Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's been a while...

Yes, it has been a while since I posted! I started my new job at Ulta beauty about a month ago and have been so busy ever since. I currently have to drive and hour to and an hour back from work everyday so when I get home i just feel like snuggling in bed with my hubby instead of sitting in the dining room being on the internet.

But low and behold, today we received a MacBook! I have a Dell laptop, but it has not been working for quite sometime. We were going to reformat it but could not figure out what box in storage the disk was packed in. A few days after digging through storage, a friend of ours posted that he was selling a year old MacBook on Facebook for $350! We scooped that opportunity up! Now I am posting to you from the comfort of my bed. I goes I will go over what's been going on for the past month or so:

The week before I started work, we went back down to West Palm for a few days to visit my sister, my mom and some friends. It was fun. My sis and I made tons of yummy vegan food the whole time watched cheesy movies like She's All That. During this time it was also my mom's birthday so we made her cupcakes (pictured above) and other delicious things!

It was super fun spending time with another vegan and having fun with Rey and our friends.

Then I started work which is super awesome! I get to work with make-up and beauty products and awesome people all day. I think this is my favorite job to date!

Rey is still looking and applying to jobs. Still no interviews or anything yet, but I'm hopeful he will find something soon. I'm really anxious for us to move into our own place already! Not that I don't love my in-laws, because I totally do, but I don't love spending two hours in a car with no A/C everyday and I don't love shopping at Wal-mart! I just also really miss having my own space. I can't wait to go back to the days of morning coffee made in my own coffee pot, dinner cooked in my own kitchen and being lazy on the couch in my own living room. I'm also anxious because we are going to be living in a two bedroom apartment instead of our one bedroom back in West Palm. This mean I'm going to have my own room to create, blog or do whatever I want in! I'm trying to be patient until then but it's getting harder everyday.

In the meantime, you should really check out this blog from this amazing 15 year old girl. It's what is inspiring me for the moment :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Non-veg BBQ's and Berry Swirl "Cheesecake"

It's that time of year for BBQ's and cookouts. Pretty much all of the shin-digs I attend are not vegan, seeing as I only know one other vegan (not counting all my internet friends). This doesn't mean that I don't get to eat. Whether you are vegan, gluten-free, diabetic or raw, here are some tips I have picked up on how to make sure you don't starve at a BBQ.

1. Never assume the host fully understands your diet or even knows about it. If you know the host, try to inquire what the food options will be, that way you know what you have to work with. Maybe the host has a vegan sister, or diabetic friend and therefore thought about these options. You will never know until you ask :)

2. If you are sure there won't be much substantial to eat, bring something for yourself that can easily be made on the grill. This weekend I went to a BBQ at my husband's friends house, and even before my husband had asked him about veg options, I was planning on bringing some Yves Good Dogs to put on the grill. The host was happy to grill up my vegan dogs before the meat was put on the grill. They were super delicious and I was full when I left.

3. Bring a dish that fits your diet that everyone can enjoy! Maybe you love vegan potato salad, or want to share and amazing gluten-free cookie recipe you found. This is an excellent way to share with people how awesome and delicious your diet is and might even spark some friendly conversation and you will get to explain your diet choices in a positive atmosphere. If you want some great vegan recipes, there are countless user-entered recipes on Vegweb.com

At the BBQ I just mentioned, I brought a super yummy vegan Berry Swirl Cheesecake that I created my own recipe for. It came out super delicious and all of the non-vegans loved it! Here is the recipe:

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 to 6 Tbsp. melted Earth Balance buttery spread or sticks
(if you want this to have less sugar, omit the sugar in the crust, it will still be delicious!)

1 8oz. tub Vegan Cream Cheese
1 12oz. pkg. Mori-Nu Firm silken tofu
1/3 cup pineapple juice
4 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 cup of vegan sour cream
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar or agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 cup (or more) Smucker's Triple Berry IceCream Topping (or you favorite berry preserves)

For crust:
Lightly spray a spring-form pan or round cake pan with cooking spray. Mix crumbs and sugars in a bowl with a fork. Mix enough melted Earth Balance in the crumb mixture so that the mixture is still crumblike, but slightly held together. You don't want it to be too dry or too over saturated. Mix until there are no dry crumbs.
Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of your spring-form or cake pan. Press with your hands until the crust is flat and as even as you can make it. Set aside while you make your cheesecake batter.

