was disgusted by eggs. I couldn't look at them. Smell them. Touch them ... and mostly ... I could not/would not eat them. This went on for a couple of weeks and then, just like that, it went away and I was back to eating those poor little chicken fetuses. It was probably close to Easter or something ... and unlike those cool parents that gave plastic eggs with money & candy inside ... my dad, er ... The Easter Bunny, gave me hard boiled eggs ... and I obviously could not ignore The Easter Bunny ... so I was back to eggs. In The Easter Bunny's defense, he also left me lots of my favorite ... Cadbury Cream Eggs ... yum. Healthy!

Sophomore year of high school ... one of my best friends stealthily brought over Faces of Death on VHS for us to watch. It was definitely terrifying and disturbing ... but you would think the death-by-electrocution would get me. No. Not too bad. The snippets of gory serial murderers ... or even watching a Satanic Ritual involving a corpse and feasting on a human spleen. Nope. All that was fine. Even interesting. But the scene that broke me down and stayed with me was the meat factory. The way the cows were strung up by their legs on chains, the way their throats were sliced open, the vast amounts of blood that spilled forth from their throats, the way the workers were sloshing around in ankle deep blood, ruining their fancy factory farm galoshes. That was the nastiest thing I had ever seen in the short 15 yrs of my life. That was it with the meat. Stuck to that for ... oh, a month? Then I thought ... Taco Bell is goooood and when that lunch bell rang ... back to the Border I went.

Fast forward 15 or so years ... my mom casually mentions in a conversation that she no longer eats meat. Not for any real ethical reasons, just that she had recently visited a friend, who was a burn victim, and she could not stomach meat anymore without thinking of the charred, burnt flesh. Our relationship was rocky through the years but always, always, no-matter-what ... I wanted to be like my mommy. We live almost 7000 miles apart ... so any little nugget I could grasp on to ... I would take. I immediately considered becoming a vegetarian. I bought all sorts of books on the subject and gathered little bits of vegetarian info to tell my boyfriend (now husband) and then one day I just stopped eating meat.

It started out as a good year ... I was able to stay thin without having to work at it ... but ... I wasn't really thinking about what I was eating. Just making sure that it did not include meat. I recall a lot of eggs, cheese, milk, cream, white pasta, white rice, potatoes & white sugar ... not really a "healthy" diet. I was getting really tired and grumpy and at my yearly physical my tests returned with the culprit. I was Anemic. Nothing severe, but enough that I would need to take daily supplements. Obviously I was not eating correctly ... just cutting out meat does not a healthy diet make. In the end ... my foray into vegetarianism lasted for one year, almost exactly to the start date. But because I was anemic I was craving iron (read: feed me beef!) and finally ... I caved. One day, after work, I made my husband (then boyfriend) take me to the nearest Gordon Biersch Brewery and I went on to order their ONE POUND ANGUS BURGER. ONE POUND!!! What was I thinking? I paid for that burger for 2 or 3 days after. I had to call into work because I was so disgustingly sick. Who eats a POUND of meat after eating NO MEAT for a year? A crazy person, that's who!

Needless to say, the 1 LB burger threw me over the edge and I slid right back into the meat-eating world. My mind wandered into the veg world again and again ... I would read things here and there ... think about wanting to go veg again. But not really having the willpower. But over the last few years more and more vegan & vegetarian restaurants have started popping up around town ... and it's become more mainstream to be veg. Even though it was only 5 years ago ... I still got a lot of weird looks, objections and opinions about it. Now it seems to be not. such. a. big. deal. Also, during these last 5 years I became a mommy to the two cuuuuutest (and I mean that literally, THE CUTEST) French Bulldogs. I am madly in love with them ... they are to. die. for. cute. and I just look at them and think they are amazing. They filled my heart with a love that I'd never really felt before ... they are my babies ... I want to protect them and keep them happy! I like to see them running around in our yard or at the dog park ... running at the beach ... just being the happy animals they are. And this in turn opened my eyes to all sorts of cute & cuddly creatures that roam this earth ... particularly the ones we eat. The cows with their big, googly eyes, the pigs with their big bellies and curly tails, the little lambs with all their sweet bleats ... and the chickens, bothering no one with anything except wanting to peck the ground, flap their wings and maybe wake us up at 5AM.

