Wow, I can’t believe that tomorrow is December already.  November has flown by, and for that matter, this year.  I can’t even grasp all the wonderful things that have happened to me and my family this year so far.  With December and winter around the corner it is the perfect time to get a little crafty around the house.  I love winter; even though I live in California I still love the cooler temps and the warm aura the season give off.




Backtracking a little bit, my thanksgiving was so wonderful.  My husband’s parents and my parents, loved their first vegetarian thanksgiving.  They were surprised by how many stereotypical thanksgiving dishes are easily vegetarian.  Needless to say, my menu was a big hit and everyone left with full stomachs.

I didn’t partake in the crazy Black Friday shopping nonsense.  I don’t know how people can do it; I hate going into stores when you can barely walk and have to fight to get something.  Although I didn’t go, one of my friends is a crazy shopper and braved the crowds…when I say she’s crazy I mean she’s crazy for waiting in a line for hours to get a few good deals.  I had her pick up a few things on Hannah and Liam’s Christmas list while she was out.  Now I have to get serious about getting gifts for the rest of the family.

I feel like I just got everything put away from thanksgiving and brought out the Christmas decorations.   I usually try to wait until December 1st but it’s so hard and I figured one day away isn’t that bad… :)  There is something about Christmas decorations that make you feel so warm and want to have a hot chocolate.  I was feeling crafty today and made a little wine bottle vases.  They are super easy to make- paint the wine bottle with two coats of primer, then two coats of your desired color; I chose gold, then spray with tacky spray (glue), and shake lose glister onto the bottle. They turned out great.  I am going to put some twigs with berries in them!





It is such a wonderful time of the year.  Although I am sad to see pumpkin flavored everything go, I am excited for all the peppermint and cranberry flavors.  :)

Happy almost December friends!

Julie

Tomorrow is December?!

by on 11/30/2014
Wow, I can’t believe that tomorrow is December already.  November has flown by, and for that matter, this year.  I can’t even grasp all the...
It’s almost thanksgiving!  I can’t wait to spend hours in the kitchen making a wonderful meal for my family…and that’s not sarcastic at all, I really can’t wait. :) I love to cook and bake, and thanksgiving gives me an excuse to go overboard in the kitchen.  This year we are having my family and my husband’s family over for thanksgiving dinner.  We have discussed with both of our families and decided we are going to have an entirely vegetarian thanksgiving.  It is going to be our parents first meatless Thanksgiving; I can’t wait to blow them away with the delicious food.

 Eating a meatless dinner on thanksgiving opens up a world of recipes possibilities!  My first thanksgiving without meat was a little strange.  I wanted to imitate all the classic thanksgiving dishes so I roasted some tofurkey and ate my fair share of mash potatoes to fill up.  But my second thanksgiving was completely different.  I had learned new vegetarian recipes throughout the year and was ready to create my own thanksgiving dinner.  There are so many great seasonal vegetables during the fall it makes it really easy to cook a yummy dinner.

As the years flew by I kept getting more creative with my thanksgiving dinner menu.  We typically go to my husband’s parents to celebrate and I bring a few of my favorite vegetarian thanksgiving dishes.  I am beyond excited to have both our families over and have some wonderful vegetarian food. 
I have begun making the menu and am super excited about it.  I still need a few more options but here’s what I have so far…DISCLAIMER these are recipes from the internet, I haven’t decided how I am going to spice them up and make them my own yet so ideas are welcome. :)

•    Butternut Squash Baked Risotto



•    Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy



•    Green Bean Casserole with Red Curry and Peanuts



•    Sweet Potato and Edamame Shepherd’s Pie



•    The thanksgiving favorite, Pumpkin Pie,
•    And obviously mash potatoes, cranberry chutney, and some roasted corn and carrots.

I love thanksgiving and all the rich and flavorful foods! I can’t wait to start cooking! In the meantime I think I am going make my family’s favorite, pumpkin cranberry cinnamon rolls to get my cooking bug out of me today.

Happy thanksgiving cooking!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

A Meatless Thanksgiving

by on 11/24/2014
It’s almost thanksgiving!  I can’t wait to spend hours in the kitchen making a wonderful meal for my family…and that’s not sarcastic at all...
Before I decided to start posting my thoughts and ideas for the world to see, I was a big fan of many blogs that were labeled “Top Mommy Blogs.”

