A Candid Conversation with Vegan Cooking with Love (Michelle Johnson)

Michelle is one of my best friends, so it only made sense that we would get together and talk vegan life and food on my latest podcast episode.

I have to tell you that I was sooo nervous to record with Michelle because we tend to have like 80 convos going at the same time and I wasn't sure if people would be able to keep up. lol

>>> Listen to the conversation here <<<<

I listened to the convo back and think we did a great job of keeping it together. We talk about dealing with family after transitioning to vegan eating, how to eat out, why being a vegan isn't a life of perfection and why vegan meals isn't  "space" food.

Notable Quotes from Michelle:

"This diet can be as easy or complicated as you make it."

"There's no need to claim anything (vegan title). Eat in a way that make you feel good from a moral perspective."

"Whatever little bit you do makes a difference."

Our talk is pretty lengthy (but awesome!), so I just typed up a time stamp if you feel like fast forwarding some of the conversation.

Good times with my boo, Michelle!

Enjoy!

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Time stamp:

10 mins - Is being vegan for health reasons enough?

18 mins - Why you don't have to shop at expensive stores to be vegan

22 mins - Why it's so important to replace ingredients when you start a vegan journey

24 mins - Tips on getting started on a vegan journey & why "all or nothing" shouldn't apply

34 mins - Good vegan books & documentaries

37 mins - Why free-range animal products aren't a good idea

41 mins - Why vegan food isn't "space" food

46 mins - What positive/negative changes did you not expect when you changed your lifestyle

49 mins - "I love my pet but I eat meat" The disconnect discussion

53 mins - Why the food industry doesn't care about you

1:06 mins - Being served non-vegan food at a restaurant-eat it or toss it?

1:13 mins - How to eat vegan while out

>>> Listen Here <<<

Check out Michelle's site

Her YouTube

Social media: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

Products mentioned in this episode:

Gardein-to replace chicken

So Delicious

Daiya vegan cheese

People mentioned in this episode:

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Video with my friend Lisa

Stella McCartney

Books mentioned in this episode:

How to Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria

Diet for A New America by John Robbins

By Any Greens Necessary by Tracye McQuirter

Sistah Vegan by Breeze Harper

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman

Cornell Plant-Based Certification

Documentaries:

EARTHLINGS

Vegucated

Forks Over Knives

Eating Pizza....NOT the Vegan Kind

A few weeks ago I ate a slice of cheese pizza from a local spot.
 
After feeling awful about myself…. I ate another slice. And another. And one more.
 
You know how some people reach for wine when they have a bad day or when life isn’t going so well? My drug of choice is food.

Sometimes this is my crappy reality.

I’m not proud of it, but I made a vow to myself that I will be more open with you about my journey…the good, the bad and definitely the ugly.
 
These days, I’m working on embracing my progress and trying not to beat myself up for not being perfect. I’m a work in progress.
 
Is this your life, too?
 
I wanted to give you this audio I recorded a little while ago (about 15 minutes long) with tips on how to deal with a vegan slump.
 
>>> What to do if you fall off a vegan journey audio <<<
 

Points I made in the audio:

*Make a decision to go vegan, then come up with a plan-Research, use cookbooks, etc

*Connect with other vegans on and offline

*Be open to experimenting with new recipes

*Baby step your way to more vegan meals

*DON'T beat yourself up

Sometimes we have setbacks, but in my experience the journey tends to be like that!

Dust yourself off and try again!

Thanks for reading. Please share your own experiences in the comments.

Quinoa & Sausage Skillet Recipe | What's for Dinner? (VIDEO)

I was a bit nervous about making this recipe for my family. They have a love/hate thing going on with quinoa, so I wasn't sure what the reaction would be...plus it doesn't look the most appetizing (at least not to me).

The verdict? All 5 of us loved it!

This meal is super simple, filling and the flavor is bomb. From start to finish, it will take about 35 minutes to put this together, so it's an awesome weeknight recipe.

