Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hommus

My new obsession is Roasted Red Pepper Hommus. It's seriously beyond delicious. It's funny because I have never even tried hommus. I honestly didn't even know what it was made out of. My mother recommended that I give it a shot, so I went grocery shopping last week and came upon some hommus. My options were regular or roasted red pepper, I tried the pepper. I still don't know what regular hommus tastes like...but the red pepper is OMG ORGASMIC. I seriously look forward to eating lunch every day now because I make a roasted red pepper hommus wrap filled with red onions, green peppers, and cucumbers. I know I'll get more creative with wraps but for now this one is to die for. Red Pepper Hommus = AWESOME. Oh and by the way, since my new love for hommus, my husband has been calling me Zohan. How romantic of him.

Anyway, my mother-in-law will be visiting us here in Germany for a week starting tomorrow. We pick her up at the airport tomorrow morning at 8am! So I won't be blogging for a while. I'm sure I will have plenty to talk about when I return though!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Randoms of Spring

The weather has been so nice lately here in Germany. We have been getting tons of sunshine, beautiful white fluffy clouds, and just enough wind to make the weather perfect outside. We did get a little rain yesterday, but I actually like rainy days every now and then.

Last weekend, my husband and I took our dogs, Meesha and Sammy, to this huge open field about 8 minutes from our house. We love taking them here because there usually aren't any other people around, so it's nice to just have this big field to ourselves for the afternoon. We let the dogs off leash so they run around chasing each other while my husband and I just sit on the grass soaking up the sun.

My husband walking the big open field.

Sammy with a tennis ball in his mouth, what a cutie!

Meesha, smiling because she loves being outside.

I love being outdoors. Especially when it's so nice outside. There is also a rather long trail right by that field that a lot of locals like to walk. It was fun to just be outside, walking a scenic trail, and just spending time with my family. While at the field, I decided to walk around picking up random little flowers to make myself a pretty bouquet. Isn't it just so cute?

My pretty bouquet =)

So last week for Earth Day, my husband bought me an awesome little house plant! I was so excited because this is my first plant ever. He always wanted to buy house plants, but I told him I didn't want any because I was scared I'd kill them. Knowing me I'd forget to water them... but anyway, I like this little guy too much to neglect him.

My house plant.

Me being the proud new mommy to a house plant, I googled some info on him. This plant is called Euphorbia Lactea, it is used medicinally in India as a hot jam to treat rheumatism. WOOOO INTERESTING ISN'T IT?

So funny story... I was so into taking care of this plant that yesterday it was so sunny outside when I was cleaning the house, that I put my little plant outside to soak up some sun. Not even thinking, I place the plant on top of our large garbage cans out front. I could have just placed the plant by the front door on the ground, but for some reason I put the plant high up. With that said, it was so windy that the wind knocked it off the garbage can and the cute little clay vase it came in totally shattered =(. Seriously? I almost cried, not gonna lie. I felt so shot down. Here I was trying to take care of this guy and instead I almost killed it.

I picked up all the pieces and placed the plant in a red vase I already had and put new soil in. Let's just hope this plant survives in a more narrow vase than the one it came in. Let us pray for Spikey the plant....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carla Crocker - Gaia's Black Bean Salad

My husband recently had a work BBQ. The wives were asked to bring side dishes if possible. I knew I probably should since in their email they said "We will provide the meat". To me that says "AKA Carla you better bring something for yourself to eat!" So I was a little stumped as to what I could bring as a side dish for other people but as a main dish for myself.

I joined a vegan forum a while back and someone suggested to me to make this amazing bean salad! I recently started following Brigit Gaia's blog after I saw this bean salad and I've seen quite a few delicious looking recipes! I'm so glad someone suggested her recipe to me so I would like to share it with anyone who reads my blog!

I think the one thing that made me decide this would be the recipe I would make is the picture. It is just so colorful...I would totally eat that if it was in front of my face!

With that, here is Gaia's Black Bean Salad....


