Eating For Energy

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas & Christmas Dinner it has to be Vegan

Wow, can all you believe it’s Christmas again? I swear it feels like to me it was just here. As you get older so many wonderful things happen in our lives over time. And as you get older; time is becoming more and more valuable! You never realize as a kid how much time you have in a day. You start to get more of an understanding as you get a little older. By high school the hours start to pick up; not exactly fly by but you start to realize if you are enjoying what you are doing then they do. In my early 20's with the kids time was time and it was all about scheduling. With adding more babies to our growing family it was always a scheduling thing for me. I had 3 kids and 3 different personalities but we also wanted the same routine. Fast forward to my mid 30's and now's it’s about how much time we don't have and how much time we need to use wisely. We all have the same amount of time but it's all about priorities now. Do we really need to do this or is it wasting time etc. So I truly feel time is flying by! It's not really, we are just more aware of the time and how we wish to spend it.

So saying all this we had a lot planned for the holidays and of course not enough time to do it all! We had our tree up the weekend after Turkey day. We had the indoor decorations up throughout the first week of December. We had brought down the lights for outside the following week and then WHAM!! I was hit by the biggest sickness I'd ever had in over 5 yrs! I was sick for an entire week that then lead into 2 weeks. Mucous, coughing, fever, cold and hot flashes. You name it. With me being our planner and doer in the family the Christmas lights for outside was not going to happen. The week before Christmas was not a good idea as they'd be down in a week. So needless to say the kids were a bit disappointed. Especially since we are the only 2nd family in the cull de sac that isn't Jewish and would have a nice display of lights. It was a very dark cull de sac at night! Oh well!

All the normal traditions were a go. Getting down and displaying the Christmas House that we bought at BJ's Wholesale club which you fill with chocolates and it comes with ornaments as you countdown to Christmas. This was different for us this year as we searched high and low for Vegan chocolate in our local wholefoods and other stores to fill for the kids. Needless to say we waited too long on that and got them gel type candies that only loaded them up on sugar and we ended up buying them thin mints. The kids enjoyed them and with all the new transitions we have enforced you have to find a happy medium. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care! So fun but yes we did. We stuffed the stockings with gummy bears and gum and some small Santa gifts. No chocolate in sight. My Mom always wants to send Christmas packages and now that we are vegan she is really trying to help out there and not send the "old stuff for snacks". Of course boxes of Cheetos and Dorito’s and Cheeze It's isn't doing it but I can't tell her off or yell at her for not realizing it has milk in all of them and we don’t' do that anymore. Reading Cooking Vegan for Dummies; is really helping as we all try to be perfect when making a change and give ourselves so much stress. We need to realize its baby steps to a whole new eating habit or new choice and we need to make that day the best BPO. Which is Best Possible Option. When we opened the box and the kids saw their old favorites they freaked out and were so excited! I was about to say "NO WAY! We do this now". But it's Christmas! So my best possible option was to allow small amounts throughout Christmas and to let my Mom know we cannot eat that anymore and please do not send it again. Now the biggest decision was Christmas dinner. With having a gorgeous British hubby; we normally would eat a ton of gorgeous veggies and the main dish would be lamb! I must admit even being vegan now; Lamb is delicious but it's not our way anymore. Neither is our other option we used to eat was Filet.

So Trevor and I talked and he went to Whole Foods and got non-chicken breast made from soy. We had this at Cafe Parizade in Durham, NC for our Thanksgiving feast and it was gorgeous. When we ate it it was not so great. Trevor cooked it beautifully but it wasn't the same. I need to talk to the man who put the Thanksgiving feast on and find out what is the difference or how did they cook them? Our veggies were roasted potatoes and onions, carrots, green beans, corn and mashed potatoes. Skylar ate it all as did Trevor and I besides the non-chicken breast. Britain was really good about trying everything! she didn't liket the non-chicken breasts as well. Luke on the other hand was a pain in our arse as you'd say in Ireland and just munched on some veggies and gave us an attitude and then cried. He cries a lot. He's a very sensitive boy; working on that.

Anyway, for our first go at a Vegan Christmas it was pretty good. Again with time; we'll make our new vegan eating routine something of ease and stress free! Any Christmas dinner suggestions or stories? Let me know! Thanks, Kerri

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hypothyroidism - Animal Hormone or Generic

Hypothyroidism is an interesting Disease. Right, it affects so much. About 12 yrs ago after I'd given birth to Skylar I noticed my body was off. We all know our bodies and when something is off you just think no worries. When it's a constant feeling of off, you know something's up.

For me, I was at work (after maternity leave was over) and I was typing up a document. I normally type over 90 words per minute. I looked up at the screen after typing a full page and noticed I had typed gobbly goop! What I thought I was typing and what I actually typed was not the same thing! I had started to stutter! I've never stuttered a day in my life and I was stuttering! I remember holding my mug ready to make tea and then next minute the mug was on the floor smashed to smithereens! I never told my hand to let it go but it did. The biggest clue for me was the overwhelming feeling I was OFF! I just didn't feel right. I explained these symptoms to my doctor at Sky's 6 month checkup and my doctor explained it might be MS. I was horrified. 25 yrs old and I just had a baby and now I might have MS! I was trying not to panic. I agreed to see an MS Doctor and he had me do a lot of physical testing. Jumping jacks, push-ups, jump rope, walk in a line, push on objects etc. After an half an hour he said “you do not have MS" you are fine. I don't know what is wrong with you. From there it was a lot of blood tests. After the blood test confirmed my Thyroid hormone was off, I then had an Iodine test with a huge scan machine that looked like a satellite dish with a point set at my throat. After that test is was confirmed my Thyroid was not working anymore. Then they had to see where I was in the Thyroid family. Was I Hypo, Hyper, or Thyroid Cancer? After another several weeks it turned out I had hypothyroidism. Why am I telling you all this; how does it relate to becoming a Vegan. Well I'll tell you. I have been on Lyvoxyl for 11 yrs or so. I've had this medication change dosage several times with new pregnancies and the hormones that come with it. After I had my son Luke 7 yrs ago my hormones were erratic since he gave me more Testosterone than I've ever had in my life! I only had put on 20 pounds with Luke. Literally lost it all in the hospital. Only to be home a month with baby # 3 and watch my body bloats up another 20 pounds in water weight! It's amazing what your Thyroid hormone does to you on top of weight there are so many other problems it can produce if not working right.

