Over and Out from Rat bag 2

I have never heard the term “rat-bag” until I met Somer, but since I kind of have a crush on her and want to be her,  I am following her lead and also leaving the blog–mostly because I also want to be called a rat bag, but also because I have too many irons in the fire, I’m involved in an “activist Vegan” project, working full time, teaching yoga and did I mention I have a 13 year old? I can honestly say I don’t know if I could have stuck to plant-based eating without this blog. I will continue to follow and love. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. Now, onto phase II of being rat bag 2.




Cheesy, Creamy, Bacony, Potato Soup

If it had been a full moon Sunday I could blame it for transforming me into a werewolf and chewing on a piece of meat like an animal. I couldn’t help it, it was my favorite meat and it was taunting me, sitting right there in the fridge. I have to say I didn’t feel guilty afterward, at all. And it tasted really good. I still have fond memories of it. Since no full moon, I have to blame it on how stressed I have been this past week. I have a 13 year old son, I could give you details, but I think the only relevant detail is: 13 year old son.

Though I don’t feel guilty about eating the poor cow, I don’t really want to do it again (I was a little nauseous the rest of the night) so I created something really tasty to stave off any cravings (I also gave the rest of the roast beast to my sister). Since my produce shopping is done in my garden every morning, I wanted  to create something that used what I could get from there.  I have been happily feasting on this for two days!

Cheesy, Creamy, Bacony, Potato Soup

Makes 7 cups


2 cups Soy milk

4 cups diced boiled or baked potato (my potatoes were fresh out of the garden so I left skins on)

2 cups diced zuchinni or summer squash (optional, but I think it makes it better)

1/3 cup cubbed cashew cheese

½ cup onion

½ t dried dill

½ t dried rosemary (I had fresh so I used several sprigs)

½ t dried thyme (I had fresh so I used several leaves)

1 t Herbamare (or fav salt seasoning)

½ t liquid smoke

Method: sauté onions, pull out ¼ cup, add squash and sauté while you mix the following in the vitamix

Vitamix:  place milk, 2 cups potatoes, cheese, ¼ cup sautéed onion, dill, rosemary, thyme, herbamare and liquid smoke in vitamix. Blend on high for about 4 minutes. Add 2 more cups diced potatoes and gently pulse (on low) until incorporated, but you don’t want to lose all the chunks. If you are using old potatoes I would peel these.

Mix in sautéed squash and onion (optional, I left these out for Andrew). Enjoy!

Makes 7 cups, Nutritional info per cup

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
136 5.4 1.8 25 2.7 3.8

Progress Report (if you want the full story of why  you are getting my weight https://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/gah-i-cant-breathe-in-my-fat-clothes/

Nutrition: not good, as I mentioned I had a stressful week.Stayed within 1200 calorie budget 3 out of 7 days then I was closer to 2000 and they were not good calories

Weight: I gained 2 lbs (could it be when I turned into a werewolf and consumed a carcass?) On Monday I weighed in at 154, now I have 7 lbs to go to get to the weight I was unhappy with last Oct.

Exercise : I ran six out of seven days, strength training twice, and taught one power yoga class

My favorite Julia Child tribute (Julia also loved this one)


152, Vegan Lion Cupcakes

We had the party of the century for my Godson’s 1st birthday last Saturday. Bouncy houses, blow-up waterslide, face painting, 100 balloons, huge Brazillian BBQ and 30 vegan lion cupcakes (152 later in this blog)

Cupcakes were delicious! I had my niece help me make them. She thinks I am super weird and what I eat is even weirder and usually gross, but she loved these cupcakes. Unfortunately I can’t share the recipe, as it was from the Sticky Fingers cookbook (buy it on Amazon used for $8, you won’t regret it).

