gratuitous photos post

super quick post of some things i want to share.


I am so excited about my garden–this is an old photo, so the plants are actually much older now. I can’t wait to post pictures of the actual fruits and vegetables I get!

what I’ve planted:
-moon and stars watermelon
-purple basil
-heirloom tomatoes
-fiskeby soybeans
-chocolate peppers
-dragon carrots (they are blood red–almost purple)

and others…I am so, so excited and it’s been raining a lot here, the garden is flourishing..It’s really beautiful.

Also, during Spring Break I had gone to Mexico and feasted on all the beautiful fruits there. One that I’m really missing is this very strange fruit that kind of looks like a cross between an avocado and a papaya. We made an absolutely amazing smoothie with it that was so creamy and delicious…it’s been so humid here lately that I’ve really been craving beautiful, sunny fruits but unfortunately they are not readily available in the Midwest.

the mysterious fruit


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blueberry muffins are perfect for brunchies

bourgeois blueberry muffins

I call these bourgeois because they use fancy ingredients that most people do not have in their cupboards. I’m sorry. I hate it when recipes do that. I’m sure you do too. And I hate it even more when the recipe writer insists that the special ingredients are crucial to an amazing outcome. Personally, I usually try to find cheaper, easier alternatives and sometimes the recipe comes out sometimes it doesn’t…but that’s not the point.

The point is: the basic premise of this blog is that I don’t post things like this recipe on it. I know that. But these muffins are really yummy and they are really only for special occasions. These are the types of muffins that convert people to veganism in the first place. These muffins have some good oils, much less sugar than regular muffins, and, once you have the ingredients, are very simple to make. If I haven’t convinced you yet well then…I don’t know. But if you want to impress a lot of people, are a blueberry muffin connoisseur, happen to have all of these ingredients, or just want to try these muffins already, here is the recipe:

Bourgeois Blueberry Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour (or, you can substitute half of that with whole wheat flour for extra yum texture)
½ cup almond meal
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The almond meal can be made by processing or blending raw almonds until the texture is moist and crumb-like. Don’t overdo it because otherwise you will have almond butter (but then you can just eat yummy almond butter). Almonds are super expensive though so, though I have yet to try it, blended walnuts would probably make a good substitute.

Combine all dry ingredients (flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, baking powder) in a mixing bowl. Warm the coconut butter until it is soft (using a microwave or the stove) and then add it to the dry ingredients, along with the soymilk and vanilla extract. Mix until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and then add the frozen blueberries.

Bake at 400F for 25-28 minutes, makes a dozen half-size muffins, or six jumbo muffins.

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post post post!


A super quick update…I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much, I’ve been super busy with my GARDEN! Photos of the beautiful little plants coming soon..

Here is a link to an article I wrote recently about surprising vegan and non-vegan items. I’m more than a little disappointed about how the discussion section turned out…I’m always a bit stunned at how incredibly defensive some omnivores can get at the mere mention of the word “vegan”.

But anyway, here is the

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what i’ve been stuffing my face with

Recipes for these are all over the place…I’ve decided to just link to the first recipe I’ve ever seen for these. And if you haven’t tried these yet, I’m jealous of you because I wish I could try them for the first time again. That dawning realization that you’ve been missing something in your life…but it’s finally here. SO GOOD.

foodstuff 043

recipe can be found here. (note: I did not use the apple cider vinegar and just ate them plain with salt and a BIT less oil then called for)

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purple and green

I hate winter, and every year it seems to drag on longer. So lately I’ve been trying to perk up the dreariness of winter, through colorful food.

And so today I made purple and green (or, if you want to be boring/don’t need ridiculous names for food to feel better about winter, black beans and kale). I like to eat this over steamed rice and it makes a lot so there will be leftovers for the rest of the week. Plus, it is very quick to make.

purple and green!



2 Tablespoons of olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, diced finely

2 carrots, chopped

4 cloves of peeled garlic

1 bunch of kale, rinsed, deveined, and chopped

1 Tablespoon basil

1 Tablespoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 15 oz can of black beans (rinse and pour in water until one can is half filled)

1 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (liquid and all)


In a large stirfry pan or skillet, fry the onions and carrots in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and kale and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in all the spices listed and saute for two more minutes.

