Eating For Energy

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.