No-new groceries check-in

I’m still three days away from pay day and I have bought zero new groceries, true to my goal.

Gotta say, I’m quite impressed with my own pantry-stocking skills. And the beginning of CSA season was admittedly a great help.

I cheated financially and went to dinner with a friend and got drinks with more friends last Friday night, but those were plans made before I knew I’d be strapped for cash. But because I’m using some creativity in the kitchen, I’ve still been spending very little.

Here are some highlights: More

The no-new-grocery challenge

Budget- and mental health-wise, I hope the days are behind me of eating chips and leftover s’mores ingredients from an old camping trip for dinner.

But I’m still a writer trying to make rent in Seattle, where the cost of living and taxes are high (I love you so much Seattle, but you hurt me sometimes).

I got paid on Friday, but after going over my budget, I realized that I’d still have near-nothing left by the time my checks for rent, my CSA and a health insurance thing clear.

Not wanting to swim in more credit card debt (which is where I put my car repairs and birthday presents to loved ones), I challenged myself to not buy any more groceries until I get paid again June 13. More

What I ate today

Boom.

OK so this photo is really crappy – I’m pretty sure my phone’s camera lens is totally scratched up and jacked, but whatever.

But: Happy Herbivore Light and Lean Thai tacos with Vegan With a Vengeance garlic kale topped with tahini dressing. Made almost entirely from leftovers.

I even ate it at my kitchen table instead of on my couch.

Vegan and dating

For the first time in my life, I’m vegan and single.

When I went vegan, I was in a long-term relationship with a man who didn’t really understand my transition, but supported it, anyway. It was all I could have asked for. We made it work. He kind of despaired when I moved miso and tofu into his fridge, but he let it happen. And I got him hooked on nooch.

Once I asked him if he’d have gone for me if I were vegan when we first met. Not sure if he was joking or not, but he expressed doubt that he would have continued pursuing me if I were vegan right off the bat.

Then again, he said he was only gonna give this chick who lived in Mount Vernon one date and end it, but I won him over with my charm.

Now I navigate the single life with this lifestyle. I don’t think it’s an integral part of my personality in that it’s something I’m going to talk about or use to rule out potential partners. It’s not important to me that I date another vegetarian or vegan because there are perfectly good people who can share the rest of my values and perhaps learn from what I have to bring to the relationship. I have ruled out a man whose dating profile read, “If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I don’t understand you because you’re missing out on a lot in life.” I just ask for open-mindedness and in exchange I won’t try to convert you to my team. More

What should be on every restaurant table

Mike and I sometimes eat at Razzi’s Pizzeria in Greenwood because they have whole separate menus for omnivores and vegans (and another for gluten-free folks, too) and we can both have calzones when we’re in the mood for a treat.

When we went there last week, I noticed a special condiment on every table that I hadn’t seen there before:

Hi there!

Hi there!

I’ve never tried the Go Veggie! parm before. I use my own homemade Happy Herbivore parm when I cook at home.

It was delicious! I haven’t quite tasted that flavor in a very long time and it was a welcome topping to my vegan calzone.

Here’s to hoping vegan parmesan shows up on every table in America.

I’m not holding my breath.

Thanksgiving!

Doesn’t matter that I no longer eat turkey. Thanksgiving is still a fantastic holiday, perhaps even more so because my approach to it is so new and wonderful and I have more ownership and pride in my feast than ever before.

This was my second plant-based Thanksgiving, so a few things remained the same as last year as I dined with my omnivorous family in Olympia. Mom set aside some potatoes and stuffing for me to load with veggie broth instead of chicken broth and cream. I also brought my own pie, made my own gravy and threw together an appetizer and salad to share.

However, I tried a few new things. Whereas I drew most of my inspiration from Isa last year, this year I turned to the newest Happy Herbivore book, Holidays and Gatherings.

I had been paging through my H&G book for a few weeks now, but this was my first time using it. It is so great! It collects a lot of recipes from books past, so there aren’t tons of surprises for someone like me who has all of Lindsay’s recipe books. However, it organizes the recipes into the perfect holidays and occasions to cook them (even though I took from other chapters to work into my Thanksgiving) and also brings in some new delights.

When all was done, I was so pleased with the results. Check out the highlights:

What were some of your Thanksgiving revelations/highlights this year?

Making it work

Traveling/being on the go/dining out with friends must be navigated more conscientiously as a veghead.

But I’ve come across some nice options and accommodations during my recent hectic few weeks.

First: Safeway is actually pretty all right.

I don’t often shop at Safeway anymore except for its gas station. I feel I find more options that fit my needs at local chain markets. But maybe I haven’t looked in the right places. More

Portland: still awesome

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I both had separate work things going on in Portland, so we got an extra field trip there.

Seattle’s my city, but Portland is pretty fabulous. It contains elements of my two favorite towns – Seattle and Olympia – in one. Some of the sleekness, bigger-city advantages and pop culture influence of Seattle, with more of the hominess and hippie-ness of Oly.

I continued to find fabulous plant-based food there. Probably my favorite thing about Portland. We herbies are truly at home there.

Take a look at some highlights:

Not pictured is the wonderful beer I had at Burnside Brewing Company. Plant-based grub AND excellent beer make Portland heaven.

A not-horrible experience at a barbecue joint

Last weekend my grandma wanted her birthday dinner at Famous Dave’s in Tacoma, a veritable temple of barbecued meat.

I was pretty prepared to order like a baked potato and find that for some reason the restaurant only had pre-buttered potatoes in their kitchen (I don’t even know if that’s a thing).

So I came in still full from the brunch I had at about 1 p.m. that day (the Five Point was crowded and having a slow time of it).

And you know what? I wish I hadn’t come there full. More

Portland!

After some tough weeks at work for the both of us, my boyfriend and I went to Portland for the weekend.

My main experience with Portland is my mom taking my brother and me to the Clackamas Mall (quite outside of Portland) for sales tax-free back-to-school shopping. Of course I’ve been to Portland proper, the metropolitan neighbor to the south, but I hadn’t explored it on my own.

Seattle is an easy city in which to be vegan, but in Portland they totally cater to you. I had a waiter volunteer to check on the veganness of a salad, went to places with special vegan menus and you can just say “make it vegan, please” and they know what to do (too many people don’t know what that means, so I always have to specify no mayo/sour cream/cheese/aioli, etc.). Portland is particularly vegan-savvy.

Now eating out with the man friend means seeking out omni restaurants that have something I can eat. Homeboy doesn’t quite get that it’s possible to have a meal without meat.

But it was so easy!

Oh and we drank lots of craft beer. So happy beer is vegan.

Not pictured: a grilled PB and J from the famous Bunk Sandwiches. Yeah I’m gonna make those at home now.

Recommended brewery: Pints.

Maybe next time I’ll go to Portland with girlfriends who will eat at the vegan joints with me.

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