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The G's Take Texas

This is about how California natives navigate a transfer to the great state of Texas; venturing away from family, friends, and all that is familiar.

Month

January 2015

Get Over It

There have been a few things on my mind lately… most of which are my little minions. Thankfully they are getting a little better each day. I am hoping by next week they will be back to their old active, crazy selves so that life will continue on without the fun cold germs that have been floating around. It never fails to amaze me when the kids show such resilience. I always thought they were so fragile (which, they are… but you know what I mean), but this week of our sicko kiddos I was shocked to see them still playing and going everywhere and getting into everything.

I swear every time I see their little smiling faces, they are almost mocking me and saying “Get over it”. It almost is like they know I am a super wimp.

They got over their cold so fast. It just is amazing. I know when I am sick… I am down for the count. But, man… just makes me appreciate my boys all that much more.

There have been a few other things on my mind lately. A lot of it having to do with my “social life” or should I say lack thereof. I know that recently I have been a self made hermit because the boys and I are getting over a cold. That part I understand completely, but the other part… you know the friends part… that is lacking. I enjoy the company of my husband, I really do… but he is (thankfully) not a woman. He knows how to comfort me in the role a husband does, but I need some female camaraderie. I need to know there are other people going through the same “bump & grind” I do on a daily basis. I need to know there are women who understand what I am going through and can offer tips or suggestions on how to deal.

In a lot of ways this makes me feel like a loser to admit this, but I can count on less than one hand the number of close friends I have and one of them is my mother… so I don’t think she counts (sorry Mom). I know some great women from the local MOMS Club that I am a member of, I know a few people from my cooking club, and I know a few others through random connections, but none of which I feel like I am close with and I want that to change. I take all the blame for not allowing myself to become closer with these women because of one huge factor. I am scared.

Making new friends is kind of like dating in a really weird way. You don’t want to scare of potential friends by being too needy, clingy, weird, etc. You want to be yourself, but at the same time you don’t want to freak them out before they can get comfortable enough to really know you. When you are an adult you are predisposed to judge new people (which is horrible, I know, but it’s reality) and so you are less likely to befriend just anyone. Your “life experience” has taught you to guard yourself and it makes finding new friends that much more difficult. With all this being said I am at the point where I am going to be vulnerable. I am going to:

I am going to get over it.

I am going fight the urge to hide from being completely withdrawn and I am going to meet new people. I live in a new area and with my close friends doing their thing, I am going to get over my fears and self depreciation. I am going to just rock me and make myself available for new friends.

What does that mean in the grand scheme of it all? I am going to stop being a big whiny baby over it all. No more pissing and moaning over my loneliness. I am done with the complaining about my friends and whatever drama or crazy bullsh*t is going on. I am going to get over myself and my over thinking. I am going to build roots here and that will start with me.

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Truth -VS- Lies

(Photo Credit)

The truth surrounds us on a daily basis. The sky being blue, the grass being green, if you boil an egg it hardens, if you melt ice it liquefies. Well, all these fun little truths there are a whole bunch of man-made (or should I say man-inspired) lies. Today, you get to see some truths and lies.

[There are 31 days in the month of January.]

This one is pretty easy. I mean look at a calendar if you have any questions. Most phones have a calendar that you can peruse if you are really second guessing yourself.

[My name is Stephanie.]

If you know me, you know that this is true. My Mom and Dad did have a minor lapse in judgement right before I was born and thought they were going to name me Monica, but thanks to Stefanie Powers and her role on Hart to Hart, Monica was no more and Stephanie quickly hit the birth certificate.

Thank you Stefanie Powers, thank you! (Photo Credit)

[I am lactose intolerant.]

We should feel very bad for anyone who is lactose intolerant. No cheese, creams, dairy of any kinds… this would be miserable and would create a world of havoc for me because if I am “lactose intolerant” then my addiction to cheese would make me a masochist. I have a friend who would have ranch dressing with me at lunch and then by the end of our meal she would be racing to the bathroom. Lets just hope that is never me… if it was giving up animal products would have been far less challenging.

[I love the smell of a library.]

I will tell you right now that the smell of a library… the dusty books… the smell of old bindings… the heavy perfume of the library assistants…definitely not for me. I was reading to the Toddler the other night and I could smell is book. It smelled like a library. I was disgusted.

