I Love Tofurky

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I certainly did, although I definitely ate too much.  Somehow before tucking in I forgot about the limited space available in my abdomen (what with the 5-6 lb. human residing in there), and paid the price with a pretty uncomfortable evening thereafter, but it was so worth it.

One of the things I of course overstuffed myself with was my favorite staple–the Tofurky roast!–that I bring along to Thanksgiving every year.
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I know the word “Tofurky” has become kind of infamous and is maybe a bit of a joke to non-vegans.  It is kind of a silly name, I guess, and it’s kind of misleading because Tofurky isn’t actually a tofu turkey (it’s actually made of a blend of tofu, gluten, and canola oil).  But I really, really love it. Especially with all the caramelized roasted veggies around it–ahh, so good!

It’s obviously not exactly a health food, but it is absolutely delicious and I look forward to enjoying it on this special occasion each year.  For me, Thanksgiving isn’t the same without it anymore.  And, because of the availability of options like this, a meatless Thanksgiving is not only possible, but is truly enjoyable.  That’s definitely something to be thankful for!
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And now I’m off to make myself a Thanksgiving sandwich with leftover Tofurky for lunch 🙂

P.S. – After reading over the post and realizing that it sounds a bit like an ad or review (haha!), I just thought I’d clarify that I’m not being paid to advertise Tofurky or anything.  I just really like it and wrote the post while I was getting psyched up for my lunch.

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Sunday Morning Pumpkin Pancakes and Life Lessons

I woke up yesterday with a one-track mind: must. make. pumpkin. pancakes. A craving like this is one of the only things that can break through the wall of laziness and exhaustion that currently surrounds me at all times. I haven’t cooked in like a month, but this was an emergency.

I broke out Vegan Brunch and set right to mixing and measuring. Almost immediately, I noticed that the batter looked a little thin.

But I got my griddle nice and hot, sprayed my cooking spray, and added the first scoop of batter. When I eventually tried to flip it, however, it basically completely crumpled, and started to tear. Even after cooking for a few more minutes, it was really hard to get it off the griddle and onto the spatula, and it still seemed kinda gooey.

Immediately I started running through possible causes for the problem. Did I somehow not measure my ingredients correctly? Is my flour too old? Was the first pancake too big?

For round 2, I tried making two smaller pancakes. Still no dice. I ended up with these too-soft, crumply messes:
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At this point, I figured I had just done something wrong, but I was determined to finish cooking the rest of the batter (waste not!). And I decided that I was NOT going to settle for mediocre pancakes. I would keep trying different tweaks and approaches. If they turned out mediocre anyway, at least I’d know I tried.

My first fix was to switch out Earth Balance for the cooking spray the recipe recommends. I noticed an almost immediate difference in the way the pancakes were cooking. The edges were getting golden and crispy and, while still very thin, they were much easier to flip over without crumpling.
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Second fix was to use slightly less batter. Third, let them cook longer than I had previously been doing.
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I ended up with a plate stacked with beautiful pumpkiny goodness, which I served with a dab of vegan cream cheese and some dried cranberries. It was absolutely perfect.
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At some point, I realized that this pancake-making process was like a little analogy for so many of the things I’ve experienced in life so far, and so many, many things that I will experience in the near future when I become a parent.

Life lessons, people. Sometimes you just have to adjust your approach. Follow your instincts. Sometimes the instructions you are given aren’t the be-all and end-all.
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Adjusting your approach won’t always necessarily yield the result or reward you initially were going for, but maybe you will be pleasantly surprised when you find that you end up with something just as good, or maybe even better, than what you set out for.
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Bottom line: don’t be so hard on yourself if things aren’t perfect, but also don’t just throw up your hands and give up–take action and make it better!

Vegan Snacking from a Prego Pro

Hey there! I’m still here…things have just been super-crazy. Does anyone else feel like time is just racing by? I can’t believe we’re only a week from Thanksgiving!

Aside from being crazy, things have been pretty great on my end. At 33+ weeks, Baby H is continuing to grow, and as s/he gets bigger and bigger, there is less and less room for other things…like, y’know, my lungs and stomach.
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It will be at *least* another 3 weeks until s/he drops, so until then I have been taking it slow to try to avoid shortness of breath, and eating small meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid feeling too full.

Fortunately I just so happen to be a master of vegan snacking. Aside from obvious choices like fruit and nuts, here are some of my pregnancy-approved snacks:

Non-dairy yogurt with hemp seeds:
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This was my first time trying So Delicious almond milk yogurt and it was pretty good, but didn’t taste much different to me than soy yogurt. It also suffers from the common yogurt pitfall of having way too much sugar, so this has only been an occasional one for me.
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Sriracha popcorn:
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This one is a bit more of a guilty pleasure. H and I bought a bag of this at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo earlier this year, and it had been hiding, unopened and forgotten, in our cabinet ever since. I remedied the problem pretty quickly.

Barbara’s peanut butter Puffins with almond-coconut milk [it won’t let me load my own photo for some reason so here’s a nice stock image from the Barbara’s website for ya]:
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I have always loved Puffins but am now officially obsessed with them. The supermarket by my work almost always has them on sale at 2 boxes for $6, so I’ve been buying them up like mad. Plus, between this snack and my morning coffee, I’m now going through almost a gallon of almond-coconut milk each week. I’m not even sorry.

