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Monday, August 30, 2010

Stress Stinks!

(And I don't mean that in an Arrid X-tra Dry way.)

(I tried to find one of those "Stress stinks! Arrid works!" commercials on youtube, but this picture from Google Images will have to take its place.)

Here's a fun little fact about yours truly: I'm pretty much a walking, talking ball of stress at just about all times. Some days are more manageable than others, but there's always some amount of stress weighing me down every day. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who is fueled by stress. Instead, I'm weakened by it.

I've been on a (half-arsed) quest to manage my stress. I say 'half-arsed' because most of the time, I'm too stressed out to even think about managing my stress! Many people have told me to try yoga. I have some yoga DVDs I could dust off, but I just haven't gotten around to laying down the ol' mat yet. Others have suggested meditation. Meditation creates something like an earthquake inside my head; when I'm forced to be quiet and "clear my thoughts," that's when all my thoughts go NUTS and fly all around inside my head and usually get destructive. It is impossible for my mind to be "quiet."

Someone in the blogosphere shared this meditation video, and I really liked the message.

It was really difficult to follow this meditation, but I think I made it through about half of it. It was nice to listen to while thinking about 8 million other things.

A friend shared this video on facebook. Short, visually pleasing videos like this are good for me: they're short, I have something to watch, and they're pretty. I can tune out for 30-60 seconds, and that's good enough for me.

Wasn't that nice?

I know the best way to deal with all of this stress is to just LET IT GO. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done; I'm just not wired that way. I care way too much about everything.

I really do feel better when I'm traveling. Being thrown into a brand new place, trying new things, meeting new people, and leaving everything behind... that's my heaven. Unfortunately, I'm not a zillionaire, and therefore cannot live my dream of non-stop travel.

How do you manage stress?

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Map Thus Far

visited 24 states (48%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I've been told that I have strange criteria for what I count as "visiting a state." If I counted every state I simply drove through or every state where I just sat in an airport, waiting to connect to another flight, then I would have several more states filled in here. For me, I don't consider a state "visited" by me unless I was able to spend considerable time there outside of a car or airplane, and could create a memory for that place.

Some random memories:
Virginia: I stayed there for a few days when I attended the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC back in 2004.
New York: a too-short visit to NYC back in 2005 (still eager to go back), a short stop in Buffalo, meandering around the Lake George area, and Niagara Falls.
Utah: Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, and Zion National Park. Beautiful, beautiful places.
South Dakota: two words: CORN PALACE.
Kansas: Lawrence is certainly the gem of Kansas, but if you're willing to make a very boring drive, you can also visit the World's Largest Ball of Twine.
Iowa: Des Moines, the largest cement garden gnome in Ames, and a covered bridge in Madison County.

What does your map look like? What is your criteria for counting a state as "visited?" What are some of your random memories for certain states?

If I had a map of countries I've visited, I would only have Canada and Jamaica filled in. I look forward to the day when I have many, many countries visited.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest Post: Addicted to Veggies

Welcome to the first guest post on Hungry Vegan Traveler! You'll be hearing/reading from my friend Sarahfaé, who runs the raw vegan blog Addicted to Veggies. She's a whiz in the kitchen and a very creative uncook. When I asked Sarahfaé if she'd be interested in doing an interview about her sassy vegan self for my blog, she jumped at the opportunity. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself! Where are you from, what is your family like, pets, hobbies, interests, etc.
Hiya Constant Cravings readers!
I’m Sarahfaé, the writer/creator of Addicted to Veggies – a blog that solely revolves around plant-based recipes, and posting them as often as I can come up with new ones!
I live in a foggy little town on the coast of Northern California (Eureka to be exact), in a cozy vintage Craftsman style home with my two pups (Elmer & Lucy), two kitties (Lola & Flower), and most importantly my very supportive hubby; Mister AtV.
Most days you’ll find me in my kitchen, making some sort of food related mess, or scouring through my cookbooks looking for recipe inspiration. My happiest state is almost always after I’ve made a recipe that I deem successful – which is usually followed by ridiculous levels of excitement (on my part) and then going down a list of “taste testers” to call up. Have you ever done a “Drive-by-fooding”? If not then I highly recommend it! A “Drive-by-fooding” involves leaving a pretty package of really yummy food on an unsuspecting friend’s doorstep, and promptly driving away so as not to be caught. So much fun!

