Lucky Donuts

Hi eaters!
So tonight is New Years Eve, huh? It appears so. And with that being said, I hope you’ve got your champagne chilling, your smoking hot outfit picked, and your resolutions ready. Also, if you’re into that sort of thing, I hope you’ve got your good luck foods prepped.
Down here in the South there are quite a few tried and true good luck foods — collard greens, hoppin’ john salad, pork, and even cornbread. I doubt I’ll be partaking in any of those traditions, but these is one (or kind of two) that I will be keeping — donuts and citrus!
I don’t remember exactly what each symbolizes or what country practices these traditions, but I do know that they’re good luck. Or better yet, a good excuse to use my new donut baking pans!
And a good excuse to try out a whole new-to-me ingredient:
Flax meal.
I have no clue why, but I’ve been resisting using flax eggs. Maybe because it was another thing to buy, but I always bypassed any recipe that called for them.
Until today…
I mixed my flax egg (1 T flax and 3 T water) and incorporated it into Lola’s recipe (I made 1.5 as much batter), because I have no clue how to make donuts and she does.
Luckily, though, I do know how to mix things in. I’m a mixins’ expert, if you will.
And with that knowledge I made 3 different kinds of donuts:
From left to right
Orange, Funfetti, and plain.
Note — pleasepleaseplease don’t waste your money on Funfetti cake mixes. Just mix in sprinkles. It’s not rocket science.
After the donuts were cooled, the dipping process began.
The orange donuts, which were made by adding orange zest and 1 T fresh orange juice into the mix, were dipped in orange glaze.
¼ c lump-free powdered sugar, 1 ½ t fresh orange juice
The Funfetti, which were made by mixing sprinkles into the batter, were first dipped in chocolate.
¼ c chocolate chips, 1 T Earth Balance, melted
Then they were dipped in sprinkles.
The plain donuts were dipped in plain glaze.
¼ c limp-free powdered sugar, 1 ½ t soy milk
And they were gorgeous. And damn adorable. And other synonyms for wonderful.
Just like my night will be. And don’t you worry eaters, I’ll be getting even more good luck citrus with my drink of choice tonight — margaritas.
Yup, it’s going to be a glorious new year.

Happy New Year, eaters!

The Last Christmas

Ello eaters (especially my couple of new eaters)!
I know that for a lot of you this was your last day of work before the weekend, so I hope it went swimmingly. And for those of you who haven’t had to work all week or, like me, who have been out for a while, let me remind you that today is Thursday. I keep forgetting what day it is, which is kind of a nice feeling.
Okay, I realize that most of you are past Christmas at this point, but I’m a child of divorce with a stepfamily. That means all my holidays drag on for a little while so that I can celebrate with every family. It really is quite nice.
So yesterday all of Stepmother’s family gathered at Papa’s house for the last Christmas. Not the Last Supper, though, because we met for brunch.
Normally, a family gathering with the stepfamily means massive amounts of homemade, true blue Southern food. But since Papa and Co were going to be leaving today, we decided to keep it simple.
A deli meat and cheese tray and bakery rolls from Fresh Market, crudités, and some fruit sounded simple enough. And a homemade carrot soup courtesy of Stepmother rounded out the meal.
Red peppers are tastier than green. 
I brunched on a big cup of soup, bell pepper slices, cantaloupe, and a rosemary-sea salt roll with brown mustard and spinach.
I love the soup cup. It’s actually retro, not fake.
The sandwich got dipped in the soup, and I was quite satisfied.
And then we opened presents and I was way more than satisfied. Some of the best:
Damn adorable black T-strap heels
A year subscription to VegNews
Exciting spices, because spices are expensive
And a new iPod nano!
Can you believe how small that thing is? It’s a 16GB, which means it holds about 4,000 songs! Holy technology!
This seems to have been the year of food and fitness. And practicality, because everything I got is useful and wonderful. I feel more than a bit spoiled.
But to balance it out, I spoiled Lil Sister a little with her new Easy Bake.
I think she liked it. But I must say…
That’s not how an Easy Bake looked in my day.
See-ya, eaters. I’ll be back tomorrow with a very fun little treat. 