For Cheesecake:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor combine the cream cheese, tofu and fruit juices until very smooth. Next add in the remaining ingredients, except the berry preserves, and mix in blender until combined and mixture is a smooth consistency. Pour this mixture onto your graham cracker crust and spread until it's evenly distributed throughout the pan. If using preserves instead of the Smucker's topping, you will probably have to heat it in the microwave for a few seconds so the consistency is more like a sauce.

Now use a teaspoon to place small amounts of your berry topping or preserves on top of your cheesecake mixture. You can place them randomly and put as much or as little as you want depending on how much berry flavor you want. Once you have the right amount, take a butter knife and swirl your berry mounds around the cheesecake until it looks something like this:

Bake cheesecake at 350 for 45 minutes. When it's done, the edges will be slightly browned. It should look something like this:Let the cheesecake cool a bit and then put in the fridge to chill overnight or at least 4 hours. I topped mine with some more berry topping and some fresh raspberries. Get creative and top yours with whatever you want!

Here is a pic of a single slice of mine:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A weekend at the Springs

Last weekend, my husband, my mother-in-law and my husband's stepfather and I took a 6 hour car ride up to Ponce De Leon and Bonifay Florida for a family reunion. The reunion was for The Crawford's who are my husband's mother's side of the family. They are very southern and also very polite and sweet. The reunion took place at Ponce De Leon Springs State Park which is in the Panhandle (we were practically in Alabama and in a different time zone!). The park has beautiful cold springs with clean clear water. I had never been to a spring before and was surprised to see how crystal clear the water was. The picnic area was filled with families occupying pavilions and picnic tables, but there was so much shade over the area, you almost forgot how hot it was. The water was very refreshing and cold. People were even keeping whole watermelons cold in part of the spring!! There were two basic parts of the spring; a deep area where many kids and teenagers were splashing around, swimming and jumping, and then a shallow stream where you could walk around. We didn't bring our bathing suits so we just waded around the stream where the water only went up to our shins. Still very refreshing from the heat. The park was overall very beautiful. Here are some photos of our adventure at the park.

There was a big tree growing right up out of the swimming area, it was amazing. There were broken logs and plants growing right out of the spring, so beautiful.
The water was so clear and blue, like a swimming pool!Rey and I decided to have fun and pose for a few shots. He wanted to take a picture of me on this spot of greenery growing right next to the spring.

Here is a photo of us with Rey's sister Mikki and her boyfriend Dan.

As far as food goes, I knew there would not be many (or any) vegan options, so I brought along a package of my favorite Amy's California Veggie Burger's from home. They were super yummy cooked on the grill and a bit of ketchup and mustard on the bun. I also ate some potato chips and a pickle. Not the healthiest meal but at least it was vegan and I was full! I was planning on saving a burger or two for dinner, but there were so many coolers going around they somehow got misplaced in all the shuffle.

We stayed the night at Rey's Grandmother's house in nearby Bonifay. On the way there we stopped at a Piggly Wiggly (it's a grocery store, a very southern backwoods grocery store) in hopes to find some sort of vegan food I could eat, knowing there wouldn't be anything at the house. It was a complete fail. No vegan yummies at all, not even a Morning Star Farms or Boca item. At least they had produce, which I suppose is better anyway. So I picked up a bag of lettuce, a vidalia onion and some light Italian dressing to munch on for dinner, and a box of Kashi cereal for breakfast the next morning. When we arrived at my Grandmother-in-law's I also discovered a can of crescent rolls (Vegan!) in the fridge, so a bunch of us split those as well.

Rey's Grandmother lives in a nice quaint house that had a few rooms built on to it and it has two huge storage closets. She lives there with her sister and they are both very sweet and accommodating. The live there with a cute Yorkie terrier named Honey and two Cows and other animals! The cows have a wide area to roam around in behind the house. Here are some photos.
The white one is the female and black one is the bull. The female is named Ginger. She was pregnant and past due while we were there. She had her calf a few days after we left and they named him Brown Sugar.
Here Rey is feeding the bull. He was so cute! Who could eat such a gentle creature?