So fast forward to about 6 months ago and my friend Amy is diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. She was put on many prescriptions but none made her feel right. She then heard about this Hormone called Amour and it's from Pigs. I guess Pigs Thyroid hormone is very similar to ours and is the best thing to use if you want something as natural as possible. At the time I was not a Vegan. I was just interested in having anything natural in me as possible since I have to take a thyroid replacement pill for the rest of my life! So I inquired with my friend Amy, got the info and asked my current doctor if I could switch. Well after a time we were able to switch it and they wanted me to check my hormone levels in 6 weeks. The minute I opened the bottle I noticed the most horrible smell!! I put it in my mouth and noticed the most horrible taste! So far 2 strikes! But I said I'd try it and here we go. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I noticed I would have 100 plus degree's hot flashes! Then I'd be absolutely freezing! I knew this was a symptom of having Hypothyroidism and I've experienced hot and cold flashes since I was 25. But OMG this was insane. Literally would soak my clothes in minutes and then be freezing! I called my doctor to ask if this was normal. I was told because I am taking a very all natural hormone the dosage come out in huge amounts of hormone whenever since it's so natural, compared to generic. After several weeks of this I had enough and started to take the pill every other day. Well about 2 months ago, I took my pill as usual. As I opened the bottle to take my pill that horrible smell came at me again. I then had an aha moment! I am literally eating pig! It smells like pig, it taste not so good and my body is all over the place with this hormone. Then my new Vegan thinking kicks in and I think "what the hell am I doing!" I am not helping the poor pigs, I am helping slaughter the pigs for this hormone! How is this truly helping me or the pigs or our planet! I felt so incredibly guilty!! I was feeling so foolish and stupid for not thinking these thoughts since July 1st while I was still taking the meds. But I tell you; you are on this routine and until you have an aha you don't change your ways. So needless to say I called my doctor that day and said I am done with these pills. It's not working with my body and it goes against everything I believe in to take them. I am still in shock and horror that I didn't think of that sooner, that I had a pigs hormone in me for almost 3 months and that I was not feeling great but worse! But as you get older you grow and you become wiser over time. I finally get how incredibly powerful it is to be a Vegan and how your choices over food effects so much more than just what we put on our bodies. I do not wish to leave a carbon footprint. I want to help and I also want my body to thrive, not fall apart. Have any of you experienced anything like this? Please let me know I am not the only one! Now that you've read this, would you change from natural to generic? Let me know your thoughts.

Update's on my Monthly Cycle since going Vegan July 1, 2011. For Girls Eye's Only unless you really want to know ;)

Well Ladies,

It's been 5 months and 20 days since we've started this journey as Vegan's.

I can honestly say "Aunt Flow" or "My Period" just appears and I have no idea its coming accept for the fact the date or 30 days later from the last time is on the calander and I should be aware of it. I no longer crave sugar like mad! I no longer, munch on everything and anything just because! I no longer have cramps that would kill me and make me sit down for hours to just go through the motions. I used to get cramps down there that would feel like BLOODY CONTRACTIONS! I mean the word OUCH, doesn't cover it!! I'd literally have to start breathing as if I was dealing with a full blown contraction. I no longer have this pain! I also no longer bloat! You should see how flat my stomach is all the time now. No more bloating for a week or 2. No more bloating anymore in general!! It's like I've been cured from PMS all together!!! The only thing that is still consistant is the amount of time I have to have my period and that's about 7 days sometimes 8! Which in my book compeltely sucks but to go through the motions without anymore of the typical symptoms is a blessing beyond!!

I have also noticed I've lost more weight again. I've lost about 9 pounds weighing 143 and height of 5ft 9 inches. My legs are so skinny and this is coming from an Italian/Irish woman who's had hips since I turned 13! I thought I'd never see the thin hips again ever! It's amazing to me how the animal and dairy products does hold onto the weight in the most annoying places that you try and try to make smaller, fitter, tighter, whatever! You know what I mean!!! I am so incredible thin, my stomach no longer had that pouchy thing, it's smaller and flatter! My thighs are so thin and getting fitter by the month I swear! I just feel great all together which makes me feel sexier for me and of course hubby Trevor!! He's thinner too and that makes me happy as well! I don't care how long you've been with someone. When you start dating you are typically fit and firm! It's been almost 19 yrs together and 16 yrs married. Things change people and not always for the better! So to see my hubby with his 6 pack again and no more belly fat that would go over his belt a bit is so awesome for me!!! I despise any fat and I expect him to take as much time to appreciate his physical fitness as well! In a nut shell, overall we are so much fitter and healthier and feel so much better since going Vegan and if you ladies cannot appreciate a flatter tummy, no bloating, no cramps, then I don't know what to say. All this from eating all veg, in large quantities, soy, almond milk, Earth Balance nondairy butter. Raw salads, so many new varieties of yumminess! No pill, no drink, no major workouts, just eating heatlhy and watching our bodies transform to a healthier form is definitely worth it!! Let me know your thoughts as to how you've been feeling and if you'd noticed these big changes as I have!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Afternoon Yummy Snacks

It's getting colder outside, the kids are pumped up over the Christmas Holidays fast approaching and it seems the Christmas music is on a constant play mode here in the Gardner's house!! We are craving more warm yummy snacks as we get home from work and the kids from school.

I am now currently reading Cooking Vegan by the Dummies series! It's awesome, great easy read with wonderful selection of recipes and awesome pictures of some of the recipes!

Recently the kids are asking for more homemade popcorn and I've written about this many time and given the full steps to making it in my Twighlight post from Thursday, November 17th when Sky and I went to the premier of Breaking Dawn part 1.

A new found favorite that we never really cooked up for the kids are homemade cornchips with cheese. We never wanted them to eat too much cheese before for obvious reasons. But now that we are getting really good at being Vegan and we have found a cheese after several tries that we actually love is a bonus!! So eating corn in the form of a chip and cheese from rice is amazing!!

The brand we absolutely love is Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Rice Shreds/cheddar flavor!! I mean beyond yummy!! Trevor surprised me last week with this gorgeous cheese on an old time favorite Chicken Cheesy Nachos. Now it's just Vegan Cheesy Nachos!! So gorgeous!! Will be providing that recipe this week. Also we are huge lovers of Smithfields Brunswick Stew!! Cannot eat it anymore due to the pork in it. Well Trevor found a great recipes that adds palm in it and it's like having shredded pork again in a all veggie stew Vegan Style!!

That recipe will be posted this week as well with photos!

So much has been cooking and tasted this whole time I've not been able to catch up with our blog but I have a huge amount to share and show!!

Look out for my updated posts this week as I have some down time of multi tasking Career, Job, Kids, hubby and house etc. Life as we call it!

Any favorite snacks you all would like to share, please feel free to pass it along!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

First Thanksgiving as Vegan's !!! Headed off to a Vegan Buffet in Durham!!

This year I racked my brain as to what to do now that we are Vegan's and trying to be good vegan's and not eat the "typical Turkey/Ham" etc. I wanted our kids to learn by example that this is our new food eating life now and we need to do the right thing even when we are tempted by commercials, other families, schools, society etc. We are on a path of healthy, live longer, lifestyle! Save the planet and animals in the process! So I did some research and found our local Triangle Vegetarian Society that also caters to Vegan's was holding it's 13th Annual Triangle Vegetarian Society Thanksgiving at Cafe Parizide. It was amazing, very reasonablly priced and the food was in abundance. What a buffet!! It's hard to believe you can fill up on veggies but you can. We also got to try a soy non-chicken breast and it tasted just like chicken! So delicious we've decided to have the same Soy Non-Chicken breasts as our main for our Christmas Dinner. We also got to experience delicious gravy, stuffing, many new veggies we've never eaten before and the desserts were amazing!!

Here is a copy of the info from the TVS webpage.

TVS Thanksgiving 2011
Vegan Feast and Raffle at
Café Parizäde and Spice Street
Thanksgiving Day, November 24
The Triangle Vegetarian Society (TVS) will have its annual vegan Thanksgiving feast and raffle at one of the Triangle's finest restaurants, Café Parizäde in Durham, NC. Parizäde has a gourmet flair for fresh ingredients with Mediterranean influences, and this will be TVS' 13th consecutive Thanksgiving there (and 18th annual Thanksgiving Feast at an area restaurant). We believe that for the eighth year in a row, we will host the country's largest vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving.

Like the last two years, we will also have an evening seating at Spice Street in Chapel Hill. Spice Street is a sister restaurant to Parizäde, with equally beautiful and elegant decor and a well-deserved reputation for great food.

Our prices remain at $23 for adult members of TVS, $26.50 for non-member adults, $7 for children aged 5-10, and free for children under age 5. Prepayment will be required. (Would you like to come but can't because of difficult financial circumstances? We may be able to help.)

