Saturday, June 19, 2010

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The Healthy Voyager

Friday, June 18, 2010

You Mexi-Can Eat Healthy South of the Border!

So I've already raved about the healthy yet delicious options I found in Cancun. But as promised, there is more!!  And this time, I'll be chatting dining out as well as dining on the adventure tours. Let's roll!

 In the La Isla Shopping complex, neat The Taco Grill, you will find Mr. Papas. A potato house and piano bar, you'll eat well and be entertained without a doubt. Very accommodating to special diets seeing as how you can customize your potato any way you like, Mr. Papas is a fun night out. Even if potatoes aren't' your fave, their expansive international menu is bound to have something for you.

In the main party zone, there are tons of American chain places like Chili's, Rainforest Cafe & Hard Rock Cafe to name a few. You can absolutely find healthy options there if you're not willing to eat local cuisine and I've covered these joints in a previous post of chain restaurant dining.  But, if you are willing to try something new but want to stay in the thick of the action, try Mex-Treme. They got live music and dancing so you can get your preliminary groove on while dining.They can hook you up with plenty of vegetarian options as well as some fun beverages to get your party started!

Hacienda Sisal Mexican Grill is not only a grand looking place,  it boasts a super neat dining and entertainment club whose setting rivals that of Disney World. The faux, outdoor dining area is a large courtyard complete with the "sets" of pueblo apartments surrounding the tables and the large stage. Featuring live entertainment, dancing, music and local folk artists, Hacienda Sisal feels like you're really getting a slice of Mexican culture along with your guac ; )  The food isn't to shabby either!  I loved my sizzling veggie fajitas and yeas, of course, a large helping of fresh, made at my table guacamole.

The coolest thing to do in the Yucatan aside from eating, drinking and lounging, is the tours to the Mayan ruins and villages.  We especially love d our All-Tour-Native Tours to Coba. The Maya Encounter tour to Coba is the only ruin in the Yucatan that you are still allowed to climb and on this tour you get to zip line, rappel and swim in an underground, freshwater lake called a cenote (sen-oh-teh).  Since you are on an all day excursion, they include lunch at a traditional Mayan village. A lunch I was afraid of so I packed lots of vegan bars. But, I was pleasantly surprise with the wide variety of veggie options that were made super fresh. A hearty veggie soup, veggie beans, rice, salsa a guac. That's all I needed to keep me going through my journey into the past ; )

A can't miss is the Chichen-Itza Tour. One of the new 7 wonders of the world, Chichen-Itza is one of the most recognized Mayan ruin villages around.  Unfortunately you can climb any of the structures but regardless, it's impressive. The ball field and main pyramid are breathtaking and the stories behind them are mega fascinating.  On most of the tours they take you to a super neat cenote near by to swim and they too provide lunch. A large buffest full of veggies, salads, beans and other goodies, you won't go hungry.

That's a wrap on Cancun but not of the state of Quintana Roo! Join me when I summarize the best of Playa Del Carmen!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Funfilled Father's Day

Nothing makes my dad happier than a day at the beach, surfing and just enjoying the sun and ocean. Luckily, Father's Day falls in the summer so it's a great time of year to get outdoors and spend some quality time with the dads in your life (fathers, hubbies, brothers and buddies).  Nothing is more appropriate for a fun filled Father's Day then some outdoor dining and adventurous activities.  You can get your dad any number of ties and gadgets but giving him an experience and memories beats any wrapped gift ; ) So,  I've whipped up a few dad approved recipes as well as some ideas for activities that might put a smile on his face this year!

First of all, think about what kind of guy your dad is.
  • Water sports enthusiast - If so, then consider Fathers Day gift ideas such as a jet boat ride, a day of scuba driving, surfing or a trip down the whitewater in a kayak. 
  • Speed guy - If that's the case then the way you should go is a day spent driving a rally car or an experience in a unique V8 supercar. If, on the other hand, dad is the type who likes the sky, then consider Fathers Day gifts like paragliding, hot air ballooning or sky diving. 
  • Outdoorsman - How about a family hike or camping trip?
  • Sports freak - Get tickets to his favorite team's game or take him out to play. Shoot some hoops, play some golf, whatever his sports persuasion, gather the family and do it together
  • Dare devil - Try rappelling, zip lining or spelunking
If you want to top off a great day of fun or are just thinking of taking it easy that day, either way, cook up a storm of love that dad won't soon forget!

