Friday, February 25, 2011

Time to put the tea on

It's been chilly here in SoCA the past few days and today pouring rain.  They even said maybe snow on Sunday!?!?!?  Say what??  I know, I know all you peeps living in New England, it's been a brutal winter but it's all relative.  50 degrees is cold when you are used to 75, just like 20 is cold when you are used to 45!  You know who you are, the ones who wear t-shirts and shorts when it's barely 45 outside on a random day in February.

I've been really wanting a tea kettle since I got my new coffeemaker.  I would like a cute one so it's also kitchen decor.  I would love something to add a pop of color since it's white kitchen with black counters.  The walls are yellow and I'd think I'd like to accent in some red, oranges and greens. I love the red but I'm kind of digging the blue pot and the cute mugs.

Le Creuset Whistling Tea Kettle - love this in red, Caribbean blue, and orange.

Le Creuset Halo Tea Kettle

Anthropologie Coiling Dot Mug

Tea kettle necklace on Etsy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last meat and testament

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with daily blog about my 7-day vegan challenge.  I was kind of crazy busy at the end of last week and over the weekend.  I have lots of updates but I will try and keep them brief.

First and foremost, in regards to my last post and the topic of GMO, organic soy - is generally GMO-free. I was referring to non-organic soy and trying to avoid it in my last post.  See if your brand is part of the non-GMO project at and/or download thier iPhone app.  Let them be your expert on this topic, not me.

I would love to have the willpower to be vegan but I also like being someone who can go to any restaurant and try new foods, even tofu!  So I am torn, I felt great last week but I really don't think I could sustain a vegan lifestyle.  However, with the bloat that has come back into my life I am going to try hard to keep it at a minimum. 

Oh, I cheated on Saturday night so I made it 6 days as a vegan.  Sunday was a complete loss!  I want to do this again but plan more home-cooked meals.  What I realized, I was eating a lot of processed vegan foods, not just pasta but Gardein stuff is also processed.  I would like to try gain with more recipes that I make myself.  I'm thinking about doing this for another week or maybe 21 days. 

I am posting my challenge results below.  I think they are partly due to the vegan diet but also, with veganism comes many rules about what you can and can not eat so some tempations like, In n' Out, ice cream sandwiches and pastries at Starbucks are a no-no.  I just ended up eating less because I didn't have an option and cheating wasn't an option.  Since my goal wasn't to lose weight, not that it is ever an unwelcome side effect, cheating for ice cream as much of a temptation.  I think if I ever need to diet, being a vegan is more likely to get me my desired result than just plain old eating less calories, blah, blah, blah. Being a vegan actually restricted me and I followed it because it was black and white as to what I could and could not eat. 

My next challenge will be a 21 day vegan diet.  I thought about the 21-day cleanse but that just seems like a set-up for failure.

Vegan 7-Day Challenge Results:
Pounds lost = about 5
Pounds gained since back on meat products = 5
Bloat around belly = was gone but has now since returned
Energy = Great on vegan diet

Brands I liked on my challenge:
Organic So Delicious non-dairy ice cream made with coconut milk is unbelievably creamy and good.  Even when I am not being vegan, I choose this kind when given the option.  So yummy!!  I have been drinking the coconut milk too and enjoy that and might make the permanent switch.  I will try the lower fat version though next time. 

Gardein meat-less protein is yummy, not quite the real thing but yummy nonetheless.  Best substitute I have tried so far.  Comes in lots of flavors that make you miss the real thing less.

Earth Balance non-dairy butter "spread." I use this ALL the time unless I'm baking.  I don't notice any difference with taste so I'm going to keep using it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tampering with the natural balance.....

I was watching Oprah about a year ago and saw Alicia Silverstone and the guy who wrote The Omnivores Dilemna, Michael Pollan and the founder of Chipotle.  It was really a life changing episode and I know that sounds so cliche but it's true.  Now to get on my newly found soapbox for a minute.  I will add this note, it's ALL about making choices that are right for you, just be educated about your choices. 

