Your Mountain is Waiting

February 17, 2011

The other night, I did something I haven’t done in quite a long time (we’re talking years here!). I went rock climbing. Looking up at the very top of the indoor wall, I thought, there’s no way I’ll be able to climb that! It was probably a good 25 feet high, plus there were people watching.

Insanity.

But I tried anyway.

It was intense, it was tough, and it was scary. Climbing straight up and trying not to look down was one of the most challenging aspects, and even though I had a harness on I was still terrified of losing my balance and slipping. There were times when I thought my fear of falling would get the best of me, but I toughed it out and had an epiphany while I was scaling that wall.

Climbing up the rock wall is like deciding to recover and, more importantly, defeat my eating disorder. You’ve got to tackle it head on and just climb from the bottom of that wall all the way to the top. Trusting and knowing you’ll be caught by your support group if you do happen to lose your grip is an important factor. They’re there with you every step of the way, whether you realize it or not. They’ve got your back. If you do happen to lose your grip, you have support in your belayer. Turn to them and tell them, and they’ve got you – they won’t let you fall. But it’s also about trusting yourself. You’ve got to believe that you’ve got the right footing and you have to take it one step at a time.

There will probably be a few slip ups and maybe even a few fallbacks, and that’s when the choice is up to you: you can give that climb another try and push yourself to the top, or you can go right back down to the bottom. Although scaling a wall of any kind is never easy no matter what the situation, it is always worth the climb. Because once you’re at the top, there is no greater feeling.

As far as I’m concerned, the only way to go is up.

What’s your “wall?”

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The title says it all.

Last week, I was contacted by the lovely folks over at Enjoy Life Foods asking if I was interested in sampling and reviewing their new and improved cookies. Um, vegan and gluten free cookies FO FREE? You know this girl ain’t gonna turn that down.

I can’t lie… playing with those packing peanuts was pretty darn fun.

On to the crux of the matter….the goods.

I received 3 boxes of cookies – 1 Snickerdoodle, 1 Lively lemon, and 1 Double Chocolate Brownie.

Before I go on, I have a confession to make: I wasn’t too sure I would like these cookies. You see, I bought Enjoy Life’s cookies before and was disappointed. I found the texture and taste to just be, well…off. You know when you give someone a vegan cookie and they can tell it’s a vegan cookie without you saying it? Yeah – that’s how they used to be. So when I heard that the recipe was new and improved I wondered if that meant they’d be less obviously vegan.

My thought process went like this: how can a cookie that is free of 12 allergens and also vegan and gluten free be delicious? There’s no:

-wheat

-dairy

-peanuts

-tree nuts

-egg

-soy

-shellfish

-fish

-potatoes

-sesame

-sulfites

or

-casein

Plus there’s no trans fats, GMOs, or artificial ingredients.

So…is it any good?

First I sampled the double chocolate brownie cookies. Would  you ever expect any different from me?

Upon ripping open the plastic wrapper I could smell the cocoa powder and I didn’t even bother to get a plate. That’s juts a formality, anyway right? When Enjoy Life says new and improved, they really mean it. My doubts were gone and my world was full of butterflies, rainbows, and unicorns because I had delicious chocolate cookies in my life…finally. These cookies were even Roomie tested and Roomie approved. I do believe her word were along the lines of, “This is vegan?”

Once the sugar coma wore off (what’s a serving size again?!) I decided to sample a snickerdoodle. Hey, it’s a tough job but I have to get my review out there. 😉

Two words: holy cow.

How on earth had I gone my entire life without eating a snickerdoodle before today!? Maybe it’s the cinnamon that scares me away (ever since attempting the cinnamon challenge, I’ve shied away from the stuff). I hesitantly took a small nibble of a snickerdoodle before promptly inhaling the rest. Good grief, Charlie Brown – these are delicious.

Another great thing I noticed about these cookies was the fact that they stayed so soft and moist, even after being opened. I forgot to put them in a ziploc baggie, but when I tried one the day after opening, they were still as soft as ever.

Oh, it’s love.

Finally, I tried the Lively Lemon flavor. I’m not the biggest fan of lemony desserts. Lemon bars and lemonade are too tart for me. My dad is a fan of anything lemon, so clearly, I didn’t get that trait from him.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say I loved these cookies, too. There were flecks of lemon throughout, but there was a nice balance of sweet and tart; the lemony flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. It was more like a hint of lemon. Or, as the name suggests, a lively lemon flavor.

