Friday, February 26, 2010

Busy Bee!

Last night I was the most productive I think I have ever been in my entire life! I left work and went straight to Whole Foods for groceries. I was in dire need of produce and anything other than pasta or couscous. When I got home, I saw that the new bag I ordered from Matt & Nat was here! Yay! Isn't she a beauty? I personally think this is the perfect birthday present.

Then I made two different recipes. The first was the Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies from Veganomicon (on page 234). They were super easy and pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. I am betting that some amazing Turtle Mountain So Delicious Purely Decadent dairy free or coconut milk ice cream, which has been my favorite dessert by itself since I had my gall bladder out, in between two of these bad boys would be the ultimate dessert.

The second recipe was a veggie burger recipe (with not a lot of emphasis on the burger aspect--they are much more like patties of yummy-ness). There is a cafe near my Mom's house in New Jersey that makes these sweet potato black bean burgers and I was on a hunt to find a way to replicate them. Then I stumbled upon this recipe from Cupcake Punk:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger

2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, grated finely
2 cups black beans, cooked
2 baked sweet potatoes, scooped out of skin
2 cups red quinoa, cooked
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon adobo sauce

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and lower heat. Cook until lightly browned, several minutes. Add carrots and beans and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Mash slightly in pan, until beans are half crushed.

Place skillet mixture in large bowl with remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. If mixture is too moist, add more breadcrumbs. Form into 15-20 patties. Cook what you need on a George Forman Grill, in a skillet with a little oil, or in the oven at 350 degrees. Wrap the rest in saran wrap and freeze until needed!

So with a whole lot of mess and a whole lot of dirty pans, I now have dinner for the next 20 nights or so! I haven't tried them yet but the whole house smelled delicious when I was making them. I didn't take a picture for you all because they aren't the prettiest things out there but just look at that ingredient list! They are bound to be good!

After that I cleaned my whole apartment in anticipation of Jesse's arrival today and did some reading for my last grad class. If only I could be this productive every night.....

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Revelry Review: Bluebird by Ariel Gore

I stayed up late last night finishing the book Bluebird: Women and the Psychology of Happiness by Ariel Gore.

I have a small obsession with the field of positive psychology (hence my gratitude lists!) and I am always on the lookout for new things to read and learn about it. I saw this book in a magazine and couldn't resist.

The book begins with a quote by Diane Di Prima: "Be strong. We have the right to make the universe we dream. No need to fear "science" groveling apology for things as they are, ALL POWER TO JOY, which will remake the world." LOVE it.

The book combines a little bit of a literature survey on positive psychology and happiness theories, a little bit about Gore's life, some feminism, parts of journal writing exercises that Gore had participants in a workshop do and an examination of the key questions that get at our very cores.

I admit I really didn't think about the fact that most of the people who work on positive psychology are male: Martin Seligman, Tal Ben Shahar, Daniel Gilbert, Robert Emmons and even my beloved Viktor Frankl. I liked that this book gave life to a voice that has long been missing. I also think the distinction between men's and women's lives and happiness is an important one. I really liked the description of "flow" being happiness. "Flow" is those moments when you are lost in what you are doing, completely unaware of time. Those are moments that bring us happiness. I know that this is true in my own life.

Some of the book was more for the slightly older than me, more settled and possibly with kids and/or married set, so I had a hard time relating to those portions of it, but there were also passages that took my breath away.

Here is one I really liked:

""I am interested in the fortunes of the individual as defined not in terms of happiness but in terms of liberty, "[Simone] de Beauvoir concluded.

Fair enough, but I propose that we can now interest ourselves in the fortunes of the individual when it comes to both our happiness and our liberty.

We can insist on liberty because we know it's the foundation for long-term happiness. We know that our immediate experience might be easier if we bit our tongues and did what was expected of us--if we allowed ourselves to be condemned to stagnation--but we reject the notion that happiness consists in being at rest. Stagnant happiness isn't the happiness we're looking for.

We are here to evolve."

~Ariel Gore, Bluebird: Women and The New Psychology of Happiness, page 23

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude.

Things making me smile right now:

-This article on Ginnifer Goodwin's Aha! Moment regarding veganism. I love the Albus Dumbledore quote at the end: "It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we are far more than our abilities."