I made the Classic vanilla cake pg. 49 then topped with Vanilla frosting pg 50. I used Panda cherry licorice for themane (cut the licorice) Rice dream chocolate chips for the eyes and Nature’s Path “Whole O’s” for the ears. I did eat two of these Sat night (not healthy, but so, so good)

Progress Report (if you want the full story of why  you are getting my weight https://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/gah-i-cant-breathe-in-my-fat-clothes/

Nutrition: Stayed within 1200 calorie budget 5 out of 7 days

Weight: I am down 4.6 lbs since I started my calorie budgeting! On Monday I weighed in at 152, still have 5 lbs to go to get to the weight I was unhappy with last Oct. LOL, what is wrong with me? Will I ever be enough for myself?

Exercise : I ran six out of seven days, strength training twice, and taught one power yoga class

I made the African Peanut Stew today https://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/week-5-chronicles-from-feb-5-2012/. Nutritional info below:

African Peanut Stew 1 cup serving

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
162 6.4 6 22.6 6.5 12

My favorite zucchini casserole and other things to do with all this squash

My mouth starts to water for my mom’s zucchini casserole as soon as we put the first zucchini seeds in the ground. She makes it with loads of cheese and sour cream, then covers it with crunchy seasoned bread crumbs. I had to figure out how to veganize it and I was happily surprised at how well it turned out. My Dad even ate it—twice (he doesn’t know it is vegan).  He just told me it was as good as he has ever eaten! Grandma also enjoyed it, but Grandma tells me everything I bring her is the best thing ever.

Mom’s Squash Casserole

Serves 6

6 cups sliced squash (summer and/or zuchinni)

1 cup shredded carrots

¼ cup chopped onion

2 cups melted cashew cheese (recipe https://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/ode-to-cheese/ I measured 2 cups before it solidified. Make sure if you use solid cheese it measures 2 cups melted)

10 oz bread crumbs (if you are counting calories or carbs, reduce to 5 oz) I like to use Arrowhead mills organic savory stuffing, but you can use just plain breadcrumbs, if you do up the vegi bullion

1 tsp vegi bullion

½ cup earth balance (reduce to ¼ cup if you are only using 5 oz of bread crumbs)

Method: Boil squash, onion and carrots for 5 mins, drain, mix with melted cashew cheese, set aside.  Mix melted earth balance, bread crumbs and vegi bullion. Place ½ bread crumb mixture in 9×13 pan, pour squash mixture over the top, spread remaining bread crumbs across top.  Note: if you are only using 5 oz of bread crumbs, don’t put any on the bottom, place the squash mix directly in the pan and then spread bread crumbs over the top.

Bake uncovered, 350 for 30 minutes.

Updated Nutritional info Per serving, (5 oz bread crumbs) Makes 6 large servings (I had the calories for the cheese too high)

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
253 10 20 37 7 6

Even with the casserole I still have squash coming out my ears, so I have been trying to incorporate it into some of my “staple” meals. Mountain West Burrito gave me the idea to put it in my burritos (never would have thought of it).

Low Carb Burrito

½ cup black beans

1 onion

1 cup summer or zuchinni squash diced

¼ cup tomatillo salsa optional (costco carries it now)

Costco low Carb Tortillia

4 T Guacamole

¼ cup Salsa (drain the extra juice)

Water sauté onions and squash, add black beans. Warm tortilla in pan, spread guac and salsa, put ½ squash mixture in the middle.

Nutritional Info:

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
334 18 12 52 7 19

I LOVE squash breaded and fried, but that doesn’t go well with my calorie budgeting. I found this alternative online. http://www.thenakedkitchen.com/zucchini-chips/ I like it better! I love how the breading stays on. My version:

Zucchini Chips


1/4 cup Homemade Breadcrumbs (I used arrowhead stuffing crumbs)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/8 tsp black pepper

heaping 1/2 cup white flour

1 cup cold milk (I used soy milk)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 small zucchinis)

2 tsp Herbamere (salt seasoning of your choice)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs, cheese (if using) and black pepper.

In separate bowl add flour, milk and vinegar.  Gently stir until combined but do not over stir.

