When I Get Rough on a Cookbook, You Know It’s Good! (hint…giveaway time!)

Cookbook Review

The wonderful folks over at Ben Bella Books have gifted me with three books to review for you this summer!  Each one will involve a chance to win your very own copy too!  For now, though, I need to tell you about Plant Pure Nation.  The movie, the book, and that I loved it so much, I’ve pretty much destroyed it…..

I made all the recipes with the sticky notes, and what you possibly can't tell, is that I've spilled on it so many times, that it's a bit warped!

I made all the recipes with the sticky notes, and what you possibly can’t tell, is that I’ve spilled on it so many times, that it’s a bit warped!  The best cookbooks are always the ones that look like they’ve gone through battle though – dripped on, stained, dog-eared, and sticky :)

Much in the same vein as one of my favorite veggie movies – Vegucated (seriously….watch it if you can.  Funny, poignant, and available online too!) – Plant Pure Nation is a documentary that is being screened all over the US.  It’s not yet available for sale, and I am hoping that it hits my area of the East Coast soon!  What’s even more fun, is they have published a companion book and that’s what I’m here to tell you about!

Over the past month, I’ve made about 20 of the recipes in here, and have yet to be disappointed.  True, I had a mini-explosion with the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, but we can talk about that later!

Written by Kim Campbell, with a forward by her famous father-in-law and co-author of one of my favorite books, The China Study, I found Plant Pure Nation to be one of my favorites from this family so far.  The recipes are very flavorful, but also incredibly healthy.  I for one, love to eat healthy, but don’t like to sacrifice flavor.  Life is too short to eat boring food!

Food Porn and Recipe!

Here are some of the few dishes I’ve made, as well as a recipe to share!

Who doesn’t love a good blueberry muffin?  The kids had friends over when these came out of the oven, so they didn’t last long at all!

who doesn't love a great blueberry muffin?  These are Colin's Blueberry muffins, and didn't last long in my house!

perfect breakfast!

Another breakfast dish were the pancakes, which were wonderful.  It’s nice to find a fluffy pancake recipe, and served with a little marmalade, they were fantastic.

WP_20150712_001

the whole breakfast spread that morning - pancakes being the centerpiece!

the whole breakfast spread that morning – pancakes being the centerpiece!

One of my favorites, by far, is the Southwestern Bean Salad.  Plain, on tacos, or on salad, I ate this for days.

WP_20150711_007 WP_20150711_008 WP_20150711_019 WP_20150713_002 WP_20150713_004

The Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread is the only recipe that gave me any trouble.  It blew up slightly, and was a little under cooked in the end.  Easy enough to fix by either using a bigger pan or not letting it raise the entire time.  Cleaning my oven after baking wasn’t too much run, so while a delicious bread, I’ll have to play with it a bit to perfect it.

WP_20150711_009 WP_20150711_010 WP_20150711_015

And finally, a recipe I get to share!  It was delicious both warm and cold, and I used the leftovers as a spread for wraps.

I give to you…

Warm Spinach – Artichoke Dip!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (only sub here for me, since we’re a Nut Free family is I used Just Mayo instead)
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • large pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 14 ounce can/jar of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion and garlic in a small amount of water until tender.  Set aside.
  • In a food processor, blend together the mayo, cannellini beans, lemon juice, water, mustard, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy.
  • Add spinach and artichokes and pulse 8-10 times; do not puree them.
  • Fold the onion and garlic into the tofu mixture.
  • Place the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the panko bread crumbs and paprika.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bread crumbs are browned.


WP_20150711_016 WP_20150711_018

This is a great dish and I’ve already made it several times, both for my family, and for parties.  One hint for parties, is to keep it on low in a small crock pot – works perfectly.

Did Someone Say FREE?

Yes!  As a matter of fact, someone did!  So, if you’d like a chance to win your very own freebie copy of Plant Pure Nation, please just leave a comment below with your name and perhaps some information on why this book sounds appealing to you!

I will leave the contest open until Midnight on August 15th!

Good Luck!

Camp, Cats, Pools, and Travels!

FOOD

Well the past few weeks have been a bit crazy, but lots of good food involved.  I have a few new books to review (and giveaway), so I can’t share all I’ve been up to just yet!  I’m really excited to though, as there’s some great dishes coming your way in the coming weeks.

There have been smoothies, Tofurky, and plenty of meals out.  D and were traveling for a few days, so there were many yummy dishes out and about in our travels too!

WP_20150707_002 WP_20150707_003

my garden is still pumping out cucs like crazy, so I've had a lot of cucumber toast sammiches!

my garden is still pumping out cucs like crazy, so I’ve had a lot of cucumber toast sammiches!

Of course I had to go out for Thai at least once in the past couple weeks!

WP_20150707_011 WP_20150707_012

And tacos….

pressure cooker pinto beans and all the toppings

pressure cooker pinto beans and all the toppings

taco potato!  One of my fav ways to change up my tacos

taco potato! One of my fav ways to change up my tacos

And a tofurky feast night

tofurky, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, roast carrots, and sweet corn bread

tofurky, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, roast carrots, and sweet corn bread

And finally, I made one of my favorite alfredo sauces from Lunchbox Bunch, and it’s made from acorn squash!  I pretty much just make the sauce, though I use half the Italian Seasoning.

the sauce

the sauce

I made some brown rice pasta, and when that was boiling, added peas, green beans, kale, and brussel sprouts.  SO yummy.

WP_20150713_003

And finally, Orlando eats from my long weekend trip with D!

probably the most boring meal.  Oatmeal and an English muffin with jelly

probably the most boring meal. Oatmeal and an English muffin with jelly

bunch the last day at White Wolf Café.  English muffin with sliced tomatoes and grits!

bunch the last day at White Wolf Café. English muffin with sliced tomatoes and grits!

tofu scramble, sausage, and home fries burrito with polenta - from Ethos Vegan Kitchen

tofu scramble, sausage, and home fries burrito with polenta – from Ethos Vegan Kitchen

eggplant and zucchini vegan pizza from Red Circle at Universal

eggplant and zucchini vegan pizza from Red Circle at Universal

my very fav Epcot dish - from Marakesh.  Pita, hummus, couscous, tabbouleh, marinated olives, and lentils.

my very fav Epcot dish – from Marakesh. Pita, hummus, couscous, tabbouleh, marinated olives, and lentils.

our first Babycakes!  They've opened in Downtown Disney, and I had mint choc chip and D had French toast cupcakes.  SO GOOD.

our first Babycakes! They’ve opened in Downtown Disney, and I had mint choc chip and D had French toast cupcakes. SO GOOD.

lemon potato wedges from Taverna Opa

lemon potato wedges from Taverna Opa

zucchini chips

zucchini chips

Full yet???

FITNESS

Most of my workouts have been runs, but also got in some biking when in Orlando!

D and I rented some bike share bikes in Orlando and biked around town!

D and I rented some bike share bikes in Orlando and biked around town!

WP_20150718_004

post ride sweaty selfie!

post ride sweaty selfie!