- 2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cooked corn, or more, to taste
- 1/2 of a green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 to 6 green onions, finely chopped (or finely diced red onion; I used the green)
- 1/3 cup (or more) of green stuffed olives, sliced
- Black olives, sliced (optional, I didn't use them)
- Fresh parsley, chopped (unfortunately I didn't use parsley since I didn't have it on hand)
- Salt & pepper
- Lemon juice, to taste
- The tiniest bit of olive oil


1. Mix all the ingredients together and let the flavors meld, in the fridge, before serving.

This salad really is sooo good! I added probably a little more olive oil than the ingredients called for, but it was still amazing. Or I just love olive oil too much...hmm...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010!

Today is Earth Day, April 22 2010. This marks Earth Day's 40th anniversary!

I'm going to be honest. This is only the second Earth Day I have ever "celebrated". My first Earth Day, I was 8 years old. I took a bunch of my neighborhood friends and a red wagon all around the block and we picked up a ton of trash and recyclables to help save our Earth. I was so cute wasn't I?

I am not ashamed to admit after that I never cared. It's amazing how much a few books have changed my entire way of thinking! Now I love the idea of Earth day.

With that said, I am going to make a list of how I am celebrating Earth Day this year, and how I have celebrated this day everyday for the past 3 months...

1. I officially have not eaten any meat, dairy, or eggs since February 19 of this year. Which means I have helped cut CO2 emissions into our air. If you didn't know, the meat industry is one of the leading sources of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.

2. I have switched all my house hold cleaning products to ECO friendly brands. I use Seventh Generation and Green Works for cleaning my kitchen, bathroom, my dishes including the dishwasher, and anything else that needs cleaning. Everyday cleaning products contain a lot of toxic chemicals that just aren't natural for our bodies or our environment. These chemicals get under our skin, can irritate our eyes, and we breathe them in which can irritate our respiratory system.

3. I recycle every little thing I can. Even if I just cut open a bit of plastic, I will recycle it. It really isn't hard to recycle. I was SO LAZY just a few months ago. If I drank a can of soda, I would just throw away the can instead of walking a few more steps outside to my recycling bin. Same with plastic. We had so much garbage because my husband and I never recycled. Since realizing how important recycling is, my husband and I now recycle everything. It took my husband a little longer than myself, but now he's so used to it and it's amazing how supportive he is.

4. I also do not buy paper plates anymore. Again, I was SO LAZY. Last Summer, we would invite people over to our home for a BBQ every weekend. To make things easier on myself, I would always buy paper plates and plastic forks and knives. And I can't think of any other reason why I did that besides I was a lazy lazy person. Why is it so hard to stick a few extra plates and silverware in the dishwasher? It's not. I was just lazy. Now I use all my plates if I have to and I have no problem washing them...which leads to number 5....

5. I only use my dishwasher if it is completely full. I stuff that baby sometimes. But by doing so, I save a ton of water.

6. Every time I brush my teeth, wash my face, or wash my hands, I turn off the water until I need to use it. I never realized how much water is just running down the drain when I'm not even using it. I also try to take quicker showers.

7. I turn off the lights if I don't use them. By doing so, I'm saving a ton of energy.

Those are all the little easy things I have been doing to help out our planet. Before I never cared about any of these things, but now I feel like I am really making a difference. Some people may not see it that way, but when you get into the habit of doing these things, it just feels right. I know for sure I can do a lot more than I am doing now, but I still feel very awesome knowing what I have accomplished so far. I'm sure I will better myself by next year's Earth Day.

I would like to end this blog entry with one of my favorite songs as a kid from one of my favorite TV shows back in the day... ENJOY AND HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Time Trail Walks

I love all 4 seasons in this world. Some people hate snow, but I like to have a change from warm weather. I guess growing up around Chicago, I didn't have a choice! Once Winter is over however, I absolutely LOVE Spring!

Here is a nice picture showing where we live. Lots of open land, small towns everywhere. We are definitely in a more rural part of Germany!