I know they used the cow's milk but at least I knew they were being humanely treated, cared for and loved. The only cow's I have ever been that close to were the one's they keep chained up at the South Florida Fair and those poor things are always so depressed.

The weekend was a fun time spent with family. We played cards (BS!), talked, joked around and told stories and my husband was happy to spend time with people he doesn't get to see too often.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I try to keep this blog pretty positive, after all it does have "Be Kind" in the title. But sometimes people do or say things in regards to veganism that just really piss me off! and right now, I just need to vent! So here is a list so I can get it all out at once and go back to the happy, peaceful vegan blog this is meant to be.

1. Milk commercials!
Wtf? California Happy cows? yeah right! Would you be happy if your baby was torn away from you minutes after birth never to be seen again?? Or if you were torn away from your mother and denied proper nutrition just so you can have underdeveloped muscles and then slaughtered so people could eat veal?! Nope! I would be one unhappy cow! Now they are trying to show these small "family" farms being nice to their cows, but they are probably only showing the small percentage of "humane" or super "organic" farms that exist. Most dairy in this country comes from a factory farm, and if you think that mistreatment of these animals is strictly on a small case by case basis, you are fooling yourself or don't want to know the actual truth so you can keep downing ice cream and extra cheese pizza without the guilt.
Besides the Happy cow commercials, milk commercials in general just upset me. So many people in this country think that we need milk to be healthy and to have strong bones because of these commercials, but that is so completely wrong! If we were supposed to drink cow's milk, we would be....um....what do you call it?? oh yeah! BABY COWS!!! We are the only mammals that drink milk after infancy and who drink another species milk. That doesn't sound very natural to me. Cow's milk is designed to help baby cow's grow exponentially in a short amount of time, which could just make us gain a bunch of weight. You can argue with me that we need meat or eggs to live, that it is natural for us to eat it as omnivores, but there is no reasonable argument for milk. It just doesn't make sense. "But where do we get calcium from?" Yes, milk has calcium, along with a slew of other things our bodies don't need. It is even shown in many studies that drinking milk actually prevents calcium absorption into the bones and that women who drank milk were more likely to get osteoporosis then women who found calcium from other sources. Plenty of other foods have calcium in them along with tons of other vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens are a good start, like spinach and kale, black-strap molasses, fortified orange juice, cereals and non-dairy milks, and so much more. Just do a little research to find out what milk really is and you will see that your body really will do well without it.(Did you know we are all supposed to be Lactose intolerant?) The California cows will thank you for it.

2. Mean Spirited People
I'm talking about people who get their kicks purposely putting down people's race/religion/gender/sexuality/lifestyle choice. You seriously have nothing better to do but to make a profile on a website about veganism and just hate, poke fun and bash on every post you comment on?? Really? REALLY? This isn't a pro-rape website, or child molester website where you can hate on actual evil people all you want. You seriously hate vegans so much that you need to waste your time hating on us in our own domain. Healthy debate is one thing, but straight up death threats, name calling and teasing is just unwarranted! One time my sister posted something on Facebook about how Taco Bell screwed up and gave her a BEEF burrito instead of BEAN burrito and one of her "friends" posted something like: "You should go kill yourself for being a vegan". WTF????!! How does she in anyway deserve death for not wanting to inflict pain or suffering on animals. She wasn't even spreading the vegan gospel, she was simply telling the world about her crappy fast food experience (but honestly, what else can you expect from fast food?). Are these people angry because veganism simply makes them uncomfortable with their own diet?? Do they feel guilty about the animals they eat or how they treat their body and because we bring this subject to light it makes them feel angry with themselves?? I don't understand. I don't shove vegansim down people's throats. If you don't want to learn about where your food comes from, that's fine. I'm here if you want answers or support, but don't purposely seek out to put down people who only want peace in the world. And this brings me to number 3.

