Author: Kristen

Day 17 – Traditional Local Dish

I immediately thought of crab cakes for this challenge (although I did read the Wikipedia page on Baltimore cuisine where I learned about the chicken box. Maybe Gardein can make a veganize version of that for Maryland). I found this recipe by Ayinde Howell for Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes on One Green Planet. There’s a lot of Old Bay seasoning in this recipe so it’s on the salty side, but the texture and flavor was really good. I will definitely make it again.

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Day 15 – Obama is your Dinner Guest

President Obama and I go way back. We used to work out in the same gym in Chicago. It wasn’t unusual to see Secret Service agents roaming the halls of our apartment building, but one morning I got to see Obama, too. The agents and bomb-sniffing dogs did a sweep so I know Obama is on his way. This is when I had a two and a half hour commute and I had to catch an early enough bus or else I’d miss my train that ran every two hours. I was anxious for him to get there before I had to leave. The main entrance to the gym was to my right so I glanced that direction every so often. I was not aware that there was a back entrance to the gym, which of course is what he used. When I turned my head to the left to wipe the sweat off my forehead, Obama was right there. I was so surprised that I just turned around and kept going with my workout. Meanwhile, everyone else is politely nodding and saying “good morning.” 

Sorry, Obama! Come over for teriyaki stir fry and I’ll make it up to you!
This is a pretty good dish for a non-vegan. It’s loaded with familiar veggies but it has a little tofu if they want to step outside their comfort zone. Plus, who doesn’t love teriyaki sauce? 

Day 13  – Kitchen Tour

I’ve been looking at all the awesome vegan kitchens on Instagram, so I’m here to add my very suburban vegan kitchen. I love my new kitchen. It’s so bright and sunny. As much as I miss our old loft, the kitchen was so dark. I had to take food to the living room to get a decent photo. 

Things I love about my kitchen:

  • an island – my first kitchen island!
  • the wide refrigerator – it’s probably not any bigger than a standard fridge because it’s not very deep, but it’s easier to find things in there
  • five gas burners
  • two ovens
  • cabinet storage
  • a huge pantry- the previous owners, an elderly couple, built the house and added an elevator shaft with the potential for installing an elevator when they couldn’t handle stairs. So right now there are three big closets on the first floor, second floor and basement. We made the first floor closet a pantry. It’s a work in progress, so no pictures yet. 

What I do not like: the color of the cabinets. 

Favorite kitchen appliances: KitchenAid mixer and Vitamix. Both worth every penny. 


We just hung up our first photos last night. We have a lot of decorating left to do, but here is the artwork I bought for the kitchen. It came from a cute little gallery downtown.  

The artist is Molly Sim. 

Day 3- Quick. Fast. Delicious. 

Gone are the days when I spent four hours in the kitchen recreating a Top Chef recipe. I spend nap time making dinner, so I still have some time to spend on cooking. But lunches have to be fast – either leftovers or something that I can do while trying to keep H & E from killing themselves or each other. It usually involves tofu. H & E love tofu. This has proven to be my most valuable kitchen tool:

The Tofu Xpress drains tofu quickly and without 50 paper towels. 

My favorite tofu recipes are the basic baked tofu from Appetite for Reduction, the Italian and Asian tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance and a stir fried or baked tofu with the tahini sauce from Isa Does It. That tahini sauce is amazing and H would eat it with a spoon if I let him. But sometimes even these simple recipes have too many ingredients. And that’s when I make tofu with Bragg’s liquid Aminos. After draining your firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry in a wok with a little oil until lightly browned. Sprinkle with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. So easy and yummy. 


Same Vegan, Different Suburb

Hello! I have moved from the land of milk and dairy to a suburban vegan oasis. 

Just kidding. I still live in the real world where people needlessly murder innocent animals for food. However, there are a few more vegan options here. It’s a step in the right direction. 

