Friday, August 30, 2013

Tofu & 5 Color Pepper Fajitas

So, to expound upon my earlier fajita post, I'm going to describe my less-lazy fajita process. Also, I tried Agent Dana Scully's favorite veggie-friendly brand of creamy products: Tofutti!

X-Files Tofutti Quotes:

Mulder: Did you bring enough ice cream to share with the rest of the class?
Scully: It's not ice cream... it's non-fat tofutti rice dreamsicle.
Mulder: Ugh... I bet the air in my mouth tastes better than that.

Scully: I don't care. Mulder, this is a needle in a haystack. These poor souls have been dead for 50 years. Let them rest in peace. Let sleeping dogs lie.
Mulder: Well, I won't sit idly by as you hurl cliches at me. Preparation is the father of inspiration.
Scully: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Mulder: The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Scully: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die.
Mulder: I scream, you scream, we all scream for non-fat tofutti rice dreamsicles.
"The X-Files: The Unnatural (#6.19)" (1999)

See! Also, Mulder, you are dead wrong, just like you were with quite a few of your alien theories...but we love you anyway!

Oh, yeah, yummy fajitas. So...feel free to add some variety (or to have less variety with the peppers if you can't find all the colors). Squash and sweet potatoes are also excellent for a fall fajita, but we're still feeling the dog days of summer down here in the not-so-deep South (Virginia). My opinion is that the more colors you add to your mix, the more healthful and pretty your fajita becomes. Seeing 5 different colors of bell peppers just makes me happy. My favorites in order of taste are: 1) red (sweet) 2) orange 3) yellow 4) green 5) purple. I have yet to see a blue bell pepper, but if I ever do, I'll have to change the name of this fajita!

My Ingredients:
Soft tortillas (I prefer whole wheat, but white flour is fine, too.)
Broccoli heads, about one stalk, washed, chopped, and ready
5 small or medium-sized peppers of your choice (I used red, orange, yellow, green and purple.)
1/4 medium yellow or purple onion (substitution: onion powder*)
1 diced clove of garlic (substitution: garlic powder*)
1/2 pack of organic extra firm tofu
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 splashes of water
Spices: (I don't measure. Feel free to use your own discretion.)
Chili powder
Crushed red pepper
*Onion powder (provided you didn't already use fresh onions)
*Garlic powder (provided you didn't already use fresh garlic)

Cook tofu until crispy and golden brown.  (A little longer than this picture below.)

Cook your veggies until they start getting a little browned on the edges.

Then, add your seasonings and mix well.

Add ingredients to your tortilla and Woila!

*I'm a lazy butt, so I didn't chop up any onion or garlic. I just used the powder, but I bet it would taste even better with fresher ingredients!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

[Insert Lame Excuse About Busy Life Here]

Yes, yes, I've been very bad about posting new things lately. I'm also one of those people who never brings their camera places and only remembers to take pictures when someone else starts taking pictures. (I even take all of my pictures using my camera phone. So, no, there is no good excuse!) Don't worry, I'm still going strong on the plant-based diet.

This past week, I think I was a little too focused on the exercise aspect of this new lifestyle. I did about 15+ miles on the elliptical, joined a Thurday night indoor soccer team, lifted weights twice, and went to my garden almost every night that it didn't rain. (It only rained once!)

I felt lame posting convenience foods, but then I realized that I'm interested in reading about them and eating them. Therefore, it probably makes sense for me to share the knowledge/ my personal opinion on these things.

RECIPE UPDATES: I did find time this weekend to make some more Chickpea Salad, which I like to eat in pita pockets. I'll have to share my recipe soon, but I refuse to share it without the possibility of delicious-looking photos.

I also made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from The Kind Diet book, which were delicious, but I think I'm going to tweak the recipe a little to cater to my particular palate before I share them. Also, there aren't any left to take pictures of them. I apologize, but you'll just have to make do with this grocery store impulse buy/experiment:

Chia Pod

What, my dear Watson, is a Chia Pod? Well, I found it near the yogurt section at Whole Foods. It only has four ingredients, so it seems legit. Also, it came in a recyclable container with a cute little spoon. And hippie types also seem to go crazy over Chia seeds, which are the main ingredient.

