Happy New Year's Eve

At one point this year, April 18th to be exact, I weighed 199.3.
I know this because I looked at the pictures of my son and I on his birthday,
and I wondered how much I weighed because my face looked swollen.

Around that time, I started looking into health and nutrition because my daughter had been sick so frequently I knew there had to be something I was missing. It eventually led me to a vegan diet, that my entire household has adopted.  I have recently slipped from my vegan choices, including when making decisions for my children.  I noticed the weight started to add back up, my energy level was slipping steadily, my daughter started going back to her routine of getting sick all the time.  

Fell asleep with a fever waiting for Santa.

It reaffirmed my initial feelings about this choice.

Now on NYE 2010, I weigh 164 lbs.
I'm in the best shape I've been in since
I was 16 years old and in gymnastics.
It's been an awesome year.

"New Year's eve is like every other night;
there is no pause in the march of the universe, 
no breathless moment of silence among created things
that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; 
and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening
that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."


Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snack ideas.

Pizza: Tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, fresh basil, olive oil

Breakfast Bowls: Scrambled tofu with bell pepper, onions, tomatoes, etc. 
Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and cherries.

Guacamole:  Avocados, red onion, tomatoes, serrano peppers, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, etc.

Artichoke Pasta: Wish we could remember. lol  Artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olive oil, dried red peppers, annnnnd....? It was phenomenal though.  We will definitely make it again.

We also recently made vegetable soup using stelline pasta.
(Wicked cute tiny star shaped pasta)

The pasta for the artichoke was also cute.  Campanelle pasta.  Supposed to resemble church bells, but I thought it looked more like a flower.


Dinner the other night


Cajun rice, refried beans, taco seasoned boca crumbles,
avocado, arugula, onion, tomato, and taco sauce.

Examples of my kid's daily lunches:

PB & J, "Cream Cheese" & Jelly sandwiches, boca spicy chik'n patty, boca vegan burger, veggie sticks, apple slices, apple sauce, blueberries, corn on the cob, bananas, fruit cups, cherries, etc.


Enchilada Bake

Got this recipe from a vegetarian starter kit from Mercy For Animals.  It was a big hit in my house.  My husband does not like vegan cheese, or regular cheese so we omitted the cheese from our version and it was exceptionally good.

Enchilada Bake


1 12 oz. bag vegan burger crumbles (I use Boca)
1 packet taco seasoning
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cans pinto beans, drained
2 cans enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
1 bag shredded cheddar soy cheese (Like I said, we omitted cheese entirely and it wasn't missed)
1 4.5 oz. can diced green chilies
1 bag Fritos, crushed


In a bowl, mix the burger crumbles with the taco seasoning and toss to coat.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the scallions and cook about 3 minutes or until softened.  Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute.  Add the stock and cook, stirring, to achieve a smooth consistency, about 1 minute.  Add the pinto beans and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with oil.  Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of enchilada sauce.  Layer in 4 corn tortillas and all of the pinto bean mixture.  Follow with part of the soy cheese and green chilies, more enchilada sauce, and 4 more tortillas.  Add the burger crumbles mixture, more soy cheese, more green chilies, and more enchilada sauce.  End with the remaining 4 tortillas, enchilada sauce, and soy cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, top the entire casserole with crumbled Fritos, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until bubbly and browned.    


Sushi! Happy Halloween!


No surprise, considering it is a favorite in my house.  My Mom had never tried it before though, and was not sure about it.  I assumed she wouldn't eat it, but she loved it!  We made a couple rolls with cucumber and avocado, and a couple rolls with fried tofu and avocado with unagi glaze, it was phenomenal.  Then we did the avocado and sticky rice wrapped in nori because we had it at a restaurant Friday night and it was so simple but so good.

The unagi glaze is:

1 Tbsp Rice Wine
2 1/2 Tbsp Mirin
3 Tbsp Soy
2 1/2 Tbsp Sugar

You cook it on the stove until the sugar dissolves, be careful not to burn it.  It has a sticky, almost honey-like consistency when it sets.  It is so good.  I recommend trying it.

Happy Halloween!!

[Back in the day...]

My favorite holiday of the year.
[Also, my anniversary.]


Have a safe night everyone.




Yes, I do believe that a vegan diet is an extremely healthy choice.  Does being vegan = health?  Not even close.  To follow a vegan diet and remain healthy, is the same as following a non-vegan diet and remaining healthy.  You have to watch what you eat, and think about how it affects your body.  I recently started school, and due to the nature of my life changing drastically and suddenly - my body started to experience fatigue and as a result I started eating more junk food, and drinking soda again, and making many other choices that weighed me down day to day.  I would get energy, but I would crash later.  I also noticed the scale going from 170 to 176 and I didn't like the change.  Unfortunately there are a lot of junk food options that are conveniently vegan, and I was taking full advantage of them.  I have since got back on track with eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and drinking plenty of water and I'm already remembering why I decided to eat vegan to start with.  When I was not eating healthy, my skin was affected, my weight, my energy level, my mood, ...everything.  It is so important to eat a healthy diet, and stay active.