I also went to my first hot Vinyasa class in nearly 2 years.  I got dizzy, and this pic just shows how sweaty I got (and admittedly, it looks like I want to barf).

WP_20150705_002

D and I also walked for over 30 miles in the 4 days we were gone!

LIFE

Well, based on all the above pics, we’ve certainly been busy!  The week after the 4th of July holiday, D went back to working on days and living like a normal person.

It was also the week we prepped R for her 2 weeks at camp!  Shopping, ortho appointments (where she got her bottom braces put on), lots of family time, and packing.

driving to camp!

driving to camp!

dropping the young one off at camp!

dropping the young one off at camp!

After another work week, D and I had another short week and left for a quick trip to Orlando!  We have only gotten away alone together 1-2 times, so this was a pretty big deal.  First time we’ve ever flown anywhere together.

We had an absolute blast just wandering around town.  We did Epcot, and Universal City Walk a few times, but we also went to a casino (where I owned the blackjack table!), a blues club, and a bike ride.  It was an absolutely wonderful trip.

airport selfie as we were boarding our ridiculously early flight...

airport selfie as we were boarding our ridiculously early flight…

drinking a drink called Pimp Juice!

drinking a drink called Pimp Juice!

WP_20150718_010 WP_20150718_009 WP_20150718_008 WP_20150718_005

this cracked me up....

this cracked me up….

WP_20150719_006 WP_20150716_008 WP_20150712_010 V__F8D5 V__91EB V__6C5B V__5C15 InstagramCapture_fc43269a-b5c8-4890-8f31-1a4a79cd080f

InstagramCapture_1b66fbde-0f98-4891-88da-3a7921a8e07d InstagramCapture_6e638f6f-b6a4-4dff-bc9c-e8db811cf638  InstagramCapture_9634c425-2d67-4c79-9174-b789f884e976 InstagramCapture_d1fc07d8-6046-4dff-92c5-1519c17192a9

Today was back to the office and tomorrow is taking M to his university orientation day!

And here – more random pics from the past two weeks!

me & M

me & M

A & D

A & D

they're starting to like each other!

they’re starting to like each other!

WP_20150707_013

she loves the outdoor patio too!

she loves the outdoor patio too!

WP_20150707_010 WP_20150707_001 WP_20150706_001 V__1E71 InstagramCapture_e664f301-6590-4284-9ce8-4567d9d31a33

cats missed the suitcase

cats missed the suitcase

harvest!

harvest!

InstagramCapture_2b07a4d8-c40d-4524-ae5d-7196bcd409b8

 

Veggie Burger Recipe, and am I a Politician Now?

FOOD

You know what I love about short weeks?  Pretty much everything, but beside that – I have more time to play in the kitchen

On Monday, the entire meal was dishes from the Vegan Richa’s great new book Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen.  Everything was so simple to make, and the family enjoyed everything.  I made the Cumin-Scented Rice with Peas and Onions in the rice cooker, and the Split Pea Soup with Potatoes in the pressure cooker.  It was made with chana dal, and came out more the consistency of dahl than soup, but was still amazing.  Served with spicy baked cauliflower, biscuits (I was too lazy to make naan), and some greens, it was awesome.  Also was my lunch the next day!

getting the Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets ready (these were amazing)

getting the Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets ready (these were amazing)


WP_20150701_007WP_20150701_006

For our 4th of July meal (grilled goodness, of course), I finally tried my first homemade veggie burger!  It’s hard to believe I’ve never made them before, but there ya go.  I was quite happy with how they came out, and will make them again, I’m sure.

Crissie’s Spicy Veggie Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I imagine any bean will work)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (I had some leftover in the fridge from an earlier meal – great way to use up leftover grains)
  • 1/4 sweet potato, shredded
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (fresh coriander, for my overseas friends), chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions

  • Preheat over to 350
  • Prepare a cookie sheet.  I used parchment paper and a light spray of cooking oil.
  • Run the chickpeas and rice through a food processor until well mashed.  Put into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with your hands.  If it’s too sticky, add more breadcrumbs.  If it’s too try, add a little more BBQ or mustard
  • Prepare into 6 patties
  • bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  • YOU CAN STOP HERE….OR GRILL THEM
  • I pre-baked them so they wouldn’t fall apart on the grill.  D grilled them up, and they were awesome.
before baking them - and you can stop after baking and eat them

before baking them – and you can stop after baking and eat them

my grilled version piled high with lettuce, tomato, onion, sriracha mayo, mustard, and grilled mushroom.

my grilled version piled high with lettuce, tomato, onion, sriracha mayo, mustard, and grilled mushroom.

Dinner also consisted of grilled broccoli and zucchini, corn on the cob, two different pasta salads, cole slaw, and brownies.

my plate. So full!

my plate. So full!

WP_20150704_009

Just Mayo, raw sugar, cider vinegar, and salt.  Simple, but yummy!  Shredded cabbage and sweet potato.

Just Mayo, raw sugar, cider vinegar, and salt. Simple, but yummy! Shredded cabbage and sweet potato.

There were also several BAS’s, smoothies, rice and beans, and even some homemade sweet pickles from my very fruitful cucumber plant!

our typical topping spread for rice and beans nights - which we have at least a couple times per month.

our typical topping spread for rice and beans nights – which we have at least a couple times per month.

my bowl - always has crumbled tortilla chips for some crunch!  Great way to use the chips at the bottom of the bag

my bowl – always has crumbled tortilla chips for some crunch! Great way to use the chips at the bottom of the bag

BAS that D made for me from the grocery.  Plus my oil-free balsamic dressing.

BAS that D made for me from the grocery. Plus my oil-free balsamic dressing.

D sending me his smoothie selfie!  :)

D sending me his smoothie selfie! :)

pickles!

pickles!

salad in a jar!  BBQ sauce is the dressing here.

salad in a jar! BBQ sauce is the dressing here.

WP_20150701_004 WP_20150701_005

another BBQ chickpea salad

another BBQ chickpea salad

a bad picture of an amazing vegan quesadilla from Hell's Kitchen in Norfolk.

a bad picture of an amazing vegan quesadilla from Hell’s Kitchen in Norfolk.

sounds weird, but this was amazing.  It's Oh She Glow's savory oatmeal and lentil breakfast.  I added spinach in mine for some greens.  It was very, very good.

sounds weird, but this was amazing. It’s Oh She Glow’s savory oatmeal and lentil breakfast. I added spinach in mine for some greens. It was very, very good.

FITNESS

Most workouts have been runs, but there has been a trip to hot yoga in there this past week too.  I’m still loving my new running shoes, so that’s always exciting!

after my run yesterday.  I really need to sign up for a race soon.

after my run yesterday. I really need to sign up for a race soon.

LIFE

D has been on nights most of this week, so it’s been us juggling keeping everything rolling as smoothly as possible.  At least it’s summer break for the kids, so it’s much easier than it may have been if it weren’t!

R is getting ready to head to camp next weekend for a full two weeks!  She’s excited.  I’m nervous.  Typical mom stuff :)  The camp is nut free, and she went last year, so I know she’ll be safe, but still….always nervous when your baby takes off!

