Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Day in the Life: Amanda from The Envi Girls

I met Amanda from The Envi Girls through an online internship with Eco-Vegan Gal. Lately, she and I have been chatting a lot on Facebook and I've loved getting to know her. Definitely check out her blog, where she and her partner in crime, Ashley, share tips and thoughts on eco-vegan living.  Oh, and like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!
On the day, I recorded my food diary; I was not at my primary job as a teacher, but working for the day with a family I formerly nannied. I start everyday oil pulling, an ancient ayurvedic practice that helps decrease bacteria in the mouth, pull out toxins, and other amazing health benefits. 

After my oil pull, I drink a glass of warm lemon water, it helps to jumpstart my day and detox. 
I was a little bit hungry this morning and wanted more than just a smoothie. I made a berry and banana smoothie with maca, cacao, and chia seeds. 
Along with the smoothie I made gluten-free toast with Earth Balance butter coated with coconut sugar and Ceylon cinnamon. After this breakfast I was full and ready to go to work. 
On my way to sitting, I stopped at Whole Foods and bought a quinoa and cranberry patty and a large salad. I was full after my lunch, but knew I was going to have to have a snack later on. 
My appetite increases in the afternoon; I either have a small second lunch and or a snack of nuts or fruit. This day since I was out of the house for most of the day I grabbed a Square Bar. A couple of hours after my lunch I ate the Square Bar. I was full and satisfied for the rest of the afternoon. 
I had a lighter dinner because I wanted to save room for dessert. I made a falafel patty with mashed avocado for dinner. Super easy to make and the recipe is found on the back of Bobs Red Mill mix chickpea flour bag. 
After dinner, I went out with my sister and we both ordered coconut based ice cream in the almond chocolate-laced flavor. 
I hope you enjoyed a peek into what I eat on a daily basis. While I change up what I eat for lunch and dinner every day, my breakfast stays the same five days a week; I always have a smoothie for breakfast. On weekends, I will go out for brunch or make a larger breakfast with pancakes and or hemp tofu scramble. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DIY Vegan Margarita Face Scrub

I don’t use a ton of beauty products. Face wash, shampoo, conditioner, a bar of soap, deodorant…you know, the basics. 

One thing I never buy is a facial scrub (or a body scrub for that matter) because it’s just so easy to make. 

Lately, my go-to scrub has been lime juice, salt, lemon essential oil, and tea tree oil. Can you guess why I’m calling it a “margarita scrub?” If you want something a little gentler you could use an extra fine sugar and add a little coconut oil to soothe your skin. For me, though, these four ingredients work magic. 
With its brightening lime juice, sloughing salt, and bacteria-killing tea tree oil, this scrub is great on oily skin. 

The ratios aren’t set in stone, but my scrub usually looks something like this.

Juice of 1 lime
5+ tbsp. of salt
3-4 drops of lemon essential oil
3-4 drops of tea tree oil

Mix the ingredients together and massage into your skin. Don’t scrub excessively. I don’t scrub for more than a minute. 

Enjoy! And let me know what sort of DIY beauty potions you make. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gracias Madre WeHo Steals My Heart with Vegan, Mexican Food

That feeling when you’ve poured over a menu for a few weeks, dreaming and drooling over the descriptions and then you finally taste the magnificence? Be honest, you’ve done it. I definitely have. Most recently was for Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, a completely vegan, Mexican restaurant. To celebrate being awesome, 8 of us went out this past Thursday for some pomelo margaritas and plenty of delightful food. 

My friend and completely kick-ass Mercy for Animals volunteer Melissa and I decided to split everything, except our margaritas…because why would we split when we can have our own? We split everything else so we could try as much as possible. I highly recommend this tactic.

The evening started with a perfectly sweet, tart, and just a little strong pomelo (grapefruity) margarita. I think with the exception of Melissa’s husband who favored beer, everyone who ordered alcohol went with this concoction. I’d get it again, except for the fact that I really want to try the lavanda (lavender) marg..they were out of lavender syrup. Poop. 
For an appetizer we went with the gorditas, which are potato-masa cakes topped with warm salsa verde, avocado, and cashew crema. Yes, that is the description on the online menu. These were absolutely fantastic. I would call them high end comfort food with the richness from the avocado and creme  the freshness of the salsa and the fluffiness from the masa cakes. Ummm, yum! And the thing is, these were our LEAST favorite and they were still fricken amazing. 
Nighttime outdoor seating=poor photo quality
Our main course was our favorite of the night: flautas de camote. Rolled tacos filled with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions, topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, cashew nacho cheese and cilantro all served with black beans. Do you hear the angels singing as you read that description? I do. I hear them. These were a little sweet, savory, and had a great texture contrast because the tortillas were fried (?) and crispy while in the inside was smooth. 
The post-entree appetizer was the quesadillas de calabaza. We went with a post-entree appetizer because we actually weren’t as full as we thought we’d be and weren’t sure if dessert would completely fill us up. Better to be safe than sorry. Anywho, these quesadillas were the bomb. The only reason they didn’t make number one, I think anyways-Melissa might have a different opinion- is they were mostly soft with not a lot of differing textures. But the butternut squash was sweet and smooth. Here’s the description. Butternut squash and caramelized onions folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa. The pumpkin seeds were amazing. 
And finally, because what’s dinner out without dessert, we had the pumpkin cake with vanilla bean ice cream. The cake was drizzled with a maple cream sauce. I’d lick that sauce off the floor. Seriously, it made the dish. Pumpkin anything is fabulous in my humble opinion, but paired with vanilla bean and maple and it’s just out of this world. 
I went home happy from good food and good friends. It was probably the highlight of my time in Los Angeles. If you ever find yourself out here, go there. Seriously, go there and eat. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Using Up the Veggies in My Fridge-The Tofu Scramble Edition

