February Bucket List: Part 7

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, I’m so close to eating ice cream again, I can taste it (not yet… not tasting it yet…*sniffle*).

For the last day of Vegan Week, our menu consisted of: leftovers… Today was mostly a leftover day. Typical Saturday in my house. Getting rid of the leftovers to make way for more MEAT! I’m not obsessed with meat, but I do enjoy the freedom to eat whatever I want without having to read every label.

Breakfast:
Coffee, berries, and Longest-title-in-the-world Vegan Scones.

Lunch/Dinner:
Leftovers… I forgot to take a picture of lunch (or did I? I didn’t think you’d want to see another leftover photo). Oh… what’s that? Cupcakes!? HELL YES!!

I made celebratory Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes for the final day of Vegan Week. Because we deserve a treat now and then (Treat yo’self!). Yes, they were delicious. Honestly couldn’t tell the difference between regular and vegan cupcakes, they were that good! My dad, who doesn’t eat sweets, loved them because they were dark chocolate and not too sweet. He said he preferred the vegan frosting over buttercream! I’m definitely keeping that recipe.
You’ll be surprised with the secret ingredient in the cupcake. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it. I don’t know why it’s in there, but it’s still really tasty. I’m not telling you what it is. You’ll have to click the link below to find out. ^_^

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting

And that’s that. I successfully finished February’s Bucket List. I might not ever go Vegan again, but now I know that vegan food can be just as delicious as non-vegan food. It forced me to eat a lot of vegetables which is good for my health, but also a lot of carbs (not so good). It was fun while it lasted, but tomorrow, breakfast is going to consist of Scrapple, a cheese omelette, and coffee with half and half. I’m hoping my stomach doesn’t get upset with the reintroduction of dairy…

Thank you for following me in my journey through Vegan Week. I’ll see you next month for another installation of my 2017 Bucket List.

Thank God that’s over,

Carol B

February Bucket List: Part 6

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, who am I? 24601.

I had the day off from work today because I had to go to the dentist and optometrist. So Mom, who has been preparing all the amazing meals we’ve been eating this week, let me make dinner tonight. I love cooking. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to cook anything, so I made the most of it.

After my eye appointment was done, I went to Publix to gather my ingredients. As I was looking through the shelves, I noticed a lady looking for something on the shelf behind my shopping cart. I thought I was in her way, so I said “Sorry” and moved my cart away to make way for her. She jumped away from me as I was moving my cart, and gave me a cautious look, which I thought was weird. She then took her cart and was about to walk in front of me, but she stopped, turned her cart around, and walked in the opposite direction. I thought the behavior was strange, but didn’t think much of it.

I tried to make different situations in my mind to explain what just happened. She really wanted to get away from me. Then I remembered my eyes: I forgot my eyes were heavily dilated from my eye appointment. I have big eyes to start with, so dilating them makes them creepy looking. Like, this-chick-is-on-drugs creepy. I actually got in trouble in middle school because of my big eyes. The school officer thought I was on drugs (for the record, I was not). Middle school was rough. So that was my adventure for the day. Some lady thought I was on drugs and ran away from me. Here are the day’s meals.

Breakfast:
Bagel with peanut butter and banana. (Shameless promotion)

Lunch:
Sweet Potato Taco with Chick Peas, Detox Salad, and Tahini Dressing (this became a conglomeration of whatever was in the fridge.)

Dinner:
Pesto Pasta, Roasted Root Veg, and Greek Salad.

Roasted Vegetables
4 Carrots, cut into batons
4 Parsnips, cut into batons
2 cups chopped red potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven 400ºF. Cover a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place prepared vegetables on roasting pan and mix through olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the veg.

Vegan Pesto (basically regular pesto without cheese)
3 cups Basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1-3 garlic cloves, minced (depending on how much garlic you like)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper

In a sauté pan, toast off the garlic and pine nuts (be careful not to burn them!! Keep you eye on them just in case. I know from experience) Place basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse a couple times until the mixture becomes a paste. Turn on the food processor and slowly add in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Greek Salad
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (seeds removed)
1 cup kalamata olives (or whatever olives you have on hand)
2 tbsp chopped mint
Vinaigrette (whatever dressing you can find. A Greek vinaigrette would work great)
Salt and Pepper

Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix. Done.

One day more (another day another destiny, this never-ending road to Calvary. These men who seem to know my crime will surely come a second time. One day more!),

Carol B

Now that song is stuck in my head… thanks.

Read the finale of my Vegan Week in Day 7

February Bucket List: Part 5

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do, I’m ready to rhumble.