I love the first time I notice that the grass is getting green again, the trees are awake and growing leaves, and of course the first time I hear the birds! However, my absolute favorite part about Spring is the warmer weather, which means we can start trail walking again!

Me on the trail! With my dogs behind me, Sammy and Meesha.

Even though we trail walk in the Winter, Spring time is always more fun. My dogs enjoy it more as well. Yesterday, my husband and I walked directly off post where there is a nice little trail. We took the dogs of course and let them frolic and play.

Sammy and Meesha looking for sticks. Meesha usually finds the biggest stick (or should I say tree branch?) and carries it with her the entire time. Sammy is the one usually trying to steal her sticks.

Living in Germany, we can find so many trail paths. This country is extremely dog friendly too.

Again, Sammy and Meesha. As long as they are outside they are always happy =)

It's water break time for the beasts! Here is my husband letting the dogs drink out of their water bottle.

They are a bit spoiled...

We passed a barn along the way. It was so cool to see farm animals. It's funny, ever since I gave up meat, I look at animals in a completely different way. It was exciting to see sheep grazing. There were even a few baby sheep and we got to witness their mother's nursing them. My dogs got a kick out of them too.

The barn that we pass.

The adorable sheep!

The sheep didn't even mind us. In fact, once they saw us, they came a little if they were saying hello.

Sitting patiently, watching the sheep!

There were a few in the barn and a few came outside to say hello.

After our trail walk, we came home and invited some friends over for a BBQ, where I got to eat my delicious Amy's Soy Burger I posted about in an earlier blog. I think I can eat her burger everyday! Oh how I love Spring...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Courage the Amazing Dog

This story makes me so sad! I just learned about Courage's story yesterday.

This poor dog was chained up in the backyard and completely forgotten. No one had given him any food or water for WEEKS. Since he was chained up, he couldn't escape. Someone called him in finally and help came for Courage. When they brought him to a vet, he only weighed 37 pounds! I have a German Shepherd, and she weighs 80 lbs. 37 lbs is INCREDIBLY BAD! Courage couldn't even lift his head, let alone walk, he was so weak! What really upset me was when I read his fecal matter was completely dirt. Courage was so hungry he tried to eat dirt to survive!

Thankfully Courage has survived this horrible ordeal, and is doing much better. I've been following this site for updates...

I just can't even wrap my head around this. How can someone tie a dog outside and just leave? It's disgusting to see how some people just don't give a shit about animals. Whoever did this to Courage, I just know they will get what is coming to them. I hope they find the person and prosecute them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Starbucks Making A Difference!

I have a friend on facebook who linked this on her page.

I think it's great a huge corporation like Starbucks is promoting ways to help save trees. Today, they are even giving everyone who brings in their own reusable travel mug a free brewed coffee! I really wish there was a starbucks close to me right now... Plus, if you continue to bring in your reusable travel mug, Starbucks will give you 10 cents off any Starbucks beverage everytime. Yeah yeah, 10 cents doesn't seem like much, but even if the 10 cents was not offered, I think people should continue to bring in their travel mugs anyway.

Definitely watch the video from the link above. It's eye opening to see how many paper mugs are used everyday. If only we all switched to reusable mugs, imagine the difference we could make.

I calculated my impact on the link above as well. I do not drink 1 cup a day, but I wanted to see how many trees 1 cup equals to. Just one cup a day equals the amount of 7 trees. 7 TREES! By switching to reusable mugs, we can save so many trees...

One person can save trees, together we can save forests .

I really am happy to see Starbucks doing this. Hopefully a lot of people will take the pledge in switching.

Cereal for Breakfast

Every morning, I look forward to my daily bowl of cereal. I went on a mission for the past month to find my favorite cereal and I finally found it. I can eat this cereal every morning for the rest of my life.

Nature's Path seems like such an awesome company. They even have eco pacs for some of their cereal and I think that's just great. I haven't gotten to experience all of the different kinds of cereals they have to offer, so I'm hoping the grocery store we go to starts carrying more. But for now, Organic Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola is hands down my favorite. In fact, I just ate a bowl 10 minutes ago....oh yeaaaahhhh deliciouso indeed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I can't believe it's Vegan!

