My sister goes vegan part 2

I went Vegan!

 

 

The end of Lent is approaching, and I have so many great vegan experiences to share!

Here’s a basic idea of what I ate most days.

Breakfast: plain oatmeal with honey and natural peanut butter added.

 Lunch: Brown rice, lots of veggies, piece of fruit.

 Dinner:  Different almost every night.  I had so much fun trying vegan recipes.

 

Here are some go to recipes that I never would have discovered if I hadn’t been trying to eat Vegan.  I used these recipes almost every week, and they were so delicious that I’ll definitely keep making them!

 

 

1.http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/09/28/recipe-easy-split-pea-soup/

This recipe is so easy, and makes great leftovers!  Even my non-veggie loving husband LOVED this.  I just substituted the chicken stock for vegetable stock. Mmmmmmmm!  It has such a great rich flavor, and adding sriracha sauce made it nice and spicy! 🙂

 

2. Vegan Burritos.  In the past I always pile TONS of cheese on my mexican food… but what really surprised me is how much I like my burritios with absolutely no dairy or meat!  At first I thought, there would be nothing left but condiments… but now I think burritos just taste so crisp and fresh this way, I think I prefer it!

 

You could make this with most anything you like, but we used: whole wheat tortillas or pita, black beans, brown rice, avacado/guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, and cilantro.

 

3. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-broccoli-soup/

I actually only made this soup once, but it was really good!  I was surprised to see how well the cashews worked as an ingredient!

 

4.Salad.

I used to hate salad, but now I love it!  Seriously.  I had so much fun experimenting with different salads.  I found out that a good dressing makes all the difference to me, and I really only like home made dressings. A favorite go-to dressing was this one:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/simple-balsamic-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html

I used honey instead of sugar.

 

5.  Tofu stir fry:  I used organic tofu (and we only did this once in a while, b/c of the risks of eating soy.  I would fry the tofu in olive oil and then just mix it with a bag of frozen veggies.  Much better than it sounds. 😉

 

 

Of course, some recipes were a definite flop.  I found that recipes that are usually based on a meat were a big disappointment… vegan mushroom stroganoff for example… not so great without the beef!  The recipe used cornstarch (ew!) to give it thickness, and it was barely edible.

 

 

As to my original posed questions…..

 

Here are some of my pre-Vegan thoughts that I hope to explore:

 

1. Will learning to say “no,” to my food impulses give me strength in other areas of my life?

I think so!  Its hard to evaluate your own self-control, but it definitely gave me more confidence in my own “power.”  I usually don’t tell myself “no,” when it comes to food.  Doing so over and over again, made me feel like I have more control over my choices in life.  Definitely a confidence booster.  It reminded me of a CS Lewis quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. ”

2. Will not having the option of emotional junk food eating help me to grow as a person?  Will I turn to prayer or meditation, or will I replace my cravings with some other temporary pacifier?

I have to be honest here, and tell you that it did not.  I totally caved to my weaknesses, and just found vegan junk food to indulge in.  Surprisingly enough oreos are vegan… its a terrible terrible thing!!!!  I really admire people who have actually been able to give up all the bad stuff entirely… I’ll take any advice you have to offer. 😉

 

3. Will I feel any different physically from eating Vegan?  Will I have more energy?

Its really hard to say.  I’d like to think so… but could be a placebo effect sort of thing.  I did always feel extra great when I juiced though.  I got super into making green juice (with things like cucumber, celery, kale, and apple)… and every time I drink it I feel a little bit like super woman.  Not to mention I can’t get over how pretty it looks in a glass! (Green IS my favorite color.)

 

4. What will I do when eating over at someone’s house (I’m shy and don’t see myself liking to explain all this to people)?

I guess I don’t have much of a social life, b/c this really wasn’t a big problem lol.  It was slightly awkward at my Baptist in-laws, who wanted an explanation of why you would do lent, and didn’t quite understand… but we only had the conversation once.

 

5.  Will I find good Vegan options at restaurants?

YES!  Oh my gosh, the asian vegan food was amazing!  I tried things I never would have tried before, and let me tell you, it was some of the best food I’ve ever had!  Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian restaurants have great Vegan options… I only wish I knew how to cook it myself!

 

6.Will this change the way I eat or view food permanently?