The more I think about it, the more I realize my family just may not be the biggest fans of tri-color quinoa (who is more nutty and chewy) and actually probably just like the white quinoa that I used in this recipe.

Either way they loved this one and I've made it 3 times for them already. I usually double it so that we can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Once you make it, let me know what you think here or over on my Facebook page.

Recipe adapted from Peas and Thank You

Quinoa & Sausage Skillet

by Brown Vegan

Keywords: entree vegan

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oil (to saute vegetables)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 meatless sausage links, sliced (Field Roast & Tofurky are good brands)

Instructions

Add quinoa and water to a pot and bring to a boil.

Cover and cook on med-lo for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large skillet, saute onion, red bell pepper and celery for 7 minutes on medium heat.

Add in basil, oregano, salt, black pepper and garlic-cooking for another minute.

Stir in tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a low boil.

Next, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Mix in vegan sausage and quinoa and cook until the sausage is warm (about 5 minutes).

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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See more "What's for Dinner?" videos on this playlist

How to Eat Vegan at Cookouts

It's that time of year again! Are you ready for sticky weather, beaches and going to every cookout looking like this....

.....because nothing on the table is vegan?

It's crazy how once you go vegan you realize just how much meat, dairy & eggs are in so many dishes while eating out.

I don't know about you, but after 4 years, I still feel awkward at cookouts.

I've accepted that I will probably never be 100% comfortable being vegan in social settings.

With that said, it does get a lot easier to navigate. You will get used to the awkwardness. lol

Here are 6 tips for your summer of cookouts... 

*Eat before you go-This is a must if you're just starting out in a vegan lifestyle.  Your aunt's macaroni and cheese & grandmother's potato salad will be too tempting on an empty stomach.

*Eat after you leave-I'm the queen of hitting up Chipotle on the way home from any social event. You can also stash nuts, fruit, and seeds in your car to hold you over until you get home.

*Attack the fruit & vegetable tray-The potato salad, hamburgers, pasta salad (my fam usually has meat & cheese in theirs) and all the desserts at the cookout are likely not vegan. Fortunately, every cookout I've ever been to has a fruit and/or vegetable tray. I don't consider this a meal, but it will likely hold you over until you leave...especially if you ate before getting there. Also, snacking on fruit and vegetables helps with the uncomfortable feeling of not eating while everyone is.

*Bring a side dish or two -I've done this a few times and it usually goes pretty well. It's also a great conversation starter. Check out the recipes at the bottom of the post for ideas. Bring some vegan hotdogs (even the produce dept of the most basic grocery stores are starting to sell these) or veggie burgers and ask the host to toss them on the grill for you. Don't forget to bring a few extra to share because some may be curious about how they taste.

*Don't be shy-If you bring a dish, use this as an opportunity to educate your family on why you made the shift to a vegan diet.  Don't preach! Just chat with those who want to know more (and people will) in the most loving and fun way possible. Try not to get defensive when someone has a sly comment. It happens! *Sigh* Smile and enjoy your day.

*Try to see social events as an opportunity to connect...NOT eat-This is one that I'm still working on.  For most of us, cookouts are just as much about the food than spending time with family and friends.  Try to see these occasions as being more about connecting with family and friends and less about the food.  I know this is easier said than done but with practice it will get better.

Try some of these recipes:

What to toss on the grill: tofu kebabs, Field Roast or Tofurky sausage (try not to overcook because they will dry out), vegan hotdogs, and my favorite vegan burger is perfect on the grill.

Side dishes: super simple pasta salad, vegan version of the Neely's potato salad recipe, and kale salad

Desserts: strawberries stuffed with vegan cream cheese (use this vegan whipped cream if you can find vegan cream cheese near you) and peach cobbler

Which recipes are your taking to the next cookout? Share your own cookout tips below or over on Facebook.

P.S. These days I'm so blessed because most of my family is accommodating when it comes to cookouts. They go above and beyond to make sure there's a meal for me (especially my parents)...things will get better. I promise. :-)