On Thursday afternoon, I met up with NS for some happy hour, snacks, and girl fun.  It was a nice break.  I got home before D had to leave for work.

On Thursday, I also received very exciting news!  Most of you who know me, know that I have a passion for health and healthcare, and my long term goals are to get involved on the policy side to help generate programs and public policies to provide equity in health care and healthcare access.  Well, on Thursday I was awarded a political appointment in my local government to advice the city council on health and well being!  I’ll likely be sworn in in September, but I’m looking forward to getting involved and making a difference in my community.

Other than that, our week has been pretty chill.  I leave you with random pics, and of course the morning java shots!

Ginny helping me in the kitchen

Ginny helping me in the kitchen

harvest!

harvest!

WP_20150629_001

Bumble wanting morning java too...

Bumble wanting morning java too…

okay, not morning, not java, but still my fav spot in the house

okay, not morning, not java, but still my fav spot in the house

WP_20150630_001

Bumble enjoying a lounge chair

Bumble enjoying a lounge chair

WP_20150701_001 WP_20150701_002

raining skies on Friday night

raining skies on Friday night

WP_20150702_005

studying

studying

meal planning!

meal planning!

lazy day with Bumble

lazy day with Bumble

WP_20150704_001 WP_20150704_005 InstagramCapture_85e196dd-47b9-4a07-ad40-dfa8111eb91b InstagramCapture_aa133f46-d10d-4124-ba91-ab2e38bde741 InstagramCapture_80c188d9-0cca-4f36-94f9-399737e8c8aa InstagramCapture_05faf6a0-a91a-45cf-a53d-505a46cac226 InstagramCapture_1016aa17-9726-4deb-9e03-186e3a88cf4b

Hope the remainder of your weekend is peaceful!

After a Week of Website Drama, I’m Back with TONS of Pics – Food, Cats, and Anniversary Fun

Well, due to some website technical difficulties for the past week, I’m finally back up and running!  

FOOD

This has been one of those weeks that’s a combination of at-home meals, and dining on the go.  Every morning was either a smoothie or cucumber toast (it’s a good thing I love cuc toast, because my garden seems to keep pumping them out!).

And here are the grub highlights!

one of my fairly standard smoothies.  Water, banana, frozen berries, mango, and spinach.

one of my fairly standard smoothies. Water, banana, frozen berries, mango, and spinach.

smoothie and cuc toast on Daiya cream chese

smoothie and cuc toast on Daiya cream chese

WP_20150625_003

tofu lettuce wrap from the Busch Gardens food and wine fest

tofu lettuce wrap from the Busch Gardens food and wine fest

WP_20150623_001

lentil cake with tomato and sauce

lentil cake with tomato and sauce

smoothies with D

smoothies with D before work

grilled portabello mushroom burger with Italian pasta side

grilled portabello mushroom burger with Italian pasta side

sloppy potato!  Baked potato topped with lentil sloppy Joe's and some raw cauliflower

sloppy potato! Baked potato topped with lentil sloppy Joe’s and some raw cauliflower

veggie fajitas

veggie fajitas

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has Beyond Meat, and I grabbed their Jamaican jerk wrap.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has Beyond Meat, and I grabbed their Jamaican jerk wrap.

pineapple chili with shredded greens

pineapple chili with shredded greens

simple bagel breakfast

simple bagel breakfast

Crissie's Smoothie Delivery Service!

Crissie’s Smoothie Delivery Service!

another smoothie selfie!

another smoothie selfie!

And of course, can’t forget the morning java pics!

WP_20150626_001 InstagramCapture_ab7f816c-b67b-4387-a00b-aa9ac20f03c6 InstagramCapture_7259af00-ecfe-428a-9909-e4e79a862162 InstagramCapture_685ad248-cdae-4d4c-a158-815d2936a3f0 WP_20150610_001 WP_20150609_001

celebrating our anniversary morning with java together!

celebrating our anniversary morning with java together!

FITNESS

This has been a really great week on the fitness front.  Why?  I went back to hot yoga!  I was last at my studio in November.  It’s easy to say that life got too busy with moving, work, etc – but the truth is, I was a little heart broken, so I stopped going.

I had spent a year saving up to take yoga teacher training, and it was slated to begin the first weekend of December.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for nearly 10 years now, and I was finally going to do it!  Then I had to have a difficult conversation with D about the realistic time expectations, and together we concluded that there just isn’t the time in our lives for me to do this now.  Since that decision was made – I hadn’t gone back.  I was sad, disappointed, and perhaps a bit angry.  However, after over 6 months, I decided it was time to shake it off and go.  I’m so glad I did.

me after my first class back!

me after my first class back last weekend!

after work monday night.  Glad it's dark because the mascara was ALL over my face!  Must remember to take that off before class...

after work monday night. Glad it’s dark because the mascara was ALL over my face! Must remember to take that off before class…

I still want to be a teacher some day, but I realize it will be several years before I have the ability to commit to that.  Until then, I will be happy to be a student.

On the days I didn’t go to yoga (I went twice), I went running.  I also have a jog belt for the pool, and have done some of that too!

LIFE

It’s been a really good week for me.  I’ve gotten a ton done, and that always makes me feel relaxed.

A few random pics of the week:

my girls eating lunch outside on the porch

my girls eating lunch outside on the porch

flowers D bought me on Sunday

flowers D bought me on Sunday

Ginny is obsessed with wet feet

Ginny is obsessed with wet feet

buckets of margaritas!

buckets of margaritas!

WP_20150619_007

gin and tonic time

gin and tonic time

harvest!

harvest!

my in the backyard reading

my in the backyard reading

Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee!  R won...

Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee! R won…

Mine and D’s anniversary was Thursday, and even though we had to work, it was fun ending out evening floating in the pool, talking, and having a few drinks.

Happy Anniversary evening drinks - before taking it to the pool.

Happy Anniversary evening drinks – before taking it to the pool.

Our regular celebration actually happened yesterday though.  Every year since we’ve been in VA (which is 11 1/2 years now!), D and I have gone to Busch Gardens – without the kids.  We always have a great time, and yesterday was no exception.

pulling into the park

pulling into the park

about to get on the front row of the Griffon

about to get on the front row of the Griffon

sky ride

sky ride

drinks in Ireland

drinks in Ireland

WP_20150626_005

okay, strange cat mask in Italy

okay, strange cat mask in Italy

WP_20150626_011 WP_20150626_013 WP_20150626_015 InstagramCapture_2b985d91-e68e-4409-bb21-bd3afcad1ace

 

Grads, Family Fun, and Food!

FOOD

Okay wow, it’ll be another photo collage of tons of eats!  I’ve had family in town for nearly two weeks, so there has been quite a bit of food since my last post a little over a week ago.

pineapple-tofu stir fry!  M's friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry.    At one point my Dad said "if you didn't tell anyone, no one would know it's tofu".  That defeats the purpose for me - you SHOULD know what you eat.  And know that plant-based food is awesome.

pineapple-tofu stir fry! M’s friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry. At one point my Dad said “if you didn’t tell anyone, no one would know it’s tofu”. That defeats the purpose for me – you SHOULD know what you eat. And know that plant-based food is awesome.