This is me with the book at the library. GAG! (Photo Credit)

I have since then stashed the book… but yuck! I think the reason why people who work at a library wear so much perfume/cologne is so they don’t start to smell like to books. HAHAHAHAHA! Mr. G complains of smelling like cardboard boxes after he comes home from work (which is bogus, because he smells amazing without cologne). I can only imagine smelling like dusty old books.

[I haven’t eaten meat in the last 2 days.]

Whoops, so the cat is out of the bag. My month of January only had 25 days in it. Sorry, to disappoint, but I am really… not sorry. Between the cravings and waiting on pay day all we had was meat in the house. That and spinach. So, I went with it. HAHAHA! Ok… so that’s not the complete truth. I had Chipotle on Monday (because they had this promotion for sofritas) and I had cheese and sour cream that day… then Tuesday we were out of stuff in the house and I resorted to chicken and pasta with avocado pesto sauce and that had Parmesan cheese in it. My month is over… my “challenge” or “experiment” is done. I am at peace with what I have finished/accomplished. Time for next month.

[I ran a mile under 7 minutes.]

Picture this… sweat… thighs burning… heat… dust in the air… and me. I was a junior in high school. I was at our regional track meet. I was so determined and ready. I wanted to… no, I needed to break my 7 minute mile PPR. My lungs felt like they were on fire and my legs felt like they were going to collapse the second I stopped moving them, but I did it. My best ever mile was ran in 6 minutes, 57 seconds. I am proud of that. I wish I could get back to it.

[I hate needles.]

This is exactly how I feel when I see needles coming in my direction. First instinct is to run. Then I realize that I am an adult and have to suck it up, lest I be humiliated in front of other adults. There is no winning.

Who loves needles? I mean really? If anyone says they do… I call bullsh*t! Really… Really?!?!? When I was a kid, my dad had to hold me down to get a flu shot. My grandma would give us flu shots on occasion and I swear to God, it felt like she enjoyed watching people squirm and causing people pain (NO LIE… this woman was a hard nosed Irish Catholic… she had plenty of pent up stress I am sure of it, but really she was my Grandma and I love her even though she tortured me with an annual flu shot). When I was pregnant with my boys, I would have to get my blood drawn and to this day I can’t watch. I have to physically turn my head away and remind myself to breathe because I hate needles. HATE THEM!

[I am still friends with all of my college roommates.]

I wish I could say that this is the truth. It actually saddens me that this is not so much the case. My first college roommate is an extremely talented graphic designer. Her work is flawless and quite frankly unmatched. My other college roommates are lost in the wind. I know they are married from their photos on Facebook (they occasionally pop up as those “people you may know” because we have some similar friends), but that’s about all I know. I hope they are happy. I hope that they are doing what they love. I send nothing, but well wishes and happy thoughts their way.

[I am going to continue.]

Nope… I am done for now. I hope you all have a wonderful evening. I am headed to bed with my sick kiddos. I am hoping I can sleep some before they wake in the middle of the night. I could really use some sleep.

My Tofu Addiction

There are so many ingredients I have been exposed to over the past month that quite frankly I didn’t have any clue about. I haven’t tried many of them for one, but others I have never even heard of. Did you know tofu comes in different kinds of densities (medium firm, firm, extra firm, etc.)? Did you know that they have actually found a way to bottle smoke? I am totally serious. It’s called liquid smoke. Did you know that there is so something called nutritional yeast and that it tastes heavenly and smells like cheese? Did you know how many different vinegars that are out there? I have used like 3 of them, but there are more… many, many more. Call me naive, call me stupid, but seriously… I had no freaking clue about any of this stuff.

In my cooking ventures I have experimented with some of my own recipes. Some successful, some mediocre, but none that make me so confident that I had to share. Most of those experiments (that’s what I call them, cause in most cases that is exactly what they are) are made once or twice… well I came across one that I love and will be making again and again… and again! It was so amazing. It was inspired by my new found love: tofu.

In the past weeks I have been using tofu as my “meat crutch”. It is what I use when I want to feel like I am eating meat. HAHAHAHA! Just saying it makes me feel like I am going crazy. But, alas it is true. I use it as my meat substitution and of course I needed something to make it taste “meat like” so I resorted to my favorite cookbook of the month, Thug Kitchen (seriously, go buy the damn book already so you know what I am talking about). They have 3 tofu marinades and really I am sure that they could have had more. I have tried two of them and fell in love with one. This particular recipe that I am going to reveal to you will actually be using the one I am not “in love with”, but it’s still so freakin’ good that I had to use it in other recipes. But, this recipe really is easy over all, but does take some prep time, so make sure you read it through before you decide to cook.