Dip zucchini slices in flour mixture and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place coated zucchini slices on a baking sheet (I line mine with non stick foil for easy clean up!) and bake for 30 minutes, flipping (tongs work best) the slices over once halfway through cooking, or until browned and crisp.

Nutritional Info:

Makes 2 servings.


These chips are best eaten right out of the oven.  They don’t save well.

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber







Progress Report (if you want the full story of why  you are getting my weight https://goodcleanfood.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/gah-i-cant-breathe-in-my-fat-clothes/

Nutrition: Stayed within 1400 calorie budget 4 out of 7 days—not stellar, but going to do better this week!

Weight: I weigh in with my trainer every Monday night. I weighed in this Monday at 156, so I am .6 lbs down, which is about right considering I only stayed within my calorie budget 4 days of the seven last week.

Exercise : Running 3 times (about 3 miles each), strength training twice (hour each), and taught one power yoga class

I have been drinking lemon water like there is no tomorrow, cut down on sugar and fat and trying to keep carbs under 100/day—that is kind of hard. But overall I feel good about what I am doing. I am wearing one of my favorite pair of shorts and I can breath!


Gah! I can’t breathe in my fat clothes!

I had some health issues–ok fat issues last Dec. I gained 15 lbs in a matter of weeks. I have not been able to get it off. I took the green smoothie challenge because I wanted to lose weight. I lost 3 lbs, got down to 153 (I am 5’7”). I started jogging in the mornings and when I say jog, I mean serious fast walk. I continued strength training with a personal trainer three times a week (I have been doing this for over 3 years) and taught yoga twice a week.  I continued to eat whole food, plant-based protein (healthy vegan) thinking eating so healthy would eventually lead my body to finding its groove and being healthy, sexy, curvy and svelte on its own. I weighed in yesterday at 156.6 (no it is not muscle, but bless your heart for thinking it).

I logged my food yesterday. I am seriously back in reality.

Yesterday’s stats—average day—maybe a little low (LOL!)

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
2670 67 136 336 109 61

Good fiber though! If you have never had to count calories before (then I kind of hate you), but for reference, for my height and activity level, to maintain my weight I shouldn’t eat more than about 1800 claories/day.I have been eating almost 1000 extra calories/day. It takes 3500 to make a pound.

My brain kept telling me” just because it is vegan doesn’t mean I can eat all I want.” I just pretended I couldn’t hear my stupid brain.

I am not chasing skinny (I try not to anyway) but I can’t fit into any of my clothes, I have been wearing leisure suits for 6 months—not a good look. I can’t afford to buy new clothes every 6 months and if I keep eating this much food that is reality. I constantly feel these 15 lbs. Every morning I wake up with a sore back, my workouts are harder, my yoga belly looks like fat Buddha and it hurts to stuff myself into “going out” clothes.

The plan until I drop this miserable fat-baby:

  1. no dieting, just calorie budgeting (I will log my food so I know what I have spent)
  2. continue my regular workouts
  3. cardio at least 4 times/week
  4. Share my weekly progress and stats with you

Now for the recipes I want to share with you (this may provide a clue to the appearance of the fat-baby)

Chocolate Mousse

I tried to make Erika’s chocolate mousse recipe–disaster. I used silken tofu and the consistency, even after several hours of refrigeration, was liquid. Worse, it tasted and smelled like really cheap vodka—Andrew said it tasted like medicine.  Threw that out and tried again with firm tofu. Consistency and taste was better, but still not quite there. I did some concocting and wa-la, better yet, Andrew approved!—next time I make it I am going to try and cut down on calories and fat (starting with the coconut cream).

Better than Veggie Grill Chocolate Mousse (Andrew Approved)

 Serves 4


1 package Firm Tofu
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup or evaporated cane juice
¾ cup chocolate chips

¾ cup chocolate soy or almond milk

Cream topping ingredients

2 (14 oz) cans regular coconut milk chilled 4-12 hours

1/3 cup vegan powdered sugar (I powdered evaporated cane juice in my vitamix)


1. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler.