“Top Mommy Blogs” ranks and rates the best mommy blogs based on reader’s votes.
When I took a leap of faith and published my blog, I knew that I wanted to be labeled as “Top Mommy Blog.”  Reading those blogs were what ultimately what inspired me to start my own.  I wanted connect with other vegetarian mommy’s living an environmentally conscious and green life.

A few days ago, I couldn't contain my excitement when I got the message saying I qualify to be a “Top Mommy Blog!”  My blog now features a “Top Mommy Blog” badge at the bottom of each post and on the side panel.  If you click on the badge you are voting for me and allowing me to reach out to more mommies like us and helping my raking on the “Top Mommy Blog” board.

If you like what you read or enjoy following my blog, please click on the “Top Mommy Blog” badge to help me reach out to more moms like us.

 1 click = 1 vote


You guys are the best,

Julie

I'm a Top Mommy blogger!

by on 11/18/2014
Before I decided to start posting my thoughts and ideas for the world to see, I was a big fan of many blogs that were labeled “Top Mommy Bl...
A few days ago my daughter went on a playdate with a new friend from school.  When I went to pick her up I was able to chat with her friend’s mother for a bit.  She told me that she was surprised at lunch when Hannah asked if they had any meatless options.  Now, I haven’t raised my children solely vegetarian but have given them the tools to understand a plant-based diet and a meat-based one.  I wanted them to make their own decisions.  It made me proud that Hannah asked for a vegetarian option and didn’t want to eat a hot dog or a sloppy Joe.

Hannah’s friend’s mother seemed offended that I raised my children knowing both options.  She was convinced that a vegetarian diet isn’t good for growing children and that they need meat to grow and be strong. 

After I got home I did some thinking; if people really do believe that a vegetarian diet isn’t healthy, do they know where their meat comes from?  I was taken back after the situation and saddened at the misconception.

Common misconceptions of vegetarianism frighten people and discourage them from trying it.  Understanding the true facts of a vegetarian lifestyle can change your mind and encourage a healthy change.  After everything that happened I want to debunk a few misconceptions that I believe are popular, and set the story straight.

1.    You don’t get enough protein as a vegetarian- Most people believe that meat = protein and you can’t have one without the other.  That is the farthest thing from true.  Beans, grains, nuts, and green veggies, and dairy provide plenty of protein for a vegetarian diet.  There are also protein supplements you can take if you are concerned about it.






2.    Vegetarians eat like rabbits- What’s wrong with eating like a rabbit?  They are pretty healthy aren’t they?  Although vegetarians don’t eat meat doesn’t mean they exclusively eat lettuce and carrots.  There are so many options and delicious recipes that are very filling and rich.


3.    Being a vegetarian will make you healthy and lose weight- Although vegetarians are generally thinner, you can be an unhealthy vegetarian as well.  Replacing meat with carbs like pasta and breads, lack nutritional value and hinder your body from getting proper nutrients.  You can be an unhealthy carnivore and an unhealthy vegetarian.  Vegetarians come in all shapes and sizes.

4.    Vegetarian food is expensive- Pasta, rice, tofu, beans, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are much cheaper than meat.  Some meat replacements and non-seasonal fruits and vegetables can be expensive but not nearly as expensive as meat.

5.    You’ll always be hungry- I can’t remember the last time after a meal that I was still hungry; it is usually the opposite.  The main digestible part of a pant is fiber.  Fiber keeps you full, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and full of energy.  If I do get hungry, a handful of nuts usually does the job; packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats.



I hope these debunked myths help people change their ideas of vegetarianism and do a little more research.  If you think I missed any, please share!  The more information, the more people will understand.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Vegetarian Myths Debunked

by on 11/17/2014
A few days ago my daughter went on a playdate with a new friend from school.  When I went to pick her up I was able to chat with her friend...
Recently, I have been all about movements and initiatives for a healthy lifestyle.  I came across one on the internet yesterday while finding kid friendly recipes called The Kids Cook Monday.  It is a pretty simple initiative that encourages families to set aside the first night of every week for cooking and eating together.  It is very important to me that my family sits down for dinner and reconnects after our days apart.  Some dinners can be hard because of the restaurant but I always make sure I am home several days during the week. 



So now, not only is my family participating in Meatless Monday, but always The Kids Cook Monday.  This will be a great way to get my children into cooking healthy vegetarian meals that they enjoy.  My kids love helping out in the kitchen, when I am cooking and baking so this will give them something to look forward to every week. 