Just to clarify the details on this Vegan Week, I’m only paying attention to the things going in my body, not on it. I’m eating vegan food, but my beauty products have not changed. Recently, I’ve started using more cruelty free products because I think it’s a good cause to support, but it’s not an important part of this bucket list item. If you are interested in purchasing more cruelty free products, PETA.org has some great resources for you to use. It makes shopping a little easier if you are cruelty-free conscious. Target is a great place to start too. They have a bunch of PETA approved products and a much larger selection than in most drugstores I’ve been to.

Here is a link to their cruelty-free brand search engine or just look for the bunny, though not all brands have the bunny.
images.jpgI use this search engine a lot when I’m looking for new products. For a short list, here is an image from PETA with some common beauty brands that are vegan/cruelty-free.

Back to the food.

Breakfast:
Vegan Scones with orange marmalade glaze and fresh berries.

Vegan Lemon-Orange Pecan-Almond Hemp-Chia Ginger-Cardamom Scones : You’ll never guess what’s in these scones.

Lunch:
Tomato, Alfalfa Sprouts, Avocado, and Cucumber sandwich with detox salad

Post Holiday Detox Salad I love this salad. It’s really good, especially if you use cranberries rather than pomegranate.

Dinner:
Marinated Portobello burger with bean sprouts and tomatoes. Salads are cole slaw (without mayo) and Asian noodle salad.

Asian Noodle Salad We used soba noodles instead of spaghetti and replaced oyster sauce with Sriracha (to taste). This recipe makes A LOT of noodle salad. You would probably do better halving the recipe to start.
Savannah’s Best Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
Angie’s Dad’s Best Cabbage Coleslaw We replaced celery, carrot, and red onion with celery seeds because they are my dad’s favorite and used 1/4 cup of sugar rather than 1 cup.

It’s almost over,

Carol B

Continue reading more about my Vegan Week in Day 6

February Bucket List: Part 4

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do,

Life is good. Can’t complain. I hate to say it, but I don’t miss meat. Dairy: heck yes. Eggs for breakfast: yup. Meat: …mmmm not really. I don’t know if I’ll go vegetarian after this is done, but I might consider eating less animal and more animal food.

Here’s the lowdown for the day:

Breakfast:
Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash. I walked into the kitchen this morning and I was instantly hit with the smells of fried onions and spices. Oh man, it was awesome. You should definitely try this recipe!

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (Minus the chipotle cream, duh)

Lunch:
Vegetable Curry leftovers. I never liked leftovers until college. During and after college, I LOVE leftovers. Its not that I’m trying to save money (even though I am if I want to backpack around Europe in the Fall). It’s more that the past version of Carol did the hard work of preparing enough food for an army for Future Carol to enjoy, because Future Carol can be a lazy sloth. Future Carol appreciates Past Carol very much.

Dinner:
Coconut Red Lentil Curry with rice. I think I’m getting the hang of this food photography thing… mmm, no maybe not. I just put some lime on top and thought, “That’s artist.” Usually after I take a photo, I just add more food on top of that. The pictures may say I eat pretty, small portioned meals, but that’s really not the case.

Coconut Red Lentil Curry

And now: chocolate time.

Carol B

Continue reading more about my Vegan Week in Day 5

February Bucket List: Part 3

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do, will you be my valentine?

Yes, its that time of year again. Love is in the air, creepy, naked cupids flying around, love birds singing there song, and Carol B sulking in a corner with a rain cloud overhead, eating a box of chocolates and watching another romantic comedy. That’s the normal Valentine’s day routine for me. Unfortunately this year, I am vegan, so buy-one-get-one box of chocolates are out of the question for me. Well, I can always count on Ryan Gosling and Hugh Grant to console me through another Valentine’s Day.

I didn’t think of this before, but now, I’m thinking of this week as an ultimate detox. Purely vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (and the mega sugary almond milk coffee creamer). I should state that it isn’t my goal to lose weight this week. That would be nice, but it’s not a top priority. I’m fine with my weight. I think I look awesome. Honestly, I’m doing this just to say that I can, and to learn and understand a different way of living.

