Vegan Month: 10 things I’ve been eating

This month, as part of my company’s “Health and Wellness” month challenge, my co-workers and I have set health goals for ourselves. My challenge was to go vegan for the month – normally I am just plain old vegetarian. It’s something I did last year as well. Thus far, it’s been going so fabulous – I feel more energized, less guilty and overall have lost about 5 pounds. Here’s what I’ve been eating!

Pic from glutenfreedelightfullydelicious.com
Source: Gluten Free Delightfully Delicious
Vegetable soup
This is an easy way to use up vegetables that might be going bad. I made this last night for Mark and I, and my recipe was: 4 cups of vegetable stock, a bag of corn (or maybe 2 cans), half a bag of cauliflower (or maybe 1/3 a head), half cup diced potatoes, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot, and half a red onion (fried). For seasoning I used cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. I added in way too much cayenne pepper, so Mark was coughing the whole time, but I’ve heard cayenne pepper has lots of health benefits, so that’s good! I imagine this recipe would be really good with kale and asparagus too, so throw in whatever ya got. It’s fantastic for cold weather and it’s full of yummy vitamins.

Bean burritos
This one is delicious and better than Taco Bell! (Almost… I freaking love Taco Bell.) Heat up a skillet with a bit of olive oil and warm/toast your tortilla. Flip it over once it begins to brown. In another pan, fry up some onion and pepper. On your tortilla, add in a spread of hummus (any flavor you want – I used cilantro and jalapeno hummmus), a scoop of black beans, hot sauce, salsa, and Tofutti sour cream. Add in your fried veggies and fold it up! I like to add lots of extra hot sauce to this one because I hate my lips and want to burn them off.

Pic from canandianhealthexpert.com
Source: Canadian Health Expert
Fresh fruit and nuts
Once you get on the fresh fruit train, you might not want to get off. Chugga chugga. I’ve had a banana, apple, pear, strawberries or blueberries for breakfast almost every day and now I look so forward to it since my body has grown accustomed to it. I’m sort of obsessed with avocados and love to eat half of one with a spoon as a snack. It’s weird to think avocado is a fruit, but it totally is! And sweet mother of God, have you ever tried cocoa almonds? These are an absolute perfect vegan substitute for chocolate lovers. If you’re thinking of going vegan but could never give up chocolate, just TRY some of these.

Turkey Club
This is a recipe from Eden, a vegan cafe in Scranton. The owner, Christian, was nice enough to cater lunch for my office and he brought turkey clubs! It’s fake bacon (some fake bacon has egg, so be sure to read the ingredients) and tofurkey, on whole wheat bread with veganaise, tomato and lettuce. It’s easy – sandwiches are usually easy… and good for picnics and crap. One of the easiest vegan “dairy/egg free” switches I made was to veganaise, so if you’re unsure of how fake dairy and eggless products are going to taste, my recommendation is to start with veganaise.

Pic from http://thecornerkitchenblog.com
Source: The Corner Kitchen Blog
Tofu red curry
This is something I order from our local Thai restaurant, Thai Thai in Wilkes Barre, PA. It has tofu, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, string beans, eggplant, bell peppers, kaffir lime leaves and basil leaves. As long as you order it without egg and fish paste, it’s vegan! I have made similar dishes at home, but nothing ever quite like this. I am quite picky about my tofu, and do not even buy block tofu since I tend to screw it up. If you want to try to make this on your own, try this recipe.

Sausage, potato, and kale soup
I took this recipe from the Pioneer Woman and made it vegan! Silk soy milk instead of milk and cream, vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and Field Roast sausage instead of meat sausage. My recommendation is to make sure the kale is chopped up fairly fine and fry the sausage in some oil before throwing it into the soup.

Quinoa and edamame salad
I had this in the cafeteria at Wilkes University. Quinoa has a really really awesome texture and consistency and it was really filling. Fun fact: Quinoa is high in protein, low in calories, and gluten free! And for all those non-Asian people out there, edamame is Japanese word for soybean or young soybeans or something. I’m Japanese, get over it. Soy is a good source of protein and a few other good things. If you’re savvy and want to try it on your own, here’s a recipe!