2. In a medium bowl, blend tofu until completely smooth.

3. Mix in sweetener, coconut cream,  vanilla extract, chocolate soy milk, and cocoa powder. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Mix in most of the cream topping (saving enough for a little dollop on top, or to layer)

4. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Cream Topping

In a separate bowl skim the top, thick part of the coconut milk from the can, discard the remaining liquid, add 1/3 cup vegan powdered sugar and whip for about 20 seconds

Seriously, this is one you can serve at fancy parties!







Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened 124





Firm, Tofu






Coconut Milk, Regular






Ch Almond Milk (Almond Breeze)






Organic, Dehydrated Cane Juice






Chocolate dream chocolate chips














Per serving







Still going to have this for a treat, after I loose the fat-baby.

Breakfast Quinoa

Had some left over Quinoa and decided to find a recipe for a breakfast something or other. I found a recipe at this blog http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/04/breakfast-quinoa/ (seriously funny blog) made a few changes. Here is my recipe

Coconut Milk Breakfast Quinoa

serves 1

1 cup cooked quinoa

3/4 cup canned lite coconut milk + more for drizzling

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling

pinch of salt

1 banana, chopped

1 T  toasted pecans, chopped

2 tsp coconut sugar

1 T chopped dried cranberries

2 Tbs Natures Path pumpkin seed granola

Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and simmer until coconut milk is combined.  Add the rest of the stuff.

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar Fiber
578 13 33 62 16 10

ETW: Mountain West Burrito, 1796 N 950 W Provo Ut

Rating: **** not too pricey, actually cheap

My dad had open heart surgery last week so I have been in the hospital a lot. I went to the cafeteria for dinner with my mom the second night and was looking forward to something healthy based on my mom and (vegetarian) sister’s recommendation. My choices included,

  • fried meat,
  • processed meat,
  • processed cheese,
  • more processed cheese with a little fruit,
  • processed meat, cheese and bacon with some lettuce on the side labeled “salad”
  • worst of all there was, what appeared to be a fruit dish, but not so, I picked it up to reveal stacks of processed meat and cheese hiding under the 10 grapes

I had already been crying, now I felt like crying more and screaming out loud (cover your children’s ears):

“you sasafrassin*^##^^!! Poo#&*!%* idiots, don’t you know this is why our loved ones are in here?!!  How are our only choices so unhealthy?!”

Don’t worry, I didn’t say it out loud, only in my mind I sounded like a serious, crazy, activist.

My mom took one look at my face and suggested we leave the hospital for dinner. We found a little hole in the wall next to the smoke shop called

Mountain West Burrito (Angel’s singing here)

1796 N 950 W Provo Ut

It is a strange little hippy joint, that serves Tex-Mex.

Everything is organic, local, fresh.

I got the Grilled Veggie Burrito on a whole wheat tortilla, stuffed with organic brown rice, salsa, pinto beans, grilled summer squash (I am sure the veggies change with the seasons). $6


They even had vegan sour cream! My mom ordered a chicken and veggie burrito. Even their meat was organic and local. The burrito was HUGE, I couldn’t finish mine. I also got to try a weird health drink called kombucha, which kind of tasted like carbonated vinegar, but I liked it.

Veggie Grill Recipe

I tried a delicious salad at the Veggie Grill and needed it again, I scoured the internet, found some recipes, modified a little and this one is VERY close!