I love this list. PETA lists a lot of snack foods, beverages, baked goods, condiments, and more that are all vegan. There were a few things on there when I looked that I was so happy I didn't need to give up. My favorite...OREOS! mmmmm!

Here are my favorites...

- Oreos (duuh)
- Blow Pops
- Jolly Ranchers
- Teddy Grahams (Chocolate and Cinnamon)
- Orbitz Gum
- Sun Chips Original flavor
- Nestle Nesquick Syrup (Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry!)
- Cap'n Crunch Cereal Peanut Butter Crunch
- Cocoa Puffs
- Reese's Puffs

Those are just my top 10 favorites. The list is HUGE. It's awesome how many things out there are vegan and you wouldn't even think about it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reminiscing of Ireland

When I found out that I would be living in Germany for the next 3 years of my life, I was very excited to say the least. You see, my family is Polish. I have visited Poland a couple times growing up and I loved how different the country is compared to America. Don't get me wrong, I love being an American. But I love being a Polish-American even more. Anyway, my parents always emphasized how important it is to see the world. Every opportunity that knocks, take it.

The biggest reason I was so excited to move to Germany was knowing how much I could travel. Everything is extremely close! Either a few hours in a car or a quick plane ride and I am anywhere I want to be! Since moving here in November of 2008, we have seen plenty of amazing, down right gorgeous, places.

The one place I told myself that I had to see before I died was Ireland. I've always wanted to go there. And thankfully I had a wonderful opportunity to go last May! My aunt and cousins on my husband's side planned a trip to Ireland and invited me to join them. Unfortunately my husband couldn't come because his work schedule wouldn't allow him, but he knew how much I wanted to visit Ireland so convinced me to go myself with our cousins and aunt.

Since it has been almost a year since I took that trip with my family, I wanted to reminisce by sharing these photos I took there. All the photos included in this blog post are from my trip all around Ireland. Ireland is the most scenic, picturesque place I have ever visited. I even have 8 of the million photos I took framed and hanging on my wall! I feel like a professional photographer when I look at some of these pictures, funny isn't it haha!

A year ago I was still eating dairy, eggs, and chicken. So I did not experience traveling with a vegan diet to Ireland. Ireland had the best leek and potato soup I have ever tasted. Of course since going vegan, I looked up a vegan version of leek and potato soup. And now I make it all the time! It's so good and makes me miss Ireland every time I eat it. Here is the recipe I found online:

I hope I can visit Ireland again one day. Especially since my husband didn't get to experience my amazing trip, I plan to take him very soon!

I will definitley share more photos of trips I have taken eventually. Especially since this Summer, my husband and I are taking a Greek Cruise!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegan Video

I came across this video on youtube and I thought it was cute to watch. Definitely entertaining!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vegan Ice Cream Anyone?

Life just wouldn't be complete without ice cream, and amazingly enough there are a ton of dairy free ice creams out there!

Of course, the grocery store we go to only carries one brand and one flavor. But the thing is I totally don't mind because it's so good! It definitely tastes almost exactly like dairy ice cream and it's so creamy.

The one I buy is called "Organic SO Delicious Dairy Free" I have only tried the Creamy Vanilla and it really is so yummy. Why eat regular icky dairy ice cream when you can have a soy based ice cream that does the trick?

I usually have a bowl every week, sometimes twice a week, and top it with chocolate sauce (vegan of course). I even made a milkshake with this ice cream and a bunch of mixed berries. It tasted amazing!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Christian the Lion

I book marked this video a while back and as I was going through my laptop today I came across it again! I definitely book marked this for a reason. Every time I see this video it makes me want to cry. Which I usually tear up and try not to! It's just so amazing how Christian ran to his old friends and even introduced them to his wife, aww! I just had to share in case you haven't seen it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carla Crocker - Brownies

I loooooove brownies! A little too much I think. This recipe is from the book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.