It all started around the movie Food, Inc. which is not just about animal cruelty and "harvesting" animals but also talks about this company, Monsanto, who basically bullies the small farmer. You may have tried their products a couple times, corn, soy, cotton and now alfalfa.  Nowadays, these crops are mostly all genetically-modified (GMO or GE for genetically engineered).  I don't want to write all about the issues with GMO and the risks but I will say this.  Monsanto owns Roundup and thier seeds are called Roundup Ready.  The seeds are genetically modified to inoculate the plants against a herbicide, um called Roundup.  In short, Roundup kills everything but the GMO plants.  So this corn, soy and now alfalfa can withstand a heavy duty herbicide and then is being fed to the animals you eventually eat, processed foods or straight into your body.  I actually prefer to stay away from soy but it's VERY hard.  The Supreme Court just lifted a nationwide ban on planting GE alfalfa seeds.  Anyhow, read more about it on (

Alicia Silverstone, yes Cher in Clueless, wrote a book called The Kind Diet and it's about flirting with being a vegetartian, a vegan or a "super-hero."  She is very friendly about it, offers great tips, yummy gooey recipes, and says even if you are vegan one day a week you are making a HUGE difference.  I will write more about her book in a future post. 

Chipotle is another burrito take out place with one exception.  They are a growing chain that tries to buy all thier meat and veggies from local farmers and try to get as much of it as organic as possible.  They try to buy ingredients which are, "raised with respect for the animal, the farmer and the environment."  Makes you feel a little better about your 2lb. $6 dinner that parks you on the couch for the rest of the night. 

Day 3 Meals
  • Breakfast:
    • Banana
    • Starbucks Chai Soy Latte
  • Lunch:
    • Baked pretzel
    • Water
  • Dinner:
    • Gardein Mandarin Crispy Orange Chicken
      • Taste:  YUMMY!!  Can't wait to try other "meat"
    • Jasmine white rice
      • I know, I know, I should switch to brown.  I'm working on my prefences there.  I'm not a big fan but baby steps, I mean I've only given up meat and animal products!!  :) 
    • Green beans

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Poor little lettucehead

OMG, I can't believe I forogt to mention last night's kale chips!  Copley and I LOVED these and now I know what to do with my weekly kale from my veggie pick-up!  It's so easy and so tasty.  Basically it is just a way to get salt into my mouth without eating it with a spoon.  Copley is my little vegetarian (by his choice, not mine) hunting dog.  This dog loves carrots, apples, green beans, cauliflower, brocolli and kale.  The side effects from eating a whole head of kale?  C got up at 4am badly needing to go #2 and I well, let's just say it was very sobering moment when I lifted the blankets to let him out.  They were right about your system clearing out with all the fiber.

Anyways, last night I baked these up and yum!!  Add enough salt to anything and yum!

Kale Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step One:  Cut kale into chip size pieces.  I cut off the stems and then cut the remaining leaf into 2 pieces.
Step Two:  Rinse and pat dry or use salad spinner.
Step Three:  Spray kale with olive oil and sprinkle on kosher salt.
Step Four:  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.  
Step Five:  Eat and light a candle :)

I strongly recommend buying an olive oil mister.  I have one from "Beyond the Olive" in Old Pasadena but I think you can grab one called Misto at most stores that sell kitchen tools.  Before I had this, when I "sprinkled" OO on my food, it ended up plopping a big pile on one portion and barely getting on the other pieces.

Here is my processed carb diet today.  I was at a conference and everywhere I looked, animal!!  I am trying to stay away from being vegan by just eating processed carbs but it's hard when at a conference.  Tomorrow I will try to get to stand before salads disappear. 

  • Breakfast:
    • Luna bar - Smores
      • I read ingredients 3 times and no dairy or egg
      • Taste:  a little dry but still yummy
  • Lunch:
    • Big baked pretzel with mustard
      • I Googled it and they say vegan as long as no butter on top
      • Taste:  Yum!
  • Dinner:
    • Tortilla chips and salsa
I am going to write about The Kind Diet, the book I am following and some other topics why on this challenge in upcoming posts. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

You can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat!

I have been wanting to do a vegan "challenge/cleanse" diet for awhile now.  Well, it's been over a year and I am finally doing it.  I've been flirting for the past year but I've decided to try a committed relationship...on a trial basis.  Why do I want to be vegan for a week? 