I decided to make this recipe because I was having another hankering for meat and I thought… TOFU! I need to make it. The last time I made tofu I burnt it a little and then ended up eating through 2 bricks of that stuff in 3 days (all by myself). I was telling my friends it was like homemade jerky. It was so good I would just eat it straight, no sides, no veggies… just tofu. You can say I have a tofu addiction. When I decided that I wanted to make tofu again I thought, now this time I really need to make it with something so I don’t go through it so fast. What did I decide upon, you ask? I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for stir fry. So below you will see my stir fry and the Thug Kitchen tofu marinade.

Kick in the Pants Stir Fry

Ingredients

Marinaded Tofu (courtesy of Thug Kitchen Cookbook, pg. 76/77)

2 bricks Extra Firm Tofu (I prefer extra firm, you can always go with your gut on this one. If you like firm or medium firm, do what you like)

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari

1/2 cup rice vinegar

4 Tbsp lime juice

4 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

4 tsp toasted sesame oil (really you can use olive oil too, it tastes the same… the smell is just a little different)

4 tsp Sriracha or similar hot sauce (I used Tapatio, and it turned out fine)

8 tsp garlic, minced

Stir Fry

2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into florets

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 in. rounds

1 large bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1in. long strips (you can do what ever color bell pepper you want, I did green.)

1/4 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1/2 medium onion, diced (again, whether you do red, yellow, sweet, white onion… I don’t care. It’s your stir fry, remember?)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with some water)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

Instructions (The beginning is the same from my earlier recipe Ginger Spice Fluff & Stuff here.)

1. Drain tofu then wrap in paper towels and place between two plates Then put a can of beans or something with a little weight on the plate-press to try and press out more of the water. Leave in press for 30 minutes to an hour.

2. Mix the rest of the tofu marinade (soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, olive oil, hot sauce and garlic) and place in an 9in x 13in casserole dish.

3. Once tofu is done in our plate-press, cut 1/4 inch slices. Each tofu brick should make about 12-13 pieces. Place flat in marinade (make sure each piece has been covered by marinade). Let marinade for 2-8 hours, and stirring or flipping pieces at least once part way through. (I marinated for about 6 1/2 hours. I find that the longer you marinade the better it tastes, but totally up to you.)

4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a rimmed baking sheet.

5. Place the marinated tofu pieces on the prepped baking sheet (save the marinade) and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven again, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven for a final 5 minutes. By the time your done cooking the tofu edges will look like they are burnt, so just remove and set to the side. (I even thought I might have over cooked my tofu all together, but I promise everything with be alright.)

6. While tofu is in the oven combine quinoa and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

7. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until water has been absorbed then remove from heat.

8. While your quinoa is cooking, in a large frying pan (that has a lid), lightly grease and put in olive oil, onion and garlic over medium heat.

9. Cook onion and garlic until the onion is slightly translucent and the garlic smells heavenly.

10. Add carrots and water to mixture, stir, and cover for about 3-5 minutes.

11. Add remaining veggies to your carrot/onion/garlic mixture, stir, and cover again for 5-7 minutes or until desired tenderness. Remove from heat, but keep covered (it continues to steam/cook).

12. By now your tofu should be done or on it’s last 5 minutes in the oven and you still have some of the marinade left. Put the marinade in small sauce pan or small skillet and add the last 1/4 cup soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

13. When sauce has began to boil, reduce heat to simmer and whisk in the cornstarch/water mixture until it begins to thicken (it can happen rather quickly, so keep and eye out).

14. Return veggie mixture to heat. When your sauce is to desired thickness (you do not need to add all of the cornstarch mixture, you can add a little at a time or more if you wish) add the sauce to the veggie mixture and stir well to cover all veggies.

Our finished veggie stir fry. It has a nice little kick to it from the hot sauce in the marinade.

15. Serve veggies over quinoa topped with 3-4 slices of your cooked tofu. Serves 4 and will have a few pieces of tofu left over for you to indulge in later.

The finished product. It’s so good I am telling you. Y.U.M.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but after all the prep, the actual cooking part didn’t take all that long. And eating didn’t take all that long either. HAHAHA! I had mine with a beer last night.

Angry Orchard… Y.U.M. to the max! I don’t normally drink, but this was left over from a visit with my brother. You can tell I am not a drinker when you try and find a bottle opener. I had to open this bad boy with a butter knife. Don’t ask me how… I just did it. HAHAHAHA!

