Happy Herbivore Blog

Teaching Tuesday: Traveling With A Pressure Cooker (Plus A Free eBook!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101Travel

As you may have heard, I have a new book coming out this May, The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living.

Traveling is a huge part of my life and I have a huge -- ginormous! -- section about traveling in my new book The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living. Everything you ever need or want to know about traveling while plant-based is covered in detail in the book!

As a little teaser before her arrival, I've put together this FREE eBook for you.

It details how I cook and travel with my pressure cooker (including some recipes!)

To get your FREE eBook, sign-up at the bottom of this post!

Here's a snippet from the FREE eBook:

"When traveling by car, I always take my pressure cooker for a make shift hotel “stove.” Not only can you cook up beans, grains, or potatoes quickly, most pressure cookers also have a “saute” setting which operates the same way as a skillet on the stove, as well as a slow cooker feature. It's a great way to stay plant-based (and on a budget!) while traveling. (Since I travel near full-time, often staying in hotels for weeks on end, I love the ability to have a home cooked meal!)

Along with my pressure cooker, I pack my most used spices (put them in plastic snack bags if weight is an issue) and store them in your pressure cooker along with a measuring spoon and cup to utilize space. I also take a hand-operated can opener, serving spoon, a small spatula, knife, small cutting board, plus a reusable bowl, plate and spork. (Note: If you don't want to take a knife and cutting board, you can buy precut vegetables, including minced garlic and diced onion at most stores).

I love making steel cut oats for breakfast, or tofu scramble. I'm also fond of making my chilies and soups in my cooker. A super easy chili is a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans (both drained and rinsed) a can of diced tomatoes (preferably something with added flavor like jalapenos, or fire-roasted), a chili seasoning packet and a can or two of water or broth (refill one of your cans). Let it warm/slow cook all day!"

To get the rest of the FREE eBook and some sample Pressure Cooker recipes, enter your info at the bottom of this post (and don't forget to "confirm" your email so you get the PDF).

"Converting" Recipes to be "Pressure Cooker Recipes" is pretty easy too.

How to Convert Recipes for a Pressure Cooker

Liquids can be reduced since there is less evaporation compared to cooking on the stove. Add only the amount of liquid you actually want in the finished product plus an extra 1/2 cup. (This is mostly for soups. The liquid amount will depend on the kind of pressure cooker you have. See the instruction manual that came with your pressure cooker for details. You can also see if there's a similar recipe included and go off that.)

Cook time is usually 1/3 of the original recipe (i.e. if the original recipe has a cook time of 30 minutes, it would be 10 minutes in a pressure cooker).

When in doubt, use the instruction manual that came with your pressure cooker as a guide.

I also created a quick tutorial on how I use my pressure cooker to cook kale (including the release of "Old Faithful" :P)

Pre-Order your copy of The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living now!

P.S. Are you up for a challenge? Join me for a "Spring into Health" challenge starting April 28! Get daily tips + email motivation from me. Sign-up here. It's totally free! You got this!

▼ Sign-up below to get the Free Pressure Cooker eBook. ▼

Minimalist Monday: Organizing Your Pantry (Guest Post by Lien!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MinimalistGuest

If you're still looking for spring cleaning projects, here's a good one: clean out and organize your pantry!

After I organized my cabinets and pantry, I'd never felt so zen -- not to mention I felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment when I was done.

This is also a great way to set yourself up for success if you're starting or wanting to get serious about a plant-based diet, which is why I asked Lien to share her experience with you on this Minimalist Monday.

P.S. There's a section dedicated to organizing your kitchen (cabinets and drawers, spices, cookware, appliances, etc.) in my book Minimalist Monday: Declutter Your Way to a Zen Home. You can order it in all electronic forms (PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc) here.

I'll let Lien take it away...

For the last four years, I have been a full-time university student, holding down a couple of research writing jobs at my university, being a mummy to 2 young children, and being a wife. So everyone can relate that life is hectic when you are juggling so much! (And cleaning does go on the back burner.)

Since graduating late last year, and with starting a new Registered Nurse career this past February, my husband and I wanted to make plant-based eating 'common practice' and being good healthy role models to our children. Part of this was cleaning the chaos that is in our house. Cleaning out of the pantry was representative of us getting serious as an Omni family to move towards a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle.

