Happy Herbivore Blog

"Chicken" Alfredo? A tale of when bloopers go right

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

I'm usually the resident cook in our house. It's not that Scott doesn't want to cook, and for the first year we lived together, he actually did way more cooking than me, but I'm always wanting to try out new ideas (which is both a blessing and a curse). So I guess, there just really isn't an opportunity for him to get in on the action!

However, since I'm about to abandon him for three weeks to go on a mini-mini book tour and take part in other shenanigans back home in NYC, I've been having him chip in a little more than lately.

Call my crazy, I just want to make sure he can feed himself (and our pugs--they get home cooked meals) in my absence. Ridiculous, I know. He was obviously capable of feeding himself before we met...I think.

Anyway, last night Scott said he was "in the mood for HH's creamy Alfredo" so I handed him the cookbook (p. 163) and told him to have fun =)

[picture from the cookbook]

He made it with brown rice noodles, which were the biggest, fattest "fettuccine" noodles I've ever seen, but they actually worked really well here. However... he had a blooper. 

You see, earlier this week I'd made a fresh batch of my no-chicken brown powder (p. 281) to take with me to NYC and I'd mistakenly left it out on the counter. Scott thought it was our stash of (plain) nutritional yeast and used in instead of nutritional yeast in the recipe. 

[middle one, pictured with other homemade spices from the cookbook]

As we sat down, I noticed little green flecks in the pasta, and that my "Alfredo" was a nice gold color rather than white... so I inquired, "Did you, ugh, do anything *special* to the recipe?"

Scott, head bent down, pasta being shoveled into the mouth rapidly. "No, I followed the directions."

I leaned down to smell it (I'm sure I'd offended Scott by this point, but I was convinced he did something!) 

"It smells chicken-y. Are you sure you didn't put something in it?" 

Just then my gaze shifted towards the kitchen counter and noticed a big dent in my no-chicken broth powder... with a measuring cup sitting next to it.

"Did you use the nutritional yeast on the counter or in the bag?"

"Counter. mmm mmm mmm"

Aha! There was something different about it (I wanted to high five myself for my sleuth skills) but then, with this realization, I got hesitant to actually try my dinner. 

I mean, do I really want a chicken flavor in my Alfredo?

I tried it anyway and surprise! It was delicious! It didn't really taste like an "Alfredo" anymore, but the flavors were really complex and different. It was like a like a gooey, and rich cheese-cream sauce. 

Don't you just love it when mistakes go right?

Who me?!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

I've noticed my "about me" video has been getting more hits lately. Combine that with a few Amazon reviews where some very sweet reviewers said they enjoyed the blurbs in the cookbook that let them get to know me a little and I realize...

You're curious about me!

and why wouldn't you be? After all you're inviting me into your kitchen and trusting me with your taste buds (Thanks!)

So, I thought I'd do a quick post today so I'm less of a ghost. [BTW, I've always been really hesitant to blog about myself. On the one hand, it feels a little funny and the other, it never occurred to me you might wonder about me]

So without further ado: 

My mother calls me a vagabond. and I don't think that's entirely untrue. In the last 10 years I've lived in 15 apartments, 6 states and 2 counties. My head hurts.

When I was in High School in Florida I was not a popular cheerleader or the misunderstood outcast. I didn't fit into any one social circle but I had friends in all of them. and moved through them as I saw fit. I danced to the beat of my own drummer and I still do. p.s. I met my best friend Jim in high school. and yes, my best friend is a guy. (and single! hey hey ladies!)

Funny: one guy I dated in High School ended up on a Reality TV show (he's a Dr now, so let's not judge him too harshly) and my most serious High School boyfriend is gay, but we're the best of friends now, and I am crazy about his partner. I have dreams of living together in a big brownstone in NYC. I know this makes me crazy.

I'm also friends with my 8th grade boyfriend and it weirds me out how similar we turned out as adults. When I talk to him I realize, it's so nice to know someone who knew you when you were young, no matter how embarrassing that age was.

Moving along, at the tail end of college in South Carolina, I met Scott and somehow, within a few dates, knew I was going to marry him. Thankfully, when I got into law school in Boston, he agreed to come with me!

It was during the first year of our marriage, and the end of law school, that I went vegan. After law school we moved to LA and then my "hometown" of NYC and now we're on an island. Man, this sounds worse than a soap opera! 

On the upside, all this shifting means we (including the pugs) have seen the vast majority of the United States (41 states for me) and a whole lot of countries thanks to an extended backpacking trip as a honeymoon. 

