Advances in Veggie Science

When I first began my vegetarian journey back in high school there were very few veggie options out there.  You could have a Boca burger, a Boca burger on a salad, a Boca burger on pasta, etc.  I’m still amazed to this day how many meat alternatives are available at pretty much every grocery store.  These days it is incredibly easy to make a solid vegetarian/vegan meal that even the most devoted and adamant carnivore can enjoy.

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One product I’m super excited about are these Beyond Meat Sausages.  We’ve only tried the Hot Italian version of these but they offer a few other types of sausage and I’m going to assume they are excellent as well.  These sausages are a little pricy (usually around $8 a pack) but I have found they are often on sale, especially at Whole Foods.  They can be grilled and served on a bun with peppers and onions, sliced and simmered in a red sauce to be topped on pasta, the list really goes on.  My brother came over for dinner the other night and I served these with pasta.  That night was a bit of an adventure since we had to run out with the baby and head to the ER (he had croup, he’s fine) and my brother ended up sleeping on Soy Bean’s floor (it was quite a night!).  Had that night not have so…hectic…I would have asked for his solid opinion.  We’re just going to say he loved it.

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Another new product we’ve tried recently is Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozz.  I’ve tried Miyoko’s cream cheese before and throughly enjoyed it so I thought I would give this cheese a try.  I was actually looking for Daiya cheese but I couldn’t find it, I’m glad I tried this!

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Friday night is pizza night at our house.

If you’re used to working with Daiya cheese, the Miyoko’s cheese is a very different texture.  I actually grabbed my cheese grater before I opened this but then I realized how soft this cheese was and it could be pulled apart.  I used the whole package to make two pizzas and spread them out in little mozzarella balls.  It looked super authentic in my opinion.  Once it cooked it had a nice bubbling appearance to the cheese.  If you don’t like nuts I wouldn’t recommend this cheese, but luckily we are big fans of the cashew in our house. The second ingredient in this cheese is soaked cashews.  While it had a slightly nutty taste to the cheese it wasn’t overwhelming.  This is the unofficial best pizza I’ve ever made.

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Pizza with garlic and lots of red pepper flake. Sorry I didn’t get a better picture!

Christmas Recap

I cannot believe how quickly the holiday season flew by this year!  Thankfully we were able to fit in a lot of Christmas cheer in a short period of time (and with a minimal amount of meltdowns to boot!).

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Breakfast with a view at Indian Head Resort.

We kicked off the season by heading up to Indian Head Resort.  This is the third year we have stayed there while picking out our Christmas tree.  If you want to time travel to the 1970’s I totally recommend this place.  If you want to stay somewhere luxurious, I think you should look elsewhere.  Personally, we really like staying at Indian Head.  Our trip is always some sort of adventure….but the kids love it and they have both an indoor and heated outdoor pool.  As a parent you can’t beat that.  They do offer Christmas packages, which includes the price of a tree, wreath, and your meals.  We opted out of this package this year and just booked the hotel room.  Honestly, the food is pretty subpar there and the service is pretty horrendous.  We heard some nightmare stories from other guests who ate there on Friday night.  After a minor series of disasters we ended up getting Subway.  We do however, enjoy the breakfast buffet mostly because it’s pretty difficult to screw up a buffet and this year especially because we were given a free breakfast because our room was not ready until 7 pm.  With three kids that curveball was an adventure but we pulled through.

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Ride up to NH. Isn’t it beautiful?

Our favorite part of the trip, besides spending copious amounts of time together, is venturing out to get our tree.  We headed to The Rocks in Bethlehem, NH. What a beautiful spot!  And you actually get to cut down your own tree.  This year it was exceptionally cold but we were able to pick out the perfect tree and load it up on top of our car.  If you ever find yourself up in this area during Christmas time I highly recommend this place for a beautiful Christmas tree.

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View at The Rocks.
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All three boys and the tree made it home.

Dylan and I hosted our annual Deck the Halls Christmas party the following weekend.  We usually like to host this the Saturday after Thanksgiving but with the shorter season this year we decided to get our tree earlier and switch weekends.   I always love the opportunity to make food and hang out with friends.  We were lucky a lot of people were able to take time out of their busy schedules to hang out and have some food and margaritas/sangria with us.  Plus it’s an excuse to dress Sophie and Daisy up in their Christmas best.

