I am blogging at We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook now. Please check it out for hundreds of new recipes. I’m also thrilled to announce that the blog has led to the publication of my first book, a humorous food memoir written with my mom. I’m glad you stumbled on my old very first food blog. What a journey! I hope you’ll hop on over to We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook and continue the journey with me. -Rachel

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The Texas State Veggie Fair

Who knew that in the great state of steak, I’d be waiting in line for 20 minutes to get my hands on a vegan frito pie? Well that’s exactly what I did on Sunday afternoon at the Texas State Veggie Fair. It seems I may not be so alone as a Texan gone vegan after all. The turnout to this event was impressive to say the least.

Jared and I took Jackson and soaked up some hippie love, beautiful scenery, and some delicious food. Sometimes I worry that I’m not vegan enough for stuff like this. After all, my shoes had leather, and my make up was probably tested on animals. I joked that I hoped we didn’t get fake blood thrown at our leather shoes, but I was so pleased to see how respectful and kind everyone was. It made me proud to be a part of that group and a little less intimidated to call myself a “vegan.” (Though technically, I’m just a strict vegetarian.)

We made friends with a cool guy who is a soon to be dad. He snapped this picture for us.

Thanks to the rain, my stroller is completely caked in mud now. It was switched out for the Moby Wrap soon after.

We checked out the booths first. I bought some awesome disposable spoons from Eco Dallas made out of potatoes called Spudware. Totally cool and much better quality than the plastic ones! The “paper products” are made from cane sugar instead of trees too. I’m so inspired by people who get an idea and go for it. I have ideas all the time, but follow through is another story!

Of course, food is the reason one comes to a state fair, right? It’s rare that we go anywhere that I can order something without making a modification or questioning the ingredients. To be in a place and walk up to any vendor, order anything off the menu, and not ask a single question was a dream come true. There were so many choices: corn dogs, funnel cakes, indian food, fresh squeezed juice, tamales, but Jared is a sucker for Spiral Diner‘s nacho cheese and was craving a frito pie. I wanted to try a corn dog and funnel cake but their line was SO long so I stuck with Jared and we ordered Frito Pie, Nachos, and a Pumpkin Cupcake from Spiral Diner. Not a lot of veggies…but definitely worthy of fair food.

A three course meal if I've ever seen one. :)

An appetizer of nachos. I have to learn how to make this cheese. It's UH-MAZE-ING.

An indulgent entree of Frito Pie. More nacho cheese. Mmmm. Totally craving this right now.

Jared picked the food, but I told him dessert wasn't optional. Pumpkin Cupcake get in my mouth!

We met a cool guy while standing in line that went vegan three years ago. His wife was raised on a cattle ranch and isn’t thrilled about him cutting meat out of his diet, but he does all the cooking so she can’t complain much (and even eats vegan at home). They still haven’t told her meat-loving family for fear of what they’ll think. We were definitely a little afraid to tell our families and it hasn’t all been easy, but it made me especially grateful that Jared and I are doing this together and have each other’s back. It would be really tough if I didn’t have his support and I imagine that could be even harder for a guy who’s wife doesn’t understand.

After we ate, Jared had to leave to go to work (boo to coaches meetings every Sunday afternoon), but Jackson and I weren’t done with the fun. Well I guess Jackson needed a little break

A little cat nap in the Moby.

I took advantage of my sleeping baby and went to a Raw Food demo by Amber Shea of the Almost Vegan blog. It was probably good timing to hear the benefits of raw food, because it’s about to cool down here in Texas (I hope!) and when that happens I tend to want to skip the fresh veggies and go for something warm and toasty. I’m not interested in going completely raw, but I’d love to learn some new techniques for making veggies taste great while preserving their nutrients.

