Eskimo Nebula

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Dear Veggie Heaven

Hello again citizens of Internetia Land. I am back to finally post about one of my favorite places.
Veggie Heaven, it is one of my absolutely favorite restaurants.

Here is the address, so hurry up and get going!:


1914 A Guadalupe, Austin, TX 78705
 512.457.1013



What not convinced yet? Read on and hopefully that'll do that trick.


If you know me personally; then you know that one of the main components of my daily wardrobe is a Veggie Heaven T shirt. Thank goodness that I have a good collection of them now. Upon my very first visit to Veggie heaven I purchased 1 Tshirt in a medium dark green; which turned paler and paler the more I wore it over the  next few years. I can remember insisting to my brother Jonathan that I needed to go back there to get more shirts and of course to enjoy another wonderful meal.

Whenever I've gone to this restaurant I look through the menu a couple of times because I guess I'm always a bit overwhelmed at the selection of food from which I can choose. It is so different from having to 'settle' at other restaurants; so you bet I take my time and pick and choose. I'm trying to remember what I ordered the very last time I was there and even though I'm not sure; I know it was delicious and made me happy.

Here is a photo of a contender of my dining pleasure at Veggie Heaven:

This is #44 Hawaii Taro.
Taro, broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, fried tofu, onion and garlic in spicy sauceI am a sucker for Taro! Mmmmmmm!!!


Ohhhh and I found another contender for my dining pleasure at Veggie Heaven:









#35 Five Stars -
5 fried bean curds made from tofu wrapped by seaweed are cooked with broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, onion and garlic in brown sauce

Check out the rest of the Veggie Heaven Menu! http://veggieheavenaustin.com/chinesemusic.aspx




I don't know about you, but I am starting to salivate =) 

Aside from the food and awesome T-shirts; I also love what Veggie Heaven represents and conveys to the community and world. They are so generous and conscious and they always have food ready for the homeless or somebody in need. If you get a chance to visit their website you will find out how involved they are with Falun Gong or Falun Dafa. From the website it states the following:




As you explore the site further you will be able to learn a multitude of things about Chinese culture as well. You always have the opportunities to lend help where needed. They do a lot of campaigning  for Human Rights. Some of it stems from the way  followers of Falun Gong/Falun Dafa are persecuted in China. I must warn you that some of the persecution art is graphic, but it's supposed to be to show the truth and reality. 

It doesn't matter where you live, we all do feel isolated or persecuted at point or time in our lives, but for those of us who are fortunate to live in places where we do not fear for our lives every waking second just because we choose to follow or believe a certain way; we really need to be grateful and in turn use that gratitude to help other people through out the world who may not be able to get themselves out of perilous situations.

I know this may sound biased coming from somebody who is a Vegetarian, but it is my feeling and observation that for the most part people who are Vegetarian or Vegan have a much higher awareness of the on-goings of the world around them. I understand that some of that awareness stems from the fact that none of use want to see bloodshed or any life taken. One of my relatives once told me that they believed that I was enlightened and had a specific kind of aura. I would like to think that is true and that my 'aura' is a positive one that helps to change the world for the better. Maybe it's because as a Vegetarian/Vegan we go out of our way to protect so many things in the world. I find that a lot of people are passionate about conservation and the environment.  It doesn't mean that only Vegetarian or Vegan people care about these things; I think that it's just a natural thing that coincides with the choices we make daily. 


Anyhow, I'm sure I could discuss that further, but that is for another time. =)

Veggie Heaven will forever have a place in my heart. Whenever I'm in Texas, you know I am making at least 1 stop there (Ya Hear me Kuya???!!!! ;p  or else I'll feel like my trip was incomplete. 

Reeling it back to the Veggie Heaven T-shirts ( Look at the array of colors and happiness from which to choose!) It has helped to bring me to closer to some people who are now my friends. Whenever I wear it I always get smiles and they tell me how they love my shirt and I get to tell them proudly about where I got it from and how awesome the restaurant is and how they should check it out if they're ever in Austin. =) I met  my friend Mirel and her sister because of my wearing it at the airport a few years ago. They were going to visit their cousins and they were just coming back from a shop in the airport and Mirel spotted my Veggie Heaven shirt. She professed how awesome it was and I told her the aforementioned 'spiel' (of love!) and told her that I would send her a shirt if she wanted to give me her home address in London. She told me that she would wear the shirt with pride in the high-streets of London. Hehe. We have since been in touch and continue to be in touch and one of these days I will be visiting her on her turf and we'll have a Veggielicious time together =) Prior to her having some Veggie Heaven shirts from me she had a 'Veggiesaurus' shirt which is very cute and reminds me a bit of Dino from the Flintstones cartoons.