Non food related hobbies of mine include:
Fitness: I’m currently wrapping up the P90X program with Mister AtV, and I have aspirations to run at least a half marathon by the end of this year. Most of my “me time” outside of the kitchen revolves around some form of physical activity, but running is one of my most favorites.

I grew up in a very musical household, and began playing the guitar and piano when I was in my early teens. Songwriting is a big passion and very therapeutic outlet for me. Whether or not anything comes from the music I write, I don’t mind. Music is something I can always count on, and that’s pretty darn satisfying in itself. Although I have been caught daydreaming about being the front-woman in a Thin Lizzy cover band more than once.

I also have an affinity for all things Trains (more specifically Steam Engines), and probably think about them way too much for my own good. I just put the finishing touches on a “train themed” sitting room in my little house, and I’m beyond excited to have a new place to sit with my cookbooks. Maybe someday I’ll get around to building an actual model railroad in my backyard.
Alongside my love of trains runs a very deep love for Buster Keaton. If I elaborate on this I’m afraid I’ll start to sound like a crazy woman, so let’s just say that I think Buster is swell. Really really swell.

How long have you been vegetarian/vegan/raw?
When I was twelve years old I remember sitting at our kitchen table, while my doting mom made breakfast for the family: sausage, eggs, and potatoes. It was at that very moment when I realized I had been eating animals my entire life, but I didn’t have to. What a simple and wonderful thing for a twelve year old to realize right? Along with the support of my awesome parents I was able to start making my own choices about what I put into my body. Thanks Mom and Dad! That’s when I first embraced a vegetarian diet.

Tell me how you came to be veg*n and then raw. What exactly made you commit to this lifestyle? What was the hardest part of the transition?
Some years later, still being vegetarian I began to have some serious and scary health problems. After tons of misdiagnosis I started to look at my eating habits. Finding out that I was lactose and gluten intolerant made the choice to go vegan very obvious and almost easy. This was also around the time I met my now hubby, who was a then manager at our local Natural Foods store (to this day I tease about marrying him for his store discount!).
My health was on the mend after choosing a vegan diet, but there still seemed to be a missing link where energy, health, and honestly - a happy stable relationship with food was concerned.

How I came to raw food is a funny story…
I remember being online one day in early 2008, surfing some of my favorite food blogs. My very first introduction to raw food was via: What the Hell does a Vegan Eat Anyway? Check out their Raw Food Wednesdays and Thursdays posts. So creative!
I was floored! I’d never before heard of the “raw food” world, and up until that moment I knew absolutely nothing about it! As I always do with new and interesting things, I jumped head-first into researching raw food. In fact that very same day I found and purchased my current dehydrator on craigslist. For those of you wondering I use a L’Equip.
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on eating raw, but from the bottom of my heart I love it. I love what it’s done for my health, and my all-around relationship with food has changed massively due to the way I eat now.
The only difficulty with eating a predominantly raw diet for me is the cravings. Those cravings were (who am I kidding, they still are) coming from a very strong starchy foods addiction. Honestly though, I’m learning to love and appreciate those cravings, and I hope they don’t ever go away because they are the fuel behind some pretty damn tasty food creations.