-The Republic of Tea's Red Tea African Rooibos Good Hope Vanilla

-Jesse is visiting this weekend!!!

-Going to Baltimore to see "In The Heights" on Saturday!

-The beautiful red and pink canvas of a lotus flower that my sister sent me for my birthday

-Tonight I am giving my VERY LAST PRESENTATION of grad school! Only 7 session of my one class and a final paper until freedom!

{Photo credit: ZEDZAP-Nick}

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Solo Sojourn!

This weekend I decided to have a solo adventure. At the recommendation of several friends, I decided to metro from Virginia across the city and into Maryland for a visit to Pangea (otherwise known as The Vegan Store). There were some things I've been wanting to try that are not readily available at my local grocery stores and, frankly, I didn't feel like spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon stuck in my apartment doing reading for grad school. I got enough of that during Snowmageddon 2...and 3.

The woman working there was super nice and we bonded over being the children of hunters who now don't eat meat. There was also a really cute little girl in the store with a ton of food allergies who also didn't eat meat. While her mom was stocking up on things the girl could eat, the girl herself was busy buying all kinds of bumper stickers and buttons for her purse that said things like "I am not a nugget!" with a picture of a chicken. The store was much smaller than I anticipated but it is connected to the warehouse for the website, so the store employees are willing to go get whatever isn't out in the store for you.

Here is a peek at my loot:

The holy grail of vegan cheese: Daiya! I can't wait to try it. I got both the Italian and the cheddar. I think I need to give it a go this weekend when Jesse visits (he too is thinking of doing the Vegan Kickstart).

Sheese in strong cheddar flavor. The store employee said this is good for eating on crackers.

Nutritional yeast! I've been wanting this for awhile as it's a good source of B vitamins and can be used in place of parmesan and other cheeses in certain recipes. I also hear it is good on popcorn.

I *had* to get some Crazy Rumors vegan and cruelty free lip balms. I've heard Colleen talk about these on the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast. They have flavors based on coffee (the Perk line), teas (the Brew line) and Candycane (flavored peppermint). I got the Spiced Chai and the Peppermint Lemongrass. They are awesome!

A vegan co-worker of mine has been an endless source of information and support. Her nonjudgmental nature has been such a help as I have tried to navigate this food journey of mine. To thank her, I got her these Liz Lovely's "Lovely Oh's", which are essentially Oreos dipped in dark chocolate. She mentioned that she loved them and had a hard time getting out to Pangea.

After the trip to Pangea, I needed to run an errand in the Columbia Heights area. For lunch, I had a vegan empanada at Julia's Empanadas (it had potatoes and lentils...yum!) and I brought home this little treat: a raspberry creme cupcake from Sticky Fingers Bakery. It was DELICIOUS! If you are in the area, you have to try one.

I definitely need to go on more solo sojourns. It was just what the doctor ordered!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Veggie inspiration.

I wanted to make sure that you all read Carolyn's post, Eating Animals Part I, on her blog, Hang on Little Tomato. I'm so inspired by her honesty and her curiosity. I am also in awe of the supportive comments that everyone left (including some of you that read this blog too!)

As I continue to learn more about veganism and animals, dairy, honey and leather, I am hoping that I can learn more from all of you as well. The more I read and the more I learn, the more I can't stop thinking about all of this new information. It's daunting and exciting at the same time!

You can see my review of the book Eating Animals here. Please read this book!

To learn more about the 21-day vegan kickstart program, go here.

{Photo credit: royalty-free image collection}

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have an unnatural obsession with cookbooks. I continue to collect them even though I still have a few that I haven't even tried once! I've used them to read through or learn cooking techniques from. I have also used them to learn about new foods or special ingredients. I dream of turning this blog into a 101 Cookbooks where I can try out various recipes and show you my creations. One day it will happen!

Here is a list of my collection. Let me know if there are others I should check out! I've been thinking I need a Mexican and an Italian cookbook, as well as maybe another baking cookbook in there somewhere but for right now I am on a cookbook buying ban until I work my way through some of these. The two exceptions to the ban this year are Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan! when it comes out in late April and Colleen Patrick Goudreau's Color Me Vegan when it hits shelves in late 2010. But that's it. I swear.