I originally thought vegans were uptight, terrible, stuck up people. I thought vegans required the world to revolve around them because they were of a higher caliber since they were saving animals. I’m ashamed to say that my idea of vegans is all a stereotype… some people may fit that mold, but it shouldn’t define a population. Now that I’m walking in their shoes, I don’t blame them for being uptight and stuck up. Its hard to be a vegan. Its hard to find a restaurant that caters to a vegan diet that isn’t a salad bar. When grocery shopping, its hard to find a reliable vegan brand. There aren’t many vegan brands in Publix. Trust me, I’ve checked. If food labels don’t scream out “WE’RE VEGAN!”, you have to read every single ingredient to double check. There is no greater disappointment than when you find a delicious-looking bar of chocolate, read through an ingredient list, and find “Contains Dairy” at the bottom of the list. Its a sacrifice these people make for the greater good, and God bless them. Whoever willingly gives up their right to eat milk chocolate for life is way stronger than me. Can you tell I’m missing my annual box of on sale chocolates? It’s all I can think about now…

Anyway, here are today’s meals:

Breakfast: Blueberry, Strawberry, Banana, and Almond Milk Smoothie with coffee. (Seriously though. That almond milk creamer is SUPER SWEET! I usually sweeten my coffee but I really don’t need to with this hazelnut creamer. You’d think the recipe developers at So Delicious wanted to mask the taste of the actual almond milk… what are you hiding, So Delicious? Is it really SO delicious? hmmm…)

Mid Morning Snack: Bar Nuts. I really love this recipe. Lots of rosemary and a bit spicy from the cayenne. Super easy to make and you can use any combination of nuts. Just substitute the butter for coconut oil to make it vegan. But if you aren’t vegan, just use the butter. I miss butter…

Bar Nuts

Lunch: Falafel leftovers… nothing special… it was almost better the second day, though. Oh, and olives. I ate olives too.

Dinner:
Marrakesh Vegetable Curry with more Pizza/flatbread and rice.

Marrakesh Vegetable Curry

Now if you will excuse me, I have a date with Joseph Fiennes and this chocolate bar.

Love,

Carol B

Continue reading more about my Vegan Week in Day 4

February Bucket List: Part 2

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, I’m so hungry.

On Day 2 of my Vegan Week, I am having a tough day. I was a bit hungry midway between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and dinner. For snacks, I had a banana, apple sauce, and olives (not together, that would be weird). What’s worse is someone at work had a birthday today and she asked for a multi-layered chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing. It took so much willpower to say no. I’m still thinking about that cake…

Anyway, here is my meal plan for the day.

Breakfast:

Steel Cut oatmeal topped with blueberries, strawberries, and granola and coffee with So Delicious Almond milk hazelnut flavored creamer.

Granola

Lunch:

Spring mix salad with simple Same Tang dressing and Fava Bean Breakfast spread with a pita (it says breakfast but it was more of a curry, so it was more appropriate for lunch. Really good!)

Fava Bean Breakfast Spread

Dinner:

Falafel pita sandwich with tomato, green onion, lettuce, cucumber, and tahini dressing.

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce
Perfect Tahini SauceI used this recipe instead of the tahini dressing recipe provided with the falafel recipe for obvious reasons.

Because I didn’t have my chocolate cake today, I had something equally as delicious. The Pascha Dark Chocolate is free of everything (nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, wheat, and gluten) except flavor. I’m so happy.

Until tomorrow,

Carol B

Continue reading more about my Vegan Week in Day 3

February Bucket List: Part 1

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, I’m an herbivore.

Bucket List item number two is in effect.

Mission: Go vegan for a week.

A bit of background: I’ve never been vegan before, but I have been a vegetarian. The first time I was a vegetarian (yes, this happened more than once), it lasted two years. The reason why has always baffled my family. It was one of the mysteries of the inner workings of Carol. I never really gave a straight or consistent answer as to why I decided to go vegetarian all of a sudden. Well, family, here it is: the truth about why I became vegetarian… I’m slightly embarrassed already.

In middle school, the worst years of anyone’s life, we were not allowed to bring backpacks to school for safety reasons (because South Florida is messed up). So we had to carry around all our textbooks, reading materials, and papers in gigantic binders. We all graduated middle school with some awesome upper body muscles. To personalized said binders, kids would cut out pictures from magazines or create picture collages on Word to insert into the binders and make them “cool”. To divert the story a bit, in eighth grade, I put a picture of Kevin Jonas in my binder, because Jonas Brothers were all the rage in 2008. Before my Language Arts class one day, someone in my class saw the picture of Kevin and said “Do you like the Jonas Brothers?” Do I like the Jonas Brothers? I LOVE THE JONAS BROTHERS! So I said, “Yes.” We started talking and she asked me if I’d like to sit with her during class that day. We talked about Jonas Brothers for the next 5 years. And that was how I met my best friend, Mollie.

Back to the story. I had found a picture of some chicks in a magazine and I thought they were adorable. The advert said “We are not nuggets. Please don’t eat us.” Luckily, I found the ad online for visual representation. Aren’t they so cute!?