If you’re anything like me then you have lofty dreams about eating and enjoying huge, lush salads complete with beans, grains, and a complex dressing. Afterwards you have all the energy you need to carry you through the afternoon and into the evening. No afternoon slump. No cupcake cravings. 
And if you’re like me, rarely does that actually happen. I only seem to crave salads when I’ve eaten too much junk food (and therefor don’t have to eat the salad right then and there) or when I’m at Veggie Grill (and even that’s not really a craving).

I buy all the ingredients for a salad and then I have no desire to eat said salad. The problem then lies in the fact that I have a crap-ton of veggies that I need to use up.
Of course, the options are endless when it comes to what you can do with these veggies. My go-to meal was a tofu-scramble. Any veggie can find itself right at home in a sea of tofu, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. So that’s what I did.
This is not so much a recipe because I just threw everything in a pan together. First I sautéed some chopped up sweet potato in a pan with olive oil, followed by onions and garlic. When those had some color to them, I threw in peppers and carrots. Then came turmeric, chili powder, black pepper, and and a generous amount of nutritional yeast. Right before it was done I threw in my spring mix (with the chard picked out…not a fan of chard) and let it cook down for a minute. A pinch of salt and presto, my veggies were used up and I had a nutritious meal waiting for me.
A nutritious meal minus the Just Mayo slathered on my bread
What do you guys do when you’ve got a bunch of veggies that need to be eaten? I’d love to hear your ideas. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Day in the Life of this Mercy for Animals Intern

Before I start, I wanna remind you to check out my second YouTube video: Vlog #1: It’s an Imperfect World. Thumbs up and subscribe. Thank you.

I had intended on showing you a full day of healthful, delicious, vegan eats. Don’t we always want to show off our best selves? But, alas, life gets in the way.

My day started by walking up 45 minutes late! 45 MINUTES! I did not end up eating breakfast that day, instead throwing my clothes on, brushing my teeth, and rushing out the door with my bag in tow. 

My roommate, Steven, and I were scheduled to be leafleting at one of the metro stations in LA. And so we did. The take-rate was really not great at all, but maybe we influenced a couple people think about a vegetarian or even vegan diet. We can hope. 
Around 9:30 we booked it back to the Mercy for Animals office to do some work there. Los Angeles traffic is no joke. Do not mess around, my friends. 

Once we got there, the work began. We did a little bit of everything, from inputting restaurants from HappyCow and Haztevegetariano into VegGuide to applying to VegFund grants to pay for our Paid-Per-Views (seriously the most fun form of outreach) to sending emails and helping our supervisor, Sarah, plan our April schedule. I seriously can’t believe how close we are to April APRIL! As in spring. Though, most of you reading this are probably thinking, “Shut up, you’re in LA and we’re in the polar vortex.” Yes, I know I’m spoiled right now. But I am a New Englander at heart and I understand that the struggle is real. 

During my time at the office I only ate one type of food: chocolate. Steven shared some Endangered Species dark chocolate with blueberry. So I nibbled on that.
Later on, Christian (a part-time intern) and I walked to Whole Foods. On a whim, I treated everyone upstairs to a Go Max Go candy bar. I ended up with two buccaneers. So I ate one. 
Guys, that’s all I had until late afternoon. When you haven’t eaten much since dinner the night before and you’re tired and cranky, salad is just not going to cut it. Sorry (not really) if you disagree. 

My afternoon meal-snack consisted of another buccaneers bar, a huge bowl of strawberries and bananas, and a piece of rye bread with Nary Dairy cashew cream. After that, I slept. Hard. That’s the only kind of nap I get these days. I sleep normally throughout the night and nap hard in the afternoons. We’re talking drool and elbow cramps (from tucking my arms up for two solid hours). 
Dinner was an Amy’s breakfast burrito with a chunk of Daiya Havarti, carrots with hummus, a cara cara naval orange, and a square of chocolate. And water. Per usual, I had no interest in cooking (seriously, what’s up with me, guys? Me not interested in cooking? Weird…).
I don’t even remember the rest of the night. It probably consisted mainly of wasting time on Facebook and browsing the internets for job postings. That’s my free time these days. 

Sooooo….have you liked me on Facebook yet? Are you following me on Twitter? What about Pinterest. ANNNNDDD…given that I have about 8 subscribers, I willing to bet you’re not yet subscribed to me on YouTube. So go ahead. Like, follow, follow, subscribe. I’ll wait here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Farmer's Market and Grocery Haul

Today’s post is light on the words and heavy on the photos.  Upon awaking I got dressed and headed to the Farmer’s Market. It’s becoming my usual to grab some gorgeous strawberries, a lemonade (limeade today), cashew cheese, and vegan a croissant. 

Later on I headed to Whole Foods to grab a combination of raw produce and frozen meals. I’m trying to focus on ease and simplicity, while still having my food resemble health. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Video: 21 Facts About Me

Hey everyone! I finally posted my first video. Click below to watch. Also, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter (oh, and Pinterest!). Ignore the dumb thumbnail. Still figuring out the details.