Be the Happiest, Healthiest You!


My obsession with Oreos pays off: New Frosting Recipe

>I know, I know . . . I’m obsessed with Oreos. Who wouldn’t be? They are delicious, processed, vegan, little treats of delight. What more could you ask for? They are the one treat that we usually keep in the house. A pack lasts me and the three girls about two weeks. What makes Oreos so delicious? Why vegetable shortening of course. So, when my frosting failed miserably a few weeks ago, I thought, “Self.” Because, you know I do call myself, self. I thought, “Self, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could make frosting that tastes like Oreos?” Why, yes, self, yes, it would.

So, I made that my mission. For my daughter’s second, sixth birthday party this weekend, I decided to switch up my cupcake recipe and frosting recipe. The cupcake recipe was too crumbly, but the frosting was marvelous! So, I will stick with my old cupcake recipe, but the new Oreo frosting recipe.

Oreo Frosting Recipe

3 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons Almond Milk (as needed)
In a bowl mix powdered sugar, margarine, shortening, and vanilla. With an electric mixer on low, start mixing the ingredients together. Add the milk slowly until the frosting reaches a creamy consistency. 
The is the first Vegan recipe that I developed all on my own. I hope you enjoy it!

To fake meat or not to fake meat . . . that is the question!


First, sorry to my subscribers about the double post yesterday that wasn’t a double post about applesauce. I hit enter when I should have hit delete… grr technology sometimes. Anyway, I apologize for the blank post. I hope it doesn’t happen again. And now to your regularly scheduled blog post:

Everyone from PETA to Vegan Outreach will tell you that one of the best ways to transition to veganism is to eat fake meat. When I say fake meat, I’m talking about meat substitutes such as tofurkey hot dogs and veggie meat crumbles. They have substitute cheeses (some of which are darn tasty) and substitute sausage, beef jerky, they have seitan (pronounced like satan) and all the like. Supposedly, these meat substitutes are supposed to help ease the transition because they help deal with cravings and keep things familiar. After all, life hasn’t changed that much right, you can still eat a hot dog– even if it is a tofu hot dog.

In fact, here is what PETA has to say about it:
Almost all grocery stores now carry delicious faux meat products, too—from veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs to vegetarian chicken nuggets, ribs, steak strips, and more. With these great products available, it’s easier than ever to whip up delicious meat-free meals at home.
What a raving endorsement of these products!
Vegan Outreach (one of the coolest vegan groups in my opinion) has a list of substitutes up front and center on their “getting started” page. And in their getting started guide, it is the first thing they talk about right after their glossary of must know vegan terms. The first simple dinner they suggest? A veggie burger or dog! To top it off, they list it as a top source of protein. Yet another raving endorsement of these products.
When I started my transition, I went on a hunt for other Vegan moms to see what they had done. I was shocked and awed by how many of them had recipes for faux philly cheese steak or faux chilly cheese dogs, faux chicken nuggets, faux hot wings. Anything you could imaging, they could faux it.
So, I really started to think about it. To faux or not to faux. My 13 year-old is really resistant to the change and fauxing might make the transition easier for her. And heck, I do like some cheese on my taco! So here are some of the reasons why I have decided not to faux it on the regular:
1. Mock meat is processed. Processing food is bad for your health and bad for the environment. Period. It pollutes your body and it pollutes the earth.
2. Mock meat keeps you used to eating meat! I don’t eat meat. Now, I don’t even crave meat. To be honest, I don’t even really remember what meat tastes like. If I had been eating mock meat all this time, I probably would. I think it would make it easier to cheat. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
3. I live in podunk. While we do have access to some great stores. Mock items are still pretty pricey. Not only that but they are sometime expired at the stores I frequent. And the health food stores here still use styrofoam containers and plastic bags! So there is a whole new layer to my dilemma.

4. See number 2! I don’t eat meat. I think it conveys the wrong message. That message is that in order to be happy and fulfilled you have to eat something that either is or resembles meat. That simply isn’t true. Tofurky dogs are required. In fact, I think they hurt more than they help. Or at least, they would hurt me. I am a slippery slope kinda gal, and that seems like a slippery slope.

