Happy Herbivore Blog

Minimalist Monday: How to Declutter and Prevent Stockpiling

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

The deeper I dive into minimalism, the more I realize I've always had an inner minimalist trying to push her way out. 

About two years ago I adopted the practice that something new must truly replace something old. That is, every time I buy something, I have to get rid of something else. 

This all started when Scott's T-shirt collection was getting a bit out of hand and I told him for every new T-shirt he buys, he has to donate one he already has to Goodwill.

Scott wasn't thrilled with my new rule and asked if it applied to me too. At first I resisted, noting that my clothing situation was under control but I ultimately accepted the rule is a good rule and I should follow it too. So, the rule applied to all clothes, though we allow for some flexibility. 

For example, if I bought a new skirt, I didn't have to get rid of an old skirt per se, but I did have to get rid of some other piece of clothing. Or if Scott bought a new pair of shoes, he did not necessarily have to get rid of a pair of shoes, but perhaps a pair of pants or a shirt he hadn't worn in ages.

This practice helped keep our closet under control, but I noticed it didn't prevent stockpiling in other areas.

Books, DVDs and other media were exempt from our "out with the old" rule. At first it never occurred to me that I should cycle them out as well. I mean, these items are an exception, right? because I still use and reference books and I may want to watch that DVD again?

When our once mostly empty bookshelf started to overflow, however, I took a good, long look at all of my accumulated media. Except for a handful of DVDs and about a dozen technical books and cookbooks, I really hadn't picked up or used any of the books, DVDs, etc that I owned since I first used them.

At that point, I realized that rule had to apply to everything in my apartment. If I bring anything in (except for food) something else has to leave. 

My kindle and iPod have provided a sort of loophole to the system, but I'm still trying to remove something even when I merely download a CD, book or movie. It's just a great practice to have. 

Also, when Scott and I moved to St. Maarten, we had to put all of our stuff in a storage unit. We also had to use this same storage unit when we moved across the United States twice. Having to put all of your belongings into a container suddenly puts the importance of "things" in perspective. After getting in our furniture, there wasn't much room left. Clothes, athletic equipment and then kitchen things filled up the last of the space, leaving no room for anything else. 

All those books and DVD's I'd accumulated didn't make the cut and found their way to a donation center. It was an "aha" moment for me -- a moment where I realized I really do need to "rent" more than "buy" when possible (i.e. rent the movie rather than buy it) and that if I'm going to bring something in, something else has to go. Otherwise I'll just accumulate too much, and that's not very minimalist.

Do you practice out with the old, in with the new?

Foodie Friday: Vegetarian Summerfest

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

I've been at Vegetarian Summerfest this week and in between my food demonstration class and book signings, I've been eating some really awesome food! The Summerfest chefs provided oil-free, low fat and gluten-free options in addition to their regular fare which has just been awesome. It's so nice to have someone else cook for me just like I like it! 

Here is a quick look at the meals I've enjoyed:

Lunch: Tofu Ruben (delish!) and Quinoa salad with a side salad I made from the salad bar and watermelon slices as dessert.

Dinner: Chili on quinoa, gluten-free (oil-free) cornbread, mixed greens.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Hash browns (oil-free!), Carrot Cake Muffin, fresh fruit & grapefruit to help aid with digestion. 

Lunch: Mushroom Soup, Ginger Slaw, Tofu Salad Wrap & watermelon for dessert.

Dinner: "Meatloaf", rice pilaf, greens, gluten-free roll & watermelon for dessert. 

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Pancakes, Grits, "Aromatic" Oatmeal, tiny helping of a breakfast fruit crisp & blueberries, carrots & grapefruit to help with digestion.

Guest Blogger: Julie S.

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Guests

Hello from Vegetarian Summerfest! I've had a wonderful time the last few days and can't wait to share my experience with you! In the meantime, we have an awesome guest blog post today from JulesEnjoy!

Jules: I'm thrilled to be a guest blogger here at Happy Herbivore! A recent addition to my beloved cookbook collection is the Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Right away, I knew there would be more than a few gems in this book, but even more exciting is how enthusiastic the rest of the family is about trying some of these new recipes! My daughters, especially --- I could barely get my own hands on this cookbook once it came because they kept it from me, drooling over the recipes and accompanying pictures.

Analisa, the seven-year-old in our family, got very excited about the prospect of Eggnog French Toast (p. 25) (especially when she realized you don't need actual eggnog to make it - at first she was concerned we might not get to try this recipe until the holiday season). Everyone raved about the French toast -- so good! I was worried I was going to have sticking problems like I have with some other foods recently (I think I need a new pan), but these little triangles of whole-wheat goodness cooked up to crispy perfection. Yum!

We loved the French toast so much, in fact, that we had the regular French Toast (p. 24) just a few days later -- with fresh blueberries.

Meanwhile my nine-year-old daughter, Liliana, requested the Blueberry Scones (p. 55) for breakfast. We used fresh blueberries and opted for no sugar in the dough; however, we couldn't resist spooning some Vanilla Icing (p. 255) over the top. Delicious! As Liliana pointed out, you can't even tell there is banana in these scones. Tricky little banana! It made a soft, tender scone that doesn't taste like banana!

After we'd had our fill of sweet breakfast treats, I was craving something savory, with vegetables. The Garden Chowder (p. 71) seemed like it would fit the bill. Even better: it was super easy. Other than a little veggie chopping and whisk-action at the beginning of the recipe, it's mostly a dump-things-in-pot-and-stir recipe. I love those kinds of recipes! My husband, Oscar, and I both loved this chowder. Oscar also took some leftovers to work the next day and it received several admiring looks in the lunch room!

"Beans and Browns" (meaning baked beans and hash brown potatoes) are a staple breakfast in our house, so I knew I'd have to try the Baked Beans (p. 199) right away. 

I confess: When it comes to baked beans, I usually just buy the canned vegetarian baked beans at the grocery store. But oh -- the sugar! The sodium! I knew there had to be a better way. I liked that the ingredients the HH Baked Beans are all pantry staples so I made it. 

I'm happy to report that the result is delicious and I'll be keeping this recipe in regular rotation, for sure. It does take some time, beginning to end -- about an hour -- so I'm wondering: would it work to put everything in a small slow cooker and set it to low until morning so that it is ready for breakfast? I think I'll be experimenting soon!

HH: Thank you so much for guest posting Jules! Your pictures are incredible and you have such a beautiful family! So thrilled to see my recipes are kid-approved!

Have YOU made a HH recipe for a kid or teen?