If you'd like further information about the Triangle Vegetarian Society please go to their homepage at:

What did you do for Thanksgiving, any new foods you discovered? Any recipes you can share with us?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade Popcorn and the premier of TWILIGHT SAGA - BREAKING DAWN PART 1!!

Don't know about you all but my family are crazy about vampires!! Between our first and ultimate favorite TWILIGHT SAGA!!! 2nd. Favorite is Vampire Diaries!! 3rd favorite for my husband Trevor and I is TRUBLOOD!!

(This photo was taken by my Iphone and as you can see there are a ton of people behind us in the theater waiting patiently as well. Sky was making a crazy face with a mouth full of popcorn. She then added these crazy characters on my phone and I had no idea. I am laughing as I am typing this. She is so funny. I have no idea how to add these types of characters to photos. Very FUNNY!! Movie was beyond amazing and I literally saw it 3 times in 1 week. That's how obsessed I am and a huge fan. Saw it the following Monday with girlfriends and then Tuesday afternoon with Britain.)

Sky, Britain and I have been waiting for over a year to see this film!! We are beyond excited!

We are hitting the Premier tonight at 10 pm to wait in the Theater lobby before the actual start time of 12:01 am

(11/18/2011)!! We are making a huge amount of homemade popcorn! I love my popcorn!! It's old fashion style!!

All you need is: 1 BIG pot (one you'd cook a big order of spaghetti and meat balls in)coated with veggie oil. Add a good coating of popcorn seeds to cover the bottom of the pot and cook over high heat! Or if you don't tend on shaking it back and forth over the flame-Medium heat. Make sure you take the lid off after the popcorn has popped quite a bit and is about to hit the cover. We take off the lid because I make sure to overfill the bottom of the pot with popcorn seeds because its fun! As your popcorn pops over the pot, turn the heat down and listen to the last popcorn seed to pop! I then dump the popcorn into a brown paper bag and add a good amount of Sea Salt. Shake it all up and serve!! This is my and our kids very favorite snack for home and at school! I actually have the neighborhood kids ask for my popcorn all the time as well as our friends and family who hang out and attend our parties! It's a huge hit! I also love the fact that we do not use the microwave anymore and we do not throw microwave bags away and add to landfills! As GREEN as possible in our house!!

So tonight we are going to smuggle our popcorn in to the theater and buy the big size sodas!! To enjoy our beyond favorite movie of all time - TWILIGHT SAGA - Breaking Dawn Part 1!!!

Let me know if you are huge VAMPIRE fan's and if you tried making popcorn old fashion style and what you thought of it!! I promise your taste buds will love you for it!!

Long time no talk!

Hey Everyone! I would like to say a huge "I am sorry for not being on top of my blog as I normally am!" With the holiday's fast approaching it seems life has been put on fast forward!!

My Real Esate business is going great and I have my first deal being processed!! I have another buyer client who is ready to place an offer at the end of December! I am working with a Rental and I have several deals beginning to develop come the New Year!! Trevor is doing great at his work and has exciting plans on starting another business! The kids are doing great! They are becoming more acceptable to our new recipes I am trying out!! I am still currently reading "Complete Idiots guide to Vegan Eating kids!" really great! I would recommend it! It starts off with stating it would be a great idea to have a "introduction meeting" for the entire family and really discuss what is the best way to introduce and handle becoming a Vegan eating family. Make a Mission Statement and BPO's stand for Best Possible Option and this is a great idea as sometimes that's all you can choose to eat or drink in certain circumstances. There are several recipes at the back of the book and I plan on trying them out myself and then taking photos and letting you all know what worked well for us and what the kids actually liked them!

I have been experimenting with The Kind Diet recipes by Alicia Silverstone. Over the weekend I made a gorgeous Winter Butternut Squash soup!! So delicious! We also had an amazing Halloween Party and served a good amount of Halloween Vegan food! I plan on adding photos and recipes and telling you all about our wonderful Halloween night!

There is so much I need to inform you all but have been too busy to keep up. So please bare with me. I have just updated my "birthday blog from Sept. 16th" and my blog about serving vegan food to wonderful dinner guests. Please check them out!

Please look out for many more blogs to come over this weekend! I love all comments and questions!! Keep them coming!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally feel like a Vegan Family!

Tonight was really nice; for a family of 5 running around with all of our heads cut off it was nice to finally be on time with dinner! Trevor was on his way home, the kids were outside enjoying the fresh air and playing. Something I only get to do one hour a day jogging with Trevor in the pitch dark at 5 am in the morning! I tell you in the New Year one of my New Year resolution is to find another outdoor activity that doesn't consist of picking up the kids’ stuff or mowing etc. Just a fun outside activity for me. What that is I am not sure yet, but I need another outlet that will allow me more outdoor time!

So as I was saying, I was putting together our dinner "Vegan Style" and I finally felt like I was in control of the meal. Like I was not floundering around with left overs, trying to figure out what we were going to eat and feeling very guilty as I normally do not knowing if we are eating a full balanced Vegan Meal. Well tonight I think I covered a lot of balance for us. While I was getting the last minute details to our meal, I had the kids set the table. Sky had the placemats. Britain had the cutlery and glasses. Luke had the coasters and napkins. We use cloth napkins as we have done away with paper napkins for over 3 yrs now. We try to be a very "Green" family. I also asked Luke to help a little more as he's not a baby anymore being 7 and should do more in the house then destroy and become Tasmanian devil! I swear!! So I asked him to vacuum and he was ok with that. No back talk at all! Almost fell over! For dinner tonight I thought I'd pull out the new favorite Vegan dish and it's Kebab’s with salad and other veg. This meal consists of Morning Star Veggie Sausages that taste like real sausage and we heat them up in a pan, slice them up into 4's and add them to pita bread or a wrap or on top of a salad. I slice up tomatoes, cuc's and lettuce. Trevor likes to add lemon juice and I typically would add the Good Season's Italian dressing. This time since we were only down to one bag of veggie sausages I decided last minute to check the freezer and pulled out a non-chicken cutlet filled with onion, corn, black beans and spices!! Yummy!! Has a little kick just so you know!! I also cooked Basmati Rice which is really yummy and Britain surprised me by asking if she could cook Brussels sprouts! I was so in shock at this request. To get any other green veg down my kid’s throats besides green beans and lettuce is a miracle! "Sure", I said! So I let Britain get on with cutting off the ends to the Brussels sprouts and slicing an X at each end of the sprout and she then added them to the pot of boiling water. I also added my Trader Joe's chicken-less chicken cutlet which only needed 5 minutes in the pot to heat up in the boil bag that came with it. We all had salad, rice, Brussels sprouts and the rest of them had veggie sausages to my chicken-less chicken cutlet! Luke of course was not the one of us who ate most. He refused the sprout, munched down on the rice and cuc's and practically was beyond giddy over the sausages that he refused to eat with a fork but was shoveling it down his throat with his hands! Pig!
I told him to use his manners and he just looked at me as if he'd roll his eyes! Sometimes I tell you; kids try your patience! We talked about our day, we laughed, we argued, we then tried to eat the last of anything that was left on the dishes! That's how hungry and eager to eat our dinner we were! We even had time to get Trevor's old collection of Little Miss and Mr. Men books out that were created and produced in England. Luke read to us Little Miss Tidy and did a great job!! We are working on his fluency as he's falling behind in ready this quarter! And with all this great dinner and clean up (our dishwasher died 3 weeks ago and everything is now by hand for an additional hour after dinner!) we still managed to get them in bed on time! Trevor and I are in bed now, he's reading "The Success Principals by Jack Canfield" and I fancied letting you all know what a great night we had with all the crazy thrown in there too! I am still reading and digesting "Idiot's guide to raising Vegan Eating kids". I will be on "Living as Vegan's for Dummies" or I might read “Cooking for Vegan's for Dummies". I think that would probably be the best book to read next.