Mediterannean Medley Potato Salad

1  pound whole tiny new potatoes
1/3  cup veganaise
2  tablespoons lemon juice
1  clove garlic, minced
1/4  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4  cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2  tablespoons capers, drained
2  tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1/2  of a small red onion, sliced and separated into rings

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; add water to cover and, if desired, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain well. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, for dressing, in a small bowl combine veganaise, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper. Stir in olives, capers, and green onion. Pour dressing over potatoes. Add onion. Toss gently to mix.

Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, stirring salad occasionally. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Green Kabobs

8  green onions
12  baby green pattypan squash
12  baby zucchini
1  cup sugar snap pea pods
1/3  cup olive oil
3  tablespoons red wine vinegar
3  tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoons pepper

Rinse and trim vegetables. Cut a 3-inch portion from the bottom of 6 of the green onions. Save remaining onion tops for another use. Place pattypan squash, zucchini, pea pods, and 3-inch green onion portions in a plastic bag set in a shallow dish.

Finely chop remaining 2 green onions. For marinade, in a screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, finely chopped green onion, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour marinade over vegetables in the bag. Close bag. Marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Drain vegetables, reserving marinade. On 6 long bamboo* or metal skewers, poke vegetables in alternating order. Cook vegetables on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned and tender, turning and brushing with reserved marinade occasionally. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

*Note: If using bamboo skewers, keep them from catching fire or charring by soaking them in water for at least 30 minutes before use.

Best BBQ Veggie Burger

4 tablespoons hickory barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon oat bran
2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped canned beets
1 teaspoon beet juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 egg replacer
2 teaspoons olive oil
Vegan cheese of your choice

Stir together barbecue sauce and molasses. Set aside.  In a large bowl, mash beans. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the barbecue mixture (reserving remaining for brushing) and remaining ingredients -- rice through egg replacer. Form into four 6 oz patties.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium. Grill burgers for 2 minutes on one side. Turn and brush with remaining barbecue/molasses mixture. Top with vegan cheese and grill for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and mustard on a bun which has been grilled in vegan butter.

Peanut Brittle-y Bread Pudding

2-1/4  cups soymilk
4  egg replacers
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1  tablespoon vanilla
1  teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
4  cups dry French, Italian, or sourdough bread cubes*
1  cup coarsely chopped  vegan peanut brittle
1/3  cup vegan butter
1/3  cup packed brown sugar
2  medium bananas, sliced
1/8  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1  tablespoon rum or orange juice
1  tablespoon banana liqueur, creme de cacao, or orange juice
  vegan vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl beat together milk, egg replacer, granulated sugar, vanilla, orange peel, and cinnamon. Place bread cubes in an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish. Pour mixture evenly over bread cubes. Sprinkle with chopped peanut brittle.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Serve warm with Bananas Foster Sauce (below)and vanilla ice cream, if desired. Makes 8 servings with 3 tablespoons sauce.

Bananas Foster Sauce: In a large skillet melt vegan butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar until melted. Add bananas. Cook and gently stir over medium heat about 1 minute or until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon, rum or orange juice, and banana liqueur, creme de cacao, or orange juice. Serve immediately with bread pudding. Makes 1-1/2 cups sauce.

*To dry bread cubes: Place bread cubes in a large pan and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry but not brown, stirring twice.

Have a wonderful yummy and adventurous father's day!! xoxo

Friday, June 4, 2010

Can-cun Honeymoon ; )

Nothing screams honeymoon like lying on the beach, soaking up the sun, eating to your hearts desire with a drink in your hand. A drink with an umbrella in it, of course ; ) We decided to go south of the border for some sun as well as some adventure as we knew that the Yucatan had plenty of it. I'm not much for sitting around the beach for a week  so I'm glad we picked a spot that had tons to offer outside of the beautiful ocean.  So much history, great food and great fun, I couldn't have asked for a better place to get away with my new hubby!