WW: Shoe Inserts

Hiya eaters!
I’m happy to report that I made it through the airport with minimal trouble. As to be expected, the Laguardia airport was a bit of a madhouse yesterday after all the cancelations from the blizzard. People were sleeping on the floor. Others were storming the ticket counter. But luckily, my flight was only slightly delayed.
Okay, enough babble. Let’s get down to business, with the next park of my running breakthrough…

Part 2: Shoe Inserts
I don’t remember if I mentioned it at the time, but along with the exercises that I got from my last orthopedic appointment I also got shoe inserts. They were supposed to help realign my pancake feet, which would in turn help realign the rest of me.
And they seemed to help a little. But they weren’t of the highest quality. And I knew that if shoe inserts were going to be a permanent (or at least very long term) part of my life I should invest in a good, solid pair.
Enter Good Feet.
This is a chain of stores that specializes in shoe inserts, orthopedic shoes, and pretty much anything else you need for your feet. Sounds pretty great, right?
Oh yes it was!
After answering a few questions I had my feet printed.
Did you know that on a good, aligned foot the second toe is supposed to line up with the middle of the heel? And that the outer edge is supposed to be straight?
Apparently, I’m far from good.
So I stepped into a few inserts, found one that felt good, and had my feet reprinted.
It wasn’t perfect, but certainly a hell of a lot better.
After spending far more than a college student should ever spend on anything (with the hope that insurance will cover some of it), I walked away with a complete kit:
100% support inserts, which I have to slowly work up to wearing with a schedule that increases by 15-minute increments a day
50% support inserts, which I can wear all the time now and in my tighter fitting shoes later
And cushions to wear on top of my inserts
I immediately went home and started “working my way up” with the 100% inserts.
I’ve since been wearing the inserts near constantly for a couple of weeks. And I can tell the difference in my posture when I’m wearing them. And I can tell the difference in my shin pain when I’m not. I can’t exactly say yet that these have completely changed my life, but they’ve certainly helped.
And I was able to tackle a little more than a mile today when I ran, so obviously something good is happening.

And with that, eaters, I’m off to eat dinner. Later. 

Handling the Snow

G’evening eaters,
How is everyone on the East coast fairing in all this snow? I think the highest I heard was around 2 feet in a few places. Up here on Long Island we got about a foot and a half.
It was looking pretty grim last night before I went to bed.
And when I looked out my window this morning it was still coming down pretty hard.
So I bundled up to an obscene extent and braved the cold to explore a little.
Snow and ice covered everything. 
I was walking in it up to my knees. 
And the neighborhood was abuzz with activity — kids running and playing, adults shoveling and snow blowing.
After a little walk it was time to start my own shoveling.
Almost two hours later (with the help of a neighbor with a snow blower) we had a clear driveway, a dug out car, and a couple paths through the back yard.
I’d always heard what a great workout snow shoveling was, so I made sure to wear my new toy heart rate monitor.
Yup, that’s my workout for the day.
And everyone knows that a good workout requires good fuel. Pizza, to be exact.
Veggie pizza from the best corner pizzeria I know — Cousins in Syosset, Long Island.
Two slices packed with veggie, cheesy goodness.
Oh yes, you better believe I ate the cheese.
And I loved every single bite.
But I’m not loving the snow anymore, especially since it might be hindering my flight home tomorrow. Wish me luck on that front.

G’night eaters. 