WP_20150610_003

eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!

eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!

morning smoothies for my sister and I

morning smoothies for my sister and I.  It was my only smoothie of the week.  My Dad was sleeping downstairs, so I really couldn’t use my blender.  The greens are from my garden!

a fav meal.  Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know...harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.

a fav meal. Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know…harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.

more of this the next day!

more of this the next day!

We certainly had a few meals out the past week…

WP_20150615_012 WP_20150615_013

And obligatory morning java shots!

WP_20150609_001 WP_20150610_001 WP_20150611_001 WP_20150612_001

My brother in law is the chef in his house, so he and I tag-teamed two dinners.  It was fun playing in the kitchen with someone who loves to cook.  His family and mine have different eating habits, and with the kids, it was easier for us to each make our own versions.

One night was sloppy joes!  Mine were a spicy lentil version.  D fired up the grill, and MS (my BIL) made potato pockets – which were awesome, and we also had asparagus and pineapple (which had dark chocolate balsamic vinegar on it before grilling – and topped with some brown sugar and cinnamon after).

WP_20150614_007 WP_20150614_006

I put the pineapple on my bun and topped with the lentil joes, and it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever eaten!

The next night was Mexican Monday!  I made a tempeh version and toppings included some cabbage slaw (just lime juice and a little raw sugar and salt), cilantro, tomatoes, onion, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, and vegan sour cream.  My niece and nephew are pretty particular and really only like daddy’s tacos, so MS made his, and everyone was happy with PLENTY of food to eat!

WP_20150615_014

 

It was nice to have a smoothie for breakfast this morning again though!  I’ve missed them this past week.

WP_20150617_002

Today’s lunch was a sloppy baked potato.  Meaning it was a baked potato with sloppy joe filling and sour cream.

WP_20150617_005

FITNESS

It’s been all runs, walks, swimming, and hikes the past week.

I snuck in a couple runs while family was here, but we’ve been so busy – but active – that I definitely got my sweat on!

Monday was a short hike at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, and yesterday R and I went down to the marine science museum and did the nature hike there – which was absolutely incredible!

crazy looking mushroom that R spotted

crazy looking mushroom that R spotted

Today was a great run in the middle of the day.  It was only in the 80’s (vs. the high 90’s and 100 degrees we’ve been having the past several days), and I apparently had some energy to burn, so I did 3 miles with a bunch of sprints peppered in there.

LIFE

Okay, so…my son graduated!  That’s why so much family has been in town, which was very sweet.  The ceremony went off well, and they got nearly 500 grads through in 1 hr and 5 minutes.  I was incredibly impressed!

WP_20150611_002

Grad party was Saturday, and we had a packed house.  It was a hot day, so having the pool party was perfect!

yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan...which is now named Meredith.

yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan…which is now named Meredith.

Speaking of the pool….that’s mostly what we did when C (my sister), her husband, and kids were here.  We did a few things out an about too, but they were only here for a few days, so it was mostly just trying to spend time together.  D also picked up an underwater digital camera, so there were many fun pics!

R

R

underwater cousins!

underwater cousins!

My niece and nephew had never seen an ocean, so we went to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach on Sunday morning.  We went early to beat the tourists and the heat!  It was fun to walk along the surf, find shells, hit up the little shops, and then back to the house for swimming!

the younger cousins at beach front breakfast!  G, R, and M :)

the younger cousins at beach front breakfast! G, R, and M :)

WP_20150612_005

My niece M (yes, I’m realizing we have a lot of M’s in my family) is really into the Civil war.  So, on Monday we went to First Landing State Park where they just so happened to have a civil war spy adventure!  The kids were given a decoder ring, and found codes hidden in the park to decipher a message!  Eventually we found out that the cavalry – which was 200 strong – was going to arrive on the East road in 5 days, and that the ship carrying supplies would arrive in 3.  Too cool.  After that, we did a short hike.  It was another scorcher, and it just wasn’t fun for everyone in that crazy heat!

WP_20150615_003 WP_20150615_004 WP_20150615_005 WP_20150615_006 WP_20150615_007 WP_20150615_009

The final night here was movie night, and we watched Megamind.  Here’s a shot of all the cousins getting ready for the flick!!

IMG_1976

Yesterday my sister and her family left.  R had a dr’s appt (physical for camp next month!), and we decided to spend the day together – which was really awesome.  We learned about local sea life and did a nature hike.  We’ve decided that we must do at least one nature hike a week.  We really do live in an amazing state…we have it all…mountains, oceans, rivers, marshes, forests, and everything in between (okay, we don’t have tundra or deserts, but that’s okay with me!).

yesterday's morningpicture!

yesterday’s morningpicture!

WP_20150616_003

My Dad left this morning, so today has been getting life back to routine.

And I leave you with other random shots of the week!

harvest!

harvest!

InstagramCapture_69fd14c8-ca8c-4430-b401-1ab7eb7b0c62 WP_20150617_006

my boys!

my boys!

R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious

R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious

M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot

M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot

Bumble by the pumpkin

Bumble by the pumpkin

V__F1C2 V__62B3

uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad.  Two little techie peas in a pod right there!

uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad. Two little techie peas in a pod right there!

WP_20150614_005

 

Pumped Up Kicks, Family, and Lotsa Pictures!

FOOD

6 days of food.  I really can’t believe it’s been 6 days, but it’s been so crazy around here, that it’s just flown by.  If you keep reading, you will totally understand.

But I do apologize, in case you missed me :)

Since I’ve been home from TX, it’s been lotsa smoothies, salads, and fun home cooked meals.  Mostly.  There was definitely a Thai green curry working lunch, and a pasta dish when out with R and my dad!

WP_20150603_004

my fav new smoothie jar!

my fav new smoothie jar!

mac no cheese....

mac no cheese….

with a boca chickn patty

with a boca chickn patty

a BAS!

a BAS!

same BAS with salsa and tangy home made soy yogurt

same BAS with salsa and tangy home made soy yogurt

pomegranate plunge!

pomegranate plunge!

tofu green curry

tofu green curry

home made sofrito...

home made sofrito…

to put into the @terryhope Venezuelan (sweet-ish) black beans.  Served like we love with daiya shreds, vegan sour cream, and chips for scooping.

to put into the @terryhope Venezuelan (sweet-ish) black beans. Served like we love with daiya shreds, vegan sour cream, and chips for scooping.

smoothie with Garden of Life raw protein powder.  Don't use it often, but definitely did on Saturday (I was out of greens!).

smoothie with Garden of Life raw protein powder. Don’t use it often, but definitely did on Saturday (I was out of greens!).

spicy penne with artichokes and broccoli

spicy penne with artichokes and broccoli

mall pho!

mall pho!

