Category Archives: Adventures

(Mex)ICAN ENJOY THIS CRUELTY-FREE BURRITO

Standard

Ever since becoming vegan, I’ve found myself seeking out primarily vegan restaurants. (Something I think is pretty normal when making a transition like mine.)  I’ve tried a lot of really great things that I wouldn’t have even known existed and for that I’m thankful.  However, something that I’ve noticed about myself  is my tendency to seek out a vegan restaurant instead of finding options in places that I used to frequent as an omnivore. 

Two chainy-type restaurants have recently come to my attention.  Chipolte and Qdoba have a decent amount of veg friendly options and even better- their websites give a detailed description of what’s in what so there’s no second guesses there.  Check these two out- it’s a great option if you’re eating out with non-veg friends or need something on the go.  So don’t count them out just because they’re not 100% veg- I was happy to re-try these places.

Check out the ingredient listing for Chipolte.

Check out the ingredient listing for Qdoba.

I’ll Have My Goals And Eat Them Too!

Standard

What a lovely birthday weekend complete with food, drink, and friends!  I called in for a whole vegan cheesecake from the Loving Hut on Hamilton Street and it truly was sensational!  Almost key-lime-esq and I swear the average dairy-consumer would be non-the-wiser.  It was also fresh and ready with no more than 30 minutes notice.  (Me-Yoong does, however, recommend calling earlier in advance next time but I was still very impressed!)  Among the very generous gifts I received this year was a cook book called 101 Best Vegan Foods and we set a goal for 2013 to work our way through the entire thing cooking every meal at least once.  (I promise this blog won’t turn into a Julie Julia Project type thing BUT with the help of my brand new Cannon I will be posting the recipes along with pictures of how my creations turned out under the recipe tab so check back for my progress!)  I’m actually considering making a whole new tab just for the recipes out of the cookbook… we’ll see how crazy I get!  It’s a cookbook you can actually sit down and read since it’s not just jam-packed with recipes but it tells you what foods have which nutrients, why they’re important for a healthy vegan diet, and other helpful suggestions.  I’m hooked and ready for this new adventure!

 

Why should animals have rights?  Please check this link out.  There’s no excuse for this horrible mistreatment  and what’s more- there’s something you can do about it and it only takes 15 seconds.

And A Happy New Year

Standard

2013 brings plenty of opportunities for those New Year’s Resolutions we all love to hate.  Keeping them is almost as crazy as a vegan food show on the Cooking Channel…  or is it?  I am very excited to hear of host Jason Weobel’s new show “How To Live To 100” premiering Sunday January 6th, at 8 PM ET.  The Cooking Channel describes it:

“Detroit-born chef, Jason Wrobel, dishes up a sublime fusion of food and humor as host of the new Cooking Channel special, How To Live To 100. Known as the “King of Superfoods,” which are powerful ingredients proven to increase your longevity, Jason turns up the heat and whips them up into culinary masterpieces.”

Are you going to tune in?  I know I am!

And… do you need a little help figuring out what’s for cruelty-free-dinner in the New Year?  Check out this nice little Two-Week Vegan Meal Plan that PETA put together for some ideas!

Not Just A Face On A $5 Bill

Standard

In place of blogging over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been pre-occupied with a sick kitty at home.  He’s finally out of the woods and with some love, attention, and R&R he should be back to his old frisky self in no time.  I’d like to personally thank the Worcester Cat Hospital and Bird Clinic for working a miracle on my little one.  Without their second opinion, this post may have been singing a different, much grimmer tune.  I’d also like to thank Michael for not giving up hope even when there’s little to hope for and for teaching me that miracles do happen.  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. 

I will be back to blogging now that I have space in my brain to do something other than worry and hope for my Lincoln. 

 

Looking for some holiday gift ideas?  Check out the Humane Domain where “every purchase provides support for the Humane Society of the United States’ programs- and the animals.”