On our first evening, of course I wanted Mexican food so we went on the lookout; ) Oddly enough, it was tough to find!! The Cancun area is pretty much the U.S. Laden with American chain restaurants, I refused to partake and hunted down the first local(ish) spot I could. Taco Grill satisfied my craving for local fare and exceeded expectation. A cute outdoor eatery, on the bay, Taco Grill served up some great veggie options. My dinner was complete with a large helping of fresh guacamole, a nice sized marg ; ), and the best grilled veggie burrito I've ever had! It was oozing with sauteed veggies, mushrooms, avocado, beans and delicious sauce. I'm craving one right now! Taco Grill is located in the La Isla Shopping Center.

Now, you wouldn't think that going out for Italian in Mexico would be a good thing but Limoncello was great! Right across from our hotel was this cute, fine dining-ish, locale, right on the water. They even have a private gazebo on a dock for special occasions - very nice! I was delighted that they had my favorite dish, Gnocchi, and I was able to get it with a really great tomato sauce. their bread was a nice touch as well as it came out like a flatbread on a griddle - warm and melty ; )  We really enjoyed the food and the ambiance of Limoncello so don't fret about getting some variety.

If you're looking to do some tequila tastings while enjoying a flavorful, waterfront meal, then La Tequileria is the place for you! So veggie and special diet friendly, I really enjoyed the live music and varieties of their local beverage ; ) Their salads are all veganizable and mega tasty and there's no denying yourself some guac and chip!

I need of curbing a sweet tooth, I stumbled upon Ah Cacao, an all chocolate cafe! And I was able to partake as they could make the cacao goodness vegany. I got a soy Mexican hot chocolate and it ruled! The company is super green and offers the best quality cacao products from the Mayan regions. See, chocolate can be green, helpful and healthy!

Nothing shows the magnitude of the health movement like finding a natural foods restaurant in the heart of Mexican part town. Natura is located on the main drag of Cancun and offers up all sorts of natural dishes, fresh juices and a ton of vegetarian options. Even though it was crazy hot out, I had to try their veggie soup and I followed that with insane vegan nachos. I also imbibed a super green juice and was very happy that I could get one anytime as it was in walking distance of our hotel ; ) Stop in for a healthy meal at Natura - Boulevard Kukulcan Km 9.5, Zona Hotelera, CancĂșn. 77500
Mexico Tel +52 998 8830585.

There's way more to come as I have more rave reviews for Cancun and the surrounding cities in the state of Quintana Roo!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lovin' Leeds

On our way back to London from Blackpool, we made a pit stop in Leeds. A historic English town that is also home to University of Leeds, I hopped off the train in downtown and was smack in the middle of beautiful buildings, shopping centers and eateries.  Surrounded by countryside, this city has the best of both worlds. And with that, comes great dining!

Steps away from the train station you will find the old post office building, in the heart of city square. Now remodeled, you will find The Restaurant Bar & Grill inside, modern and sophisticated. This beautiful space hosts a large bar and gourmet menu. I veganized the Mezze appetizer platter and gobbled it right up. This large plate was a Mediterranean tasting menu with a neat twist. Covered with falafel, oloves, hummus and pita, my favorite were the butternut squash fritters, mmmm! I could have eaten a whole plate of those for sure!  Save your appetite and as soon as you arrive in downtown Leeds, make a beeline to The Restaurant Bar & Grill.

I stumbled upon Roots & Fruits
and figured it would be a great veggie friendly joint, and I was right! It dishes up a fully vegetarian international menu of goodness from Mexican to Indian, accommodating vegans easily. I devoured my wild mushroom pate on sun-dried foccaccia sandwich along with a hearty bowl of Mexican bean & tomato soup. It totally hit the spot and beat the chill quite nicely!

You can rarely go wrong finding healthy and/or veggie meal at an Indian spot. And especially when it's a completely vegetarian spot! Hansa's Gujarati Vegetarian Restaurant specializes in cuisine from the western coast of India and has been rockin' for over 20 years. Outside of their fresh fare, they also cater, host phenomenal cooking classes and are well known for their fabulous cakes.  And if you can't make it into Hansa's, they have their own cookbook. Eat with your fingers or eat with a fork but either way, eat at Hansas's!

