Live, Eat, and Be Well

Be the Happiest, Healthiest You!

Yummy Yummy Umami Tempeh Burgers

Today I made a video on these tempeh burgers, so check it out on my youtube channel:

So, why Tempeh Burgers? I have probably tried a hundred vegan burgers. To me, being vegan and helping my family stay vegan is the most important thing. They get cravings for hamburgers, and I want them to crave a veggie burger instead. But up until I made these tempeh burgers, nothing quite hit the spot and gave them the umami flavor they were craving.

Umami is basically the savory taste like we taste sweet and sour. We also taste savory. So, I make these burgers every once in a while to help them abate the cravings. Now I have a large family so this makes a lot of burgers. If you have a smaller family then, you can halve the recipe.

Tempeh Burgers


2 Packages of Tempeh
1 c. of bread crumbs (I make my own by toasting whole wheat bread and then crumbling them to bread crumbs in the vitamix)
2/3 c. vital wheat gluten (you can get this at your health food store or online at
2 tsp. fennel seed
2 tsp. rubbed sage
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 TBSP. soy sauce
2TBSP. Steak Sauce (vegan variety such as A-1)
6-8 dashes of liquid smoke
4-6 TBSP water


1. Grate the tempeh (or chop into very small pieces). If you find the tempeh tastes bitter, you can steam it for 15 minutes before you grate it.

2. Add all the ingredients to the tempeh and mix together thoroughly. I use my hands to mix it until it gets to a squishy consistency that holds together.

3. Form into thin, palm sized burgers.

4. Spray the pan with a light coating of PAM or other cooking spray. I mean light. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until brown.

5. Pile on a bun with all the trimmings ūüôā



Make your own cleaning supplies

Today I posted a video on my YouTube channel about making your own cleaning supplies. (See Below). Here are the recipes.

Recipe for Bronner’s Cleaning supply:

1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap¬†

1 qt. of water (ish–just fill up your large spray bottle).

Vinegar Cleaning Supply

To make vinegar:

Get a gallon jug of Distilled White Vinegar
Add the peels of 5 large or 10 small oranges
Shake daily until the liquid gets an orange tint

To make cleaner:

Add about 1 cup of vinegar mixture
Fill spray bottle with water.

This is about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.


Post Thanksgiving Roundup (What we eat on a Vegan Thanksgiving)

Well happy holiday season! Thanksgiving was amazing, and now we are gearing up for Christmas (my personal favorite time of year). This year I am a little nervous for Christmas because we are going to Sante Fe. I will keep you updated on how that goes. But I wanted to share with you our Thanksgiving menu. ¬†First let me say that we did use some Earth Balance and some organic sugar in a few of these recipes. All together, I would say, I used about a 1/4 cup of Earth Balance and probably a cup of sugar. As you know if you have been reading my blog for any time, we don’t eat oil, salt, or sugar. However, there are a few Thanksgiving dishes, I just couldn’t imagine without it, so we eat it on those rare holiday occasions.

We also had Tofurkey for the first time ever. The little kids really wanted to try it. The reviews are mixed. I didn’t particularly like it. I could take it or leave it, but the kids really enjoyed it, and I guess that is what matters.


Treeline Cheeses/crackers
pickles, olives, carrots, celery
Butternut squash soup
Mashed Potatoes
Green beans with parsley, garlic, lemon
Cranberry sauce
Parsnips and Carrots
Pumpkin Pie

P1060359 P1060362 P1060368


We also had Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice and water. Overall, I felt like this was a really successful meal. Everything tasted great. ¬†I am gearing up for Christmas now and that makes me a little more nervous. We are visiting my husband’s family, and they aren’t as used to the way we eat as my family is. So, it will be a big adventure while we are there.

I hope my next post is going to be a recipe post. I made some amazing peppermint bark. I thought I would start a holiday treats series next. Until then, check out my youtube channel at

Until next time, live, eat, and be well my friends.