-The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley
-Modern Spice by Monica Bhide
-How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
-Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton
-Cooking Light Holiday Baking
-Uncle Don's Adventure Down East Cooking by Donald Drew
-The Mushroom Lover's Mushroom Cookbook and Primer by Amy Farges and Christopher Styler
-Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman
-Foods to Live By by Myra Goodman, Lynda Holland and Pamela McKinstry
-Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
-World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey
-The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac
-The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein
-The Tropical Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein
-The Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein
-Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld
-The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld
-Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine by John La Puma
-Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
-Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen by Deborah Madison
-Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison
-Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World by Gil Marks
-A Beautiful Bowl of Soup by Paulette Mitchell and William Meppem
-Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
-Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
-Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
-Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
-Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
-The New York Times Passover Cookbook
-The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
-The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
-Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson
-Fresh from the Vegetarian Slowcooker by Robin Robertson
-Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia
-The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
-Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
-Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry
-Love Soup by Anna Thomas
-Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm
-The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

{Photo credit: LollyKnit}

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

To my Jesse: Happy Valentine's Day! I choose you today and every day. Thank you for being you. We worked so hard to get to this place and I can't wait to see where the future takes us. I love you very much.

{Photo credit: Earmark's etsy shop}

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Love Weekend!

It's the weekend! What are your plans for this love-filled weekend? Jesse and I will be celebrating together the following weekend, so I plan on going out to dinner with some friends, doing a lot of yoga, some journaling, maybe an artist date and perhaps indulging in a little chocolate. Here are some other fun love-filled ideas and links:

Analiese from Tulips and Tea has Five (Mostly Free) Ways to Say I Love You

Single and looking for animal-cruelty-free love? VegNews has vegetarian pick-up lines (cheesy but cute!)

Reignite your passion for your yoga practice with the help of Yoga Journal

Make your honey a love-filled lunch with this heart-shaped sandwich cutter from Williams Sonoma

Get a mani/pedi in OPI's Romeo and Joilet or An Affair in Red Square

Check out Oprah's suggestions for Six Perfect Wine and Chocolate Pairings

And lastly, while it's getting pretty abysmal reviews, you can always go see the movie Valentine's Day

{Photo credit: Glorious Treats}

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Making the time.

"If we don't have time to be sick, then we have to make time to be healthy."~Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Hearing this really struck me. Until the snow came, I was running around like crazy. I was doing things for work or school and putting myself on the back burner. When it comes to "Should I write this paper that is due tomorrow or should I go to yoga?", well, the papers were winning. I know I can make the time if I manage my time better and organize myself, so I am writing this here so I actually do it! Here are the things I must commit to and make time for so that my health (and mind) doesn't start to fall apart:

-Yoga: I have found that I need at least two yoga classes a week to stay sane. A daily smaller at-home practice helps.

-Exercise: At least three times a week, preferably more, keeps my mind clear.

-Cooking for myself with fresh ingredients. I notice a huge difference in my mood and energy levels when I eat at restaurants or eat a lot of packaged food.

-Vitamins/supplements: Again, I notice a big difference when I take them.

-Tea. It soothes and calms me. Also keeps me from eating too much junk!

-Journaling: Helps me notice patterns, wants, etc. Stream of consciousness type writing is best for me, I find, but I also need to make time for more structured writing.

-Sleep! I have to have 7-8 hours or none of the above (plus work and class) would ever happen!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy me!

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."~Abraham Lincoln

Today is my birthday!

While I am not doing anything special (indeed, due to the snow I've been trapped in my apartment for a long while now) and I am starting to feel the pressure of "being a grown-up" who needs to do grown-up things like buy a house, get married, have kids, etc., I *am* excited to now be an even number again! In my life, the even-numbered years always seem to be much better than the odd-number years.

This year will include graduation from grad school and perhaps a fun trip or two. I also hope it brings me to the same physical location as Jesse and shows me what I am meant to do next in life. Here's to a wonderful next 365 days!

{Photo credit: PinkSherbertPhotography}

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Revelry Review: Earthlings

Last week one of my co-workers let me borrow the film "Earthlings". I knew it was about the treatment of animals but that was about it. It wasn't until afterward that my co-worker said, "What do you call someone who has seen Earthlings?" When I said I didn't know, she replied, "A vegan."

So true.