Consensus: The consistency is more in line with Jello than yogurt. I was never a big fan of gelatin, even during my omnivorous days. So in all truth, I personally wasn't a fan. If you like Jello and want something less sweet than soy or coconut milk yogurt and slightly more substantial, then I'd recommend it. My coworker ate it up. (I ended up giving it away to a yogurt-loving coworker because no one likes to waste food!) I didn't think it was bad, but I just didn't like the texture. Taste was good, but I probably would have added some type of sweetener* because, again, I was expecting yogurt.

More judgements on other veg products:

Amy's Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
was delightful, unlike another Vegan Pizza I tried (American Flatbread Vegan Harvest: virtually no sauce, no veggies and lots of cheeze, not the kind I like I guess). The sauce was a little sweet, which was a nice surprise and went very well with veggies (artichokes, mushrooms, red peppers, and possibly more than I'm missing). There wasn't any cheeze, and it tasted fine without.

I also sprinkled some cheeze on half the pizza, just to try it out. (See below.) I'm a freakin' mad scientist doing crazy vegan experiments! Also, my husband would be the first to quote me on this gem that I spouted out the other day, "Am I just crazy or is everyone else around me crazy?". Yes, I'm providing the damning evidence because I didn't realize how hilarious it was until he repeated it back to me. Apparently, those are the words of any crazy person or any character in a sci-fi utopian society movie who just started paying attention. I call dibs on the latter. Anyways...

Mozzarella Teese was pretty good. It doesn't have the same creaminess as cheese when it's cold, but it melts well and tastes very similar to mozzarella. I put some of it on my Amy's pizza. I used a fork while it was cold and added little bits and chunks of it like it was feta cheese. I still have some left, but I'm not sure what else I should make with it. Maybe a homemade pizza (dough and all) this weekend? Suggestions are welcome!

*Vegan sweeteners include, but not limited to: Sugar in the Raw, Maple Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Agave Nectar (light or dark). Also, Stevia and Monkfruit in the Raw, but I don't like the first and I've never tried the latter.

I put them in order of my personal preference. Sugar in the Raw is good in my almost daily self-made Chai Latte with Almond Milk. Maple Syrup is a good baking sweetener, but make sure to add more of a dry ingredient to balance it out if you're using it as a subsitute for sugar.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quick Eats: Grilled Cheeze and Tri-Pepper Fajita

Here are the products that I used for my grilled cheeze:
I assume that most people understand how to make grilled cheese, so I'm not giving any instructions for this one!

Also, let me state that my grilled cheeze technically isn't completely vegan because my bread is "Honey Wheat". I bought this bread on my first vegan grocery shopping trip, and I was so concerned with reading all of the labels for milk, eggs, and byproducts that I forgot about honey. (It's surprising how many products contain dairy or its byproducts!) Many vegans choose to abstain from honey because it is produced by other creatures for their personal consumption, not ours.  For more about why most vegans don't think we should eat honey: Vegans and Honey. There is a little bit of a debate surrounding this issue, but after this first grocery hiccup, I'm planning on avoiding honey. However, when I realized that I accidentally bought honey bread, I decided that I wasn't going to waste a whole loaf of bread because I'm mostly concerned about avoiding the dairy products and byproducts at this point.

Here's my delicious grilled cheeze:
 I'd never had vegan sliced "cheese" before I made this, and I was curious to see how it was.  I'm not a big fan of American "cheese" because I feel like it's kind of weird and tastes like plastic.  So it didn't surprise me that much when I actually liked the vegan cheese better! 
While I was looking for vegan cheese, I found a lot of items that were "lactose free" but not completely free of dairy by-products.  Also, I made another grocery blunder and bought 2 packs of Quorn products that were on sale without reading the ingredients.  They're aimed towards vegetarians, but they actually contain egg whites.  Luckily, my husband (non-veggie) likes Quorn stuff, and he's already finished one whole package of the products.  He also already tried this cheeze and liked it!
So apparently, it is not safe to assume that vegetarian products are also vegan.  In fact, I found that most of the ones aimed to imitate meat products are not vegan!   I guess I'll just have to continue to read labels until I get used to this and find some safe go-to products.  For what it's worth, I try not to get too many convenience foods.  Part of this challenge is to try new recipes and eat more whole foods, but 1) it was my first week as a vegan and I wanted to try some new things and 2) sometimes you just need something quick and easy to make for those busy days!  I know myself and how much free time I have, so realistically, I'm planning a gradual change and giving myself some leeway as I get started.
Also, I ate the grilled cheeze as an easy-to-prepare meal before I went to my garden plot, but I didn't have very much to eat at lunch and breakfast today, and I was still hungry.  So when I got back home again, I made a bell pepper fajita.  I usually prefer to make tacos with tofu, too, but I'm all out of tofu right now. So just peppers today. 
A colorful display of peppers!