As a raw foodist, how do you prepare for eating while traveling?
Good gosh! This is one of my vices that I’m thankfully getting better at the more I travel. My eyes are bigger than my stomach and I’ve been known to over pack. One thing I can honestly say to avoid when prepping food for travel: Don’t pack prep/pack your food when you’re hungry! Eat, then pack your food!
I’ve got quite a booming collection of coolers that have become my favorite travelling companions (after Elmer and Lucy of course), so I always start there. Depending on the length of travel I’ll make a basic meal plan/calendar. Next I’ll convene with the hubby (if we’re travelling together) to plan what days and for what meals we’ll be eating out. I can only ever assume that eating out will provide me a salad, so I always try to eat something before going to a restaurant. There have been times when restaurants won’t even cater to my simple salad request (snobby chefs!). This is when I open up my purse and bust out a banana, home-made trail mix, or mixed nuts.
Mixed nuts: don’t leave home without ‘em! Also ladies, big purses are your friend! There’s rarely a moment when I don’t have a snack in my fancy leopard print shoulder bag.

Tell me the story behind Addicted to Veggies: the blog, and your blossoming catering business.
After falling in love with raw food in early 2008 I began researching to my heart’s content. Researching turned into making tons of recipes, which then turned into posting my recipes all over Livejournal (my first web home). My confidence in the kitchen really started to take shape.
Last year at this very time - no joke - I took a trip to San Francisco with my kid sister. We ended up doing an impromptu and pretty silly photo shoot featuring yours truly holding a Carrot like a Cigarette. Later on I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented young artist who we showed the photo too. The three of us chicks began joking about what a great alternative to drugs and alcohol veggies (and fruit) can be. That quickly evolved into a silly marketing campaign idea, and later on it turned into Addicted to Veggies - the blog. I’ll admit, at first I had some pretty grandiose ideas about AtV, but it all came down to the food and recipes. I just want to make good healthy approachable food, and share it with anyone who is interested. Too often there can be a lot of dogma behind healthy lifestyles and eating habits – I don’t want any part of that…what I do want is to give people tasty food, and make them want more.

How did you prepare to open up AtV for catering business?
I’ve been so fortunate over the last few months to have had the opportunity to bring my food out to the local home-town crowd, but catering on a large scale isn’t something I plan on pursuing with AtV. Preferably I’ll be focusing on small and intimate settings where catering is concerned. I guess to answer this question – AtV isn’t technically a Catering business. So far I’ve only made that service available to a few local business and events. I’ll be focusing on doing small event catering in the future as it comes to me, but no solid plans yet.

What do you foresee in the future of AtV?
Lots and lots of new recipes!
AtV’s primary focus will always be making and sharing good food. This is what makes me most happy; the gift of giving you could say. My plan over this next year is to make lots of connections with talented foodies in the blogosphere, to get a you-tube channel up and running, and to do a bit of travel (AtV being the reason behind that, of course). Where my work is concerned I’ve always been a problem solver. This is why I love food so much: It’s versatile! You can do anything! I’m always looking at food that I can’t eat, for example; Deviled Eggs, Corn Chowder, Crème Fraiche, Cottage Cheese…These are the foods that move me in the kitchen. These are the foods that make me go: “I want to eat that” then “How can I eat that?” and hopefully resulting in a new recipe that fakes-out taste buds and makes new friends!

Sarahfae - AtV

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pineapple Icebox Dessert

On Sunday, my boyfriend and I went to his friend's moving day/welcoming party for his girlfriend. Matt and Elizabeth were nice enough to provide me with some veggies since they were grilling burgers and hot dogs (Thanks again!), so I whipped up a dessert to share from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Desserts book: Pineapple Icebox Dessert, to be exact.

I was quite pleased with how simple this was to make, and with the results. It had a good, thick, creamy consistency, and I received several compliments from other people at the get-together (who probably didn't think it was a raw, vegan dessert).

Still, this cake is a cashew-overload. The bottom crust, the filling, and the crumbles on top (from the crust recipe) are all cashew-based. Though it's not "raw," I think next time I'll just stick to a cashew-based filling and use a graham cracker crust and crumb topping instead.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Malay Cafe Will Make Your Day (and a Surprise-tini!)