I believe that teaching young children to cook is an essential life skill they need to learn.  The joy I see on my kid’s faces when they are stirring something together or cracking an egg is priceless.  Although those helping out often turns into a kitchen mess, it is so worth it.  Cooking enforces portion sizes while they are learning about the vitamins and nutrients in the ingredients.  It also strengthens math skills, teamwork, and following instructions.  My daughter is beginning to learn about fractions in school so cooking is a subtle way to have her practice. 



Yesterday the kids had their mind made up on making a pizza…their favorite.  I like to add a subtle twist to the pizza by using a cauliflower crust.  My kids have no idea and absolutely love it, I highly recommend trying it! Here is the recipe I used to make the cauliflower crust before the kids got home.

Ingredients-
•    ½ head of cauliflower
•    1 clove of garlic, minced
•    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
•    1 egg, beaten
•    1 tsp. basil
•    1 tsp. oregano

Instructions-
•    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a cookie sheet or pizza stone with oil.
•    Remove the stems and leaves from your cauliflower, chop it into chunks, place into food processor and pulse just the texture is similar to rice.
•    Sauté the cauliflower “rice” over medium heat until it is translucent, about 6-8 mins. 
•    In a large bowl combine the cauliflower “rice” with garlic, cheese, egg, basil, and oregano and mix thoroughly.
•    Spread the dough evenly on the greased cookie sheet or stone about 1/3 inch thick.
•    Bake for 25-30 mins until the crust is golden

When the kids got home, they spread the pizza sauce, added the cheese, and their personal favorite vegetables; green peppers, tomato chunks, carrots, olives, and mushrooms (precooked).  And then we baked our special pizza for about 5-10 min until the cheese was melted.




It was a great kid’s cook Monday and Meatless Monday in my book.  The kids had a great time making the pizza and liked eating it even better.  I think it is important to put time aside every day to connect as a family.  Our family dinners are always filled with laughter and good conversation.  A family that cooks together and eats together is a happy family.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie :)

The Kids Cook Monday

by on 11/11/2014
Recently, I have been all about movements and initiatives for a healthy lifestyle.  I came across one on the internet yesterday while findi...
Today I was watching some entertainment news and was shocked to hear how much they were talking about celebrities going vegetarian and how many are vegetarian.  I guess I just haven’t kept up with these young celebrities, but man, was I excited to hear how passionate they were.  They were interviewing PETA activist Anne Hathaway about why she became vegetarian and how it has affected her life. 

Listening to this made me want to make a list of my favorite famous vegetarians.  There are so many famous vegetarians that I love so I will keep it to my top 5 so I don’t bore you. 

1.    Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential people in the world and continues to be even after his death. 

"...We should all be Vegetarians…Muscular Vegetarians demonstrate the superiority of their diet by pointing out that the peasantry of the world are practically Vegetarians, and that the strongest and most useful animal, the horse, is a Vegetarian, while the most ferocious and practically useless animal, the lion, is a carnivore..." -1896

2.    The great physicist, Albert Einstein was  a devoted vegetarian and one of the greatest minds of all time.
“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”



3.    One of the strongest women was vegetarian, Rosa Parks.  She not only was a civil rights activist credited with started the US civil rights movement, she received the US Medal of Freedom in 1996.
"For over forty years, I've been vegetarian. Growing up, my family had little money—I had health problems early in life because of poor nutrition. Eating healthy is a priority for me." -2004



4.    Leonardo da Vinci is one of my favorite artists of all time.  His work is timeless and captivating.  It is speculated and widely believed that Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian; in my book he is.
"…The mere idea of permitting the existence of unnecessary suffering, still more that of taking life, was abhorrent to [Da Vinci]. Vasari tells, as an instance of his love of animals, how when in Florence he passed places where birds were sold he would frequently take them from their cages with his own hand, and having paid the sellers the price that was asked would let them fly away in the air, thus giving them back their liberty." –Edward MacCurdy, The Mind of Leonardo da Vinci, 1928



5.    My favorite modern day vegetarian is Ellen DeGeneres.  I believe that she is a very influential celebrity voice of this time.  She voices her opinion and always stresses to be kind to one another. 


“I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings.  And I just couldn’t disconnect myself from it any longer.  I read books like ‘Diet for a New America’ and saw documentaries like ´Earthlings’ and ‘Meet your Meat’, and it became an easy choice for me”

Who are your favorite famous vegetarians?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie