Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lorikeet Madness, Recipes and Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

 Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 

Lorikeet Madness

My first topic is not actually vegan related however it is nature related and this is my blog so I am going for it.
I went to the zoo with my daughter's class trip last Monday. I have mixed feelings about zoos however that is a whole different topic. At the zoo, we went into an area where lorikeets are able to fly around freely. You can purchase a stick with seeds on it for a buck. While we were hanging with the lorikeets, one landed on my shoulder. The kids thought this was pretty cool. I thought it was cool as well until he decided to take a small bite out of my neck! I shooed him away and thought it was a little strange without thinking much else of it. In the evening, I realized the lorikeet must have thought the mole on my neck was a seed. My mole was a little red and swollen. I called the dermatologist and made an appointment. Everyone involved from the receptionist to the nurse practitioner to the dermatologist had a wonderful time discussing my encounter. Apparently, no one has visited their office before due to a bird biting a mole. The dermatologist told me there is a bird disease called Lorikeet Madness that might make me grow feathers and later molt. He gave me the option of keeping an eye on my irritated mole or removing it. I opted to remove it and I am wondering if I did the right thing. I haven't been able to turn my neck when I am driving, let alone yoga. You put so much pressure on your neck and don't even realize it. I am actually getting mobility back now after a week. I am a little concerned about the Warrior Dash next week. I am not sure mud, more mud and beer will be good for my healing bird wound. I will keep you posted on my post op progress.

Recipes from the Smallest Vegan Dinner Party Ever
This past Friday, we had Sheri and Jenn over for dinner and a movie. I was making the food, Jenn was bringing the fire trucks, I mean wine and Sheri baked smores cookies! Jason helped with the food and made a last minute store run as well. We ate Chickpea Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries and my famous salad.
Dinner- the recipe for the burgers was from the 30 Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and the other  two were my own recipes. I am unable to follow a recipe exactly so you can read Colleen's however here is my interpretation.
Colleen's main ingredients are a can of chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of tahini, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon baking powder and lots of spices. Basically you are chopping the chickpeas up and then adding everything else, forming patties and then baking OR cooking on the stove depending on your preference. Once I read a recipe for ratios and general gist, I start to play with it. I didn't veer too far away from her recipe however I added shallots, sesame seeds and oats. I cooked them in the oven until brown and firm on one side and then turned then over.  We served them on a bun with red onion and tomato. They didn't want to stay together however they were pretty tasty and cruelty free.
There are thousands of sweet potato fry recipes however who needs them? I could roast vegetables in my sleep. Just about any vegetable is roasted the same; clean and cut, toss in olive oil, sesame seed and spice mixture (dill, pepper, oregano,etc make sure to change it slightly every time) and cook for 20 - 25 minutes on 350 checking after 15 minutes. There are a few exceptions like beets which need much longer to roast. I like the trial and error approach however you can look up optimal time and temp if you would prefer.
I have been making incredible salads for years thanks to my dad. He encouraged me to try different ingredients and go bigger and bigger every time. My typical salad starts with spinach and then includes most of the following: tomato, onion, apple, avocado, dried cranberries, cold grains, beans, raisins, cabbage, carrot, radish...Ok, you get the picture. I basically add any yummy veggie or plant based food that sounds good and is in my fridge.

Chickpea Burger, Sweet Potato Fries and Super Salad

Elena and Sheri digging in

Wine and Dessert- We had a red and white bottle of  Fire Truck which were consumed heavily. I believe a Cabernet and a Pinot Grigio however I could be wrong. Our dessert was a smore cookie that was incredible and was made as part of Sheri's blog, Rainbows of Vegan Love. Read more about it!!

Benefits the Thierbachs Have Noticed
Per Kelli's suggestion,  I wanted to list a few of the added perks that we noticed have come along with our food choices. The first benefit we noticed was weight loss, effortless weight loss. This makes sense as plant food is lower in calories and provides more nutrients with less food. Jason is ready for a smaller belt and he is wearing clothes he hasn't been able to quite some time. Similarly, there is no more of that full, bloated feeling after dinner. We have more energy as well.
Jason no longer has a problem with rosacea and Elena no longer has eczema. She has dealt with it her whole life! Apparently we will not have to deal with mosquito bites anymore.
Lastly, there is that satisfying feeling that you are living your life without compromising what you believe in even though the majority feels you are extreme, silly or a trendy nature type. The feeling grows stronger with each conversation you hear about a cookout or each commercial you see where a celebrity sports a milk mustache. Knowing that I am, that we are causing the least amount of harm to the animals, the Earth and ourselves has added a sense of calm and deeper unity to our family. We talk about it often and how it has changed our lives. My kid said it best the other night ..."Mom, I can't imagine ever going back to eating animal products". No baby, me neither.

