Category: Uncategorized

Life is all Rainbows and Sprinkles! Literally. :)

There have been lots of happenings In The CatHouse lately. Like most people who are alive things never cease happening, so that’s totally obvious. In other news someone let me have coffee today…

I stopped by my local Harris Teeter today and spied a new brand of sprinkles/jimmies: Breyers (of the evil dairy ice cream makers) makes Rainbow and Chocolate Sprinkles that are VEGAN!

Exhibit A:

IMG_20150326_162331922

As most vegans know, confectioner’s glaze is a pain in our butts, or souls and stomachs. But this brand of sprinkles uses carnauba wax as a coating! An animal friendly alternative I’m hoping more candy companies start utilizing soon! Also note they proudly announce they used no high fructose corn syrup as well.

I am working on compiling our kitchen reno picks, we still have a few last minute things to finish…and just tackled our butler’s pantry last weekend. In the mean time, you will find me with a bowl of Trader Joes Vanilla Soy Creamy Ice Cream covered in Rainbow Sprinkles!!! ūüôā

Also for another dose of awesome sweetness there is Exhibit B:

IMG_20150311_194609631

We Are Alive!

No excuses this time, just the typical line that everyone’s heard before, we have been busy. Good news, Miranda and I are still vegan having just celebrated 1 year anniversaries a few months apart in March and May. Mendal is still vegetarian (like she has been for the last 23 years), she has made big strides in consuming less dairy, now only eating it primarily from candy bars and at Mexican and Italian restaurants, because we keep a vegan home. Happily, she has experienced horrible belly pains after eating dairy ice cream a few times and now only eats vegan ice creams! She has not yet watch any of the vegan documentaries or read any of the books I have laying around. Needless to say her path to awakening is going to be slow, and at her own pace (as it should be), something that has been a great lesson in patience for me. The most important thing is that Mendal goes vegan for herself and the animals, not because I want her to or because she feels pressured to.

Quick update on the happenings In The CatHouse!

We found our dream house in October and closed on December 20th. There was some work to be done before we could live there, so we didn’t finish moving in until February 1st. We are sadly still unpacking. Why have things taken so long, you ask?

We bought and built an IKEA kitchen! A total dream come true…and a bit of a nightmare truth be told, but more on that in a series of kitchen posts coming up.

So after all that excitement Mendal and I decided to add getting married to the craziness which we slotted in on March 17th!

The latest awesomely fun and life changing things to happen at the cat house is my sister Miranda graduated from college and moving back into the cat house. And we have extended our volunteering with AARF (a local animal rescue) ¬†to fostering a mama cat and her four kittens…something I have wanted to do since adopting¬†a¬†cat from AARF 6 years ago. These foster babies mean the cat house is now home to a nice even number of 10 cats!

With all the crazy and mundane things going on, I hope to get back to regular posts here to document our progress in making this house of ours a home. Of course there will also be a scattering of awesome vegan food posts and a few review posts for both home projects and recipes we make from other blogs. There will also be an increase in cat posts featuring our babies and the foster kittens, be warned we call them calendar kittens for a reason!

I have dreams of perfect pictures, but Tracy from shutterbean.com I am not! I have a point and shoot canon and my loverly Samsung cell…which I favor due to ease of use…none the less I will be attempting to up the caliber of photos along with a more dedicated posting schedule.

I would like to create a post schedule following something like this:

Monday: sweet something’s, featuring a sweet food recipe and something I love or am thankful for.

Tuesday: tough luck, featuring a project or recipe that didn’t go as planned but ended up awesome or close to it.

Wednesday: whiskers galore, featuring kitten posts pictures and foster updates and a link to Aarf and petfinder

Thursday: homemaking, featuring posts of decor, craft projects, gardening, and house tour pic posts

Friday: five things, featuring 5 things we have completed or love that we did or saw that week.


I hope you Stay Tuned there are lots of things to catch up on!

Vegetarian to Plant Based, Plant Based to Vegan

The following is a long explanation on where I’ve been lately. The short answer is that I’ve been reading, watching, and soul searching.

Back to the title of this post. The differences might not seem that big to most people, but they are huge to people who go through the changes.

By definition Vegetarians do not eat meat, but there are different types of vegetarians, Mendal and I were Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians. This meant we ate Dairy and Eggs. If you are interested in learning about other types of vegetarians go here.

Then we decided to try going plant based for health reasons. We were eating way too much cheese and simple carbs, we were typical lazy vegetarians eating the American Diet of french fries and cheese covered foods. Going plant based was the best thing we ever did. While I was able to cut dairy out right away, I did eat a few eggs until we ran out of them. Mendal is doing incredibly well, she now only eats cheese and sour cream when we eat out at Mexican or Italian Restaurants, she has hopes of being dairy free eventually, but we all have our own speed of changes. Our home is vegan, with the exception of our kittens’ food there are no animal products or secretions in our home.

