Category Archives: Thoughts

Black Trumpet Mushrooms!

These babies are relatives of another subtler favorite, the chanterelle. They’re similar in shape but they’ve got a richer flavor and beautiful smoky color. These hail from the Pacific Northwest and I left the gathering to the professionals this time. Wild mushrooms are something you should only partake in if they’re gathered by someone who really knows what they’re doing.


These were beautiful when sauteed with some vegan butter and garlic salt. In a wrap or over pasta they made a nice meaty addition to my dinner.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Resistance Was Futile

Hello, Veganesers! I’m finally back from my trip to Europe. It was a good time. I saw a lot of sites, mastered foreign public transportation systems, walked in the cold and rain, and conversed awkwardly with the locals. I also ate a lot. And I’m sorry to report that I pretty much failed at staying vegan.

After a successfully vegan voyage across the Atlantic, I was very optimistic about my food choices. I traveled with a large group. Our breakfasts and dinners were included in the travel package. It was only lunch that we needed to (or, really, that we could) get on our own. I was expecting buffet style dinners and breakfasts, so I was ready to load up on fruits and veggies and toast with jam and salad and rice and potatoes. I packed a bunch of protein bars to eat during the day so that I wouldn’t have to depend on whatever our lunch choices were.

I wasn’t prepared when I realized that we had a sit-down service for dinner every night. If the hotel didn’t know in advance that there was a vegetarian in the group (there were actually two of us and explaining that I didn’t eat meat was confusing enough so I didn’t say “vegan”), then we had to settle for whatever meal was being served. Luckily, this only happened on two occasions.

The meals usually started with soup; I think it started with a salad on just one night. The soups were usually a vegetable soup, but I can’t say they were vegan. The entree was chicken, beef, or pork served with fries or rice or potatoes and veggies like broccoli. On the nights when I didn’t get my “special” meal, I gave my meat to someone else in the group and ate the rest. And then I had a protein bar in my hotel room.

It was really interesting to discover what “vegetarian” meant wherever we went. In Portugal and Spain, I was served mushroom omelettes with veggies on the side. Luckily, there were plenty of mushrooms so I just picked them out of the egg. In France… sigh… I was given fish. Fish with a side of creamy rice one night and fish with a side of green beans the next night. It was hard to be disappointed when the servers were so proudly serving me my “vegetarian” dish. I could have skipped the fish, but I didn’t for two reasons. One, I was really hungry by the time dinner rolled around, especially after all the walking we did everyday. Two, it bothered me that a lot of people complained or left their food uneaten if they didn’t like it and, while I don’t really eat fish anymore, I felt really guilty throwing it out. (Also, it was kind of delicious. I know, I know, I’m a horrible vegan. I can only eat so many vegan snack bars before I want to hurl.)

There were small victories. We did have a buffet dinner one night, and I was able to eat a ton of salad with yummy fresh veggies along with a ton of yummy artichokes. A lot of the hotels served mushrooms in the morning, so I was able to load up on something warm and delicious and nutritious. I was able to get vegetable soup or other veggie dishes for lunch, like pasta or veggie paella. And on a cold day in Paris, I resisted the urge to get French onion soup and got a salad instead. The arugula was soooo good.

The plane ride back home offered a nice dose of getting back to my vegan diet. I was too tired to take photos, but I got a nice and tasty pasta arrabbiata with a side of veggies in a vinaigrette dressing and fresh fruit for dessert. I was again glad to hear that a vegetarian option was offered to everyone else, but this time it was an Indian dish with paneer that I would not have been able to resist. Then, for snack time, I got a triple decker sandwich with fresh cucumbers and red pepper on this really tasty brown bread. I was happy with that.

I’m confident that I would have been more successful at staying vegan had most of my meals not been included with the travel package. I did pay for it, after all. Unfortunately, we were on the road a lot and in remote locations for most of the trip, so a walk to a nearby market or restaurant wasn’t possible. We even went to a small spot that had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on the menu, and they wouldn’t make it without the ham. I do consider it a victory that I avoided meat. It wasn’t easy since everyone around me was eating it and it all smelled so good.