Basically what I wanted to convey through this post is that I love Veggie Heaven!!!!!

Thank you for existing and continuing to exist and thank you to all the patrons who go there and keep on supporting this wonderful establishment. Thank you to my brother Jonathan who introduced it to me and continues to bring me there every time I am in Texas =)

If I ever decide to get a tattoo; I just might consider having the T-shirt logo put on my body, hehe ;p

Mahal Kita Veggie Heaven!


Love,
Jessica =)


P.S. I don't know what happened when I posted the pic why I'm still in the captioned area of the last photo, but I will fix this later! Kudos to you for spotting the weirdness, but how could you not miss it? ;p








Monday, November 21, 2011

Epicuriousity: the 'Catch-up is a good condiment' edition =p

Hello again anonymous and known readers of my bloggy blogdom.
It's been a while, but here we go with the show and tell of what I've been up to culinarily over the last how ever many weeks =)

Enjoy the photos!

My Vegan Banana Bread =)

My Vegan Coconut, Macadamia Nut, Apricot Loaf

One of the many permutations of my Fusion Curries

Coconut based Vegetable Curry with Noodles

I cannot take credit for the bread. It came from Ninawa market where they bake it daily in their huge stone oven. I did make the confit'd mushrooms though. Lusciously roasted in the oven with onions and garlic with a generous amount of olive oil and a touch of vinegar. Yumminess =)

It's okay you can 'confit' in me. =p

These two are from Patel Brother's Market. They make them daily. Meet Samosa and Vada Dal =)

Vegan Vanilla and Chocolate Halloween cookies that I made in October

Sauteed Gai Lan with Organic Udon noodles in a Ginger, Garlic sauce

No, those are not pieces of diced smoked pork. That's actually sauteed marinated and pressed tofu with some pea pads from a local Michigan farm. 

More Noodle goodness

Vegan Banana Pancakes that I made for my 3 nieces a few weeks ago. They scarfed them up =

The impromptu stirfry that happened with the help of my 3 little sous chefs (my nieces). They did such a good job cutting up the Vegetables for me with the supervision of their Mom of course =)

the impromptu succotash of blue potatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and deliciousness.

You should recognize this one, it's a bowlful of my Lugaw!

Not cooking , but steeping a beautiful blend of Rooibos from a local Michigan company. I believe this one was called 'Michigan Sunset.' Sooo good. 

I can't take credit for this except for the heating part. This is a Dal Puri that I bought in the frozen section of Patel Brothers and usually you would fry these, but I just cooked it in a nonstick pan and I think the results are pretty good. Dal filling was really spicy; so a good raita is recommended to accompany this one =)

Broccoli Raab and Peapads with a spiced pressed tofu in a homemade chili peanut sauce

My spiced stove-top Naan bread

Adventures in breadmaking, this time a take on a Middle Eastern style of bread

Top of a stuff bread I made

A peek inside of the stuffed bread. It was a mixture of Indian/Middle Easter spices with vegetables blended  together into a nice harmony.

Can you spot some of the whole toasted spices I used in there?

My Cinnamon Rolls in their Raw state

My Cinnamon Rolls in their cooked state

One of the only decent shots of my last batch of Lentil soup. This one used tiny red lentils that were from the Middle East. 

My Multi-seeded (chia, flax, sesame and pumpkin seeds) and fruit (dried Michigan: cherries, cranberries, strawberries and blueberries) with a handful of old fashioned oats in there for good measure. Came out beautifully. It's a keeper.

Sitting pretty in its baking pan

Do you feel inspiraled to bake yet? =p

Most recent stir fry that I made. Bok Choy, sweet peppers with a spiced marinated tofu in a garlic/ginger hoisin sauce with a little bit of chili for kick.