I, like many people, became vegetarian because there is no difference to me between my muscles and animal meat. This similarity helped me see that we are all animals, the only true difference to me is that I am a human animal and my cats or the cows and chickens and fishes I ate years ago and most still eat are nonhuman animals. I thought by being vegetarian I was doing my part in ending the suffering. Even after going plant based I still didn’t understand how eating cheese and eggs actually leads to the abuse and eventual death of the cows and chickens who make these foods. I experienced this awakening when I started listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Podcast Vegetarian Food for Thought because I wanted to learn more about eating plant based. Turns out Colleen’s Podcast tells you more than how to ensure a balanced diet, she also shares the horrifying truths of the dairy and egg industries.

picture from advocacy.britannica.com

For example, I knew the dairy cows had to be pregnant to produce milk, so I knew there were calves born to each one every year. But I had never given thought to what actually happens to those innocent babies! The answer is that the girl calves are doomed to ensure the same fate as their mothers, and the boy calves are housed in small crates for a few months then killed for veal. Veal! So, yes, by buying milk products we are supporting the veal industry. How disturbing is that? If you want to read about this click the calf picture on the right.

picture from advocacy.britannica.com

Colleen also talks about the horrors the chickens who produce eggs live through, even those so called “free range” chickens. For example did you know that in some cases free range simply means the building the chickens are packed into by the thousands has a single window? In other cases it means the cage is a few inches bigger or less crowded. In very few cases, and never at the large production levels, are the chickens literally roaming outdoors in green pastures. While the egg laying chickens’ lives are sad and cruel, the lives of the male or boy chicks are a terrifying nightmare. When chicks are hatched in egg laying chicken hatcheries the baby boys are killed soon after hatching. ¬†The newly born chicks are sorted, the boys are worthless and are literally either thrown into trash bags alive where they suffocate or thrown live into giant meat grinders alive. They are a waste product of the egg industry. Millions of boy chicks are killed every year so you can have your omelet. How is that okay? I know that this knowledge does not sit well with me and has ensured I will never knowingly eat another egg. If you would like to read more on about egg laying hens click the picture of “free range chickens” on the right.

When I became Plant Based, I said I would eat small amounts of dairy when I had no choice. I thought I would be okay eating a cheese pizza every once in a blue moon. I even told one of my sisters I would be eating a piece of her wedding cake with all it’s egg and butter glory. Now after spending the last few weeks listening to Colleen’s Podcast and watching such films as Earthlings and reading tons of websites about what it means to be vegan, I can say with confidence I will never eat a cheese pizza or or traditional cakes. I am no longer simply Plant Based, I am Vegan.

To me the difference between Plant Based and Vegan is intention. Plant Based people want to eat healthier and might also be concerned with their carbon foot print. Both of which are fantastic and commendable reasons to stop supporting the meat and dairy industries. Vegans typically come from a place of compassion, they stop consuming animals and their secretions (to use a term Colleen loves) because they do not wish to harm other living beings. This includes not using leather, silk, wool, or feathers in fashion or home decor or car interiors. From what I have heard and read, Vegans typically put the animals well-being before their healthful diets. Which is why there can be unhealthy vegans, just like when I was vegetarian.

I can be vegan and still eat Oreos! But I can’t eat them if I am plant based, because there is nothing whole foods nor plant based about that processed, refined, overly sweet cookie. Luckily for me I have never like Oreos, so I’m not tempted, but there are still tons of accidentally vegan and purposely vegan¬†products that are bad for you. So I will be doing as Colleen teaches and eating whole foods, plant based because it is healthy and because of my vegan compassion. Though now when I “slip” from plant based foods, I will be having vegan cheese on my pizza and coconut milk ice cream. I no longer allow myself the idea of having cheese again “someday” nor will I be eating my sister’s wedding cake.

This journey has taken me almost exactly 5 years. I became vegetarian in June of 2008, I became plant based in March of 2013, and I became vegan in May 2013. It has been an amazing ride, and I cannot wait to see what this newest destination will bring to my life!

I hope now that the initial drive for vegan and animal rights information has past, I will find time to once again write up some posts. I have my list posted a while ago and I have a bunch of photos of yummy foods I just need to write and edit and post!

Prioritizing Blogging

I am aware that every single blogger out there, even those that blog for a living, have to find the time to actually create, write, photograph and post a post. Most successfully do this at least once a day, some even twice! I do not even have the convenient excuse of having a child. I do have 5 cats, an out of commission Mendal (her back has been out for a few days now), and an awesome sister, Miranda, who is back with us for the summer. These things have all added up to me not taking the time to write up things I have made/done. I have been photographing somethings. Then yesterday I made an amazing tofu scramble with onions and red peppers and wrapped it all up in a fancy stone ground whole wheat wrap from Whole Foods and did NOT photograph any part of that adventure. Afterwards I wanted to kick myself!

This post is going to serve as a To Blog List. To keep me posting when:

1. all I want to do is hang out with my baby sis, because I miss her terribly when she’s away at school (she just finished her Junior year).

2. all the housework overwhelms me without the help of my freaking amazing Mendal who is more frustrated than I am about her inability to move.

3. all the kittens demand I clean their litter boxes,  feed them, pick up random hairballs, and wash multiple loads of clothes because one of our furry babies has decided to start peeing on the bath mat and that one time in a basket of dirty laundry (we have a few theories as to why, after 12 years, she has decided to do this, a vet visit is on the books this week).