Three Days of the Happy Herbivore Reboot

My family has been in a state of transition. We have moved three times in six months. Needless to say it has been a rough six months. Those months were filled with lots and lots of (vegan) junk food. In an attempt to get our family back on track, when we moved into our new home, I decided that we needed to reboot. I had read a bunch of stuff about the Happy Herbivore reboot¬†( So I decided to give it a go. I met Lindsay at the Get Healthy Marshall New Year, New You event in 2013, and I thought maybe her reboot would help us refocus. We are doing a total of 13 days. I thought I would give a post of how it went. The first three days was the really big part, and Happy Herbivore offers a three day reboot, so I thought it would be the most helpful. I’m going to show you the food and give you my daily reflection so it is going to be a pretty long post:) Scroll to the section RESULTS if you just want to see how it turned out.

First things first: The daily detox drink. She says you should drink this every morning. I couldn’t choke it down. I tried twice. I just gave up. I couldn’t do it, and I decided not to torture myself to try.

Day One:

Opulent Oatmeal


This was pretty good. It wasn’t very sweet, so when you are used to sweeter oatmeal, it took a little adjustment. However, I have since had this again, and it was amazing. So, I guess the point is to understand that if you are coming from a really sugary breakfast sorta place, this is going to be a jolt. But it is really yummy. (Kid approved)







Pumpkin Chili

P1060342¬†This chili is the bomb diggity. I ate it several times. An omnivore friend of mine who eats a SAD (Standard American Diet) came over, and she thought this chili was the bomb. It is so yummy. The pumpkin makes it the right consistency for chili, but you don’t really taste the pumpkin. It is so good. (Kid approved)







Pineapple Stirfry

P1060343P1060344¬†Ok, so this was ok. But it isn’t anything I would cook again. The rice wasn’t included on the plan, but we had to have something or else it would have been like pineapple soup. I think this recipe could be good, but it definitely needs some refining. (Kids said eh).




Day Two

Red radiance Quinoa

P1060346 If you have never had quinoa for breakfast, and I never had, do it. Do it today. That is so yummy. My husband said it tasted like dessert for breakfast. It was the most amazing thing I think we ate on the reboot. (Kid approved).







Pear Lentil Salad

P1060347¬†Ok, obviously this wasn’t the recipe. I just didn’t like the idea of mixing lentils, pears, and salad dressing. So instead, I made a huge salad. Put some lentils on the side and ate the Pear for dessert. It worked better for me.¬† My husband won’t eat lentils. He says it brings up traumatic memories of his past relationships. So, I gave him garbanzo beans instead of lentils. (Kid approved, surprisingly).






Mushroom Barley

P1060348¬†This was ok. It was really salty tasting even though there wasn’t any salt. It was also really mushroomish. (Not kid approved). I won’t make it again.








Day Three

Peanbutter Cup Shake



Ok, I know the photo is sideways, but this is the most delicious breakfast shake I have ever had. I would eat it every single day of my life. (Kid approved)








Sweet Potato Tacos



These were also so yummy that if this all I ever ate again, I would be cool. (Kid approved).








Moroccan Stew


Ok so this was also super good. It had all these yummy cinnamony flavors that I just adored. (Kid approved).








Roasted Pears

P1060353Dessert was included every night (which I didn’t picture), but holy heck. This was so good I had to show it to you. Roasted pears with yogurt (soy of course) on top. Just wonderful. (Kid approved).








After 7 days of rebooting, I got sick. My friend’s son came over and he was sick. My daughter got sick, and I just hugged her for like an entire day, so I got sick. It was a disaster. We basically ate soup for like four days. So prior to the illness our results were fantastic. I lost almost 5 pounds. But better than that I felt happier and just better. My husband even pointed out how great he felt. I think part of the reason was that we were cooking and eating together. Part of the reason was that every meal was made with love and tasted great. Part of the reason was that I lost weight. I mean, it was a fantastic experience. It did just what I wanted it to do. It brought my family together and it refocused us as whole food vegans.

Would I recommend it? I can’t say yes fast enough. If you are omni, try it. The worst thing that will happen is you will find out you are a vegan deep down in your heart. But really, you will have a few days of lovely food that will taste great and help you get off processed junk. If you are vegan . . . well basically the same thing. So rush over and visit¬†and get started today.



I don’t hate the word Vegan

I want to share something personal with you. I am a Vegan. Earlier this week, I was with someone who said “I am not a vegan. I am plant based. I hate the word Vegan. I wish they would just get rid of it.” His reasoning is that the word vegan turns people off to trying this new lifestyle which is so healthy.

