Things of Late

[Okay, okay. I know. You probably are wondering who won the vegan weight loss challenge. You will soon know as I will announce the winner and runner-up the early part of next week (promise!)…Look forward to some pics and read more about their stories. Thanks for your patience!]

Warning: This a completely random post. But it’s been awhile. And there are lots of things on my mind.

I’m enjoying [delete] LOVING [delete] relishing (every moment of) spring.

I live in a place, where, maybe it’s all in my head, but our winters have only been getting longer and colder, and more unbearable. Especially the snow in April. But it’s better now because it’s (finally) warmer. Which has pushed me and the kids outdoors. And I’m faced with the fact that my garden is a wasteland. Not quite. It was. Now it’s a wasteland with potential, since we’ve already planted the cool weather veggies (radishes, peas, kale, spinach, lettuce. beets). But I have a question for the universe: Why does it seem to take FOREVER for that little seed (I know it’s small, but…) to actually look like something that is even close to edible?! I think everyone should plant a garden. We could all use a lesson in patience. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway. I’m learning these little sprouts take their sweet time.

Other things. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on cleaning up my diet (which I know may sound ridiculous to some who already see my choice to be vegan as extreme), which includes learning to really LOVE my veggies. I used to think I loved them…but realized I could be doing better. So a few things I’ve been working on: 1) Keeping it simple–no elaborate meals, at least most days of the week (do I really have time for that anyway??), but just simple veggies and starches that, if allowed, can stand on their own two feet and are deliciously simple and satisfying. 2) Make veggies at least half my meal. 3) Cut out the salt. Rely on herbs and other natural flavor enhancers as well as the food itself for flavor. I’ve noticed I retain water like crazy when I have too much sodium (which is VERY easy to do).

Here’s what I had tonight for dinner:

Sauteed kale (sauteed in cast iron skillet with 1-2 TBS. water, seasoned with liquid smoke, balsamic vinegar, a dab of horseradish and Dijon mustard, a splash of Tabasco, and some no-salt herb blend) & Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes (half boiled potatoes, half steamed cauliflower, seasoned with Italian herbs, a small amount of plain almond milk, mashed lightly). Some people might not consider this a meal because it is so simple, but that’s something I’ve realized, part of our weight problem in America stems from this cultural idea that every meal must be a feast or a buffet (or include some sort of cooked piece of animal).

If you wanted to add more pizazz, add a mushroom gravy and/or a side of black eyed peas or cornbread.

Onto other things.

It was my birthday. My husband made me this:

Isn’t it lovely? He actually made the cake, I decorated it. He made one of my favorite cakes, wacky cake. It’s actually a dairy-free recipe (shh, don’t tell your non-vegan friends!), dating back to Depression days when people couldn’t afford eggs and such. My grandma used to make it all the time. Loved it then, still love it. There are a lot of versions of this recipe–all egg/dairy free, so no need to “veganize” it, but if you wanted to make it lower in fat, without sacrificing taste, you can replace all oil for half the amount of prune puree (a puree of prunes, water, and a little agave). I find this works better than applesauce (I actually like applesauce as a replacement in some cakes, just not chocolate cake…). So say the recipe calls for 1 c. oil (yikes!), you could replace that with 1/2 cup prune puree OR if you’re a scaredy cat, you can replace 1/2 the oil with 1/4 c. prune puree and still use 1/2 c. oil.
The cake is frosted with chocolate frosting (nothing healthy about this, not gonna lie–Earth Balance spread, soy milk, and sugar…), topped with sliced strawberries and sliced almonds. The filling includes more sliced strawberries and a “cream cheese” filling I made from tofu (and of course a few other ingredients ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Yes, there IS something different about me…

I cut my hair! The shortest it’s ever been. Love it. Love it. Love it. Never going back to the days of half hour blow drying sessions. Life’s too short. Especially when you have sweet little babies like this…

My family recently got together (all of us, and there are A LOT of us). We love food and when we get together we have a lot of fun preparing and eating it.

My sisters and I preparing spring roll wraps for an Asian themed dinner.

Spring rolls, I’ve learned are very inexpensive to make, but take a wee bit of skill, such skill that I don’t think I possess (yet). But they are DELICIOUS.

My dad, along with a few others in my extended family, have adopted a plant-based or vegan diet. I’m so proud of my parents and others in my family who have made some great changes in eating more healthfully!


  1. Wendy
    on April 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm said:

    Love simple meals in beautiful serving dishes! Any chance you would share the spring roll recipe? I love them, but have never tried to make them myself.

  2. Daina
    on April 21, 2010 at 1:15 am said:

    Hi, I love your blog! I have been reading it for years. Sorry I have never commented before now. I recently got my own blog and realize how sucky it is to always read and never comment! I love getting comments. Anyhow, we have a lot in common- I'm vegan and Mormon too. My blog deals with a lot of the same issues. I hope it is okay that I linked my blog to yours. My address is You can take a look if you like. Keep doing what you are doing!

  3. Sarah
    on April 21, 2010 at 12:44 am said:

    okay, your hair is SO cute!and i love wacky cake. my grandma would make it all the time and my family is big on it. i'll have to try substituting the oil. it's nice to be able to keep an old family favorite.

  4. Gillian
    on April 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm said:

    Happy Birthday!Hurray for gardens! I'm so ready to eat my own produce again :)Great thoughts on simple veggie focused meals. That's what some of my favorite meals are now ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to try your potato cauliflower idea!How wonderful to have your parents on board with you:)I'm so excited! I think I've finally reached my sweet spot of good exercise and excellent eating and the pounds are melting off at a much quicker pace! Feels great:) Thank-you for your encouraging blog!

  5. tbsomeday
    on April 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm said:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!haircut is great!love the simple recipesgood plan with half veggies and no salt…something i will be striving for alsocake is beautiful!!!

  6. Rachel Bagley Wurtz
    on April 19, 2010 at 5:04 am said:

    I had a blast visiting with your parents while in WA! Love that you posted a link to the WACKY cake recipe. Your mom was trying to tell me about it, now I can make it! WHat a sweet man to bake you a vegan cake!Love the recipe ideas for simpler meals. I am all for simple (and going all out for Sunday dinner or special occasions). Quick, healthy, whole foods = Happy tummy.I will give you a call this week after I recover from being gone for 2 weeks. I am so exited to get together. Ciao!

  7. Elise
    on April 18, 2010 at 4:12 am said:

    I love your simple meal ideas!! Please keep doing them. I have had the same sort of feelings lately. So the other night we had brown rice and a green bean, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli mixture that mostly came from a freezer bag. Man it was delicious. I made a small soy sauce but my kids just ate it plain. I'm excited to try those potato cauliflower mashees! Again, please fill me in on your other simple ideas. I need them!!