Being Thankful

Yay, a truly food-related holiday is upon us! OK, all holidays revolve around it, but I am BEYOND excited for my very-foodie Thanksgiving this year. Pics to come later, friends!

For now, I want to leave you with some inspirational articles about alternative ways to do Thanksgiving, and a reminder:

When giving out praise this Thursday, make sure to thank all your friends and family for preparing the food and sharing it and the holiday with you, but please also consider thanking the people who grew, processed, shipped, and sold the food that you were able to cook this holiday and all year-long. And, as a vegetarian side note, please consider and thank all the animals who sacrificed their lives for you to enjoy.

I would like to give a special shout out to all the under-appreciated farmers out there who provide me with fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, and even that processed stuff that has to come from somewhere and someone. And also, thank you to cows, goats, and hens that occasionally provide me with cheese and eggs. I am sorry for your suffering, and I am trying not to contribute to it any longer. Sorry for the semi-rant, but hey, it’s my blog…

And finally, thank you for reading.

Happy Thanks-Veg-Giving! 

Source

Veg-Links:

A Thanksgiving Feast, No Turkeys Allowed

Gluten-free, Vegan Thanksgiving

4 Tips for the Perfect Vegan Thanksgiving

Thankful Turkeys

Vegan Thanksgiving Done Deliciously

Random Happiness

1. Sunday’s very good sports day in Detroit. Lions and Tigers and Red Wings, oh my!

2. Carbo-loading in the ethnic aisle at the grocery store:

3.  FREE chocolate covered strawberries & apples:

4. Random occurrences of Heinz Ketchup animal art:

5. The Food & Drink Issue of the New York Times. Yay!

Hope you’re having a good week so far…be back soon 🙂

Royal Bunny

King Baby Bunny graced my office this week.
No, he did not come in with a crown on his head, but he earned it.
No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

That is all.

She’s (Not So) Crafty

I wish I could say I am creative. I’ve had crafty bouts here and there with scrapbooking, but I never picked up drawing, painting, knitting or crocheting, or even sewing.

I prefer giving my opinions and telling people what to do, hence the many product/book/restaurant reviews! When it comes to crafts, I need someone to tell me what to do and show me how. And then they need to be very patient and fix all my screw ups…because that will inevitably happen. And it will shatter my ego. And then I’ll quit the whole damn thing… 🙂

So, to avoid that whole mess, I much prefer to support other crafty people. Enter the I Made It! Market. These local craft markets pop up all over Pgh to fulfill all your creative purchasing desires. A couple weeks ago, I toured the I (re)Made It! vendors during GA/GI, and last weekend I shelled out some cash at I Made It! Memorable at a local high school.

Planet Soap

A very crafty high schooler making flowers out of duct tape!

Duct Tape flowers. Amazing! I bought a flower headband, of course.

It's the Cracker Barrel Game (triangle with pegs)! I bought one for the puzzle-loving Hubs

My fave - Jilsy

Reasonably priced and adorable bags. yay!!

I am happy to support other creative people (Planet Soap, BandyWoodworks, Jilsy, etc.) so they can further their business/hobby and grow their ideas. Hey, we’re not all meant to be crafty… 🙂

If you like what you see here (and are in/near Pgh), you should totally check out Handmade Arcade this weekend. These pics are just a taste of the over 100 vendors that will be downtown on Saturday! I am so sad I won’t be around for this giant craft fair, but I suppose my wallet will be happy…

P.S. Keep entering my Happy Herbivore Cookbook giveaway! Contest ends at 11:59pm tonight! Winner will be announced tomorrow.

Film Buff

I totally knew this was coming. Dark Knight Rises will be filming in my new hometown this summer! Who wants to stalk Christian Bale with me?

On another movie related note, Perks of Being a Wallflower is being turned into a motion picture and will also shoot in Pgh. I was an extra in a film shot in Detroit a couple years ago…Perhaps it’s my time to shine in Pittsburgh?!

🙂 Happy Hump Day!

Brunch with Friends

This past weekend, I filled my social calendar with friendly gatherings. It certainly helped that I was staying in the city (ahh, house-sitting) and was near all the action.

Saturday started with a lovely 3-ish mile walk/jog around Squirrel Hill, with a Starbucks stop in the mix. Gotta have some liquids, right? 🙂 Then came brunch!…gluten free pancakes and fruit salad with (gluten intolerant) friend Amy and then some shopping around the ‘Burgh for a groovy inspired ensemble at Goodwill and Avalon Exchange.