My friends and I were eager to try a new restaurant over the weekend and we were all set to go to Blanc Burgers on the Plaza. I called in advance, though, because someone had told me that they now offered gluten-free breads and I wanted to check if it was, in fact, true, and also to find out if they were also vegan. When I inquired over the phone to the woman who answered, she informed me that "nothing on the menu is vegan." She put me on hold to double-check, which I appreciated. I figured their spiced-lentil burger could have been made with eggs, but surely the portabella burger would be safe, as long as they removed the feta and other non-vegan items. She returned to the phone and said that neither of their vegetarian burgers can be made vegan "because of the mixtures used to prepare them." Well, so much for that idea!

Boyfriend and I narrowed down our options, and then settled on Malay Cafe. We had eaten there for lunch a couple of years ago and thought it was okay, but after reading so many amazing reviews online, we decided it deserved another chance. Luckily, our friend joining us that evening is always willing to try new foods.

By the time we arrived at Malay Cafe, we were all STARVING. Crispy noodles and sweet sauce were immediately brought to our table. (Our waitress could see the hunger in our eyes.)

The table ordered 3 appetizers, two of which were veg-friendly. (I was dining with two very understanding meat-eaters.) First up, gado-gado.

This was a little dish of heaven, folks. Drizzled with a light, tangy peanut sauce, the gado gado featured rice noodles, bean sprouts, chopped tomato, chilled chunks of fried tofu and potato, pineapple, and thin matchstick slices of cucumber. (This comes with eggs, but I ordered them on the side and handed them off to the boyfriend.) Seriously, I want to order this gado gado by the bucketful. It took every ladylike fiber of my being to not lick the plate.

We all shared an order of fried sweet potato.

It was more "fried" than "sweet potato," but to most people, this is a good thing!

And on to my entrée. I ordered the one tofu dish listed on the menu, which claimed to have powers that could convert anyone into a vegetarian. Well, I've been meat-free since 1995, so no conversions are necessary for me! Behold, the Ginger Tofu.

Now, my tastes definitely run more toward the savory than the sweet, and this dish is SWEET! Still, I enjoyed its ultra-saucy goodness, but found the sweetness overwhelming at one point. The soft, yet lightly-fried tofu was the star of this dish, and of course, I can never have too many veggies on my plate.

When our check came, I asked the owner about other vegan dishes that could be offered. She said that she can substitute tofu for meat in just about any dish on the menu, and to just ask the next time I come in. Oh, I'll definitely be back! I can't wait to try every vegan variation possible at Malay Cafe.

After dinner, we headed out to Penguin Park, which should have been a joyful little visit, but within a few minutes, we found ourselves in what our friend, Brandon described as, "Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but with flies." Seriously, the air was thick with little fly-gnat hybrids, and we noticed masses of them on the playground equipment, and then on ourselves. I don't know how all of those families could put up with the bugs; we ran like the dickens outta there!

Our next stop was Glace', which has been featured on this blog before, but Brandon had yet to try it. We arrived to discover a long line curving out of the doorway. We stood there for a little while, then decided to just try the new Yogurtini, just a block or two away. A friend had tipped me off that they offered sorbet, so I was interested to try this out.

Sure enough, when we arrived, "Summer Berry Sorbet" was featured at the bottom of the flavors list.

Victorious! I grabbed a cup and headed down the line.

I only put a little sorbet in the cup because, for me, it's all about the toppings! I was pleased with the veg-friendly toppings available among all of the other options. Here's my cup:

My toppings included shredded coconut, cherries, blueberries, ground flax seeds, graham cracker crumbs, and some crushed nuts. The cherries were my favorite.

It's so nice when chain places (especially ice cream/dessert places) offer something to the vegans. This makes it so much easier for me to go places with my non-vegan friends (and most of my friends are not vegan, but are quite accommodating to my lifestyle). While we were enjoying our sorbet/yogurts, a staff member (possibly the manager) came by to ask how we were enjoying everything. I made a point to tell her how happy I was to find a non-dairy option at Yogurtini. She said that it's been very popular and she's received some great feedback. She also informed me that their sorbet flavors are rotated out, and in another month or two, there will be a new flavor of sorbet featured. (So keep an eye out!) Of course, it would make me even happier if they offered sorbets or frozen "yogurts" made out of coconut, almond, or hemp milk, but those are my vegan dreams getting carried away. I'm very pleased with their sorbet option and I certainly look forward to returning to Yogurtini again.