It’s safe to say that I’m addicted to the snickerdoodles and once I’m all out, I’ll get my butt to the nearest Earth Fare and buy ten a few boxes. My only dislike was the size of these cookies. They’re kind of small, maybe three or four inches in diameter.

The verdict? Two thumbs up.

Thanks again to Enjoy Life Foods – check them out! They have a full line of allergy and gluten free products, everything from [delicious] chocolate chips to cookies to granolas and bagels.

Note: I was not compensated or paid in any way to write this review – I simply received the cookies in the mail and gave my honest opinion!

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

Go buy these. Now.

 

Defining Delicious

November 8, 2010

de·li·cious

[dih-lish-uhs]
–adjective
1. highly pleasing to the senses, esp. to taste or smell: adelicious dinner; a delicious aroma.
2. very pleasing; delightful: a delicious sense of humor.
Used in a sentence: “Holy crap, that was a delicious pancake.”
Example of deliciousness: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter!
There is a LOT of passion in this picture.
I’ll do anything to save money. I’ll avoid using the air conditioning in my car to save money on gas, I’ll bum laundry soap off Roomie until I cave and buy my own, and I’ll only buy organic when I absolutely have to. But I have no problem shelling out $10.99 for a jar of this magic:

The reason I have two jobs.

Now that boyfriend’s outta the picture (his loss anyway), Justin can have my heart. Actually, he stole it long ago. Back when I experienced Whole Foods for the first time I spotted a squeezie pack of this “Nutella knockoff” and nabbed it. I saved the little pouch of chocolate-y goodness until it was perfect weather: a rainy night in need of some chocolate. It was love at first bite.

I thought living as a vegan meant I’d never be able to drizzle Nutella on my pancakes or enjoy it straight up. Of course, I also thought it’d mean I would have to give up Bailey’s, but I didn’t…. Anyway, back to the point, Justin is a genius. A true hero. And if it means I have to go without gas for a week, then so be it. 😉

Is there a certain food that you’ll “splurge” on when you buy groceries?

Lucky Me

October 24, 2010

**There is a naughty food picture in this post! Just warning you now. ;)**

 

 

What is it with me and finding oddly shaped potatoes? I really have some odd lucky when it comes to produce shopping. Whether it’s a face in a pepper or a Siamese-twin pair of carrots, it will always find its way to me.

Remember this little guy?

I swear it came like this.

My parents recently came up to my school to visit, and because they are good and generous souls they brought their starving child some food from Earth Fare (extra bonus points for organic!). Well, in the potato bin there was a little guy just waiting for me…

I heart carbs. Literally.

I wonder what shaped potato I’ll find next…

Ever gotten a weirdly shaped veggie?

A Sweet Discovery

July 23, 2010

Okay, so I thought I should let you guys know that I’m back in the dirty dirty. I didn’t blog and wasn’t really supa active in the blogosphere while I was gone, so I apologize for the lack of life. Anyways, onwards and upwards we go.

New Yawk was amazing. Bawston was immense. Posts from here will be about the trip for a while, cause I have a lot to say, mmmkay? I promise I won’t be boring. 🙂

Goodbye, New York! Hello, Boston!

Such pretty architecture,

I will own this one day.

Great views,

and a crap ton of cute shops.

(This reminded me of you, Mama Pea!)

And amongst all our shopping and dropping, Roomie and I made an amazing, fabulous, epic, and very sweet discovery today, nestled among rows and rows of fancy and uber expensive boutiques… a cupcake store! But not just any old cupcake store.

This brand new and oh so adorable little cupcake shop was called Sweet. You’re gonna see this word so many times it’s going to stop making sense… don’t you hate when that happens? Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet…..

Everything was pink and there was a large chandelier over our table. How cute is this place?! It was as if it came out of a fairy tale or a dream. Everything was sleek, modern, and PINK!

Adorbs.

The menu was pretty extensive, and the selection in the case was even bigger.

Of course, I instantly saw the bestest cuppycake flavor within a few moments of being behind the counter. My cupcake senses were tingling.

CHOCOLATE.

I feel like the decision to buy this little gem had been made even before I walked into the store. It was fate. Destiny. Whatever you want to call it, me and that little cupcake were meant to be together forever.

