Blog Archives

Guest post: Kim’s meatless year

Hello friends! While I am still gathering my thoughts and photos on what to post next for myself, please welcome my friend Kim! Kim is a foodie and blogger who has recently decided to go meat free for an entire year and document her journey in a new blog: Meatless 365

I know many of you who read my blog are vegetarian or vegan, but I just ask that you keep an open mind and respect another opinion that may be differing from yours. I know you will 🙂 Thanks!

Hi!  My name is Kim Davidson.  Sarah and I have been friends for about 2 years now and she has been such an encouragement to me.  I am a writer, cook, and photographer in Raleigh, NC. In addition to Meatless 365, I also post recipes, writings, and photos at my regular website, Kd316 and you can also follow my Tweets @kd316.

Sarah sent me a few questions to answer in this post, so here it goes!

1. What made you decide to go meatless?

Honestly, I woke up one day and said, “what would make people go meatless for a year?” and posed that question on social media forums.  Got a bunch of answers, but mostly: “for real? You gotta be kidding me!”  So, that really challenged me.  I said, “I can do this!”  And after that initial moment of pure will power, I knew it would be a challenge for me, a chance to spice up my kitchen, and get me excited about cooking and eating again.  Sometimes, you just get bored – even someone like me, who loves being in the kitchen!

2. What are you hoping to gain from going meatless for a year?

A new love for my kitchen and things that grow in the ground.  A new love for my kitchen: sometimes, even though I love meat, I get bored with the same things.  So, I want to try new healthy things and healthy foods in different ways.  And, things that grow in the ground: I don’t want to survive on processed foods for a year either (granola bars, etc).  I want to get natural foods in my body to help me feel and move better!  I know there are so many vitamins and minerals and other good “things” in foods that grow in the ground, so cool how God made things that would help us live better lives!  I also want to strengthen my food photography skills.  I would love to write for food magazines and use my photos to bring out the brilliant colors in vegetables and food.  There is beauty in food.  As Emerson said; “Beauty is God’s handwriting.”

3. Do you think at the end of 365 days, you will continue to abstain from meat?

I have already considered that; and I probably won’t.  But, I will eat meat a lot less than I do now (or did), but I don’t feel any food is BAD for you, but just eaten in moderation.  I will hopefully have found wonderful recipes to keep eating and trying new recipes in the years to come.  I like bbq, steak, and bacon too much to cut it out entirely for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to be kicked out of my family (my family loves meat!)

4. Has anyone asked you “but where will you get your protein?” yet?

One of the first questions I got.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Like there isn’t any protein other than meat.  I told this person, “why yes, I am!”  I love raw nuts, greens, legumes, cheese, dairy, nut butters, seafood, eggs.  So many ways to get healthy sources of real protein without going to meat or “fake meat”.

5. What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this experiment?

I love to cook for other people.  I think I will have to be creative when doing that and maybe even cook meat meals for them, which isn’t a problem.  Also, eating with my family.  My brother grills a good steak and we love bbq.  But, for this year, I’ll have to be prepared and have salmon when they have steak.  All those healthy fats and vitamins! 🙂

Any last words?

Happy food journey – whatever you eat.

Thanks, Kim! I look forward to following you on your journey and can’t wait to see what all you experience throughout. I hope you will do a follow-up for us at the end of the year!

Is anyone else out there going meat free this year? Want to write about it?

Woman’s Day

Is this thing on?

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Howdy strangers! Just a quick bit of news to share with you.

For those of you who might’ve missed it on Twitter, I recently did a “Food Blogger Friday” post for The Daily WD, the blog for Woman’s Day magazine.

In the post, I talked about why Larabars are one of my favorite snacks. I hope you’ll check it out 🙂 Thanks Abby for the opportunity!

Have a great weekend!

p.s. It would also appear that I managed to post over at River City Fitness today too!

Sticking to the plan

Go check out my guest post over at Namaste Mari, where I share my running story! 🙂

I decided earlier today that during these last two weeks of training, I am going to do my best to follow the program. The weather is no longer an issue and my schedule is pretty flexible so I should be able to do it.

Today was 3 miles! I ended up putting off today’s run until after dinner! The weather has been so nice, I thought it would be a good thing to do and that way I could get more done during the day.

It wasn’t as easy a run as the one on Saturday but after the first lap (1.5 miles) I was in the zone and hoping to get done within thirty minutes…success!