Amber showed us how to make massaged kale salad with tahini dressing. I’ve heard of massaging kale with dressing and attempted it a few times, but I didn’t realize that you really need to give that kale a deep tissue massage, not just a pansy little swedish massage. The more you massage, the softer the kale becomes and it shrinks down too. The result resembles the texture if you sauteed it for a few minutes.

Not a great picture, but there's Amber showing off her rubbed down kale.

After the demo, I was feeling so good about eating my veggies that I headed for the NadaMoo Ice Cream booth. OMG. Coconut Milk is THE way to go when it comes to non-dairy ice cream. So creamy and delicious. I tried both chocolate and vanilla, but as much as I love a good dark chocolate bar, vanilla always wins in my book when we’re talking ice cream.

I enjoyed this view of the Dallas skyline while sitting on a park bench with fellow vegans, listening to live music, and savoring every bite of my ice cream.

While I’d spent my afternoon indulging in a total food fest, Jackson was now ready for his lunch too. I found a quiet spot with an outdoor yoga class behind me, a huge old tree spreading out to the right of me, an adorable family picnicing to the left of me, a running trail filled with inspiring athletes and a sailboat-filled lake in front of me. I sat in the grass, fed my baby the best stuff on earth (no I don’t mean Snapple), and smiled at how good life was in that moment.

Gorgeous views at White Rock Lake

Jackson showed off his new high pitched squeal to the passerbyers, we changed his diaper on the lawn, and headed home happy to be part of the great vegan community in DFW.

Love his little cloth diapers by the way. More on that later.

My full little veggie baby slept all the way home curled up with Lamby.

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The Little Bean Is Here and I’m Back!

A lot has changed since I last posted…for starters I finished growing that little bean that stole my appetite. Now that I’m in my mommy groove, I want to get back to the blog and catch up on so many posts I intended to write. So, here’s a snapshot of what I need to catch you up on. I’ll be writing and filling in the details over the next few weeks or so.

Little by little, I grew and I grew.

25 weeks

32 weeks

36 weeks

37 week maternity portraits

Full-term, just waiting on a baby to arrive

So I cooked a freezer FULL of tasty food to sustain us for at least a couple of months while I waited. More to come on this nesting project.

And then on July 27 at 3:03 am he arrived…

Meet Mr. Jackson, all 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 1/2 inches of him!

And I fell in love, immediately.

And so did his daddy.

And little by little he’s grown and grown and stolen our hearts more and more every day.

"Hey! I need some help here!"

"So THIS is where all the yummy vegan food gets cooked?"

"Yawn"

"Hey Momma, get to work! You got some catching up to do on that blog of yours."

"Now, I can rest easy knowing there's at least a few pictures of me up on your blog."

That catches you up for now. I’ve got a lot more to share about my vegan pregnancy, becoming a mom, my freezer frenzy, and more. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Marriage Check-Up Weekend

When Jared and I were engaged, we went through a marriage mentor program through our church. It was the best thing we could have ever done for our marriage in those early days. We spent time weekly with a couple who had been married for 25 or so years and they helped us prepare for all things marriage. One of the many things that our mentors mentioned to us in the program was taking time to check-in with each other on a regular basis–monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually (whatever we could make work). Jared and I loved the idea and originally aimed for quarterly check-ups. Since then, we’ve found that semi-annually works best for us, between baseball and football seasons.

I posted about this on facebook and a few friends wanted to know how we approached our check-ups, so I thought I’d just post it on here on the chance that it could help others, too. I’m going to post how we do this, but we make changes each time as we figure out what works best for us and I advise you to do the same.

WHAT IS A MARRIAGE CHECK-UP?
First of all, a marriage check-up is a time where you and your spouse get away from the house to pray together, safely discuss any issues, set goals for your future, and renew your relationship.The idea is to never go too long without reconnecting and making sure our marriage is headed in the right direction. Keep in mind that if you’ve been married for 10 years and have a lot of undiscussed baggage or if you are hiding major secrets from your spouse, you may need more than one afternoon and you may need the help of a counselor. Our prayer is that these weekends will prevent us from becoming so disconnected that reconnecting seems hopeless. If you find that after a check-up, you need help resolving some issues, I can’t encourage you enough to find a counselor or a mentor couple to help you work through them. That is a perfectly good resolution to a problem you may discuss in your check-up–resolve to get help.