I think the beer was well deserved after the long day I had with my sicko boys. Poor babies. Today they woke up and were better, but now they have the dreaded chest congestion and flemmy cough. It kinda stinks all around.

This was a great meal for those who want to feel full too. It made my tummy happy, that’s for sure. Plus, feeding the tofu addiction is ok too. HAHAHAHA! Are you addicted to any singular food item or meal? This also happens to be the theme for my next cooking club meet up… Foods that you adore/love/are obsessed with. I have a few of them, but this is one of the new ones I have discovered. Share with me some of yours.

Sicko

I have less that one week of no meat/no animal products. This past week has proven to be more difficult than I thought. Not just in the way of food of course. I have spent the better part of this month craving everything I can’t have and not really enjoying what I can. I suppose the mind works in despicable ways sometimes. Really I have been enjoying a lot of the foods I have eaten over the past few weeks. There has been a good portion of variety, with some of the favorites sprinkled in there a little more often. It has been an interesting experience, but I will give you a final run down of everything soon enough.

Tissues everywhere at our house.

This week, what made it difficult (in addition to my food cravings) has simply been… the kids are sick. The faucet of snot has been on since about Monday. Occasionally that “faucet” will drip as opposed to full on run, but it is still there. The even better part (and I say that with sarcasm), is that the little sicko’s got me sick too. The constant wiping of noses and full mouth sneeze clean ups have taken it’s toll on me. I will admit it could be far worse, so I am counting my blessings. I can focus. My nose has been hit, but not to the point of killer sinus pressure (YET, please pray that it doesn’t get to that point). I am pretty well able to function. And I have not once thought that this cold will “kill me” just yet. Even the boys have been good. Yes, they are a tad more irritable, which makes them more difficult to work with… but over all, they have been troopers.

I am not so much worried about myself of course. I can handle this. What I worry for more is the Munchkin. Toddler has had a cold before and he will be good. Munchkin on the other hand,,, this has been his first cold (I knew it was bound to happen some day) since he’s been born and he seems to have been hit the hardest. It may also be that he has his two front teeth coming in too. I dunno, I am not a doctor. He is just a big ball of mucous right now and I feel terrible. He wants to be held NON-STOP, so cooking or laundry or anything house related quite literally goes on the back burner. Still, I suppose it could be must worse.

I am going to just count my blessings and look forward to when we all will be over this cold. That and I will be counting down the last days until I am able to eat meat again. WOOHOO! 6 more days!!! How has your week been? Do you know what February 1st is? If you know, what are you doing that day? Any big plans?

Take An Effin’ Minute To Reflect

Life goes so flippin’ fast some times. With the craziness of the boys and hubby and all the fun little things life throws your way sometimes you really have to stop and think about it all. What really did happen last year? What it happening right now? What are we looking forward to for our future? This is normally something that people talk about on New Years, but lets just say I am going against the grain and doing it now. Here’s what I have for you…

One year ago from today (in no particular order):

a) We were living at my in-laws home. We had two bedrooms and no privacy. As much as I am so grateful for our time there and the fact that we had a warm, dry, safe place to be… it was crowded and there was rarely time for our family to just be without having to feel like we were running into someone or something that didn’t belong to us.

b) I was expecting our Munchkin’s arrival. He was just a few weeks away from meeting us and I felt like a house.

c) The Toddler just turned 1 and was walking everywhere. He didn’t have much down in the way of vocabulary, but he was doing great.

This was days after his first birthday. I love his sweet face.

d) My grandpa was still alive and recovering from another infection. He was doing his best to be around and present. He still had his personality and would have his spit fire comments every now and then.

Here he is with my Grandma at their vow renewal ceremony. I love his smile.

e) Denver was on a roll. They were headed to the Super Bowl with Seattle. It was an epic game to remember.

f) For the first time my brother brought his significant other to our annual “family reunion”. It was nice to see another female there since normally it’s just my mom and me surrounded by penises and testosterone. It was also my cousin’s last trip with us before he enrolled in the Army.

In the past year (in no particular order):

1) We lived in a really nice apartment, super close to Mr. G’s job. It was literally like a 7 minute commute for him. It was a very spacious apartment, upstairs, with laundry inside, in a decent part of town. It was a really nice apartment for the 6 months we lived there and I would live there again if we ever wanted to live in an apartment.

