Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smart Balance Buttery Spread

Before I went vegan, I had to make sure the grocery store on post carried a lot of substitutes for myself so I didn't have to travel a great distance to get things like soy milk, ice cream, mock meats, ect. Even though I wish the grocery store carried a lot more than they do, they at least have the essentials.

It seems that the most popular buttery spread amongst the vegan community is Earth Balance. Unfortunately I cannot try out this popular brand because they do not sell it here. I am very fortunate to have one butter substitute called Smart Balance. I am pretty sure that Smart Balance only carries one buttery spread that is organic and vegan, and thankfully I can get my hands on it!

It's really yummy, tastes just like butter. My only complaint is that it is more salty than I would like it. But it does the job when I ever feel like I want some toast and butter. Phillip even loves having this spread on his toast instead of real butter. I love that man!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Daddy Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you daddy's out there! I hope everyone has a great day. My father is such a simple man... he never wants any sort of gift but I always get him something anyway ;). This Father's Day however I sent him an ecard online, a cute one at that! I figured since he is coming here to visit me in Germany very soon, I will take him out to dinner and show him a nice time. YAY FOR DADS!

Today my mom also asked me to give her a grocery list for myself so when I arrive in Chicago I wont be hungry when I get to the house. She's so cute, I can't wait to go home! July cannot come fast enough! She even told me there is a farmer's market very close by and she is excited to go with me. This visit home is going to rock!

Have a great day everyone =)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Favorite Food Ever...

I'm a simple girl. Really I am. Even when I was an animal consumer back in the day...I never ate anything extravagant. Simple to me is best.

I literally eat this wrap everyday for lunch. Okay so maybe I am simple and boring...but hey this isn't a food blog, this is a Carla blog so I say what I want! Ha ha ha. Anyway, when I tried this wrap it was love at first bite.

The tortilla I use could be better. It's wheat...and that's about all it has "good" wise. I just honestly don't have any better options out here for me. When I go home next month (woohoo!) I plan to try the Ezekial tortillas I keep hearing about.

Inside I spread roasted red pepper hommus, then add red onions, cucumbers, and chopped up red bell peppers. Sometimes when I'm really feeling it I add lettuce and drizzle some olive oil....cause holy moly do I love olive oil.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carla Crocker - Nutty Wedding Cookies

I know, I know. I'm dessert obsessed. Ever since I bought Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, I just get so excited to bake yummy desserts and knowing they are cruelty free =)

Phillip loves them too. I think it's great he can enjoy a cookie or cupcake and be surprised there is absolutely no cow's milk or eggs in the ingredients.

Before Phillip deployed, we spent a lot of quality time together. He got cutesy one night and offered to bake together. Totally romantic on his side since he does not like to cook or bake, unless it involves a grill. So he was my special little helper while we made these yummy cookies.

I believe these Nutty Wedding Cookies are officially my favorite cookie from this book. They are just soooo good! I definitely recommend these babies.


- 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
- 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground pecans (I put them in a big plastic zip lock bag and crushed them with a rolling pin since I don't own a food processor)


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two medium size baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift the powdered sugar that will be used for coating cookies onto a large plate, set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and shortening until light and creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, nondairy milk, and half the flour and beat until ingredients are moistened.
4. Add the remaining flour and pecans. Beat for 3 to 5 minutes to form a soft and fluffy dough. If the dough appears crumby, don't fret, just keep beating the dough until it becomes moist enough to stick together when pressed into a ball.
5. For each cookie, scoop a generous tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place balls of dough 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.
6. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet for 8 minutes. While the cookies are still warm move 2 to 3 cookies to the dish with sifted sugar. Carefully turn cookies several times to form a thick coating of powdered sugar. Very gently tap off excess sugar and place the cookies on wire racks to finish cooling.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This place is haunted without you.

Well, Phillip is gone now. The deployment crept up faster than I wanted, but then again I wanted him to leave just so he could come home sooner. The sooner he leaves, the sooner he gets back. I'm in a bit of a rut right now. I miss him like crazy, every little thing around me makes me think of him. He truly is my best friend, the love of my life, and I can't imagine life without him.

Missing someone is a part of loving them; If you're never apart, then you'll never know how strong your love really is.

So please, if anyone even reads this blog, think of my husband and all the men that are out there in Afghanistan with him. Even if you don't believe in what they do, because I don't even know if I do. I just know I support my husband and I am with him every step of the way.

The only positive side to any of this is that I will take the year ahead of me and concentrate on myself. I got an email back from Mercy For Animals, so hopefully something good will come of that!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm home!!!

Actually, I've been home since last week. I've just been trying to adjust back to normal life! The cruise was amazing; definitely an amazing experience. We not only had an amazing, relaxing time, but we learned so much about all the countries we visited....both good and bad.