LOGISTICS
Jared and I typically get a hotel in Dallas or Fort Worth (the closest cities to us) for a night so we don’t have any distractions like laundry at home. Make sure to check the travel sites for the best deals. Ask for the earliest check-in and latest check-out they will allow. We don’t tend to go anywhere too fun or exciting, because we will be spending much of the time in the room. If you can find a suite for a good price, it’s nice to have the extra space to stretch out, but not necessary. If you have kids, you could find somewhere for just the day, but I suggest leaving them for the night with a trusted sitter or family member. I know it’s hard, but the best thing you can do for your child is invest time in your spouse. Please hold me accountable to this in about a year! We typically keep the whole weekend under $125, but it can be done for less, especially if you get creative.

We usually eat lunch at home to save money, check into our hotel around 2:00, spend the afternoon in the room, then plan a late dinner out at a nearby restaurant.  Plan on talking at least four hours. It doesn’t feel that long, I promise! I also pack snacks, bottled waters, and breakfast foods for the room to avoid any mood swings due to hunger and to keep expenses down. WARNING: Do not try to talk about deep issues in your marriage or finances on an empty stomach!

THE PACKING LIST
*Snacks — See warning above
*Bibles
*Paper & Pens
*Laptop for typing up goals (if you have one and can restrain from checking email)
*Any marriage books or workbooks you have that you think might be helpful to reference if you get stuck or need some help with a topic
*A prepared list of topics you don’t want to forget to discuss (individually prepared)
*Ipod & dock with songs that remind you of the best times in your marriage (the song you danced to at your wedding for example; some of our favorites are simply from a relaxing playlist we listened to on our honeymoon on the beach)
*An agenda — see example below

THE AGENDA
I’m including here the agenda we used most recently and some notes on each item on the agenda, but feel free to change it up. We’ve changed it up a bit as we’ve gone along.

*Set or review ground rules. These are the rules we’ve set for ourselves:

  • Start with prayer. End with prayer. Sandwich prayer in between if needed.
  • No name calling.
  • No cussing.
  • No yelling.
  • No belittling.
  • This is to be a safe place where anything can be discussed in a calm manner.
  • Use the sandwich method when possible (sandwich negatives between two positives — see example in next section).
  • Forgiveness is a requirement and needs to be expressed by the end of the day for all hurts.
  • Issues that are discussed and resolved are just that, resolved, and not to be used as ammo in future arguments.
  • Be honest and open. This is your chance to get out everything. Don’t hold onto an issue so that you have it for ammo later or because you’re afraid of bringing it up.
  • Share any unconfessed sins and ask for forgiveness from your spouse and God.
  • If things get heated or resolutions can’t be found, go to prayer alone and then rejoin with prayer. Then discuss again.

*Pray out loud with each other.
If you aren’t sure what to pray, try thanking God for your spouse, ask Him for guidance as you discuss your marriage, ask that He would reveal to you areas that you personally can work on. One of the prayers He really answered for us this last time was a prayer that He would help us tap into our gift of creativity as we come up with ways to improve our marriage.

*Review goals and notes from the last check-up (if it’s not your first).
We made some observations from our last check-up that were somewhat surprising. We found that several areas that were on our positive list last time had worked there way onto the need-to-improve list. Oddly, we met all of our long term goals already, yet struggled on some of our short-term goals, reinforcement that we needed this check-in more than ever.