Saturday brunch-o

Dinner was spent with Hubs – he came to visit! We dined at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery at the Waterfront. Who knew there’d be an hour and a half wait for a table at 8:30pm?! We decided to sit in the farthest corner of the bar (directly below a dart board) so we didn’t have to wait as long to chomp on tasty burgers.

Writing on the darts scoreboard...

Mmm handcrafted veggie burger with broc!

Sunday morning started with a quick work thing (blech), but then it was quickly redeemed by brunch with my friend/coworker Stephanie. We had both been wanting to try Square Cafe, this colorful, cute breakfast and lunch diner in Regent Square. I’m really glad we went because the atmosphere was hip, the food was super tasty (and easily recognizable as veg/vegan with menu icons), and they featured artwork from Budapest :-).

Steph! With mug o' coffee, veggie omelet & hash

Peanut butter pancake topped with bananas, choc.chips & real whip, leeks & goat cheese egg beaters, hash AND unpictured rye toast!

Hungarian art

We had a serious meal! I just finished the leftovers…

Sunday afternoon was baby time! I visited my friend Amy and got to watch a beatiful newborn do what they do best – eat, sleep and poop 🙂
Then I got yelled at by Jillian Michaels (read: workout) and relaxed with a good book. Ahhh the weekend! I’m ready for more!

Cuddle with Kitty Cat

It’s the middle of the week…time to cozy up with your furry pet!

In case you didn’t know, I have a cute cat. Her name is Lucy.

peek a boo!

You’ve probably heard or read it before, but pets are great companions in life. They help reduce stress, can make you more active and social, and are all around fun to love. Doesn’t it feel great to get unconditional love from a pet and know that you get to take care of them and make them happy as well?

My favorite part of the morning (besides eating :-)) is cuddling up with Lucy while I brush my teeth. She loves to nibble on the end of my toothbrush. I get clean teeth and fresh breath, she gets a chew toy 🙂

OK, I know I’m souding cheesy here, but I didn’t have a real pet until I was 16 when we got a family cat that was really my brother’s. Now Hubs and I get to share our catdaughter and treat her like our baby until we’re ready to have a real one of those. That won’t be for a long time, so this is good practice! 

I will also get some practice with dogs over the next couple weeks since I’ll be house sitting for a friend and her cute doggie, Nora. What an adventure it shall be! Now I’ll have to clean up fresh poop vs. the oh-so-easy litter box 😦

P.S. Check out this great cat poster from The Oatmeal – “17 Things to Know About Your Cat

Crafty Wednesday

What better way to start off What I Like Wednesdays than with FREE FOOD?! It was Bruegger’s Bagels birthday yesterday, so a co-worker and I grabbed THREE free bagels to munch on for the rest of the week. Well, Hubs will probably take them all…he LOVES bagels! 🙂

OK, moving on…Today on What I Like Wednesday: Part V, it’s all about crafts! I’m not going to get Martha Stewart crafty on ya, but I do enjoy a creative art every now and again.

My all-time favorite crafty activity is scrapbooking. The pictures, the stickers, the patterned paper, oh my! A girl (or guy) can get very inspired! I love documenting my travels and life milestones with a good scrapbook. I incorporate pictures and unique (flat) items I’ve collected along the way- hotel keys, restaurant menus, even coins. They can bring the visual story to life. I’m still working on scrapbooking my 5 months spent in Europe…that’s going to take awhile!

My new favorite craft is crocheting (cro-shay-ing, not crotch-ett-ing!). I just learned how to crochet from some crafty co-workers at my first “Purl-n-Hurl” party. How cute are we?!

 

My practice crochet

Balls of yarn, not to be confused with skeins.

This comes about a month after I FINALLY learned how to sew…I’m behind the times, my friends.

Now that I’m a master crocheter, I would also love to get into using oil pastels or painting. Since I’m not the most creative person, I need to just set the tools in front of me and GO! It’s worth a try.

What’s your favorite crafty activity?

What I Like Wednesday: IV

Another hump day…another “What I Like Wednesday!” Today’s feature is: Sporty Cities. I feel very lucky to have grown up in a city with all four of the major sports leagues present: Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions (in preferential order). I don’t know if I can really count the Lions as a sports team….but they do have a beautiful newer stadium!