2) Mr. Munchkin arrived one week and one day late. It started off as an induction and ended in a cesarean. He weighed 9lbs 13oz, 21in long, 15.25in head circumference. He got here at 7:11pm on a Thursday evening. It was surreal to say the least, but the meds were good so all was right in the world. He got here safely and his squishy little face has been the source of much joy over the past 10 months.

The Munchkin was a beautiful addition to our family.

3) Toddler celebrated his 2nd birthday Toy Story style. We enjoyed a nacho bar and lots of family. He enjoyed the presents and the large quantity of cake.

4) My grandpa went to heaven. He is up there drinking his beer, charring his steak, and reading his books over looking the ocean in his Mexican straw hat. Miss you grandpa.

5)Denver got massacred in the Super Bowl by Seattle. Let’s just say it was embarrassing, disgusting, and not in the least bit expected. Really the numbers speak for themselves.

So sad… so very, very sad…

6) Brother broke up with girlfriend and other brother got a girlfriend. I guess they like to trade off… kinda?!?! But, they are both successful and happy. Youngest bro got amazing grades in school. Middle bro is still rockin’ it at work and made a trip to the East Coast to meet the new girlfriend’s family.

7) Cousin is in the Army and at boot camp as we speak. Kid is hopefully doing amazing. Miss his face.

8) We purchased our first home. A sweet little 4 bedroom, two bath with a great backyard and side yard/dog run. It is in a growing little town in the Central Valley. We are just a few houses away from a local park and it’s awesome.

Things to hope for in the next year (in no particular order):

– Paying off some debts (the car, some credit cards, etc.). We are going to get ourselves so ready for some future love on our forever home. Plus, I want to know we are debt free. It will be so nice to know that in the back of my mind that everything is ours… we OWN it. HAHAHAHA!

— Maybe a new car? After we pay off the corolla we are in desperate need of a family car for my growing boys. It would also be really nice to be able to take the stroller to the grocery store or for and adult to accompany the kids in the back seat if someone is misbehaving. It’s really hard to give the evil “don’t you dare” eye from the rear view mirror.

What a beauty?!?! I would love a van like this. Used with low miles preferred, but the time will come after we pay off our current car. (Photo credit)

— Some work on the house. I think we are going to do some painting, maybe some windows. We will see what happens first. If not big things, then definitely little things like replacing toilets and light switch covers.

—- Adding to our family? I would definitely like to be prego by this time next year. As much as people are probably looking at this statement wide-eyed and with their jaw dropped, really it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Plus, we want the kiddos to be close in age so we don’t have to start all over in five years. It just makes sense to have them close and deal with the sleepless nights now, then start all over again later.

I don’t know when it will happen, but hopefully in the next year we will be looking forward to another addition to the family. (Photo credit)

—– Celebrate a big first birthday for the Munchkin. I want the Munchkin to have something for himself. He has had “hand-me-downs” and used Toddler toys (that the Toddler still takes away from him) he deserves to have us celebrate and spoil just him. He didn’t get his own baby shower, so he is going to have one bad ass birthday!

—— Welcome Mr. G to his thirties the right way. This man has been terrified of his thirties ever since I’ve known him (back when he just turned 21, and we celebrated by having his first trip to Disneyland). He is going to rock his thirties just like he did his twenties.

Yep, it’s almost that time Mr. G. I know you can handle it like a pro though.

5 Things

ONE. Today is 10 days left in the month. After my eat everything rampage yesterday I am still going to get through the rest of the month with as much dignity as I can muster and just do it. I make mistakes… I am going to just suck it up and deal from here on out.

And yes, I may be medicating myself with some wine on occasion. No meat or animal products in that, thank goodness!

TWO. The Toddler attended his first friend’s birthday party this last weekend. I completely forgot to even mention it. This is a huge first for me. I feel like he will have tons of these to go to, but his first is priceless. I was in total mommy mode and almost cried when we were singing happy birthday. It wasn’t because of his friend or anything, but because I was watching my son grow up before my eyes. He is getting so big so fast. I can’t believe it. Seeing him sit and eat his pizza (with dip-dip, of course) and watching him interact with his little friends. It’s just so sweet. Even watching him play the arcade games. I feel like there will come a time when he won’t want me around to help him and my heart just wanted to enjoy every chance I could get with him that day. Then when the mouse/rat (the party was at Chuck E. Cheese) came out he was my little boy again. He didn’t want to be around the guy in the suit, he didn’t want me to put him down. But, after he ate his whole piece of cake he was my baby for the rest of the afternoon (and in serious need of a nap). For the hour or so we were at this party, he was my big boy. It just made me see how crazy time flies.

