Happy Herbivore Blog

Gluten Free Seitan

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

A common question I get is how to make something gluten-free. For things like baked goods, you can use a gluten-free all purpose flour blend (purchased commercially or made at home) or try my nifty oat flour trick.

The trouble comes when you need to replace vital wheat gluten, or you want to make seitan which is all gluten.

Gluten-free gluten? Is that even possible?!

Yes!

My friend Talia introduced me to OrgraN’s Gluten-Substitute more than a year ago. I’ve been recommending it right and left ever since and have had many Herbies write me thanking me, saying this product changed their life.

You can use it to make seitan, but you can also use in instead of vital wheat gluten in any recipe.

Amazon sells it in bulk, but if you don’t want to buy several boxes right off the bat -- check at small, independent and locally owned health stores. I never found it at Whole Foods Market, but the small little heath store in my neighborhood had it. Any store with a large and generous gluten-free section might also have it. It also never hurts to ask a store to carry it. If they already have other OrgraN products, I don’t see why they’d say no.

Have you used OrgraN? What did you think?

Happy Herbivore in Amsterdam

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

The nice thing about revisiting a city you've been to before is you can hit the ground running. You already know your way around so no time is lost starring blankly at a map.

Although it was grey, damp and chilly day in Amsterdam, the city still shined. Nothing can dull the beauty that is Amsterdam. When I first backpacked through Europe, Amsterdam wasn't even on my radar. I chalked it up to being a sleezy city for hookers and pot heads and while I have no opinion and pass no judgment on people who participate in either of those activities, it's not my cup of tea. Why would I go there? But I had to go there --- I had to pass through to get to where I was going and no one was more surprised than me by how much I loved it there.

Amsterdam is beautiful. Stop your breath beautiful. Sure there are hookers (more on that in a minute) and pot heads, but the architecture -- the kind spirit of the inhabitants -- the endless canals... Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to and I've been to a lot of places!

I was so happy to come back here -- and soak up one of my favorite cities. I spent the afternoon drinking beer on a quite corner along one of the canals and finished The Hunger Games, which I just started the day before. It's been a long time since I read a book in 24 hrs. (I guess that's my way of recommending.)

 I'm here another day (1 day is just not enough!) and then I'm on to Germany where I will meet two Herbies!

Minimalist Monday: Sticking to a Color Palette (When Traveling and Beyond)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

The idea of living out of a backpack for a month was something I had to warm up too the first time I backpacked through Europe (in 2006). I remember when my pack came in the mail; I ripped open the packaging and then just starred at it. It was even smaller than I imagined.

You have to understand something about me: I was the kind of gal that took two giant suitcases for a weekend getaway because you just never know what might bubble up and I wanted an outfit for all occasions, so to go from that "everything must go" mentality to a "nothing fits" backpack? for a month? Oh boy.

I immediately started googling fiercely -- how to cram the most crap you can in a backpack, and such. A reoccurring tip I stumbled across was "pack similar colors."

The idea seemed so... ridiculous and yet, that's ultimately what I did... and what I still do on any trip and especially this backpacking trip because my new backpack is even smaller than my old one! (good news for my shoulders, I guess!)

This "minimalist method" doesn't even have to apply purely to vacation -- it can apply to your closet, especially if you're looking to downsize or minimalize or spend less on clothing.

We all have colors we prefer -- colors that bring out our eyes, compliment our natural complexion or just sing to our preferences. Why not pack a color palate using those clothes? Or just stick to that color palate when shopping? That way all your clothes match and they can be swamped around to create dozens of options even with less pieces to work with.

I'll admit I'm a mini fashionista and a little vain -- I didn't want to look like I was wearing the same outfit in every picture, but even with only 1 pair of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 5 tops and two sweaters? I appeared to have a different outfit on each day. I was there for a month, so there was eventually some overlap, but I was amazed at the variety I had with so few items. Each top went with each bottom. It's that simple.

I've kept this in mind when shopping, too -- taking care to select items that I know will work with a lot of clothes I already own, as well as the other clothes I'm buying that day. I've had girlfriends come over, look in my closest and wonder where all the clothes are -- and it's true, I have a fraction of the clothing most of my friends do, but I never feel limited! I wear everything I own, and I'm always reinventing new outfits because everything goes together. It's great for my pocketbook and is quite minimalist.

My color palette this time: Black (and Grey Shades) & fall colors: Green, Purple & Gold. Plus a few basic white/neutral tank tops incase I need layers. I also have two pairs of jeans (light and dark) and 2 pairs of black pants (that look different enough for variety). All my tops go with my bottoms and everything matches my black jacket and my purple shoes. (That's right -- 1 pair of shoes!). Then of course I added in a colorful scarf that ties it all together.

I've come so far -- from the girl with a suitcase full of shoes for a 3-day weekend getaway to 1 pair of shoes for a month.