I'd love to spend some more time in Leeds as the historic architecture is gorgeous. Plus, I think there is plenty more to eat in this bustling metropolis tucked away in West Yorkshire, England ; )

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Urban Gardening and Low-Fat Cooking

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring urban gardener, Mike Lieberman and The Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon:

Next show we chat with vegan bodybuilder, Robert Cheeke and veg travel pioneer, Happy Cow's Eric Brent !!

Friday, May 21, 2010

MMMMMMemorial Day ; )

There is no question about it, summer is here! Put away your coats and break out your swim suits because it's time to frolick in the sun and hang out with friends by the bbq.  However you decide to kick off fun in the sun season, do it as healthy as possible because come back to school season, you want to make sure you fit in your jeans and you aren't burnt to a crisp ; )  For more healthy and eco Memorial Day tips, check out last year's post. This year, I'm sharing nothing but fun food so let's start the party right but before we do, be sure to thank the veteran's in your life because today, is their day ; )

Here's a feast to enjoy all summer long:

Drunk BBQ Corn
10 ears fresh corn with husks
1 quart beer (non-alcoholic or wheat free if desired)
1 (7 pound) bag of ice cubes

Place whole ears of corn in an ice chest. Pour beer over top. Dump ice out over the ears of corn. Place the lid on the cooler, and let sit 8 hours, or overnight. Preheat smoker to 250 degrees. Place corn in the smoker and close the lid. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes or so. Kernels should give easily under pressure when done. To eat, just peel back the husks and dig in!

Bruschetta Salad
8 cups Italian bread cubes
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 T cider or red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes, basil and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients; drizzle over bread mixture. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Tropical Chick'n Sticks
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light soy sauce4
4 boxes of Gardein Chick'n Filets

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Remove from heat just before the mixture comes to a boil. Place chick'n  in a medium bowl. Cover with the pineapple marinade, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread chicken lengthwise onto wooden skewers. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chick'n tenders 3 minutes per side. They cook quickly, so watch them closely.

Summer Grillin' Veggie Sandwich
1/4 cup veganaise
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced red bell peppers
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia bread pieces, split horizontally
1/2 cup Daiya shredded Mozzerella cheese

In a bowl, mix the veganaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat the grill for high heat. Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside. Spread some of the veganaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread, and sprinkle each one with cheese. Place on the grill cheese side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Watch carefully so the bottoms don't burn. Remove from grill, and layer with the vegetables. Enjoy as open faced grilled sandwiches.

SweetLeaf Punch
2 (750 milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider
1 liter carbonated water
3 large oranges
2 lemons
1 bottle of SweetLeaf Lemonade
1 T sugar
2 trays ice cubes

Thinly slice the lemons and the oranges and place in a large punch bowl. Pour in lemonade. Gently stir in the seltzer water and the sparkling apple cider. Add sugar to taste. Add large block of ice.

Creamy Strawberry Banana Pops
2 cups So Delicious strawberry banana coconut milk yogurt
1⁄2 cup light-brown sugar
18 vegan vanilla wafers

Whisk yogurt and brown sugar in a bowl to blend. Divide between six 3-oz waxed paper cups. Freeze 1 hour. Insert a Popsicle stick in each cup. Freeze at least 2 hours more. Put cookies in a ziptop bag; crush with a rolling pin. Working with 2 pops at a time to prevent melting, carefully tear off cups. Roll both in cookie crumbs. Place in a new cup; freeze until ready to eat. Repeat with remaining cups and crumbs.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoy the start of summer!! xoxo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Healthy, Well Traveled Kids

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring mom-trepreneurs Colleen Lanin of Travel Mamas and Catherine McCord of Weelicious:

Next week we chat with urban gardener, Mike Leiberman and The Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bon Apetit in Blackpool!

I was very excited to roll through the english countryside and head to Blackpool. Located on the northwest coast, this seaside town is a bit like English Coney Island. Beach front hotels, water parks, casinos and more, Blackpool is a great little beach resort town for northern England residents.  Unfortunately we were there in the dead of winter so no beach fun for us but getting there was a treat as it the terrain looked just like the illustrations in one of my all time favorite Christmas stories, The Snowman ; )  Our friends showed us all around town so now I'll share it with you!