Then add the black beans and chopped tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve over rice.

Enjoy! Hopefully this will brighten up your winter evening a little bit.

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so simple.

photo credit: sindha agha

For some reason wordpress has been shrinking all of my photos and refusing to let me post larger ones. So, yet again, a substandard photo. I’m sorry 😦

But again, this recipe absolutely makes up for it. Comprised of only 3 ingredients, it is laughably simple but everyone who has tried it has been amazed. Two secrets: 1) Don’t bake all of the flavor out of this awesome tuber. 2) Buy organic, fresh looking sweet potatoes. It really does make a huge difference.

Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans


2 sweet potatoes, sliced ¼”- ½” and baked at 350 for 25 mins or until soft all the way through

½ cup chopped pecans (can substitute with walnuts)

¾ cup maple syrup

After the sweet potatoes have been cooked and are cooling, roast the chopped pecans over low heat on the stove, stirring continuously. After they have browned and are emitting a beautiful smell, pour in maple syrup and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Then pour over the sweet potatoes while tossing and serve warm.

That’s it! That’s all and I know you are dubious about this…maybe it sounds bland or un-exciting. But just try it. You will save yourself lots of energy and money and anyone you feed this to will probably save a huge space in their heart for you.

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a little disclaimer.

So, I don’t know how this happened, but it is not at all pretty. The picture of what I made, I mean. I’ve made this several times before and had people come over for the sole purpose of picturing (and eating) it, but somehow it’s SO DIFFICULT to take a good picture of rosemary mashed potatoes.

But I promise you this: the actual dish is AMAZING. Seriously, never again will you make boring mashed potatoes that consist of soymilk, salt, and potatoes.

And because the recipe is good and the photo is a tiny bit embarrassing, I’ll post the recipe first.



  • 2 pounds of potatoes, diced thickly
  • 4 tablespoons oil (extra virgin olive works best)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup soy (or any other non-dairy) milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a pot of water to a boil and then put in the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes or until chunks are tender all the way through

Break up rosemary and thyme with hands, or process in a coffee grinder or food processor (but not for so long that it becomes a powder!)

Sauté onions with all spices (except salt and pepper) until the onions are translucent, about 15-20 minutes, then take off the heat.

Drain cooked potatoes and mash with the vegan butter, if using

Stir milk into the cooked onion mixture, then whip into potatoes and continue whipping until fluffy

Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

And the picture:

photo credit: sindha agha

have a nice day!

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YUM! butternut squash

photo credit: sindha agha

A quick, delicious, and healthy recipe. I first tried the lovely butternut squash and rosemary combo at a catered event. However, that squash had fresh rosemary, which can get expensive, so I’ve recreated the dish using dried rosemary.


1 butternut squash, baked at 425 for 45 minutes or until soft all the way through

¼ cup of maple syrup

1/8 cup of water

2 Tablespoons dried rosemary


Place maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Add the dried rosemary. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes or until big, strange bubbles start to rise up (when you see them, you’ll know what I mean.)

You can either scoop the squash out, slice and drizzle the rosemary infused maple syrup over, or just leave the meat in the shells and drizzle the syrup over that. Or you can scoop out the squash and smash it (as seen in the picture above).

For extra richness, pour about a tablespoon of melted vegan butter over the squash while the syrup is simmering, then pour the syrup over that.


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dispelling a couple of myths

Lately I’ve been doing some reading on the health benefits of the vegan diet. I personally switched over to the vegan diet for reasons not directly related to my health (although at first I worried about negative impacts on my health from the switch), but I’ve since realized that lots of people make the switch at least partially due to the potential benefits. I thought I would share a brief summary of what I’ve been reading about so far. It’s very interesting and very surprising, especially for those who have grown up hearing that meat and milk is vital for growing because of protein, calcium, etc.