I had that in my binder for a while and kept looking at it thinking, “Awww they are just adorable,” completely ignoring the message of the ad, mostly because I had no idea what it was trying to tell me. Vegetarianism wasn’t that mainstream yet. A couple months later, I went to a friend’s house where she proceeded to educate me on the horrors of some farming practices. Videos, brochures, and all. Looking back, it startles me how much information she had pertaining to animal cruelty… One middle school girl should not have THAT many resources about something so… dark.

The following Monday, I went to school and looked at that ad all day, suddenly understanding what it was trying to tell me: Don’t eat these adorable chicks. Now I had a major dilemma: I love meat, but I equally love my chick picture. Sensible, right? I felt like a hypocrite for carrying around this picture advertising vegetarianism, but I wasn’t even a vegetarian. The logical solution going on in my little, teenaged brain was “If I keep the picture, I have to give up meat. If I don’t give up meat, I have to throw away the picture.” Guess which one won… the picture.

So I gave up meat for two years. My mother was fine with it, but I HAD to eat fish. So, technically, I was piscaterian. It went well for a while. I ate fake, soy meat, ate lots of salads, and had to double check with waiters if something was vegetarian. So I was miserable. There was one mess up, however. My family and I went to a Japanese Hibachi grill for dinner once, and they put chicken in the fried rice. I don’t like bothering waiters by asking them to take something back. I fell like I’m being rude and pushy, so most of the time, I just eat it and deal. That night, I remember looking at my dad in an “Oh my god what do I do? I can’t eat that… can I? Can I eat that? Would you tell on me if I did?” sort of way. He promised me he wouldn’t tell, so that was that. I had chicken that night, and it was delicious.

My vegetarian phase lasted so long because I was worried if I started eating meat after a long time away, my stomach would hate me and rebel against my new diet choices. Plus I had to prove I wasn’t a hypocrite. My phase ended when my family ordered Chinese food for dinner one night. The steamed dumplings looked SO GOOD! I was stuck with my vegetable Lo Mein (again). I gave my dad the same “Would you tell on me?” look, and he just said “Go ahead.” And that was that, I was eating meat again.

My freshman year of high school, I wanted to try eating vegetarian again because it was just a healthier lifestyle and I wanted to lose some weight. That lasted a year before my Mom made her homemade meatloaf, my favorite meal. Three years was long enough to go without meat. Soy meat and tofu gross me out now. It took a while for me to be ok with salads, but we’re cool now.

Now you know my history with vegetarianism. This week, I’m taking it a step up and going Ultra Vegan. That means no dairy, no egg, no honey, and nothing that was processed using machinery that has been in contact with dairy, eggs, or honey. Like I said, Ultra. I’m adding to that list low-processed food, because that’s the kind of diet my parents have grown accustomed to. Most of the food we are eating will be homemade. I’ve just realized how much bread I’m probably going to eat this week… I’m so excited!

Warning: I’m going to be one of those annoying people who takes photos of their food. I apologize in advance.

Sunday:

BREAKFAST:
This morning, we had vegan pancakes with blueberry syrup and papaya and strawberries on the side. I haven’t had pancakes in a while, so starting off Vegan Week with pancakes is fine with me!

Here are the recipes if you’d like to try them.
Vegan Pancakes
Citrus Wild Blueberry Sauce

LUNCH:
Mom and I went out to do some grocery shopping at Whole Foods, in preparation for the coming week. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant called The Blend: A Gourmet Experience. I don’t know how gourmet the experience was, but it had vegan stuff, so I was down to try it. Mom got a Roasted Red Beet and Apple Salad  with candied walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette and a Sweet Tropical Paradise smoothie (Cashew milk, banana, pineapple, coconut water, and spinach). I had a Buddha Bowl that had every vegetable under the sun (red pepper, carrot, cucumber, tomato, avocado, quinoa, chick peas, zucchini, yellow squash, olives, hemp seeds, and sunflower sprouts [whatever those are…] ) over mixed greens and a tahini dressing. To drink, I had a True Love juice (Beet, lemon, spinach, apple, and carrot). Name aside, it sounded good. I’m not expecting Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet anytime soon, but a girl can dream…

DINNER:
For dinner, we had a regular salad with chick peas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and a simple, Same Tang dressing with some flatbread on the side. Now that the Oscars are coming up, TCM has all the Oscar winning movies playing in the lead up to the 2017 award night. Tonight, we decided to watch How the West was Won.

“Flatbread” recipe: Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I’m liking everything we are eating so far. Let’s see how the rest week goes…

Carol B

Continue reading more about my Vegan Week in Day 2