 So, those are it for now and that's not even all of them! Let me know which ones caught your eye the most or if you have any questions about them.

Happy cooking, healthy eating and well being to all of you!


Love,
Jessica

Monday, November 7, 2011

The power of Lugaw compels you!

Hello Everybody,

Depending on where you are situated it may be getting colder outside and you're starting to layer your clothes, but if you're not; then why haven't you invited me over to visit you yet???!!! ;p

I came home from work tonight not expecting to cook anything too complicated if anything at all, but I ended up making a very simple and common, but beloved Filipino dish called Lugaw (pronounced Lou-gow) or if you want to use the Spanish terminology it can also be referred to as Arroz Caldo. I guess you would call it a type of soup, but maybe also a type of porridge. It's based on a few ingredients: rice, ginger, vegetable stock or broth and a few seasonings. I made my own version as I do of almost everything I'ved cooked since the dawn of time; so of course this is a Vegetarian/Vegan version of Lugaw.

The traditional Lugaws do tend to have some meat in them; the most common one that comes to mind is chicken, but of course we're omitting that for my recipe. I actually didn't substitute anything for the chicken. I think that the few ingredients alone are hearty enough and definitely satisfy an appetite; especially on a cold winter's day.

Halle-luya! I <3 Ginger =)

If you love Ginger and hearty soups; then you will love this!

Here is what I used for the one I made earlier this evening:

Ingredients for Lugaw

4-5 Cups of cooked short grain brown rice
(It's better to use day old rice, but newly cook will do too)
6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1 Handful of medium thick slice pieces of ginger
3 Small onions sliced
Pinch of Turmeric or Saffron/Safflower
1 Bay Leaf
2-3 Tb Soy Sauce or Tamari
2 Tb Nipa Vinegar
3 Tsp Sesame Oil
6 Cups of filtered water or  low sodium Vegetable stock
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste


Method:

In a large heavy bottomed pot saute the garlic slices in 3-4 Tb of oil until just golden brown. Add the rice being sure move the rice and break it apart if necessary; so that it is evenly coated with the garlic and oil. Then season the rice by adding in your soy sauce and sesame oil, mixing it around to evenly distribute it. Let it cook for a few minutes or until thoroughly heated through. At this point you will be adding in the water/vegetable stock along with the 1 bay leaf. Once you've mixed everything together add in your sliced onions,vinegar, ginger along with a little freshly ground black pepper. Check your soup for seasoning, stir and let simmer for 18-25 minutes on medium heat. Never leave the pot or stove unattended, stir it occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. It will thicken dramatically and once you start to see that there are tunnels of steam shooting out of the surface you know that the Lugaw is close to being finished.

A big pot full of love!

Once the Lugaw is done, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. It's best to eat this while it's hot and the flavors will only get better and better the longer you keep the soup. 

A bowlful of love that hugs you from the inside =)


It's truly a Filipino Comfort food. I guess the U.S. equivalent to this would be like a bowl of Grandma's Chicken soup. It warms you up and makes you release a happy sigh of 'ahhhh.'


I wish I had more photos to share with you for this, but it's not a super complicated recipe anyway. I hope you'll give it a try.



Happy Cooking and Good Health to you all.


Love,
Jessica

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegetarian Awareness Month/ My story about Vegetarianism

I need to preface this entry by saying that this still needs to be edited a bit more, but I've been so delayed in posting (it's been almost 2 weeks; since I started writing it!) it that it's kind of driving me a bit nuts and with my schedule right now; I at least want to share something with you. It is a longer post than usual and will be a bit ranty in some parts, but I hope that you do find some points of interest. It's a portion of my story of vegetarianism and why I chose to be a Vegetarian. 

Hello Everybody,

I'm really tired right now, but still excited and awake enough to post about Vegetarian Awareness Month.