3.Vegans who make the rest of us look bad.
Some people love to spread the word. I get it. It's cool if you want to peacefully hand out fliers in the courtyard of your local university. Maybe even dress up like a Tiger on a street corner to protest Ringling Bros. (because they are evil). But again, hate and death threats and other such tools do not solve problems. I have heard of a certain non-profit going to the lengths of dressing up like KKK members, handing out pamphlets comparing the Meat industry to the KKK!! As much as there is pure evil in the meat and dairy industry, I would not "spread the word" by comparing the two, not to mention it's incredibly insensitive to the racial groups that the KKK discriminates against. I also know there are many vegans who think people who eat meat should die, or vegans who spend all of their time degrading people for their food choices. The last thing people want to hear while they are eating is how disgusting, unhealthy, etc. their food is. People are not going to want to join your cause if you constantly degrade and belittle them. This just makes the case for veganism harder. It makes it hard for all of us to show the world that veganism is awesome and peaceful.
Recently Celebrity Trainer, and known vegan, Bob Harper tweeted that he had egg whites for the first time in a long time, and it's under debate as to whether this is the first time he has "cheated" on his vegan diet. Boy were people angry. People sent him death threats and angry words. I know it's upsetting when celebrities break the vegan rules, but they are only human, like the rest of us. He said he felt like eating egg whites, so he did. He is a free man and has the right to eat what he wants when he wants. Again, sending death threats just tells the rest of the world that vegans are crazy unbalanced freaks who don't know what they are talking about. and this kind of leads in to number 4.

4. Ex-vegans with poor excuses/diet habits
Vegansism is not for everybody, I know this. Some people have been vegan and went back to veg or omni because their "bodies told them to". Fine. But the one's who did not research or eat properly and claimed that veganism/vegetarianism made them sick, that's just annoying. Of course you are going to be sick if you are vegetarian and eat nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips all day, or if you are vegan and eat nothing but french fries, cookies and cakes all day. No bueno! I have a friend who said something like "The only thing that sucks about being vegetarian is getting sick all the time". She also boasted eating a bag of Fritos and other such junk food for breakfast. Um, being vegetarian has nothing to do with you getting sick, but I'm sure what you are eating does. Don't blame vegetarianism on your poor diet habits or the fact that you don't eat meat, but instead eat high fat, over processed food. I started leaning towards veganism 2 years ago and have been vegan since January 1st 2011. I have not been sick in almost 2 years. I used to get sick 1 to 3 times a year like every other Jane Schmane and I was constantly sick as a child. My husband (a meat eating omnivore) has been sick several times during this 2 year period and we share a bed and saliva and everything (sorry to be gross) and I did not once get sick from him.
I have another friend who said she would not become vegetarian because her Aunt and Uncle are and they are overweight and have diabetes. Um, last time I checked veganism is known to reverse diabetes. But of course she said they were vegetarian so god only knows what they could be eating on a daily basis to cause diabetes. Cheese, ice cream, french fries, etc. This is also a negative image in the case for veganism. So please, I beg of you, if you are vegan or vegetarian, be a good example and follow a proper diet, stop eating so much junk food and stop blaming your illness on veganism/vegetarianism alone. You are making the rest of us look bad!

Sorry for such a long post but sometimes these things just have to come out and what better outlet than a blog about veganism? Right?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Delicious Crispy Vegan Onion Rings!

Last night I had a crazy hankering for fried food.  I usually do not fry anything at home, but sometimes I just get in that mood (like the time I made super delicious, yet unbelievably unhealthy Vegan Double Down).  I had seen onion rings being made twice on the Food Network last week and on a few blogs as well, so I thought I would give them a try.  They came out really crunchy and delicious, much like the onion stings at Chili's. Super Yum!  Here is how I did it.

 1-2 Vidalia onions or another sweet onion
  1 cup plain Silk Creamer (you can use whatever non-dairy milk you would like, but the creamer is a little thicker).
  1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  Flour Breading:
  1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  1/2 to1 tsp. salt
  1/2 to1 tsp. pepper
  1/4 tsp. paprika
  1/4 tsp. garlic powder
 Lots of Canola or Vegetable oil for frying.

In a measuring cup, combine Silk creamer, vinegar and cayenne.  Let sit for a few minutes to curdle. In the meantime, peel and slice the onions to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and separate into rings.  Place rings in a shallow dish and cover with "Buttermilk" mixture to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.  In a large ziplock bag or air tight container, combine flour and spices.  While the onions are soaking, heat oil in a shallow frying pan, using enough oil to be about 1 to 2 inches deep.