So anyone of you out there finally hit a good place with becoming Vegan's with all the crazy of just running your lives and trying to manage your time or activities in the process! Let us know!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Answering a Crepe Question Part 2 (Trace Ellen please read)

Just yesterday Thursday, November 3rd around 4 pm I visited Simply Crepe's off of Falls Of Neuse Rd in Raleigh, NC to interview with the Owner Pierre! I loved my experience so much when I took my favorite client and new dearest friend Nina to lunch there, I thought it would be a fun place to work extra hours to help provide a regular flow of income while I build my career by referrals in Real Estate.

Nina thought Simply Crepe's would be a lovely place to eat and thought it would cater to Vegan's! It was pretty close and as a wonderful gesture she paid for my lunch as well! Had such a lovely time with her there! Well it does for Lactose free and veggies (vegetarians) but it's not there quite yet for Vegan's. Still enjoyed it immensely!! I did find out I was wrong about the Buckwheat Crepe mix. There are eggs but there isn't any milk.

Well I am sure you are all wondering why I decided to interview there besides have a great lunch! I love the ambience, I love the decor and the staff was very friendly. The lunch was brilliant and I got such good energy there! The high frequency of positive vibes just vibrated in this restaurant! I had my hour interview yesterday and I had a great time. Learned a ton as to how Simply Crepe's came about. How its family run. How everything in the decor is 2nd hand, yard sale, or restores items from Habitat for Humanity. Even their straws are green and immediately biodegrade once they hit a landfill! Simply Crepes are "VERY GREEN CONCSIOUS" and this made me love them even more as I am huge "VERY GREEN SUPPORTER AS WELL AS MY FAMILY"!! After an hour interview I got the job! I am a waitress for up to 30 hours per week and 30 plus hours a week in Real Estate. Not to mention the full time job of not losing my mind and enjoying my children as a full time Mom who's hit a stage of breaking out of the "stay at home mold" and trying to swing into a new career change and now 2nd job to help facilitate the first job. My gorgeous hubby Trevor is beat and has been pulling his weight and then some for 11 1/2 yrs and I want to return the favor and swap places as a matter of fact. These new steps will allow both of us to do this! Another cool note, Pierre liked the idea that I was a Vegan and confessed he's been trying to break into serving vegan food to his customer's but has been very afraid. I asked why and he said "truly my being afraid is just ignorance as to not knowing how to prepare Vegan friendly food". I told him "get in line as I am there and only been a "vegan in training" since July 1st. So he suggested I help him with his menu to add more Vegan dishes! How cool is that. Not only will I work in a very cool, hip and green restaurant, I'll also be of help to add some knowledge to the Vegan Menu items Pierre would love to add! I am very excited! If I have some local Raleigh folks who are in the mood for a fun, hip place to eat and receive great service, please check out Simply Crepe's off of Falls of Neuse Rd.

I'll also update the our pantry and weekly menu with new dishes created at Simply Crepe's that I can tweak and make Vegan for home! Cannot wait to share to you all my new knowledge of Vegan foods restaurant style and maybe in the form of a crepe or two!

Monday, October 31, 2011

1st Annual Gardner's Halloween Party!!! Tons of Fun was had and Vegan food served!!

Wow, what a fun night it is to be any character, monster, or whatever takes your fancy!!! The Gardner's love to dress up for Halloween and this year we thought we'd do one thing extra and throw a party for all our freinds and neighbors to join in and have a blast! I invited over 50 people; about 35 turned up and we had unexpected guests who said they couldn't surprise us with drop by's. So overall we had 40 people. 25 of them were kids! I had bought a Halloween magazine that gave us all the details on how to throw a fantastic party with creepy and ghoulish party food (which we made vegan), decorating ideas and party games!

We have several pictures to add, unfortunately we didn't get all of our guests pictures as I was the hostess and my head was spinning trying to serve and make sure all was happy and had a drink or yummy food to eat! Trevor cooked most of the morning, he made his famous Vegan Chilli!! Everyone ate that up and had to stop for breathe as it's HOT! He also made his yummy Piella dish (vegan of course with a bit of a kick as well!!) The last warm dish we made was vegtable pasta dish. We used to call this dish Pasta Mince as we had hamburger and then turkey burger in it years ago but we've veganized it and taken out the beef! The rest is the same and still very delicious. I need to add the recipes to this on this post, as I do not have them handy. I also will post the recipes to the creepy, crawlly, ghoulish food we made from the magazine and I took pictures as well. I can tell you it was fun making bread sticks in the shape of witches fingers. They had almonds for nails, green food coloring to make them green and knarly, Rice shreds for cheddar cheese for the hair and they were delicous served with spaghetti sauce. I also made an Apple cyder punch with bobbing dead heads made out of Apple's. Very yummy and spooky. We had a over 20 hand dippped candy apples! We added sprinkles to make them more colorful!! We also made pumpkins with worms crawling out of them. Which basically means orange peppers cut into to look like pumpkins and spaghetti with pasta sauce to look like worms crawling out. Made my homemade popcorn and created a ghoulish trailmix with pretzels, peanuts, and some chilli powder! Yummy! The night was a hit and we've decided to make it an annual party for us! New found tradition and we found many other recipes that we can make ghoulish and very vegan. The cool part of then night is the food was a hit and no one had said anything negative serviing vegan food. That made me very happy. If we had a comment or two we'd say; of course it's vegan and what do you think of it? All we got was this is beyond delicious. It's so funny the misconceptions of Vegan food. We did have the typical cupcakse galore at the house as deserts brought by friends. We literally had over 30 plus cupcakes, it was shocking and cool to see so many. Luckily we had enough kids on hand to devour them. Next year I think I'll make all the food and let our friends and family bring side's that are vegan free.

Any great Halloween Recipes you could share with us?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bad Day Story , Trivia Questions and Wonderful Rice Dream Vanilla Rice Dream Rice Drink facts!

My day yesterday started off lazy and then lead to too many errands and overall a bad day! But boy was I mistaken. Listen to this story of a truly bad day for a nice nurse who chose to make me laugh and smile.

Ok. was having a bad day with loads of errands thrown in.I had to go to the kids clinic to pick up Britain's ammunization chart for the past 5 1/2 yrs. I need to fillout a sibling form for her attending Franklin Academy where Skylar goes. Well the nurse that was helping me retreive this information saw I was upset and tried to make me feel better and told me her very crazy "Bad Day Story!" Here it is per her words.

"maybe I can help you with your day by telling you about my bad day!" She then says "got up this morning and it was one of those crazy with my head cut off kind of mornings. I have 3 kids; a boy, girl and boy. Ages 19, 13 and 10. I asked them to help me find my purse as we couldn't go anywhere until I found my purse with the keys." She then tells me "the kids finally get up and start helping me, in pursuit of looking for my purse I overhear my youngest son tell all of us "I saw Mom's purse in the freezer!". She looks at me and says can you beleive he see it there but does nothing to help me actually get it!". So she proceeds with "my eldest son goes to the freezer and low and behold it's there!" My purse and the entire contents have been frozen! I had put my purse in the freezer the night before and the worst part is I am wondering why I did this. I walk into the pantry and there on the shelf is the whole chicken and several pounds of hamburger meet!!" She said so now after work I have to go shopping again I said " I am so sorry but you are right you win! It is a not so good day for you!!" I said "well, you can go vegan like me!" She said oh, that sounds nice!What about my family? I said " do what I did and have them become Vegan's too!" She started laughing, I got my form and left! What a crazy bad day she had huh! It's all in perspective and the meaning you give to it.