PS. While you're here, what do you think of the new blog lay-out?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Salad & Smoothie Days of Summer

For those who are curious, here's a glimpse of what I've been eating for the last week.

This is a quick lunch I packed: salted & shelled edamame, sliced radishes, and homemade potato salad (recipe from Veganomicon). This was my first time making vegan potato salad (I had a lot of potatoes I wanted to use up, so this seemed to be the obvious solution), and I was very pleased! Dill is awesome.

Even though I less-than-halved the recipe, this made PLENTY of potato salad.

This is a really beautiful salad I enjoyed at home (don't mind the totally out-of-season bowl it's in). The fresh tomatoes we received from a family friend were HEAVENLY. Unfortunately, they're all gone now.

The more colorful the food, the better. And I've been all about roasted chickpeas this past week, especially with nutritional yeast.

I got back on the smoothie bandwagon this past week, as well.

This was made with unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, 1 banana, and some frozen blueberries. Spinach would have been a great addition, if I had some on hand at the time. (Spinach is awesome in smoothies.)

We were given a large amount of jasmine rice recently, which I prefer to cook in vegetable broth instead of water. I also enjoy coconut-curry rice.

Here you see jasmine rice with coconut milk, vegetable broth, and curry & cumin powder. This is all in a rice cooker (which is a wonderful device!), so I just fill the liquid to the appropriate line. In this case, it was one whole can of coconut milk, with vegetable broth bringing it up to the fill line, and then the spices to taste. It may not look pretty now, but the results are delicious.

This is great with just a light drizzle of tamari, Bragg's, Nama Shoyu, or soy sauce. I ate this with a rather plain stir-fry of just fried tofu and bell peppers. (I'd been in the process of cleaning out the pantries and freezer before grocery shopping, hence the modest additions to the rice.) But hey, it tastes good!

And one last smoothie. This one is practically identical to the previous smoothie, except it also has strawberries, and I used unsweetened chocolate almond milk instead of plain.

What's in your favorite salad or smoothie? What have you been eating lately? Not pictured in this entry are COUNTLESS salads of mixed lettuces and sunflower seeds with Annie's Goddess dressing. So simple, but SO GOOD.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coming Attractions on HVT

Coming soon on Hungry Vegan Traveler:

Better pictures! It is with a heavy heart that I announce the retirement of my Fujifilm Finepix camera. It was given to me by my boyfriend for Christmas in 2006. It was my first digital camera and I remember being overwhelmed with its features. Before the Finepix's arrival, I used the camera on my cell phone, and occasionally a little 35mm and a Polaroid. (I still have the Polaroid, but I'm stingy with using it because I have to ration out the film.) The Finepix and I have come a long way. We developed (ha!) quite a bond over the years, from keeping it in a clean-but-worn-out sock as a "case," and my attempt at Project 365 in 2007-2008, to sharing pictures of my mad cooking skills and my travels, that camera was always by my side (or, actually, in my purse). The only reason this camera is being forced into early retirement is because of some strange dark matter that lodged itself deep into the camera at some point while we were in Jamaica, disrupting all pictures taken with it. To have the camera taken apart and cleaned would cost more than the camera is worth, and between blogging and my new interest in creating videos, this unsightly defect just won't do. Aside from this unfortunate dark matter incident, the Fujifilm Finepix camera has served me well and it will be missed.

A New Banner! Yes, it's time I classied up this blog and personalized it and made it feel like Home. Soon you'll see a snazzy new banner across the top of this blog.

More tales of travel! Coming soon.

Also, while you're here, you will notice a poll on the right-hand side of the blog. I want to know what you, the lovely readers, like to read the most on Hungry Vegan Traveler. This blog is all about vegan lifestyle + travel, but those are pretty broad topics, leaving plenty to be discussed. What would you like to read?