If you check out the website below and you take their pledge to go Vegetarian for a day; they could actually win some pretty cool stuff; aside from the satisfaction that they are helping our world in the process as well. =)

http://www.worldvegetarianday.org/



Reeling this back into Vegetarian Awareness month, when I was in Orlando I did do some Disney; it's kind of unavoidable especially; if you're staying at one of the Disney Resorts as well. At one of the shops where I was buying souvenirs for my nieces the cashier asked me 'Are you a vegetarian?' and even though I had an idea she asked me that question because I had on one of my very famous Veggie Heaven shirt, I still decided to ask her' Are you a vegetarian too?' The cashier said 'no', and I said of course' Oh you put the two and two together by reading my shirt.' She then asked me 'So, what do you eat?' Which I was ready to answer, but there were a billion people in line so I just trailed off with 'It's funny how many times I've heard that...there is actually a great variety of things for vegetarians to eat....'

You can tell this is going to turn into the Vegetarian statement blog entry; can't you?

So, let's begin with my own story about Vegetarianism and why I chose to be a Vegetarian. I was around 10 or 11 years old when I decided to stop eating red meat. My general philosophy at that point was ' I don't need to eat red meat to survive; so why should I continue to do as such?' I also have always loved all the world's creatures and I consider every living thing as a friend and as such do not want to eat my friends. A year after I stopped eating red meat, I also stopped eating poultry. Six months after ceasing to eat poultry I stopped eating all seafood. There really wasn't a point to consume red meat, poultry or seafood to me because I knew that a human could survive on plant based diet alone. I also did not want to partake in the killing of animals solely for food purposes. It was a bigger challenge being a Vegetarian at that young of an age because there really was not as much awareness back then and dealing with culture and family issues didn't help it either.

I can remember being sent away to a summer camp (against my protests, nonetheless) and the people there having been told that I was a Vegetarian; did somewhat make an effort when we were in the dining hall, but most of the time they wouldn't tell me on which table that the Vegetarian food was located.I think it was vegetable lasagna one night and because they never told me, I just sat at the table and I think maybe ate a bread roll if anything. I walked up to go to use the restroom and on my way there, what did I see? A table with the vegetarian lasagna on it ( I think it was was one of those frozen stouffer's trays) nearly empty and devoured by some burlier camp counselors.... pfffftt! Then there was the last to final day of the camp (which I was grateful for because I was not enjoying myself) and it was trip to Cedar Point (a famous amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio) which I was really happy about, but on the day I was yet again let down. Not only did the group of girls I had to walk around with not ride a lot of the roller coasters, but they insisted on riding the carousel at least 6 times in a row ( you can ride a carousel anywhere! This is Cedar Point, ride the roller coasters, darn it!), but when it came to lunch time in the picnic area; they had packed cheeseburgers for everybody and with a false spark of hope they said ' Oh and we have a Vegetarian one for you.' They handed this foil wrapped sandwich to me and I opened it and what did I see? A sad looking hamburger bun with wilted lettuce and a slice of nasty processed american cheese. Ick. I had to eat it otherwise I wouldn't have gotten anything for the rest of the day. I think that's part of the reason I got sick during the week because I wasn't getting enough adequate nutrition.

Yes, people sometimes do not understand concepts and they overcompensate due to their ignorance. I remember a long while ago going through a Taco Bell Drive-thru with my family and they placed their orders and I had asked for a bean burrito and also a hard-shell taco with no meat in it. You should always check your food order before driving away because when we were driving away down the road the food was distributed and I was handed my bean burrito and also my hard-shell no meat taco. Hmmm... well the bean burrito was obviously there, but when I unwrapped the hard-shell taco what did I find? There was only a taco shell in the paper wrapper and it was broken as well! Ughhhhhh.....

There have been better experiences though for instance when I was having a pre-dance dinner with bunch of classmates at a local Italian restaurant and I ordered a Vegetarian pasta dish. I think I picked it out because it had pine nuts in it and I was all about pine nuts during that time =) When the dish came to the table I saw that there were strips of ham in it and I quickly pointed it out to the waitress and she apologized and took it back. She then brought out a new dish sans meat and my meal was comped as well. =)

A lot of restaurants have vegetarian options on their menus, but even now it's still pretty limited and you order  dishes minus the meat, but I would still love to see a great variety from which to choose. It's happening and will continue to progress, but you know =)

