Happy Herbivore Blog

Life Update: When One Door Closes...

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: AdviceBusiness101

"When one door closes another one opens" seems to be a repeating theme in my life right now.

A month ago, I launched a project on Kickstarter called "Meal Revolution." The great thing about Kickstarter is that it basically validates your idea. You can use Kickstarter see if your idea or future business will or won't be successful, and without any real risk. 

As it turns out, my idea wasn't so great because my project failed. bummer.

I started this project before I lost my job, but as with that experience, I'm choosing to view this "failure" as an opportunity. When one door closes another one opens. I have to believe that if MealRev didn't work out, it's because I was destined to do something else. Something greater.

I've been reading a lot of books lately, particularly memoirs, which I always find inspiring. After I read someone's memoir, I always have new ideas for how to improve my life, Happy Herbivore or something in between. 

Since Scott is pretty fanatical about non-fiction, he suggested I put down Chelsea Handler's latest book and read a few memoirs by entrepreneurs instead. On his recommendation, I downloaded Ted Turner's memoir and Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh to my Kindle. One thing I liked about both books was how the men seemed to be thankful for their failures. It seemed to confirm my belief that loss is often the best thing that can happen to us. 

I also came across this blurb, which really stuck with me too:

"Bestselling author Charlaine Harris, whose Sookie Stackhouse books spawned HBO's True Blood, wrote 17 books before she hit the big time with the Sookie series. Next time you're feeling frustrated, remember that fame and fortune don't come fast or easy. The most important thing is to keep [working]! What if Charlaine had given up at book 16?"

So, so true. 

On the upside, there are a lot of things going on "behind the scenes."  Happy Herbivore is currently undergoing a major facelift; the entire site is being redesigned and some really cool features (features that I've wanted to do for two years!) will finally be coming to life soon. And if you haven't already noticed, Happy Herbivore is now ad-free. 

Finally, because I want to end this relatively somber post on a positive:

Last week, happyherbivore.com hit 1 million pageviews YTD. 2009 was just under 1 million and 2010 was just over 1 million. THANKS A MILLION HERBIES! 

Minimalist Monday: Organizing Your Cabinets & Pantry

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

Last week I took "minimalist" to a whole new level in my kitchen by removing everything possible from the kitchen table and counter tops. I'm still loving the clean look of my kitchen; I've never felt so zen! 

The lone downside to the overhaul, however, was that everything had to be shoved into my cabinets, which were already frazzled to begin with. On the upside, the chaos was out of sight, but I knew I needed to revamp that space too if I wanted a *totally* zen kitchen. 

Reorganizing my pantry and cabinets took less than an hour and I felt a huge, HUGE sense of accomplishment afterward. It was definitely one of those experiences where the little time and effort required was nothing compared to the overall reward. 

Not only is my kitchen totally neat and zen from the inside-out now, I also organized it in a way that saves more time in the long run. I basically arranged everything based on frequent use, so what I use the most is the closest too me, right at my fingertips.

To get a real appreciation for all the changes, take a quick peek at the photos from last week

Old pantry:

While there is some modest organization here (i.e. like items are somewhat grouped together) there is no "system" -- things fall where they may in their designated area which means I was often hunting around for the lone can of chickpeas or one of my spices.

There is really no method to the madness here; items are just put where ever there might be space and worse still, many items are hidden behind other items. I "discovered" several ingredients I didn't know I had during the reorganization. You'll also notice teas, flours and oats were in the last cabinet as well. Apparently even similar items weren't always together in my kitchen. Major fail, HH.

Another reason I'm glad I reorganized: it made me see how dirty my cabinets had become (ick!)

New pantry:

Like items are grouped together, but also in terms of frequency. I use canned beans at nearly every meal so they're up front while canned vegetables (which I don't use too often) are to the side. All of our overstocked condiments (extra soy sauce, etc) is lined up in the back. I can see our spares easily, but they are out of the way. Spices are also lined up based on their frequency and everything else that I don't use too often, like nori sheets, are lined up in the back where I see them but again, they're out of the way.

Just look at how much space is left over. I even had enough space for my knives, which I mentioned in my last post I'd wanted to store away too. 

This cabinet is even more organized; I just love opening it and looking at all my neat ingredients. In comparison to the "before" picture, you can see just how many ingredients were hidden before.  

I also decided while I was at it, to reorganize my kitchen drawers and pots and pans:

I also learned I have an affinity for cinnamon, or at least so many of them were hidden behind other things that I'd think I was out and purchased another:

Here is a picture Scott snapped of me consolidating all of the cinnamon. I'm in my workout clothes (the "organize by frequency" idea came to be on the elliptical) and don't worry, I threw out the plastic top in my mouth. 

Anyone else feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they organize their spices (or entire pantry!) ? 

Foodie Friday: Salads & Mexican Food

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Here are some of the goings on in my kitchen this week:

Eggless salad on a... salad. (It's one of my favorite salad toppers.)

"Nacho" salad (my latest addiction!) In the middle is the Quick Queso (p. 263) from my cookbook (HHC). Omg it's so good! I'm totally addicted to this combo. Sometimes I also add crumbled corn chips in for texture. 

The makings of homemade enchilada sauce (p. 260 HHC). I'm not joking when I say I always keep this sauce on hand. It's so easy to make and so, so good. I add it to all sorts of things to "jazz them up." 

My latest "discovery:" warm refried beans are AMAZING on a cold salad. I actually made the refried beans from scratch -- a super easy, 8-minute recipe in my new cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore. I can't even begin to say how awesome this salad is.

Speaking of my new cookbook, this dish is from it as well:

Bok Choy is becoming one of my fave veggies!

Speaking of my new cookbook (again!)... because I was racing to finishing checking over the copyeditor's notes on the manuscript for EHH these last few days, Scott was tasked with making our dinner. Here's his handy work:

Mini Pizzas -- using whole-wheat pitas (in the toaster oven!)

Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas (p. 105 HHC). Can you tell Scott *loves* Mexican food?? It seems to be a permanent "theme" to our meals!

Baked Chimichangas (p. 101 HHC) filled with leftover fried beans and leftover brown rice. This is a great recipe for leftovers. In retrospect we should have put leftover enchilada sauce on top -- but a little guac and salsa was amazing. 

What good food did you make this week?