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Tomato and cucumber flatbread with hummus and cilantro
This is a dish I love to order in one of my favorite local restaurants, Rodanos, in Wilkes Barre, PA. it’s grilled flatbread topped with hummus, diced tomatoes, and cucumber seasoned with lemon and cilantro. I tried to make my own version of it, which was pretty good, but not as good as thee one at Rodanos. To make your own, simply smear hummus on some flatbread and dot it with diced tomatos and diced cucumbers – a perfect summer flatbread treat!

Navratan Korma
I order this from a local Indian restaurant called Lett’s Eat in Wilkes Barre, PA, and it’s just divine. Indian places are renowned for being super veg friendly. When I told the waiter that I was looking for vegan options, he pretty much read off half the menu! So delicious and so filling. Since it’s full of “9 gems” you can pick and choose which 9 vegetables or nuts you want to put in here to get all the yummy vitaminy benefits. I’ve also read good things about the turmeric it contains. Here’s a recipe if you want to try to make it on your own!

Pic from blog.manitobaharvest.com
Source: Manitoba Harvest
3 bean salad
The 3 bean salad is one of the quickest and most filling things you can make. It’s cheap, full of protein and fiber, and delicious as leftovers as well if you make a whole big batch. This is also one of my favorite summertime foods, when it’s too hot too eat anything hot! Grab 3 cans of beans (cannellini, navy, black, red kidney, green, garbanzo, kidney, soy, whatever your fancy), drain and rinse. Add half a chopped red onion, a handful of some fresh chopped cilantro, parsley, and/or rosemary, some apple cider vinegar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and voila. I usually eyeball the stuff I add in, but you don’t want it too soggy. Here’s a recipe to go by if you need one!

By the way, you can add “secret little superheroes” to many of these dishes. For example, if you’re looking to add some fiber, omega-3 healthy fatty acids which are good for the heart, or just some nutty flavor, throw some ground flaxseed in the mix. This is one of those things you can hide it in but still get the benefits.

Thanks for reading peeeps! What are your favorite vegan or vegetarian recipes?


Featured image from juicingcollection.com

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Earrings that are good enough to eat

I have been so swamped with wedding stuff lately, which is great news because it means more wedding posts are coming! We ordered our invitations, picked out our music… And all that work is making me work up an appetite… I’ve been so hungry lately… hungry for adorable accessories! These earrings all look so tasty to me! I was also inspired to make this post because of some really epic burrito earrings that Cazz from Nerd Burger sent me! Which ones are your favorite?

food-earrings

1. Rainbow Cake Earrings by Inedible Jewelry • 2. Yummy Pizza Earrings from Phalange • 3. Macaron Earrings • 4. Saltine Earrings by Inedible Jewelry • 5. Avocado Earrings by Neat EatsLollipop Earrings from Lovely Lauri • 7. Sushi Charm Dangle Earrings from Shana Logic • 8. Coffee Bean Stud Earrings by Tiny Food

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Who’s That Geek? It’s Leo Camacho!

I’m just going to put this right here…

Hey! Snap out of it! I am sure all of your minds have been blown by the awesomeness of this video: Traci Hines as Ariel, and my Who’s That Geek, Leo Camacho as Prince Eric! Not only is he the most perfect Prince Eric the world has ever seen, but Leo seems made for Disney cosplay. He’s donned a few particularly fabulous costumes, including an epic Aladdin and Jack Sparrow (pictured later in the post).


Leo as Aladdin. A whole new world…. of adorable tiny vests.

Leo’s cosplay prowess is not limited to Disney – he’s done a fabulous Darkwing Duck and Wolverine as well. He’s into Disneybounding, as we all should be. For those who don’t know, “Disneybounding” is a term coined by Leslie Kay that refers to building an outfit around a Disney character. And be sure to check out some of the other great cosplays under his belt like Team Rocket Grunt and Broba Fett. (Don’t ask.)

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Leo as Darkwing Duck and Wolverine!

Did I mention he is a fantastic cartoonist and sketch artist? If you check him out on Tumblr you will be sure to see a lot of sketches, but he also has a really rad gallery on DeviantArt. Be sure to scope out “The Unusual Suspects,” “Sure, she’s got everything,” and “Malware detected.”

mario-leo-camacho
“Super 16 Bit Heroes”

And a final note on the geekiness of Leo… his day job is so awesome, he works for Google Lunar XPRIZE!!! Space and robots, ftw. Obviously since you now love him as much as I do, check him out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And if we’re offering suggestions here, my suggestions to Leo for future cosplays would include Captain Hook, Clark Kent / Superman, and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones. Thanks again to Leo for answering all of my questions in a most thorough manner!

1. Obviously the world would probably most easily recognize you as “that guy who did the perfect Prince Eric.” What was your first cosplay, what is your favorite cosplay you’ve ever done, and what is your future dream cosplay?
Ha! Yeah, the Prince Eric thing is pretty funny. It’s gotten to the point where people who haven’t seen any of my Prince Eric stuff online just randomly tell me I look like him. He’s a stud though so I guess that’s a good thing!

Before I was a Disney prince, I was a Disney pirate. My very first cosplay, and conveniently my favorite, was Jack Sparrow from Pirate of the Caribbean. I always thought the character was cool in the films and for me personally, the fun in cosplay is channeling the characters you get to portray, so naturally this seemed like a fun first pick albeit an audacious one. It took me a few iterations to get it right. A trip to the thrift store and about $60 worth of material provided a pretty passable Jack for the time. This was before the huge cosplay wave hit the mainland and crappy costumes were still considered “not bad”. After SDCC (my first cosplay outing) I put the costume up on ebay for $40 and it sold for $450! I though to myself “Well maybe I should use this and make a good one!” I did just that and I still rock it occasionally to this day. I mean, who doesn’t like acting like a drunk pirate in public?

Who knows what the future will hold. I have a few in the pipeline I want to get out there including a movie accurate Prince of Persia, the male demon hunter from Diablo 3, and possibly some old school stuff like Keith from Voltron or Link from Zelda II. Lets see what time, opportunity and budget allow for!


Leo as Jack Sparrow. Spot on, and why is the rum gone?

2. Apocalypse! The world ends, and all people are destroyed, except for you and 1 other person (real or fictitious) that you have to re-populate the Earth with. Who is it?
Allison Brie from the show “Community”. That girl is really something. I’m all about those hot nerdy girls. We could make beautiful thick eyebrowed babies and make each other laugh all day. She also seems tenacious so that might come in handy when warding off zombies and such. I would also have to take Kate Beckinsale into consideration as well. I mean, she has experience fighting vampires and werewolves and that could prove handy in a pinch. Tough decisions. Life is hard.

3. What was your favorite cartoon as a kid? How about now?
My favorite cartoon as a kid was undoubtedly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was (and still am) a MASSIVE fan and I definitely had turtle fever. I collected, literally, every single toy and I drew them non-stop. I still do these things but I’m saying I did that as a kid too. Let’s face it. I’m still a kid. Today I might have to go with a few other jewels in the animation museum like Samurai Jack, Adventure Time, Archer, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I really like cartoons btw. Like, a lot.

4. What would you tell someone who was just starting out in cosplay, but was nervous or scared?
(Leo had posted to Tumblr a while ago and provided 5 tips to new cosplayers… and here they are!)
a. Love to cosplay. You’ll know you love it before you even do it.
b. Find a character that resonates with you. The main reasons my cosplays work so well is because I tend to find characters I look like and that is like a 75% advantage already. This isn’t for everyone though and it’s not important. I do think it’s important to highlight though because I am no master costume designer and this is why I get away with any praise at all. Secondly I look for characters who’s personality I feel I can channel. I can be a bit of an actor so I love this part and it come naturally. Lastly, I find characters I think look cool so that I can feel cool when I become them. Find who you want to be and do it. That’s what cosplay is all about
c. Take on tasks that you can manage and give yourself time. Never cosplayed before? Then don’t pick a complicated character with 40 layers of armor and expect to finish it in a week. You have to keep in mind that cosplay has become a refined artform over the last 15 years here in the states, roughly and many tricks have slowly surfaced over that time. Don’t expect to master more complex techniques over night. Give yourself time to learn and fail and rebuild. Manage your expectations and you will get more done sooner and be able to add more later
d. Don’t be shy. I know its hard to go in public dressed as a dinosaur robot with a 12 foot neon sword that looks like a dildo. Own it. I know you have to get gas before you leave. Look at people and laugh with them. It is ridiculous and that’s why its fun. Tell them the story. share the positivity. Fuck it. After all, you are a dinosaur robot with a dildo sword. Who can stop you?
e. Don’t judge others. Not everyone will be amazing. No one deserves to be slammed. Be constructive and offer tips but never shut someone down. This community is held together over the love of wearing silly shit pretending to be a fucking cartoon or something. Who are you to judge? Shut up and be nice.