Once the onions have been soaking long enough, place them into your flour mixture and seal your bag and/or airtight container and shake the onions in the mixture until they are fully coated.
Place coated onion rings in the hot oil, a few at a time to not over crowd. Flip the onion rings once or twice while frying for even cooking.

Once onion rings are golden brown, remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired and enjoy!!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Vegan Chili

Good evening!!  Last night I made my vegan Chili for my husband and myself for dinner and I thought it would be awesome to share my recipe with you.  Let me start out by saying that when I used to eat meat, I found chili repulsive! Mostly because I wasn't a fan of ground beef and didn't care much for beans.  Now that I'm vegan I am crazy about beans and the first time I had veg chili was on a cruise and was pretty much my first time eating any chili ever! Now I love to make a big pot for me and my hubby and it lasts for a few meals between the two of us. The best part about this is, you only have to use one pot, how awesome is that?? (BTW, I still find Chili made with meat completely repulsive, especially when people put it on french fries and what not, blech!).

1 can regular tomato sauce (the regular can size, not that giant can)
1 can petite diced tomatoes with the liquid (don't drain!)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 package vegan burger crumbles (this is optional, but my omnivore husband loves this stuff, so I use it)
1/2 to 1 full can of sweet corn (depending on how much corn you like, or you can omit it all together)

1/2 large onion, diced (yellow, white, red...whatever kind you prefer, they are all good)
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (or more, if you prefer)
2 tsp. molasses
1 tbsp. cumin powder
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (you can add more or omit it, depending on if you like your chili spicy or not)

First heat about a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the bottom of your stock pot on medium heat.  Once heated, add your diced onions and peppers and minced garlic.  Saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent. Add your burger crumbles, if using, and saute until heated, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add  all your canned goods to the stock pot.  I start with the tomato sauce and go in order to end with the corn, but it really doesn't matter.  Once you have added your canned goods, stir to incorporate. Next add molasses and all of the spices and stir again. Once all ingredients are incorporated, let the chili start to boil a bit then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Then it's ready to eat!  Serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream on top and your favorite vegan cornbread on the side!  Yum!!!

I'm going to say this yields about 6 servings or about 4 hungry husband size servings, ha!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Yes Yes, finally a new post!  I know it's been forever!  First there was Odd Duck, and then looking for a new job and packing and moving!!  Life just got so busy!!!  

First things first, Odd Duck was totally amazing and and I thank everybody enough for the support!  My hubby helped me prep and was my super cute booth buddy!  Also, my best friend came over the night before and helped me finish the final prep work and baking.  It was awesome to experience a show with all my crafty friends in south Florida!  Once I find the cord to hook my camera up to the computer I will post pictures, I promise!  But until then you can just browse the pics on my friend Hollie's Blog here!

Secondly, we have moved!!  We moved out of our tiny one bedroom apartment in West Palm Beach and moved most of our stuff to a storage facility in Orlando while we are staying with our in-laws in Winter Haven, Fl which is about right in the middle of Florida.  We are staying here temporarily while we look for jobs.  Once we are employed we will be moving to Winter Park, FL which is a beautiful city just north of Downtown Orlando.  I can't wait to go adventuring in Winter Park/Orlando!  So much of the area is made up of beautiful old buildings and moss covered trees lining the streets.  If it wasn't for the heat, you might forget that you are in Florida!  The is even a "Little Vietnam" area with a Loving Hut! (that's a vegan "fast food" chain, for those of you who don't know).  There are so many more Vegan and Veg friendly places up here I can't wait to try!

Even though being currently unemployed wasn't my dream when moving up here, I have to say at the moment it is kind of nice.  I haven't been without a job in the past 6 years with only a few short vacations in between.  Waking up whenever I want in the morning and knowing I don't have to be anywhere all day is kind of a nice break.  But seriously, I do need a job so if you know of any in the Orlando area, please let me know.  I just had one interview yesterday with The Limited and will hopefully have another one soon with Ulta.  So wish me luck on those!!