Monday, August 31, 2015

VEGAN MOFO IS HERE


Tomorrow is the first day of September, and you know what time that is... VEGAN MOFO!  To celebrate this vegan month of food, they have changed things up.  This year, instead of just posting as much as possible, there is a theme.  I will be trying to hit as many topics as possible.  Here is the list based on the day:

1 Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast. 
2 Recreate a meal from your childhood. 
3 Quick, easy and delicious. 
4 Tell us about a weird food combo that you love. 
5 Best sandwich ever. 
6 Re-create a restaurant meal. 
7 Make / eat some thing inspired by a book or film. 
8 Reach out! Make a new vegan friend & tell us about it. 
9 Most retro recipe. 
10 Something blue. 
11 Focus on a nutrient 
12 Tell us about your favourite cookbook! 
13 It’s kitchen tour time! 
14 Share something vegan (and delicious, duh!) with a non-vegan. 
15 OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make? 
16 What’s your favorite late summer food? 
17 Make (or eat!) a traditional local dish. 
18 Honor a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism. 
19 Lunch on the go. 
20 Veganize an old family recipe. 
21 What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!) 
22 Make a dish using all seasonal produce. 
23 Fusion Challenge! 
24 What (inset well known person) would eat if they were vegan. 
25 Share your favorite cuisine. 
26 It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have? 
27 Favorite herb or spice? 
28 Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue? 
29 What would you bring on a vegan road trip? 
30 Autumn equinox eats. 

I think the topics this year are really great. This is a good time to reflect on food I've been creating over the past year and more, so I've created several compilations based on the themes.  It's always a good time to categorize posts as well as introduce new readers to content.  You can follow along on social media with the hashtags: #vgnmf15 and #veganmofo.  There won't be a blog roll button like in years past, but I'm sure you'll notice your feed readers bursting with similarly themed posts this entire month.  I'll be posting some on instagram, too.


Are you a blogger too?  Are you participating in VeganMofo?  Readers, do you follow VeganMofo every year, or is this your first time?  Leave me a comment!

Friday, August 28, 2015

30 Things I Did in my 20's


Yesterday, I turned the big 3-0.  I'm feeling really good about my 20's and incredibly excited about what's to come in my 30's.  To celebrate this big birthday, I wanted to look back on the past decade and embrace all the wonderful things that have happened.  There were hard things and let downs and injuries, like every life, but I'm a glass half full kind of person, and I like to embrace the positive!


I've also snagged some of my favorite pictures over the past decade to share.  I'm fortunate to have already had so many great experiences, and I can only imagine that the next decade will be full of many more.

30 THINGS I DID IN MY 20'S

  • 1 fell in love with my best friend


  • 2 studied in Italy and visited many cool places across europe

  • 3 went to music festivals and saw great bands
  • 4 went vegetarian
  • 5 quickly went vegan

  • 6 started cooking
  • 7 rescued a tiny kitten who made us a family
  • 8 started backpacking
  • 9 watched my mom crush cancer
  • 10 graduated from architecture school

  • 11 started cycling

  • 12 moved to Little Rock



  • 13 watched a lot of great friends have awesome weddings

  • 14 experienced great loss
  • 15 broke my leg
  • 16 started practicing yoga
  • 17 ran two half marathons

  • 18 bought a house
  • 19 became a licensed Architect
  • 20 made some paintings
  • 21 started a vegan food blog
  • 22 started learning about photography
  • 23 started writing an online food column for a local paper
  • 24 walked through buildings that were created from my mind
  • 25 adopted two more kitties
  • 26 watched my friends make amazing kids
  • 27 married my best friend


  • 28 went on an awesome 10 day trip to Hawaii


  • 29 learned to stop hating my body and be happy today
  • 30 started looking forward to my 30's










I'm so fortunate to have the best family, friends, and partner that a girl could ask for. So, bring it, 30's! I can't wait!

How do you feel about birthdays? Do you like to reflect on the past? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lovely Listens Lately


I love memoirs, and I've been eating them up lately.  I wanted to share with you guys a few titles I've really loved in the past few months.  Stories of other people lives, other people who struggle with weight or depression or food, are what I love when searching for a good book.  Writing style is important as well, and these all have varied and exciting rhetoric.


Brittany Gibbons, author of the blog Brittany Herself, wrote an amazing and funny book about being a fabulous woman.  She writes about being plus size in a humorous, accepting way, and this book has a great message for women at any age.  It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books, How to be a Woman.  I loved every bit of this book, and I would recommend it to everyone.