Loving the Rice Vanilla Milk and on the back of the carton is several Triva Questions!

Thought you'd enjoy them!

1. In what country is a typical greeting "Have you had your rice today?"
2. How many grains are in one pound of long grain white rice?
3. What state in the US produces the most rice?

1. China
2. More than 29,000
3. Arkansas

Rice Dream Rice Drink (vanilla)Facts:

1. low in fat (Rice Dream is 99% fat free and is a cholesterol free food.)
2. Lactose and Soy Free (Rice Dream contains neither diary nor soy, making it a great choice for vegans and those with dietary restrictions.)
3. Complete Nutrition (Rice Dream is enriched with Calcium, Vitamins A, D & B12).

No Added Sweeteners!

Let me know if you've enjoyed this fun story and if you've decided to try Rice Milk!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Answering a Crepe Question?

Earlier this week I got a comment from a fellow "newbie" Vegan Tracy Ellen who asked if the Buckwheat Crepe I ate last week at lunch with my dear friend Nina was "egg and dairy free". In my haste of enjoying my lunch and time with Nina I completely forgot to ask this vital question. 

In my "newbie vegan" head I'd taken off the cheese, I had a crepe full of salad, tofu and balsamic vinaigrette. I never thought twice that changing the flour from regular to "Buckwheat flour" was maybe not fully vegan.

I just got time today to call Simply Crepe located off of Falls Of Neuse Road in Lafayette Village in Raleigh, North Carolina. If any of you are locals want to check it out and have a fabulous time please do, you'll be glad you did!

I found out that unfortunately the Buckwheat Crepe did indeed contain both milk and eggs! So OPPS my bad! Just another reminder that I am in "learning mode" and I need to be more specific and detailed with my questions. Tracy Ellen also asked me if I could get the recipe from Simply Crepe and they said they couldn't do that as it's a trade secret. Totally understandable.

I have learned so far as a "newbie Vegan" you can substitute eggs with apples sauce. 1 cup of applesauce equals 1 egg. Also 1 banana equals 1egg. For milk substitution we are using Almond Milk with Vanilla or Rice Milk with Vanilla. So far we are not fans of non-sweetened coconut milk. Any butter can be replaced with non dairy butter and we use Earth Balance. You can buy it whipped or not.

Any other questions please comment as I love reading them and learning from them as well!!

If you have any cool crepe recipes we can all learn from, try and enjoy, please let us all know!

Happy Halloween!!

Life is Good,

Katy Perry & Russell Brand watch Forks Over Knives !!

Good Morning You All as they say down here in the South! Just checked my email and found this interesting article about the movie "FORKS OVER KNIVES".

Russell Brand states "I'm now VEGAN!"

I've signed up to recieve updates on the film and website etc. Here is what I got in my email today! Have a good read and then please think about renting this movie on Netflix! It will change the way you think I promise! Have a great read!!

I have tried 3 times to copy and paste the article.  Here is the link:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Time serving Vegan Food to our Dinner Guest

Yesterday was a lot of fun! Luke had a sleep over party with his best friend Brian, Trevor just got home after a long week in Houston, Tx. The girls were excited to have their Dad back as we all were but wanted some Daddy Daughter time. We had plans to have our new friends the Purcell's over for dinner. So of course it was a typical race to the finish to get the house in order, send Trevor out shopping with the girls and me blasting music to get the downstairs of our 2 story home cleaned up and presentable for our dinner that afternoon by 4 pm. I dont' know about you but life is crazy; it's crazy good but crazy! You have a whirlwind week, husband's gone, started a new business in Real Estate, Sky is in a charter school now that is in a separate town, Britain and Luke are in the same school in our town and I have to be captainess of the ship for the entire week and not drop any balls doing it! By Friday I was spent and I planned on cleaning at least one room per day and have the whole downstairs done before our dinner party on Saturday. That's my pipe dream as well. The reality is by the time you work and pick up your kids, go food shopping, deal with small fires at the schools for whatever reason you get home and just drop all that's on you and sink into the chair or couch to breathe and know for the next 4 hours till the kids go to bed it will be homework, fighting, dinner to make, laundry to deal with, more fighting etc. etc. So my idea of cleaning a room per day was rediculous! I did get the dining room dealt with and more Halloween decorations up. That was good. So lets get back to Saturday, send hubby and girls out to shop for the week and tonights dinner. Luke is still with Brian's family and he's now attending Brian's soccer game and I am home looking at 2000 plus sq feet that needs a major dust, vacuum and washing of floors, as well as a bathroom to clean. So I go to the Tivo and pop in my favorite musician's DVD concert - Sting!! And get a groove on to cleaning this house!4 hours later I have all of it done minus Trevor's office and decided that is what doors were invented for! To close them and not deal!! Trevor and the girls are back and Luke is home now too and it's time to get cooking! Trevor and I decided we'd make our famous Chili! It's hot hot hot!! But good good good!! as a starter, then we'd tuck into homemade Fajitas!! Now this is all veggie Fajitas!! So good. Trevor thought we'd change our fajitas a bit by adding mexican rice!! So yummy! Our friends the Purcell's have 3 kids too, they are younger than our kids but it works out great because Sky is in babystitting mode and loves kids! Britain too. Sky and Britain took care of their youngest who is 18 months old. Beautiful Elena. Lucas is 4 and adorable. So they watched him too and Luke and Reiley are good friends a year apart and that is how we all met from the boys swim team. They were in the same age group. They get on wonderfully as well. Kristen brought a delicious salad with mixed greens, walnuts, craisins, pear slices and avocado! I've never tasted a salad like this before and it was gorgeous!! She also brought avocado dip with pita chips, and she also introduced us to our new found favorite cheese! It's taken several trips to wholefood to taste all the vegan cheese's we could find and decide we didnt' like any of them! But Kristen brought Galaxy Rice Shreds for us!! Trevor, the kids and I love it! Kristen also brought Vegan cookies and vegan cupcakes from wholefoods! I was so surprised and impressed with the thought and effort Kristen put into bringing not only what we'd talked about but she went above and beyond with vegan extras! Overall the dinner and company was wonderful!! Our lovely guests only said wonderful compliments toward choices of foods! Trevor and I feel very comfortable now to want to invite more friends over to serve our new found love of Vegan food!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Simply Crepe's - Yummy!!

Today I had a big day of showing homes! From 9 am till 3:30. I showed my very favorite client and dear friend Nina homes! We saw so many different styled homes. The decor, layout even the back yards are so different depending on the price range of course!  That's what's cool. To see what you can get from $10,000 increments to $20,000 to $50,000! So fun!

Nina wanted to treat me to lunch. Being a Vegan now, Nina wanted to respect that and make sure wherever we went I'd be able to eat a healthy balanced meal. Our town recently about a year ago or so built a new shopping plaza with a ton of Restaurants in. It's called Lafayette Village. It's very beautiful and authentic shopping Village. Meant to look like a page out of France or England. Very European in decor.  We decided on eating at a restaurant called Simply Crepe's.

It is a very beautiful restaurant and it has a wide arrange of different crepe selections. Nina chose a chicken cream, crepe and I chose the chicken Mediterranean crepe. Now before you get all annoyed with me for choosing this dish you need to understand they have "substitutions" for meat. I was able to substitute chicken for tofu and got rid of the blue cheese. The crepe was made out of Buckwheat flour as well.