WP_20150607_005

veggies before grilling (broccoli, baby potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms)

veggies before grilling (broccoli, baby potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms)

after grilling with baked beans and a veggie burger

after grilling with baked beans and a veggie burger

fajitas!

fajitas!

another BAS

another BAS

arugula pesto pasta with salad

arugula pesto pasta with salad

smoothie!!

smoothie!!

FITNESS

Remember how I “accidentally” left my running shoes in Austin?  Yeah.  About that….

NEW KICKS!!

so clean and bright!  Alas, know it won't last (especially since my first run was in the rain!)

so clean and bright! Alas, know it won’t last (especially since my first run was in the rain!)

I’m shocked and shaken that I have changed my shoe model.  I’ve run in Brooks Ravenna since 2009 – after the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in Virginia Beach when my blisters were so big they had their own orbits.  I was fitted for the Ravenna’s, and it honestly felt like I was running on little clouds.  Did my first (and thus far only) full marathon, and nary a blister.

Imagine my shock when I went to get fitted, dutifully tried “other” shoes, and actually liked another pair more?!  I almost feel like I’m cheating on a trusted partner.  Except my feet are really happy, so I’m sure I’ll be over it soon.

Clearly, runs have been my workout of the week!

LIFE

I loved traveling to Austin and seeing all the awesome vegan bloggers, cookbook authors, chefs, and amazing people.  I won’t lie though…I’m happy to be home.

Well, it’s been a crazy week!  My Dad is in town visiting, which is nice.  He got here on Friday, so it’s been a lot of family time.  And beer.  I’m from WI, and my Dad brought all the beer with him to my house!!

InstagramCapture_d849267b-0c61-45e7-a1f0-ec97d437b99b

M had his theater awards ceremony this weekend, where he won two awards!  Can’t believe he’s graduating this week!!!

from left...A, R, me, my Dad, and M

from left…A, R, me, my Dad, and M

D wasn't in the shot because he was the photographer!  Love watching him in action!

D wasn’t in the shot because he was the photographer! Love watching him in action!

Speaking of M…he’s 18 today!  Holy cow, my son is an adult!

his friends did the perfect surprise party...M was moping all day about his bday...and the evening ended up being perfect!

his friends did the perfect surprise party…M was moping all day about his bday…and the evening ended up being perfect!

And of course, miscellaneous morning pictures, life pictures, and cat pictures!

my morning java shot.

my morning java shot.

Ginny has a crazy obsession with shoes.

Ginny has a crazy obsession with shoes.

and boxes!

and boxes!

and eating R's wet hair....

and eating R’s wet hair….

and lying on my arm when she's decided I should lay off the computer.

and lying on my arm when she’s decided I should lay off the computer.

and stealing my desk chair....

and stealing my desk chair….

and eating R's hair (again)....

and eating R’s hair (again)….

and shushing her....

and shushing her….

The morning pictures…

a rare one with M too!

a rare one with M too!

V__88BF V__0E51

Miscellaneous life shots…

I had a morning java partner today.  I'm sorry, but he's so dreamy it kills me.... ;)

I had a morning java partner today. I’m sorry, but he’s so dreamy it kills me…. ;)

me and R at dinner Saturday night!

me and R at dinner Saturday night!

it was a hot day today, and D jumped right in after getting home from work.

it was a hot day today, and D jumped right in after getting home from work.

M and A

M and A

WP_20150607_002 WP_20150607_001

Dad, R, and I stopped up at one of the local farms this weekend.

Dad, R, and I stopped up at one of the local farms this weekend.

baby goats - they were so sweet!

baby goats – they were so sweet!

another morning java pic!

another morning java pic!

And finally, some garden updates!

what D is calling "legit eggplant!"

what D is calling “legit eggplant!”

baby cukes

baby cukes

cherry tomatoes coming in

cherry tomatoes coming in

my first zucchini!

my first zucchini!

romas

romas

I Am No Longer a Black Thumbed Vegan

FOOD

For the last day of VVC, I was only there for breakfast before I had to head to the airport.  Once again though, it was awesome!

this version had tacos and hashbrowns!  If I were smart, I would have put the hashbrowns in the taco...but the shells were just too small for that.  Plus a slice of toast with coconut butter spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

this taco version had tofu scramble and hash browns! If I were smart, I would have put the hash browns in the taco…but the shells were just too small for that. Plus a slice of toast with coconut butter spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

At the airport I had more time to kill than I planned, and stopped for a mimosa and olives.

a drink and my Surface.  A girl needs little else....

a drink and my Surface. A girl needs little else….

other than, perhaps, olives.  Life would've been complete if I had popcorn too....

other than, perhaps, olives. Life would’ve been complete if I had popcorn too….

Once I was home though, the big heavy meals had to end.  I realized that I usually have a very light breakfast – a smoothie – maybe a mid day small snack, and then lunch and dinner.  Well, at least lunch…but that’s a topic for another day where I psychoanalyze my overly hectic life and inability to always eat consistently.

Anywho….

Breakfast yesterday morning was a green smoothie in my new smoothie jar!

mint chocolate smoothie.  So Delicious coconut milk, banana, vanilla, spinach, and raw coco nibs.

mint chocolate smoothie. So Delicious coconut milk, banana, vanilla, spinach, and raw coco nibs.

Lunch was a taco baked potato.  Seriously, I love taking a baked potato and filling it with taco stuff.  In this case, it was black beans, vegan sour cream, and topped with hot sauce.

WP_20150601_011

Dinner was a salad with lettuce I GREW.  Yes, I yelled just there.  I’m growing things, and this is monumental.

fresh lettuce, clipped from my garden and into the spinner!

fresh lettuce, clipped from my garden and into the spinner!

freshly picked radishes to add to it

freshly picked radishes to add to it

turned it into a meal-salad by adding some cooked brown rice, arugula, tomatoes, and black beans.  Topped with a homemade strawberry dressing I made two weeks ago.

turned it into a meal-salad by adding some cooked brown rice, arugula, tomatoes, and black beans. Topped with a homemade strawberry dressing I made two weeks ago.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

  • I feel silly here…but blend it.  Eat it.
really yummy salad dressing.  Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

really yummy salad dressing. Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

 

This morning I was in a rush, so after my morning java on the back porch, I noshed a banana on the way to work.  Thankfully, I stock my desk with emergency meal things, and had this oatmeal once I got there and ran into my morning meeting.

WP_20150601_005

WP_20150602_005

It’s possible I was in a rush, because I actually made my lunch.  Another ginormous BAS (big ass salad, for new readers!), but this time using some homemade tangy soy yogurt and salsa as a dressing.

I also whipped up some tofu eggless salad, and made a sammich.  My favorite sammich, actually.  This version had sliced up silken tofu (the Mori-Nu in the sealed package, not the fridge version), so Just Mayo vegan mayo, yellow mustard, turmeric, diced white onion, and diced sweet pickle.  I didn’t measure, but it’s pretty straight forward to figure out.  Put on rye bread with tomato and lettuce.

all packed up!

all packed up!

