Thursday, July 26, 2012

Excuses, excuses...

I ran 11.25 miles this morning. Unbelievable, especially to me. I created a new loopy figure-eight route in my neighborhood, which worked out perfectly. It takes me up more hills than down (for reasons I really want to figure out), on slippy gravel, potholed dirt, and smooth pavement, past mean dogs that force me to carry a handful of gravel to scare them off with (less dangerous than bear spray, and works well so far), and under the tree that the local peacock roosts in at night, and drops tail feathers from this time of year. I listen to Vivaldi, watch the sun come up, wave to passing motorists on their way to work, and ponder just how I got to this place in life.

About 3 years ago I was ready to surrender to old age and a growing waistline. It's what happens... or at least that's what we're told. I bought bigger clothes, avoided mirrors, and enjoyed fatty foods like there was no tomorrow, because I really thought I had no choice. If someone had suggested that at age 55 I'd be a whole-hearted vegan, about to run a half marathon, I would have laughed so hard I'd pee my pants. But here I am.

It's easy to make excuses about why we can't do something. When the idea of this race first came up, my excuses were something like: I'm too old. I hate running. I don't know how to run. I've never been a runner. I'm too fat. I live at 7,000 feet. It's bad for my knees. People will think I'm crazy. I don't have anything to wear...

Really? Was that the best I could do? Too old? Never. We can always make changes in our lives. I hate running? The next two excuses kind of cancel that one out. How could I hate something I'd never done and didn't now how to do? Too fat? Well what better way to deal with a fat ass than to get off it and move? High elevation? Sure, it makes for some interesting training, but imagine how much easier it will be to run at sea level on race day. Bad for my knees? Only if I do it wrong, so learning to do it right was important, and totally possible. Crazy? I'm used to people thinking that, and I even kind of like it. And as for nothing to wear, sweats and a t-shirt are fine to start with, and now I have an excuse to buy cute new running clothes. Problem solved. All problems solved, just by taking the first step.

So next time I find myself making excuses for not doing something that would benefit me,, or that I really want to do, I'm going to sit right down and make a list of all the excuses, and then set about tearing them apart. We all make excuses, and we can all call ourselves on it. Right now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Who Wants to Cook?

I'm almost ready to start offering some fun vegan cooking classes, and I need to know who's interested! I'll start in Taos, and of course I'd encourage you to travel here to spend some time in my kitchen, and in our beautiful town. But I also want to travel to your kitchen, if you live in a fun place to visit. Wouldn't it be great to gather up a little group of your best pals for a day or evening of good vegan cooking and eating? This isn't just for people who want to "go vegan." It's for anyone who wants to make some healthy changes in their diet, is curious about all the vegan buzz out there, or has a vegan in their life who needs to be fed something more than a bowl of lettuce.

I'm gearing my first class toward vegan beginners who might be a little confused by some of the weird vegan ingredients. The plan is to explore these delights, and to mix and match ingredients in different recipes that are easy to improvise and modify, giving you a good base to start from, and the ability to feed yourself or someone else for days without having to completely restock your refrigerator. It's easier than you think.

If you're at all interested in cooking with me, please sign up for my mailing list. That way I'll know you're out there, and I can let you know when classes are ready to roll. You can also feel free to drop me an email (, letting me know where you'd like to have me teach, and what sorts of dishes you'd be interested in learning.

I'm here for you! I just need to know where you are.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vegan Running Update

The closer we get to race day, September 2, the longer my "long run" days get. And dedication doesn't seem to be a problem. I was awake on and off all night, wanting to be up at 5, and out the door before 6. At one point I looked at the watch on my nightstand, and seeing that it was 4:30, I thought, good enough, and got up... only to discover that it was actually 3:30... way too early to head out there in the dark. So back to bed once more, and finally quite tired, I overslept until 6, and considered allowing myself the "it's too late" excuse to bag my run all together. Then I realized that training for this race is about the closest thing I have to a "job" these days, and I'd better get myself to work.

I've been reading Scott Jurek's new book, Eat and Run, and just finished the part where he ran in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indians, who eat really basic things like corn and beans, and can run for days. I've been trying various pre-run meals, but nothing has really done it for me. I need something simple to make and easy to digest. Smoothies are out, oatmeal became unappealing after the second time I ate it, and the little seaweed/rice wraps were no fun at all. Today I decided to try some corn and beans, I plopped little hummus and leftover lentils on a corn tortilla, and warmed it in the toaster oven, adding slices of avocado at the end, and rolling it up into a little taco. It tasted great, sat well in my stomach, and best of all, seemed to give me the energy I was looking for. This might be a keeper. Along with coconut water in my hand held bottle, and a little cookie snack I took with me, I felt properly fueled my entire run.

I got a new GPS watch for my birthday, so decided to hop off the "hamster wheel" and venture out beyond my own 1.5 mile block. I ran/walked for just over 2 hours, at a 1 minute run/30 second walk pace, covering territory that was very much more "hilly" than it seems in the car, and finishing back home at just under 10 miles. I did 10.5 last week, but it wasn't as hard as today was, so I'm happy.

I still feel like I'm making good progress. One way I check that is to check in with my breathing, posture, and what my face is doing. I'm learning to breathe through my nose more, to stand up straighter and tuck my tummy in when I start to feel tired, and to keep a little smile on my face as much as possible. When I catch myself smiling and appreciating the beautiful morning around me, I know I'm doing something right.