Just outside of Blackpool, you will find the cute country town of Little Eccleston. In it you will find The Cartford Inn. Newly refurbished in 2007, this adorable inn is just the place for a warm meal and cozy bed. While vegan, gluten free or any other special diet isn't the most popular of cuisines in northwest England, the folks at The Cartford Inn are more then happy to accommodate their valued guests. The house chef makes everything in house with the utmost of care. Feel like royalty when you have a lavish meal by the fire then retiring to your comfy quarters for a hot bath ; )

If you happen to find yourself in town for an extended stay or an event, I highly suggest hiring Little Black Dress Catering. Owner and chef, Frances Macualey, can whip up anything you heart desires. I was blown away with her fabulous vegan offerings. I had the distinct pleasure of chowing down on her vegan curry cutlets, roasted root veggies, creamy mashed potatoes and winter squash soup. I'm salivating just thinking about it! To contact Frances for a meal that will send you into a tasty tizzy, email her at  .

Number One South Beach is a waterfront resort with fine dining. This chic locale might seem like the least likely place for a great vegan meal however,  Number One caters to all special diets. The chef takes special care and pride in serving all of their non-omnivore guests and they do a great job of doing so. Depending on what's in season, you'll be treated right at #1SB!

I loved Blackpool and hope to visit soon after the snow and cold has gone south for the summer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Cleaning & Eating Raw Foods

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Mareya Ibrahim of Eat Cleaner Foods and raw chef, Bryan Au:

Next week we chat with mom-trepreneurs Colleen Lanin of Travel Mamas and Catherine McCord of Weelicious!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

London Encore

I've been to London several times and every time, I find more and more veggie yumminess.  It's quickly becoming one of the most veg friendly cities in the world and delicious to boot!  Gone are the days of poking fun at bland English food and welcome to a veritable taste bud frenzy. In addition to the last London post, here are a few more spots that I couldn't leave out of the mix ; )

One of my favorite things about London is the amount of quick food spots all over town. And by quick food, I don't mean fast food. I mean eateries that have fresh sandwiches, soups, salads and other treats that are made daily. A lot of them have refrigerators packed with selections for a healthy to go treat as well as counters for an on the spot experience. Eat is just one of those places with convenient location all over town. I especially love their veggie meal or sandwich of the week and I fell in love with their veggie gyoza soup! Delish!!!  Quick, healthy & affordable - you can't beat that!

Itsu is yet another chain of quick food. Itsu's spin is sushi, noodles, soups and salads with a modern feel to each locale. Their motto is "Health & Happiness" which I believe they deliver on consistently ; ) For us non-sushi eating vegans, their miso soup and veggie dumplings are choice. Top it off with their organic dark chocolate rice cakes for an after lunch sweet tooth squasher!

Nothing is screams iconic London more then a red double decker bus.  But what would be cooler then dining on one? Dining on a vegan one! Here in London town there are 2 vegan bus-taurants, Rootmaster & Vegan Routes.  Each offers up killer vegan food and can be reserved for private events. Comfy, cute and tasty, these novelty restaurants are worth the ride ; )

If you're in need of some yoga and meditation after running around from tube to tube, check out Alchemy. A holistic sanctuary in the center of the city that also boasts a cef and juice bar. So after a relaxing session of Kundalini, treat yourself to a Hemp Mountain Magic Super Smoothie with hemp seed milk, maca, banana, agave syrup, mesquite and cacao nibs.  After all that sight seeing and eating you're way through jolly ol' London, you will need it!!

Next, I visit the English seaside & college towns - join me, won't you?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Creative Crusaders

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Vance Lemkhul of Vegcast and the Bizarro King, Dan Piraro:

Next week we chat with Eat Cleaner's Mareya Ibrahim and raw chef, Bryan Au!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Making the Most of Mother's Day

Moms make the world go 'round from kissing boo boos to being a shoulder to cry on when our heart breaks ; ) Mother's day is that Sunday that comes once every year where we show her how much we love her, feed her and shower her with gifts. What better way to express our love then fixing her a healthy feast and gifting her with things that will help her live a healthier and greener life? We want mom around for many Motehr's Days to come so here is a Mother's day menu fit for a queen and a list of gift ideas that will help set her on a path to wellness!