I Am Thankful

Standard
It’s time to count blessings and multiply love.  This post is a list of things that I am thankful for:
-My boyfriend, Mike and my mother Laura for not only being supportive of my transition into veganism, but for joining me on my path by becoming vegetarians in their own time.  Way to go guys- I love you
-My “in laws” for gladly accepting both me and my vegan treats with warm expressions and open minds.
-Support that I receive from friends in the form testing all of the food that I make, going to festivals with me, listening to my new ideas, and for trying all of the funky little restaurants I find online
-My cats, (Lincoln and Mary) for happily trading my meaty leftovers for extra smooches and for loving me no matter what
-That I live in a time and place where fresh, organic produce is readily available and that I am economically able to make these choices
Harms Vegetable Farm and Sugar House my CSA that I’ve grown to love so very much
-The Worcester Public Library for housing a great number of books, especially those on vegan diet, lifestyle, and exposure of the cruelties within agri-business
-My health and how far I’ve come in terms of running ability.  And for my favorite “personal trainer” for sticking it out with me and taking it slow
Loving Hut on Hamilton Street and the kind owners that work there for always being so friendly and helpful when we go in or take out
-Everyday I get to spend on this Earth.  What a wonderful life.

The Slow Change of Seasons

Standard
What a wonderful weekend spent with friends.  I was able to enjoy the splendor of Boston’s very own Arnold Arboretum  in Jamaica Plain wandering around the trees.  If you haven’t been there, go!  It’s free and beautiful and I always feel really great after a day there.  We’ve ventured out there in all seasons but winter and they have all been fantastic.  Hopefully this winter will bring another trip so I can complete my seasonal circuit! 
 
While we were in the area, we enjoyed some pizza at Peace O’ Pie  in Allston, MA.  This 100% vegan pizza place had plenty of tasty organic pizza options (that they let us mix and match) and even dessert!  I strongly recommend even for omnivores the one in our group thought the pizza was delicious!
 
Another noteworthy snack spot (this time right in my very own downtown Worcester, MA) is The Bean Counter.  Last night I had a hankering for something sweet so we set off in search for a treat to sedate my sweet tooth.  There were vegan and gluten-free options and a specialty drink menu that could be tailored to your liking.  I had a delicious oversized vanilla cupcake with sprinkles and I had to stop myself from ordering another one, reasoning that I would be back soon enough.  Great hang out spot with big comfy chairs and a nice window seat looking out onto Highland Street (perfect for people watching). 
 
What a fun time to be vegan.  The weather is changing and the earth is getting ready to freeze over for the winter.  What would I do without my farm stand on Grafton Street?  I can’t help but imagine a time where New England vegetarians and vegans would resort to all of their jarred and dried veggies from harvest, nuts and seeds,  and rely heavily on root vegetables until the thaw.  What a different world we live in now (not necessarily better just different).  I imagine it was much simpler to be in tune with what your body was telling you without all of the buzzing noise that we have now to distract us. 
 
If you’re in the mood for a laugh… check out this post I found on Vegetarians Are Evil.   By the way, is this for real?

Vegan Survival and Travel Tips

Standard

My heart truly goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy over the past few days and those that will be hindered by her after effects moving forward especially the people in New York and New Jersey who are experiencing awful setbacks (to say the least).  Natural Disasters aren’t ever fair.  Good luck to all those that have lost, and a special thank you to all those that are helping with the relief efforts. 

This disaster got me wondering what I should stock in case another hurricane or other natural disasters were to occur.   I went for a normal food shopping on Sunday night so I would be okay for about 4 days but what if I needed to be planning to be cut off from a stable food supply for more than just a few of days?  What should I have on hand?  There are plenty of angry bloggers that will point to the fact that basic survival doesn’t have anything to do with being vegan or vegetarian, it has ONLY to do with survival so people should do ‘what they  have to do to survive.’  These are the same people (I assume) that won’t mind eating their pets and other human beings in their best self-interest.  I’ll stick to my power bars and dried fruit thank you very much… oh and keep away from my cats you zombie cannibal crazies!