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Time: 29:59
  • Avg. pace: 9:59/mile

I came back and stretched for a while and took a nice hot shower. And enjoyed some wine and strawberries 🙂

Do you follow a specific training plan? Or do you just wing it?

Guest post: Amanda's running story

Hi Everyone!

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My name is Amanda and I blog over at Two Boos Who Eat with my husband Andy. I was pretty excited to write a guest post for Sarah. Her blog is one of my favorites. I’ve been reading it for quite for some time!

I grew up with a marathon runner. My father runs anywhere from 25-45 miles a week! Growing up, I spent a lot of time at races and the running club my dad was a member of. I always felt that running was in my blood but never found a time to start.

I remember the first time I tried to run. I figured it would be easy. I could only run for about 30 seconds before practically passing out! I was out of breath, sore and tired. I kept at it and eventually was able to run a mile. (Though, I admit I’m still pretty slow. I can maybe run a 12 minute mile.) I honestly can’t believe how difficult running felt for me at first. I started to think that I would never be able to do it!

I started using the Couch to 5k program 9 weeks ago to help train myself for my first 5k. I’m running with my husband on March 27th! The Couch to 5k program is an excellent tool to help a new runner get off the couch and out running. I never would have imagined that I could run 3 miles! It’s a little scary being a new runner and I’ve experienced some pain along the way.

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My knees and heel on my right leg have been killing me. I went to a running store where they had me try on several pairs of shoes for people with motion control/stability issues. I wish I had bought these shoes earlier! I’m wearing Brooks Ariels. I also invested in a shoe wallet so I can run outside without holding my id or my keys.

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Buying an ice pack for my knee has helped tremendously too. It’s hilarious to me that I have given up junk food and soda for things like running shoes, shoe wallets and ice packs.

My first 5k is on March 27th and I hope to finish. I decided to stop giving myself a goal time because I should be thankful for the ability to finish over anything else. Slow and steady wins the race. I hope to continue running and would love to sign up for more races in the future.

Thanks for letting me guest post Sarah!

It is so good to be back in town but I am so glad to have left for a while because these have been the most amazing guest posts! I am so inspired by these ladies and I know you all are too. Thanks Amanda and good luck on the 27th!!

Guest post: My First 5K

Hi! My name is Mari from Namaste Mari and before I go on to tell you about my first 5K experience, can I just say how honored I am that Sarah chose me to do a guest post on her blog. Especially since she is one of the people that motivated me to run my first 5K. Ever since I started to follow her blog, she has inspired me with all the amazing things that she has done to make herself healthier in every aspect of her life!

Before I tell you all about my big day…let me just give you a little back story on me, if you don’t mind =)

A few years ago I was overweight and extremely unhappy in my own skin. After a really bad year, I decided to make a change! I went from eating fast food almost every single day to watching my portions and filling up on fruits and veggies instead of super sized fries. I also started to workout religiously…I went from weighing 220 lbs to dropping down to 138 lbs. I was even featured in Self magazine.

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However the quote in Self haunted me “I wanted to be the girl I envied, running down the street. Now I am, and I owe it all to Self!”. By the time this article was published my running was sidelined because of an injury; I developed plantar fasciitis.

Every time I would try to pick up running again, something would stop me dead in my tracks but this year was different…this was going to be MY year. I made a vow to myself that I would run my first 5K before the end of the 2010.  My plan was to run my first race in May but Jess from Fit Chick in the City encouraged me to run The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K Race at the end of March. I used the Couch to 5K Training regiment and I found it extremely helpful. It was easier to tackle this challenge one week at a time instead of looking at the big picture and getting discouraged. I joined a gym and would train whenever I would get a chance. I also found a great running partner on the other end of the Coast! Amanda from Two Boos Who Eat was also training for her first 5K and we became a great support system for one another! (Wish her luck on her upcoming race!).

When the race drew closer, I started to train in the park so that I could get accustomed to running on hills. A few days before the race, I started to develop pain in my shins…probably from the hills in the park Crap what did I do? I asked Jess for some advice and she basically told me to stop running until the race…she said one thing that stuck with me “do you want to run tomorrow or do you want to run for the rest of your life?”… the choice was simple. I took her advice and just relaxed for the next couple of days.

Race Day!

I could not have asked for a better day! The sun was shining and the sky was blue…the temperature was around 40 degrees…great running conditions. The race started at 9am but we got there a little early and it was a ghost town.