 Gifts and goodies
  • Green Cooking Pots - Toss out those pots mom has been cooking with since you were in diapers and get her some eco-conscious and stylish enameled cast-iron pots and pans.
  • Gobble Green Vegan Home Delivery - Save your mom some time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste and nutrition. Order up a yummy vegan meal with via Gobble Green's delivery service, nationwide.
  • Chocolatl -Mom will love the gift of delicious, rich, raw, vegan chocolate ; )
  • Olsenhaus Shoes - Sexy, stylish, eco, vegan shoes. Nuf said.
  • Ro & Co Bags - Get your mom the hottest vegan bag around. Clutch, hobo, whatever, she will love you for it!
  • Nimli - Shop for clothes, bags and more for mom - a green, organic and conscious online store!
  • Tallulah Jane Perfume -What goes great with new clothes, jewelry, bags and shoes? All natural perfume!
  • PeaceLoveEarth Jewelry - A division of Annatarian eco-couture, PLE jewelry is eco, vegan and spiritual. The gift of a wish bracelet or a necklace will go over quite well after mom's afternoon feast ; )
  • Sevi - EcoVegan body care and cosmetics - mom will be over the moon with these treats! 
  • Village Tea Co. - Help mom wind down and kick her feet up with some delicious, eco tea.
 Mother's Day Brunch


2  cups fresh orange juice
1  cup  fresh pineapple juice, chilled
2  T grenadine
1  bottle Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled (2 cans ginger ale or lemon-lime soda may be substituted for non-alcoholic version)

 Stir together first 3 ingredients. Pour equal parts orange juice mixture and Champagne into glasses.

Gingerbread, Apple & Vanilla Waffles

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 T baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups soy milk, unsweetened or vanilla
1/2 stick vegan butter, melted

Apple Compote
3 pounds of apples, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 vanilla bean, cut in two lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 T lemon juice
2 T vegan butter
2 T apple brandy or dark rum (optional)

For the Apple Compote:
Add the apples, sugar, water, lemon juice, and butter to a large pot. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a knife. Add the seeds and vanilla pod to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the brandy or rum. Remove the vanilla pod before serving.

For the Waffles:

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. In another bowl mix together the milk, brown sugar, molasses, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Ladle the batter into a hot waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. Keep cooked waffles warm in an oven set at its lowest setting. Put a scoop of warm apple compote onto each serving of waffles to serve. For an extra treat add vegan whipped cream, powdered sugar, or chopped nuts.

Italian Frittata

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/4 cup fresh basil leaf, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a mixing bowl, crumble the tofu through your fingers until it resembles ricotta cheese. Be sure to sqeeze out all the lumps. Mix in the soy sauce, mustard, nutritional yeast and turmeric and combine well. In a small (8-inch) skillet, saute the onions in the olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme, and saute for 3 more minutes. Add the garlic saute for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, mix and remove from heat. Transfer the cooked onion mixture to the tofu and combine well, foldin basil leaves and spinach. Place the tofu back into the skillet and press down firmly in place. Cook in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Transfer to the broiler to brown the top, about two minutes. Let the frittata sit for 10 minute before serving. Carefully cut into 4 slices and lift each piece with a pie server to prevent it from falling apart.

Mom, thanks for everything you did and continue to do! Happy Mother's Day!! xoxo

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Compassionate Authors & Cooks

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Will Tuttle & the Compassionate Cook, Colleen Patrick-Godreau:

Next week we chat with fellow vegan podcaster, Vance of Vegcast as well as the very funny & talented, Dan Piraro!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Earth Weekend!

It's been forty years since the first Earth Day and in the last 10 years, the green movement has skyrocketed to great heights. While the world is on it's biggest green kick ever, it seems that our earth is still in great peril. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time however, it has presented us with the opportunity to build a healthier, more prosperous, clean energy economy now and as well as for our future. Being green has all caused us all to look at the bigger picture but also how to clean up our own act as well. I truly believe that if we start from the inside out, the world will benefit.

Earth Day offers us the chance to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs in addition to learning about sustainable living in our own home and communities. This 40th anniversary Earth Day weekend is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.

I've complied some things you can start with this Earth Day Weekend, from events to shopping, that will not only be fun as well as rewarding, but can also be done any time of the year to celebrate Earth Day all year long!