  1. To think a little more consciously about what I am putting into my body and where it came from.  I mean, I know burgers come from McD's and the "non-fast food" version (according to P) In-N-Out (because that name definitely doesn't sound like fast food!)  Love you babe.
  2. To cleanse my body a little of animal by-products. and gook of meat.  There's got to be a bit of build-up in the old pipes.  I've heard my pipes will be working overtime during this week.  Bring it. 
  3. A personal challenge. 
  4. To see if I am one of those people who just feel light and free or will I turn into a royal bitch during "detox."
I don't plan on being vegan for life and I don't think there is anything wrong with eating meat and cheese and eggs.  I just like to know where it is coming from and that the animal had a fun and happy life (like the CA happy cows) and dignity in death.  No, I can't look my dog in the eye and say that i would eat him if forced but I do think that it's part of the circle of life.  I try not to eat anything off of a feed lot and I subscribe to weekly organic veggie pick-up.  Do I still go to McDonald's?  Yes, genersally right ater I pick up my veggies, I know I'm SOO bad!!  It's just all personal choices.   

Back to my challenge.  I didn't want to start the week with nothing to eat and setting myself up to fail.  A few personal choices so I wouldn't be discouraged. 
  1. First, I went to Whole Foods so I had tons of choices.  I will be back later this week if not to just browse.  The WF here is AMAZING!! 
  2. I didn't buy the fat free or light version of things.  Why?  Well, frankly even with all the animal by-products the lite and FF versions often taste disgusting so I didn't want to jump in head first into the kiddie pool. 
  3. I like the taste of meat and not tofu.  I'm sorry, but no matter how many people tell me "you won't taste it," um, you are lying.  So, I am trying all different things like seitan, new veggies and Gardein.
The book that I am going by is "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone, yes she was in Clueless.  Another book that is popular (thanks to Oprah) is "Veganism" but I haven't read it yet.  I like that Alicia tells you which brand she prefers so you aren't having to buy all different kinds and then then not use them.  Nevertheless, shopping the first time, even at Whole Foods, was hard.  I just felt like those guys at the store who constantly are staring at the list and then shelf and then calling their wife.  That feeling is called lost and confused. 

  • Coffee with coconut milk and Spenda (I know, I know Splenda is bad for me but it's yummy)
    • Going to try going back to my tea with agave for the rest of this week. 
  • Whole wheat sourdough toast with Natural Balance butter (vegan butter that I actually used even before this challenge)
  • Boxed corn soup -
    • Brand:  Imagine
    • Taste:  tastes pretty good, something I would eat if I had my wisdom teeth removed I guess
  • Fresh tortilla chips & salsa from Whole Foods
  • Coconut water
    • Brand:  CO2
    • Taste: It's an acquired taste but I like it.
  • whole wheat linguini
    • Brand:  365
  • Eggplant marinara saucs
    • Brand:  365
    • Taste - Okay, but I prefer Trader Joe's organic basil sauce, more flavor
  • Ground seitan (Brand:  Westsoy)
    • Mixed with sauteed onions, basil, oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper. 
    • Taste - good, kinda like ground turkey where it's fairly bland but I the texture was good. 
    • TONS of protein!
It's 7:15pm and I haven't had any meat or animal by-products today!!  I can't wait to have my Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream.  This is a brand I tried when flirting with this before and I buy all the time now!  So creamy!!!  All the explanation points should express my excitement.  :)

*Thank to Meghan for that title. Love it.  I really wanted the pudding in the fridge today but I couldn't eat it because I am vegan this week and that was her line.  :) 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How I love thee, let me count thy ways

I was recently introduced to an amazing blog/online store.  She not only gives me inspiration to get dressed when I work from home (she posts her weekly outfits) but she also has the cutest prints for sale and awesome home decor.  She has tutorials for the cutest projects and monthly giveaways too.  She often puts up free pdf prints you can download and then a ton more she will send you for a very affordable price.

I look forward to following her blog and WISH I could only be so creative.  But hey, that's why she has a blog, so I can be inspired.  I mean, she even taught me how to tie a scarf, something I have been trying to master for years, embarassing but true!!  They always look like I got tangled in the thing instead of stylish like all the celebs when they aren't "trying."  She's the friend I wish lived next door instead of online. 

My favorite thing about these design blogs is that when you ask them a question, well, they respond.  It isn't a corporation behind them so if they are anything like me, they are tickled pink they even have followers let alone people who care enough to write in (hint, hint, wink, wink). 

And now with much anticipation, my favorite blog of the week (and for probably months) is jones design company. 

I ordered her Valentine's Day cards and can't wait to buy card stock, print them out and send them along. So cute and fits my budget!  $7.95 for all the cards (or buy one for $2.95), buy card stock, stamps and voila!  You can use them as many times as you want. 

These ones are my favorites!!!