Friday, June 29, 2012

Eating breakfast on the road

Traveling and eating well don't need to be an impossible combination. That said, it's sometimes tricky when you're on the road and want to eat breakfast at a hotel. Usually I have fruit and granola bars just in case, or packets of oatmeal.

We stopped halfway home between North Carolina and Massachusetts at a hotel in Newark, Delaware (home of the University of Delaware!) and stayed at the Embassy Suites.

Much to my delight :) they had a nice breakfast spread. Sure, it was a lot of the typical stuff (eggs, ham, bacon, etc.) but they also had a nice selection of cereals and fruit.

But what I got and loved....steel cut Irish oats in a big pot, with my name all over it!

Here's how I jazzed it up: cinnamon, bananas, granola and a big ol' scoop of peanut butter. YUM!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Veganmama On the Road!

Foodworks Natural Market and Deli, Exit 59 Guilford, Connecticut is one of my favorite natural markets. We found it by accident last December when we were driving down the east coast and to say I flipped out when I went inside is the truth :)

What I love about it is that it has a real neighborhood feel to it. Oh how I wish there was a place just like that in Norton! I would gladly work there...for free :)

Here are some pictures inside the shop:

Candid picture, aw well!

 You know I love these crazy things!

Goji berries are super good for you and taste sort of like a dried cranberry and dirt, and of course, I dig them.

Beautiful baked breads and rolls at the front of the store.

That's a nice selection of non-dairy ice creams!

You know how much I love bulk. Ever since I was a kid!

Cleaning supplies.

I simply love this store and it's right off the highway, so stop by the next time you're heading south on 95!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday! Lets take a peak at what I've been fixing myself in the kitchen...

Breakfast was Shredded Wheat, blueberries, grapes (try it!) and almond milk. Quick, simple and tasty! I really have to encourage you to try snappy red grapes on your morning cereal, it rocks.

Lunch was something a little different:

A piece of Ezekiel bread and a salad topped with the Whole Foods spinach dip I talked about in a previous post :) Have you ever used hummus or a dip like this instead of dressing? It's very good!

Did anyone already guess what my afternoon snack was?

You guessed correctly! This smoothie was a chocolate, banana and almond milk flavor that was super thick and creamy. Sometimes for fun I dip the spoon in peanut butter before eating. Don't knock it until you try it!

Dinner? Grill time!

Squash, mushrooms, peppers and onions (my favorite).

Grilled corn and PEACHES, baby!

This is one BBQ sauce that I fully endorse :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Veg News Magazine

In college I subscribed to Vegetarian Times, which is a very good magazine and website. But their recipes are not always vegan. So what's a magazine reading foodie vegan girl supposed to read?

Veg News!!

A year ago I didn't even know Veg News existed. But then when I attended the Boston Vegetarian Society festival in Boston last October, I bumped into the beautiful people of Veg News and bought a subscription.

Subscriptions are $20 a year for 6 issues. Don't be scared off by the price, it's worth it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tofu Press

Do you remember when Whole Foods came to my church to teach a cooking class? One of the things we made was a delicious tofu lasagna (I know, I know, you're thinking, "Really? That can't taste good." But you know what? It was awesome!)

One of the tools they had on hand for draining the tofu (which is stored in water and very absorbent), was this tofu press. Definitely one of those products I tried and immediately thought, "Why didn't I think of that?"

I'm sure there are different versions of this sort of thing, but I see no reason to buy one that wasn't this one made by NASOYA.

How it works is you place a block of tofu under the press and then push down the lid until you can lock it into place. Then the tofu drains quickly and well. Unlike my current (annoying) method of placing it on papertowels and weighing it down with a heavy plate. Just not very effective!

I'm not exactly sure, but I think this press costs around $30.00. Is it necessary? No, but it sure makes dealing with tofu a lot easier!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Some of my favorite things, carrot juice.

About a year ago I stopped drinking coffee. I had already been caffeine free since 2001 (when I had my first child), and found it wasn't as hard as I imagined it would be to stop drinking coffee drinks. I used to drink decaf coffee filled with cream and sugar, several times a day. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing so, but my teeth whitened up and my stomach settled down once I stopped!

One of my favorite replacements for an iced coffee on a summer morning or afternoon is carrot juice. I know I've talked about this before, but I was just talking to one of my best friends about it and thought it was worth mentioning again.

This is my favorite brand and can be found just about anywhere. It has a lot less sugar than the smoothies you'll find on the market (14 grams per 8 fluid ounces), but is still sweet.