BAS

BAS

WP_20150602_002

For dinner, I made slow cooker red beans for red beans and rice.  Stupid simple really.  Recipe is a family fav from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, but in the slow cooker with half the water and no meat.  Easy peasy.

FITNESS

Well, it’s entirely possible I lost my running shoes.  Or perhaps I left them in my hotel room in Austin in order to make room in my tiny suitcase.  Yeah…that’s probably more likely.

Though in my defense, they’ve been dying a slow death, and in my last run in TX, the sole tore apart.  And I haven’t made it to the store to buy new ones.

I have done yoga and home workouts like boxing that don’t require shoes…

LIFE

Well, it’s been a crazy few days!  My last day in Austin was only a partial day because I had to catch my flight.  Even leaving early, I didn’t make it home until after 1 am my time on Monday morning!  Part of that was weather delays, and part just the drama of traveling.

The last pics of the fun stuff I got at VVC!

new buttons to feed my obsession!

new buttons to feed my obsession!

WP_20150601_017 WP_20150601_023

Sights from the airport….

Texas is a very proud state.  Which I find commendable.  I do find it weird that they emblazon their state on everything though.  I saw Texas pasta, signs shaped like Texas everywhere I went, and so on.  These were at the shop at the airport.

Texas is a very proud state. Which I find commendable. I do find it weird that they emblazon their state on everything though. I saw Texas pasta, signs shaped like Texas everywhere I went, and so on. These were at the shop at the airport.

and so was this guy.  Sorry it's blurry, I was circling for a few minutes trying to figure out how to take his picture without being obvious.  He's a hipster cowboy!  Big had, handlebar mustache, big belt buckle (but of something kinda hippie), what looked like pajama pants, and cowboy boots.  I had a hard time not staring.  I've never seen one before :)

and so was this guy. Sorry it’s blurry, I was circling for a few minutes trying to figure out how to take his picture without being obvious. He’s a hipster cowboy! Big hat, handlebar mustache, big belt buckle (but of something kinda hippie), what looked like pajama pants, and cowboy boots. I had a hard time not staring. I’ve never seen one before :)

I got home, and M was still awake.  D had to work nights starting that night, so he was already gone.  He did turn down the bed though, and leave me this sweet note!

InstagramCapture_9642bffc-4b43-4567-ba18-245960ed3286

Then I did some unpacking and the girls had a blast with that.

InstagramCapture_b3505df8-5c7f-4820-8ff6-f7e1d066447d

Then it was work and busy, busy busy!  Lot’s of snuggly cats though.

WP_20150601_004 InstagramCapture_63281c2e-2cce-4610-92b6-39effc5089c0

Ginny figured out how to stack her toys and play with both at the same time...

Ginny figured out how to stack her toys and play with both at the same time…

Perhaps even more exciting is seeing how much my garden has grown!  I tried once – about 14 years ago – to grow a garden, and it was a colossal failure.  This was pre-vegan days, and pre “wanting to be one with nature…but not get it on me” days. Well, I still don’t like nature on me so much, but I’ve really wanted a garden.

I’ve also never successfully kept a house plant alive, though I stopped trying about 15 years ago.  After all, dead plants give room character.

I’ve become obsessed with it, to where I inspect it several times per day and get totally excited about every little sprout and flower.

In the 3 days I was gone, I swear I was like a freaked out new mom.  Has anything new grown?  Look how big it’s gotten!  Like I left my newborn and missed her first word or something.

But alas, I digress.  The most important thing is that it’s growing!  Food is sprouting – heck, even harvested radishes already!  So now I am convinced that should civilization fall, I can still take care of myself and my family and grow food!

No longer will I be known as “she of the black thumb” and “the vegan who kills all plants”.

MY HOW MY GARDEN GROWS!!

WP_20150602_17_54_56_Pro WP_20150602_17_55_07_Pro WP_20150602_17_55_46_Pro

No morning pics yet this week.  R had an ortho appt today and yesterday she stayed home.  Perhaps the rest of the week!

 

 

Everyone Should Pop Up for Dinner!

Okay, this post is going to be exclusively about dinner last night.  Yes, it was that epic that it gets a whole post on it’s own!

I met Fran Costigan (@goodcakesfran) on the plane last Thursday on the way to Austin.  Immediately, it felt like we’d known each other for years.  I love it when that happens!

Anyway, she invited me to a pop up dinner that was held last night by a group called Supper Friends here in Austin.  It’s a multi-course plated dinner that’s served in a lovely place called the Swoop House.  They have rotating guest chef’s, and in honor of our vegan bloggers conference, the dynamic brother duo of Chef Chad Sarno (@chadsarno) and Derek Sarno (@wickedhealthy) were the hosts of last night’s Supper Friends.

Fran, Colleen (co-founder of VegNews magazine), and I uber’d it over to Swoop House to begin our dining adventure.

First – the location.  It’s a house in an older neighborhood that has been repurposed to be a pop-up dining location.  The grounds were gorgeous, and the inside was adorable as well.

WP_20150530_012 WP_20150530_013 WP_20150530_014 WP_20150530_022 WP_20150530_021 WP_20150530_020

As soon as we walked in, we were each given a glass of white sangria and the canapés were passed around.

these were amazing!  There was a slight kick of heat to the jam that made these delicious.

these were amazing! There was a slight kick of heat to the jam that made these delicious.

another amazing dish that, from what I hear, tasted just like lox - but made from carrots.  Genius.

another amazing dish that, from what I hear, tasted just like lox – but made from carrots. Genius.

this blintze was also divine.  And I have to say, incredibly cute in it's tininess.

this blintze was also divine. And I have to say, incredibly cute in it’s tininess.

After hors d’oeuvres were served, we were all invited to find our way to our assigned seats to begin the meal.

WP_20150530_019

my seat!

my seat!

the menu

the menu

I met this very lovely woman - Whitney - who works for Miyoko's Kitchen.  She's from the same hometown as D, so that was a fun conversation!

I met this very lovely woman – Whitney – who works for Miyoko’s Kitchen. She’s from the same hometown as D, so that was a fun conversation!

The first course came out, and it was simply amazing.  Called Golden Beets, it was beets three ways with a merlot gel, candied pecans, grapefruit, vegan cheese and horseradish.

WP_20150530_026

The second course came out, which was a Ricotta & Tomato dish paired with a 2012 Sangiovese wine from Italy.

Again, a totally perfect dish.  The tomato confit with leeks and the crispy bread was so luscious.  And the ricotta spread and the dehydrated tomato slice just made all this excellent.

Again, a totally perfect dish. The tomato confit with leeks and the crispy bread was so luscious. And the ricotta spread and the dehydrated tomato slice just made all this excellent.

The third course was called Wicked Nicoise.  I think this may have been the most talked about, because Chef’s Chad and Derek managed to make something that looked and tasted like a hardboiled egg – from tofu and potato!  The olive dirt on the bottom (which isn’t dirt, by the way!), green beans, and mustard seed vinaigrette made this so perfect.  It was paired with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

WP_20150530_031

The fourth course was my favorite!  A Spring Ravioli stuffed with spring peas fava beans, mint, and other herbs, with a sherry parmesan cream sauce.  It’s one of those dishes that feels creamy and indulgent – but not heavy.  Which was really the whole meal, now that I think about it!  It was paired with a 2012 Seven Hills Riesling.