On to the To Blog List!

1. Veganized Thanksgiving side dishes, yes out of season but Corn Casserole (or corn pudding to some) and Green Bean Casserole are two of Mendal’s all time favorite dishes, they are her ultimate comfort foods and she needed them this past week.

2. Review some Whole Grain Vegan Hamburger Buns, very tasty and easy to make!

3. Sweet Potato Burgers were made and eaten and awesome!

4. The Cat’s of In the CatHouse, this post will be written, I have started working on individuals Meet the Cats posts, but cant decide if I should do a short introductory post of all of them first. . .

5. Home decor post ideas, Dining room makeover have this started, not loving any of my pictures. Also Living room curtain changes, just need to actually photograph before and after, which of course means actually creating the after!

6. Some pretty sparkly jewelry I have made recently needs to make an appearance here as well!

I think 6 (or so) is a good starting point. Hopefully I will return tonight or tomorrow morning with an actual post about one of these riveting subjects!

The Liebster Award!

A few days ago I was nominated for the Liebster Award! It is an award for up and coming blogs, or newbie blogs. There is no actual winner of the award, only us nominees. The ward serves to help more people find new blogs and to help inspire and incourage us new bloggers! I was nominated by¬†The Great Zambini, she has an awesome blog, with fun fashion, sewing and diy projects. The nomination was completely a¬†surprise¬†and an honor! There are a few Liebster Award pics floating around and once nominated you can put one up on your blog under “awards”. This nomination also comes with some responsibilities. I have to nominate 11 other bloggers, who are new with less than 200 followers. Now I’m so new to blogging that I have no idea how to find out the number of followers a blogger has. So, I’m simply going to choose bloggers I like who started some time in the last year. I hope this is ok!

I also have to answer 11 questions given to me by The Great Zambini and then create 11 questions for my nominees to answer on their blogs.

Here are my answers!

11 Questions:

1 What is your favorite sport? Reading, I’m not into sports of the traditional type.

2 What do you do as a hobby, besides what your blog is about? My blog is about my hobbies, well it started because of changing my vegetarian diet to a plants based diet, but cooking is one of my favorite hobbies! I plan to blog about all of my hobbies: Crafting, jewelry making, gardening, reading, cooking and baking.

3 How do you make friends? By talking to anyone and everyone I meet and discovering things we have in common. . .could be why I don’t have the biggest circle of friends, though the once I have are amazing people!

4 Do you prefer animals, or people? Oh tough one. There are days when I prefer the company of my cats and fish, but for the most part I like to be with my partner Mendal as much as possible she is my favorite person. Though we joke that she is part cat so maybe she doesn’t count as people?

5 Who is the/one of the most important person (friend, significant other, etc?) in your life? Mendal! Easy one, she is my girlfriend, my partner, the love of my life and the future mother of my child(ren).

6 What’s your favorite genre for movies? Scifi and action, but due to Mendal’s influence I have also started to appreciate comedies as well.

7 How do you channel your creative outlet? (Besides blogging!) My two favorite places to create are at the jewelry table or in the kitchen. I love when you can take bits and pieces of metal and beads and create something beautiful. Just like you can take random ingredients and throw them together to make something delicious. Its all about the process for me!

8 What’s your favorite kind of food? Tied between Italian and Mexican typically. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with an¬†Indian¬†flavor profile: Coconut Curry.

9 What’s your favorite kind of post to make (Yes, this one is about your blog. Cause I didn’t want it to feel excluded :D)? I love writing about things I make with Mendal. It’s fun to celebrate our working together to create something solely ours. It doesn’t matter if it’s food or crafts, just something I make with Mendal like these¬†Kitchen Storage Jars.¬†

10 What is your most recent obsession? Coconut Curry, Seriously a local store called Popcorn Fanatic makes coconut curry flavored popcorn and it is awesome!

11 Left handed or right handed? I’m right handed, so is Mendal.

So, there you have it 11 answered questions!

Now for my 11 nominees (or 10 until I can find a one more) for the Liebster Award:

1. Scoop du Jour

2. Vegan Flavorista

3. Mostly Vegan Fun

4. This is Waf

5. Indianity РAdmire India, Admire Indianity

6. Miranda’s Kitchen Adventure

7. The Dorset Finca

8. Alina- creating with my hands

9. Of Course Vegan

10. Polish Vegetarian

11. pending

And here are my questions for those I have nominated:

1. What color are your eyes?

2. What is you go to comfort food/dish?

3. What is your guilty pleasure snack/dessert?

4. How many hours a week do you spend working on your blog?

5. Do you tell your friends and family about your blog or is it just for you?

6. What is your favorite creative outlet?

7. Have you read any good books lately?

8. What is your favorite TV Show?

9. What movie playing now or later this summer are you dying to see?

10. Are you a cat or dog person? Or perhaps fish or iguana person?

11. Are you the 1920’s bungalow with a yard and a picket fence type, or the modern condo or loft type?

There you have it! I can’t wait to see what all of you awesome bloggers have to say. Good luck everyone, you are all very talented!