We moved back to the east coast, I quit my job and now I have lots of time to blog in between chasing two toddlers around the house (ha!) After a brief stay in Northern Virginia, we bought a house and moved to Maryland last month. We have most of our boxes unpacked, no pictures hung and several empty rooms. I joined a gym, the local mothers of multiples group and the local library. We’re settling in and finding fun things to do and vegan things to eat. 

It’s Vegan MoFo again. I missed the deadline this year, but that’s probably for the best. I’m not sure if I even posted twice last year. I will try to participate even if I’m not on the official blog roll. But no promises. 

The challenge for day 2 was to recreate something from your childhood. 

I have never actually been to the fast food chain, but I remember drinking homemade versions as a child. It was pretty much how I remember it. H and E enjoyed it, but with all that sugar, it won’t be a regular addition to their diet. 

Vegan Orange Julius

  • 6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes 

Blend everything together and drink. 

The Other Munch

Two restaurants named Munch in one month.

Wednesday was my birthday and I had a big day planned. I squeezed in a short treadmill run before heading over to Akasha Yoga in Crystal Lake for a massage with Jessica at Wild Roots Yoga & Bodyworks. The hour long Thai yoga massage was just what my tight hips needed. After the massage, I headed down to Oak Park to grab lunch and do some shopping. The vegetarian (mostly vegan, but some dairy cheese is offered) restaurant Munch is much better than the Woodstock restaurant of the same name. This was my second time to Munch and the food is decent. It’s no Chicago Diner or Native Foods, but they don’t try to serve you kalamata olives with Thai dressing. I ordered the “Beefy” Tostada Plate with vegan cheese. The “chorizo” seitan was tasty. The salsa was the wrong texture for me – too chunky, but it was fine without the salsa.


The best thing about Vegetarian Munch is that it serves Temptation ice cream, which means milkshakes! I got the cookie dough shake to go and headed over to Amour de la Terre.


Amour de la Terre is Chicago’s new vegan shoe store. They had a bunch of great brands, including a new one I had not heard of, Coral 8. Unfortunately, Coral 8’s shoes run a tad big, which is a problem when you wear a size 6, the smallest size they make. I had to say no to these beautiful driving moccasins but I did get some sparkly pumps, which at least have a t-strap to secure them.

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The shoes are not only vegan, but eco-friendly, too. No cheap plastic shoes a la Payless here. The owners are super nice and I am so happy that Chicago has something like this.

They also have a small selection of kids shoes. E and Little H have gone 11 months without wearing shoes, but Little H is almost walking and winter is coming, so it’s time to buy them some shoes. However, the one time I did buy them shoes, they were too small, so the twins need to be with me to try some on. Of course, that means another trip to Oak Park for more milkshakes and shoe shopping!

Chicago Veggie Fest

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken the twins out by myself. It’s hard to coordinate feedings and pumping and naps. Plus there is no telling whether they’ll be fussy or happy. I took the risk last month to go down to Naperville for Veggie Fest. I left at morning nap time so they slept almost the whole way there. With the exception of a few fusses, they were good at the festival. There was a nursing tent so that made feeding and diaper changes easy. We played on the playground, walked around the booths, tried some Indian food (they weren’t so sure about that), listened to some music and tried to go to a talk on healthy eating for kids. We left around their afternoon nap. It was about as perfect as it could be.

I started off with a green smoothie.


So Delicious was handing out free ice cream sandwiches. They also gave me some creamer to try.


E in her bonnet. People can tell she’s a girl now (I used to get “two boys?” all. the. time). But one woman did ask whether I had two twin boys. No, the one in the floral bonnet is a girl.


Lunch: Masala Dosa with Sambar


More Indian snacks: Chole Bhatura


Eating some English muffins in the stroller


Enjoying the park


I picked up the new book from Matt Frazier (of No Meat Athlete) and got a sticker, too.

No Meat Athlete

Take out from Chinese Palace: Sweet & Sour chick’n with noodles for dinner



It’s that time again! The Vegan Month of Food.