*Individually write a list of positives and negatives in the marriage or areas you are happy with and areas you feel are struggling.
Some topics to consider including are spiritual life, household chores, kids, career/job, finances, sex, friendships, in-laws or extended family, fitness/diet, affection, respect, recreational activities, alone time, and communication. This isn’t just to rate your spouse; you may feel you aren’t happy with your own contribution in some ways, too, or that there is an external situation you’d like to see changed.

*Talk through your lists one at a time.
Go through each list and openly and honestly discuss them. We like starting with the positives to set the tone, but it’s up to you. Be sure to express gratitude for the areas you are happy with and approach the struggling areas that involve your spouse without an accusational tone. The sandwich method is especially helpful here. “I’m so thankful you’ve been taking care of our finances, but sometimes I feel so disconnected from them and like I’m frustrating you, but I never know when I can spend and when I can’t. I know I haven’t made this easy on you, but I’d like to feel more connected to our finances again.” (This was an actual discussion that led to me taking over the finances for the next 6 months. Be careful what you wish for!)

*Set Goals Together
Now that you’ve discussed areas that are working for you and areas you’d like to see improvement in, it’s time to set some concrete goals. Some of these may have been hashed out while discussing your lists, but you want to write them all down in one place so you can quickly reference them periodically. If you brought your laptop, you may want to type them up so you can easily print copies and save them for reference at your next check-up. Here is how we broke down our goals with a few samples from our list. Obviously, these are very personal and meant for the two of us, so I’m just listing a few that I’m okay with the world knowing.

Sex

  • example goal: This is obviously one of those “personal” areas I mentioned, but I wanted to mention that one of our revelations this time was to add prayer into this area of our life, maybe not a revelation for you, but it was for us.

Spiritual

  • example goal: Attend Saturday night church services and spend time on Sunday mornings reading and a book out loud together on marriage or spirituality. Right now we are finishing up Intimacy Ignited and talking through the discussion questions at the end.

Household

  • example goal: Jared will cook one meal per week so he can learn to cook for us before the baby gets here and to learn more about vegan food preparation and nutrition.
  • example goal: Decorate the bedroom/bathroom by March 15, office by April 30, baby room by June 15.

Career / Job

  • example goal: I will try to make xx amount of money this year, approximately xx per month.

Relational

  • example goal: Add a weekly marriage check-in.  Print off goals and put them in the car. Review them every week on the way to church and discuss any other issues that may have popped up that week.

Financial

  • I will take over finances at least until July 15.

General

  • Exercise at least 3x per week each.
  • Invest in our friendships with couple friends nearby.

*Pray
End your discussion time together by praying out loud again. You can spend time praying on your own, too.

*Date Night
Share a meal together. You’ve worked hard on your relationship today, now go and enjoy it! We usually don’t do anything too fancy, but you can go all out if it’s your style or order room service if you want to play it low key. We enjoyed a quiet casual dinner at a little Mediterranean restaurant last time and it was a perfect ending to our day.

I hope you find some of this helpful and will consider regularly checking in with your spouse. Jared and I postponed our last check-up by about three months and I have to tell you, they were the toughest months of the year. It certainly didn’t help that I was in my first trimester during those months, either. We desperately needed to reconnect and our marriage check-up weekend did that for us on such a deep level. It always does. We feel like newlyweds again!

At the Mirage Dolphin Habitat in Vegas three months after our wedding.

Just a note to the guys who think spending a weekend talking sounds awful, just know there is almost always a reward at the end for you. ;) Oh, and if you are that guy who would rather not talk about problems, you have more to say than you realize and your relationship is likely suffering due to your “peace keeper” mentality. Anyone who knows my husband knows he is the ultimate nice guy, and he’ll be the first one to tell you how important these weekends are for him. He hates confrontation, so he really needs that safe place to talk where he knows it won’t turn into an argument or that I won’t turn defensive on him.