I would love to go back to Europe for obvious reasons but also because I would like to have an opportunity to seek out vegetarian and vegan places. Our tour guide was very passionate about saying that there are no vegetarian restaurants and everyone eats meat, which of course cannot be true. The trip also demonstrated to me that “vegetarian” has a different meaning depending on where you are and “vegan” is still a totally new concept.

Looks like we’ve got a lot to teach the world, you guys! And I better start by being a real vegan myself. –Melissa

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Sad-day Bunday

We had a loss this week. One of our bunnies passed in the waiting room of our vet’s office on Monday. Our vet determined that a pea-sized ball of her own hair became lodged between her stomach and intestine and as her tummy filled with gas and stomach fluids the other organs in her tiny chest cavity were crushed, killing her in less than 12 hours. Bunnies eat their own fur while grooming themselves all the time (along with other undigestible fibers like hay and wood that comprise the bulk of their diet) so our vet was surprised and saddened to report this as the cause of her death, calling it a “freak event” and noted that she was otherwise quite healthy. Apparently even if we had gotten her to the vet the night before when we noticed she wasn’t feeling well, they wouldn’t have known what was wrong until they cut her open since hair doesn’t show up on their radiographs.

Brent and I are pretty devastated and the survivor, our Flemish Giant, is coping well but clearly mourning the loss of his lady love. I guess that one of the tradeoffs for how awesome bunnies are as pets is that they can go from happy and healthy to dead in a handful of hours.

It is common for rabbits to stop eating and die when they lose a bonded partner so we’ve been watching him closely. I can’t begin to imagine the trauma of going from spending 23+ hours a day with your favorite person to watching your best friend die in front of you and spending 5-6 hours a day with 2 ridiculous looking earless bipedal giants. He’s coping pretty well and has even started to assert his dominance with me and Brent. I took this as a sign that he’d accepted the loss of his ladyfriend whom we often called “the Overlady” because she was without a doubt the alpha.

Now I’m looking for a ladyfriend for our bereft husbunn and I’m realizing how big the rabbit problem really is here in South Florida. I looked first at the local shelters and found a couple dozen rabbits locally, another 2 dozen in nearby Fort Lauderdale, and several dozen in Palm Beach. Considering how many people live in South Florida, it didn’t seem so bad. Then I started perusing Craig’s List, eBay and other private ads. The sheer number of unwanted and found bunnies broke my heart all over again because we can only rescue one. The worst part was the sheer number of people selling baby bunnies and other answering listings for unwanted bunnies and relisting them with exorbitant ‘rehousing’ fees. I wonder if humans are just wired to exploit anything that can’t fight back.

This is Christie, signing off.

Plane Food!

I just got to Europe, you guys! It will be an adventure in many ways, including in terms of what I eat. I packed a bunch of vegan snacks just in case I go hungry. I also requested a special meal for the long plane ride.


I had almost forgotten that I requested a special meal until it was plopped down in front of me well before they started distributing meals to everyone else. Once everyone else got their meals, two differences were obvious: the dessert (everyone else had what could best be described as Cool Whip with chocolate shavings on top) and the salad dressing:


How freaking cute is this little bottle of vinaigrette?! It was also pretty tasty. Now, well… I could have sworn that I took a photo of the main entree, but maybe I didn’t because I was a bit disappointed. It was white rice with steamed green beans, carrots, and peas with maybe a teaspoon of tomato sauce smeared on top of it. I was happy it was vegan, but then I overheard that the regular dinner choices were a chicken and potato dish or a vegetarian rice plate with lentils and tofu. Um, HELLO?! I wish they had offered me that choice.

Other than that, I had little to complain about. Everything was pretty fresh and I didn’t starve.

Looking forward to telling you more about the ups and downs of being vegan while on a controlled tour of Europe! –Melissa

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Sunday Bunday!

