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I forgot to post this awhile back but my girlfriend got me some frozen fruit & veggie bars by Dreyer’s. They’re about as natural as possible for a major brand and were pretty good.

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Another great local discovery! I’m not sure if I ever heard of this place but it’s not too far away. It’s a little bit closer than some of the drives I do to get to the vegan restaurants I usually frequent. It’s in a much nicer neighborhood than mine so the customers don’t look like my neighbors and the prices reflect it. But man, the baked goods are amazing! It’s not all vegan but I’d say that most of their baked goods are vegan. In particular, I love their avocado on toast offering. True, I could make a simplified version at home but then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy their lovely smoothies and baked goods. If my belly can afford it, I’ll save a lot of money if I learn some comparable recipes!

Another great local discovery! I’m not sure if I ever heard of this place but it’s not too far away. It’s a little bit closer than some of the drives I do to get to the vegan restaurants I usually frequent. It’s in a much nicer neighborhood than mine so the customers don’t look like my neighbors and the prices reflect it. But man, the baked goods are amazing! It’s not all vegan but I’d say that most of their baked goods are vegan. In particular, I love their avocado on toast offering. True, I could make a simplified version at home but then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy their lovely smoothies and baked goods. If my belly can afford it, I’ll save a lot of money if I learn some comparable recipes!

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I was craving some Mexican food, tortas especially, but didn’t want to compromise too much by veganizing something at a regular place, nor did I want to have to drive far. Why isn’t there any decent place near me? I’ve not looked for somewhere new in a long time so I decided to see what’s out there. Much to my surprised, I discovered a regular place that has a vegan menu with mock meats/dairy products. I saw they had a torta on the menu. I was sold. I enjoyed the new discovery so much that I went back a few days later. Their desserts need work and maybe they don’t have to be so heavy on the dairy alternatives, but I really am going to appreciate this place in the days to come. If only they would open later for those times you want dinner late. One day I’ll go for their breakfast options. (Yes, they have vegan breakfast!)

I was craving some Mexican food, tortas especially, but didn’t want to compromise too much by veganizing something at a regular place, nor did I want to have to drive far. Why isn’t there any decent place near me? I’ve not looked for somewhere new in a long time so I decided to see what’s out there. Much to my surprised, I discovered a regular place that has a vegan menu with mock meats/dairy products. I saw they had a torta on the menu. I was sold. I enjoyed the new discovery so much that I went back a few days later. Their desserts need work and maybe they don’t have to be so heavy on the dairy alternatives, but I really am going to appreciate this place in the days to come. If only they would open later for those times you want dinner late. One day I’ll go for their breakfast options. (Yes, they have vegan breakfast!)

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I went to two different vegan food festivals. First was the Los Angeles Vegan Beer & Food Festival, next was WorldFest. Needless to say, I am stuffed! I’m not a big drinker, didn’t get into beer until recent years, so the beer festival never interested me until I found out they have a lot of food trucks and restaurants represented there. I was sold! I think I went to WorldFest before or some very tiny indoor vegan festival when I first went vegan. Anyway, I wasn’t that into it. I went particularly for one food vendor but they weren’t even selling the dish of theirs I like.

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Weekend = pancakes. It’s been awhile. Banana and blueberries inside, pomegranate seeds on top.

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Happy Herbivore

I’ve been trying to cook a little more this and so far have only made items from the Happy Herbivore series. I chose these books because it represents what good vegan is for me, which is more plant based and less about veganized mock omnivore heavily processed alternatives. I might just stick with these books for the month and see how many recipes I can get through. A grander plan would’ve been to try a vegan version of “Julie & Julia” this year and go through my cookbooks. Too many cookbooks. Too many untried recipes.

Items pictured: granola bars, vegetables with mushroom gravy, mock hamburger helper.

I’ve made the granola bars before. I add peanut butter and use carob chips instead of chocolate chips. I consider it my Clif bar replacement but I don’t make them often enough so I’m still a Clif bar addict. This time I doubled the recipe to make bars about the size (and calories) of a Clif bar. Not that I need the calories. I most definitely don’t.

I might’ve made mushroom gravy before but I can’t be sure and I think it was from a different cookbook. Not being a big fan of mushrooms, whenever they are called for in the HH series, I just sub my dried shiitake. I’m never sure how much dried mushroom to use so I just take several and grind them down in the blender. I left it a little chunkier for the gravy but next time I’m going to grind it down finer. It was delicious but I thought the larger chunks were a little odd since the mushroom bits probably didn’t have enough time to fully reconstitute.

I didn’t really eat Hamburger Helper growing up but I thought the recipe sounded interesting and fairly easy to make given the ingredients I already had. I was a little stumped though once I started making it and the directions called for grating the tempeh with a cheese grater. I’ve been vegan so long that I don’t have a cheese grater. I do have a very fine grater I use with daikon so I figured I’d give it a shot. It was coming out very fine and quite laborious so I started to crumble the tempeh against the grater because I figured that would be more like hamburger crumbles. I think the final product came out very well.

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A week ago I splurged on a meal and called it my semi-veganversary meal. I had several vegan sushi rolls and a dessert. Everything was delicious. It was too dark for proper photos so I only took these. This doesn’t change my belated veganversary plans. I’m still going to go out of town and have a fancy vegan meal next month.

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Today is the last day of March. March marks my 10 year vegan anniversary. I didn’t do anything special to celebrate the occasion. A year or two ago, I thought about making a trip out of it and going to a fancy restaurant, possibly gastronomy or a well known gourmet vegan place. I have decided to hold off that special meal. I already have an extended weekend travel plan for May so I plan to have a whole special vegan day to celebrate 10 years.

I need to also muster my will power and improve my good vegan/bad vegan ratio so that I’m mostly good vegan. I should be in a much better place now. If you had asked my 10 year ago self, I definitely would’ve predicted I would be in a better place. The major factor in being a bad vegan is that I have old habits that are hard to break because it’s harder to form a new “good” habit. I need to do my best. For my 10 year ago self. For my much younger self that deserved a better life but I was too lazy to achieve it. Better to turn my life around as an adult then have it all go to hell as I get older.

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Once I read about someone who enjoyed putting peanut butter in their oatmeal so I tried it a couple times and it was pretty good. I just took a spoonful and stirred it around. I’ve seen these packets of Justin’s almond butter for sale before, but never tried it. I thought it might be good for travel, hiking, or camping. I bought some oatmeal at Jamba Juice then walked next door to a coffee shop that I knew sold the almond butter packets. Turns out, it’s pretty hard to squeeze out almond butter from a packet! I kept trying and got out as much as I could then stirred it in with my oatmeal. I didn’t think it was so great. It could be because it was a different brand of oatmeal than my previous nut butter experiment at home, or it could be due to the nut butter itself. Either way, given that it was a bit difficult to squeeze the product from the packet, I probably won’t use these for hiking/camping.

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While this seems like a good idea, what ever happened to eating whole foods? Plants, grains, beans, etc. Anything from the earth that one isn’t allergic to. When you want to be bad vegan and indulge in something refined and processed, an app might help but I still go by the ingredients list. If I can’t pronounce it, if I don’t know what it is, if it just looks plain bad for you, I’ll try to avoid it.