This book, by Andie Mitchell from the blog Can you Stay for Dinner, is another memoir about body image and self discover.  Andie's book has a slightly separate tone, though, as she goes through a physical transformation.  Where Brittany discovers that it's perfectly fine to love yourself as is, Andie changes her body and learns so much about herself on the journey.  Andie's reading of the story is a little stiff, but it's still a pleasant listen.


Perhaps the funniest and craziest blogger memoir I've had a chance to listen to lately is this title by Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess.  This book is a hilarious tornado of crazy, and I enjoyed every minute.  Some of the initial childhood shenanigans are not for the faint of heart or stomach, as her dad has a bit of a habit of stuffing animals and leaving them around the house.  If you can get past that, it's a wonderful listen.  Jenny is absolutely honest about her neurosis and bad habits, and her relationship with her husband is at times sweet, horrible, and always funny.  If you listen to any of the books in this post, pick up this one.


This book isn't a memoir, but it's a hilarious British read about weight.  The premise is that a husband and wife have agreed to be in a weight loss competition, and the entire story is told through their journal entries.  I laughed out loud, commiserated with them, and rooted for them.  It was a quick and funny listen.


The most serious and intense listen in this list is Blackout.  This book is about a journalist and her chronicles of binge drinking and black outs.  It definitely gets intense and dark at parts, and while it attempts to be humorous, it's not always so.  I am glad I listened to it, but it wasn't as light and uplifting as many other memoirs.  What's great about this listen is how honest the author comes across, and she doesn't leave out details to make herself look good.  It's gritty and real and really makes you think.

So, I know it's almost the end of the summer, but if you're looking for a good listen (or read, these are also in book form), then check some of these out.  Of course, I have no affiliation with any of these books or audio listening format;  I just love to bring to you guys the things that make me happy in life.  I will always tell you otherwise.

Do you like audiobooks?  What are some of your favorite listens?  Are you familiar with any of these titles?  Leave me a comment!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday Batch Cooking


Sundays in our house are usually when you'll find me in the kitchen, dirtying up every pot in the house.  I have a nice, new ritual going on.  Meal plan -- grocery shop -- batch cook -- serve dinner.  I wanted to give you guys a glimpse of the things I've been making lately.  Since my CSA basket has been bursting with late summer goods, they've been the stars of my dishes of late.





What do you do with tons of cucumber and tomato?  Why, make gazpacho of course!  I didn't really follow a recipe, but I put tons of tomato, cucumber, and peppers.  Then, I added basil, salt, and balsamic vinegar to taste.  It's easy, so play with it.




This gazpacho makes an amazing lunch.  I had it at my desk with pita stuffed with veggies and tofu.  It's such a fresh meal.




With lunch taken care of, I like to move on to dinners.  I work out after work with most nights, so when I get home, I like to have leftovers ready to go.  A typical meal I like to make is caulipots and gravy, similar to this recipe.  Josh and I have been obsessed with them since Sheridan and Drew made them for us for dinner earlier this summer.  I have also been digging vegan Italian sausage I can find at Kroger, and we always like a steamed veggie.

Other great Sunday night batch cooking meals could be....

ratatouille
soup
chili
pasta dishes

... pretty much anything that will keep and easily reheat.  It makes the week go by so much easier if the fridge is stocked with food come Monday morning.

Do you batch cook on the weekends?  What are your favorite things to cook?  Leave me a comment!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Garden Party Wraps


Josh's boss had a picnic a few weeks back for their dev team, and I never miss an excuse to bring goodies to a party.  Last year, I made tempeh wraps and Thai salad.  This year, the temps were higher, and I wanted to keep it lighter.  So, I whipped up these easy beauties.  The recipe is so simple, you can follow through pictures!


The secret ingredient is Tofutti cream cheese.  This stuff is so tasty, and it adds a richness to the super simple veggie mix.








Not only did I make these wraps, but I also whipped up a fresh summer salad for dessert.  This cute watermelon came in our CSA basket.



I chopped the watermelon and tossed it with a couple strawberries, a little lime juice, some chopped mint (from the jungle in our back yard), and a little salt.  It was a huge hit at the party.



If you need something for a summer BBQ, definitely give these super simple wraps a try.  They make a ton, and everyone seemed to really enjoy them.

What do you like to bring to a summer BBQ?  Do you want light food when it's hot?  Leave me a comment!