Happy Herbivore Blog

Be a Guest Blogger on HappyHerbivore.com!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: News

First, let me say thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Your comments to my memoir post lifted my spirits, gave me strength and reminded me how lucky I am in life, despite everything. I am so very touched and honored to know all of you. 

If you missed the post, be sure to check it out especially for the comments. There are so many personal stories of bravery, hope and resilience. I'm so sorry that so many people can relate to my woes on a personal level but I believe this is why we have each other -- to draw strength. 

Anyway, as I mentioned in my post I have a lot of new ideas I'm going to explore here on Happy Herbivore which includes bridging the gap between me and you, the community I love. 

I've always wanted Happy Herbivore to be something beyond my companion -- something bigger than me. I want Happy Herbivore to be a community: a safe space where anyone can feel welcomed and not judged. A place where we can come together to show our appreciation and passion for eating healthy, delicious meals.

So, my first step is to bring your voices to this blog. Happy Herbivore will no-longer be just about me and my voice, but it will have your voice and your unique spirit too. I'm going to start inviting guests to blog on Happy Herbivore -- much like my mom has been doing for the past few months (read Mama Herbivore's posts here and here). 

If you've made or adapted a Happy Herbivore recipe (from the blog or in my cookbook) and have a photo of the dish, please email me about guest posting -- Lindsay[at]happyherbivore[dot]com. 

We'll completely collaborate together and each guest post will have his or her own style. I've already got a few contributors lined up and I'm really excited about these guests posts! 

I hope you'll join in on the fun! 

Life Turned Upside Down & Changes

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

I've been living in a state where I'm perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop for years. It's given me anxiety. It's caused me stress and at times, it's taken a toll on my relationships. 

It all started about three years ago when I was let go from my fancy lawyer job after I'd complained about sexual harassment. Losing your job is upsetting but being sexually harassed is devastating. I'd always thought of myself as a strong woman, a woman who could survive anything, but when I found out that reason I'd gotten my job was not on merit but because my boss wanted to sleep with me, I my legs buckled underneath me. 

I was bewildered---devastated and my dark hour only got darker. I realized that without my job, I could no longer afford the car I'd just bought to get me to and from the job I'd just lost. I also couldn't afford my apartment and when Scott came home two days later and said his work was planning to lay off some 60 people and he was pretty sure he'd be one of them, I wondered if my life could get any worse. I wanted to die. but first, I had to get out of there.

In one swift all-encompassing moment, I broke our lease, sold off most of our belongings, packed Scott and the pugs into my car and drove from LA to NY. I needed to go home.

Shortly after arriving in NYC I took the NY bar exam, walked out knowing I'd passed but that I'd never practice law again. It was over for me. I started looking at other jobs, other career paths, when I stumbled on a long-term freelance job. It paid exactly one third of my lawyer's salary and wasn't nearly enough to live on when I factored in all my student loans, but it was something. 

Scott & I had to move into a tiny -tiny- 1 room apartment the size of a hotel room, but at least we weren't homeless, right? 

What I liked most about my new job was the flexibility. I was a contractor which meant I could take long periods of time off from work and no one minded. I could work as little or as much as I wanted, and I worked from home. This job allowed me to put more time and energy into what I cared the most about: Happy Herbivore and after a few months of really trying to grow my "online brand" I had a book deal. It felt like I was finally back on the upswing. That maybe the universe was on my side all along. 

This job has become a sort of security blanket for me. It paid terribly, and I didn't love what I did, but it allowed me to do the things I wanted to do part-time. I could take time off to write cookbooks, and when my husband had the opportunity to move us abroad for a year, we were able to do so since I could literally work from anywhere. 

Then last week, just days away from my three year anniversary, my job was terminated. I was written off with a cold, generic email, with no deference or respect given to my three years of superb service. 

The other shoe finally dropped.

Losing your job is awful, but losing your job when you're in another country where you can't just run out and get another one (because you don't speak the language and you don't have the proper paperwork) is terrifying. 

My head was spinning for days. All my plans came to a screeching halt. I wondered how I'd support myself, how would I pay my student loans ($1,800/mo - don't go to law school!) and how would I survive? Would I have to leave my husband and pugs to go live with my parents? my sister? Just so I could get a job until I found another one?! 

After the initial wave of panic and hysteria passed, I realized good things can happen when the security blanket is pulled out from under you.

I'd stayed at what was supposed to be a short-term fix for three years because it was easy and familiar. I was not challenging myself, I wasn't growing, I wasn't trying new things. It had become a security blanket and it was time to let it go. The universe had simply taken care of that for me. 