For sure.  I realized that I can go without meat pretty easily.  I used to see myself as a big meat eater (I even craved rare steaks), but now the idea of eating meat kind of grosses me out… makes me thing of gnawing on muscles.  (Sorry I know thats gross!)

 

7.Is there any (affordable) AND tasty way to drink coffee with cream as a vegan (this is crucial to my happiness 😉 ).

No.  This is the one thing that was really really hard for me.  Coffee is NOT the same without milk!!!   I just hate stealing the milk from those baby cows… but its so good….. still not sure what to do about this.

 

8.  How am I ever going to give up Diet Coke????!!!!! Blurg!

Things are looking bleak in this area. Wah Wah Wah.

 

9..  And of course every girl’s constant question…. will I lose weight? lol.

No… I think it was those darn oreos.

 

In conclusion.. as Miley Cyrus would say… going vegan was “pretty cool.”  You should try it too!

 

Much love,

NeverContrary’s sister ❤

Do you need to spice up your life?

One of the best things about South Louisiana is by in large the food. While I do not enjoy the spicy food, I have actually built up my tolerance from cannot handle ground black pepper to I can handle the spiciest thing you got. This is a big deal for me. Food is spicy here in ways that the rest of the country wishes it were spicy. Most people who are born and raised here are so used to the spice that when they travel they pack spices in their bags to put on the food on their vacations. But, I am now off topic because this post is supposed to be about dessert. Focus NC, focus.

This past week I have been to two of my favorite places in south LA for some amazing treats.

The first is the Frostop.

Don't you just feel yourself going back in time?
Don’t you just feel yourself going back in time?

What makes this place special, aside from the fact that it has a giant root beer float as a sign? I am glad you asked. I dislike root beer and creme soda, yet here I am downing a giant root beer float in minutes. That is hogwarts level magic folks. They make their root beer from scratch. Words cannot describe the simple yet distinct taste of the melted icecream swirling into the heavenly soda. When someone can take a food I do not enjoy and make it something I crave, that my friend is an amazing drink. Hands down best root beer float ever created.

Oh my God, look at it in all its sexy glory.

Oh my God, look at it in all its sexy glory.

The next stop on my dessert train is of course beignets. One cannot live in or visit south LA without eating good beignets on a regular basis. I have heard rumors that in other places people have these things called “donuts” and try and tell themselves that they are good. But, they are lying to themselves. Quite sad really. Going to get beignets is more than the powdered sugar floating in the air and falling softly all over your clothes. It is more than the cafe au lait that goes down so smooth you think you have entered a deal with the coffee devil. It is about the feeling that comes from each and every bite. As if it were your first bite. Every time. Even if you go every sunday and eat a whole plate yourself. Each bite is like the first time. And no donut can compete with those moves. I promise you that.

The calm before the two year old devours half the plate.

The calm before the two year old devours half the plate.

Satisfaction- oh look it is the wife's hand.

Satisfaction- oh look it is the wife’s hand.

Why aren’t you a food snob?

I have been judged for quite a many things in my life, but one I am growing tired of is being a food snob. Many people constantly tell me I am a picky eater. They are sadly mistaken. I am a genuine foodie.

It truly saddens me that many Americans have no appreciation for real or good food. When it comes to food they care about how cheap it is and how much they can  get? Just the thought of that makes my skin crawl. I know you all know these people. They are first to chime in that their favorite restaurant is Olive Garden. Dear God, help them in their time of need.

Food was meant to be cooked slowly, and eaten slowly, so that every bite can be savored and appreciated for it’s diverse flavors. When I met the wife she had never had real food. Ever. Still the food her mother puts out for a meal frightens me. We have begun simply bringing our own food. Yes, I know that is probably rude, but you have not seen the stuff being she “cooks.”

It has taken me two years, but I have successfully transformed the wife into a food snob. Ice cream from scratch, homemade biscuits, slowly smoked chicken, Beef Wellington for holidays!! I am getting goosebumps just imagining the deliciousness. Many friends ask how do I have the time. It does not take any more time to cook from scratch then it does from a frozen box. This is a lie Americans tell themselves, so they feel less guilty for feeding their family horrid food.

Beef Wellington in all it’s glory

If the food is not good, don’t eat it. It is as simple as that.

If the food is processed, or full of chemical compounds, don’t eat it. Run away you just saw a monster.