A typical question a non-vegan will ask about the vegan diet is “but wherever will you get your protein?” The answer is: in any way I’d like that doesn’t come from an animal source. There are many different kinds of protein and the vegan diet offers many different ways to go about ensuring one has the necessary amount. It is also worth noting that while many non-vegans fret about the lack of protein in the vegan diet, 1 ¼ cups of tofu contains 50 grams of protein, exactly meeting the daily need. One egg, on the other hand, contains 5.5 grams of protein. This means that a person would need to consume 9 eggs to get the recommended amount for the day.

The best proteins are the ones that are “completed” with amino acids. All of the amino acids that are found in animal protein were derived from the plants that the animal consumed. Humans are just as capable as obtaining amino acids directly from plants as well, therefore ensuring that complete proteins are available within a vegan diet. Both complete and incomplete proteins are essential to the health and wellbeing of every human, and vegans can find protein in many non-animal sources such as: broccoli, quinoa, tofu, tempeh and other “meat substitutes”, soymilk, beans, and even certain mushrooms! This is in no a way a complete list of possible sources of proteins.

Another concern non-vegans commonly have is related to calcium. For generations Americans have been raised on the myth that consuming cow milk is the absolute best method of obtaining calcium. This is simply not true, and it is actually quite illogical to assume so. Humans are the only animals that continue to drink animal milk after infancy and we’re also the only animals that drink another’s milk. Cow milk is intended for calves and it’s meant to be quick nutrition for speedy growth. Therefore, cow milk is very fatty and high in calories. There is also evidence that suggests calcium from cow milk is very difficult or even impossible for our body to fully absorb.

Of course, this is difficult to argue because many people have formed an intense emotional bond with drinking milk—it’s depicted in our culture as necessary and beneficial in numerous ways and it’s hard to expel notions that one has grown up being taught as fact. At any rate, it is more constructive to discuss the benefits of calcium and how it can be obtained from non-animal sources (and be even better for you because of it!). Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases, can reduce risk of heart disease as well as certain cancers, and also plays a role in the health of our teeth.  Calcium can be found in kale and other leafy vegetables, soy milk, nuts, oranges, raisins, hummus, carrots, apricots, and lentils. These sources have the added benefit of containing no cholesterol or saturated fat.

This is in no way a comprehensive list of all of the health benefits of a vegan diet. While various studies have shown the benefits of a vegan diet, unfortunately there exists very little funding to truly understand the sheer magnitude of all possible benefits. If veganism were practiced on a very large scale, it is likely that there would be many improvements in the general health of a population. Unfortunately, there is such a vast amount of misinformation relating to the “dangers of the vegan diet.” Calcium myths still abound, for example, and even general practitioners believe that cow milk is the best way to make children grow healthy and strong. I’ve remained at the respectable height of 5’2” for 4-5 years now (coming for a long line of short ancestors) and have had my doctor anxiously ask me every annual exam if I’m drinking at least 1 glass of milk a day. Hopefully, as a society we will move towards more open thinking, but in the meantime I will sit here and enjoy my soy milk and kale chips.

If you are interested in doing more reading, I highly recommend the following books:

Davis, Brenda, R.D., and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet. Summertown: Book Publishing Company, 2000. Print.

Saunders, Kerrie K. The Vegan Diet As Chronic Disease Prevention: Evidence Supporting the New Four Food Groups. N.p.: Lantern Books, 2003. Print.

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the best breakfast

I love sweet potatoes! I also love maple syrup, peanut butter, nuts, coconuts, and dried fruit.

There is nothing better than combining everything you like and finding out they all go perfectly together.

The yummiest fall breakfast:

sweet potato mash! yum! photo credit: shara esbenshade

sweet potato mash! yum! photo credit: shara esbenshade


2 medium sweet potatoes, baked for 30 minutes or until soft all the way through

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter (you can increase this if you really really like peanut butter)

6 tablespoons chopped walnuts (or really any other nut you may prefer)

4 tablespoons shredded dry coconut (optional)

1 tablespoon of your favorite sweet spice (I usually use half nutmeg and half cinnamon)

raisins to your preference (optional)


1) scrape out insides of baked sweet potatoes and place into a bowl

2) mix in syrup and peanut butter, then taste and adjust depending on if you prefer richness or sweetness (or both!)

3) mix in rest of ingredients chopped nuts

4) garnish with nuts and enjoy

This goes awesome with coffee in the morning!





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