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Daisy is feeling pretty….

Along the way we were able to see lots of family, friends and of course Santa.  The kids (well not so much Baby C) enjoyed opening their gifts and we were able to spend the day with both my family and Dylan’s.

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Baby’s first Christmas.
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Soy Bean was slightly overwhelmed.

I’m kicking off my second week of vacation with one sick child and one healthy child (50/50 isn’t bad right?) and looking forward to creating a delicious vegan spread for New Years Eve although I am doubtful we will be awake for midnight.  Baby C has been a super wonderful and amazingly easy baby.  The last two nights he slept about 10 hours straight which outdoes his older brother.  He’s so sweet and loves to smile and we cannot be happier that he is part of our family.  It’s amazing to think just last year he was making me queasy and keeping me from toasting with champagne at midnight.

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Baby C feeling cute.

Baby #2

Let’s just say baby #2 is a game changer, especially when you have a toddler at home.  While it’s been challenging I’m finding having a newborn the second time around so much easier than the first time!  I don’t know if it’s because Baby C is super chill or if I’m some sort of magical parenting expert or maybe a combination of both.  However, you throw in the toddler factor and all Hell breaks loose.  I’m mean what’s up with these two year olds?  Learn how to regulate your emotions already, my goodness.

Since I have a few moments with Baby C content in his newborn lounger (which his older brother never liked) I thought I would make a top 5 list of differences with my second baby since I love making lists so much.

#1 Less Anxiety

Brought to you by Lexapro, well yes but also as a second time mother I’ve done this before and have a healthy and most of the time happy two year old.  My second round of motherhood comes with a confidence I didn’t know I had when I had Soy Bean.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD here and this was certainly a factor during my last pregnancy.  I advocated for myself and was open about how I was feeling plus I was at a different practice and received much better mental health care this time around.  With my second I know what I’m doing and that feeling is empowering.

#2 Recovery

I want to dive into this further in a separate post but the recovery after the birth of my second was so much easier than the first.  In my case I opted for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian).  I pushed for a VBAC my entire pregnancy and again I’ll dive deeper into this in another post but the recovery from the deliveries were like night and day.  Anyone who ever says having a C section is the easy way out could not be more incorrect!  I felt like a million bucks after having this baby.  I feel so fortunate to have both birth experiences.

#3 The Stuff!

Bables come with a lot of accessories and stuff.  Carseats, strollers, adaptors, breast pumps, blankets, and so on.  The list is really endless.  However, with a second you know what you need and don’t need and most likely you already have what you need.  Most of the items I had to buy for Baby C were just because.  He is using the same crib, carseat, bath, etc.  I bought him some cute clothes and of course had to spring for a double stroller (thank you Facebook Marketplace) but besides what I WANTED to get him we already had everything we needed.

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#4 It all Changes…

When I brought Soy Bean home from the hospital I thought I would never sleep again.  I thought I would never have another date night with my husband and I would spend the rest of my life changing diapers. It might seem that way when you bring your first baby home but trust me it all changes.  Time goes so fast and before you know it they are walking and talking.  With Baby C I am trying to soak everything up.  He’s not going to be so little forever.  He’s not going to fit perfectly on my chest for snuggles and sleep next to me in his bassinet forever.  I find that’s the toughest part about being a parent.  We lose some of ourselves when we give our lives to others but if we do our job right they don’t need us so much anymore.  Dylan and I have had one glorious date night dinner since we brought Baby C home and we always remind ourselves that all of this is only temporary and that we need to enjoy it.

#5 Love

My heart was already full with Soy Bean.  I loved Baby C from the moment I found he existed.  When you have an additional child never worry about how you are going to possibly love them because it’s there.

I’m Back…

We’ve been a tad busy since I last checked in.  I had been meaning to write several entries over the course of the last year but they will remain in my pending posts file.

Well first of all, if you don’t follow me on social media, we had another baby!  We had a baby boy in August and he is an absolute dream.  I’m excited to write about being a new mom again and tackling life with a baby and toddler.  It’s certainly been different this time around, but having a two year old I tell ya…

On the food front as you can imagine we’ve been aiming for easy meals, which of course doesn’t always mean the healthiest food but I’m trying to make better choices every day.