If the food is genetically modified, or heaven forbid uses genetically modified oil, burn it. Genetically modified food has scientifically been shown to make rats unable to produce children. Which is why it is banned in 50 countries. Not the good ol’ USA though. We only ban things that have no impact on us.

I wish I could spend my time teaching moms how to cook from scratch with their families. It is not only a fun way to pass the time, but a wonderful learning experience for everyone. Every sunday I would have classes where you brought the whole family and we could learn how to cook a simple from scratch meal that you could take home for sunday dinner.

Changing lives one meal at a time.

*image from www.happydaycatering.com

The healthier version of yourself

This morning was rather exciting. As I went to my mailbox at school hoping to find my contract for next year and instead found my monthly health newsletter.

I know you are all as concerned with your health as I am mine so, I will fill you in on the latest news in health industry. The one from a few months back can be found here- All you need to know about staying healthy 

 

1. Recipe for healthy living:

5 daily affirmations

3 balanced meals

2 hugs from someone special ( because hugs from creepy people are unhealthy)

2 healthy snacks

1 handful of close friends

 

2. Compression socks

The studies are mixed about whether you should be wearing them. But, all studies agree they do work in recovery. So don’t go rush out and get your compression socks too soon please make sure to wait until you are recovering from your original socks.

3. Breaking free from co dependency

Signs you are co dependent. Keeping quiet to avoid arguments, being always worried what others will think of you, If you feel like a “bad person” when you a mistake, and have trouble saying no. If these describe you, then you may be co dependent. If that is so contact a health professional as we have no advice for you.

4. Bank of Mom and Dad

Are your children living off of you? You don’t want to support them forever, do you? First, create a plan. Second, Charge them interest. Third, Require them to help around the house. And lastly, lead by example. With these easy steps it will only be a matter of days before they are off your couch and on someone else’s.

Each newsletter is concluded with a quote. This months-

“Just think about how happy you’d be if you lost everything and everyone you had right now, and then somehow got everything back again.” – Kobi Yamada

My South

I have been posed the question “Why do you live in the South?” a lot lately. As someone who is gay, married, and raising a family; I can see how people would struggle to see why I would chose the south. It is often considered to be the opposite of who I am.

I have written a handful of posts specifically about living in Louisiana here  that will paint a picture of the south through my eyes.

The quiet silence of a small town

Trying to put into words what the south means to a southerner is difficult to do, so I will start at the beginning.

Being a southerner is like being a part of a secret club that everyone knows about. You have to prove yourself to get invited in, but once you are in you are in for life. Of course unless you do something crazy. In which case, you need to openly ask Jesus for forgiveness and we will let you back in.

The south is the people. Sure you could say it is something about those long hot summers and never ending glasses of sweet tea that do something to you, but down here it is about the people. The whole town may talk about what crazy things you did last saturday night and how they cannot believe you are dating so and so, but if you are sick the whole town shows up with a hot meal. The first words children are taught is please, thank you, and sorry. Yes Ma’am and No sir apply to everyone out of respect. It is not about your age.

And then there is the food. It isn’t simply food. It is bacon cooked in brown sugar, pecans, and cayenne pepper. Food is not something you do to get the best body or help you finish the race. It is a ritual, an event, and a time to catch up with family and friends.

As the suns sets on a warm summer evening with the breeze blowing past you full of memories of times past, and you sink into your porch swing, you can feel the soul of the south wrapping its arms around you whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

Listen carefully

Mountain Dew Cake

I sold my first cake!

I love to bake. Even in high school I can remember practicing my recipes and bringing them to school for all my friends to eat. Now, I bake and bring it to my students, give it to my wife’s co-workers, or to my family. I would keep them at home and eat them, but I don’t really like sweets. Yes, just another thing I am contrary about.

I sold a mountain dew cake. It is a lemon/lime cake that is very rich and creamy. The recipe was given to me by my good friend Jessie Brown. She has graciously given me permission to share it with you!

Mountain Dew Cake

Mountain Dew Cake:

I cup of butter

2 cups of sugar

4 large eggs

3/4 cup of mountain dew

1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice

zest from 1 lemon and 2 limes ( separate into 2 piles, one for buttercream)

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Beat Butter on medium for 30 seconds

2. Add sugar and lemon, lime zest. Beat on medium- high until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs one at a time, Scrape sides of bowl in between additions.

4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Turn on low for 5 seconds.