The first time I tried it, I was like, "Oh, not for me!" but now I love it. Your taste buds really do adjust!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some of my favorite things, tea.

Sometimes I just need to CHILL OUT.  How about you? When I'm feeling stressed, I like to relax with a hot cup of tea, however uncool that makes me :)

 Here are two of my current favorites, both by TAZO.

I get several boxes of it at at time whenever I go to my local Target, but they also sell and serve TAZO teas at Starbucks (which bought out the company). I first tried Tazo Rest years ago after a yoga class and fell in love. It's more perfumey than what I usually like, but there is something about it that is so delicious and different.

Who couldn't use some calm in their day? I drink calm at night.

What are some of your favorite teas? Educate me :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday :)

Breakfast was courtesy of Whole Foods, who gave me these wonderful (large!) samples of dorset cereals. Not that I needed a sample, as these were already my two favorite flavors! Check out the dorset site to read all about them. Each box runs around $5.00 and is sold at Whole Foods, Roche Brothers and some Targets, I think.

Lunch was really good: kale chips (you don't have to use oil to make them), quinoa (plain) and my vegan sloppy joes.

Snack were my favorite new cookie. I overcooked them a little so they would have a nice crunch to them. Yum!

Dinner was our new favorite type of pasta, brown rice pasta, topped with a simple jarred sauce, some butternut squash and a side of broccoli, beans, spinach and edamame (which came from the freezer).

My meals are always simple and I love to post these pictures so you can see that healthy eating can be quite easy when you have a sense of balancing out your meals. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What the bulk? Red Lentils

Full disclosure, I haven't yet tried this red lentil hummus recipe from the amazing blog "Oh She Glows." However, I am going to make it soon! Beat me to it and tell me how it turns out, okay?

Sneaky Red Lentil “Hummus”

Make this spread as a fun alternative to chickpeas! It’s not only similar in appearance, but taste too. Red lentils also tend to be easier to digest, so if you have problems with chickpeas I encourage you to give this a try.

Yield: 1 heaping cup
  • 1/2 cup uncooked red lentils + 1 & 1/4 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • water to thin out, if needed
  • Herbs & seasonings of choice, if desired

1. Pick through the lentils to make sure there are no pebbles and rinse in a small colander. In a medium-sized pot, add the lentils and 1 & 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover, simmering until the water is absorbed or about 10-13 minutes. Stir the lentils frequently to prevent them from sticking to the pot.
2. With the food processor running, drop in the clove of garlic to mince. Add the cooked lentils, along with the lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add a touch of water if necessary to thin out.
3. Add salt to taste and other herbs and seasonings if desired.
Nutritional info: (per 2 tbsp) 45 cals, 1 gram fat, 7 grams carbs, 60 mg sodium, 1 gram fibre, 3 grams protein.

Look how amazing her meals always look! Here is the hummus spread on a wrap.

Definitely check out Oh She Glows. It's where half my recipes come from!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Farm Fest!

My daughter and I recently attended the Farm Fest held at the Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon, MA. It was a beautiful way to spend a sunny day in the country. Not only did I get to meet some people I've heard about in this circle,  I bumped into a couple of friends by surprise. Here are some pictures of our day!

 Of course we got to see cute cows!

Part of what appealed to me was the small size. Room to move around and breathe!

The Vegan MetroWest Network

This was the happy person working at The Humane League table. Everyone is always smiling at these sorts of events.

The only thing better than Yoga outside are a bunch of cute kids doing it together.

My Lebanese great grandmothers used to henna their hands. Hip before it was hip, peeps!

And of course the awesome people from the Bellingham Whole Foods were there giving out all sorts of cool samples! Raw dessert balls, hummus and chips, my favorite muesli and cool bath products. Thanks Whole Foods!

Donna from Better Off Well was there volunteering with her sweet son. Doesn't she look all official? Please click on the link to her beautiful new web site. So calming, isn't it?

The holy grail of all vegan ice cream trucks, it's the women of Like No Udder!

Can't you just tell they're nice people?

My daughter enjoyed a sweet chocolate/vanilla swirl.

I did the same, but got a sweet (but not too sweet) strawberry topping. Good times!

These baskets are beautiful, no?

I thought this band was really coooool.

Not only got to buy this book, but talked for a while with the author, J. Morris Hicks. He and I are on the same page :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

What In The World Is...?

Today I thought it would be fun to post another "What In The World Is" post, since it's been a while. I'd like to dedicate this post to plant-strong reader Denise, who asked me for a good tempeh recipe. The good news is, I have a GREAT recipe! And the fun part is that it's an old childhood favorite, sloppy Joes.

