Healthy eating on-the-go (and vacation photos!)

Last week was spring break for us and we were on a week-long RV trip along the coast of Northern California and inland in Southern Oregon. Despite cold temperatures and a couple of rainy days, we managed to see several beautiful places and even take a couple of small hikes in the majestic redwoods near Jedediah Smith State Park.

Headed west through greener-than-green rolling hills:


Fort Bragg:


Glass beach (this place was literally a dump in 1949. Now it is a state park filled with gorgeous pieces of sea glass):


My sea glass finds (I left them there- it is a misdemeanor to remove them from the beach!):


Surf's up in Crescent City:


Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City:


My little "Ewoks" at "Endor" (parts of the Ewok scenes in Star Wars were filmed near Jedediah Smith State Park):


The stunningly turquoise-green Smith River:



These trees don't look big in the photo until you compare them to the size of our RV!:


Hiking trail:


Eating healthy on our trip was relatively easy because we had an RV (thus a fridge and kitchen). We did, of course, indulge in too many sweets (it was vacation and Easter, after all)! We have been home for four days and I finally made it to the grocery store to restock today. Time to get back on track!

Speaking of healthy eating on-the-go, that is the topic of my latest article in Freeplay magazine. You can read the entire issue, including my article on page 14, here.


Let Them Eat Vegan!

I have not always been able to cook well. When I first moved out on my own I was completely lost in the kitchen. I would frequently wrap white rice and cheese in a tortilla and microwave it for dinner. Sometimes my roommate and I would make tater tots. Sometimes we would make a weird noodle and lettuce combo that we called "pasta salad". Eek.

A few years later, my mom sent me a gift subscription to Cooking Light Magazine. The magazine was exactly what I needed to get me on the road to cooking real food. I was a little intimidated by the recipes at first, but I followed them exactly and started to have some success with things that seemed fancy to tortilla-microwaving me. The first time that I made an actual meal with more than one thing on the plate, I felt like a culinary rockstar!

These days I cook a huge variety of foods and, even though I rarely follow recipes exactly as they are written, I adore cookbooks. I am also very comfortable with creating meals on the fly with whatever I have in the kitchen (and that happens a lot because I hate grocery shopping and try to put it off as long as I can)!

Among my favorite cookbooks are those written by Dreena Burton. Dreena's recipes stand out to me not only because they are delicious but also because they tend to be much lower in fat and sugar than others. Being a mother of three small kids, she understands the constant pursuit for healthy things that our kids will eat. I can tell that she has given careful thought to adding protein, iron, and other healthy elements to her foods and that fits exactly with how I approach building a meal for my family. Many of Dreena's recipes have become staples in our house and her cookies and brownies are my go-to recipes for times when nothing but a cookie (or three...) will fix whatever is wrong!

Given my love of Dreena's first three books, I was honored and very excited to be given the chance to review her brand new book, Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family!

As expected, this book is full of yummy and healthy recipes! We don't have a need to follow a gluten-free diet in our house, but this book does offer many naturally gluten-free recipes as well as alternative ingredient suggestions for others. I love how each recipe has a few thoughts or comments from Dreena and suggestions and tips for serving or slightly changing the ingredients for a different result. It is like she is in my kitchen with me and helping me to decide what to make for dinner!

So far we have tried the Krispie Chip Cookies (of course I started with cookies- ha!)- these are great for all the reasons that I love chocolate chip cookies (who doesn't?!) and the rice cereal adds a really nice crunch:

vegan cookies-3.jpg

I also made the French Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika, which was the best soup that I have had in a long time! So, so good!

lentil soup-2.jpg

I know that I will be making many more of the recipes in this book and I will share more as I do. I can already say, though, that the book gets two thumbs up from me!

What are you thoughts on cookbooks? Do you have a favorite?

More of my favorites can be found here.

*Legal stuff: I received a free copy of this cookbook to review here. I was not compensated in any other way.