So, as for me and mine, we don’t fake meat it. We have been doing pretty good. I am seven weeks in. The little kids are two weeks in. Robert and Maggie still eat meat everyday. But we don’t in this house, and that is all I can control. For today, I’m ok with that. And for today we shan’t fake meat it.

Of course, we do eat things like lentil patties. Some may see that as a homemade fake meat. I do not. We have eaten lentil patties for a long time not as a burger substitute but just as a lentil patty. Yummy lentil patty.

So what do we eat? For dinner tonight we had, roasted turnips and sweet potatoes, sauteed swiss chard, green beans, and fruit salad. We normally would have beans or quinoa or something to go along with that dinner, but it was me and the kids (no Robert) and they had been snacking all afternoon. They just weren’t up for it. As a Vegan parent, I have to be pretty aware of what my kids are eating to make sure they are getting what they need. Oops. I mean, as a parent.

I mean, really is it fair to say as a Vegan parent. I recently ran a comparison of what my kids eat now as Vegans and what they ate before on a junk food diet. They get about 2/3 the amount of calories. Nearly the same amount of protein. 1/4 to 1/8 the amount of sodium. About 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of fat (but now it is all avocados and stuff so no transfats now!). I really do pay attention now when I should have been paying attention all along. But I digress. Maybe I should save that for another day’s blog.

Here are the photos of what we ate tonight. I kid you not, all three of my children cleaned their plates, and the 13 year old who is super resistant said, “can I have extra swiss chard?” So, something must be working.

Happy Easter: Loving My Mother Today


I am not religious, but my parents are; and thus, we celebrate Easter with a huge family dinner every year. Our normal dinner menu includes items such as glazed ham, mashed potatoes (loaded with butter and sour cream), pies, etc.
As we approached this holiday, I was so nervous–how was I going to handle my first big holiday as a vegan? I wasn’t worried about me. I have a lot of will power, and I am totally committed to my cause (although I did have a major break down yesterday which will be the topic of tomorrow’s post). However, I normally do a lot of the cooking in concert with my mother, and I was really worried about how I was going to handle cooking for my family. Since Easter is what I consider one of the minor holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving being the major holidays), I saw it as a dry run.
Thankfully, my mother came up with a great idea: let’s do a lemon/Greek theme. Yes! We mostly call it Greek, but it was really a lemon theme since everything had lemon in it. Then my mother searched out Vegan margarine and vegan bread so I could have garlic bread (one of my favorites.) I freaking love you mom! So that was a great Easter treat.
So, we had a wonderful Easter dinner. We were all full and satisfied, and I think everyone was super happy with our Vegan supper.
Easter Menu:
Greek Lemon Rice Soup
Hummus with Pita Chips
Olive Bar
Quinoa Salad
Fresh Fruit Salad
Homemade Lemonade
Greek Lemon Soup (My Mom’s Recipe)
2 Carrots
2 Celery Stalk
1/2 Onion
3 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
2 Garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice
1 tbsp Smart Balance Margarine (optional)
8 cups Water
Saute carrots, celery, onion, garlic in olive oil until tender. Add bouillon, rice, lemon juice, and water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until rice is tender. Once rice is tender, add margarine.

I also wanted to give the recipe for my special Quinoa salad.
2 cups Quinoa
4 cups water
2 tomatoes
1 avocado
1 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 small onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer, and simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. (When quinoa is cooked it has a ring around the edge). Dice all the veggies.
In a mason jar, mix the lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the quinoa, veggie, and the dressing.
So Yummy!
I have put up my hummus recipe up before but I will put it up again because it is so awesome.
2 cans of chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of olive oil
Put the ingredients in the cuisinart (except the water). Turn it on. Add a small amount of water in a thin stream until the hummus reaches the desired consistency.
Here are the pictures rounding out our meal (except the fruit because I didn’t take a photo of that).

The point being . . . this was one of the best Easter dinners we have ever had. It was VEGAN. It went wonderfully. I am so happy. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family. Everyone is still nervous about the major holidays, but we have a lot of time to adjust before then.