Have a safe, healthful and cool Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recent Reviews and Recipes

I meant to post this weekend and it just didn't happen. Sorry!

Restaurant Review
Adorable appropriate anniversary card for Jason
Jason and I celebrated our anniversary on Saturday. We decided to celebrate with the kid because we had a "date" last weekend and because we were going to The Loving Hut. We knew she would LOVE to give this place a try as everything there  is vegan.  The parking lot is in the back and has only one lane in and out. I think we will park on the street next time. The menu has a ton of options that are available all the time and there were also specials. There is a seating area in the back with two flat screens showing famous vegans and their wisdom, short promos regarding environmental topics and pictures of their other locations including international locations.
Elena had a piece of artwork in Art in the Park on Saturday so we had to celebrate her first art showing as well.

Elena had the kid's veggie nuggets and veggie straws, Jason had an A1 Burger and I had a Buffalo Wrap. We all shared a Spring Roll and later at home, a piece of chocolate cake. Everything was yummy. My only complaint is that I wanted one of everything and had to pick one thing. We will definitely go back. I hear their macaroni and cheese is pretty good according to Sheri.
Elena's nuggets and veggie straws
Jason's A1 Burger

My Buffalo Wrap

Elena in front of Happy (her clown painting)
My anniversary present was 3 books from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, host of the award winning podcast Food For Thought.  I love love love Colleen so this was a super awesome gift. We have a gazillion recipes now in the house and tons of vegan info!

Thanks Jason! Love you

Another Vegan Beer!
I filled my growler with another tasty vegan beer...Flying Dog Atlantic Lager.

Not beer, a few herbs from a neighbor's garden

Where Are the Recipes??
I know I said that I would include a few recipes this post however as you can imagine I have so many to choose from now that I need a little time to decide which ones to pick first. I am going to enjoy a glass of organic wine now. The bottle has a little lady bug on it so it has be good.

A healthful goodnight,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vegan Miscellany

Thanks, Thanks, Thanks for Reading
I am so appreciative that you are reading our blog. I thought only a handful of people would check it out so it is very cool to see lots of viewers in several countries (even if some of the traffic is by mistake). Many people mentioned they are interested in more recipes. I can do that. This weekend, I will list several of our favorite recipes and make sure to include a new one with each post.  While I am thanking, thanks to my husband for my new veggie logo!

Important Stuff...Vegan Beer
Schafly's Raspberry Hefeweizen is not only vegan but also has fresh, pureed raspberries added during the fermentation process (according to their website). The scent is incredible. It is currently available on tap for growler refill at DEP in Fort Thomas. I am enjoying a glass right now. Actually my glass is right back.

Non-Vegan Kids Can Be Cruel
All kids can be cruel however Elena's most recent experience was related to her diet. Emily told everyone that Elena's vegan cheese on her sandwich was real cheese. She also informed the table that there was no such thing as a vegan and that Elena made it up. Lastly, she informed Elena that she no longer wanted to be her friend. Earlier in the year, Emily told Elena the same thing which upset my kid. Today, she proudly retold the story of how she told Emily that is was fine if they were not friends. She explained to me that a friend wouldn't act that way. I love my kid. She is awesome.

Planet Thai in Lexington, Ky
This past weekend, Jason and I were able to go out on a date! Last TVA, I mentioned not knowing where we would consume food on our date. We opted for Planet Thai which was pretty yummy. Our dinners are below. Jason went with the Red Curry Noodles with tofu and I opted for the Planet Thai Noodles with tofu. We both went with a 3 on spicy and DAMN. We had plenty of leftovers and the price was reasonable. I suggest Planet Thai if you are ever hungry in downtown Lexington.  

It is time to relax and read a little. My favorite  book (I read multiple books at a time, bad idea) that I am currently reading is The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle.

Have a healthy evening!

Red Curry Noodles

Planet Thai Noodles

Friday, May 11, 2012

Socially Vegan; Fun or Frustrating

Why Do You Care What We Eat?
Jason, Elena and I have all had situations were our diet has caused someone else to act defensively, make ridiculous comments or to be down right angry. It is the most bizarre thing.
 My daughter faces daily comments and an occasional serenade at school. She has been told her food is weird, that is she is strange and sometimes a certain boy will sing to her about making sure she is getting enough protein. Elena is a very confident kid who is unwavering in her intention about reducing her impact on the earth and limiting her suffering of animals so she will let these comments roll off of her. She tries to educate her classmates on plant based protein and calcium sources however doesn't get frustrated when they tell her she is lying. She is an inspiration to me. She does however have a few friends who ask her questions out of curiosity and with respect.