Tis Boxing Day

Happy Boxing Day, eaters!
What exactly is Boxing Day, other than a bank holiday in select countries? Why is it called Boxing Day? I just don’t understand.   
Anyway, how was your Christmas? Did you get what you eat, drink, and be merry? Did Santa visit?
I don’t actually know if any of my presents were marked from Santa, but I did get some pretty great stuff!
These will be making regular appearances. 
A cookbook and donut baking tins from one aunt.
Aladdin thermoses are the best.
The essential infuser thermos (which has a built in basket for loose tea or coffee grounds) from another aunt.
Mukluks from Brother.
These will replace my 5 year old boots. Finally.
Boots and signed books from Mother.
And a heart rate monitor from the grandparents!
This was what I wanted most this year and it also just happened to be the last present I opened. I really didn’t think I would get it. So of course the second I opened it I slapped that baby on and started doing jumping jacks. In the kitchen.
It was great. Not so great was seeing just how elevated my resting heart rate was due to a little asthma flair up I was having.
And of course, we ate. A lot.
Dinner was grand with baked ham, green beans with almonds, roasted potatoes, poached carrots and Brussels sprouts, venison, and applesauce. And lots of really good red wine, courtesy of my uncle (he’s great at shopping for jewelry and wine).
Delicious.
I, obviously, didn’t have any venison, but everyone was raving about it. Apparently, my third aunt’s boyfriend hunted the dear and then she marinated it (in something like balsamic vinegar, crushed ginger cookies, wine, and a bunch of other stuff) for three days.
Then came dessert:
Petifores and blueberry crumbles
Cookies
Aunt-made stollen
Crumb cake, a family tradition
The blueberry crumbles were made by my aunt, and she was quite proud of them.
I started off with a little of a few things and ended up having a little of almost everything. 
Tis the season to eat lots of treats, especially the strange-but-delicious rainbow bites.
The night ended with some very old home movies from when Mother and the aunts were young, a little family tiff, and a couple more cookies. A very successful Christmas.

And if you’ll excuse me, eaters, I’ve got to go watch “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Yup, I said it. 

G’night, eaters. 

Merry Xmas

Merry Christmas eaters!

It’s officially the big day, the day we’ve all been waiting and stressing for. And it feels pretty good so far. 
I spent the entire day with Papa’s loud and offensive family and it was great. And now I just wrapped Mother’s gifts (in recycled newspaper) and am chilling with Brother before bed. 
So, I wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope your days are filled with food (stollen for breakfast? yes please!), fun, family, and gifts.
And if for whatever reason you don’t find what you want under the tree, I suggest you check out ecolissa.com
It’s a eco-friendly, vegan clothing and accessory store that an eater, Melissa, just opened. And in the spirit of the season she is offering 20% to all you awesome eaters. Simply enter “vegan20″ at checkout.
And if this…
happens to land in your cart (in an XS) and then somehow find it’s way to me, well I would just consider that the greatest Christmas miracle.
G’night eaters. Celebrate well, and eat lots.

PS-Allow me a quick holiday rant: Don’t get bent out of shape about people writing “Xmas,” claiming that people are “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” X is the symbol in the Greek alphabet for “chi,” which is obviously the beginning of “Christ.” Thus writing Xian and Xmas isn’t sacrilegious, but rather historically correct. And that’s the end of the rant. 

Christmas Begins on Festivus

Hi eaters!
I’m coming to you all the way from New York. Long Island, to be exact.
I bounded out of bed this morning filled with excitement. Today was the day that truly marks the beginning of Christmas for me. And also Festivus. 
I ate a delicious, perishable breakfast.
So damn pretty.
This grapefruit was a letdown. It was huge, but the skin turned out to be far too thick. But it was tasty.
I filled my water bottle and snagged a few pictures of my very camera shy dog.
Before taking him to the kennel.
I don’t know what he was licking.
Then loaded up the car. Mother, Brother and I drove the hour to the airport and made it through security (managing to avoid the full body scanners).
I drank a delicious tall Christmas Blend from Starbucks, refilled my water bottle, and off we went.
A relatively smooth flight later we landed in New York.
New York!
Mother’s father met us at the airport and whisked us away to the family home, which in a couple days will be filled to the brim with family.
This table will soon seat 10-15.
In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m from a family of New Yorkers. Mother and Father were born into big New York families, most of which still live here. We come up every Christmas and I couldn’t image it any other way.
I also couldn’t imagine a trip to Long Island without eating a slice of pizza from our favorite neighborhood pizzeria or desserts from the Italian bakery that’s right down the street or the biscotti and stollen my aunts bake. I couldn’t imagine troubling my already stressed Grandmother (she’s getting a little tired of everyone bombarding her house every year) to leave off the butter or switch to soymilk.
So I’m not going to. I’m going to loosen my grip on veganism a bit and really enjoy the holiday the way I always have. Sorry if that disappoints anyone, but honestly, I would be unbelievably disappointed if I had to forego my favorites.