Cooked some frozen tri-colored peppers in a little bit of olive oil, added some taco seasoning (onion, garlic, cumin, and crushed red pepper powder) as they finished cooking, put them in a warmed wheat tortilla shell, and sprinkled some noosh* on top of the peppers. 
Yum, yum!
*Noosh = nutritional yeast.  It has a kind of cheezy, nutty flavor and contains B12 and lots of other important vitamins and minerals.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sweet Potato Lentil Curry Soup

So, here's my impromptu slow cooker recipe for Sweet Potato Lentil Curry Soup. This was invented on a lazy Sunday decision to make soup, but without planning ahead. So I just used whatever I had sitting around the house. Namely, sweet potatoes, lentils, and carrots. It turned out to be delicious (even my omni husband loved it), but feel free to make adjustments and add different veggies if that's what you happen to have available: peas, corn, green beans, celery, regular potatoes, etc.

Also, depending on how much time you have to let it cook, you don't have to follow all of the directions that closely. ;)


2 cups red lentils
2 cups brown lentils (or just 4 cups of one kind if that's what you have)
3-4 medium sweet potatoes
1 bunch of carrots
3/4 of a medium white or yellow onion
2 gloves of garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 terra packs of vegetable broth*
1 tsp cumin**
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
dash of salt (to taste)

*I had 2 1/2 containers of veggie broth and also added about 4 cups of water so the soup wouldn't be too thick and stew-like. You could also use vegetable boullion cubes or just add some celery and more onion and let the soup cook longer to give it more flavor.)

**These spices are mostly optional, based on your personal preferences/availability, and I actually didn't measure any of them. I just sprinkled them until I thought it tasted like I had enough. I make curry stir-fry a lot, so I know what I like it to taste like. Also, instead of using all of these separate spices, you could do it the easy way and use curry spice! :)

First, I preheated the oven to 350 to cook my sweet potatoes (because they're easier to cut once they're a little softer. I also plugged in my slow cooker and added the vegetable broth. If you're going to be cooking on high and want more of a soup than a stew, I also recommend adding 4-6 cups of water at this time.

While the oven is preheating and the slow cooker is heating up, chop the onions and dice your garlic cloves. Then, wash the potatoes, wrap them in aluminum foil, and put them in the oven. Set the timer for 25-30 minutes, and then saute your onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil.

Once your onions are transparent and both garlic and onions are a nice golden brown, (don't burn them!) transfer them to the crock pot. Feel free to add some olive oil to the crock pot, too, if you prefer.

Now, it's time to chop up your carrots. Don't forget to wash & peel them. Then, chop them up into bite-sized pieces and add them to your crock pot. Also, add all of your spices (except salt) and both kinds of lentils to the crock pot at this time.

Check on your sweet potatoes when you're finished with this. When they're done, not cooked through, but soft enough that they're easier to peel and cut, take them out and turn off the oven. Unwrap the aluminum foil and let them sit for about five minutes until they've cooled down enough to work with. Then, peel the potatoes and chop them into bite-sized pieces.

Add the sweet potato pieces to your crock pot (along with any other vegetables you'd like to add). Take a taste of the soup broth to see if you want to sprinkle any more spices on at this time. (I prefer to take multiple taste tests as I go along.)

Here's a picture of my crock pot and some of the ingredients that I used:
Let your soup cook on high for about an hour and a half or keep it on low if you have more time and don't mind waiting for your soup. If you cook it on high, make sure to check on the soup, stir it up, add more water and/or spices as needed, etc.

Once your soup is done, put it in your favorite bowl, and enjoy!

My yummy soup!

This recipe makes a lot of soup. It could probably serve about 6-10 people. Maybe also make/serve some crusty bread and a quick dessert if you're planning on serving it for company. If you make it over the weekend for just yourself or your family, like me, then you'll end up with lots of delicious leftover soup to pack in your lunch during the week! :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guess What Book I'm Reading?

It's awesome and inspiring! I should have read this before I started my Vegan Challenge!

Vegan Issues: Circuses

Now it's time for a slightly more serious post about some vegan issues.

