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Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Here I Come!

I’ve done a lot of soul searching these last couple months.   I had always been so sure of who I was and what a wanted out of life.  But life has other plans, throws you curve balls and you are left trying to find yourself again.  Then there is a time when you have to stop thinking and start doing!! Because nothing is EVER going to happen, good or bad, just sitting there thinking!  I decided 2013 was the perfect year to stop thinking and start doing. Here are my seven simple goals for 2013.    
1.      Get Happy!
It is so simple if I let it be, just Get Happy.  Do what makes me and Mr. Darling happy and let all the negativity go, just LET IT GO.
2.      Love More
Spend quality time with all my wonderful friends, family, and husband.  And set aside a date night every week with Mr. Darling.   
3.      Don’t Think, Just Do.
It’s in my nature to worry and over think everything.  This year I want to follow my heart. 
4.      Live Simply
This year Mr. Darling and I will strive to live even more eco-friendly. 
5.      Save Money
Spend Less. Make a Budget and stick to it. 
6.      Go to bed early, Get up early
Get into a sleeping routine and stay with it.  Even on the weekends (I’ll try.) 
7.      Blog More
Share more recipes, more about living eco-friendly, more animal advocacy, and more life.  For family, friends, and whoever else wants to read. 

 What are your goals for 2013?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vegan Christmas Scramble

In case you missed my post over at's   12 Days of Christmas Gluten Free Monday, I'm sharing it here today.  I know I said I would share my how to make homemade roasted tomatoes but with cookie baking, present wrapping, digging out of over a foot of snow, and travel I just didn't have time to do it justice.  I promise to share after the holiday!

This is an awesome recipe just in time for your holiday breakfast!!
One of my favorite things about Christmas is having Christmas breakfast with my Dad.  It’s a tradition I still cherish today.  This year I thought I would whip up a yummy vegan tofu scramble. 
Perfectly seasoned tofu with lots of veggies makes the perfect Christmas breakfast and gives you energy for a long Christmas day. 
Vegan Christmas Scramble
1 14.5 oz package firm tofu drained, pressed, and crumbled
1 red onion diced  
2 cloves garlic minced
1 large green pepper diced
1 large bunch kale chopped
1.5 cups peas
1 cup roasted tomatoes (this is easy to do at home I’ll be posting how on DD next week)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (this is not active yeast, you can find it in the natural baking isle of most large super markets, it has a cheesy flavor)
½ tbsp cumin
1.5 tsp turmeric
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
Pepper to taste
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.)    After pressing and draining tofu crumble it into a small bowl
2.)    Add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon Bragg.  Stir until tofu in coated with spice mixture.  Set aside
3.)    Sautee onion in olive oil until golden about 5 minutes
4.)    Add garlic and sauté until fragrant about 1 minute
5.)    Add pepper and kale and sauté until soft about 5 minutes
6.)    Add peas and tomatoes cook until hot
7.)    Add 1-2 tbsp of Bragg and combine
8.)    Turn heat to low and add tofu cook until hot and most of the liquid is gone
9.)    Enjoy! (I sprinkled some homemade home fries around the scramble to make Christmas breakfast extra special.) 

Have you ever tried a tofu scramble?  If not you should!! 

*Wishing you a happy and very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year*
   I'll be back to posting regularly after January 1st!   XOXO
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Vegan Christmas Scramble at

Hi darling readers I am posting my Vegan Christmas Scramble over at's 12 Days of Christmas
12 Days of Christmas Holiday Event and Giveaway
Come on over and check it out along with her fabulous blog and enter the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for some fabulous prizes!!

If your here from welcome! You can follow my blog on my sidebar.  You can also check out my recipes using my archives or labels both on my sidebar!

I'll be back later this week to post a heavenly way to roast tomatoes ...waaay better than any store bought sun dried tomatoes!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lovely Gifts for Mindful Cooks

Christmas exploded in my house last week!  I dedicated last week to making presents and decorating.  I like to reuse, make, or purchase vintage decorations because it’s more earth friendly and well, cute!  Now that all that is out of the way I’m back to the blog and sharing all kinds of Christmas eats!