For a minute I almost agreed with him. He said saying vegan sounds so extreme. I disagree. People also hate words like feminism and liberal. But I think when we start to water down things by making the names more “palatable” we are doing just that . . . watering it down. I don’t like my oatmeal watery and I don’t like my movements watery either.

Being a vegan makes me proud. I am trying to do something healthy for me and my family. I am trying to draw attention to the horrible livestock industry and animal cruelty. I am trying to save the environment.  I feel like the work I am doing and the lifestyle I live is important and good. I am not ashamed of it.

Being a vegan is about more than just the food I put on my plate. It is about the cleaning products I use, the clothes I wear, the shampoo I use. It is about commitment. The NRA doesn’t try to water down their message. And I won’t either. I’m happy if people come to the movement because of food. I’m happy if people want to call it plant based eating. Every little drop counts. But I refuse to be ashamed of the label Vegan.

It is more than that. Labels can help us develop a cohesiveness. Something to get behind. A group identifier. I have a lot of conservative friends. I often try to gloss over my points of view in order to keep friends and the peace. But I am a feminist. I am not ashamed of that. I am a liberal. I am not ashamed of that. I am a vegan. And that makes me so proud.

Better than Chocolate Chips?

Ok, I know. It is so irritating that I haven’t blogged in so long! But as you know, I am working in the land of dissertations, and if I focus on my blog, I find I loose focus on my dissertation. But in the new year, I am going to try to find balance for both. I also want to start making some videos.

But I wanted to write to you now because it is Christmas, and I freaking miss Christmas cookies. I want to have my old cookies. I want to make goodies. Part of me just feels too overwhelmed with trying to veganize old cookie recipes or learn new ones, and so I just haven’t done it. But I found a recipe that will literally knock the Christmas Spirit into you. I based it on Dreena Burton’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip cookies, but I have a HUGE family, and I had to make some adjustments that would work for me and mine. ¬†They are so good my husband said we should call them “Better than Chocolate Chip Cookies.” And so we do. I hope you like them!

Better than Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Doesn’t that look like an amazing cookie?)


2 C. Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (yep you really need it)
1/3 C. maple syrup
1/3 C. agave syrup (you could also just use 2/3 C. maple syrup instead of adding agave. It depends on how you roll. Agave is cheaper, so I like to half and half it for the expense).
3 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. Canola Oil (Yes that is a heck of a lot of oil, but you can¬†substitute¬†all or a portion with applesauce, but the consistency will be a little different, but if you are avoiding oil–do it).
2/3 C. Dairy Free Chocolate chips.


This is literally the easiest cookie to put together. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. (I mix all the wet into one measuring cup and then pour). Bake at 350 for 11 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet. After a minute or two, put them on a cookie rack to cool.




Composters, soup, and more on the way . . . Oh My!

My lovely husband helped build me a composter! I have been wanting to build one for so long. As you probably know, I have been working really hard to reduce our enviornmental footprint. It is sometimes like pulling teeth around here. I realize it is easier to just throw something in the trash, but it can be easy to recyle and now compost as well. I swear, before it is all over, we are going to major reduce our trash production. Plus we are ditching our truck (something I have wanted to do forever!) and we bought a Subaru Outback. An older model, but still way more fuel efficient. So that combined with our Yaris means we are super fuel efficient!

So back to the composter. I bought a barrel from a barrel recycling facility. Then we looked at plans on the internet, they are fairly easy to find. Of course, in the end, Robert came up with his own plan and built a far superior model. I wish I had the plans for you, but since it was a wing it, I don’t really, but I am going to give you the jest.

(1) You drill a hole in the barrel, and stick a pole through it. (2) Drill holes in the barrel for air circulation. (3) Drill matching holes in some 2×4’s. (4) Create a frame to hold the 2×4’s up. (5) Ta Da.

Alright, I am not great at writing directions for a composter, so I thought I would reward you with a soup reciepe.

Potato Soup


1 onion
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 pound of fingerling potatoes
Pinch of salt to taste
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
4-6 cups of vegetable broth


Saute onion, carrots, celery until onions are translucent. Add potatoes and rest of ingredients. Simmer until potatoes are cooked through.

I serve it with some hearty bread. It is fantastic for a winter day.

Tip: If your soup is too watery, add a tsbp .of cornstarch mixed with a tbsp. of water.


Stay tuned because I will be posting some awesome deserts this weekend to help us prepare for Thanksgiving!