Happy cupcake face!

Adorable Roomie and her red velvet cupcake.

I can’t remember the last time I had a good cupcake. And by good, I don’t mean the crappy Betty Crocker kind or the one that comes in a box from the grocery store. I mean a made-from-scratch-with-oodles-of-love-inside kind of cupcake. The ones that make your heart sing and your taste buds dance. To be honest, I can’t remember much of this cupcake, but only because it BLEW my freaking mind.

Roomie tested, Roomie approved.

This is the part that I’m supposed to show you pictures of the inside and how moist (ew, I hate that word), soft, and chocolate-y this sucker was. But I was too busy having multiple parties in my mouth to remember to take pictures. Just imagine the best cupcake your grandmother/mommy/lover/private chef could ever bake for you and then make it even better. That’s how good this was.

That’s why I have a sad-last-bite face.

Now I just wish we had a vegan cupcakery in the dirty dirty. Until we do, I’ll be singing.

Have you ever made an epic, tasty, fantastic discovery?

PS – don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

There’s a giveaway in this post! 🙂

On our second (and last) day in NYC, I was persuasive lucky enough to get to visit One Lucky Duck, the takeaway shop attached to Pure Food & Wine.. Do a Google search for “vegan food in NYC” and I can guarantee you One Lucky Duck will be on the top five places listed, along with Babycakes vegan bakery. Admittedly, One Lucky Duck wasn’t first on my list. Babycakes NYC was…because let’s face it, I hadn’t had a legit cupcake in the longest time and I was jonesing for a refined sugar free high. It’s hard to make good vegan cupcakes.

When we realized that Babycakes was 3.66 miles away from the hotel we were staying at (and I couldn’t make Roomie and her mum walk over 7 miles for vegan food), I looked up where One Lucky Duck was. 1.2 miles? Right on. 1.2 miles in the heat? Major suckage. By the end of our trip there, my jeans were stuck to my legs like jeggings (what the heck are those things all about?!?) and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. My feet were aching (by this time, we had walked over a marathon distance as well as running at ze gym) and I knew blisters were well on their way.

But it was worth it. Soooo worth it.

Super cute!

The menu was so intense. I wanted it all.

The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was the super chill atmosphere. There was some music playing in the background – perhaps The Decemberists – and the decor was abso-freaking-lutely adorable. One wall, painted red, had pictures of ducks and stringed lights hanging from the ceiling. I took a picture, but it ended up blurry. 😦 Sad times.

The other wall, however, was full of DELICIOUSness.

O hai, Roomie!

These little pouches of goodness are worth the ridiculously expensive prices. Seriously… despite the fact that I spent $25 on an epic smoothie, cookies, and crispies. But you’re paying for amazing quality. Everything in the shop is raw, vegan, gluten and refined sugar free, and it’s also organic. And orgasmic.

On to the eats!

Banana-nut-crackcocaine smoothie.

This little treat was so tasty, I couldn’t stop sipping it. I was surprised I made it out the door with a fifth left in the cup. The first thing that hit me when I took that glorious first sip was bananas and then a hit of cinnamon. I think they put a loaf of banana bread into the vitamix. It was frothy, rich, creamy, and just how a milkshake should be. On such a hot day, it didn’t leave me with an overly sweet mouth and desperate for a sip of water.

I was also surprised that the chocolate crispies that I bought lasted the train ride to Boston. They made the four hours of reading about Hitler and the Cold war soooo much better. These crispies are intended to go in cereal, kind of like raw cocoa pops, but there was no way these babies were going to make it another week – I had a long arse train ride as well as a trip on a plane to make it through. I needed these.

Organic buckwheat, organic maple syrup, organic maple powder, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt.

What?! Where’d they put the crack? Cause these things are good eats… even if they weren’t cereal-ized.

Which is why this demolition happened approximately two hours later in the hotel room…They lasted a whole 8 hours!

One Lucky Duck luckily, I still had something chocolate-y and fantastic up my sleeve.

Chocolate chip heroin cookies.

(seriously, why do I keep adding addictive substances to these cookies?! They must have put ’em in there, how can something raw taste so great?)

These adorable heart-shaped cookies were fantastic. Phenomenal. “Fantasmagasmic,” as Roomie says.