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My nerves were getting the best of me but having my family there was very reassuring, they even made me a sign. (titi is auntie in spanish…my niece held the sign)

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I  reluctantly parted ways with my family and found my place in line…before I knew it, the ghost town was filled with around 6 Thousand people!

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My legs were trembling either from the cold or fear…I started to talk to the lady next to me and told her I felt like I was about to go onto a Rollercoaster ride…you know that feeling? when you are excited to go on the ride but there is a little voice in the back of your mind, telling you to get off of the line.

Before I knew it, it was time!  I was off running my first race…

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I felt so great and then BOOM reality hit…THE HILLS! The race was being held in Washington Heights which is known for it’s hills and boy did I feel them. There were times that I just wanted to stop but I dedicated the 5K to my grandmother who passed away two years ago and I promised myself that I would make her proud. I fed off the energy of the people cheering and all the bands playing along the route and knowing that my family would be there at the finish line. I ran! I ran up and down those hills, I ran when I thought I had nothing left in me…I RAN!

And just like that I ran right through the finish line! (I completed the race in 33:06)

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The minute my legs crossed that line, my eyes filled with tears! I was filled with so much emotion, I finally did it! I went and hugged my family and sobbed like I just completed the NYC marathon because to me, I just did!

This is only the beginning for me…I can not wait to conquer many more!

Thank you for reading my recap and once again, thank you Sarah for including me in your guest posts!

Namaste…

Guest Post: ToFoo Yung

I am currently enjoying the beautiful state of North Carolina! Since there is not a lot of time to blog, I have another awesome guest post coming your way.

Please welcome Carrie who is not only a vegan and yoga teacher, but an awesome cook as well! Thanks Carrie for sharing this recipe with us, I can’t wait to make it when I get home 🙂

Egg Foo Yung is a typical Chinese American dish that you might find at your local take-out joint.  Basically an omelet filled with veggies, and traditionally deep fried, although many home cooks pan fry their Egg Foo Yung. 

Egg Foo Yung was derived to please Western palates and is based on the more traditional Chinese dish of Fu Yung Egg Slices from Shanghai. 

Egg Foo Yung is one of the few Chinese dishes that does not come cooked in sauce, but rather with a brown sauce or gravy on the side. 

The vegetables in Egg Fu Yung vary greatly but often consist of celery, onions, bamboo shoots, and almost always mung bean sprouts

Different from an omelet, in Egg Fu Yung the vegetables are actually combined with the egg before frying rather than folded in the middle.

A batch of freshly sprouted mung beans is actually what lead to the creation of this vegan version of Egg Foo Yung, or ToFoo Yung, if you will! 

I have a huge batch of mung beans that just came out of the sprouter, and I was looking for ways to use them up.  Salads and stir-fry seemed so boring, then it hit me; Egg Foo Yung!

This dish comes together in less than 30 minutes, and is a great BLD (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).  Serve it with a side of stir fried broccoli and garlic for a complete meal.

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ToFoo Yung
Serves 2

  • ½ block Extra Firm Tofu (pressing is not necessary for this dish)
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup freshly sprouted mung beans
    **bean sprouts are available in the produce section of
    your grocery store if you do not have sprouter.
  • 2 tsp. Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish

For Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cup mock chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 3 Tbs. Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbs. agave nectar
  • 1 ½ Tbs corn starch
  • 4 Tbs. cold water

Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and set aside.  Begin heating 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet (you want your pan and oil to get screaming hot).  In a large bowl add all Foo Yung ingredients (to cilantro), crumbling tofu over veggies.

Using you hands, squish together tofu and veggies, as if you were making a meatloaf.  Add tofu-veggie mixture to screaming hot skillet, then using a wooden spoon press it around the bottom of the skillet to form a thin layer (like and omelet or a pancake). 

Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until bottom of tofu layer is browned.  Using a large spatula flip tofu mixture over (keeping it together as best possible, and pressing any bits that fell apart back together).  Reduce heat to medium and continue to brown on opposite side.

While second side of tofu is browning, in a small sauce pan add stock, tamari and agave and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, re-stir cornstarch mixture and whisk into broth.  Reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness (should be the consistency of gravy).

Again, using a large spatula plate the ToFoo Yung on a dish, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve sauce on the side to pour over at the table.

I’d like to finish up by thanking Sarah for letting me guest post for her this week and share this exciting recipe with you. (It was my pleasure, isn’t she amazing?!)

If you liked this recipe visit me at The Happy Vegan Yogini for more great vegan recipes.

Guest post: Run, Bianca, Run!