THREE. I am practicing Cards Against Humanity for my next cooking club me up. Swear these girls are gonna beat me, but if I pull the “road head”, “dick fingers”, or “anal probing” cards I am sure to have a one up. Hahahahaha! I got to practice with family and you never realize how much your family are either prudes or racy fiends. You quickly discover the undercover dirty mind or the obnoxious prude and you get to exploit them in this game. HAHAHA!

FOUR. If anyone knows me I am a huge reality tv person. I am not talking just regular reality tv. I like the trashy love crap. Guess what’s on the menu… The Bachelor and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars. The Bachelor is quite frankly hilarious.

(photo credit)

These women are crazy. So far the one(s) I dislike the most are Jillian and Ashley S. For some reason they both think their shit doesn’t stink and feel its a good idea to act freakin’ crazy. Ashley S. just looks like she is in another world. It is kinda funny to watch her though on the group dates. The last one, when she didn’t get the group date rose, she made the funniest face! It was priceless. Jillian just looks like the female version on Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids and apparently she lets her “whoo-ha” get more tv time than her face. It’s pretty gross.

(Photo Credit)

Then Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars is laughable. These poor therapists think they can help these so-called “celebrities”. These people are really washed up crazies who need the money and tv air time. These are enough to keep me entertained for hours! HAHAHAHA!

FIVE. Party planning for the Munchkin’s birthday is officially under way. I am really excited for it because this will be the first time that the Munchkin will have something exclusively for him. He has had to deal with hand-me-down’s and shares everything with the Toddler, but this time it’s all for him. He will be celebrated. He will be oogled. He will have the time of his life playing and seeing his cousins. The other thing I am excited about it that I will be able to visit with family I haven’t seen in a long time.

Do I Care?

I told you I wouldn’t last a whole month…

I told you that I couldn’t do it…

You thought I was joking. I wasn’t.

I told you…

My last few weeks have been meat and animal product free… not today. Today I snapped. Today I gave in and ate meat and animal products. A whole month. I must have been crazy. What was I thinking?

Bob Barker even knew I failed.

Today while I was eating pizza with cheese and pepperoni and sausage and linguica with salad and ranch dressing… oh the ranch dressing… I didn’t even stop to hesitate. I enjoyed it. I relished in the meaty, animal product goodness. Sure, it felt a little wrong. Sure, I was a little disappointed in myself. I guess the real question of the day is… do I care?

Even after my pizza and salad binge I indulged in one more “taboo”. I ate… no I enjoyed ice cream. It wasn’t just any ice cream either. It was thrifty ice cream from Rite-Aid. OH.MY.GAWD.

Just like the cone says, “Eat It All”. (Photo Credit)

Pure bliss on a cone. I enjoyed ice cream in 60 degree weather. Yes, I loved it. Did I think about the numbers of cows and chickens that it took to produce it? Nope. Did I even blink when they asked what flavor(s) I wanted? Not even a little bit (and I picked chocolate chip cookie dough and butter pecan, just in case you were wondering). But the real question is… do I care?

Then I came home and made some freaking amazing guacamole. My guacamole had sour cream in it. Another faux pas under my meatless and sans animal product pact. I enjoyed the creamy avocado deliciousness. I was ecstatic when I was able to pull out the sour cream container nonchalantly. Did I notice that the difference from the sour cream? Not like I thought I would. Did I think about what this was doing to my body? Nope, I was just hoping that it wasn’t past the sour cream’s expiration date (I was one day early). But the real question is… do I care?

(Photo Credit)

Do I care? I have been avoiding the answer because despite how crappy I ate today and despite the fact that I ate not one, but two meals with animal products, and I also ate meat… I do care.

I told you I wouldn’t last a whole month…

I told you that I couldn’t do it…

You thought I was crazy. I probably was.

I told you…

I can give you all sorts of funny and witty excuses about why I caved. I can even tell you that Mr. G was so convincing, it was almost like he “made me” do it. The problem with that is… it’s not true. I caved, because I caved and that’s, that. I feel like I was weak and it felt so good to let go. Does it make me care any less? No. Does it make me want to eat a whole boat load of meat? Not exactly. Do I care?