And with that, eaters, I say g’night. I’ve got family to chat with and an early bedtime. I’m with Papa’s bigger, louder family tomorrow. And I can’t wait. 

WW: Running Form

See eaters, I told you I wouldn’t disappear again today.
I couldn’t possibly have disappeared considered the ah-maze-ing news I have to share. Ready?

I ran a mile today!

This was the first time I’ve done it in over a year (and only the second time I’ve ever). My pace was on par with your grandmother, but I did it. And then I sprinted for a minute just for fun.
As you know, I’ve been battling to run for quite some time now. Unlike a lot of people, my quest for answers isn’t because I used to run and want to return to it. No. I’ve never run, as you can now see. But I’ve always wanted to. So I started trying.
And after about a year of pain, stretching, icing, doctors, and shin sleeves, it finally seems like I’ve made a breakthrough. A two-part breakthrough, to be more exact. And wouldn’t you know, a two-part breakthrough lends itself wonderfully to two WW, right?
Yup.
Part 1: Form
My whole life I’d had people tell me I “run weird.” Yes, that is a direct quote from a handful of people. And I’m willing to be you a lot of you probably “run weird,” too.
There’s a very simple, important reason for that: no one teaches us how to run. We learn to crawl then walk then run. We usually transition to running by simply walking faster. Sounds logical, right?
No. Unless you’re a trained ballerina, you walk by striking the ground with your heel and then rolling to your toes before lifting up your foot and once again moving it in front of the other. If you try and run in the same motion (which is how I’ve always run) you’re essentially putting the brakes on with every step. And you’re pounding a ton of pressure (all your body weight, more specifically) on your shins with every step.
Bad.
Does all that sound really bad? It should, partially because this is caused by too long strides and partially because it will cause a lot of other problems down the road.
Growing up with Brother, the triathlete, cross-country superstar, I’d heard more than my fair share about running form, but not until recently had I actually started paying attention to my form. And it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was putting the breaks on my running.
So I read up and started experimenting on the treadmill. At first, I felt like an idiot. But then it felt right. Very right. Ah-maze-ingly right.
And all it took was one simple, but big change: striking at the front of my foot.
Good.
If that sounds like a weird martial arts technique, you’re not alone. It simply means that instead of hitting the ground with my heel and having to restart my momentum after every step, I was hitting the ground on the mid-to-ball of my foot and springing off with each step.
Doesn’t that just sound worlds better than the first option?
Yeah, it is.
I’m not saying that I’m suddenly able to run marathons (obviously). I’m not saying the all my pain is gone (rather it has lessened and moved more to my ankles). And I’m certainly not saying that I’m not a graceful runner (I purposely position myself away from the mirrors at the gym). But I did just run a mile. And I did it certainly with effort, but without feeling like I was dying.
And that, m’sweet eaters, is an amazing feeling. So if you want to run further, longer, and be more pain-free, or if you want to re-affirm your awesomeness as a runner, pay attention to your form. It really makes all the difference.
Okay, eaters, I’m off to pack. Tomorrow I’m heading up to New York to see my family for Christmas. I’m really quite excited.
Later, eaters. 

