Happy Herbivore Blog

Guest Blogger: Meg B.

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Guests

You might know this week's guest blogger as @MegVgn or The Snarky Chickpea. Either way, Meg is one serious foodie whose been busy cooking her way through the Happy Herbivore Cookbook (often using ingredients fresh from her garden!) Meg is also giving away a copy of my cookbook on her blog!

Here are Meg's pictures of the dishes she made along with her commentary about each dish and how she made each recipe "her own" (which I love!) by adding things like extra garlic to please her palate. Yum!

Baked Mac and Cheese (p. 156) and CorndogsSo, I totally know that the corndogs look like crap, but they are ridiculously delicious despite the hideous turnout. Maybe you'll learn to read directions better than me since I clearly didn't make the batter correctly. Don't let the photo deter you. Or, maybe you'll just need to do what I did...eat with your eyes closed. Regardless, your tummy will thank you. For the corndogs, I used LightLife Smart Dogs. As for the baked mac and cheese, I added a bit of spicy brown mustard and extra garlic (I can't resist) and though my photo looks like crap, it tasted excellent. We plowed through the whole batch. Comfort food all the way!

French Toast(p. 24) In love. It's just that easy. Who would've thought that chickpea flour would taste so good on toast? Me, that's who! Anything chickpea is meant for me. Hint, when (not if) you make the French Toast, don't let the bread soak as long as I did the first time I made it. Really, follow the directions, and just quickly dip the bread. Silly me. I just can never follow directions. But, you should follow my direction: make the French Toast already.

Tamale Casserole (p. 167) Mexican style dishes are almost always a hit here. And, this tamale casserole was no exception. I did make it a bit spicier and added more garlic. Again, I can never get enough garlic. I think the only thing I will ever change in the future is to add some black beans next time I make it. The casserole rocked. So hard. You really should make it.

Chickpea Tuna Sandwiches (p. 113) I admit, I have changed this recipe somewhat, but it was really just because I had limited ingredients on-hand the first few times I made it. Here's what I changed: I use fresh soaked/cooked chickpeas, use fresh onions, no kelp powder, and add some unsalted sunflower seeds. I'm sure no matter how it's made, you'll love it. It's one of those things that I like to eat at least once a week.

Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Chips (p. 238) No joke, these are my favorite little munchies. I've made them a few times now and I love them more every time. Sweet, crunchy, tasty as hell. Oh yeah. If you don't like these, then I just don't know if we can be friends. They totally bring on the nostalgia of the old Taco Bell cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips of the 80s-90s. Drool.....

Cheater's Pad Thai (p. 117) Let me get one thing straight - I never ate any pad Thai before I made this recipe. So, I really didn't know what I was getting myself in for. But, at the recommendation of my friend, Elena, I took the plunge. Dudes, I can't even describe how insanely delicious this was. I added some freshly steamed veggies for a little more substance. As much of a chickpea addict I am, I am thinking that next time I'll add some. Yeah, it's probably not "authentic" but I'm not much for conformity. MAKE THIS. You'll seriously love it. OR ELSE....

Mushroom Burgers (p. 89) I decided to save my favorite for last. This is my most favorite veggie burger ever. No, I'm not kidding. I can eat 2 in one sitting. Vegan piggy...oink, oink. I first made these burgers because I was running low on supplies and didn't feel much like going grocery shopping, so I started scanning the HH cookbook for inspiration. Bam. Best choice I could've made. I'm pretty sure I won't ever be able to top these...and I'm not sure I even want to try. My alterations: white mushrooms, slightly more BBQ sauce, and more garlic. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. They hold their shape, don't fall apart, and taste like veggie heaven. And they go amazingly well with some homemade baked sweet potato fries. I'll never eat pre-made veggie burgers again.

Thanks Meg! I love how your personality really shined through in this post! & Mr. Marley is too. damn. cute! (Don't forget to enter Meg's giveaway!)

Have you made any of these recipes? If so, did you make them your own like Meg did? How'd you like them?

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!) ?