Hello, friends! I am currently in the midst of North Carolina and there’s not much time to think about blogging. Thankfully, I have another awesome guest post to share, this time from another vegan runner! Thanks Bianca, for sharing your story 🙂

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Hello. I’m Bianca — vegan, aspiring cookbook author, and the blogger behind Vegan Crunk. Sarah asked me to fill in for a day while she’s away.

On my Vegan Crunk blog, I typically stick to posts and food porn pics from my upcoming Southern vegan cookbook or from recipes I’ve made from my large collection of other people’s published vegan volumes (I’m a big cookbook hoarder!).

I rarely post about fitness goals or routines, though I hit up the gym five days a week.

Since I’ve been following Sarah’s blog, I’ve been inspired to push my workouts even further — namely to start running. A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t even dream of moving my feet faster than a brisk walk. The few times I’d tried jogging, I was out of breath within seconds.

I wouldn’t have considered myself out of shape by any means. For the past several years, I’ve taken weekly spinning, Zumba, boxing, and cardio aerobics classes with no problems. For some reason though, I simply could not run.

I’d almost resigned myself to never, ever running, but I can’t stand to fail at anything. I’ve always believed I can do anything I set my mind to, so I set a crazy goal: by this fall, I will run (even if it’s only part of the way) in Memphis’ annual St. Jude Half-Marathon (which raises money for children’s cancer research).

My friend Lindsey sent me the running program she uses, which starts you out with a little running time, then a little walking time, some more running time, and so on for 30 minutes. As you improve, you move up to increasing running time and decreasing walking time.

Here’s the program:

  • First step: 2 min. running/4 min. walking (repeat 5x)
  • Second step: 3 min. running/3 min. walking (5x)
  • Third step: 5 min. running/2.5 min. walking (4x)
  • Fourth Step: 7 min. running /3 min. walking (3x)
  • Five Step: 8 min. running /2 min. walking (3x)
  • Sixth Step: 9 min. running/2 min. walking/8 min. running./2 min. walking/9 min. running (1x)
  • Seventh Stop: 9 min. running/1 min. walking (3x)
  • Eighth Step: 13 min. running/2 min. walking (2x)
  • Ninth Step: 14 min. running/1 min. walking (2x)
  • Tenth Step: 30 min running!

So far, I’m on Step Three, and though it may not seem like much, running for five minutes straight is a big deal for me. You can go through one step per week if you choose, but I’m taking my time.

I’m aiming to do each one at least 10 times before moving on, but those running sessions are peppered in between my regular boxing, Pilates, and spinning classes. At that rate, it’s taken me about one month per step.

Hope this program helps any aspiring runners out there! See ya on the running track!

I am so thrilled for Bianca and I know she will be able to meet her goal. I used a program nearly identical to this one back in September 2007 and here I am training for my second half marathon. I never thought I would be a runner either, so those of you who want to run, give it a shot!

Guest post: Food mantras

I am currently on my way to a conference out of state and not sure how much time I will have to blog so instead of worrying about it, I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers!

So without further ado, please welcome Kim 🙂

A few weeks ago I thought about my food mantras.  I just now looked up the definition – and it came to watchword: a word or motto that embodies a principle or guide to action of an individual or group. 

Sounds good to me – so here we go! 

I am single and have $75 budgeted to spend on food and eating out in a given week. 

I will soon be living in a place that has tons of great restaurants, a farmer’s market year round and open every day, a Harris Teeter ½ mile from my apartment, a Whole Foods, and a Trader Joes all within a 10 minute drive.  Gotta love that!

So now that you know my background, here are my personal food mantras:

1. EAT LESS.

We have all been told to lose weight you need to eat less.  I’m not just talking about eating less – I want to take it one step further.  I want to eat smaller, healthier portions.  I can eat a whole pound of asparagus and pound of carrots, whole things of broccoli and cauliflower if you let me. 

But, even though all those vegetables are good for me, it does nothing to work on self-discipline and portion control.  Eating on small plates, using smaller Tupperware to bring lunch in to work, using measuring cups and small bowls for things like oatmeal and morning cereal.  I mean, who of us can’t eat 3 bowls of any of our favorite cereal? (Sarah’s note: I definitely can!)

2. EAT BETTER.

I have now almost completely cut out all processed foods from my diet. But, potato chips (even good ones) still make it into the grocery cart; some frozen dinners make it in there as well. I want to make all my salad dressings (which I currently do), granola bars, meals, snacks, etc.