I few internet dwellers had some really good ideas about vegan survival kits (which exclude the obvious: matches, flashlight, utility knife etc.) and focus on food survival.  Below I found a helpful comment on Vegetarians in Paradise along with plenty of other helpful tips to be found there also.  It was kind of an open forum so it was also interesting to read about what different people thought were the most important things to bring.  I tend to agree with below:

“Focus on protein sources”

I’ve thought about a survival kit already, so here’s my take:

  1. Have one kit in the car and one at work, as well as ample stocks at home.
  2. You may be able to get vegan food in a disaster, but you can count on NOT getting vegan protein. For that reason your survival kit should focus on protein sources.
  3. My basics for the car and work are canned beans and bean-based soups, tetrapak soup (Imagine), individual packs of soymilk, vegan (Clif) energy bars and crackers. SELECT LOW-SODIUM ITEMS, AS YOUR DIET MAY CONSIST ENTIRELY OF THESE FOODS. Since you may not have access to fresh fruit or vegetables for a while, also keep some vitamins or (my choice) Emergen-C packets on hand. I also keep a small bottle of spirits (vodka, brandy, etc.). Sometimes it’s just what you (or others) need to relax–and it can be used as an antiseptic.
  4. Plenty of water.
  5. Remember to rotate the perishable foods every few months.
  6. Another item people should store away from home is a can of powdered soy or rice protein. I would assume that for several days, one would have access to bread, crackers, dried and canned fruits etc. from one’s work cafeteria, local stores, people’s houses, etc. The difficult thing will be vegan protein–and vitamin C.

I gave just the basics. One could add dried fruits, tea, favorite cereal, premade tea, etc. “Treats” for bargaining would also be good. But with most of these additions one runs into the problem of things getting stale. Canned and tetrapak items last longer.  D.O. 1-6-06″

I especially like that this post doesn’t leave out the alcoholic beverages- which could prove oh-so-necessary.  I also don’t think I would have thought to bring sweets for the bargaining purposes- but those too may come in handy in the event of an apocalyptic disaster in which I need to trade one of my Gin-Gins for a boat ride.  You just never know!

On a related subject, my boyfriend had gotten called up over the weekend to head over to Cape Cod to work on a storm damage team (again, because of Sandy).  After just one full day, he reported what I had already known to be true- it’s damn hard to be vegan/vegetarian on the road!  This got me thinking about the subject of travel.  Common sense would lead you to believe that you should do some research (Happy Cow is a wonderful tool for this) of the area so you’ll know what you’re up against in terms of restaurants etc., but in his case, he’s moving from place to place with each call without any real opportunity to select a dining establishment (and relying on fast food can be almost impossible).  He’s managing to get by with trips to Subway for their Veggie Delight (vegetarian and vegan-with-a-few alterations) and the supermarket, but this is something that I wish we would have planned better for.  Never listen to a man when he says he’s going to rough it- especially a vegetarian- they need some extra help.

Below is what I should have packed for his trip.  I think it serves as a good guide for every part of the food groups he would need to get adequate nutrition and maintain energy without the help of a stove or oven while he’s driving around for days:  (It will serve as a good grocery list for next time)

  • Soy/rice/almond Milk (if not the fresh stuff that I make at home, the small single serve packs they make that don’t have to be refrigerated)
  • Granola
  • Raw Nuts and Raisins: Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds and some shelled peanuts
  • Vegan Granola Bars: Clif Bars and Luna Bars are both vegan.  They do have refined ingredients in them but are good for the road
  • Nut Butter (Peanut/Cashew/Almond)
  • Blue Corn Chips (Tortilla Chips are typically vegan- just be sure to check the ingredients)
  • Hummus
  • Snack-friendly veggies: cut up carrot sticks or baby carrots, sliced celery
  • Fruit: Anything that can be eaten without much preparation: Apples, bananas, peaches, plums, oranges, grapes
  • Dairy free bread/pita
  • AND DON’T FORGET THE WATER!

**I would put everything in a cooler with an ice pack since I know that he’ll be going back to a hotel with a small fridge for the night and he’d be able to re-freeze his cooler pack and refrigerate the fruit and veggies and be able to re-pack the next day.  If he was going somewhere without refrigeration but was still going to have access to the supermarket I wouldn’t pack more than a day or two’s worth of fruit or veggies so that they would stay fresh and he could either visit a market for more or swap them out completely for some dried fruit.

I’m sure the list isn’t perfect and I welcome any additions that you might find useful and necessary.  As always, I am a work in progress.  I wish everyone the best of luck weathering whatever storm they’re up against. 

More on vegan/vegetarian traveling:

I found this very helpful link to Vegetarian Phrases In Other Languages just in case you find yourself traveling abroad or having to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the languages you do.   Or, if you don’t want to try speaking the languages yourself you can try this Vegan Passport with 73 languages explaining your dietary needs to others.