That’s one of the things I like most about cities with major sports teams- the venues they play at draw crowds and bring life into the city (especially when used as concert venues). They also bring in plenty of revenue from ticket and concession sales and keep A LOT of people working. In the past 10 years, Detroit built Comerica Park and Ford Field (right next to each other), and my new home city built Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers) and, most recently, Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh Penguins), which just opened up for this year’s hockey season.

Comerica Park and beautiful Detroit skyline view

Crowds at Ford Field

 

Inside view of Heinz Field, plus the river and downtown Pgh skyline

Mock up of the new Consol Energy Center

Just think how much worse off Detroit might look to the outside world if it wasn’t for these modern and aesthetically pleasing venues, the successful teams, the passionate (and sometimes rowdy) sports fan, and the city life abuzzing.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that I’m not a huge sports fan, but I like what major sports team can provide for the community- camraderie, hobbies, city life, etc. I am a very competitive person, however, and I will always protect and be loyal to my Detroit Red Wings!

And in the spirit of getting familiar with my new surroudings, I will be hosting my first ever Superbowl party! I am, after all, a Pittsburgher now, and “my” team is in the Superbowl! How very fitting that this happens right after we move…well, I guess it has happened successfully six times before…

The Terrible Towel makes an appearance! Will the Steelers get to seven Super Bowl wins?!

Go Steelers!
Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon with less sporty and more foodie-related posts soon 🙂

Do you live in a sporty city?

Review: Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Happy Hump Day! Let’s call this a hybrid “What I Like Wednesday” post and book review all in one. See how clever I can be…

When I started reviewing books on my blog, I didn’t think I would be discussing cookbooks. I’m not the type to seek out or buy cookbooks…I usually just look at what needs to be used up in my fridge and try to find a good recipe with that ingredient.
I’ve learned this may not be the best way to go. I’m trying to plan more meals ahead of time to focus my grocery list (read: budget) and not have immediate anxiety about what to whip up and eat in a matter of 30 minutes. I’m really good at planning in general, so it’s time to do it with meals.

Enter The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat Free & Low Fat Vegan Recipes. It hit stands everywhere yesterday, but I received my copy last week. I’m not a vegan and I don’t strictly follow a low fat diet, but I’ve already made plenty of recipes from this book. And they’re all delicious. My favorite part of the recipes is that they’re easy and accessible – simple ingredients and simple preparations. It makes me want to eat low fat and vegan more often.

I also really like the index, so I can look up recipes with certain ingredients and find out what they mean in case I don’t know. She has tips, tools, and all kinds of extras that make this more than just another cookbook. And those pretty pictures!

Here are some things I’ve already tried and loved and maybe a recipe or two:

Veggie, Bean & Quinoa Croquettes (You gotta buy the book to see the recipe!)

Black Bean Brownies (a.k.a. Beanies)
I’ve been making these for awhile now…even Hubs likes ’em! They’re not your typical butter & egg-laden, fudgy brownie, but they’re slightly banana-y, lightly sweetened, and a filling energy booster that you don’t have to feel bad about eating (half a pan worth…)

Photo courtesy of Happy Herbivore

 

Recipe: Black Bean Brownies
Courtesy of the Happy Herbivore

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole bananas (I like mine a little green for this recipe)
  • cup agave nectar (I use pure maple syrup)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (The real stuff- Ghirardelli!)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raw sugar (optional) (I skip- makes it even healthier!)
  • ¼ cup instant oats

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing. Chef’s Note: if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudge-y, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour.

I cut these into twelve rectangles at a meager 86 calories each. Even better is baking them in muffin tins and you’ll have 12 cute round beanies 🙂

Maple Glazed Vegetables
I served these to Hubs and the in-laws for Thanksgiving. They all liked!

Photo courtesy of Happy Herbivore

Recipe: Maple Glazed Vegetables
Courtesy of the Happy Herbivore

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables (I use carrots and turnips or whatever needs using up)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (optional) (I don’t think it needs the extra sweetness)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:

Mix cornstarch into 1 tsp cold water, stirring until dissolved and set aside. Add broth and vegetables to a large frying pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add maple, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, juice, garlic, pepper and agave if using. Cook for five minutes or until vegetables are cooked but still slightly crisp. Add cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. turn the heat to high and wait for the sauce to thicken, but keep a watchful eye! Once the mixture is thick like a glaze, remove from heat. Garnish with sesame seeds.

I’m really looking forward to making some of the super easy bread recipes, too!

P.S. How you likin’ the new blog look? It’s a little more feminine than I, but it’s just the right amount of artsy & pretty 🙂

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