- 3 ounces firm silken tofu (1/4 of the package)
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk (I used soy)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar (optional, the book doesn't include this but I had to add it myself, too good!)


1. Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8x8 inch brownie pan with parchment paper; it should cover the bottom as well as curve up and cover the sides.
2. Puree the tofu, nondairy milk, and oil in a blender or food processor until smooth and fluffy. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything.
3. Transfer the tofu mixture to a mixing bowl. Use a fork to vigorously mix in the sugar. Add vanilla.
4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Use a spatula to fold and mix batter until smooth. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth out the top. It's okay if the batter doesn't sink all the way into the sides and edges of the pan, as it will spread during baking.
5. Bake brownies for 30 to 32 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the brownies cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Clay Eggs Attempt

First off, Happy Easter to all! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter. Me and my husband had a nice day with each other and our friends!

Since this is my first Easter as a vegan, I decided to try one of the suggestions PETA has on their website for a cruelty-free Easter. It just makes sense since I don't even eat eggs, why would I buy eggs just to dye them? My friend did invite us over to help them dye eggs and for an Easter dinner. I figured this should be my last Easter dying real eggs. So this was my way of saying goodbye to that memory and trying to start a new one.

Back to what PETA suggests, they have a few options. Here is a link to what they suggest to try instead of using real eggs...

I decided to try number 1, which is the clay eggs. All I had to do was make the clay, let it cool, shape it into an egg, and then paint them afterwards. Here is how my attempt went...

No-Bake Clay Recipe:

1 cup cornstarch
1 and 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups baking soda
Food coloring, if desired
Paint, if desired


Put the cornstarch, water, and baking soda in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for about 4 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of moist mashed potatoes. Add food coloring if desired. Remove from heat, turn out onto a plate, and cover with a damp cloth. Allow the mixture to cool. When the clay is cool, knead it like dough. You can then store it in an airtight container or make the clay into egg-like shapes and allow them to dry. When dry, the eggs are ready to be painted.

Here is my pot with the cornstarch, water, and baking soda mixture.

You can tell here the mixture was beginning to get nice and lumpy.

Looks just like mashed potatoes! I noticed it took a lot longer than 4 minutes for it to get to this consistency though. But I suppose it varies from stove top to stove top.

Here is the clay all done and ready to cool. I would say it took about 20 minutes for it to cool.

Here are my clay eggs, molded and ready to dry. Don't make fun of my horrible shaping! My husband molded 2 himself and here are my 6.

Here is where I get a little sad. We molded the eggs, then had to be over at our friend's place at 2pm. We got home at about 9:30pm and here is what I saw...

I'm a little disappointed that they were all cracked, and when I picked one up, I could feel the inside was still "wet" and not fully dry. We left them out for a good 7 hours. If we had children, I cannot imagine replacing dying real eggs to using these clay eggs.

I thought about it and it could be I made the eggs too big. But I still think that regardless they would have cracked when drying.

I think next Easter, the paper-mache eggs may work better. I just wanted to share my experience with the clay eggs. I am happy I tried it and we had a lot of fun making them! Maybe in the morning they will be fully dry and I can try to paint them. If not that's okay.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vegan Imbiss Nurnberg

Today my husband and I traveled to Nurnberg. We have been there numerous times before, but today was my first time traveling with a vegan diet.

I googled vegan restaurants in Germany a while back. There is actually a lot over here! But where I live, the closest ones are in Nurnberg or Munich.

So we drove to Nurnberg, did a little shopping, then decided to check out one of the restaurants I had found online.

St. Lorenz Cathedral in Nurnberg

Actually, this wasn't a nice sit down restaurant. It is called "Veg Food - Vegan Imbiss". Imbiss means "snack" in German, so it was one of those places where you can order some food, sit down and eat or grab it to go. I know there is also a nice sit down restaurant in Nurnberg, but we wanted to get home to our dogs so we decided to check out Vegan Imbiss instead.

