Vegetarian to Plant-Based

I recently changed from eating a vegetarian diet to a plant-based diet. Some refer to this as being a vegan,  but it is slightly different. I started this after a friend mentioned she had started the plan and it helped tremendously with her energy and recovery time. In addition, she had not had a migraine in weeks after suffering a month-long migraine prior to starting the plant-based plan. This intrigued me because I have suffered from migraines for a few years.

Perceived hurdles that have been proven wrong:

  • I don’t want to eat only salads. There have been times that I ate so many salads, that I did not want to see any lettuce for weeks. I started off using the Whole Foods Cook Book. This book provides enough variety of recipes to not get bored. I have not liked all the recipes, but have found several that are my reliable standards. My favorites include Sweet Potato and Tempeh, Mock Tuna Salad, and Corn Chowder. Salads are still part of my routine, but not to the point that I dread them!
  • It seemed like it would be difficult to find meals when eating out. I have to admit this is the most difficult hurdle. Most restaurants use oils and other processed ingredients. Most times I can order sides, plain baked potatoes, and salads.
  • Where will I get protein?? I already had issues at times finding protein. Now I realize that I was just not being creative. Beans and legumes are so easy and can be added to almost any meal. While I have been on this plan, it has been rare for me to get hungry at inconvenient times.
  • This will become difficult and boring. I think this eating style has been better for me because I plan for several meals at one time. I have never loved cooking but this has actually been fun. I have cooked more in the past three to four months than the previous eighteen months. Typically, over the weekend, I cook a couple entrees and freeze portions for later. I am now searching a variety of blogs for new recipes and ideas. My next book will be the Good Clean Food Cook Book.
  • I thought it would be really difficult to give up my mid-morning snack of Greek yogurt. Surprisingly, after the first two days I did not think about the yogurt anymore!

I have had very few migraines since moving to plant-based.  I think I can attribute the ones I have had to work and family stress. In the past, my migraines just might have been due to the processed foods in my diet.

 

Trip to include Switzerland!

It is hard to believe that our trip to France is just two months away! We finally made a decision about the second week of our vacation. After spending a week in Paris, we will head to Lyon and then to Switzerland. Now, we must decide where to visit in Switzerland.We will only have three days to spend there so we have to choose wisely. How can we choose from Lucerne, Zermatt, Bern, Geneva, and more!? I have spent hours looking at so many Swiss areas and it is really hard to decide. Some travel sites recommend skipping the larger cities and I think that is what we are considering. I believe we will want to spend time hiking and taking in the absolutely gorgeous scenery instead of fighting crowds.

 

 

 

Reconnecting with friends

My husband and I recently spent an evening with a dear friend. We only recently reconnected after years of separation.

We first met while working part-time during high school. We connected in many ways and not just because of work. We did not realize at first how much we had in common and may not have realized the realm of similarities until we were adults. We both loved school partially because it gave us respite from our homes. Unfortunately, both our mothers had unusual personalities and well, that is another post.

Anyway, the weekend with my friend was a reminder that some of our deepest friendships may be the ones that develop at a young age. They know or at least understand our family, and they see us in good and bad times, including the awkward teenage years. These friends share high school and college years. In many cases, these are lean financial years (at least that was the case when we were growing up). This means that friends from this time period know what it is like to just hang out and talk, eat at fast food restaurants, attend student events (i.e., FREE), and go to other cheap options. They know us without all the adult baggage, keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome I see so many adults falling into, and only attending events where there may be some payoff. Do we really make great friends in these situations? I think we can make friends through such avenues, but for the majority, these are not deep friendships.

It was great to see Tammy. We did not talk about the years of separation because at this time it is not important. We enjoyed and appreciated the present with our husbands as adult women. Reminiscing about some of the people from our high school job brought some smiles and laughter. As I look back on that Saturday evening, spending the night at her house, talking, laughing, and sharing, I realize this is what girlfriends do at all ages. However, only special friendships can pick up after a few years, add in the spouses, and carry on.

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The first time we saw each other in years. I was so excited to see Tammy again. I did not take any photos during our recent visit.

 

Planning for France

I am so excited!! I am FINALLY going to France! I have wanted to travel to France since I was a teenager. My high school French teacher not only tried to teach us the language but also taught us about many of the most famous Paris sites and monuments. The Louvre was one of the topics and at that time I fell in love with the idea of touring the Louvre some day and seeing the Mona Lisa.

I have tried to convince my husband for years to go  with me but he always said that he was not interested. So, a friend and I are going in the Fall of this year for two weeks! We will spend the first week in Paris in an apartment we booked thru Airbnb. The apartment is a unique find – the Mona Lisa actually stayed in the apartment building for a little while. Really! Many are not aware that the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and the thief hid it in his room about 2 miles from the Louvre before taking it to Italy. Our apartment is in the same building. I know this may not be a big deal for most travelers, but to me it is special detail to our trip.

We have not decided where we will go during our second week because there are so many options. We can visit other regions of France or go to other countries. I am sure I will have more to share about the trip as soon as more plans are finalized. I will gladly accept any suggestions. What are your recommendations?

Cupcakes & Gala

After weeks of testing recipes, adjusting recipes, and tasting and sampling, the cupcakes were finally completed for the River Run International Film Festival. The Festival is a fantastic annual spring event held in Winston-Salem, NC. Each year the festival shows over 150 feature length and short films at a variety of venues over a week and a half. There are many community events, including the Gala held the first Friday of the Festival. Two of my friends and I made the cupcakes for the Gala again this year!

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All About That Cake (aka The Cupcake Girls)

The flavors included Raspberry Lemonade, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Funfetti, Hummingbird, Salted Caramel, and Black & White. I cannot believe it, but I forgot to take any pictures during the creation of the wonderful cupcakes. I also did not take many once they were baked and decorated. Once we arrived and placed the cupcakes on display, I finally took a few pictures.

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Raspberry Lemonade, and Hummingbird

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Hummingbird with Dried Pineapple Flowers

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Front row: Raspberry Lemonade and Salted Caramel; Back row: Funfetti, Hummingbird, and Funfetti

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Now, we can enjoy the festival and take in some films.