This morning I went to the cafeteria where I work to purchase a breakfast sandwich with my friend, Kelli. I haven't ordered anything in the cafeteria since my life changing decision. I ordered grilled veggies on a whole wheat bagel and was relieved when the lady who took my order didn't seem to think anything of my sandwich choice.  However I was taken aback when the lady cooking my sandwich yelled out "who ordered the veggies on a bagel?" and I had to walk forward to see why she seemed confused or mad.  She asked me several times what I was doing and asked if I was sure I didn't want egg and cheese on the sandwich. When I confirmed that I didn't want egg and cheese, she was overly concerned with how my sandwich was going to stay together. She eventually decided that a bed of spinach might hold the sandwich together. To top it off, when she handed me the finished sandwich she rolled her eyes and asked me to let her know how it works out. I am not sure I want to order anything from the cafeteria anytime soon.

Friends May Offer Support and Yummy Vegan Treats

Elena has an awesome best friend, Nathan. Nathan recently had a birthday party. I was thinking about making Elena a vegan cupcake to take to the party when I received a text from Nathan's mom, Collette. She let me know that when she took the eggs out to make the cake, Nathan reminded her that Elena was vegan and would not eat eggs. He insisted the cake was made vegan to include her in his special day. I was so touched by his kindness. I appreciate the way this sweet lil guy cares about daughter. There were other vegan treats as well. Collette made sure to show us what to avoid. We felt welcomed and included. It was a great party , um I mean a gross party. He actually had a Gross Out Party! A few gross vegan treats are below...

I am sure we will have many more odd experiences in which people react in odd ways to our food choices.I will continue to share and reflect on why this happens. I believe this topic makes people examine their own food choices or they feel as if they are being judged for their animal based choices. This odd social aspect of being vegan can make things difficult at times but thanks to good friends like Nathan and Collette, being vegan can be normal and easy.

Thierbach Anniversary
Jason and I are coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary. We plan to celebrate in Lexington this weekend and would like to check out a vegan friendly restaurant. We went to Happy Cow to see what choices we have in Lexington. There were several restaurants listed however I am not sure if we have decided yet. Maybe Planet Thai.  If you know of a good vegan friendly restaurant in Lexington, let me know!

I have much more to say however there is a Samuel Smith yummy beer waiting for me. It is vegan of course.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Be Prepared and Wellness Update

Quick Thierbach Wellness Update
I have health news to share in regard to each of the Thierbachs. Jason has a bike again. It is green and looks pretty cool. He loves to ride bikes so it is super cool he has one again.
Elena has been in a running club the past few months in which she has run the equivalent of 25.2 up until today. She completed her last marathon mile on the Flying Pig track. This is a wonderful idea to get kids moving around. Also congrats to all the Flying Pig participants this weekend. Awesome stuff. Eventually, I will run farther than 4-5 miles and perhaps consider training.
Lastly, I signed up for a Yoga Teacher Training Program. It starts in June and I could not be more excited.

Preparation is Essential 
The most difficult part of this diet is not giving up cheese (milk creeps me out), it is being prepared for the lack of vegan friendly foods out in the world. We ate food that we didn't really want to out of convenience for many years. I don't want convenience to prevent me from living according to what I believe or to lower my standards on the quality of food we consume. What could be more important than the food you are putting in your body? Anyway, the tough part so far is the lack of organization in my fridge, the constant cutting and roasting of veggies and the diligence needed to pack our lunches due to the crap at our respective cafeterias.
It is not difficult, more time consuming and seems like a labor of love now because I don't want to go back. Losing weight effortlessly is a nice incentive as well.

Ways We Prepare
I spend a few hours on the weekend baking treats because most cookies, cakes, etc. out there are not worth eating. Yesterday, Elena and I made lemon cupcakes and carrot muffins. Yum! I also spend a few hours cutting and roasting vegetables. They can be refrigerated after and then used in several different ways later. I will cut up raw veggies as well. They can be placed in small containers for snacks or to throw into a meal quickly. Jason takes a few cans of soup, nuts, etc. to work to make sure to have something. I am still in need of a new way to organize the fridge with more veggies in it than before. I haven't found what works best but will share once I find it. I will take any suggestions as well.

Recent Thierbach Meals
A big hit lately has been a tofu scramble. We eat this at breakfast and sometimes dinner. Below is a scramble with kale, roasted sweet potatoes and black beans. There is a side of "bacon" and a homemade vegan biscuit. The cool thing about the scramble is that you can make it different every time so it doesn't get boring. You can also eat a ton of it and not feel guilty because it is primarily veggies.

Below are the lemon cupcake and carrot cupcake from Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Both are delicious.

Have a healthy and tasty rest of your weekend!!