Today, you may be able to find a good sizable amount of the population in the Philippines actually identifying themselves as Vegetarian/Vegan, but in previous decades....oh my. I didn't grow up in the Philippines, but I grew up in a Filipino American household. Culturally, Filipinos consume a great deal of meat in form of pork, beef, chicken fish etc. Not to say that there aren't a lot of great vegetables in the Philippines, but the cuisine is definitely meat-centric. Up until I stopped eating red meat, I ate steak, longanisa, bacon, chicken adobo, sesame shrimp,dilis, calamari, dried ika and so forth. I cannot argue that all of that food didn't taste delicious or appetizing at the time, but I couldn't do it anymore. I knew what the cost of each bite was and I was not happy with those hard facts. A lot times when other Filipinos learn that I am a Vegetarian they still sometimes will say' How can you be a Vegetarian when you're Filipino?'  The simple answer to that is because ' I am and I choose to be a Vegetarian. It doesn't matter my age,gender or cultural identity, I choose the way that I want to live as an individual being.'

Bodhi Vegetarian Restaurants- The last time I was in the Philippines; at a foodcourt in one of the many SMmegamalls, I found a true gem called 'Bodhi' which means 'Lotus' It is a chain that can be found in southeast asia and some parts of Australia and New Zealand. They produce all vegetarian/vegan cuisine, but for this area they made regional/national delights, but all vegetarian. They had vegetarian Karekare, complete with vegetarian bagoong etc. I was blown away. I was almost amazed at the price. At the time it was just 50 Pesos for a serving of rice and 2 entrees and a drink. That was less than one u.s. dollar.

http://www.bodhivegetarian.com/bodhivegetarian-products

In the United States it is really easy to find good products and information about Vegetarian/Vegan lifestyles and this increasingly is the way it is becoming across most of the world. It doesn't mean that I still do not have to 'explain myself' from time to time to non-vegetarians though. It sometimes gets boring to answer, but I'm really not that bothered by answering their questions. How will they learn about something if they've never heard about it or if nobody has ever told them about it either?

I've met people who have previously 'been vegetarian' before, but most of the time it turns out that they didn't do their research and figure out how to get full balanced/proper nutrition on a plant based diet. They knew that they weren't supposed to eat meat, but they knew nothing beyond that. Just because you're a vegetarian, doesn't mean that all you can eat is bread and cheese, cookies and who knows what other type of 'filler foods' (ha, you might even call them 'killer foods' =0) . Since you no longer have animal based protein in your diet you need to get your protein by combining foods. There are a few grains or legumes that are complete proteins like Quinoa and Soybeans, but for the most part you will have to combine a grain and a legume to make a full protein. For example if you're eating garbanzos, yes those are full of protein and other goodness, but if you eat them with some whole grain brown rice or pasta you've then created a complete and balanced meal in regards to protein. In order to be a successful vegetarian you and I know this is going to sound redundant, but eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables. I know that it seems like that is already implied, but it still needs to be said nonetheless.


1. Quinoa and other whole grains

Whole grains are a great source of protein, but the queen of whole grains when it comes to protein content is quinoa. Unlike many sources of vegetarian protein, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a "complete protein". Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains 18 grams of protein, as well as nine grams of fiber. Other whole grains, including whole grain bread, brown rice, barleyare all healthy protein-rich foods for vegetarians and vegans as well.
Protein content: One cup of cooked quinoa provides about 18 grams of protein.
Why you should eat it: Whole grains are a bargain! Shop in bulk and you can stock up on whole grains for about $1.50 a pound.



2. Beans, Lentils and Legumes

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All beans, lentils, and peas are an excellent vegetarian and vegan source of protein, so eat whichever one you like! Black beans, kidney beans, Indian dhalvegetarian chili, split pea soup and chickpea hummus - pick one and watch the protein grams add up. Soy is a bean as well, but because soy and its derivatives are such a popular source of protein for vegetarians, it merits it's own entry below.
Protein content: One cup of canned kidney beans contains about 13.4 grams of protein.
Why you should eat it: Beans are one of the most common protein-rich foods for vegetarians. You can find beans in the grocery store or on the menu just about everywhere you may be.

