About Me

I am a wife, work at home Mom, homeschooler to my 5 year old son, diaper-changer to my twins who will be 1 in October, Domestic Diva, Artist, & Chinese Medicine Practitioner ... who just happens to be Vegan ! I will be using the blog as much as I have time for as an outlet to vent, exclaim victory, and share family stories of events involving food. It's tough being Vegan in a Non-Vegan world ... even more tough living in Houston, Texas. Join me in sharing ideas, tips, recipes, etc. to make our lives a bit easier !

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Today we went into town so to speak ... we live so far North in Houston that certain areas of it seem as though they take forever to navigate ... as though we live in the country and have to "go into town". :) Living in Austin around the corner from Central Market would spoil anyone let alone self-proclaimed foodies so it was a rare treat to visit Houston's Central Market. I was like a kid in a candy store as we navigated the winding isles wondering what would be around the next corner. As I peered around the end of one aisle a middle-aged lady wielding a mini-cart clipped me and as the searing pain of metal against my ankle set in I managed to utter "oh, that's okay" when given an apology. It was an accident after all.

I couldn't help but flash to a memory from the Westgate Central Market in Austin about 5 1/2 years ago when an actor (T.L. Jones) of recent No Country For Old Men fame ran over my foot with his shopping cart while making a b-line for the beer/wine section of the store ... I would not have even given him a second thought if it were not for the fact that I was about 7 months pregnant at the time and that he didn't even seem to notice me being there let alone say "excuse me".

Okay, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand but nonetheless part of my HerStory. :) So, we had a great family outing to CM and came up with endless possibilities for this week's menu plan. There are (as I have discussed in prior entries) many Vegan options in the traditional grocery store but it's just nice to go to a specialty market and have even more choices. The sheer excitement of seeing Banyan Foods Vegan Egg Rolls in several varieties invokes visions of a toddler with the first taste of chocolate.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Comfort Food

A recent stressful event left me searching the pantry for ... comfort.

My newly adopted Vegan life gave me pause at a moment when I normally would have eaten my way mindlessly through this and that. There was a time when I would have done so without even a second thought. I would have made a blue box of mac & cheese (you know the one) and would have polished off well more than a single serving. Once upon a time I would have found solace at the bottom of a pint container of ice cream or in an ooey gooey cheesy pizza. Gluttony? Sure. But more than that the "comfort" should always outweigh the guilt. Right? Sometimes it is more simple as with Ramen Noodle Soup when I am feeling a bit under the weather or mashed potatoes when I have an upset stomach.

All of this leads me to these questions -- 1. When do we learn to turn to food for comfort? 2. Why do some people eat with their emotions and others not? 3. If it's not acceptable to eat emotionally then why does our culture have the phrase "comfort food" ?

There are certain food associations that are quite clear in etiology for me as with the soup. I have memories from childhood of my Grandmother making me Ramen Noodle Soup with crushed saltine crackers when I was sick. Of course it was cheap and had whatever animal extractive was cheapest but the nostalgia is there ... so now I make it with the Asian noodles and my Better Than Bouillon paste (Vegetable Base) and VIOLA! it's Vegan Noodle Soup. :) Mashed potatoes are an easy one with the addition of Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread and Silk Unsweetened Soymilk.

I am using my transition from Vegetarian to Vegan not only to change what I eat but how and when I eat it. Rather than searching for the Vegan Mac & Cheez that comes closest to the blue box version in order to facilitate my "comfort food fix" I took the opportunity to examine why it has given me "comfort" in the past. Was it the flavor, the texture, the process of making it, or was it tied to something else ? ? ? I don't have all the answers yet but it's a work in progress.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Grocery Store "Finds"

As a wife and mother it seems as though I find myself cruising the isles of the grocery store pretty often. I don't mind it at all as a diversion tactic with the twins who are now getting close to eight months old. Before having children my husband and I would linger in the isles of the original Whole Foods Market in Austin (before the monster world-headquarters was born) and spend Saturday afternoons deciding what we wanted to eat for the week.

In Austin it seemed as though anything and everything was at our fingertips ... and we took it for granted. :) Now, in Houston, it's most certainly more work to get the products we have gotten used to having in our daily lives. That said, we live in North Houston (Tomball technically) so Whole Foods (or Central Market for that matter) is a "trip" rather than a jaunt around the corner. Of course I am just whining and as a "responsible Vegetarian" I need to be eating at home more and learning to cook basic foods with items available at the regular old grocery store. :)

Not all Vegetarian/Vegan foods are healthy nor do I feel the need to eat certain foods just because they are Vegan. My biggest guilty pleasure lately was Sweet Chili Doritos ... MSG and all ! ! ! I didn't let my oldest son even try them because I knew they were "bad" but now they have DISAPPEARED off of the shelves ... everywhere. Has this happened all over the country or were they just not popular here ? ? ? Were my husband and I the only ones eating them ? ? ? Who knows ? On a positive note I don't NEED the Sweet Chili Doritos and my waistline will appreciate a more figure friendly snack. :)

I am excited when I see "normal" foods that just happen to be Vegan. In one of my favorite magazines (VegNews) they have a blurb every month that highlights such products. I smile every time I can go to a movie (not very often these days) and have Twizzlers. :) No, they are not health food but they are a nostalgic part of movie-going for me ... memories of going to see Arachnophobia and using Twizzlers to tickle my Aunt's leg and freak her out ! LOL

In closing, here's to finding the extraordinary in the every day items we encounter !

Saturday, May 23, 2009

No, I am not a "Hippie" !

Recently a friend of mine said I came up in a convo with someone I don't know based on lifestyle choices that are seemingly unconventional. After a complete stranger has queried as to whether or not I am a "hippie" I decided to post this to my blog. :)

No I am not a Hippie.
Yes I am 100% Vegetarian (aka Vegan)
Yes I get enough protein
Yes I intend for my children to be Vegetarian (while I support their right to choose later in life)
Yes I gave birth to twins at home
Yes I take my children to the pediatrician when appropriate
No it's not your business whether or not I choose to vaccinate my children
Yes I have breastfed all three of my children
No I do not have a problem with those who cannot breastfeed

Monday, May 18, 2009

My lovely hubbie (and children) gave me a laptop for Mother's Day ! ! ! I was sooooo excited.You wouldn't think that it would make such a difference but with 7+ month old twins to take care of it's a hassle to boot up a "regular old PC" ... esp. when it's connected to the living room TV and used with a mini-wireless-keyboard.

Since then I have been much more in-touch with family & friends. After hearing from the "100th" person that they did 'whatever' on facebook I decided to take the plunge and sign up. WOW ! I had no idea it would be so great ... I never did all that much with myspace and just thought it would be the same old same old. Nope.

I am doing pretty well on the "Vegan-Front" these days ... just taking it one meal at a time. I think something that helps is that I am not focusing on what I can't eat now but what I should be eating as a responsible Vegetarian ... not to mention someone with a nutrition degree. :) It's all feeling like second nature. Houston is most certainly more of a challenge than Austin (or San Marcos for that matter) to find products but then I don't live where a trip to Whole Foods is easy. This is good in that it forces me to find the "gems" among common grocery store items. :) I think my favorite find in the sweets arena is this chocolate spread made by a Kosher food company (Bright Morning I think is the name) ... it's like Nutella without the hazelnuts or dairy. Yummmy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I am so bad at keeping a blog ! :)

Okay so it has been over a year since my last post and what I did not know at that time was that it wasn't my second child but my second and third ... TWINS ! I don't have time to post more than that right now but needless to say life is crazy as usual. :)