Mediterranean Chicken Crêpe *
Grilled chicken, hummus, fresh greens, red onion, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and tomatoes tossed in our house lemon oregano dressing
I thoroughly enjoyed it! We also got a side dish of potato wedges with yummy seasoning.

I'd recommend this place to anyone who lives in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill, Durham etc. Really well priced, nice ambiance and delicious!!

Any of you ever eaten a crepe? Any recipes you could share? Let us know,
we are always happy to learn a new dish!

Here is their website to check it out yourself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whole Food Supermarket, not just for shopping!

My girlfriend Joan and I met after my new Brian Buffini course in Cary, NC. I am in a new course for Real Estate and it's very good! It's basically a course teaching you as a sales person, because that is what I am. I am a sales person selling homes, helping others buy, invest or rent. Ultimately I am selling myself as I am my business and the product is the homes. You are raised with  manors and told how to treat people as you wish to be treated. But as we get older that sometimes gets in the way with making a living and struggling these days to just survive. Sometimes the Golden Rule isn't always being practiced! That's the only way I can think of it. We had a realtor/buyers agent, I hired her out of the yellow pages when I was calling from Massachusetts to relocate to Raleigh, NC over 5 1/2 yrs ago. The Internet wasn't the best place to look at the time as it is now. I wanted to speak to someone directly and find reassurance with our big move! Well I found a Realtor from HPW in Raleigh, NC and she seemed so nice and helpful.  Someone I could call for anything I needed from the best supermarket to Dentist/Doctor. She was even pregnant while we were building our house. We bought her a gift for her son and I really thought we bonded as woman do. Once the ink was dry on our $500,000 new home; we never saw or heard from her again. I remember feeling very hurt and slighted as I had trusted her completely and thought of her as a new friend. Nope, big fat realtor conspiracy. So when I decided to become a realtor, I was not going to treat my clients as she treated me. That's where this Brian Buffini course comes into play. Just helps you set a great foundation into any stage of your career. For me it's great, it really allows me to understand the big fundamentals of building a Real Estate Career. Well after this course this Wednesday, Joan and I had a lunch date planned to go over the subdivision's we wanted to run a campaign with. Joan lives in Cary and it's a town that is 45 mins away from Raleigh. I am not familiar with the area and she suggested several places to eat lunch.

She suggested TGIF's (been there done that), Ginger's an Indian Cuisine and Wholefoods Supermarket. I've recently enjoyed that last 2 times I've shopped in Wholefoods for special ingredients for our new vegan menus. So I thought Wholefoods would be nice to try.  I love the set up of the supermarket. The whole place is catered to being as healthy and holistic as possible with all products and they support the local community, 3rd world countries and the planet with recyclable containers they provide for their hot bar, only paper bags for your shopping and they have a wonderful humongous rain barrel that is used to feed all of their planets throughout and outside as well. It's the best super market I've ever been in. What I didn't realize is they also serve fresh made food daily at their salad, hot and cold food bar. What was pleasing to see is in their hot, cold and salad bar was a ton of Vegan dishes! I had no idea. As I was filling up my re-recycled box that would hold my salad I was smiling thinking how nice it is that Vegan's are having more options even in Supermarkets! I got a gorgeous salad with a taste of Balsamic Tofu on the side and a gorgeous helping of squash! Hot and delicious!! I was thinking how it would be great for Trevor and I to have a lunch or dinner date here! Wholefoods also holds classes on cooking healthier and Vegan cooking as well. It's just a fun store and I would recommend if you haven't checked out your local Wholefoods store, you should do so and enjoy participating in a market that actually gives back!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mac N Cheese - Update

Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Well we made the Mac N Cheese and it was a normal day in the Gardner house. Started off very well, then in the middle of filming we had Britain and Luke have a complete yelling match about something and then Skylar decided to play the Mommy role and start screaming at them to be quiet as we were filming so that got into the video as well. Needless to say I need to edit the video and add it to the blog.

Well we all did eat it. I thought it was good but had a kick. Skylar loved it and Britian tasted it and then immediately spit it out! Luke was very good and had 1 macaroni. He said he'd be a good boy and try it. I was pleased he'd at least try it. He ate it and his thoughts on the new Mac N Cheese were he hated it! So I think the issue with this recipe is it has garlic powder. Unfortunately the garlic powder is a bit too much. So I will not add this again to the next batch I make. I would also add more agave to sweeten it a bit. I'll post the recipe when I add the video. Unfortunately I had the "hallmark" moment of thinking the kids were going to love it and doubled the recipe and now we have a huge container in the fridge that nobody wants to eat! I think I might add more agave to the batch and reheat over the stove and see if that helps over power the taste of the garlic!

Wish me luck!! Your Vegan Mom in training!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan Mac N Cheese

Tomorrow for dinner, I'll be making the kids ultimate favorite dish that normally comes out of a box! Mac N Cheese!! Got a great recipe from Alicia Silvestone's The Kind Life website
All the other member'son The Kind Life are raving about this Mac N Cheese and give different recipe variations to this meal. I am going to make it step by step and see how it goes. I plan on videoing me making it. So you'll be able to see all the screw ups as I go about making it! I thought that would be fun for you and a good laugh for me!

I look forward to letting you all know how good or bad it is! Looks good though!

Till tomorrow!

Night, Kerri

Eat the Rainbow Black Bean Soup

Hey Everyone! What a great day today!! The weather feels like Indian Summer and the colors on the trees are so gorgeous! It's Fall Baby!!!I am a Fall Baby born Sept. 16th 1973! This is my favorite time of year!! I am in complete harmony with the weather/season!! I feel free and energetic and ready to start  each and every day with tons of excitement and looking forward to something wonderful happening. Constant POSITIVE feelings and desires to never give up on our financial freedom dreams, being the best Vegan possible as we learn, learn, learn and watching our kids grow up and become amazing adults!

I love our blog and enjoy writing in it and reading it but I also enjoy others' blogs on being Vegan too. I am signed up with other blog sites to constantly educate myself on what else is out there for Vegans! This recipe comes from one of them.  The blog is called "Fat Free Vegan" found at

I would recommend checking this site out as it's full of delicious recipes and gorgeous pictures and good conversation from the owner of the blog Susan V.

I have not made this soup yet but I am going to this weekend after a good shop!  Here are the picture and recipe. If you run out get the ingredients and make it first; please come back to the blog and comment and let us all know OK!

Happy Fall and Healthy Cooking!!

Life is good!

Eat the Rainbow Black Bean Soup

When you add greens to hot soup, they instantly wilt and practically disappear. So though I started with 4 cups of lettuce, each time I served this soup I wound up adding more lettuce or spinach to each bowl. Feel free to add as much as you like. Call the kids over so that they can watch as the soup absorbs ridiculous amounts of greenery.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red cabbage, chopped (or 1/2 large cabbage)
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cans (or 3 cups) cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or for smokiness without heat use smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon regular chili powder
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or water plus 2 servings bouillon)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chopped lettuce or spinach
  • salt to taste (optional)


  1. In a large pot or pressure cooker, saute the onions until they soften. Add the peppers and carrots and cook for another two minutes. Add the garlic and remaining vegetables and cook for another two minutes.
  2. For regular cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding additional water or vegetable broth as needed to keep a soupy consistency. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
  3. For pressure cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, remove from heat, and allow pressure to come down naturally. (If pressure is not down after 15 minutes, use a quick-release method.) Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
  4. For slow cooking: Place sauteed vegetables and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt into slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt and add additional seasonings, if necessary.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 169 calories, 9 calories from fat, 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 653.2mg sodium, 638.8mg potassium, 31.9g carbohydrates, 10.7g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 10.7g protein, 5 points.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fun Fact #2 - Benefits of Almond, Rice & Coconut Milk

Our favorites are Almond Breeze by Blue Almond Original & Vanilla. Our new found favorite is Trader Joe's Rice Milk - Vanilla. Not too crazy about the Coconut unsweetened. We buy the block bottle for Original and Vanilla Blue Almond/Almond Milk from BJ's. Both cost $3.69 and lasts all most a month!