You can find eco versions of pretty much everything you use in your every day life, and even "splurgy" luxury items! Here are a few sites to check out:
Here are just a few fun, green things you can do with friends or family:
  • Sign up for YourDailyTread's Go Green Bootcamp!  20 days of daily tips to go from Eco Zero to Eco Hero!
  • Join a beach or park cleanup with groups like the Surfrider Foundation
  • Plant a tree - visit the Arbor Day site for more info
  • Check out a Green Drinks event in your area
  • If you have kids, Print out our calendar and draw a green star for each day that you do an activity that helps the earth!
  • Get your green thumb dirty and start a garden
  • Turn trash into treasure! Refurbish an old sofa, chair or even a garment. Get crafty and creative and you just might produce a work of art ; )
My top 10 tips to help you go green!
  • Go Veg!  Check out last year's Earth Day post on how going veg can be the greenest thing you can do ; )
  • Ride your bike whenever you can. If you just need some bread, bike to the store instead of drive, save $, gas and get some exercise in too!
  • Swap out as many bulbs as possible with energy efficient CFL's (compact fluorescent light bulbs)
  • Don't run the water while you are brushing your teeth. That could be a good minute or so of wasted H2O.
  • Get a few reusable grocery bags. They have gotten really stylish now so there is no excuse to be piling up the paper and plastic bags ; )
  • Get a great glass water bottle (bpa free or aluminum is fine too, but I prefer glass). Do away with buying 1 use, plastic water bottles. I've got some great companies listed on my Healthy Voyager Approved Directory so get one today!
  • Shop locally and seasonally. Buying seasonal and local products not only helps support the community but also decreases the need for long distance shipping and costs as well as being healthier for you ; )
  • Disconnect electronic items when not in use. I know that might sound like a pai, especially if you've got your office or entertainment system rigged up just so. But there are great power strips, like DSI Green Power Strip, that have 1 main source so all you have to do is flip 1 switch and the job has been done for you!
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water. Also use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.
  • Ramp up your recycling! Be more cognizant of what you are throwing in the trash, make sorting bins if you don't already have them. Take batteries, electronics and other "not-really-disposable" items to the proper disposal facilities.
Links & Resources
Some great sites and info on how to be green from personal style to worldwide green news

Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day and have a very happy Earth Weekend (or better yet, Earth Life!!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Earth Day Cooking & Media

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Jenny & Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods as well as Gary Smith & Kezia Jauron from Evolotus PR:

Next week we chat with the inspirational Will Tuttle & Compassionate Cook, Colleen Patrick-Godreau!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy 4th (kinda 5th) Birthday Healthy Voyager!

It's that time of year again - birthday time!  I'm taking a little break this week to celebrate a few anniversaries that all occur this wonderful Spring month of April. First, the 4th (kind of 5th) anniversary of Healthy Voyager. 4th since I began to develop and pitch the show in '05 but 4th since the blog & web show launched.  Next, this April marks my 11th "vegan-iversary". Time has flown and I've loved every moment of my time as a plant eater! And last, but not least, I re-launched  Healthy Voyager Radio this month since my holiday and wedding hiatus ; )  I'm in the throws of a website re-design as well as neck deep in a bunch of new exciting projects coming soon under the Healthy Voyager brand.

So I thank you for "voyaging" with me all of these years and may the next 5 be just as, if not even more, adventurous!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Holisitc Medicine & Simple Green

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Dr. Lederman & Dr. Pulde from Exsalus Health & Wellness as well as Tracy Hepler from popular LA green site, Your Daily Thread:

Next week we chat vegan cooking & classes with the gals of Spork Foods as well as conscious PR with Evolotus PR!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earth Day Giveaway for Pooch Lovers!

Earth Day is coming up and instead of the usual green stuff, I thought I'd do something nice for pooches and their owners! I came across The Pawsby PooPatroller at the Genesis awards and fell in love.  I thought it was not only innovative, it is clean, eco and a great safety measure.  The Pawsby is complete with eco bags and convenient waste shovel, poo receptacle, leash, collar, flashlight, compartment for keys or treats and even a bowl for your baby's water.  Oh, and did I mention you can charge your cell phone or Ipod with it too? This all in one device is super helpful, eco and adorable to boot!

