Wednesday, March 31, 2010


We had a visitor last night. I woke up at 1am to get a drink downstairs and on my way back up I almost stepped on this little guy.

We get a lot of frogs here in Germany. I can't tell you how many I have almost stepped on outside, but never inside! He must have snuck in earlier in the day.

And that was my excitement for the night! Now it's time to watch where I step outside so I don't squish any of these cute little jumpers. Oh by the way I totally named him Kermit, of course!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Carla Crocker - Eggplant Chana Masala

Today I will share with you one of my favorite meals I have tried so far. I don't know why I favor this meal so much. Maybe it's the amazing flavor, the convenience, or that's it's so easy my husband who can't even boil water can probably make it? Yeah it's just awesome.

This recipe is from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. It really is such a simple, convenient, and quick meal. I have to admit my cooking level is not high. So simple dishes really make me happy inside.

- 3 large onions
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
- 2 (14 ounce) cans peeled tomatoes, drained
- 1 can vegetarian chili
- 1 large handful chopped fresh cilantro
1. Saute the onions and garlic with the oil, curry powder, and cumin in a large pot until the onions are soft or translucent, about 5 mins. Add the eggplant and saute for 5 mins longer until lightly browned and softened.
2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and chili. Simmer for 20-30 mins. It will get watery, but then reduce to a thick, stewy chana masala. Add more spices to taste.
3. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amy's Natural Frozen Food

Everyone needs a little convenience in their life. For me, becoming a vegan, I thought how bad it would suck not being able to just buy a frozen pizza and pop it in the oven on a lazy Sunday and there's dinner!

Well I am sooo happy to say that I definitely don't need to worry about that!

Amy's is an awesome natural frozen food company that makes a ton of vegan options! Everything they make is natural, organic, no GMOs, ect ect! It's awesome. I wanted to share what my favorite Amy's products are so far. Here on a military post, the grocery store doesn't carry all of Amy's products. So the three that I have found are absolutely awesome.

Here is possibly my favorite pizza I have ever eaten. Before becoming a vegan, I swear I could have lived off of pizza for the rest of my life. Knowing I had to give up cheese was a sad day. But when I found this pizza, I realized I do not need cheese to eat a good pizza! Granted, there is vegan cheese out there. But they do not sell it here.

This is the vegetable roasted pizza. It has no cheese and its topped with yummy organic shiitake mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sweet onions, and artichoke hearts. Can you say DELICIOUS? A non dairy pizza. Genius.

This is the black bean vegetable enchilada. I remember first trying this, sceptical because of the tofu. Totally delicious. I love all the spices and it just tastes down right amazing.

It's made with an organic corn tortilla, filled with organic black beans, tofu, and vegetables. Covered with an amazing Mexican sauce.

I'm pretty sure this burger is my life saver. I haven't found a soy burger this good until I tried this. It tastes amazing. Way better than the vegan Boca burger by far. Knowing that I can still participate in BBQs with this burger makes me happy inside. I brought this baby along to my friend's BBQ and while everyone had cow burgers, I had a delicious cruelty free soy burger :) But it looked like I was eating a cow...seriously for a second I had to double check the ingredients and make sure there were no animals in there!

This burger is made with protein rich soy combined with a blend of vegetables and grains and has a barbecue flavor to it! I am so excited for the weather warming up knowing we can grill outside with this burger :) This burger doesn't have to be heated on a grill though, I have used it in the oven a few times! Or even on a skillet. It's awesome!

Again, Amy's has a lot of products but I am only available to a few. And these three are by far my favorite!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meet Meesha and Sammy

These two are my babies.

Meesha. If I had to describe her in a few short words, I would say big baby, world's number one whiner, hyper, tennis ball whore, food lover, too smart for her own good, not cuddly, and very motivated.

Sammy. If I had to describe him in a few short words I would say big lover, super cuddly, very curious, skittish, slow, lap dog, always happy, and picky.

Carla Crocker - Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

When I decided to go veg, the one thing I was worried about was dessert. I LOOOOOVE dessert! I just couldn't imagine life without another cupcake or cookie ever again. Thankfully, that is not the case!!!

While googling vegan books for myself, I came across an awesome book title that totally caught my eye.... "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World". Of course I bought it! That and "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar". The two books are both written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Seriously, best two books I have ever bought!

These books not only explain everything you need to know about vegan baking, but they come with amazing, delicious, down right AWESOME recipes!!! Who needs milk and eggs in their dessert when you can make the exact dessert dairy free? It's amazing, seriously...

Which is why I have now started my Carla Crocker section. I would like to share with everyone the recipes I truly enjoy. Not only dessert, I will share other recipes as well. Today is all about the Mint Chocolate cupcake!