I wish I could tell you guys how much I loved this place. But I just can’t put it into words. I now understand why One Lucky Duck is a must. Why it’s on so many vegan websites, featured in magazines, and why it’s so well known. I understand why people can “do” raw food without missing things like cookies, chocolate cereal, and ice cream.

Sarma, you are a goddess.

So do you want to be a lucky duck too?! Well read on, my friends! That’s right, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!

One Lucky Duck Gift Card

One lucky duck reader is going to receive a $10 gift card to One Lucky Duck’s online store, sent straight to their e-mail address. With those ten buckaroos, they can get some [help in buying] fantabulous snacks, great books, or wonderful body products. We’re talking macaroons, chocolate bars, cookies, chocolate truffle butter (!!!!), and *Atisana* products. You do not want to miss out on this, take it from me. The best part is that the heroes at One Lucky Duck will ship their store products worldwide, so this contest is open to everyone and anyone!

How to enter:

1.) Leave a comment on here telling me  your best restaurant experience and why. Or bribe me with chocolate. 😉

2.) Tweet about this and let me know. (You can follow me on twitter @southernbritish)

3.) For an extra entry, link to this on your blog and post that in your comment, too!

You will automatically win if you buy me chocolate.*

I will randomly pick a winner one week from today.

Good luck, ducklings!

*not really…sorry.

Viva Pasta!

June 27, 2010

What event takes place when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie?

Freakin’ AMORE, that’s what.

Summer flavors are fabulous. Plain and simple. Tomatoes and basil are best pals, and they just so happen to be in season at the same time. That’s no coincidence, my friends. That’s a sign that these two are meant to ride off into the sunset, hand in hand, and be together forever… in the form of spaghetti.

Droolworthy? I think so.

I’ve decided to do a few posts over the next month or so of dishes from around the world. I’ve got Mexican, Indian, Greek, Japanese, Thai, and British meals planned so far. So what better way to kick start the grand world tour than with a big bowl of fabulous, good-for-you carbs?

This spaghetti is so good, your Italian grandmother would approve of it. Well, she would if she was a vegan and didn’t like to take a lot of time to do things. This sauce is super quick (it took me no longer than it took to cook the pasta) and it’s one of those things that can just sit and sit for hours and only get better. The leftovers are gonna be bangin’.

Not Your Grandma’s (unless she’s a vegan) Spaghetti

Serves 3-4, depending on hunger levels. Yes, I just compared dinner guests to Sims.

You’re gonna need:

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

~1 lb grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Meatless meatballs (however many you like)

4 servings of whole wheat spaghetti

3 cups fresh basil, packed

S&P to taste

First, get your onion and garlic working in a pan to soften up. I just realized that all of my recipes seem to start with onion and garlic. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Set your pasta water on to boil. Go ahead and drop your pasta when the water is at a rolling boil. I don’t get it when Rachael Ray says “drop your pasta.” Because if you dropped it on the floor, that’d suck. But if you literally dropped it into the boiling water, that’d suck too, and probably burn you.

Post pasta-dropping, turn up the burner and add your grape tomatoes and tomato paste. You’ll probably need some water to help thin out your tomato paste (add some starchy pasta water at the end, just make sure you reserve it and don’t throw the water away!).

A quick note about the tomato paste: don’t worry about what to do with the rest of the can. Seriously – who uses the entire can of tomato paste in one single recipe (besides me) anyway? On the rare occasion that I don’t use a whole can, I take what I need and chuck the rest of the paste in a ziplock baggie in the freezer and take it out when I need it. I can just cut a hunk of tomato paste off and throw it into a hot pan. Easy as pie. Pizza pie.

The grape tomatoes should start to soften and burst pretty soon due to the heat of the pan. That’s good. You want that. Once they start to burst, they will help the sauce become tomato-y and delicious and sauce-like. Once they do their thing, add in about three quarters of your basil and some meatless meatballs. Or whatever you have. I could have easily made tofu meatballs but I’m a lazy bum, so TJ’s meatless meatballs came to my rescue.

Now just play the waiting game while you wait for your pasta to cook. Once it has, don’t you dare drain it, or you’ll lose all of your Little Italian Grandmother Brownie Points. Use your tongs to take the pasta out of the pot and put those suckers straight into the sauce. Do it like they do it on Discovery Channel in Italy.

Saucy.

Serve it with the rest of your basil for garnish.

Then you are free to move about the aircraft NOM.

Just remember to save some for your grandma.