And look at the good things that have already come from our check-up:

Jared made a fabulous vegan meal the other day as his weekly challenge to cook a meal. He picked what he wanted to make, researched the recipe, passed his ingredient list to me before grocery shopping, and prepared the meal. He followed the recipe from Chow Vegan’s baked falafel, so it was very healthy, too. I decided to make the hummus instead of buy it, per his ingredient list. I peeled the chickpeas and it gave it such a smooth consistency. The best hummus I’ve made yet. Here’s the recipe.

Simple Smooth Hummus
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, reserve liquid
1 1/2 small lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon tahini paste
3 cloves fresh garlic finely diced or minced
1/4 & 1 tbs cup good olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the chickpeas in a bowl of luke warm water and rub them between your palms to get the skins to come off. Pick out the skins. Rinse in a colander. Repeat until all skins are removed. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini paste, and garlic to food processor. Process while drizzling oil into mix. Add reserved chickpea liquid until desired consistency. Add S&P to taste. Continue to process until very smooth. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Here’s to smooth hummus and even smoother marriages!!

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The Little Bean Who Stole My Appetite

I haven’t posted in a while and there is actually a pretty decent reason for it. Right before Thanksgiving we found out that I’m pregnant! We are excited beyond words! Here’s a quick recap of what has happened since my last post.

On November 15, 2010, we found out we’re going to be parents.

We took my first belly shot before it grows (and grows, and grows)!

We got to see our little bean for the first time at 8 weeks pregnant. So cute, huh?

We got a lot of tiny burnt orange clothes at Christmas!

We welcomed the snow down south (and enjoyed staying in our pajamas all day)!

We survived the first trimester (yes, Jared survived it, too) and a teeny tiny bump started to show at 12 weeks.

This joyous occasion put a little kink in my food blogging experience. For starters, the little energy the baby left for me had to be carefully reserved for my clients, my part-time job, a trip to Denver for Thanksgiving, seven or so Christmas celebrations, and a week with my mom and step-dad at our house. I think I’m still recovering from the all the activity during that time.

Secondly, food and I have had a crazy love/hate relationship lately. The little bean has not only taken up inhabitance in my body, it has also taken over my appetite. Some days, the thought of looking at food, much less writing about it was revolting. Other days, my idea of a fabulous meal was crackers topped with peanut butter and jelly. Seriously, I thought this was a beautiful creation worthy of a photo that day! It is obvious my appetite has been stolen and held captive by a tiny person. Who else but a child would find this delectable?

I’ve eaten too many packages of Oriental Ramon to admit. I kept a food journal and I think I went a full two weeks without eating a vegetable. I did my best to eat really nutritious on the days I felt better, and on the days I felt nauseous, I was mostly thankful for prenatals and fortified cereals and juices that kept my baby nourished with the essentials while I couldn’t look at a carrot.

Around 11 weeks I turned a corner and my appetite for a variety of foods returned. Hallelujah! I’m going to try to get over here more often now that I’m preparing food beyond noodles and crackers again.

Here are a few snowy day food pictures that show I haven’t lost my love for good nutritious food (or that the baby’s pallete is becoming more sophisticated.) :)

The baby must love So Delicious Yogurt made with coconut milk because I can’t get enough these days.

Okay, so maybe the baby’s pallete isn’t completely sophisticated…but hey, every pregnant woman and child deserves a cookie! Besides cookies CAN be nutritious (at least moderately) when you’re following Mama Pea’s recipe. I hope to be like Momma Pea when I grow up and have a child. Oh snap, I just realized I have to grow up in like 6 months!

More to come now that I have my energy and appetite back. Eating has taken on a whole new meaning for me since it is the life support for my precious little baby, too. Every bite matters! I’m looking forward to posting on my decision to stay vegan while pregnant, the food I’m eating and the supplements I’m taking in order to give me and the baby optimum health, the decisions we will be making from childbirth options to highchairs and strollers, and just life in general now that baby is on the way.

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Beer and Wings – World Series Game Food, Vegan Style

Our Texas Rangers were in the World Series last week and though they didn’t take the title, I’m still incredibly proud of them for making it to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Plus, it inspired me to make some recipes for the first time in my culinary history.

