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Going Vegan for February

going vegan

Photo via Unsplash

In January, I decided one of my 2018 goals is to stop overthinking things. To honor that, I’m going vegan in the month of February!

Going vegan is something I’ve talked myself out of trying for years. I’m already a part-time vegetarian, vegan-before-6 kind of gal – so why not go whole hog and see what happens? Add in that I’m in a cooking rut, the winter months always make me feel like crap, and I could use a hormonal “reset,” and you have a recipe for change.

For now, I’m committing to going vegan for a full month to see how it goes. I spent January researching recipes, trying out adaptations to my favorite foods, and getting my pantry prepared. Oh, and I ate my last cheeseburger last weekend before I say goodbye for a while.

I’ll see where I am at the end of the month and assess things from there. Even if I go back to my occasional cheeseburger, I still plan to work more plant-based meals into my life.

My husband won’t be joining me on this one – at least not full time. He worked more vegetarian meals into his life, thanks to my gold-star cooking. I’ve also tried a few vegan recipes out on him already, and he seems to like them. At this point going vegan isn’t for him, and that’s fine. He’s supportive of my doing this for me, and leaving him to his own devices when he wants some meat or cheese. I’m sure he’ll end up eating a lot of what I cook anyway – he has a hard time saying no to falafel, black bean soup, and just about anything else I make!

I’m not sure how much I’ll post about this over the next month, but I’ll definitely let you know at the end of February how going vegan went! Until then, check out my Instagram, where I’ll be sharing all the delicious new food I’ll be trying out!

2015 Year in Review: Food

2015 Year in Review: Food

Homemade Granola Bars / What I Eat: Summer Edition / My Relationship With Food: A Love/Hate Story / A (Dangerous) New Toy

In 2015, I cooked at home more than I ever have in the past. Not working left me with a lot of time to read cookbooks, research new recipes, and try out a lot of new foods. I also enjoyed sharing with you what I eat on a regular basis, and some of my favorite new recipes.

While I did cook a ton over the past year, I was usually too hungry or rushed to photograph or write about it! I hope in the next year I can take more time to share my favorite recipes, and do more cookbook reviews.

I’ve been in a cooking rut for the past month or two, and with the holidays, I’ve been giving more attention to baking cookies than making dinner. Hopefully now that the holidays are over, things will get back to normal!

2015 Year in Review: Food

Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast /  Cookbook Review: I Quit Sugar / Meal Planning 101 / Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

Oh, and did I mention I read a lot of cookbooks? Our local library system is a great resource for finding cookbooks to check out, which helped me expand my horizons a lot this year!

I also found a few cookbooks I want to add to my stash in the next year. Danny surprised me with Ree Drummond’s new book, and I also have a few from Martha Stewart and America’s Test Kitchen I want to grab whenever they go on sale!

Overall, it was a great year for cooking and baking in our house, and I look forward to much more in the next year. This might be the year I finally tackle sourdough!

What I Eat: Summer Edition

I love reading what other people eat on a daily basis, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been eating this summer!

What I Eat: Summer Edition

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs, toast with butter and strawberry jam, water, coffee

Since I’m not in a big rush in the mornings, I’ve been making eggs with toast every day. I got hooked on making scrambled eggs using Gordon Ramsay’s method, though I substitute the creme fraiche for sour cream (creme fraiche is just too damn expensive). Usually, I top the eggs with chives too, but I didn’t have any that day. I should probably suck it up and just grow my own at this point – I eat them all the time!

Another habit I’ve gotten into with breakfast is starting the day with a large glass of water. I find that if I drink water before breakfast, I’m less jittery once the coffee kicks in.

What I Eat: Summer Edition

  Lunch:

Homemade hummus, Trader Joe’s Pita Crackers, cucumber slices, grapes, and more water Lunch is a problem meal for me because I’m rarely in the mood to eat normal lunch food. I don’t like eating most leftovers, and in the past few years I’ve grown to hate most sandwich meat (acid reflux is a dick). Like many people, when I’m working I’ll rely on buying lunch – my old Instagram account had way too many pictures of the pizza place a block from my last job (to be fair, though, that place was amazing).  One of the few meals I’ll eat on a regular basis, however, is what I call my “grown-up Lunchable.” It always includes crackers, cheese or hummus, a veggie, and some kind of fruit. This is a great way for me to use up the salad odds and ends we have left over without eating a salad (yep, I hate salads for lunch too). Of course, I also have it with another tall glass of water!

What I Eat: Summer EditionDinner

Creamy Broccoli Soup, sourdough bread, fontina cheese slices, white wine, water

Dinner in our house has been a struggle lately. Most days it’s too hot to cook, especially in the oven – and when it’s that hot outside, I don’t give a crap about cooking or eating. My husband also recently declared he’s going on a low/no carb “diet,” which severely cut down the few options I still wanted to cook.

I know it sounds strange that we’ve been eating a lot of soup around here lately, but stick with me on this one. Soups are something I can make the night before after the temperatures have cooled off, or in the morning, and reheat later. They don’t require the oven, or much time on the stove, and many of the soups I make can easily be eaten cold. I also find that soups are one of the few things my husband and I can agree on eating right now, since he can add meat on the side, and I can add in pasta on my own. Everyone’s happy, for the most part!

I think I’ve made Martha Stewart’s Creamy Broccoli Soup more than a dozen times, and it never gets old. It’s perfect by itself, but I also like topping it with shredded cheddar and croutons. It also tastes better the next day, so it’s the perfect make-ahead soup – and since there isn’t any dairy in it, the soup also freezes well too!