I have to learn how to make this!

I have to learn how to make this!

The fifth course was a King Scalloped Mushroom.  It was served with asparagus, corona beans, and sorrel pesto.  It was paired with a very yummy 2012 Pinot Noir.

WP_20150530_035

The final dessert dish – called Drunk Fruit – was also completely life altering in it’s yumminess.  An amaretto gelato with berries, melon, fennel, white balsamic and pistachio.  Paired with a 2012 Moscato.

WP_20150530_036

So that was the food!  The company was also completely amazing, and I admit to feeling star struck more than a few times.  At my table, aside from Fran, Colleen, and Whitney, was Miyoko Schinner – who revolutionized vegan cheese.  Here’s a link to her three books if you’re interested.  I can tell you that I’ve EATEN her cheese all week, and you should be interested!  (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=mikoyo+schinner&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amikoyo+schinner).  She also started Miyoko’s Kitchen, a wonderful vegan business that is making and marketing vegan cheeses to establishments and groceries.  I’m hoping it’ll be at a Whole Foods near me very, very soon!

Oh, and there was Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost, Allison from Seed Food and Wine in Miami, Betsy from Delicious TV and Vegan Mash-Up.  I also got to talk to the lovely couple behind Olives for Dinner.

Of course, I had to get a picture with the Chef’s!  I tried to convince Chad to move to Virginia, but I don’t think he’s interested.  He has an culinary course that I just may have to take!

WP_20150530_037

watching them work with such focus was a great addition to the dining experience.

watching them work with such focus was a great addition to the dining experience.

After dinner, it was an Uber ride back to the hotel with Fran and Colleen, and a lovely feeling of having one of the most satisfying meals of my life.  So yea.  GREAT time!  This was my first pop-up dinner experience, but hopefully not my last!

Veganism, Activism, Food, and Having a Famous Daughter

FOOD

I believe I warned you all in my post yesterday.  I have food pics.  Lot’s of food pics.  Mainly because I’ve had lots of great food!

I admit that the food gluttony didn’t start until later in the day yesterday than planned.  After my run, I grabbed a banana at the hotel, and had intentions of grabbing a light lunch in the University of Texas – Austin area (which is where I’m staying).  Long story, but that didn’t happen.

BUT…that’s not to say I starved all day.  In fact….this happened…

I hit up Whole Foods to grab a bite.  Sadly, the pho was flavorless (no pic), but this...this was brilliant.

I hit up Whole Foods to grab a bite. Sadly, the pho was flavorless (no pic), but this…this was brilliant.

there were several food trucks at the Vida Vegan Con Bazaar.  I didn't get anything, but I was tempted by the vegan corn dog!

there were several food trucks at the Vida Vegan Con Bazaar. I didn’t get anything, but I was tempted by the vegan corn dog!

Arlo's - which I also didn't partake of, but heard was awesome.

Arlo’s – which I also didn’t partake of, but heard was awesome.

yet another food truck that I didn't get anything from....but it sounded great.

yet another food truck that I didn’t get anything from….but it sounded great.

I DID, however, eat here!  The Vegan Nom is a very vegan-famous taco place here in Austin, and I just had to have one.  This is the Jalisco.  I could eat it every day!

I DID, however, eat here! The Vegan Nom is a very vegan-famous taco place here in Austin, and I just had to have one. This is the Jalisco. I could eat it every day!

And then there was today!  Both breakfast and lunch were buffets as the conference – but make no mistake.  I hear “buffet”, and I picture Golden Corral or some cafeteria type place.  These buffets were ridiculous.  And I mean that in the best possible way.

this was my plate - though I wish I had snapped a shot of the spread.  Breakfast taco with chorizo, tofu, black beans, and yummy toppings.  And potatoes and a slice of toast with Earth Balance coconut spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

this was my plate – though I wish I had snapped a shot of the spread. Breakfast taco with chorizo, tofu, black beans, and yummy toppings. And potatoes and a slice of toast with Earth Balance coconut spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

lunch was this crazy deconstructed bowl line - can't even describe all the ingredients, but mine had kale, spinach, brown rice, quinoa, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflowers, and a creamy ranch sauce.  my most epic BAS in a long time. I also double fisted the desserts.  Coconut panna cotta with toasted quinoa and spicy pineapple, and a blood orange tapioca with crispy ginger.  Freaking ridiculous.

lunch was this crazy deconstructed bowl line – can’t even describe all the ingredients, but mine had kale, spinach, brown rice, quinoa, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflowers, coconut bacon, and a creamy ranch sauce. my most epic BAS in a long time. I also double fisted the desserts. Coconut panna cotta with toasted quinoa and spicy pineapple, and a blood orange tapioca with crispy ginger. Freaking ridiculous.

I’m going to dedicate a separate post to dinner tonight since I’m going to a supper club hosted by Chef Chad Sarno and his brother.  Should be pretty freaking amazing.  Or freaking ridiculous, since that appears to be the word of the day.

FITNESS

After my run yesterday, I showered and cleaned up, and it was still too early for lunch.  So…I decided to go for a walk around the University and kill time.  Then I decided I wanted to walk to Whole Foods.

In the end, I walked 8 miles AFTER my morning run.  Yeah, no guilt in that last taco I ate :)

random sighting on my walk.

random sighting on my walk.

This morning when I woke up my hips and calf muscles were tight – I’m assuming from the hills!  I opted for a half hour of yoga in my hotel room before getting ready for the day.

LIFE

I learned that Whole Foods originated right here in Austin, TX, so I just HAD to go see the mother ship!  She was beautiful.

seriously, there were multiple restaurants and bar areas INSIDE.  I want one...

seriously, there were multiple restaurants and bar areas INSIDE. I want one…

Then it was off to the Marchesa Hall & Theater for the Vegan Bazaar.  It was open to the public, which was really awesome.  There were the food tucks, of course, but also vendors galore as well as tables for various animal activist groups.  It was awesome (aka, ridiculous).  I personally picked up a t-shirt from the Compassion Co, a tank from Herbivore Clothing, a mason jar smoothie thing from Meaningful Paws, some stickers and buttons (I LOVE buttons), and this gorgeous bag for my daughter A from Cykochik.

one of the vendor tables!

one of the vendor tables!

my new t's!

my new t’s and smoothie/juice jar!

bag for A!  It's called Love Bunnies.

bag for A! It’s called Love Bunnies.

There were also many great speakers and demos, including a great one from Fran Costigan that I really enjoyed.