I began thinking about this ... about the cute cuddly animals ... the ones I would ooooh & aaaaaahhh over ... only to turn around and be like FEEEEEED ME YOUR FLESH! I totally didn't get it. Didn't make me feel good inside. I have these 2 adorable frenchies looking up at me and I'm thinking I would never, ever, ever eat you ... so why would I eat the googly-eyed cow, fat bellied pig, sweet lil lamb and feathery little chicken who's just minding his own business? Really ... what was my reason? They didn't make me feel better for one thing ... if anything they usually made me feel pretty bad. Lethargic, bloated, depressed, heavy ... fat. Throw in the dairy and I just felt like a walking sludge monster and not to mention how hypocritical I felt.

I read up on the meat industry, watched those dreaded videos and researched the health benefits of a plant based diet. I knew I wanted to go back to not eating meat ... and I knew that I wanted to kick it up a notch and cut out dairy as well. With a cancer scare under my belt, I knew it was time to make a healthy lifestyle change. Of course that is easier said than done and it's taken me about a year to reach this vegan point. During all those contemplative months I hungrily, greedily and happily shoveled as much beef, pork, chicken & dairy into my body as I could. Finally, after returning from my most recent travels ... and packing on almost 10 lbs of lazy, meaty weight ... I was ready. I caught an episode of Oprah with Alicia Silverstone talking about her new book, The Kind Diet ... I took it as a sign. I went out the very next day and bought it. I spent about a week reading it each night, really going through the information and reading over the recipes. Everything sounded delicious and more importantly ... looked easy to prepare (I could barely boil water). On January 29, 2010 I stopped eating meat again ... and I don't plan on ever looking back.

It took me about 6 additional weeks to cut out dairy ... every time I tried I would slip up on ice cream or butter ... or my most dreaded addiction ... a yummy, dairy filled cup of heaven called a Caramel Ice Blended. Dairy is in everything! I was feeling lazy about it ... I did not want to read the labels on everything or ask the obnoxious, "Is there dairy in that?" question at restaurants ... but I was already feeling so good without the meat and I just needed to take one extra leap to meet my goal ... March 2, 2010 ~ I became a vegan. Vegan For Life.

I can't begin to summarize what has happened to me in the last 3 weeks and 5 days ... but that my friends is why I have started this blog. But just for starters ... I have discovered a passion for cooking, my acne has cleared up (what 34 year old do you know that has acne? lucky me!) ... my 24/7/365 crazy-bitch/hormonal PMS depression is gone (GONE!) ... I've dropped 6.4 lbs (of those nasty 10) without counting one single calorie or going hungry (and working out a grand total of 3x since going vegan) and best of all ... I just feel plain amazing. AMAZING I tell you! Or as my friend Jod would say ... AMAZING CAKES!

I'm not sure what direction this blog will take. The idea started out just to be a food blog (because I keep inundating my Facebook profile with food pics) ... but I don't think I could just post pictures of food without adding-super-long-run-on-sentence-comments-expounding-on-exactly-why-I-took-the-picture-and-how-I-felt-eating-said-dish-and-why-you-should-stop-eating-meat-too. So it's probably better if I just go with the flow. One part food pics, one part vegan lifestyle, one part My Life in general and one part me, me, me! Let's be honest ... who starts a blog that doesn't like to talk about themselves? Hey, at least I admit it. I do however, promise to (try and) keep my posts short & sweet ... but I do have a tendency to take 3 sentences to say what I could probably say in 1 ... so be forewarned. I'll try and post pics with each entry and a menu of what I ate that day, so that those of you flirting with the idea of going veg can see just how yummy a lifestyle this can be (and really how easy it is). I'll end this, my 1st blog posting, by climbing up my little, vegan mountaintop and shouting a big .... WELCOME!!!

Brunch: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes w/ Strawberries
Snack: Pomelo
Dinner: Spicy Black Bean Wrap (2)
Dessert: Rice Dream Mint Pie

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberries

Spicy Black Bean Wrap