What I Eat: Summer Edition

Snacks

Iced coffee and chocolate chips, Trader Joe’s Granola Bar, strawberries and pineapple, berry smoothie

I’ve never been much of a snacker during the day, so it was hard for me to think of snacks I eat in the afternoons. In fact, I had to go through almost 3 years of pictures to find a few examples! For the most part, I only eat a late afternoon snack if I know I won’t eat dinner until late.

When I do grab a snack, I tend to rely on a sweet treat that’s meant to either give me an energy boost or fill me up until dinner. I try not to consume caffeine after my morning coffee, but If I need a pick me up, I’ll make an iced coffee or cup of tea. The rest of the time, I’ll go for a granola bar or smoothie because I know the fiber will help me last until dinner.

I do usually eat a small snack in the evening, and lately it’s been popcorn because my husband and I can share. I’d prefer a cookie and tea, but my husband has banned desserts from the house while he’s on his diet thing. Sigh…and being the good wife I am, I’m obliging him for now.

Well there you go – a glimpse into what I’ve been eating lately! Now I’m off to go find a snack – because blogging about food while hungry is a bad idea!

Road Trip Tips

Road Trip Tips

While I didn’t always enjoy going on road trips as a kid, I’ve grown to love them as an adult. Now that we live in a place that’s full of amazing parks, mountains, beaches, and historical sites, I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down so I can hit the road again.

Whether heading out for a day trip, or crossing the country, there are some things I’ve learned along the way that make life so much easier, so I thought I’d share!

Road Trip Tips!

1. While your cell phone can be a great asset, don’t rely on it for everything!

Road Trip TipsIf you’re planning a long road trip, I recommend using the Roadtrippers website and app. It’s a great website that can help you plan your trip, including where to stay, where to eat, and sites to see along the way. I used it to plan my cross-country move last year, and it came in handy whenever I was ahead of schedule and wanted to fit in some unplanned sightseeing. I would often coordinate my stops throughout the day so I could visit parks, monuments, and quirky stuff like the Mitchell Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. This made the 4-day trip far less grueling!

While using apps to help you find your way, if you’re going to make a long trip (anything over a day), I suggest printing out your directions. You never know where you’ll get (or lose) a cell phone signal, so it’s a good idea to have that backup in case your phone or car’s GPS stops working.

2. Accept that fast food is going to happen, and make the best choices you can.

Road Trip Tips If you’re taking a short day trip, you can certainly plan ahead and take healthy snacks with you to get you to your destination. However, on a longer trip, you may just have to live with stopping for the occasional fast food meal.

To balance out the fast food, I made sure the rest of my meals each day were as normal as possible. Since I stayed at hotels each night, I ate my normal breakfast of coffee and oatmeal, or eggs with toast, instead of diving into doughnuts or sugary cereal. Throughout the day, I made sure to drink plenty of water and snacked on granola bars, crackers, and other things I could easily take in the car.

Halfway through my cross-country trip, I treated myself to a nice steak and giant glass of red wine one night – and after a couple days of granola bars, chicken fingers, and Red Bull, it was so needed!

3. Make time to exercise!

Road Trip Tips

Regardless of how long or short your road trip will be, don’t forget to take breaks. Sitting in the car all day can be incredibly draining, and will wreak havoc on your back, hips, legs, and neck!

If you’re at a road stop during a short trip, get out and walk around for a few minutes, and do some light stretching. If you’re on a long trip, find time to work out in the morning, and do some yoga or stretching in the evening.

I find that on long trips, it’s good to find sightseeing locations that require me to do some walking or hiking, like I did at the Mt. Moriah Cemetary in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was the perfect way to start the day, and kept me energized through the rest of the day in the car.

4. Stick to your regular sleeping schedule as much as possible

Road Trip Tips

I know this can be easier said than done, especially if you don’t like sleeping in strange places – but do your best to get to bed and wake up at regular times.

If you’re driving through multiple time zones, sticking to your regular sleep and wake times will help you adjust more easily. For my cross-country trip, I always woke up at 7am, and went to bed at 11pm, regardless of what time zone I was in (and what time my body felt it was).

I know it can be tempting to wake up super early, or drive late into the night, but I find that keeping to regular hours is less taxing. It’s also much safer if you’re traveling alone to avoid driving late at night.

I also highly recommend using a sleeping app, like Sleep Genius, which I’ve been using over the past couple years. It takes a little getting used to, but I’ve used it in my quiet home and loud hotel rooms with great success. If I need a little extra boost, I take melatonin before bed – just make sure to try using it before going on a trip, as it affects people differently!

5. Take twice as much music (maybe more) than you think you’ll need!  

Road Trip Tips

I’ve learned this one the hard way over the years! No matter how many CD mixes I make, it’s never enough. This is another area where I’ll say not to entirely rely on your cell phone – especially if you rely on apps like Spotify, which require you to have a cell signal.

If you have a CD player, burn some discs of your favorite music, and when you think you’ve got all the music you’ll want…burn a few more! I guarantee you that, whether your trip is short or long, it’s never a good idea expect your phone to work, or radio stations to come in clearly (especially if you’re driving in remote areas or mountains). Another great idea when traveling with friends is to ask each one to bring their own mixes to share, that way everyone gets to listen to things they like, and you might get hooked on new bands too!