I do care. What happens tomorrow when I wake up and have to eat breakfast? Do I go and grab eggs? Do I toss aside the tofu and go for chicken? No. Tomorrow I allow myself to be human. Tomorrow I forgive myself for breaking a promise to myself. Tomorrow I pick up the veggies and cook on. I get my Thug Kitchen cookbook and as they so elegantly say “eat like I give a F*CK”. Tomorrow I let go of my ranch, pizza, ice cream, and sour cream. Tomorrow I finish this. Tomorrow I work toward the remaining 10 days of the month.

Today was not my best day in regards to judgment. Today I let my cravings get the best of me. Tomorrow I will be better. Tomorrow I will allow myself to care and continue on.

Shit Is NOT Easy

As I discussed in my last post there is like no where for vegans to eat an actual meal out at a restaurant. I realize there isn’t a huge vegan population, but common man. So me and my best friend go out to my most vegan friendly find and guess what… they still had meat in some of their “vegan” or what I thought was vegan dishes! I can’t catch a freakin’ break here. This shit is way harder than I thought it would be. Someone told me that I live in the best place to be vegan, which is so incredibly true, but it makes me sad in the same breath. I am pretty sure there are vegans all over the United States, and for Northern California to be a “vegan mecca” is kinda pathetic in my opinion.

OMG! Did anyone know there was a Vegan Con?!?! That is SO cool and weird at the same time, but I guess with the limited number of options they kind of need a support group. LOL! (Photo credit)

Ok, so this post isn’t really about that though. This is about my night out and the fact that again… I effed up! I know, it’s bound to happen, but I didn’t do it on purpose if that is any consolation. Ordered spring rolls. SPRING ROLLS! That should be like a veg smorgasbord in a wrap. Lets just say the cook didn’t get the memo and put shrimp and beef in it. I must have had one glorious bite of it and then realized that was what happened and had to pick out the rest of it for all the spring rolls. It was like common man. Way to be a buzz kill. I was all ready to eat my no meat, no animal feast… and you throw me a curve ball. The rest of dinner was pretty bad ass. I had a curry and tofu soup like thing over rice. YUM! I love curry and I love tofu. I guess the only thing I would suggest to make it a little better would have been asking them to cook the tofu a liittle longer and to put more tofu in it. There were like 4 to 6 pieces of tofu and after that I was like… what?!?!? That’s all you got? HAHAHAHA! Well, either way it was good.

The better part of dinner was chatting it up with the bestie. I haven’t had time with her just one-on-one in a long time. We got to catch up a lot. We also got to work on our friendship. You know, everyone out there is like, “the only relationship worth working on is the one with you and your significant other.” I respectfully disagree. I think any relationship you have whether it be with a friend, lover, God, etc. is always worth working on. Every relationship takes work, some time (not a lot of time, but some time) and a lot of patience. But, really a friendship like ours is worth every minute and I am glad we took the time to spend some time together.

After all the dinner fun was had and we caught up with each other it was time for a drink. We found this absolutely amazing bar down the street. It’s called Cap’s. I have to say if you are ever in the Brentwood, CA area that you check this place out.

Cap’s in downtown Brentwood. YUMMY!

It is a nice (i.e. too fancy for cut-off’s, but you can pass in a nice shirt and jeans) restaurant with a really good bar. If you check this place out ask for Rick (the bar tender) he makes drinks worth the money. After the first sip I was feeling it and that was after a full meal. Since he freakin’ rocked our socks off with the smokin’ hot drinks we had to order some appetizers. I picked the most vegan thing we could get away with: sauteed mushrooms and bruschetta. Everything was awesome, but the bruschetta had a little cheese sprinkled on top of it. I decided to take the hit for the cheese and go for it… I had to drive home people! I needed something to keep me straight. Common now, this shit is not easy! I would have scraped it off, but to hell with it, down the hatch! Reason number two why we will be coming back another day. It was so good I could have had a whole other meal there just because it tasted so good!

After getting our drink and grub on for the second time, we sat and talked some more. I swear as women, we can talk forever. Like literally hours upon hours and feel like time just flew by. It was like before we knew it, it was 9:30p and I was freezing and needed to head home. I had an hour and a half drive to get home. We said our good-byes and made a promise to do it again (which I am totally ready to do, call me to schedule a date girl). Then my drive home.

That was a great night. I felt like I wasn’t so “old” HAHAHAHA! Ok, so I know I am 27. But, being a mom 24/7 makes you a little nuts and makes you feel older than you really are. Then the next day I woke up to the Toddler singing Snow White’s “Hi-Ho” song, which is far more cute than it is annoying.