Back of the Blue Almond Original Almond Milk.  What I call "fun facts"

Picked up these two milks to try from Trader Joe's. Both are $1.69
From newborn babies to children and then adults, we are all conditioned or programmed to start drinking breast or formula milk to cow's milk. NO exceptions! This is my personal observation for the past 37 yrs of my life. I never heard of soy, coconut, rice or almond milk for that matter until years ago. I only knew of Cow's milk and the different degrees of Cow's milk. From 1%, 2%, Whole milk (D) or Low fat.  Just these past 3 1/2 months I've learned so much about Soy, Rice, Almond and Coconut Milk.

When we decided to become Vegan's we had to think about the milk, dairy portion of our everyday lives and make sure we maintained a healthy balanced diet.

We just added Coconut and Rice milk to our diet this week. Skylar doesn't like either vanilla or original Almond's milk. Luke is still adamant about not drinking any milk since he's been convinced by his parents that he's lactose intolerant (our bad, but it is true, just wish he'd try!) and will not get it out of his head that all milk is bad. So Luke's a work in progress. Trevor, Britain and I have love the Almond Milk. Britain and I prefer Vanilla Almond Milk and Trevor prefers the original. Sky and I just tried the Coconut and the Rice milk and the Rice milk is delicious. The unsweetened Coconut milk is not so sweet and I think we'd prefer it sweetened.  But I am proud of all of us for trying and expanding our taste buds!

Here are the fun facts of each Non-Animal Based Milks!!

Brand: All Natural - Blue Almonds - Almond Milk (Vanilla or Original)
  • FREE OF: Dairy, Soy, Lactose, Cholesterol, Peanuts, Casein, Gluten, Eggs, Saturated Fat, and MSG
  • All Natural with Added Vitamins & Minerals
  • 50% More Calcium than Milk (1 cup of milk contains 276mg calcium VS. 1cup Almond Breeze unsweetened original or vanilla almond milk contains 457mg calcium. Milk from USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, release 22 (2009).
  • An excellent source of Vitamin D & E
  • Made from REAL Almonds
  • Contains no added sweeteners (original only)
  • low glycemic index (GI)
  • Vegan
  • No artificial Flavors or colors
  • No preservatives
Brand: All Natural - Trader's Joe's Vanilla Rice Drink (non-dairy beverage, unsweetened)
  • Enriched Vitamins A, D, B12 & Calcium
  • Gluten Free
  • Lactose and Dairy Free
  • Low Sodium
  • 99% Fat Free
  • Cholesterol Free
  • Soy Free
  • Vegan
  • No Artificial Colors or Flavors
  • No preservatives
Brand: All Natural - Trader Joe's- Coconut Milk (made from real coconut, unsweetened)

  • Excellent Source of Vitamins D, B12, A
  • Gluten Free
  • Lactose and Dairy Free
  • Soy Free
  • Vegan
  • No Artificial Colors, Flavors or Preservatives
  • Also a natural source of energy providing 3g Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) per serving - a form of fatty acid more readily metabolized than long chain of fatty acids and that helps to support metabolism.

Friday, September 30, 2011


A week back from vacation and the week flew by! Here it is Friday, September 30th and low and behold we had an amazing situation turn up!! Skylar was still tracked out and we had let her have a sleep over party on Thursday night with her best friend Cassidy. Cassidy's Mom had asked me if the girls were busy and if they could sleep over tonight! Any parent who has been a parent for about as long as Trevor and I have almost 13 yrs will never turn down any parent asking your permission to have your kids over!! Are you kidding me! We love our kids but just had 9 days of vacation with them and even though we have wonderful memories and I blogged about them so they are written down for us to reminisce anytime! Trevor and I miss the days when we can just do what we want when we want. When you have kids you have to plan everything and save for a babysitter as typically the cost of the babysitter was just as much as the Date!  So these dates are far and few between! Well one wonderful turn of events turned into 2 when I got a call from our neighbor Cam who asked if Luke could spend the night with their boys! Seriously wanted to pinch myself; not only did we have our girls going on a sleep over party; we had Luke doing the same and on the same night!! What does this mean? It means a spontaneous DATE NIGHT with my man!! Also beyond best part NO PAYING FOR A BABYSITTER AND NO CURFEW!! What a parents dream!! We can come and go as we please, choose where and how long we want to stay out till and not have to check in with anyone!! Seriously this doesn't happen often!! I called Trevor and said "guess what!?" Trevor said "What?" (didn't see that coming did you! ha ha) Well I explained our new found exciting predicament and he was thrilled. Of course once again when you are a parent for as long as we have been and have a standing weekend routine just like our week we are now in the "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO PREDICAMENT!". Sad isn't it, these moments remind me of a time when we first got married 16 yrs ago when it was a Friday or mid week and we felt like going out and we'd say to one another "what do you want to do tonight? then the other one says "I don't know, what do you want to do?" Do you all remember these times, and then the questions keep going back and forth until one of us figures it out or suggests something!!  Well Trevor being the amazing man I married, surprised me when he got home with several printed out restaurant menu's and low and behold VEGAN one's to boot! We settled on a restaurant called IRREGARDLESS Cafe & Catering! The funny thing is Trevor said "well the pictures look like its' a retirement home filled with old people but the menu sounds good and it's received great reviews." Well I said " lets do it, until we go we'll never know what it's like and if they have great vegan meals!" So off we went downtown Raleigh to venture into our first CATERING TO VEGAN'S RESTAURANT!! Very exciting!! We drove downtown and looked for the first parking garage. Little did we know, Trevor looked for the restaurant online and the address, but what he failed to do was look at the address in comparison to  distance of the parking garage and we ended up walking for over a 1/2 an hour to the restaurant! It was truly an adventure because on the way to the restaurant we were walking farther away from the main hot spots in the city and the street lights were diminishing as well and I was getting nervous. Then we started to see life again and passed the Raleigh Prison! Yes, you read right! The Raleigh, North Carolina Corrections Facility!! How safe did we feel! Not too safe but then again the rest of the buildings surrounding this restaurants were lawyer's and police and believe it or not residential from homes to apartment buildings! Who the hell thought of this layout? Stupid and beyond crazy how our little city of Raleigh is laid out!  Well just when we thought our feet are going to break off from walking so frigging long! Low and behold we found the restaurant! You know what was funny we thought the heavy metal band that was playing at an outside concert was the restaurant and as much as I love live bands, I dislike heavy metal bands. Not for me or Trevor for that matter.  No the restaurant was right next to it! So we heard a lot of heavy metal playing as we walked into the restaurant that looked as old as it smelt! Mothballs! Trevor was right it was a highlight for most 60 yrs old and up. We were not the minority as there was 20 yrs old and 30 yrs old like us but there was definitely more gray hair there then not! We decided we were not going to walk back to the center of the city to find another restaurant and try this one out. We had a lovely waitress and ordered our first ever Vegan dishes.