3. Tofu and other soy products

Soy is such a flavor chameleon that you'll never get bored! You may have tried tofu and soy milk before, but what about edamame, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy nuts or soy cheese? TVP and tempeh are also protein-rich soy foods. As an added bonus, many brands of tofu and soymilk are fortified with other nutrients that vegetarians and vegans need, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. And yes, I didjust give you permission to eat soy ice cream to get your protein.
Protein content: A half-cup of tofu contains 10 grams, and soy milk contains 7 grams of protein per cup.
Why you should eat it: You can add a bit of tofu to just about anything you cook, including stir-fries, pasta sauces, soups and salads.

4. Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters

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Nuts, including peanuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts all contain protein, as do seeds such as sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Because most nuts and seeds are high in fat, you don't want to make them your primary source of protein. But they're great as a post-workout or occasional snack. Nut butters are delicious as well, and kids of course love peanut butter. Try soy nut butter or cashew nut butter for a little variety if you're bored of peanut butter.
Protein content: Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains about 8 grams of protein.
Why you should eat it: Convenience! Stop into any 7-11 and pick up a snack of nuts to get a protein boost. And of course, kids love peanut butter too.

5. Seitan, Veggie Burgers and Meat Substitutes

Read the label of your store-bought meat substitute products andveggie burgers and you'll find they are quite high in protein! Most commercial meat substitutes are made from either soy protein, wheat protein (wheat gluten) or a combination of the two. So toss a few veggie burgers on the grill or in the microwave, and watch those daily protein grams add right up. Homemade seitan is quite high in protein as well.
Protein content: One veggie patty contains about 10 grams of protein, and 100 grams of seitan provides 21 grams of protein.
Why you should eat it: Seitan and mock meats are great for barbecues or anytime you just want something hearty and filling.
Pictured: Seitan meat substitute

6. Protein Supplements

So what if you are an Olympic body builder or are trying to gain some serious muscle? In this case, your protein needs will be higher than us average vegetarians and you may be considering supplementing with protein powders or protein shakes. My personal trainer says to read the label and watch out for cheap fillers in whey and soy protein powders. She says it's best to shell out and invest in a good quality. I personally recommend hemp protein powder and green proteins as well.
Protein content: Varies by brand, so read the label.
Why you should eat it: Well, you shouldn't really unless you have special protein needs, as real food is always best.
Pictured: Strawberry protein shake

7. High Protein Recipe Ideas

So, now you know what to eat to make sure you get plenty of protein. If you'd like some recipe ideas using these high-protein vegetarian foods, scroll through this collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Each of these recipes has at least 12 grams of protein per serving.
Pictured: Vegetarian Quiche with 20 grams of protein




I borrowed the above information from an about.com article and you can view the full article here:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/healthnutrition/tp/protein.htm


Some other questions I've gotten over the years are:


Q:Aren't you ever tempted to eat meat?

A: No, I am not tempted by meat because it is nothing that I want and I do not agree with the suffering that is involved in the process of bringing it to store or dinner tables.

Q: Not even by bacon?

A: No, not even by bacon. I really do not like the smell of bacon at all; it actually makes me feel a bit sick.

Non-vegetarians also sometimes like to toy with me with taunts about 'Then why does meat taste so good?'
My retort may sometimes be 'Vegetables taste very good too and you should try eating more of them.' Understand that I do not have a seething rage against people who choose to eat meat; I only have a problem with meat eaters when they obviously do not appreciate where and how it came to be in their mouths/tables. Ideally, I would like people to just appreciate where everything comes from and be grateful; instead of taking things for granted.  That's pretty much a key philosophy that I adhere to within my life.

There are a number of good reasons to go Vegetarian/Vegan and a lot of resources can be found both online at at your local library. You can even just go to the local health food store (which really should just be called a 'food store' =) and talk to one of the attendant. You will probably run into one or two there as well and strike up a conversation from there.



I've now have been a Vegetarian for about 2/3 of my life and I'm happy to see that more and more people are understanding the reasoning behind this way of life. There are a lot more highly visible in the media who are Vegetarian/Vegan and have no problem speaking about it and sharing their lives and lending their names to great causes.