He does that and he dances to Gangnam Style. The Gangnam Style song he discovered when Mr. G let him watch “The Nut Job”. This movie is cute in a, “I want to kill myself” kinda way. It has Katherine Heigl in it, which quite frankly makes me not want to watch it in the first place. Liam Neeson is in it, which is kinda cool. He just is the voice of the bad guy and makes you hate him just a little bit. Anyways, out of the whole movie I like the dog the best. Go figure. The character that is easily replaceable and in it for a whopping like 2 minutes. Well, in the case all of you want your child to dance and sing to the Gangnam Style song, here’s a little taste for you.

The Nut Job… if you want to go crazy in your own home. LOL! (Photo credit)

Anyways, my life as a vegan is hopefully coming to a close soon. I am getting kinda antsy about it if you can tell. But, just another 12 days and then…

I am free! And yes, I will be running around screaming this when the 1st of February hits. (Photo credit)

How was your weekend? Did you watch yourself some crazy football? Superbowl is around the corner! YAY! Something I can celebrate on my first day of freedom. HAHAHA!

Like A Freaking Leper

I thought I could do it. I really did. I figured, I can make a whole 30 days without meat or animal products. I am here to tell you, I am ready to break. I went through tofu like it was beef jerky. I did my due diligence and ate vegetables that I wouldn’t normally eat. I even went as far as preparing meals that were all veggie. But, I am now faced with going out to dinner with a friend and I am looking up restaurant menus and I cannot find a single restaurant… like a regular Olive Garden, Red Robin, BJ’s, etc. that have any vegan food options. Maybe this is why people who are vegan weigh like 80lbs, there is absolutely NOTHING to eat at restaurants for them, so they have to come home and munch on lettuce.

Yeah, this is pretty much it… (Photo credit)

I keep looking up restaurants in the area I am meeting my friend and all of these restaurants have some (very, very limited) vegetable dishes, but then they are covered in a cream sauce or cheese. An old high school friend of mine made a comment this week about the Toddler eating straight peas and carrots (I know, a whole different topic… it’s like what did you do to my child and who is this vegetable lover sitting in front of me) and he said, “Butter and cheese. The key to all veg[ies].” What is up with the world. You can’t make a vegetable dish without some cheese or cream or something dairy all over it!?!? I thought vegetables were supposed to be healthy?

I dunno… I might just be getting worked up over nothing. But, then I did take a look on Google and Yelp for vegan restaurants and they come up with like nothing in the area I need. They will give me something about 20 miles away in a more expensive area, but not in the area I need it to be in. And the random hole in the wall place is in the worst part of town. I am thinking NO, but thanks anyways.

It makes vegans or people “testing the waters” in that life style feel like freakin’ lepers. They are not welcome in places where “regular” food is prepared. And when I say “regular” food I mean meats, animal products, and overly processed foods that have all that crap in it. I mean if it wasn’t hard enough to get good hearty vegetables in your diet, but now you can’t even go to a restaurant that offers that without the fear that it will be served with something meat or cheese or a cream sauce. I know there are sauces out there that do not have cream in them.

Not to mention that even if you order a meal sans poultry or beef then they still want to charge you the full price for noodles and veggies. I guess the price is the least of my problems. Getting vegetables and tofu in a restaurant is like pulling teeth, so I guess I will count my blessings if I am able to find a place. Which, we settled on a Vietnamese place that serves Pho. I am excited about this place, but it is Asian cuisine. Asian cuisine is the only genre of food that isn’t afraid to pair veggies, tofu, and non-animal products. It’s like the restaurant industry is saying if you don’t want to eat these things we will “push you out” and you won’t ever want to leave your home. Sandwich shops (all meat and cheeses), authentic Mexican food (everything is made with lard), Italian (even the marinara sauces have cream in it now), etc. It’s a travesty!

I know I have gotten to the point where I have probably been labeled one of those uber liberal activists and such… but really, I am not. I am just a girl trying her damnedest to not eat meat or animal products for one month. Just one month people! Think how hard this would be for me if it was my lifestyle?!?! OMG! I don’t even want to think about it.

Do you know any places that can serve vegan dishes? Either chain or nice (not gonna get shot walking to the entrance) “hole in the wall” or “mom and pop shop” kind of restaurants? If you do, please share. I am going to Pinterest for some vegan inspiration!

I swear we eat people. You can’t keep us out forever. There are other ways to make a sauce without cream or cheese. For Pete’s sake Olive Garden, try some noodles, veggies and olive oil. LOL! (Photo Credit)

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