This morning I did everything different, from my food to my route to playing Vivaldi instead of typical workout music. It all worked, so with some more fine tuning, I'll be pushing for a slightly longer long run next week. I'm figuring it out, little by little, and I'm finally starting to feel like a runner. I can do this thing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vegan Jewelry

You might know that I've been making glass beads and jewelry for a living for the last 15 years. While I usually try to come up with things I think a lot of people will like, I kind of reached out of bounds this week, and made some little hand stamped necklaces that will only appeal to vegans. It's OK. I mostly made them because I wanted one, but I thought I'd show them off here too. If you're interested, you can find them in the BeadShop. I think they're just dandy. Almost as good as a nice vegan cookie. I'd better go make some of those too!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Taos Caesar Salad

We had a salad similar to this at the Grand Canyon several years ago, and it's become a staple in our house. We've changed it quite a bit along the way, making it even healthier and more delicious, so now I call it a Taos Caesar, because it's very much at home here.

Taos Caesar Salad
This will feed 4-6 people as a dinner.

lettuce, chopped - any kind you like - fill a large bowl
1 can black olives, sliced or left whole
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 cups fresh corn (or frozen, rinsed to thaw)
Daiya pepperjack - optional
guacamole, salsa, and tortillas chips

Toss everything but the guacamole, salsa, and chips together, or make each plate individually, layering the ingredients. Serve with Chipotle Caesar Dressing (recipe below), and a dollop of guacamole and salsa. The tortilla chips look pretty when you leave them whole, but make great "croutons" if you crumble them on top of your salad.

Chipotle Caesar Salad Dressing
This makes more than you'll need for a large salad, but keeps well in the fridge for a week or more.

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes or more, then drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
juice of one lemon
1 cup water

Blend everything in the blender until it's smooth and creamy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I just found out about a great online event that's happening in just a few days. Veganpalooza features many of the leading experts in all areas of vegan life - health and nutrition, environmental issues, animal rights, cooking, fitness, and much, much more. You can sigh up for free! How great is that? Count me in for sure!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Carrot Cake Breakfast Pudding

Happy Meatless Monday! Want One Good Reason to go vegan today, even if it's just for today? It's my birthday, and I'd be ever so happy if you'd spend even one meatless day with me! Breakfast is always a good place to start, and what's a better birthday breakfast than cake? This Carrot Cake Breakfast Pudding is sort of a cross between the pancakes I made last week, and a hot rice cereal I had once on the Oregon coast. It's fast and easy to make, especially if you have some leftover rice in the fridge, and it's packed with get-you-going goodness. Serve this like any hot cereal, with non-dairy milk, and maybe some extra maple syrup. There's no added fat in the recipe, so maybe you'll want to add a little bit of Earth Balance "butter," although I don't think you'll need it.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Pudding
This will serve 2-4 people, depending on appetites, and what you serve with it.

2 cups cooked rice (I had some brown/wild mix in the fridge, and it was perfect)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 carrot, grated
2 T chia seeds
2 T ground flax seeds
2 T unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (for store bought, we like Tempt hemp milk the best these days)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Stir everything together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it's hot and bubbly. Add more milk if it's too thick. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, to soften the carrots and plump the raisins. The flax and chia seeds will give it a nice tapioca sort of texture, but if you don't have them, don't worry. It will still be good.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Here I am at the Taos Solar Music Festival last weekend, sipping a vegan-friendly Sierra Nevada Summerfest.
More on vegan beer in an upcoming post!
I want to comment briefly about comments... I've had some glitches with them lately - mostly my own fault - but I think I have it all sorted out now. If you've left a comment recently and didn't see it, I'm really sorry, and they should all be posted now. I love comments! They let me know I'm not alone here, yammering on to myself about the virtues of leafy greens (which are quite virtuous). I can't always respond to every comment you make, but I'll try to do better, and I always appreciate every single one of them. So keep talking to me!

I've also started a new mailing list for PV. There's a link to the right, near the top of the page. (And HERE too.) Please add your name to the list! I'm gearing up to start some classes here in Taos, and would also love to travel to teach. It will help me a lot to have a list of people who are interested. And when you sign up, I'll send you the link to the newly renovated Recipes page (soon!), where you'll find all the recipes I post on my blog in one nicely organized place.

Thanks for being there, and for helping me grow this new baby business of mine. It's truly where my heart is, and I'm so happy to have you along for the ride!

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Good Reason

Happy Meatless Monday everyone! This week's One Good Reason (to go vegan) is...


Until I started looking for them, I had no idea there were so many happy events dedicated to vegan food and fun. There isn't one in Taos (yet!), but you can probably find a veg-fest near you almost anywhere in the world. I guess I'm just going to have to travel around a bit and check some of them out for myself, in the name of research, of course. When I do, I'll report back to you. Until then, check out the following lists, and if you go to one, do let us all know about your festival experience!

Worldwide Vegan Events, from the Vegan Voice

International Vegan and Vegetarian Festivals, from Vegetarian Guides

And just a heads-up for next week...

Next Monday, July 9, is my birthday. I love having birthdays, because it means I'm still here, and because I get presents. If you might like to do something special for me on my special day, my Birthday Queen Request is that you go Vegan for a Day, and then send me an email and a picture of your own little personal Veg-Fest, so I can post them here. ( It would mean so much to me! And, just sayin'... we celebrate Birth Month around here, so feel free to get started any time you like, and go for more than one day if the mood strikes you. I'll be honored by anything you do!