 Instead of getting caught up in the crazy consumerism of the season I try to find or make a few quality, not disposable, gifts for loved ones. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 
 I’ve made a list of lovely, handmade, and earth friendly gifts for the kitchen of all the mindful cooks out there. 
 A Pretty Apron:
This Rustic Pinstripe Apron is beautiful and functional.  It’s large enough to stick utensils in the pockets, wipe off your hands, and protect your clothes.  It’s handmade by MeyerTextileCo and you can find it here at the shop on Etsy. 
Vintage Coffee Spoons:
These coffee or tea spoons are too cute for words.  They are upcycled from vintage spoons.  These spoons would make me smile every morning with my Hot Steamy Pick-Me-Up (if you’re reading this honey hint-hint.)  The spoons are handmade by jessicaNdesign and you can find them here at her shop on Etsy along with other handstamped goodies
Tea Towels:
What cook can’t use a good tea towel, we don’t use paper towels in our kitchen so towels are a must and with a towel this cute you can’t go wrong!  These towels are handmade,100% cotton.  She also sells lovely cards, calendars, posters and fabulous market totes. They are handmade by claudiagpearson.  You can find them all here at her shop on Etsy. 
Cast Iron Cookware:  
You can’t go wrong with a cast iron cookware, Lodge makes great and affordable cast iron cookware.  These pots can go from the stove to the oven with no problem. Properly cared for they will last forever!  And cooking with them is good for the earth and good for your health with none of the nasty chemicals or carcinogens found in Teflon coated pans.  You can find this Lodge dutch oven here.
Glass Containers:
Glass containers are great for storing anything from produce to leftovers to lunch!  Plastic containers contain all kinds of nasty chemicals that can leach into your food.  Using plastic can also contribute to the Garbage Patch and harm animals.  You can use these glass containers in the freezer and with hot or acidic foods without having to worry about chemicals leaching into your food yucko! You can find this glass container and more here at Life Without Plastic. 
What is your favorite item on this list?  Have you made or bought any earth friendly gifts this season? If yes, I'd love to know what!
** I was not paid, perked, or otherwise compensated for this post I just love beautiful, handmade, and quality items.   
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Restaurant Review: Fahrenheit

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I’m a little late on my post this week, after Thanksgiving I got caught up in Christmas decorating (I’ll share a sneak peak when I’m all done.)  As for Thanksgiving ours was delicious and although I had lots to cook it ended up being fun.  Even (most of) the carnivores liked my vegan dishes (check out the staples of our Thanksgiving Dinner here.) 
Thanksgiving Dinner wasn’t the only delicious food we ate over the holiday.  While visiting family we (and my brother and sister-in-law) took Mr. Darling’s parents out to dinner to celebrate their 30th Wedding Anniversary!  
We took them to Fahrenheit a fabulous restaurant in Cleveland, more specifically Tremont Ohio. 
I’m still fairly new to being gluten free and even more of a novice to eating out gluten free (GF).  Up until this point I had only eaten at restaurants that tout their GF food. 
So I did what I read to do, call ahead and see if they could accommodate my vegan and gluten free diet.  I was more concerned about the GF part; I’m pretty good at navigating the vegan thing.  So I called, and asked if there was any thing for me to eat if I couldn’t eat gluten.  I was fully prepared to begin explaining what gluten free was but, they were on top and all over that!  The greeter transferred me directly to the person who would be our waiter, George, he was awesome.  He knew all the dishes that were safe for me to eat and ensured me that they were very careful about cross contamination.  It turned out when I spoke to him later at Fahrenheit that he had gluten sensitivity too! There weren"t any vegan dishes on the menu but that wasn’t a problem.  The sides for the tuna, edamame and tomato fried rice (it did not have egg in it) with greens, sounded delish.  They had absolutely no problem making the dish that way and they made it huge.  Seriously, see that big mound of rice, veggies, and greens the picture below, ya that was all mine!! They also served the curry sauce on the side. 
How was it?  Freakin’ amazing!! It.was.delicious every bite of it !!! Everything was fresh and flavorful, not to heavy which I love and the curry sauce was delicious with a bit of heat.  I get hungry just thinking about it. I loved it so much I already put my spin on the dish and recreated it for dinner this week.
 Fahrenheit was so accommodating to my diet needs, the staff was kind and knowledgeable (George was awesome!), and the food was heavenly.  If you’re in the Cleveland area and can splurge a little on a delicious, safe meal I recommend making your way to Fahrenheit you won’t regret it!
**I have not been paid, perked, or otherwise compensated for this post. 
As someone who is vegan, gluten free, or has other allergy needs isn’t it nice to find somewhere safe (and ahhhmazing) to eat?  Do you have a favorite gluten free restaurant?  Do you have any restaurant dishes you have recreated in your kitchen and how did they turn out? 
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of good friends, family, and food!!! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Determined Darling's Thanksgiving Staples