While searching through youtube one day I watched the following video from Peepchick101

As this is not my video posting; I cannot comment on the research for it, but feel free to do some web searching for yourself =)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkhNN-SSlgs


So far in my life I've dealt with being the minority in a number of areas, but in regards to being Vegetarian and specifically being the only vegetarian in my household growing up and also at my place of work. As of right now I am the only vegetarian in the office. The highest number of vegetarians that have ever been in my office was a total of 3 including myself. Needless to say whenever you have another person on your team; it feels good. Right now, I'm flying solo, but it really doesn't change much other than I have less conversations about great vegetarian food/recipes etc. Earlier today we had a potluck and of course I'm going to bring something that I would be able to eat, but I never bring anything that would totally evade the non vegetarian crowd. This time around I brought in homemade hummus and also homemade chocolate chip cookies (which were vegan, but I didn't say anything about that. Perception is a funny thing. Preconceptions can be funny, but they can also stop you from experiencing a lot of great things in your life as well!


Well, I hope that wasn't too much for you to read, I'm sure I'll be back to edit it again one of these days.

Happy Vegetarian/Vegan Awareness Month!

I hope you do consider trying it for a day or a week.

Let me know how it goes!

Love,
Jessica

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two of my favorite things

Hello again,

It's been a while, but I am back in the blogosphere. I have a ton of new ideas and photos to post, but it will take a bit longer. So, for this entry I just wanted to share some of my favorite things with you. For this instance it will be some food items from some companies that I am really proud to support. I am really adamant about conscious eating  vs. unconscious eating. (No, we're not going to talk about people stuffing their faces when they've been knocked unconscious!)

Whenever you buy things; it's important to know how they came to be and everything (and sometimes all the things that aren't in them, as well!) that went into them. There are a lot of good companies producing quality goods that are also conscious in how they effect the environment and also in their involvement with giving back to the community/earth.

One of my absolute favorite companies that produces awesome snacks is the Food Should Taste Good Company. My latest favorite is their Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips:



http://www.foodshouldtastegood.com/faqs.html#/sweet_potato/

As a double bonus, if you buy the special pink bag editions of chips from this company; they make an addtional donation to various organizations fighting breast cancer. They also have a facebook campaign for it right now where you can purchase discounted coupons for bags of their chips and 100% of the proceeds go to the various organizations. I love it! =)

https://store.foodshouldtastegood.com/facebook

These chips are so flavorful and if you love sweet potatoes you will definitely be happy with the flavor profile. Prior to me tasting this variety for the first time; I was a little skeptical that you would really be able to taste any of the sweet potato. Sometimes when you mix things with corn, the flavor can overpower all other ingredients. This was and is not the case for these lovely, delectable, satisfying sweet potato tortilla chips. They are so jam packed with sweet potato-ness and with a softer background of corn. I love to eat them, all by themselves, but imagine them with hummus or tzadziki, guacamole etc. Soooo gooooood! =)

Aside from the sweet potato variety, they also have an awesome chocolate tortilla chip (yes, chocolate!!!) basically any chip variety you get from this brand will be good =)

I assure you I am not getting paid for any of this; I just really love the product and company =)

Another one on my list of favorite things is the Mayan Harvest Bake from Kashi. I do not often buy frozen entrées, but when I took a chance on this lovely; wow. The one major reason I picked this one out of the other varieties is obviously because it was vegetarian/vegan and the other was that it had plantains as one of the main components! I love plantains =)




http://www.kashi.com/products/kashi_frozen_entrees_mayan_harvest_bake

On top of the fact that the base is the 7 grain Kashi Pilaf mix, they have nutty pepitas, black beans, sweet potatoes and a lovely zesty sauce. I tell you when I have this to eat; I am really satisfied and happy =)
The price for one box of it isn't too bad either, right now it's $3.27 at the local grocery store. Whenever they're on sale, you better believe I stock up on these! If you know me; then you know I usually like to make everything from scratch whenever possible, but I have to say this dish is perfect the way it is. Just don't overcook it. I'd still eat it, but you might appreciate it more when it's cooked for the proper amount of time =)

Kashi, has long been an outstanding company when it comes to naturalness and environmental wellness. They do a lot of good in communities and give back quite a lot. You can see more about that by visiting the aformentioned link to their site.

Those were just 2 things off of my list and I will be sharing more of those items with you as times goes on.

I guess you could say I actually kind of listed 3 (if you notice the photo of the Veggie Heaven shirts), but I will speak more about that lovely restaurant another time. I think it deserves a full entry! =)


Peace and Health to you all.


Love,
Jessica