In changing to a plant-based diet, I'm still refraining from referring to myself as a "vegan", which strikes some as a loaded term. Many people have preconceived ideas about the types of people who are vegans. They're idealistic animal lovers or left-wing environmentalists. Maybe you think they take their beliefs a little too far and get in your face. I know that I personally don't appreciate being veg-ucated by those pushy vegans who hand out brochures filled with grotesque images of tortured and slaughtered animals at fairs and metro stops. Way to ruin my good time with your nasty pictures!

Yeah, I think it's disgusting! I'm pretty sure even people who love bacon wouldn't want to watch a pig get slaughtered every time they eat it. However, I don't think that's a very effective method of getting people to care about your cause. It's just rude! That being said, I'm about to show you a sad video about the treatment of animals in circuses. If you love circuses and don't want to ruin your enjoyment of them, please do not watch this video. But if you care about the ethical treatment of animals, as a meat-eater, vegetarian, dog or cat-owner, farmer, lover of cute animal photos, whatever, please take a few minutes of your time to watch the following video. If not, no hard feelings. I won't judge you for your choices if you don't judge me for mine. :)

Maybe you've heard that circuses don't treat their animals well, but you never really thought about what that meant or that it was something that you could change. Maybe your kids really, really wanted to go or you just thought it sounded like a fun time, so you went anyway. Please watch this video produced by PETA and let me know if you still think the circus is quality entertainment:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick Eats: Tofu


To most non-vegetarians, this word probably strikes fear in your hearts.  See: "Killer Tofu"!  Eating tofu probably seems as fun to you as sticking your hand in a tank full of piranhas, and only slightly less painful. (Okay, I realize maybe not all of you feel this way, but I've run across quite a few meat-eaters who avoid tofu like the plague without ever having tried it before.) Please give tofu a chance...and then also give it another chance.

I have a little story to tell you about my adventures with tofu. Before I became a vegetarian, I had 3 vegetarian roommates. I was the only one who was not a vegetarian, but I tried some of their tofu anyway. Guess what?

1st Taste Test:
I absolutely HATED it! I thought it was flavorless, had a weird texture, and was just all-around gross.   You know what?  So is chicken if you try to eat it without cooking it or adding some type of sauce or seasoning.   Okay, okay, maybe that's just my opinion, but plain chicken?  Honestly, who eats chicken without adding anything to it?  Nobody, that's who.

2nd Taste Test:
Fast forward to a few years later.  I decided to become a pescetarian (only after I stopped living with all my veggie roommates, of course).  I thought it might be time to give tofu another try.  Maybe it wasn't as bad as I remembered.  Hell, I hated asparagus and mushrooms as a kid.  Now I love them both!  So I decided to try baked tofu.  I cut my tofu up into neat little triangles, added some spices, and stuck it in the oven.   I had high hopes for this tofu.  It even looked good.

I took it out of the oven, let it cool, and then gave it a try... It was DISGUSTING and super dry!  Needless to say, I should have followed a recipe, and I also probably shouldn't have cooked it for that long.

3rd Taste Test:
Luckily, I wasn't ready to give up on tofu, yet.  This time, I followed a recipe and used some teriyaki sauce instead of spices.  I also stir-fried some veggies and steamed some rice to go along with my tofu.  The result?  DELICIOUS! 

Okay, it didn't taste just like chicken.  Tofu has a completely different texture, but once you stop comparing it to meat, you discover that tofu is actually pretty darn good.  It's not a meat replacement.  It can be a good source of protein, though.  If you want something that mimics meat, you can find lots of those in the freezer aisle at any grocery store.  Especially Quorn.  I love me some Quorn.  Unfortunately, most of Quorn's products are not vegan because they contain egg whites and milk products.  So, I won't be eating those for a while.  Anyway, back to tofu.

Tofu Tips for Omnivores (and Veggivores):

-There are lots of different kinds of tofu.  I prefer organic, extra firm, and pre-cubed, which only saves you like 3 minutes, but it's usually the same price as the regular tofu.

-My preferred method: heat olive oil in a skillet, add cubed tofu, don't flip it until you hear it crackle (and sometimes flips itself), cook until it is golden brown on at least two sides.

-If you want to bake it, first drain the excess moisture, but also add some kind of marinade, seasoning, or sauce.  (This sounds silly: get rid of the moisture, then add moisture.  However, it makes a big difference in the taste of your tofu.)

-When baking, don't turn the heat up too high or leave it in the oven too long.  It's not meat, so you won't contract any crazy diseases if it's undercooked.  It's better to err on the less-cooked side because you can always just put it back in the oven!

-Yes, it's made of soybeans, but tofu does go bad!  Don't open the package and then let it sit in your fridge for a month.  There will be mold on it, and that's just gross.