And of course, if you like what you're seeing and reading here, tell your friends!

Friday, August 13, 2010

HVT @ Home: A Cool Breakfast & A Mostly-Cool Dinner

This might just be the hottest midwest summer I have ever experienced.

You know of an awesome breakfast for hot summer days? I do: it's peanut butter banana soft serve.

frozen banana chunks (from 1 banana) + a little splash of almond milk + about 1/2 a tablespoon of PB + some food processor action = a heavenly cool way to start the day.

My main man and I briefly considered grilling for dinner tonight, but it's pretty darn hot outside. Instead, I laid zucchini and red pepper slices, along with some chickpeas, on a baking sheet, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt, and garlic powder, and stuck it all in the broiler for 5 minutes. Stir/toss/flip, and back in for 5 more minutes. We ate this on a bed of Romaine lettuce and spinach, along with slices of local cucumber (from the farmers market) and diced heirloom tomato (courtesy of a neighbor).

The pepper slices had some nice little char marks, and roasted chickpeas are so darn good. It's almost like popcorn, but without all the gunk getting stuck in your teeth.

I dressed my salad with Annie's Naturals roasted red pepper salad dressing (possibly my favorite dressing) and some Vegan Parmesan.

The high for tomorrow: 101. Keep cool, readers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dirty Dozen 2010

Are you familiar with "The Dirty Dozen?" It's a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated by pesticides. The latest edition of Vegetarian Times has released the updated list.

The Dirty Dozen
1. celery
2. peaches
3. strawberries
4. apples
5. blueberries
6. nectarines
7. bell peppers
8. spinach
9. cherries
10. kale/collard greens
11. potatoes
12. grapes (imported)

Alternately, there is also "The Clean Fifteen," which is a list of - you guessed it - the fruits & veggies with the lowest risk of pesticide contamination.

The Clean Fifteen
1. onions
2. avocado
3. sweet corn
4. pineapple
5. mangoes
6. sweet peas
7. asparagus
8. kiwifruit
9. cabbage
10. eggplant
11. cantaloupe
12. watermelon
13. grapefruit
14. sweet potatoes
15. honeydew melon

(VT's source: Environmental Working Group, 2010. Visit for more info.)

My stance on organic vs. conventional is to try to follow the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen as a guide, but I have to say that I care more about buying local and supporting farms and farmers in my own community. I planted my own little herb and vegetable garden this year, and while it's small, it's a start and it sure is nice to know where that food comes from. I have gotten to know a couple of growers at our local farmers market, and they're wonderful and wise people and I am happy to support their organic-but-not-"certified" veggies, rather than pay double at the grocery store for wimpy certified organic items that were shipped from hundreds of miles away. By "wimpy," I mean that their organic produce was picked at least a week ago, whereas at the farmers market, it was picked that day or the evening before. The quality is better, the price is better, and the environmental cost is lower. It's a win-win. I also prefer to shop with the seasons as much as possible. This means, while living in the midwest, no fresh pineapple or avocados in December, unfortunately, but plenty of root vegetables in the fall.

Some people are really gung-ho about organic, and that's great. I personally can't afford to buy everything organic, and I also feel strongly about supporting my community by supporting local farmers. It's a personal decision, and I want to remind my readers that with every purchase you make, you are definitely voting with your wallet.

Monday, August 9, 2010

HVT Product Review: Brody's Bakery

I first heard of Brody's Bakery sometime last year and was excited to hear about a Kansas City area bakery dedicated to vegan and gluten-free goods. When I first heard about them, though, their items were only available in Lee's Summit. Earlier this year, though, they started to offer their products in other areas, slowly coming closer to my neck of the woods/Missouri. Last week, I was thrilled to hear that they were now stocking their items at Hy-Vee in North KC. I could finally try them out!

Brody's Bakery is an all vegan and all organic bakery located in Kansas City, MO. Besides being available for local pick-up and delivery and by mail order throughout the entire USA, our products (all vegan AND gluten free!) are available in multiple Hy-Vee stores throughout Missouri and Kansas.