I wanted to make some traditional game fair for us, vegan style of course, so I hit up my recipe files in search of the perfect game food. And it hit me, beer and wings! On the menu:

  • Beer Bread
  • Buffalo Tofu “Wings”
  • Carrots & Celery and Homemade Vegan Ranch
  • Beverages: Beer of Course

First up on the menu, beer bread. I remember my mom making beer biscuits when I was a kid and I thought they were delicious. We start out young in the south! ;)

I saw this recipe for beer bread on the Food Network that didn’t require any rising time, was already vegan, and looked so darn easy. I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour and shortened the baking time. This was the final recipe.

Quick & Easy Vegan Beer Bread
*Adapted from Robin Miller’s Quick Fix Beer Bread.

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces lager beer (minus one swig for quality control ;))
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. Pour in beer and olive oil and mix until just blended. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 35 minutes, until golden brown.

Mix dry ingredients and make well.

Take a swig of your beer for quality control.

Pour beer and olive oil into well and mix until all ingredients are wet. A few lumps are okay.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Bake for 35 minutes. (The original recipe called for 45 minutes, but I took it out at 35. My oven is pretty small and I think may cook things faster.)

This beer bread was pretty good, considering how easy it was, but it felt like it was missing something. I’ve never made bread before, so I’m not sure what, but the flavor was kind of bland other than the beer flavor and the texture reminded me more of a muffin than a loaf of bread. I’d like to try a recipe that involves kneading and rising, to see if the outcome is better. Oh, and I need to attempt some beer biscuits, just like my momma’s.

Next up was the appetizer. Jared told me the other day that he missed Ranch Dressing, so I decided to whip up a batch for him to dip carrots, celery, and his Buffalo “Wings” in. I used a recipe called Best Vegan Ranch Dressing as a starting point, and ironically, when Jared tried it he asked, “Where did you get the Ranch Dressing, it’s the best I’ve ever had, vegan or not.” Score, I topped his beloved Hidden Valley! It was delicious and super easy.

Better than Bottled Ranch Dressing (Vegan)
*Inspired by Best Vegan Ranch Dressing

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (regular would work fine, too)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons flat parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice milk (soy milk would work, too, but I like the neutral flavor of rice milk better)

Directions: Mix mayo and spices together and slowly add in rice milk. Keep stirring in milk until it’s the consistency you want it to be. I used about 1/4 cup, maybe less, b/c I wanted it to be a ranch dip. Add more if using as a salad dressing.

And last, but not least, were the Buffalo Tofu Wings. I used a recipe from Cook Simple, and only changed a little bit. I added parsley to the breading, since I had some extra chopped up from the ranch dressing and I baked then pan fried them for extra crunch.

Buffalo Tofu Bites
*adapted from CookSimple.com

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu — drained and pressed
  • 3/4 cup buffalo sauce (check labels if you’re a strict vegan, many contain butter)
  • 1 cup panko (or bread crumbs)
  • 1/8 cup flax seed meal
  • 8 Ritz-style Crackers (I use Late July Organic Classic Rich Crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Directions: Cut the pressed tofu block into bite sized cubes, place in a bowl, and cover with the hot sauce. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour (you can leave it overnight). In a blender, mix together the panko, crackers and flax seed meal (I didn’t have a blender, so I just smashed the crackers and mixed it all together.) Season to taste with the garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Remove tofu cubes from the hot sauce and place in the breading mixture, coating all sides evenly. Place the breaded cubes on a sprayed sheet pan and cook in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and pan fry over medium heat until each side is crisp. Serve with extra buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.

Gather ingredients. This wing sauce had “natural butter type flavoring” in the ingredients, so I’m not sure if that means it’s vegan or not. It was really good, though.  (Update: I found out that all of Frank’s sauces are vegan. Though still read labels, because some other brands clearly aren’t.)