My Version of Veggie Grill’s “All Hail Kale Salad”

INGREDIENTS – (serves 4)

Gardein Crispy tenders (I can buy these at Smith’s in my area, check the internet to find them in yours. These are the BEST, you can trick carnivores with these babies)

16 cups Kale (about 3 big bunches)

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 cups corn salsa (recipe below)

2 cups red cabbage

10-16 Tbs chopped walnuts (just depends on how many you like)

3 cups Ginger Papaya dressing

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette (1  1/4 quarts this is so yummy)

1 oz fresh ginger root or (1 T gound)

1 cup lime juice

1 ½ cups fresh papaya  (about one large Papaya)

½ cup rice vinegar

1 Tbs. sea salt

2 cups canola oil

1 cup water

1 ¼ cups evaporated cane juice

Corn Salsa (1 quart)

8 cups Roma tomatoes

1 cup red onion

½ cup cilantro

1 cup roasted corn (I used Costco frozen corn, spread on a cookie sheet and toasted in the oven for about 5 minutes on broil)

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 oz. lime juice



Remove spines from kale chop, rinse and dry. Place kale in large bowl add 3 cups ginger dressing and Quinoa, toss thoroughly, make sure all kale  is coated. Refrigerate overnight (this step infuses the kale with the ginger papaya dressing and makes it a lot yummier)

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette:

Peel ginger root and papaya, combine with all ingredients to blender (except oil) blend until

smooth. Slowly drizzle oil while continuing to blend until dressing emulsifies, add to container and


Corn Salsa:

Chop cilantro, in large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well

Final Salad:

Mix 4 cups marinated kale to plate, swirl ¼ cup raw chopped cabbage around

kale, topped with ¼ cup corn salsa, 2 Tbs walnuts 4 crispy tenders



Cows, Disney and Kale Chips

Last week Andrew and I went to Long Beach to meet our friends Colin and Jenn and their 2 year old Liam. Although it was the first time meeting them, it felt more like a reunion. Colin and Jenn are vegan, have been for awhile and have helped me be a better vegan mom to Andrew. It was such a delight  to be around like-minded people and it gave me joy to see Andrew devour everything Colin handed him without question. It must be exhausting for Andrew to eat. He scrutinizes every label, he basically doesn’t eat anything I don’t make from scratch, wait it is exhausting for me to feed Andrew! Colin and Jenn introduced us to a few new favorite things

  1. Veggie Grill. If you don’t have one of these restaurants in your area, start petitioning to get one! I can’t convey how good the food was with words or pictures, but here is one pic to give you an idea. This place will satisfy carnivores!
    All American Stack, steak strips with Onion rings and sweet potato Fries, Buffalo Wings with Ranch dipping sauce

See better photos and like them on Facebook at http://www.veggiegrill.com/\

  1. Colin told me about VegNews magazine awhile ago and I love it

This magazine comes every other month, has great recipes, fun facts like:

Cows have BFFs—really a study measured the heart rate of cows who were isolated, paired with random cows or penned with their preferred partner. Those alongside their best friend exhibited reduced levels of stress compared to those who were with a stranger-cow.

 and excellent articles. You can subscribe and get an online newsletter: http://vegnews.com/ I just got a yummy recipe for Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

that I can’t wait to try, you can see it here, http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/211087/5e7d1eceb2/379000935/f9858e713c/  if you make it let me know how you like it!

3. Ranch Kale Chips. I have made plain ones before and love them, but found these at whole foods and couldn’t stop thinking about them, so I figured out how to make my own—unfortunately I ate them all before I remembered to take a picture.

Ranch Kale Chips (Andrew approved)

1 cup raw cashews

1 bunch of kale, spines removed, torn into 2×2” (about)

¼ cup water

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 tsp rice vinegar

Method: blend everything in your Vitamix until smooth, coat kale with mixture, place on tinfoil lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with a little more sea salt. Cook on 275 for about 20 minutes, or until kale is crispy, I had to turn mine a few times to get it crispy on all sides. Next time I am going to throw the whole mess in a dehydrator for a few hours to get a more even crisp.

We also spent a few days in Disneyland and learned what the vegan options are—not many.