If I had to write a blog about my entire cruise, I'd be here a while. So I will break it down and try to do my best.

We first arrived in Athens, Greece on the 19th. We got there around 5pm, then immediately went out to dinner to an underground Greek tavern. That was definitely so much fun! Great food and great entertainment! And when I say great food I mean it. They had plenty of great options for me. I had this amazing bean salad that I had to ask for seconds. They had a lot of white pasta, but I knew I would be eating a lot of that on this trip. The entertainment we had that night consisted of very energetic Greek dancers and singers! They really were awesome. After that night, Phil and I could not stop screaming "OPA!" out of random.

Me in Athens at the port called Mikrolimano

OPA! Greek Dancers!

Yummy food at the Greek Tavern

We boarded our cruise that Friday. We were so excited to finally be heading out on our amazing adventure. The food options on the cruise are a different story then what I experienced off the cruise. There was definitely a lot pasta, a lot of cheese, and a lot of meat. There were a good amount of vegetarian options, but for me it was a little different. I never went hungry, but I did go feeling very blah a few days because of the amount of white pasta and white rice I consumed. After 4 days I was completely sick of pasta and tomato sauce that I would have rather just ate a huge salad! So that was pretty sad. At the end of the cruise, we had a questionnaire to fill out and at the bottom there was a space for comments, and I wrote "Please consider more dairy free options and whole grains". I feel good about that :)

So that was the down side, but they did have some good food! For breakfast I ate slices of grapefruit, melons, and wheat bread. Lunch consisted of a huge salad with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lots of random veggies, and the dressing of the day followed by some beans if they were available or whatever pasta they had available without cheese. Sometimes I would add some rice in there as well. Dinner was always different but my favorite dinner I had on the cruise was their tomato and white bean soup. It was so good that when I got home I searched the internet to see if I could find a recipe just like it. I'm still on the hunt but it won't be long. It was such a simple yet delicious soup. One time for dinner I had zucchini balls followed by stuffed tomatoes. It was so good!

Me by the Parthenon

Now I am not one to lie. I did not follow my vegan diet 100%. I would say I did a good 80% the entire time. Sometimes I did eat things knowing it was probably buttered or it might have had an egg in it. But honestly there was no room to ask for it made specially for me when it came to buffets. One time I ordered just spaghetti with tomato sauce because that was my only option, and the waiter brought it out with tons of parmesan cheese on top. The menu did not say it came with cheese so I didn't think to ask for it without. I was not about to make him take back my food because of it though, so I did the best I could to scrape off most of the cheese, but I do know I obviously consumed some. In all honesty, I don't feel horribly guilty because I know I did the best I could. I really am proud of myself for coming home and not even thinking about "well I had cheese on the ship maybe I can have a little more here..." Nope! I came home right back to my routine. I do have a little gas though so I think I'm detoxing all over...TMI I know haha!

Well enough about food, on to the fun stuff! Our first stop after Greece was Istanbul, Turkey. It rained a lot that day so that was a bummer, but we still got to see everything we wanted to see, including the famous Blue Mosque where we had to remove our shoes when entering and carry them around. Fun times. And of course we checked out the bazaar and even did a little haggling!

Istanbul, by the famous Blue Mosque

Istanbul, Turkey

Second stop was an Island of Greece called Mykonos. There we explored the island and visited the island next door called Delos. Delos is now deserted but full of Ancient Greek history. It is said to be the birthplace of the Sun God Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Here I got extremely sun burned. Delos is said to be the most sunniest Island, because you can't find shade unless you hide behind a pillar!

Mykonos, Greece

Delos, Greece

Third stop was Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Israel. Here we saw all the famous religious sites, both Jewish and Christian. I'm not religious, but it was great to learn about their religion and what they believe in. We saw 2,000 year old olive trees and I thought that was pretty neat.

Bethlehem, Israel

Jerusalem, by the 2,000 year old Olive Trees

Jerusalem, Israel

Fourth stop was Cairo, Egypt. My favorite! Even though the country itself isn't doing great, and even though the people are very money hungry and will do anything to get your money, I still enjoyed the amazing pyramids. Phil and I got to see mummies to in one of the museums. Amazing experience!

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Final stop was the Island of Crete, Greece. Here we visited a local Olive Oil Farm. It was too awesome. These people are 100% organic and even grow their own olives, eggplants, tomatoes, ect ect! We learned how olive oil was made and got to try yummy samples of everything they offered. I bought a big thing of olive oil to take home. It really was delicious, and I absolutely love olive oil.

Crete, Greece

Yummy samples

So now I'm back home, all unpacked and back to normal life. I'm sure I will get back into blogging very soon :)