It's so funny how Vegan Imbiss is so close to everything we usually do in Nurnberg. We found it and went inside. It was a small little room, just like most of the quick food places in Germany. But it was completely Vegan! The menu was awesome. So much variety...and all vegan! There was things like tofu soup, vegan nuggets, a curry lovers dish, vegan fillet, roasted noodles with breaded vegan meat and vegetables, and tons more.

My husband ordered a vegan hamburger and vegan hot dog with fries. I ordered a vegan panini. My husband devoured the burger, said the hot dog was okay (I thought it was the best soy dog I have ever tried!) and my panini was awesome. I actually had to make sure there wasn't any meat in it because they could have fooled me.

My Vegan Panini!

I am so proud I finally tried my first vegan meal outside my home. Even though it wasn't the best I could try, I am so happy to know when I visit Nurnberg I can pop in and get a quick bite to eat like everyone else does.

Here is the link to how I found out about Vegan Imbiss...

And here is the restaurant I want to visit next time I visit Nurnberg, it is Vegetarian mostly but everything can be modified, woohoo!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Green Monster

A green monster...not like Shrek....

Word on the street is people who put veggies in their smoothies call it the Green Monster! It's quite clever actually. If you feel like you aren't getting enough veggies in your diet, make a smoothie out of it!

The reason I decided to try this is because since I am a new vegan, I still feel like I'm not getting everything I need. I'm still doing a ton of research, learning new recipes, figuring out how to plan my meals, and making sure I'm getting everything I need. But some days I don't feel like I had enough.

Which is why I googled a few recipes for a veggie smoothie. I tried it out, and let me tell you it was so good! I felt like I was drinking a regular fruit smoothie except it was green. You can't even taste the veggie!

Here is the one I made for myself and my husband, who also agreed it was delicious.

Excuse my sad attempt at taking a creative picture!

- One banana
- One apple
- A handful of fresh baby spinach
- 4 to 6 frozen strawberries
- Some water

1. First, put the handful of spinach into a blender and a little water and blend it up.
2. Add the apple and strawberries next, blend it together.
3. Last add the banana. The banana was a must for me; it made the smoothie nice and creamy.

Looks gross doesn't it? But it's soo good!

This is just the smoothie I made up with the ingredients I had on hand. You can make a lot of different Green Monsters! I want to these next...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Going out for dinner vegan style!

When going out for dinner to a restaurant that is mainly meat (definitely get that a lot here in Germany!), it can be pretty intimidating when you ask for no meat, no cheese, no butter, ect ect.

I remember my first time, I was just nervous about what the waitress would say to me, or how she would look at me! She would probably be saying to herself..."is this girl insane or just down right picky?"

I really want to share my first experience with this because it was so much easier than I thought. I don't even know why I was so scared!

We went out to dinner for a friend's birthday. There was at least 10 of us all at dinner. I remember looking at the menu, kind of freaking out to myself thinking the only thing I probably could eat is the salad.

I've been to this restaurant a million times before. I always ordered the same thing...a cheese pizza. Since I don't eat cheese anymore, that was going to be a problem. But actually it wasn't. That's when I thought to myself I can still get a pizza, just no cheese! A pizza without cheese...weird right? WRONG! Freakin delicious!

I asked for the veggie pizza, with no cheese and extra veggies. I wish I would have taken a picture of it because it was so good. You don't need cheese to make a good pizza. Oh and by the way, the waitress didn't think I was weird at all. She took my order like it was nothing. So if you are nervous to order because you care what people will think of you, don't be. It's not worth it!

Then the second time, I was more confident because of my first time, and there was a woman in the group of girls who could read German so she helped me out completely! I ordered the pasta, no meat or meat sauce, no cheese. Just pasta, tomato sauce, and olives. And it was sooo good.

Here is the restaurant I ate the delicious pasta. ME Lounge in Amberg Germany.

My advice would be to see what you would usually order, and modify it. I probably would have gotten cheese on my pizza and pasta before, but now I will add a veggie instead. Trust me, you don't need to stick to just salad.

mmmm, now I want to go to that restaurant again and ask for that veggie pizza!!