On another note, being vegan is important to me.  It is a choice I have made, and I do completely believe in it.  However, it is for health reasons that I have made the choice.  It is not a religion, and I am not bound to it.  I have explained to my children that being vegan is important, but it is not more important than enjoying life.  I do let my children eat food that is not vegan on occasion, just like any parent would let their child eat "junk" in moderation.  Birthday parties, Halloween parties, at their friends house, when someone brings them food, etc.  I am not a hardcore vegan, and I do not claim to be.  I can admire people who are, and I think that's great - but I'm here to tell you that is not the case with my family.  I only buy vegan groceries, and I only pack vegan lunches and snacks.  In doing so, I can feel very comfortable that by far the majority of what they eat is vegan.  That is good enough for me.  I don't want them so conscious of food choices that they miss a good time, because they are alienated by their diet.  A healthy diet is key to a long, happy life - but if you're not happy, what is the point of a long, healthy life?  Moderation.  Always in moderation.

She loves tofu dogs, with apple slices and peanut butter as a side!

Breakfast Skillets

A new favorite in my house is breakfast skillets.  Originally we were making scrambled tofu, and it progressed to a breakfast skillet.  When you buy tofu in the grocery store, I usually go with firm tofu for this, you open the package and drain the water.  You can put it on a paper towel, and put something weighted on top of it to strain out excess water before using it.  Then you break apart and put in the skillet like you would if you were scrambling eggs.  So at that point you can mix in onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, or whatever it is you usually enjoy eating with your scrambled eggs.

THEN we went a little bit farther with it.  We, and by we I mean he (husband), boil potatoes and cut them into cubes and throw them into the skillet and mix it with the tofu, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, etc.  To add a little moisture, you can add vegetable stock - which we usually keep on hand to make the soup I have mentioned and posted pictures of before.  It is really, really good.


Checking in...

Yes!  I'm still around!

I have taken a break from my blog, but I will be back soon.

I'm still vegan, and I'm still eating great things.

I'll be back around to share them in time.




We love to eat pizza in my house.

We especially love OUR pizza.  I've posted a link to this recipe before, it is not my own recipe it is one we stumbled across when looking for pizza dough recipes.  It happens to be a favorite, so I'm posting it again.  We've topped it with olive oil, pizza sauce, vegan cheese, vegan pepperoni, mixed vegetables, you name it.  It is delicious.  You should definitely try it.

Taken from: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled 
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast 
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F) 
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.

3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.

5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method.

7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other top- pings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American "kitchen sink" approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.

8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.

9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.

French Bread / English Muffin Bread

French Bread

7 to 7¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
¼ cup silken tofu
1 tablespoon salt
Yellow cornmeal

In large mixer bowl combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast.  Heat 2½ cups water, sugar, salt, and shortening just until warm (115-120º), stirring constantly to melt shortening. Add to dry mixture.  Beat at low speed with electric mixer for ½ minute, scraping bowl. (Or by hand until well mixed) Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Knead on floured surface until smooth (10 to 12 minutes).  Shape into a ball.  Place in greased bowl; turn once.  Cover; let rise until double (1 to 1½ hours).  Punch down. (Literally)  Divide in half.  Cover; let rest 10 minutes.  Roll each half to 15x12 inch rectangle.  (This is the part where I add what I would like inside the roll.  Basil leaves, diced tomatoes, cheese; cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla extract; etc.)  Roll up tightly from long side; seal well.  Taper ends.  Place each diagonally seam side down, on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.  Gash tops diagonally every 2½ inches, ¼ inch deep.

Mix silken tofu with water until it reaches a foamy, liquid consistency. (Usually only takes 1 to 2 tablespoons of water).  Brush tops and sides of loaves.  Cover; let rise until double (about 1 hour).  Bake at 375º until light brown, about 20 minutes.  Brush again with silken tofu.  Bake 20 minutes longer.  Remove from sheets; cool.  Makes 2. (Although I usually divide it down and make 4 small loaves, it just works easier for me.)

I also like English Muffin Bread and it is very easy to make, so I will post the recipe for that as well.

English Muffin Bread

2½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar

In large mixer bowl combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast.  In saucepan heat 1¼ cups water, sugar, and ¾ teaspoon salt until warm (115-120º), stirring to dissolve sugar.  Add to dry mixture in bowl.  Beat at low speed with electric mixer for ½ minute, scraping bowl.  Beat 3 minutes at high speed. (By the way, I make it by hand - I do not use the mixer.  I have recently tried it with a mixer and it is a lot easier but not as fun to make.)  By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Shape into ball.

Place in lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. (If you don't grease the dough and the bowl, it will not rise properly.)  Cover; let rise until double (about 1 hour).  Punch down. (Who doesn't like hitting things?) Cover; let rest 10 minutes.  Grease a 1 quart casserole; sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place dough in casserole; sprinkle top with cornmeal.  Cover; let rise until double (30 to 45 minutes).  Bake at 400º for 40 to 45 minutes.  Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.  Remove from dish; cool.  Makes 1.


Chili Cheese Dogs

Rice Shreds Mozzarella Flavored Shredded Cheese Alternative
(my favorite cheese alternative that I've tried so far)
Vegetarian Chili [Spicy]
(really good!)
Smart Dogs Veggie Protein Links
(My kids eat these like crazy for lunches)
White onion
Hot dog buns


Vegan chili cheese dogs

Yes, they taste great.
No, I don't miss wondering what was in my
hot dog as I ate traditional chili cheese dogs.


Things you'll find in my kitchen


Vegan Birthday Party

Getting things ready for my daughter's birthday party...

Happy Birthday Princess


The night before...

My last night with my 2 year old...

We made SIXTY cupcakes to share with friends and family tomorrow.  She was so excited and kept standing on her tip-toes to see all the cupcakes.  She said they were so cute, and so shiny. (The foil lining on the inside of the cupcake liners) She is ready to wake up in the morning and be 3.  Where did the time go...

Second Birthday

First Haircut

Her last day being 2