Marinate tofu in wing sauce.

Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients.

Coat each piece of marinated tofu with bread crumb mixture and line up on pan, coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375 and remove.

Note: For a healthier version, don’t remove and just bake for about 5 more minutes . Otherwise, take out and pan fry on both sides in a thin layer of canola oil.

Put on paper towel-lined plate to absorb extra grease. Serve up with ranch dressing and extra wing sauce. I mixed the two for a spicy ranch dressing. Mmmm.

Beer Me.

Our Kroger let’s you put together your own sampler 6-pack, so I grabbed a bunch of different ones for us to try. We split two Octoberfest beers to eat with our wings. The Leinenkugel won hands down. It was delicious. I wasn’t a big fan of Sam Adam’s, but Jared like it.

The next day, magic happened. I broiled the left over Buffalo Tofu “Wings” until nice and crispy again, then made a wrap with everything we ate the night before plus some. It was like a wing party in a wrap. One of my favorite vegan meals ever.

In the whole wheat tortilla: vegan ranch dressing, red onions, tomatoes, celery (chopped thin), carrots (chopped thin), avocado, spinach, basil, Buffalo Tofu “Wings,” and buffalo sauce. This was a home run!

Hangry Pants is hosting a challenge today that called for making something new, this is my post for the challenge full of all new recipes and some new beverages, too.

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Happy Healthy Vegan Halloween

Halloween is not my favorite holiday for lot’s of reasons.

  • I hate being scared.
  • I don’t like candy.
  • I don’t like the idea of giving children loads of candy.
  • Most women’s costumes are designed to fill some male fantasy.
  • There is a lot of darkness and evil intertwined with Halloween.
  • Masks give people anonymity and that freaks me out.
  • I wasn’t allowed to trick-or-treat as a child.
  • If I dressed up for a church carnival as a kid, my costume was a complete afterthought that I was usually mortified to wear.

Despite all of this, sometimes I have to participate and another part of me loves a chance to participate in a neighborhood activity for the kids.

This year I had to dress up for a Fall Festival that I helped coordinate for my part time restaurant marketing job. I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on a costume I’ll never wear again, so I hit up my closet and put the right side of my brain to work. I don’t know if I should be proud or ashamed that I have all the pieces for a farmer costume in my closet.

I didn’t want to be any old farmer, though. I wanted to be an organic farmer. After all, pesticides affect the health of farmers more than anyone else, you know. So I picked up some organic veggies and stuffed my pocket with some organic cilantro seeds and called it a costume.

The best part: I get to eat everything I had to buy!

Several of the kids came up to me super excited saying “You’re Jessie!!!” (from Toy Story).

Today’s dilemma was a bigger one. What can I give the trick-or-treaters that is healthy, vegan, and fun? I wandered around Target for 30 minutes before finally finding the perfect treat. I’m so excited about these!

Clementine Jack-o-lanterns! How adorable are these?

They are the perfect healthy treat and with a few minutes and a permanent marker (or a food marker if you have one), they are totally festive, too.

Hint: Wash the oranges first to get the wax coat off. The wax seemed to mess up my markers and I think made the ink smudge a bit when peeling them.

I also passed out some bubbles that I got pretty cheap (100 for $10).

The kids LOVED both. They ran off telling their parents, “Mom, I got bubbles,” “Cool, an orange,” “Hey I’m a fruit, too (from a banana)!” I heard one kid telling a kid walking up the street “Hey, you get bubbles AND a tangerine at that house.”

I may not like Halloween, but oh how I love to be liked!

I expected a lot more trick-or-treaters than we actually had, so it looks like we’ll be eating a lot of Jack-0-Lantern Clementines this week. I’d much rather be eating leftover clementines than leftover sugar-filled candy, though.

Happy Halloween!

Look at me being all festive. Maybe I could start to like this holiday, after all.

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