  1. Plain Mickey Mouse pretzel (we had more than 1)
  2. Popcorn (not healthy, but so tasty)
  3. Best Meal was in Carnation Café on Main street, they had a certified Vegan Burger, it was ok, Andrew thought it was outstanding, but that was because he was starving.
  4. I had a “veggie” sandwich in Adventure land and it was GROSS.
  5. We found Vegetarian chili in Frontierland, that you could make Vegan by holding the cheese and sour cream, but didn’t get to try it
  6. Blue Bayou  had a Portabella meal, but we didn’t try it

Path to Peace

This post isn’t really about food, but it is part of my path to recently making “no harm” choices regarding food. Did you know that it takes 53 gallons of water to produce a1/4 lbs burger (heard that this morning on NPR’s Meat Week)? But I digress, back to my path, I was first introduced to yoga working for Novell, 9 years ago. I went to my first class during lunch break thinking I would use it as a weight loss tool, but quickly realized it was much more than what I expected. I was frustrated and felt like a big bull in a china closet my first day (ok, really my first 6 months), but somehow I fell in love. I loved the stress relieving aspects of it and found it also fed my spirit. For the first time in my life I learned to quiet my mind and be present. I have been teaching yoga for 5 years now. I did my teacher training with Dana Baptist in 2007. Yoga has seen me through some of lives most difficult challenges, family cancer, deaths, heart break and heartache. It has been my path to true compassion. It has made me a better friend, mother, sister, daughter, wife–person.

In addition to my day job as a Marketing Director for a large company I teach yoga three times a week. One of those times is a private session with my mother, it is always a high point in my week and I teach twice a week at The Lab in Orem. Sometimes I feel  I probably have too much on my plate, when I am feeling overwhelmed somehow just what I need finds me. This video is my recent inspiration. Whatever brings you peace, don’t let anything, not even your busy life, take it away.


The Right Words and Delicious Food

I made AJ’s Disappearing Lasagna for my in-laws last week and my mother-in-law (who I adore) pulled my husband aside and said she didn’t know if that was good for “Daddy’s diet, so they might not eat it.” My husband (also adore) said “Ma, its just meatless lasagna.” “Oh, she replied, well that is all right.”


I felt the same way as my mother-in-law about three months ago, I was ignorant –didn’t even know plants had protein (really) and I am an educated professional. Sometimes I think we just have to choose our words so others can understand. I really like these words some friends sent my 13 year old son who struggles with being tolerant of meat eaters. No matter if you are trying to live a whole-food, plant-based diet for health reasons or compassion or both, these words from Vegan Outreach are good ones to live by:

“When you share your new discoveries and ideas, some friends and family members may not only show resistance, but might even react with mockery or anger. In order to prevent suffering, however, we must let the compassion we feel for animals shine through the pain and anger we feel about what happens to them in factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses. Unless others can respect us – as opposed to finding us cold and judgmental – they will have little interest in taking steps to end cruelty to animals.

Instead of expecting others to change immediately, we need to be understanding, giving everyone time to consider the realities of factory farms on their own time and within their unique situations. Burning bridges with anger only serves to create enemies and feed the stereotype that vegans are self-righteous.

Although it may be tempting to get into arguments about our prehistoric ancestors’ diet, the simplest statement can be the most powerful: “I know that I don’t want to suffer. Therefore, I don’t want to cause others to suffer.”

As long as we remain respectful, our positive example and the information we provide will ultimately be the best voice for the animals.” (from http://www.veganoutreach.org/guide/beingvegan.html)

It also helps to offer delicious food that is not just vegan delicious but just plain delicious. Sticky Fingers is a great place to start. My  cookbook came yesterday


I made the Cowvin cookies and they are delicious, but not quite the same as the one’s I bought. I will keep trying.


My Skinny Bitch Vegan Swap book also came


it has some great suggestions for vegan subs, for example Swap sour cream for:

Mildest swap: Tofutti Sour Supreme

Healthiest Swap: “Wayfare Foods We Can’t Say its Sour Cream”

It also provides some description about the suggested products, vegan restaurant suggestions and lots of yummy recipes like Mint Chocolate Whoopee Pie and Not Pork Stew.