Being a mom is tough.  I’ve taken FMLA time which has been wonderful but at the same time super challenging.  Being home with kids is tough!  I’m lucky enough to have A TON of help from my mom but even with an extra set of hands and another adult to talk to each day is exhausting in its own way.  Baby C is soooo easy too, but even with a chill baby it’s still a lot of work (and laundry).  Well our dinner is ready (yes I know we’re eating too late) but I’m looking forward to checking in again soon!

Vegan Review: True Bistro (Date Night!)

I’ve been very fortunate this week.  This week I ate at two of my favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants.  Go me!

Let’s start with Tuesday night.  Dylan and I were lucky enough to have my parents want to babysit Soy Bean, so we had the evening to ourselves.  I think the secret to a happy marriage is having at least one date night a month.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s important to have a meal with no interruptions where you can just enjoy each other’s company.

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My handsome date.

Dylan and I have been to True Bistro a few times, it was actually one of our earlier dates (he must have been feeling fancy).  True Bistro is a more upscale vegan restaurant.  You know it’s fancy if Dylan doesn’t wear workout clothes to it… Everything is vegan, no vegetarian options.  If you plan on dining here you should be prepared to drop at least $100 because you’re going to want dessert and apps.  Cocktails and mocktails are excellent as well.

The restaurant has been remodeled since we last visited (which was when I was a pregnant lady sucking down mocktails) and the initial greeting was a little awkward.  When you walked into the restaurant you basically walk into a wall and don’t know which way to go, there’s no host stand.  Now I worked in restaurant for years as a hostess as well as a server.  Your first impression is when you walk in is the greeting.  A server asked if we had a reservation (we did) then brought us to what I would assume was a manager sitting a high top who again asked us if we had a reservation.  They seemed a little confused why we were there (to eat duh!).

So finally we were seated.  Our server was very nice, but inexperienced.  I mean, like not clearing extra glasses and cans inexperienced.  Not great for my OCD, but I managed (and of course still tipped 20% as you always should, unless someone is a jerk to you).

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Oyster mushrooms. Yum.

We started with the seared cauliflower and cornmeal-crusted oyster mushrooms.  I not crazy about the cauliflower dish but we’ve ordered the oyster mushrooms every time we’ve visited and it’s never disappointed.

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Red-Red Black-Eyed Peas

For our meals Dylan had the temple skewers and I ordered the red-red black-eyed peas.  That’s probably my favorite dish there.  Its unique and has a nice spice to it.  For dessert we had the cheesecake, which was amazing and recommended by our server.  They really have the best desserts there.

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Amazing cheesecake.

Moving on…

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Vegan nachos for the win!

The next day Soy Bean and I went to visit my brother in Watertown.  We walked around Mount Auburn Cemetery (not creepy, it’s a beautiful spot with lots of famous graves!).  Kiel then treated us to some delicious vegan nachos and juice at Red Lentil.  I’ve done a review of Red Lentil before on here.  It hold a special place in my heart since Dylan and I had dinner there after we got engaged.

What as awesome week.  Only a week and a few more days of summer for this gal.  I’m looking forward to everything pumpkin, foliage, and sweaters!

Review: Beyond Beef Crumbles

Tonight is an exciting night.  We are finally wrapping up The Sopranos.  The hubby and I committed to this series and now we are down to two episodes.  Then hopefully I can talk him into watching Orange is the New Black!

I don’t know about you but watching The Sopranos makes me super hungry, I mean they’re always eating amazing food.  If I could get away with having pasta, bread, and Chianti for dinner every night I would.

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In honor of Tony Soprano tonight I’m using Beyond Meat’s beef crumbles.  These are by far my favorite beef substitute.  All I do is toss a package of crumbles in with my favorite sauce and simmer and serve over pasta.  It’s perfection.  These crumbles would go great in a chili as well.  I know I say this about a lot of products, but you could serve these to your meat-eater friends and they probably would not notice the difference.

Mangia!

P.S. I also walked a ton tonight so I can justify this meal.  Here’s a picture from one of our walks.  I’ll never get tired of living near the ocean!

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