Our bunnies are most active in the morning and evening when we’re home and have time to snuggle them.

They’re pretty excited about breakfast but I like to think they’re thrilled about seeing me and Brent for the first time in 8 hours. Those little leaps of joy are called ‘binkies’. They’re one of the two most adorable bunny gestures I know that say “I’m happy”. The big guy does his first and then starts running toward me as the little lady does hers in the background.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Sunday Bunday!

Our little mini rex/Havana mix bunny knows she’s being naughty and doesn’t care.

Sometimes I drink almond milk out of the carton.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Blue Foot Mushrooms!

So these exist and I’ve decided to share. I don’t know if they’re worth seeking out if they’re not easily found in your area but if you’re a junkie for new food experiences, this might find its way onto your bucket list.


Bluets or blue foot mushrooms are more blue the fresher they are. These took a while to get to me from Canada but they’re still beautiful (apologies for the quality of the photo… I was overeager to eat them.) These are milder than some other mushrooms and less likely to create an adverse reaction the first time you try them (unlike morels or lobster mushrooms which can cause mild gastric upset the first time they’re eaten.) These are sometimes cultivated but mine are foraged from a friend’s place in Ottowa. I don’t know how to tell these ‘shrooms from the dangerous kinds so I’ll just thank my friend who sent them along for educational purposes and admit that I ate them sauteed with Earth Balance butter, salt and pepper in a wrap with apple, spinach and ‘gouda’ and it was AMAZING! They do lose their blue color when cooked but maintain a beautiful meaty texture and earthy savory flavor.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Food for Thought

Did you hear that a federal court has ruled that veganism may count as a religion? Sakile Chenzira was fired from her job at a hospital because she refused a flu shot due to eggs used in its production. She is suing the hospital for religious discrimination. This isn’t the first time this has happened, though the 2002 lawsuit was dismissed.

When I first saw the headline about veganism being counted as a religion, I chuckled. I’m happy with my lifestyle and I’m serious about the changes I’ve made, but I can’t help but feel that we vegans sometimes take ourselves a little too seriously. How intense is too intense, though? How does our motivation to be vegan impact our everyday decisions?


Taken from this article: “A person who practices veganism for moral reasons may be protected against religious discrimination, where a person who practices veganism for health or environmental reasons may not be protected.” (from Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired by Donna Ballman)

I agree that the termination was wrong — and I say that as a vegan who got her flu shot without blinking an eye. Now, if I was a strict vegan and got fired for not getting a flu shot, I would definitely sue, even if I did work in a hospital where it’s important that employees do whatever they can to prevent illness. But I’m not vegan for religious reasons.

It can be challenging when people question why I’m vegan or when people are insensitive about it. We’ve all been there and had those conversations or awkward experiences. That said, I’m not as offended by comments on my veganism as I may be about my ethnicity or faith or something I can’t control like my height. Should I be more sensitive? On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a little hypocritical of me to take offense if someone offers me a steak when I used to eat steak whenever I could get it? What would it take — what situation can occur — that would make me stand my ground as a vegan?

Just some food for thought. Let me know what y0u think in the comments!

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Sunday Bunday!

Ahoy gang! After clipping our bunnies’ nails, we vacuumed their area. We learned Cassie laughs in the face of loud appliances. To that end, you may want to turn down your volume for this.

Have an excellent week, folks. Peace out, my vegans!

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Sunday Bunday!

We asked for willow balls, sticks, wreaths and other willow creations for our bunnies for he holidays because they LOVE to devour willow. Lucky bunnies, we got lots.

I wish I understood why they like it but I’m grateful; bunnies’ teeth grow constantly and they need to chew in order to keep them from growing too long. The other half of this equation is that bunnies need a high fiber diet to ‘keep things moving’. I identify with them in this regard because the increased fiber from vegan living has made my guts happier than they ever have been… even before I developed gluten intolerance.

This is Christie, signing off!

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