I don’t have a theme this year; I’m just trying to use Vegan MoFo to get my vegan blog mojo back. I’ll start of with a restaurant review.

Woodstock’s classic sushi/miniature golf combination ended this summer. Golden Rolls is moving to the former location of the world’s second worst restaurant, Vaughan’s Broasted Chicken. Major renovations had to be done, including removing some hideous wood siding to reveal a brick exterior! No wonder Vaughan’s closed; it had bad taste all around. There aren’t many restaurants that serve chips and guacamole along side AAC rolls and tofu steak, so I hope Golden Rolls opens soon.

A new restaurant opened up next to mini golf, Munch. We ordered take out from there. It’s still overwhelming to take two babies to a restaurant, but H said it looked baby-friendly. H called in an order; he checked the ingredients of a couple menu options that sounded vegan. However, I forgot to ask if they put butter on their hummus sandwich (?!?). Rookie mistake. Fortunately, I had some ciabatta buns in the freezer, so I transferred the “generous” schmear of hummus (the chef & I have different definitions of generous), lettuce, tomato & avocado to the ciabatta bun.


I also got the hot ma-me salad, which was supposed to be served with edamame. The kitchen was out of edamame, so they subbed kalamata olives. I love kalamata olives, but they didn’t go well with spicy Thai peanut vinaigrette. The dressing was delicious with the other salad veggies and it would have been great to have the protein from edamame. H said the chef was very apologetic.


Munch has potential; we’ll definitely go back again and hopefully they’ll have edamame.

We ate dinner at the kitchen counter while the twins played; our new normal “restaurant” experience.


Four Years

Four years ago I finally made the decision to go vegan. After being vegetarian for 13 years and toying with the idea of being vegan for three years, I finally took the plunge in August of 2010. It has been one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve met some great people and eaten some delicious food over the past four years. And now I get to share that experience with two amazing people: E and Little H. 20140209-112103.jpg

E and Little H were born last October. We got off to a rough start with E spending almost 6 weeks in the NICU, but she was able to come home for Thanksgiving and has been doing great ever since. After many sleepless nights over the past nine months, I feel like we have somewhat of a routine now.

E and Little H have a great nanny, which has allowed me to go back to work part time, cook, train for a marathon, and occasionally take a nap. I’ve filled the blogging void with Instagram (follow me here), but I hope to get back into blogging at least once or twice a week now.

Besides baby smiles and laughs, the highlights of the last few months include:

1. Isa Does It. This cookbook is amazing. Most recipes are pretty quick, so it’s great for a week night. Everything we’ve tried has been delicious.

2. Getting back into running – the Woodstock Challenge 5K.


3. A family trip to Wisconsin and a meeting of the cousins!

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4. A road trip to Nashville to celebrate the marriage of my best friend from high school.

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(The Wild Cow)

(Khan’s Desserts)

5. A 24-hour trip to New Orleans for a bachelorette party


6. Cookies – for Christmas, Chinese New Year, the Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, and St. Patrick’s Day

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Ramen, the cheap college food staple, has become the newest food trend. Apparently people stand in line for hours to eat burgers with a bun made out of ramen noodles. At H’s request, I veganized the ramen burger.

You can use whatever burger recipe you want. I tried to do something with Asian flavors and threw in the ramen spice packets. For the bun, I cooked two packages of ramen (drained and rinsed) and combined with about 1/3 cup of Vegg. I formed 4 patties by using mason jar lids covered in tin foil and refrigerated them while I made the burgers. I topped the burgers off with bok choy and a spicy ketchup. It was good, but I wouldn’t stand in line for hours to get one.

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Whole Foods sells these vegan ramen flavors. Most, if not all, ramen sold in stores by me contains animal products. While it makes decent buns, it also is an easy snack, especially when you’re sick.

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And that concludes a very unsuccessful Suburban Vegan veganmofo. Apparently I overestimated how much I could blog this month. While I’m still not on bed rest, moving around has become more of a challenge. I’m lucky if I’m making one meal per week.