I had enough money saved up (I'd been planning to go on a long backpacking trip this summer) that I could survive for a few months before the money ran out, giving me time to think about things. Really explore my options and dive into doing what I really want to do.

Of course, losing your job is embarrassing so while I was quick to call my sister and cry all over the phone, I avoided my parents like the plague. Mostly because I knew they would worry, which I didn't want. 

After dodging their calls for a week, my mom confronted me on IM (yes, she's internet savvy) and told me we needed to video chat. I loathed telling my parents the truth so I let my mom do all the talking. She'd told me that her and my father had been to the doctor recently and that their doctors marveled at how well their health had improved. They were thanking me for all the years I rode their asses about eating more plant-based meals and beating them over the head with information until they finally accepted it (they're meat-free 2 days a week, trying to get to 7 days a week). I couldn't be happier and congratulated my mom -- inquiring where my father might be so I could congratulate him too. 

She said he was mowing the grass, looked out the window to his general direction and screamed "DADDIES ON THE GROUND!" and ran out of the room crying. I blinked. I was trying to process what happened. I called my cousin who lives near by and asked her to go to my parents house. I waited by the webcam for 20 minutes trying to listen for something, anything. Finally my mother came back and said that my father had passed out and was being taken away in the ambulance. She was hysterically crying and said she'd call me later. I wanted to die.

I couldn't believe this had happened. Being marooned on an island unable to get to my parents even if I wanted to, only made things worse. I reached for the rum but thought "I should be sober at a time like this." I couldn't remember the last time I'd talked to my dad and I sorely regretted it. 

It turned out that he was fine. The doctors aren't sure what happened exactly but suspect it was heat stroke or dehydration, or both. The event was sobering, as death and near death experience always are. 

I realized being jobless isn't the end of the world because I'm still alive. On that note, life is too short to do something that you don't love. So Instead of looking for another job, I'm going to work for myself. Do what I want to do and see just exactly where it takes me. It's sink or swim time. If nothing else, my brief unemployment will allow me to once again return to my true love: Happy Herbivore. 

Expect more blog posts and features on the site to come. I have big plans!  

Foodie Friday

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Blogging. Am I blogging? Blogging feels so.... foreign. I know that sounds crazy coming from me... after all, I've had a "blog" for three years but the whole time I never felt like a blogger or looked at Happy Herbivore as a blog. Happy Herbivore has always been a thing, my companion--the place I store all my recipes with spurts of my life mixed in for good measure.

Aside from the occasional anecdote about a trip or the even more rare manifesto, I've always kept my life and Happy Herbivore separate...which is funny because I overshare on Twitter and that's starting to spill onto Facebook as well. and I kind of like it. Why don't I share more of me here?

Most of my friends are bloggers--craft bloggers, food bloggers, diarist and life bloggers. I love how they talk about the blog community -- it's something I've never felt apart of (back to that I don't feel like a blogger yet) but it's something I want to be apart of. 

I love to connect with people, I love to share myself, so why am I not doing more of it? I could be a rather entertaining 1-woman-reality-show if I wanted, right?! At the very least I could share the goings on in my kitchen...some behind the scenes action. 

So without further ado, here is my first blog post. I think.

At the very least it's some of the goodies I've eaten this week. Yes, they're all Happy Herbivore recipes. No, that wasn't intentional. I swear!

Chicken-Style Seitan (p. 142) I turned this seitan into a BBQ "chicken" sandwich with BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato and fresh whole-wheat buns from the local bakery. It made for a great (and filling!) lunch.

Enchilada Casserole (p. 166 ) I went overboard with homemade Enchilada Sauce (p. 260) --it's so good and easy you'll never buy store bought again! so my casserole came out more like a dumpings dish but it was still delicious. The store was out of corn tortillas so I used a whole-wheat multigrain tortillas that were just fabulous in this dish. I really loved their texture after they'd soaked and been baked.

Hail the chickpeas! These are the chickpeas from the Chickpea Tacos (p. 97) I turned them into a salad:

I got out of the habit of eating salads with dressing. This taco salad is awesome! Taco-chickpeas, lettuce, tomato, broken corn chips and low fat guacamole (made with peas!).

Quick Marinara (p. 259 ) whole-wheat pasta and Meatless balls (p. 165) Although this dinner was good, I'm looking forward to meatballs subs at lunch today!

I'm kind of embarrassed to say how often we eat these cinnamon-raisin biscuits...they're just so, so good! I think I'm addicted to almond extract.

What did you eat this week?