(Microwave) Oven Fun

Hi eaters,
Sorry for going MIA…again. Yesterday was the manly friend’s last day in town and as much as I love keeping you updating, I decided that spending some quality time with him was a bit more important. I hope you understand.
But, I did document a bit of our quality time. Curious?
Oh, believe me, it’s good.
A good bit of yesterday was spent in the kitchen, as usual. I was baking biscotti for gifts and the family and as you know if you’ve ever baked biscotti, it’s quite a long process. During that long process I started poking around the kitchen. And you’ll never guess what I found!
It’s perpetually just past noon. Or midnight.
Oh yes, eaters, that is an Easy Bake Oven you’re seeing.
I guess Mother saved it all these years. And not only did she save the oven, but all the mixes, too.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
McDonald’s apple pies it is!
Start with a pouch of sugar cookie mix. Add 1 teaspoon of cold water. Mix.
After that you were supposed to flatten the dough and put it in a pie folder, but I’m lazy.
So I spread it in a round pan. And then added the one ingredient that would take it from a sugar cookie to an apple pie…
Sprinkle the little sugar balls on top…
And into the oven it went, after it had been “preheating” (i.e.-plugged in) for 15 minutes, of course.
About 10 minutes later out slid this:
A puffy cookie-thing that, upon closer inspection, smelled slightly of fish.
Brother ate a bite and said it tasted slightly of fish, too.
But the fun doesn’t end there. Oh no. Next came brownies.
Somehow, despite it seeming that all Easy Bake creations were simply sugar cookies in disguise, I found a packet of brownie mix.
Packet of mix plus 1 teaspoon of cold water plus a little stirring equals a round pan full of batter.
I was going to call it quits there, but then I spotted this:
The “islands” intrigued me. So I added them, too.
And their turn in the oven produced…
A puffy brownie-thing that didn’t have a bit of brownie (or strawberry) smell.
Brother didn’t eat any of this.
And thus marked the end of my trip down memory lane. 
The moral of the story:
Don’t eat anything that requires you to add water to a pouch, especially if it can survive over a decade and be cooked by a light bulb. It’s probably not real food.
(But, Lil Sis is getting one for Christmas. And her clock is set to 12:31.)

G’night eaters. I WILL catch you tomorrow with a very exciting WW.

So Many Tears of Joy

O’m’gosh eaters,
I’m on fire!
Those were the exact words used by  my steak and potatoes manly friend when he took a bite of dinner. Do you know what we had for dinner?
Yes, I’ve only been home for a few days and already I made good on my promise of making the recipe good. And oh so good it was.
Things were a little different than last time, but everything came together too perfectly for words. Almost.
So here are those words.
Tears of Joy Quiche
3 medium (or 2 large) onions
1 bunch (about 4 cups shredded) of kale
1 package extra firm tofu, pureed
½ c nutritional yeast
3 t apple cider vinegar
~1/4 t nutmeg
salt and pepper
olive oil
crust
Chop onions into slightly large pieces. The onion will shrink a lot, so don’t be afraid to go a little bigger. Heat a skillet (cast iron works best) to medium-low and drizzle with enough oil to coat. Add the onions and toss to coat.
Then walk away for a large handful of minutes.
Caramelizing onions is serious business. Turning the onions that made my eyes sting into sweet sweet candy takes patience.
Stir occasionally, all the while breathing in the heavenly aroma and admiring the gorgeous deepening color.
While your onions are getting good, remove the think stems from the kale and shred. The kale should be torn into very small pieces.
Once the onions are perfect add the shredded kale, toss briefly and cover the pan. Uncover and stir every few minutes until the kale is wilted.
Important note about salt — when you salt your food means the difference between seasoning and steaming. Salting at the end of cooking adds flavor. Salting during the cooking of vegetables draws out the water and causes steaming. For this case, add a generous sprinkle of salt after you add the kale, but before you stir the kale and onions together. A little bit of salt can be added before each stir of the mixture.
Add the onions and kale to a large bowl with tofu, vinegar, nutritional yeast and seasonings. Toss everything together and spread into a pre-fab piecrust.
Sure, you can be an over-achiever and make your own crust. But I’m not quite that much of an over-achiever…yet.
Bake the quiche in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.
Serve warm, hot, cold or tepid. Just for the love of delicious vegan food, serve it soon.
Because I guarantee, it is that good.

G’night eaters.