Carrots and hummus:
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The tried and true classic. I grabbed a few of these little individual sized hummus cups at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival a couple of weeks ago, and love how convenient they are.

Also, has Cedar’s changed their recipe? I find myself *loooooving* their hummus recently, where previously I thought it was only okay.  It’s creamier or something.
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I enjoyed it so much in the little travel packs that I went out and bought a giant 16 oz. container of it, which I’ve been using to enjoy…

Hummus and olive tapenade on crackers:
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So…this is the one that I truly cannot get enough of. I buy the olive tapenade from Trader Joe’s and if you haven’t had it, I’m telling you it’s a must-try. So salty and delicious. Baby H approves.

Trader Joe’s roasted plantain chips:
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These are cheap and great in a pinch. I keep a bag in my desk drawer to keep afternoon hunger pains at bay until I can get home and fix myself some hummus and tapenade 🙂

In the next few weeks as the countdown to Baby H’s arrival continues, I’ll be turning my attention to clearing out our freezer in the hope of restocking it with meals that will be easy for H and me to thaw and eat in our first few weeks as new parents. Hopefully I’ll come up with some fun concoctions to share with you all!

Return of the Green Smoothie

Green smoothies are back in my life.  Life is good.

Green smoothies played a big role in the early days of my pregnancy. I was blending them up almost daily with plenty of fresh ginger (remember the Tropical Ginger Smoothie with a Secret Ingredient?) to help combat my nausea while also giving Baby H a nice dose of fruit and veggie goodness to start the day.

But after first trimester I found that I lost my taste for smoothies for a while (ironic since this coincided with the middle of summer!). It was one of those situations where the thought of one brought me back to the queasy, unpleasant feeling I had had for those first few months. Just…not appealing.

Miraculously, however, over the last two days my taste for green smoothies has come back with a vengeance!

Last week H picked up some Orange Peach Mango juice from Trader Joe’s (sooooo good) so I used that for the base. On Monday I made one with 1 cup of OPM juice, 1 frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, and a large handful of organic baby spinach.
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Yesterday I did the same thing but used 2 frozen bananas because I was out of strawberries.
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So sweet and frosty and delicious–I can’t get enough!

And I swear you cannot taste the spinach at all. Not that I personally mind the taste; I just think this would be a great starter smoothie for people who feel weird about drinking their greens.

Just a reminder: today is your LAST CHANCE to enter my Ecolissa infinity scarf giveaway! Don’t miss out!

Amazing Vegan Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is really a no brainer that doesn’t need a recipe. However, last week I tried a new-to-me method of making it, and it came out SO GOOD that I had to share it with you!
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I discovered the method (again, hardly want to call it a “recipe”) on PureWow. The only change required to veganize it is to use Earth Balance (or similar) to replace the butter (duh).

Basically, you warm whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender, then mash them up into a paste that you spread over the bread before baking. I’m telling you, it’s freakin’ delicious.
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Bon appetit!

P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my Ecolissa giveaway!  It is open until Wednesday night.

Ecolissa Eco-Friendly and Vegan Fashion: Review and Giveaway!

Today I am excited to tell you all about Ecolissa, an online retailer whose entire selection of clothing and accessories is eco-friendly and made from completely vegan materials!

Their website is super-easy to navigate.  You can shop by category (accessories, dresses, etc.), material (bamboo, organic cotton, etc.), or by designer.  There is truly something for everyone.

For this review, I received the Chunky Infinity Scarf in Camel. This gorgeous handmade scarf is comprised of a blend of acrylic and recycled polyester–no wool or cashmere in sight.
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I love this scarf!!!  It is soft and warm without being scratchy, and looks cute with a coat or as part of an outfit, in a single loop or doubled up. I picked the camel color because I thought it would go with a lot of my fall wardrobe (and I was right!), but it also comes in mink, mauve, and black.
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Ecolissa is generously offering my readers a 20% off coupon! Just enter the code acitm20 at checkout.

They have also agreed to give away a Chunky Infinity Scarf, in the color of your choice, to one lucky reader!  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.  The giveaway will run until midnight on Wednesday, November 12, 2014.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary scarf from Ecolissa but was not compensated in any other way for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Halloweekend 2014

Hi there! I hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend!

Ours was very low-key, for obvious reasons. We didn’t have any plans except to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters and to stop by a small “open house” type gathering that some of our neighbors had organized. Suburban living at its finest 🙂

I stuck with a super-simple DIY costume (shirt, sharpie, and fabric paint) for Baby H and me:
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And worked up these little clementine Jack o’ lanterns to bring to the neighbors’ house:
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I did not come up with this idea! I just saw it floating around the Interwebs and thought it was cute. Plus, it matched my costume! The neighbors seemed to get a kick out of it too!
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Interestingly, I ended up being pretty judicious with the amount of candy and sweets I took in over this sugar-filled holiday (in stark contrast to last weekend!). The sweets craving was fun while it lasted but I am glad that it seems to have subsided. Lord knows I won’t need any extra help putting on the pounds in these final two months.

Later this week I will have a fun giveaway so come back and see me then!!