As for today – today was the first full official day, and it was amazing (or ridiculous!).  Both yesterday and today, I got to connect with new and familiar faces alike.  I’m planning to do a recap post with links to all these great people, so I encourage you to check them out when I do.

the selfie I sent to D since I can't see him today.  Clearly excited, right?!

the selfie I sent to D since I can’t see him today. Clearly excited, right?!

the conference Swag Bag of Wonder!  Conferences where you get tons of free food and fun stuff is excellent.

the conference Swag Bag of Wonder! Conferences where you get tons of free food and fun stuff is excellent.

Breakfast was with Amey from Vegan Eats & Treats, and her wonderful mom!  Her mom and I had a long and delightful conversation about healthcare.  She’s been in women’s health her whole career, and is heavily involved in the Santa Cruz community.  She shared some amazing programs they have launched, and it was just an amazing time.

I had a similar conversation with Jessica from Sprouts & Chocolate.  Totally delightful.

These conversations were revolutionary to me.  In vegan circles there is certainly a LOT of conversations about health.  Typically those I’ve heard or been involved with are related to personal health.  My personal passion (other than veganism of course!) is in global health – and I loved finding and talking to so many people who were interested or engaged in the state of healthcare affairs in their communities – who are interested in making a difference on the policy side as much as within their own lives.

I took a break and sat outside to type out some of my session notes!

InstagramCapture_771a33ce-9ff6-4712-9857-81406ad64aa7

In order to not write a total novel, I will recap the sessions in future posts after I’ve had a chance to distill some of the messages and what they mean to me – and not just ramble on and on.

So summarize this post, it’s been another remarkable, enlightening, and inspiring day at Vida Vegan Con Austin!

And of course on the home front…pictures!

All weekend long, I’ve had people come up to me and tell me how much they love the morning pictures – how it’s the first thing they see in the morning.  Amey told her mom how much R smiles now that she has braces and how adorable they are.  How the love they have just shines through each picture.  I told R today that she’s famous, and that everyone looks forward to her and her dad’s pics every day.  Then I told D that I needed a morning pic, even though it was a weekend.  I didn’t want to fend off a mob of people looking for one!

So, here’s today’s morningpic!  Right after R woke up.

InstagramCapture_d4f1c16b-8b51-4295-9b17-8deb618c6652

And a selfie of D in the pool!

InstagramCapture_e2e0253c-9105-4ac5-961d-90cbff816ad5

And my first harvest!  A radish – that grew this big from a seed 6 weeks ago!  Caterpillars have decimated the leaves, so D pulled one.  Said it was spicy and awesome!  Can’t wait to get home and eat these bad boys.

V__6D1C

 

 

 

Pinch Me. I’m in Vegan Heaven!

FOOD

Okay, I will start off by saying I’m at a vegan bloggers conference, so buckle up for a couple of days of me drooling over all the vegan eats that other people make!

Until then, here’s some highlights from my week!

my son had a Memorial Day pool party, so it was typically picnic fare.  Veggie burger and a cold spicy rice salad for me!

my son had a Memorial Day pool party, so it was typically picnic fare. Veggie burger and a cold spicy rice salad for me!

I absolutely love watermelon and this time of year makes me so happy :)

I absolutely love watermelon and this time of year makes me so happy :)

more watermelon snacks!

more watermelon snacks!

Wednesday was a two Tofurky Kielbasa kinda night.  I was so stuffed, but it was great.

Wednesday was a two Tofurky Kielbasa kinda night. I was so stuffed, but it was great.

On my way to the airport yesterday, I stopped at Tropical Smoothie Café for a breakfast smoothie.  Pomegranate plunge + greens is my current obsession.

Not long after arriving in Austin, it was off to the Vida Vegan Con meet up at Buzz Kill!  I had a chicken salad wrap (vegan, of course), very berry lemonade (it claims there was vodka in it, but I’m not so sure!), cookies and cream coconut ice cream, and a beer.

WP_20150528_002 WP_20150528_003

FITNESS

The only day this week I’ve missed a run was yesterday, and that was due to travels.

I mostly run in my neighborhood, but actually went to Oak Grove Park on Wednesday.  I was going for a longer run in the heat of the day, so I really wanted the shade I can find there.  It was a nice change of pace.

I have to say, I’m loving the new house and pool.  Nothing like jumping in and floating about after a sweaty run!

Today I ran near my hotel in Austin, TX.  The weather is similar to VA, so the hot and muggy doesn’t bother me, but holy crap, the hills!!!  I’m so not used to them, and my pace suffered.  I’m sure my legs will be angry too.  I may end up on the hotel treadmill tomorrow!

post Texas run!

post Texas run!

Other than that, I’ve done a few bodyweight workouts from my Microsoft band.  Squats, crunches, things like that.

LIFE

On the work front, it’s been a short week.  Monday was a holiday, and I am on a mini vacation Thursday and Friday!  So no complaints there.

had a late conf call with someone on the west coast - I was already home for the evening, so this was my "office" - the outdoor screened in deck!

had a late conf call with someone on the west coast – I was already home for the evening, so this was my “office” – the outdoor screened in deck!

M had a gaggle of people over on Monday to swim and hang out, and R had a couple friend over as well to swim and play video games.  A went out with friends, so all told, very nice Memorial Day.

WP_20150525_002

We’ve all gone swimming most days – especially R.  D got home from work on Tuesday and found her like this…

Then it was off t0 the third and final Vida Vegan Con – vegan bloggers conference – in Austin, Texas.  It’s only been one day, and already it’s been so memorable.

I had just boarded my flight from Atlanta to Austin when Fran Costigan (http://www.francostigan.com/) tweeted to see what other VVC people were on board!  I replied I was, and we met up at baggage claim and shared a cap to our hotel.

About a half hour later, I went up to her room, and her room mate is none other than Terry Hope Romero (http://veganlatina.com/)!  I have so many of her books, and she’s like this vegan punk rock cookbook goddess.  And she hugged me.  I tried very hard not to geek out (but failed).

Fran and I cabbed it to the pre-conference meet up, where I got to see and meet SO many people – new friends and old, it’s impossible to list them all.  But here are a few :)

JL from JL Goes Vegan 

Demetrius – vegan extraordinaire and producer of the amazing film Vegucated

Dan – one half of the blogging duo The Gay Vegans, who I just couldn’t stop hugging.

Brit – goofball vegan from Seattle (that peer pressured me into eating ice cream.  Really, it was her fault).

Chad Sarno – famous vegan chef…bought me a beer and I was again having one of those “pinch me” moments.

Dianne and Jenna from New Jersey (http://www.diannewenz.com and http://good-good-things.com).

Not to mention a whole ton of other people, and despite the storms and dreary weather when I arrived, it ended up being a wonderfully sunny and hot evening.

WP_20150528_004

So yeah – now it’s day 2 of 4, and I can’t wait for all the fun this afternoon and evening will bring!

Of course I cannot sign off without the latest #morningpictures.  It was cute how many people last night commented on them :)

V__5C53 InstagramCapture_f8af6e80-de44-437b-8022-1f88ccff9f22 InstagramCapture_ede63f21-9063-44d3-adee-4ac8d045115d InstagramCapture_7d0384cf-584f-46c1-a908-69fbbfe47f49