5. Your drawings are fantastic! What medium do you prefer to draw on, what tools do you use, and what are your favorite things to draw?
Thank you! That means a lot considering I have no real formal training or anything so I’m glad you enjoy them. I always prefer to draw with a regular ol’ mechanical pencil. I generally follow up by inking with some Copic Multiliner pens and then perhaps some Copic Markers. My favorite means to add color is digital, so I usually scan my images in, clean them up, then color them in photoshop. I have the Cintiq tablet now but I used a general old Wacom crap-tablet 2000 for a long time. I actually colored most of my pieces with an optical mouse for a LONG time before I started with tablets. The point is, any tool is viable if it feels good to you. I encourage people to play around and try new things and find the groove that fits you best!

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Top 5 Cosplays on my Cosplay Bucket List

I’m getting the itch… to cosplay! So for 2014 and 2015 I am going to try to knock out as many of these as possible. The costumes for my chosen 5 are simple enough, so I can see this goal being completely attainable. Plus the world totally needs more cosplaying… and I need to do my part if we’re going to make the world a more colorful place <3

annie-league-of-legends

Annie from League of Legends

Annie is one I’ve dreamt of ever since Mark began playing League of Legends religiously. She’s adorable and evil, a combination that I’m a huge fan of. She has this epic bear named Tibbers that she can summon… he is her faithful bear slave and destroyer of worlds. Annie has a really cute purple dress, adorable bear backpack, random cat ears, and adorable 80’s leg warmers. In short, she’s a cute fireball of purpley goodness.

kiss-the-girl-ariel

Kiss the Girl Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Ariel cosplays can be tricky, considering she’s a freaking fish. And I don’t see myself laying around a pool with my big green fin any time soon, so I’ve chosen to do “Kiss the girl” Ariel, or Kingdom dress Ariel. It’s recognizable enough, but I’ll actually get to use legs! The wig is key for this costume, for sure.

lydia-deetz

Lydia from Beetlejuice the cartoon

One of my absolutely favorite cartoons as a kid was Beetlejuice. Lydia wore a fantastic spiderweb poncho, pink and purple eyeshadow, and a crazy ponytail that just don’t quit. It not only seems extremely comfortable, but recognizable as well. My hope is that I could get a Beetlejuice to cosplay with me, but I think this one can be recognizable alone as well.

peter-pan

Disney’s Peter Pan

Peter Pan was a childhood idol of mine. He’s one of those androgynous cosplays that guys and girls can typically pull off. Peter is a young boy, and that makes girls the perfect choice to portray his youthful clean shaven look. We all know in the musical, he is usually played by a woman. And Peter represents a large part of my childhood and that notion of staying young forever. He’s adventurous, brave, charming and super cute! I gotta crow!

tina-belcher

Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

BRB, writing erotic friend fiction. Tina Belcher was not my first choice for a Bob’s Burgers cosplay – it has always been Louise. But the more hilarious character development I see of Tina, the more I absolutely love her. She totally represents all of our awkward selves in our teen years, whether we like it or not. And again, it’s a simple costume that will be easy to put together. The key with this cosplay is that I believe it’s a must-do-as-a-group cosplay, which is why I am hoping me and my friends can do a Bob’s Burger group at New York Comic Con this year! So don’t be such a boob punch, and come hang out with me and Comic Con!


What’s on your cosplay bucket list? Leave a comment and let me know!

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