5. Add the mountain dew, lemon/lime juice, and lemon extract.

6 Bake for 20-25 min ( 18-20 for cupcakes)

Mountain Dew Butter Cream:

1 cup butter

4-5 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons mountain dew

Juices from half of 1 lemon and half of 1 lime

Lemon and Lime Zest

1 teaspoon of lemon extract

neon green food coloring

1. sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment

2. Beat butter until creamy

3. Add half of the sugar

4. Add the mountain dew, zest, and lemon extract

5. Add food coloring

6. Gradually add remaining sugar

Enjoy!

Mountain Dew Cake

Pinterest is killing you softly with its song

Be careful. Pinterest is filling you with unattainable dreams about how your life will never be. I know it is blasphemous to say such things about the god fearing pinterest, but it had to be said.

I have a number of problems with what pinterest is doing to you. And so should you.

1. People post dessert far too much. I mean come on. Who eats that much dessert. No one. Not even  the Duggars.

2. You will never have a house with rooms like you pin. Yes that million dollar kitchen you just posted does not exist not for you, not for me, only Blue Ivy. And that bathroom overlooking the jungles of Tahiti, you are more likely to sleep with Johnny Depp than have that house.

3. The I am not pregnant do not have any kids, but pin about my future unborn children. Maybe you are not superstitious, but don’t go selling the milk before you bought the cow. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to find out I couldn’t have kids and have 100 pins about babies.

4. My style. I don’t know how to say this, but that picture of the super cute outfit looks just like all the other outfits you posted with different colors. Wearing jeans, shoes, jewelry, and a shirt is not a “style,” it is just the same boring outfit every teenager out there wears. But if you were going for that teenage look then, success!

5. The whole legality issue. You have no legal right to republish peoples original work. What does pinterest say about that, well that you won’t pin anything unless you have expressed consent to pin it. So can someone come after you for repinning something of theirs, yep.

Will I keep pinning, absolutely. I am addicted. It is too late for me. Save yourself …. if you can…

Lets go cut down a turkey

 

There is nothing like a day that celebrates food. Yeah Yeah you are supposed to give thanks and stuff. But its all about the food, and then shopping. I mean thats what the TV tells me and the TV never lies. Just look at Fox news. No opinions, just facts.

This year I am thinking go cut down a turkey just like christmas trees. There must be places I can go run after a turkey and chop it dead to put on my table. Ooh better stop at the bass pro first to get a new camo dress to hunt turkey in. The camo underwear I got there is just too cute.

I can see it now, the family gathered around: Everyone awkardly listing the things they are thankful for. The group decision on which way to pass food, the new boyfriend at family dinner nervously making chit chat. My daughter wearing the biggest poofiest dress out of her closet with as many bows as she can fit on her head. My dad hinting I need to change my discipline tactics. The dogs barking. The dogs peeing. The awkward blended family conversations.

Why would I want to miss a day as glorious as this? Because Christmas is way better. Ok so its exactly the same but with presents. PRESENTS!

 

Life Changing Food

I am a food snob. The older I get the worse my snobbery gets. I almost never eat out. Because there are no restaurants worth eating at in town. Why pay for food when I can cook it better myself. A red lobster came to town and everyone freaked out. They thought it was the most amazing thing that had happened all year. I was even in class with a girl who was from a teeny tiny town in North Louisiana. All she could talk about was going to Olive Garden because they didn’t have one at home. Face Palm. I feel bad for people who have never tasted truly amazing cuisine. It’s not their fault. They simply just don’t know. Of course some people just refuse to eat real food. They are convinced instant potatoes are the best mashed potatoes money can buy. I know exactly what you are thinking. Those people are ruining american family values, what are we going to do? When you see one don’t get scared, they won’t hurt you, but they will try to make you eat their family ending fast food. Try and tell you its ok everyone is doing it. Make you feel like you are the one doing wrong. Don’t compromise your values. Stand Firm. We can bring back good food to your family dinner!

My list of life changing food:

1 . Cheese- France/ Switzerland its a tie. It makes the cheese we eat in the states taste like rubber.

2. Bacon- Elizabeth’s New Orleans praline bacon. I know I have said it before, and I will say it again. Eating this bacon will bring you peace in your life

3. Burger- Five guys. Hands down amazing

4. Pasta- This whole in the wall restaurant in Downtown Miami one table, run by an old Italian man.

5. Pizza – Azios in atlanta.