Maybe I’ll start buying mostly organic, but I don’t know that yet – especially the few times I eat meat, organic meat is so expensive! I don’t think I want to go to a CO-OP of CSA because of the NC State Farmers Market that will be so close to me in a month.

I am also excited to learn more about canning so I can do something with all these fresh fruits and vegetables.  For me, eating better is about balance. I love dairy – cheese, milk, and yogurt – that is all processed. 

For bread, I use Arthur’s sandwich thins, which are also processed.  I would definitely make my own bread before I made/bought my fresh/raw dairy, but it’s about balance.  Even the wheat flour for my homemade bread has been processed – and I don’t have the money to buy my own wheat mill. 
3. SHOP MORE.

I have learned a lot in the process of cleaning out my fridge/freezer to prepare for a move in 2 weeks.  There is so much that will be going to waste – even from freezer burn or simply running out of time.  I need to have less stocked up and buy fresher ingredients.

So, I want to go weekend farmers market shopping and then supplement that with a trip to Trader Joes, Harris Teeter or Super Wal-Mart to get the random things I need.  I want to plan my menu by what’s on sale and what I want for those few days then start the process over again. 

That means my meals will be more seasonal and definitely fresher!  (And less processed!)
4. SPEND LESS.

Am I really thinking this through? How can all these mantras work? I have figured out that if I do the first three things (Eat Less, Eat Better, Shop More), than I will actually accomplish this last one.

I will waste less food, buy less because I’ll be eating less, and be pickier about what I buy.  And in turn my food will taste great, I’ll stay on my budget because I won’t be wasting as much or buying what will go bad before I can eat it, and I’ll eat less of fabulous food.

I’ve learned this: better quality food tastes better so you are less likely to eat a TON of it because you are satisfied with just a sweet delectable bite!

Thank you, Kim for sharing those amazing tips! For more, check out Kim’s food blog, My State of Food.

Almond butter is awesome

Thanks everyone for your feedback on how often you post your meals.

I’m definitely still giving it a lot of thought and I think I’m close to making a decision about how I want this blog to “flow” 🙂

Breakfast on Wednesday was pumpkin oat bran with raisins and almond butter.

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I love, love, love peanut butter but man…there is just something about almond butter, I can’t explain it. It’s just awesome! Yeah, I suck at writing titles by the way.

I had black coffee and nuts mid-morning but forgot to photograph them.

Lunch was a Morningstar Grilled Chik’n patty with hummus on whole wheat bread and a side salad with balsamic.

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Don’t worry, that was only half the salad I packed in the container!

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My salads have been pretty boring but mostly I’m just trying to use ‘em up before they go out of date!

I had some Jasmine tea after lunch, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

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Then my afternoon snack was a banana and peanut butter.

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I think I am doing pretty good on my No Bars During Lent challenge. It’s made me realize a lot of things, one of which is that I’m missing out on eating stuff like this!

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I think once Lent is over, I might keep a couple of bars in the pantry for emergencies or times when I can’t make another snack but I definitely want to try to keep this up long term.

Later, I drank this after my awesome gym workout.

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I’m afraid I might be trading one $1/day habit for another. Hmm…

That V-water is my favorite though, it tastes just like Tang and I mean that in a good way 😉

When I got home from the gym, I was hungry enough that I needed something to hold me over while I cooked dinner, so I snacked on some more nuts.

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Speaking of nuts, check out my guest post over at Trading Up Downtown, where I learned about NuVal scores and “traded up” a few of my products (including these nuts, which score a 49, compared to a 9 for cashews).

Next up, a girl’s night potluck recap where I made a dish I have never tried before!

Challenge update

Check out my “You Are What You Eat” guest post over at Carrots ‘n Cake!

So, last week, I challenged myself to write  7 letters or cards to people I hadn’t seen or talked to in a while. How did I do?

Well…I managed to get out 4 but after that bunch, it was hard to keep it up. However, those people were very glad to hear from me, so not all was lost and it was still very rewarding for me.

What’s new for this week? I HAVE NO IDEA 🙂

I was thinking, coming up with a new challenge every week is getting rather…well, challenging! Ha.

Since July 1st is just around the corner, I thought, why not make the jump to monthly challenges? Great idea!

Plus it gives me time to come up with one 😉 Unless you all can make a suggestion?

Hope you all are having a good week so far. I’m still being lazy and haven’t bought new batteries for the camera yet but when I do, there will be more pictures again!

Good night..