This delicious little cupcake is from the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World". The first time I made this cupcake, I was on my way to a friend's house. She was having a get together and I decided to bring dessert. My friend ended up LOVING them and ate almost all of them to herself. Success!

Here is the amazing recipe:

Ingredients =
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and all other extracts, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no late lumps remain.
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool.

Icing Ingredients =
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy creamer or soy milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Small drops of green food coloring.

*This recipe also calls for a minty ganache, but I skip out on that part. Buy the book for the full recipe!

Icing directions =
1. Cream the shortening for a few seconds to soften it.
2. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and a tablespoon of soy creamer or milk and mix to incorporate. Alternately add sugar and creamer, mixing after each addition, until all the ingredients are used and the icing is smooth and creamy. Add the mint and vanilla extracts and food coloring. Mix to incorporate.

Now, with this cupcake, I have noticed I can never get the icing right. The icing still tastes awesome, but it's not creamy like it should be. And I think that is because I use soy milk instead of soy creamer (since I cannot find soy creamer here at all). So I definitely suggest trying creamer instead of milk.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Soy Wax Candles

Since we are a military family, it is hard to find everything I need here overseas. The PX (stands for post exchange, it's like our wal-mart) barely carries anything I am looking for.

Well today my husband and I went to the PX and I was looking around. I came across soy candles!

I've been wanting to buy soy candles since I read about regular paraffin candles. Not only is soy more eco friendly, but it's awesome in so many ways.

Paraffin candles are made from a petroleum by product. It releases thick black soot when burned and definitely not good for us to breathe in all the time! I totally never even thought about what that black stuff was on the glass from my candles. Now that I know...not cool. Plus, paraffin wax is so hard to clean up! If I ever spill that wax, I am in trouble.

Soy wax on the other hand is made from soybeans! A natural resource that burns cleaner and longer. And hey, it's non toxic! Plus the best part, this wax is so easy to clean!

Anywho, so for $10.00, I bought a 3-wick soy candle made by Essential Elements. They carry many scents, but my husband and I both agreed on Tangerine and Grapefruit. Seriously I cannot stop smelling this thing. It's ORGASMIC! Plus, it says the wick is lead-free :)

We will definitely be lighting this candle tonight for Earth Hour!

Earth Hour 2010

I'm so excited about tonight.

Tonight is Earth Hour! And let me tell you I love what this stands for.

Earth hour is a perfect time to spend time with your loved ones and take a stand against global warming at the same time. Me and my mom participated in 2008. I remember her explaining what it was, what we had to do, and when to do it. So we turned off all of our lights and sat in candle light while just talking with one another.

This year, my husband and I are definitely participating. We plan to play cards in candle light and take the dogs on a long walk (if the weather is on our side tonight!).

I hope this year a lot of us will turn off our lights and enjoy the night.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Welcome to my world!

My life has changed so much recently that I really just want to start sharing these changes. It's amazing when you find something you are so passionate about. I just want to share it with the world.

I have come to the realization that I love animals. A lot. The funny thing is...I have always loved animals. But recently I have learned to respect them. Which is why I have started my journey to become a vegan.

How is it that I could eat a burger, then see a cow and say out loud "awww he's so cute!". But wait a minute Carla... you just ate a cow.

2 years ago I read the book "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I remember reading the book and thinking "Goodness these people are really pushy". Obviously this book did something for me though, because when I got to the chapter about meat and read the vivid details about slaughter houses, I cried. I was on a train coming home from college and I just started crying on the train. Thankfully no one sat next to me because I was pretty embarrassed. But I could not help it. I can't remember the exact quote from the book, but I remember them interviewing a man who worked at a slaughter house and he said something along the lines of one time a pig came up to him, the pig nuzzled him like a dog would, and he had to kill the pig minutes later. That stuck in my head for sure.

After that book I proudly gave up red meat. Why only red? I convinced myself that I needed some sort of meat to survive. I told myself "chickens are birds, who cares about birds?" So I continued to eat chicken and dairy.

Well recently, I saw an episode of Oprah about the truth on food. It changed my life, seriously! Alicia Silverstone was on that episode and spoke of her new book "The Kind Diet" and veganism. I ordered the book the next day, read it in a week, and now I am fully committed to being a vegan!

My new commitment started on February 19 of this year. It has been only a month and a week but I am still going strong. I have SO MUCH to learn though. I still feel so uneducated and I feel like I need to learn a lot more.

Not only do I want to better my diet, but I want to better myself and the way I see life. I want to help this planet by doing the little things like recycling, turning off the water when I brush my teeth, buy eco friendly products, ect ect! I want to make a difference and feel like I am doing something right. I want to learn how to be a better person and a better friend.

So this is why I will be writing my journey on this blog =)