So what in the world is tempeh?

"Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger. Many commercially prepared brands add other grains, such as barley, and also add spices and extra flavors. Although tempeh is made from soy, it has a unique taste and is mildly flavorful on it's own, unlike tofu. If you aren't fond of tofu, tempeh is also very high in protein and calcium, as well as beneficial isoflavones, but tastes nothing like tofu. Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor." (source,

My recipe for Sloppy Joes is a great one. Now, I realize the pictures are unappealing, but trust me, they taste great.

I believe I got this recipe from the Kripalu cookbook.

Tempeh Barbecue

3 T canola oil (I use almost no oil because I use a cast oil pan, which rocks, right?)
8 ounces tempeh, cut into little pieces
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
2 T canned tomato paste
2 T unsulphured molasses (black strap)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T prepared brown mustard
1/2 tsp ground mustard (no big deal if you don't have it, but it's a nice flavor)
2 1/4 tsp tamari

In a medium-sized skillet, heat oil and grill the tempeh pieces on medium-high heat until brown on both sides, adding 1 tsp salt, the garlic powder and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil and saute the onions and mushrooms for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

Add the tomato sauce and paste, molasses, lemon juice, vinegar, prepared and ground mustard, tamari, remaining black pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add the reserved tempeh and cook for at lest 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Simple Dessert

I have talked about this particular dessert before, but it's so good it needs to be repeated!

There are the raw date balls from The Kind Life book. 

Raw Balls (The Kind Diet)
½ cup walnuts
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup raw carob powder (I use unsweetened cocoa)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup nut butter (almond or peanut)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup chopped almonds (I only do this step half of the time)
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (get the unsweetened kind at Whole Foods)

Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts. Add the carob or cocoa powder, syrup, nut butter, vanilla and salt. Process until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the almonds and pulse a few times until combined. Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls with your hands. Roll the balls in coconut (or chopped nuts). Place in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened. 

I leave mine in the freezer because I like the texture.

Don't you just want to pluck these right off your computer screen and eat them for dessert?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting past negative body image!

The other day I was at the gym enjoying a zumba class (have you tried it? It's insanely fun and I'm a maniac out there!) and noticed a cute woman behind me. During our water break, I leaned over to her and we have the following conversation:

Me: "Isn't this class great?"
Her: "Yes!"
Me: "Love your top!"
Her: "Uh, it's to cover my fat stomach."
Me: speechless....

That really bummed me out. So much so, that I thought it was time to write a post about women and our body image issues.

Don't get me wrong, I don't always wake up and feel awesome about the way I look, but I do feel really really good about my overall health, my attitude about that and my ability to accept a compliment. It's taken years to get to this point, but I can tell you I'd never negate someone who takes the time to give me a compliment, especially about my shape.

I've often looked at the women in my life and thought, "I wonder if they realize how beautiful they really are?" and can almost guarantee that your friends, family, spouse, kids are not NEARLY as critical about the way you look as you are. You are your own worst enemy because the people who love you would never think the way you do.

Why do we waste so much energy on this?

I'm built like my dad. Long legs, mostly toned and a soft middle. I also have had babies and both were delivered by c-section, so obsessing about a flat stomach is a complete WASTE OF TIME! Anyhow, the last thing I need is for my pre-teen daughter to see me frowning at myself in the mirror or stepping on a scale. Instead I've shifted my focus on what I DO like about my body.

It's so empowering to stop wasting energy on feeling badly about your body. Life is so short!

Let me end with saying that there is nothing NOTHING more appealing about a woman than great self esteem and confidence. And that doesn't come with a number on a scale or a shirt at the gym fitting you just right. It comes from within :)

My challenge for you: The next time someone compliments you, smile and say, "Thank you!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lets Get Dirty!

Lets get dirty, so we can get clean! (I've been waiting all week to say that! Clever, right?)

I know Tuesdays are normally "What the Bulk" Tuesdays, but this week I wanted to talk about my favorite bath products by The Body Shop.

I have been using their different shower gels for about a year and they keep my skin soft, with just a little bit of a scent. And my kids' shower looks like a rainbow of different scented gels!

Have you tried them? They don't dry out your skin and they lather well. Pictured here are three scent options, but I'm craziest over the Pink Grapefruit. The scent wakes me up and always smells yummy.

Because I'm not lucky enough to have a Body Shop nearby, I wait until I'm low on product and then buy about a year's worth all at one. The web site is always running a special, like buy-two-get-two, which means you're getting 4 bottles for about $24. Not so shabby.

Trust me, you'll love it.

And you'll smell delicious!