All ingredients are 100% organic unless otherwise noted. In addition to being gluten-free, most menu items can be specialized in other ways for allergies (corn-free, peanut-free, soy-free) upon request. You can purchase Brody's Bakery products at Hy-Vee stores in Leawood, KS, Lawrence, KS ,Kansas City, MO , Shawnee Mission, KS , Belton,MO, Overland Park, KS , Prairie Village, KS , Lees Summit, MO(both stores), Raytown,MO and also at Worlds of Fun!

I made it to Hy-Vee two days after Brody's Bakery stocked their items there, and their shelves were almost bare! It looked like they had at least a dozen different items at one point, but by the time I got there, it was down to just a few. I picked up a package of the oatmeal pies and the chocolate chip cookies.

These oatmeal pies are definitely something to sink your teeth into! The cookies have a great, dense oaty taste with a light hint of cinnamon, and the filling is sweet.

These are some toothsome chocolate chip cookies! Now, I'm more a fan of the softer, chewier cookies, and while these BB cookies weren't soft, they weren't hard like a ginger snap, either. Like the oatmeal pies, these are tooth-sinking cookies. The chocolate chips are rich and perfect for my chocolate-loving tastes. A glass of almond milk is necessary to go along with these cookies.

I'm excited to see and try more Brody's Bakery products in the Northland. (Their next delivery is tomorrow, if you're in the area.) It would be nice to see individually-wrapped treats in the future, rather than shelling out $6 for a package of cookies or pies that are going to call to me for days at a time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Paul Nison & His Magical Beard

Last night I attended a speaking engagement by Paul Nison, a raw foods chef and educator and awesome beard-haver. From his Facebook fan page:

Raw Foods Chef and Educator Paul Nison has been eating a raw food diet since he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis many years ago. With no other choice but surgery according to the medical profession, Paul decided to stop eating cooked foods. Today he is 100% cured of this so-called "incurable disease." Paul has been featured on The Food Network and in several magazines and newspapers around the world. He travels the world giving lectures on the raw food nutrition and raw food prep classes to show people how easy and fun the raw life can be.

Paul spoke about his experience with Inflammable Bowel Disease, what his life was like leading up to the diagnosis (in a word: chaotic!), and his journey to curing this disease and living a happier, healthier life. His story is very similar to many stories being told now, about people reversing some of their health problems with diet and exercise.

Quite a crowd gathered for Paul's lecture; every seat was taken and there were several people standing. Paul was a wonderful speaker, peppering his stories with puns and bad jokes (and I love bad jokes!). He emphasized that "overeating and undersleeping are the main causes of disease" and "laziness and constipation are the first signs of disease." He believes in eating less, and eating earlier. He also put a lot of emphasis on reducing stress, warning that a healthy diet won't truly make someone healthy if they're outrageously stressed out.

Paul was a wonderful speaker, and while I don't share his religious beliefs, nor do we share the exact same diet, he had a lot of good advice for anyone eating any kind of diet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

HVT At Home: The Fruitiest, Simplest Pie You'll Never Bake

Earlier this week, I thought making scalloped potatoes sounded like a lovely idea for dinner. I quickly learned that I won't be making them again until probably late September or October. Baking something in a 400 degree oven for almost an hour heats up a house real quick -- and it's too dang hot to be baking like that!

This inspired me to make a post about the easiest, fruitiest no-bake pie I know of, which is perfect for summer. You can use fresh, local fruit, or frozen or canned, whatever is in your pantry -- make it easy on yourself! I won't be giving exact measurements; this pie is simple enough that I feel most people can get by without one.

First, open a big can of crushed pineapple. Spoon out some of the juice (maybe 3 tablespoons?) and mix it with some cornstarch (maybe a tablespoon?) in a saucepan until it's incorporated. Then add the remainder of the crushed pineapple and juices into the saucepan, stir, and let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Yes, there is a little bit of cooking, but no BAKING!) You want this to thicken up a bit. Once it has thickened, set it aside.