This ain’t your Mama’s Thanksgiving and these aren’t your Mama’s Thanksgiving staples, unless of course your Mama was a hippy then, maybe. 
This is actually the first year I will be cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal and my first gluten free Thanksgiving.  I am so excited!! I kept it pretty traditional for two reasons.  One tradition is comfortable and on Thanksgiving some traditions like stuffing and mashed potatoes must be followed! Two neither of our families (brothers and sisters not included) is very adventurous with their food.  New foods must be introduced slowly as not to cause heart palpitations and immediate dislike.  And under any circumstance do.not.use. the word “vegan” unless of course you want them to avoid your food like the plague. 
Since I’m not quite finished finalizing our feast (I’m such a procrastinator) I wanted to leave you with some recipes for the staples of our feast.    
Determined Darling’s Gluten-Free, Vegan Thanksgiving Staples
Lentil Loaf
Forget the turkey and enjoy this yummy loaf!
Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes
Hello creamy garlic heaven!
Lovely Lady Stuffing
Bright pink lady apples make this stuffing amazing!
*** Click Here for a printable document of all these delicious dishes***
Lentil Loaf
2 cups cooked lentils
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 large onion diced
8 oz mushrooms halved
2 medium carrots grated
¼ cup Nutritional Yeast
½ cup garbanzo flour
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
dash of salt
1.)    Preheat oven to 375 F
2.)    Sautee onion and garlic until golden
3.)    Add mushrooms and sauté covered until tender 8 minutes
4.)    Meanwhile grate the carrots  and combine with quinoa and half the lentils in a large bowl
5.)    Remove mushroom mixture from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
6.)    Add mushroom mixture and half the lentils into a food processor, pulse until thick and combine but with texture
7.)    Add the mushroom lentil mixture to the bowl with the quinoa, carrots, and whole lentils. Stir to combine
8.)    Add nutritional yeast, Bragg, and spices, stir to combine
9.)    Add garbanzo flour and stir to combine *The mixture will be wet and stick but hold together well
10.)    Place parchment paper in a 9 x 5 loaf pan and oil the paper
11.)   Add mixture into the loaf pan and bake at 375 F for about 90 -100 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean 
12.)   Remove from pan by lifting out using the parchment paper, allow cool for a few minutes, slice and serve!
Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs Russet Potatoes, skins on!
3 cloves garlic minced
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ - ½ cup finely minced fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other butter substitute)
1.)    Clean potatoes, cut into large chunks, place in a large bowl and cover with water
2.)    Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes until tender
3.)    In a small pan saute the garlic in Earth Balance until fragrant (about one minute)
4.)    Drain the potatoes and put in a large bowl mashing slighting with a potato masher
5.)    To the potatoes add the garlic butter, 1 cup veggie broth, salt, and pepper
6.)    Mash until desire consistency is reached, ( I like mine lumpy!) adding more broth if needed
7.)    Add parsley and stir to combine
Serve immediately!
Lovely Lady Stuffing
11 cups 1 inch homemade croutons (check out my recipe here)
2 cups onion diced
2 cups celery chopped
2 pink lady apples, cored, then diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp sage
½ tsp salt, to taste
½ tsp pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
2 -3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.)    Preheat oven to 375 F
2.)    Put croutons into a large bowl
3.)    Saute onion, celery and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until golden
4.)    Add apples, parsley, and a dash of salt and pepper
5.)    Saute for 3-5 minutes until soft
6.)    Add sautéed veggies to the bowl with croutons
7.)    Add oregano, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine
8.)    Add veggie broth and stir to combine.  Mixture should be soft
9.)    Put the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 375 F for 30 minutes covered with foil and 15 minutes uncovered. 
10.)   Remove, Serve, and Enjoy!
What are your favorite vegan Thanksgiving dishes?  And what are you most looking forward to on Thanksgiving Day?
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