We spent a day cleaning out our main pantry (yes, sad but true I have 2 pantries to clean out) and getting rid of all the conventional packaged items that was not going to fit into our new way of living. Whilst the majority of my pantry has plant-based ingredients which was part of our quasi-plant-based eating already, the chaos and disorganization was somewhat being an obstacle.

I was conscious of using what I have in terms of storage and then topping it all up to replace all the half open bags of stuff with glass jars! So I re-used jars and containers, re-purposed some for other areas in house and gave away quite a few pantry staples to family and friends to ensure things were not going to waste!

I was blessed to grow up in a Vietnamese/Chinese culture where my mother exposed me to a wide variety of flavors and ingredients. My husband is of Italian background, so to say we love our food is an understatement! If I had to pick a few favorites, it would be sumac, which is a Middle Eastern berry, which is dried and grinded down and sprinkled on salads and other dishes for it's tart qualities. I do love my chaat masala which is an Indian spice mix which features dried mango powder, and also again great for salads and also curries. I love my Korean chili powder to make my vegan Kim chi, and my dried wood ear fungus and dried shitake mushrooms add depth of flavor and great texture to my soups and stir-fries. I have a wide variety of dried legumes, spices, herbs dried fruits, grains, tamari, and maple syrup and store my onions & potatoes in here too. Oh and I have a massive bucket of nutritional yeast somewhere in there.

In Australia, organics and items like nutritional yeast, quinoa is not readily available everywhere as in USA, however I have to say it is slowly creeping into our supermarkets, which I am excited about.

My motto for this year is "no excuses, just do it" and so far we are feeling great for the change (but in saying that, my meals were already about 60% plant-based). I love cooking and I'm always creating recipes and different flavors. A plant-based lifestyle and a much more organized pantry opens new doors to eating better in 2014 and beyond.

The "Happy" in Happy Herbivore (Happy is Love!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

My Dad (Papa Herbivore) emailed:

"You may have written about this before but did you ever think about writing a blog about the "Happy" of Happy Herbivore. All of your readers know what the word Herbivore means but I'm not so sure they all know, or experience, or feel what all happiness entails. Just a thought."

He's right. While I've talked about Herbie, and why I chose an elephant for my company logo (and what it all means) before, I've never talked about the name "Happy Herbivore".

"Herbivore" is self-explanatory, but what about the "Happy" part?

Fun fact: I didn't come up with the name "Happy Herbivore." I'd originally started blogging under a different title (with "Herbivore") in the name, when a friend of a friend suggested I change it to "Happy" Herbivore.

I liked the alliteration, changed my title, and the rest was history.

Though much like my elephant logo, the name developed a deeper meaning over time.

My mission with HH has always been to show--prove that eating healthy can be easy, affordable, realistic, and delicious. In other words, you can have fun with it. It doesn't have to be hard, challenging, stressful, and so forth. "Happy" sums all that up.

Live a little. Laugh a lot. This lifestyle is about enjoyment. It's about feeling awesome. Being awesome. Happiness abounds!

I try to be a shining, positive example. I love my life. I love my lifestyle. I'm a generally happy person.

That's what I want for you. That's my mission with my work. I want to show that this way of eating will make you get up and shake your pompoms. I want eating healthy to be approachable.

In my early years of a plant-based diet, I was a militant vegan. I wasn't happy. I was mad and frustrated all the time. I was alienating people all around me. I was judgey and pushy. (I've blogged about this in detail, read: Build Them Up (Why I'm not a Skinny Bitch))

I'm not proud of those behaviors, but I'm proud that I finally let go. Once I realized I wasn't winning at anything, I decided to be compassionately quiet. I swore to lead by example.

That's when amazing things started to happened. My happiness and joy was contagious and sparked curiosity around me. I started seeing real change.

I see that shift memorialized in the "happy" part of "happy herbivore" --- I want to make it about the positives. What people are doing right. I want to encourage.

I believe in progress not perfection. I find perfection--or trying to be perfect, is often a recipe for disappointment and unhappiness, too.

Finally, my quest for happiness also turned me into a minimalist, hence Minimalist Mondays on this blog.

In summary, I stand on the side of optimism. A smile really is a frown turned upside down.

Be happy.

At the end of the day, Who isn't attracted to happy?

And if you ever need a little pick me up, listen to Pharrell's "Happy". It's an automatic mood lifter :)