-If you're cooking for one, your best bet is to cook it all at once and reheat leftovers. 

In my picture below, I made the whole package of tofu. On the left is Sweet & Sour Tofu that I packed in my lunch and on the right is Orange Ginger Tofu.  I cooked them both in the same skillet until they were golden-y delicious and more solid.  Then, I separated them so that I could add different sauces.  That way, they didn't seem like leftovers since the lunch tofu tasted completely different from the tofu I had the night before.  Score!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yoga and Easy Dinner after work I went to a free yoga class, which was pretty awesome and FREE!
(Can you tell by the awkward smirk and bad camera angle that I don't take selfies often?)

Anyway, so by the time I finally got back home, I was pretty. damn. HUNGRY!!!  I definitely didn't feel like making anything complicated, so I had my good friend Amy prepare dinner for me. :)
 Just heat and serve!
 Yum, yum!

Isn't that bowl pretty?  I got this awesome handmade and hand-painted bowl (as a set of 4 bowls) from my aunt and uncle as a belated wedding present. I think the bowls are beautiful, and one of the most unique gifts that we received.

This particular gifting uncle also makes his own maple syrup, despite the fact that he doesn't have a single maple tree! He just asked some people he knew with sugar maples on their property if he could poach their trees for sap. (I'm sure he more than compensated for this by giving them lots of yummy free maple syrup in return!) He brought lots of syrup to family events and gave it all away to us, too! Yum!

After some delectable soup from Amy, I also made my personal favorite food in the world ...

I probably should just come clean now and admit that I may have a slight popcorn addiction. I eat popcorn at least 3-7 times per week and sometimes I actually even daydream about when I will next make my beloved popcorn! I'm very relieved that popcorn is vegan (unless you add butter, which I never even did beforehand) or else I would probably not survive this whole "Vegan Challenge" deal.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics.  Hopefully, I won't be as lazy this weekend, and I'll introduce you to some more delicious and nutritious vegan recipes!

Good Eats: Kale Chips

Today's Subject: Kale

Lots of people tout the nutritional benefits of kale. It's chock full of vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, and lots more. But mostly, kale just looks healthy because it's leafy and green. So, maybe some of you are asking: What do I do with this kale? Don't feel alone. I asked that same question when I got a huge hunk of it in my CSA* share last month. In fact, the first time I got it, most of it went bad because I didn't know what to do with it. :(

Well, there are plenty of things that you can do with it: use it in salads, steam it, make chips out of it, etc. Today, I'm going to focus on the last one. Kale Chips! Maybe you've seen kale chips at the grocery store before in the natural foods section. Maybe you haven't. If you have, you've probably noticed that they come with a huge price tag for a tiny amount of product. Yes, these kale chips are delicious, but they are also very easy to make at home for a quarter of the price.

So now I'm going to share my super simple recipe for kale chips.

Ingredients you'll need:

-a big bunch of Kale (You can't make Kale Chips without the Kale!)
-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (other oils would work, too, if you have a preference)
-sea salt (or regular will do)
-garlic powder

Optional Ingredients:

-Nutritional Yeast (a staple for vegans, can be found at health food stores near the vitamins and supplements)
-Crushed red pepper powder (if you prefer a spicier flavor)
-Cashews, soaked overnight, drained, then crushed into a fine powder in a food processor

First, you'll need to preheat your oven to 275 (Fahrenheit) and get out your baking trays. Next throughly wash and dry your kale. Remove the ribs and cut (or rip, if you're lazy like me) into 1 1/2 inch pieces (chip size).

See my fresh, leafy kale before I added oil, spices, and dehydrated it?

Once you have your pieces ready, dip both sides of each piece in the oil. Not too much oil, you're not frying them! The kale doesn't have to be soaked, just wet enough that the dry ingredients will stick to it. Then, lay the pieces as flat as possible on the baking tray. You can put them pretty close together, just don't let them touch unless you want one massive kale chip. Next, sprinkle with your salt, garlic powder, and whatever spices or optional ingredients you prefer. Flip them over and repeat the sprinkling. Then, stick them in the oven and set your timer for 8-10 minutes. After 8-10 minutes, flip your chips over (They will have shrunk significantly.) and put them back in for another 8-10 minutes.

Take them out and woila, delicious kale chips!