Next, get your fruit ready. On this day, I happened to have a can of sliced peaches, a ripe banana, and some frozen blueberries and strawberries, which I thawed overnight.

I arranged the banana slices at the bottom of a pre-made graham cracker crust (I told you this would be easy) and arranged the peach slices on top.

Next came the layer of thawed berries.

And finally, the thickened crushed pineapple "sauce" covers the whole thing. Pop this in the fridge for about 3 hours to set, and enjoy. I highly recommend this as a cool breakfast. It's best to eat this pie within 2 days, but in my experience, it has kept pretty well for up to 5 (but generally doesn't last that long, if you know what I mean).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homegrown Zukes & a Summery Dill Broom

Also over the weekend, I paid my parents a visit. They live out in Nowheresville with very limited options for food. I do not come from a vegan family, so this isn't too difficult for them. However, two years ago they started a vegetable garden, which I made me very excited. This has been a very rainy summer and some of the plants probably aren't going to make it (namely, eggplant), but check out their zucchini! I brought these two home with me.

(Also, check out my sun-kissed arm! Yeah!)

Then my mom and I picked up a few items from their itty bitty local grocery store (seriously, their "produce section" could ride shotgun in my little car) and I was amazed at what I found there:

Have you ever seen dill like this before?! Isn't it awesome?! My mom joked about hanging it in the house like those decorative scented brooms you see in the autumn time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Feeling Blissed

Greetings and happy August! It's still summer, but I feel like we're being cheated with all of the fall clothing on sale and recipes for pumpkin pie circulating. Too soon!, I say. Too soon!

Of course, take one step outside and it won't feel like fall for one second. It is SWELTERING here in the ol' midwest. I can't complain too much, though; I'll take the heat and humidity over the ice and snow ANY DAY!

We braved the heat this past Saturday for Bliss Fest! Though this was the third annual BF, this was my first, and I was very excited.

I'm such a bad little blogger, though. I was so distracted with chatting with friends and familiar faces (and sweating) that I didn't take nearly as many pictures as a Good Little Blogger should. Still, I shall share with you what I have.

I caught the very end of this raw chocolate pudding demo. It's made with avocado, so it's extra creamy and wonderful. I know this is like Raw Food 101, but hey, good is good! (Especially when it involves chocolate.)

Steep raffle tickets! Not a whole lot of veg*n bikers present, evidently.

My friend Val was making smoothies at the Cafe Gratitude booth. They were also selling beautiful glass water bottles and "I love my life" shirts.

There were a few different booths for complimentary or low-cost massages. It was tempting, but I'd feel bad making someone run my sweaty self. I did have a spinal screening, though, which was eye-opening and worry-confirming. (Is that a word?) There were food demos, some speakers, and live music.

I devoured this veggie burrito by Bonheur (filling included summer squash, eggplant, and purple fingerling potatoes with cashew cheese - not sure about the spices or sauce, but by golly, it was good!)

...while this raw demo was taking place. I was more interested in the food being prepared than the "information" being provided by the man with the microphone.

My friend grabbed a sample. Isn't that lovely?

Kevin and Ann Marie Gianni of "The Renegade Health Show" were the headlining presenters. I had hoped to meet and chat with them, but their booth was pretty busy every time I made the rounds. I only got to hear a chunk of their presentation, but I really liked what I heard, especially in regard to helping and coaching others.

We scurried off to catch up with some friends, but I made sure to grab some cashew ice cream from the Fud booth on the way out. It felt so wonderful to eat something COLD! The raw caramel and chocolate sauce were a heavenly touch.

Ah, ice cold water. "Spin the globe then pack your bags." Oh, Caribou Coffee. If only it were that easy.

We closed out the evening with roller derby.

I found this Remax Man particularly funny.

It was a blissful Saturday!

This week should be pretty busy here on Hungry Vegan Traveler, so please stay tuned!