I've seen plenty of footage of how farm animals are treated and killed. I've seen and read about the treatment of circus animals. However, I've never seen anything quite like this. I had to watch it in 20 minute increments because it was that difficult to get through. I cried several times. And after viewing it, I made a decision. No more fish, regardless of my B-12 problems. It's full-fledged vegetarianism for me now.

The tagline of this movie is "Make the connection", which refers to the connection that we and all animals are all earthlings. However, I started to think about the connection between dairy farms and the animal industry in general, between leather and animals killed for meat, etc. It was disturbing to say the least. Thinking of my new Marc Jacobs bag as just pretty and not a former cow is much easier to digest.

I'm not sure where I am headed on this eating preferences journey of mine but it may very well be to full veganism, complete with no leather and honey and dairy. Recently I've been doing a lot of reading on the subject. It will be easier to explore when grad school is over and I am home more often to cook. As Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says in many of her Vegetarian Food for Thought podcasts, even if you can't do it all right now, you do what you can. Only time will tell.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What's Your Theme Song?

One of my loyal readers (okay, boyfriend) asked me what my theme song is! I thought this was a neat idea. I think it would be whatever you get when you combine the following songs:

-Alana Davis' cover of "32 Flavors"
-Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
-Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Almost Home"

Admittedly there are some days or weeks when they change but I think these three pretty much sum me up in roughly 12 minutes of music.

For the record, my boyfriend said his theme songs are Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself". I like to think of our relationship as a combination of the Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling", Sade's "By Your Side" and Ben Folds' "The Luckiest".

What is your theme song (or songs)?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2/Snowmageddon/Flurricane/snOMG!

Here in the D.C. area we got SO much snow!

We were sent home from work early on Friday. Luckily I braved the grocery store the night before (and waited in line for an hour at Whole Foods!) I've been mostly catching up on reading and working on a paper for graduate school. I did some yoga, cooked a bit and cleaned out my closet. I've also watched the following movies:

-La Teta Asustada/The Milk of Sorrow
-He's Just Not That Into You
-Crazy Sexy Cancer
-Iluminados por el fuego/Blessed by Fire

Now I am just bored! Everything that needed to get done has been done. I'm already getting cabin fever! Ideas for something fun to do while snowed in?

{Photo credit: pinksherbertphotography}

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yoga clothes in the workplace?

Would you wear your yoga clothes to work?

This article in the Chicago Tribune, "Workout Wear Goes to Work", highlights new workout clothes, particularly yoga wear, that women are wearing to the office.

I have to be honest. When I go to yoga I leave far too sweaty to go anywhere other than maybe a quick trip to the grocery store. I definitely will wear yoga inspired clothes to the office, such as my TranquiliT skirt dress with a cardigan or a cardishawl. However, I tend to wear black pants with a t-shirt or tank to yoga or the gym. Definitely NOT work appropriate!

My office is moving to a new space in the coming months that is complete with a large gym but while it might be tempting to workout and then head right to work, I just don't think that will ever be a realistic possibility for me. I am of the mind that if you work out and aren't sweating, you probably aren't working out hard enough!

Would you or do you wear workout or yoga clothes to the office?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Delicious dishes.

Minestrone Soup

This is my slight variation on Mark Bittman's recipe. It was absolutely delicious, filling and healthy. It made about 6 good size bowl-fuls. It's a great way to clear out the fridge!


1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 c hard vegetables (such as potatoes, winter squash, parsnips or turnips, cut into a 1/2 inch dice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6-8 c vegetable stock
1 15.5 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (and juice)
2 c soft vegetables (such as green beans, zucchini, beans, squash, kale, collards)
1/2 c chopped parsley leaves
Small pasta (I used about 1/4 of a box of small whole wheat shells)
Freshly grated parmesan (optional--for serving)


Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a large pot. When the oil is hot, add onions, celery and carrot. Cook until the onion is soft.

Add the hard vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a minute or two. Add the stock, tomato and juice from the tomato can. Bring to a boil. Add pasta. Adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. Cook for about 15 minutes (until the hard vegetables are on the soft side).

Add the soft vegetables and parsley. Cook until all the vegetables are very tender, about 15 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Add the remaining olive oil. Serve topped with cheese.

*For the hard vegetables, I used potatoes. For the soft vegetables, I used zucchini, yellow squash and green beans. I also used slightly more celery and carrots than the recipe calls for (they add color and nutrients!)