In my old life I was a lawyer. I was pretty good at it. I was sexually harassed. and then fired. I never went back to the law again. Let's leave it at that.

In a lot of ways this blog, and my cookbook, saved me from the darkest hour of my life. I came home to heal, and I did. I also have you to thank. 

Other interesting tidbits: I am a nail biter. Can't help it. Add to that a whore for Red Vines. and a slight hypochondriac when it comes to the pugs. I'm also really sensitive, as in, I cry easily. Tell me my shoes are ugly and I'll be a blubbering mess. Let's see... I was almost an Army JAG and Special Agent for the FBI (this was before I accepted I was not a joiner. or a follower). I am allergic to broccoli, which I think is tragically funny, and I spent several years thinking I was allergic to latex when I'm actually sensitive to the adhesive glue.

I can't always tell the color purple from the color blue. I'm not "colorblind" but have a "blue-green deficiency" which continues to be the most amusing thing to Scott when I can't coordinate properly. After 7 years, I thought it might not be as funny, apparently it still is. 

and when I'm really stressed out, my only way to relax is to color. I totally suck at it. 

I hope I'm less a ghost now. Thank you for all your continued support!

I'd also like to close this post with a great statement by a sassy business woman I look up to:

"People love me or they hate me. Take me or leave me. I can't be someone else. I can only be me." - Rachel Ray

Traveling Herbivore: How I eat Healthy, Low Fat and Vegan in Airports

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

The world is getting more vegan-friendly, and that's great... I love seeing vegan options on menus, or even dishes that are healthy and can easily be adapted to be vegan, such as asking for fresh avocado instead of grilled chicken on a salad. (Yes, this works!)

After I posted about my hotel room burgers, a few readers asked for more travel tips. Live in airports and hotels? I hear ya! I've done a lot of traveling in the last few years and now I'm gearing up for a mini book tour which means me, and my lovely assistant Andrea, will be eating out of bus terminals, train stations and my backpack. 

So, without further ado, here is how you can eat healthy (and vegan!) while traveling.

Friend #1 Starbucks

Although not too long ago I could drop $5 on a coffee without batting an eye, I've since become more economical and Starbucks coffees are a thing of the past... though, I've recently rediscovered Starbucks as a source of food — thanks to my friends Gloria & Rob. I always knew Starbucks sold oatmeal, but I had no idea you could make it vegan. All you need to do is tell the cashier you'd like it made with soymilk and voila! (I order the nuts and fruit topping).

Friend #2 Seattle's Best (and Sandwich Shops)

Many of the Seattle's Bests (btw, owned by Starbucks) are offering freshly made-to-order sandwiches and if there isn't a Seattle's Best, there is always some other place that sells fresh sandwiches. If you're lucky, they'll have a vegetarian option on the menu that can be vegan if you hold the mayo and cheese — but I've had huge success just asking the employees to put every veggie they had on some bread with mustard. I've even found that most places have whole wheat these days, and even if they don't have whole wheat, they at least have multi-grain. Cucumbers, carrot slices, tomato, lettuce and dijon mustard? it's heavenly.

Friend #3 To-Go Stands

It's January, and I really don't want to think of where this cantaloupe-based "fruit salad" was flown in from, but when you're traveling, some compromises must be made. That includes eating fruit out of season for me, and eating fruit that probably isn't local. Sometimes you can also find bananas and apples; which I prefer, but that wasn't here this day.

Frenemy Fast-food.

I loathe fast food, but sometimes it's my only choice (especially if you're traveling by car in a remote part of the United States) and after spending way too many hours online, I have a list of vegan goodies at seemingly un-vegan chains. I am borrowing a few examples:

Try these choices: bean burritos at Taco Bell (sans cheese), french fries at Wendy's (no cross-contamination), veggie fajitas (sans cheese) at Chipotle, vegetarian burrito (black not pinto beans) at Chipotle (sans cheese and sour cream), Subway, streamliner (veggie burger) at Johnny Rockets (take care to tell them no butter on the bun), veggie pizza on whole-wheat crust (without cheese) Papa Johns, and many more. (Here is a free list online — but not entirely comprehensive, or accurate, from my independent research -- always check and ask before ordering).

Lastly, I also like to bring provisions with me — larabars, (Clif bars for Scott), Justin's PB packets, raisins, instant oatmeal (because you can always find hot water), and homemade sandwiches — which you can see in this picture if you look past the drink:

Yeah, I can't believe I drank that glass of blue booze either.