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If you don't already follow @janasooter on Twitter, you should. Over the last few weeks, Jana & I have become Twitter friends — tweeps, as the lingo goes. In fact, I've already told her we could never meet in person because her kids are so dang cute, I worry I might try to steal and adopt them as my own ;)
Anyway, I found Jana by a happy accident. Unbeknownst to me, Jana decided to create a challenge — cook a new recipe from Happy Herbivore Abroad every. single. day. After a few of her tweets about the challenge, I scoped her profile out, followed her, and have been as happy as an uneaten clam ever since.
When Jana started approaching Day 50, I asked if she would be interested in guest posting on happyherbivore.com about her challenge, her story, and why she's doing it. Thankfully, she said yes. Jana and her family are such an inspiration!!
The Happy Herbivore Abroad Challenge
I was a vegetarian for 20 years — and several of those years were vegan. But today, my world has grown to include a husband, 5 kids, and my mother. When you have a large family, home school, own a farm, and run a home business, dinner plans can suffer. And you can only throw together beans, rice, and a salad so many times before morale plummets and a rebellion begins to brew. If I wanted support a healthy lifestyle for my family, I had to do something. Thus, the challenge.
I love challenges. And I love making them public to motivate accountability. And, I love to cook. When I received Happy Herbivore Abroad in the mail, I got excited. Real excited. Here were quick vegan dishes that had some spunk and around-the-world flavor. I tweeted a thought, "Thinking of making it a 135-day challenge. Would be deliciously fun." And there it was. Public. Several people responded, and I was committed.
And I have to tell you, it has been incredible for the entire family.
The recipes are so quick and easy that I don’t have to plan way ahead. Most of the things called for are already in my pantry or easy to find at the store. And most importantly, the ingredients don’t break the bank for a large family on a tight budget.
The most precious, awesome, amazing thing is that the kids are so into it. They come into the kitchen every morning asking what the recipe for the day is. Even my 5-year-old created a dish tonight with his father because he has been playing a part all along.
So, we’re at day 50, and I want to give you a list of our favorites. We use a three-star rating system, with the whole family weighing in for the vote. It's hard to narrow down the list, but here are the 3-star favorites out of the first 50 days:
Quick Queso (pg. 198) — Now a staple in our house.
Lentil Taco Meat (pg. 43) — Licked the plate. Seriously.
Thai Noodle Soup (pg. 29) — Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
Moroccan Mint Tea (pg. 220) — This is easy and elegant.
Taquitos (pg. 53) — Couldn’t even tell you how many times we have made these. Scrumptious!
Cheater Pad Thai (pg. 178) — So fast, and so wonderful. Tears. Made me cry happy tears.
Cuban Black Bean Soup (pg. 17) — Perfectly spiced. Applause from all 8 of us.
Enchilada Sauce w/ Veg Enchiladas (pgs. 201 and 103) — Wow!!!!!!!!
Blueberry Bundt Cake (pg. 151) — Perfect. What else can you say?
Texas White Chili (pg. 281) — Surprised me how flavorful this one was!
Hot Chocolate (pg. 214) — Made every day in our house. In the Vitamix. Brilliant!
Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts (pg. 155) — Made me like doughnuts!
Lemony Kale (pg. 78) — I love ALL things kale. Truth.
French Fries (pg. 70) — You can’t make enough of these.
All good. All easy. All made us happy! In fact, my family is so inspired and thrilled with this experience that, after we finish HHA, my 11-year-old Kitchen Shadow is going to blog his way through cooking every recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore — just to prove how easy it can be to be vegan and healthy! If an 11-year-old boy is able to do it with passion, anyone can.
The challenge continues, so we’ll send an update when we get to 100 days of HHA. Follow our adventure on my blog or on Twitter.
Happy healthy eating!