I know, I know, it's not the prettiest picture! But believe me, they really are amazing!  Also, I put a little too much olive oil on mine.  Don't do that!  They were still great, but I had to mop the excess oil up with paper towels like you do with a greasy piece of pizza!

Kale chips cool pretty quickly, so they're usually ready to eat in about a minute.

If you have extras, put them in an airtight container or Ziploc baggie (preferably with a piece of paper towel or something to absorb the moisture from the oil) and save them for later! They can probably keep for up to a week or two, but they most likely will be long gone before then because they're freakin' delicious!

*CSA= Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you pay a set amount before the season starts and in return, you get fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs once a week until the season's over. (Generally, June-October.) I just joined one this year. I only got a half share, but it's still a lot of food for two people. It's a great way to start cooking healthier, fresher foods and learn some new recipes, too.

For more info about CSAs, check out this website .  It's called Local Harvest, and they also have a lot about farmer's markets and all kinds of hippie wonders!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why vegan?

A little background about me:
My name is Elise, and I'm currently a pescetarian (don't eat meat, but still eat some fish) for environmental and somewhat moral reasons, but mostly environmental. I've been following a pescetarian diet for about 3-4 years now. I like to run (slightly long-distances), knit, listen to music, garden, and hang out with friends. Also, I'm kind of one of those neo-hippies who prefers to buy organic and local foods, but I'm not about to get all self-righteous about it. I started this blog because I don't want to drive my friends crazy talking about how awesome being vegan is!

Why have you decided to go vegan*/ start eating a plant-based diet?
I'd like to broaden my cooking horizons and learn a little more about the vegan lifestyle in the process. (I'd also like to lose a little weight and cutting dairy out of my diet will most likely help me accomplish that.) I want to eat more nutritious whole foods and try out some new recipes. I also have many concerns about the dairy industry, and sometimes it's kind of hard to find options that fit my budget and my values.

It's also important to emphasize, for the sake of all the real vegans out there, that being vegan is more of a lifestyle than a diet. Vegans* are conscientious consumers who research the products (food, household, and everything in between) they buy to make sure they don't contain any animal byproducts and aren't tested on animals. If you want to learn more about it, I really recommend this website: Veggie Boards. They have a lot of great articles and lots of delicious recipes.

My challenge is focused on eating a more nutritious well-rounded plant-based diet. It's a temporary plan (only 90 days), but I hope I'll carry some of the habits I develop during this challenge with me when I'm done. I hope you enjoy reading about my experience, and I promise that my posts will be a little less informative and hopefully a lot more entertaining (with pictures of delicious vegan foods)!

Why 90 days?
While there actually is a 30-Day Vegan Challenge that is marketed to new vegans, (see here) I feel that a month is not enough time for what I want to accomplish (improve my eating habits and lose some weight in the process). Also, a month is easy. Anyone could go vegan for a month. Hell, Bill Clinton even does it! I'm kind of competitive by nature, so 90 days is a viable, set goal that I believe I can accomplish.

When did you start the "90-Day Vegan Challenge"?
I actually started last Monday (August 12th), but I just decided to start a blog so that I won't pester other people by constantly raving about how awesome being vegan is. (Vegan superpowers are pretty awesome, though!)
I've lost 4.6 pounds so far, which is a good amount for my size. I wasn't really fat or skinny to start with, just average. I feel awesome. Also, I've cut my running time by 30 seconds on one of my favorite routes. Best part, I can fit into my "skinny" pants again, which is awesome. I also feel pretty energetic and happy. (I've never heard that eating vegan improves your mood, so that might not be diet-related at all.)

I've also been trying out lots of exciting new recipes and discovering the joys of vegan favorites, such as nutritional yeast (nooch, for short) and green smoothies. Some of my favorite recipes so far have been: homemade kale chips smoothies, chickpea salad sammiches (I used this recipe), and zucchini fries. I plan on sharing lots of recipes and posting pictures of the dishes.

Thanks for joining me on this challenge, and I hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Update: I like eating and being vegan so much that I've decided to make it a permanent part of my lifestyle! I feel so much healthier, leaner, and better about my choices. I'm still in the process of transitioning when it comes to purchasing vegan clothing, purses, shampoos, cosmetics, and other products, but I'm learning a lot. It's surprising (in a bad way) how much we use animal materials or test on animals, but there are plenty of cruelty-free products on the market (and not just available in fancy-pants health foods stores)! There are also lots of accidentally vegan products out there, which is great. All in all, I hope you enjoy reading my transition story, recipes, etc. as much as I enjoy writing them!