Here are some pictures of our dinner and the website

Our gorgeous appetizer!! The pita wedges were freshly made and hot right out of the oven!

Our main dishes came with house salads and they were refreshing and delicious!!

My gorgeous guy Trevor enjoying his salad and pita bread wedge.

Thought I'd try a Peartini! So yummy and sweet and delicious!

Trevor's veggie curry! Beautifully presented just a bit sweet &  no kick in sight.

My Acorn Squash Cassolette was presented beautifully as well.
I preferred the baked beans to the black beans. Taste was different, texture was fine.
 I love black beans and typically have them several times a week.

For our appetizer we had:


A Middle Eastern appetizer featuring a scoop of hummus, tabouli, and butter bean pâté. Served with grilled pita wedges & kalamata olives.
For our main dishes I had:
Slow roasted acorn squash stuffed with a melange of roasted vegetables, served on a bed of black
turtle beans with red beets spiced with cumin & tomatoes and white navy beans with golden beets
spiced with grilled pineapple & carrots. Served with fresh roasted corn and green pea salsa. $16

Trevor had:
A mixture of fresh sautéed cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, squashes and onions with our secret
curry recipe served over lentil brown rice, with orange cranberry ginger chutney topped with walnuts. $16

Our dinner was wonderful; we had tons of exciment besides the Jazz player/singer. Outside the Heavy Metal Live Band was marsh pitting and getting very rowdy that 6 cruisers pulled up and 5 ambulances! We didn't know if the Heavy Metal Band was full blown Chaos and the calvary had to come! But it was obvisous either it was happening or they were preparing for it to happen! After dinner we thought it best to get our pigs a barking again and get to our parking garage. We got home, watched a movie with some more drinks and had one of the best spontaneous date nights ever!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Work BBQ - Boca Burgers Beyond!!

Every last Tuesday of the month Prudential - York Simpson Underwood - North Hills office puts on a Lunch Bunch date for all Agents to get together with one another and enjoy some fun quality time!! I feel these lunches have allowed me to get to know my fellow agents on a more personal level. I look forward to them every time!

Sept. 27th was our Parking Lot BBQ and I was looking forward to hanging outside with my new friends. I was also curious to see what would be served! We have an amazing administrator Eileen Finnigan who is so wonderful. She runs the show at our office and never forgets anyone's birthday or special facts like I am vegan and made an extra effort to include me in the BBQ!  There was fresh onions, tomatoes, pickles, potato chips, potato salad, Cole slaw and all the condiments made on this earth!

I got in line and I eagerly awaited to fill up my plate and choose the best vegan choices as possible. I was looking at this huge grill that reminded me of a pig roasting grill and smelt all the poor cows and pigs grilling on that grill and hoped I had a choice for a non-meat burger!  Low and behold, Eileen did her thing and headed out to Costco to purchase veggie burgers. BOCA BURGER is the name of the brand on that box and the picture on the box looked delicious and I was hoping it would taste as good as the picture. I had to wait a bit as the chefs were not sure how to cook veggie burgers compared to the nasty slain beef and pork. But the wait was worth it! Those Boca Burgers were beyond delicious!! I loved it so much and felt like I was eating a meat burger the taste was so similar.  Loving the fact that it was just veggie and an amazing flavor of spices and herbs to make it taste so good!  I had two of them and a plate full of potato chips, fresh tomato, onion and pickles. I will admit my stomach wanted to taste for one last time potato salad and Cole slaw. They both look good  and my old taste buds wanted to try "one last time" but my stomach was not thrilled for the tiny amount I had placed on my plate. I was sick about an hour after I'd eaten.  Gotta learn the hard way! I know better as my stomach doesn't receive cream, milk or any dairy products so why do I still put myself through this every so! It's my learning curve. I mean after 37 years being conditioned to eat one way, it will take years to get "Going Vegan" right! But if you are looking for an amazing veggie burger!! Boca Burger's is the one I'd suggest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 9 - Last Day of our Vacation; bitter sweet day!

This day was very welcomed as we were so ready not to be driving anywhere again but to our home. This day was also very sad as we do not plan on going on vacation again until June 2012 when we are going to fly to England and visit Trevor's family and partake in a 2 week Canal Boat Holiday! This vacation is going to be beyond awesome as Trevor and I have been wanting to take the kids back to England to see their heritage, show them where Trevor grew up, where we lived while I first lived there for 3 yrs before moving back to the states and taking my new hubby with me.  This was 14 yrs ago! We also love to be outdoors and this is a new version of camping but on water!  OK, back to the last day of our vacation.

We made sure we packed up most of our suitcases and anything we didn't need to have waiting for us in the morning to hold us up from getting on the road on time. We got up fairly early as we wanted to make sure we got the complimentary breakfast.  Once again we made the breakfast as Vegan as possible. We pretty much had everything we ate the day before; oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar and water. Toast or bagels with jam. OJ, Apple Juice. Luke is a huge cereal eater but he's also lactose intolerant and I really believe this happened when we moved here to Raleigh, NC 5 1/2 yrs ago when we switched up Luke's milk from Massachusetts to North Carolina Milk and he was about 15 months old and his body didn't take the change well and had the runs for days until I realized it was the milk.  So Luke and Britain had dry cereal. There was a wonderful selection of fruit! Trevor and I a huge lover's of cantaloupe. We had a huge bowl of cantaloupe, honey dew melon and pineapple. So refreshing!!

We had a wonderful breakfast and took one last walk around the gorgeous Hilton Head Resort and said a sad farewell and got into the car to drive 5 hours back to our house!  Overall we had a wonderful vacation and we enjoyed every day of it! Trevor and I did agree we thought the vacation was too short, as the saying goes "we needed a vacation from our vacation". No one's vacation is ever perfect! There are fights, disagreements, compromises, and weather that you cannot control but overall it's about the memories made perfect or not and that is what we did!  We also learned a lot about being "Vegan on Vacation" It's not easy and it needs to be planned out. That is my goal for the next vacation! It is also my plan for our daily lives. Breakfast and Lunch is so easy but Dinner is the killer! I've loaded up my library with books called "Vegan Lunch Box", "Living Vegan and Cooking Vegan for Dummies". I am currently reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids". We are only 3 1/2 months into our new eating lifestyle and it's has been interesting, frustrating, wonderful and yes a ton of tears from me and the kids making our new eating lifestyle not be a quick fad!  But I truly feel if you are armed with knowledge and a full desire to do the right thing by your body, animals and our planet, I think you can keep persevering and making better food choices on a daily basis. What is the saying that makes so much sense "inch by inch its a sinch but yard by yard its' hard!". Basically one day at a time! That's all we can do! Please enjoy our pictures of our last day on vacation!!!

Thanks for reading and remember any comments, questions, suggestions, we'd love to hear about them!

Beautiful Pool, great location, got constant sun and was a nice temp inside at all times!

Our hotel room is the on the top floor, 2nd balcony on the left. We were on the 5th floor and Luke of course wanted to
 see how he could jump off it! Is it me or does all boys try to risk their lives on a continuous basis?

Beautiful open Foyer right in the middle of our hotel!

View looking up from the 1st floor up to our 5th floor! Great Architecture Design.

This is the view looking down from our 5th floor in the open Foyer.

Last day on vacation in Gorgeous Hilton Head Island, SC. Hilton Head Resort.

We had a gorgeous view at our breakfast table!
Beautiful last day, wished we had 1 day more at the beach!

Placing our orders for drinnks and tea, and we self served ourselves for breakfast.

View from our breakfast table! Seriously breathe taking!