How to enter:  Follow this blog and leave your comment as to why you want to win the Pawsby. Be sure to leave your email as well so that I may contact the winner. Winners will be chosen next Wednesday, April 21st by

Good luck!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Great New Healthy Living Products & Foods from Expo West 2010!

Natural Products Expo West weekend is virtually like Christmas for a foodie & healthy product junkie like me!  The expo is so big that it really does take about 3 full days to check out every booth.   There is a natural, healthy and/or green product for virtually everything you can think of. Tons of great product launches, new companies and even old favorites.  I get to taste and try lots of incredible goodies but only a few (out of the thousands of products there) make my highlights list. It's a tough gig, but someone's got to do it ; )  Here are some of the products that rocked my world, products that you should be looking out for soon! In no particular order:

Food & Beverage
Daiya Cheese Retail Package - I've raved about them for the last year and now, this phenomenal, allergen free, vegan cheese will be available nationwide for consumers! Finally, a retail package of the yummiest, meltiest cheese around ; )

Tofurky Vegan Pizza -Yep, you heard right! Tofurky is launching it's frozen vegan pizza line, featuring none other than Daiya cheese! A plain cheese option as well as "The Works" (veggies and Tofurky sausage) will be available in natural food retailer freezers very soon. be on the look out because they are dang good!

Gardein Meals - Here is another one of my faves adding to their already awesome line. The people who brought you vegan Beef Tips and vegan Chicken Scallopini have now come out with complete meals. Each meal comes as a trio of chicken or beef, rice & veggies. Look for the Thai trio, Burgundy trio or Sicilian trio. No excuses anymore for a quick and healthy dinner that tastes great! Also check out their new Crispy Mandarin Chicken!

Amy's Kitchen Vegan Mac & Cheese w/Daiya Cheese -Hands down, one of the best mac n' cheese dishes around. Not only is their new recipe gluten free, it features Daiya cheese (of course) for the creamiest, cheesiest, mac n' cheese jubilee ever. A must for kids and adults of all ages ; )

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt - Growing up, I loved yogurt and when I became vegan 11 years ago, I never found a vegan yogurt that knocked my socks off. But now I have.  This coconut milk yogurt is so light and flavorful, it really does feel sinful! In plain, vanilla, blueberry, and passionate mango, your snack time will once again be a happy time. Soy free and an excellent source of B12, you can't go wrong.

Tempt Ice Cream - I love vegan ice cream and it's gotten so much better over the years. So much so that Tempt made me think twice about what I had just eaten! My choice of chocolate biscotti was so creamy, I thought for sure I had been duped! But no, not only is it vegan, this hemp ice cream is pretty much allergen free!

Field Roast Meatloaf -  Grazing is what you prep for at Expo West. And grazing was what I did at the Field Roast booth. I sampled their insanely delicious vegan sausages well more then once and probably downed and entire vegan meatloaf, new to their tasty line.  I also sampled a phenomenal vegan cheese and am hoping to get it down in LA as for now, it is a specialty food item available in the Seattle area only. Do yourself a favor and stock up on some Field Roast grain meats!

Organic Mashups by Revolution Foods - Talk about traveling healthy, Revolution Foods has it nailed! Offering snack items for healthy on the go and school time snacks, their organic mashups are the perfect choice for youngsters. Guilt free, nutritional snacking that is convenient and fun? Yes please!

Picabi - As you can imagine, walking around a gargantuan convention hall and chatting for hours can render you quite thirsty.  I had plenty of water and other tasty beverages but my unquenchable thirst was instantly refreshed with a swig of Apple Picabi. 100% sparkling apple juice, Picabi uses the entire apple, including the rind, so that 1 an the nutritional equivalent to eating 8 apples. And it's super thirst quenching too! Coming soon to a store near you ; )

Magic Pop - This booth drew me in with their neat popping machine. What I first thought to be a popcorn maker was actually a disc popper. In the popping dish they add brown rice, wheat and corn, top it and pop it! Out pops a light as air, Frisbee sized snack with virtually no calories. A great alternative to chips, this is a wholesome way to dip - so ditch the chip!

Carrot Cake Rice Divine Ice Cream - I would say this is one of the most innovative vegan ice creams I have had in a while. Vegan or not, I had never had carrot cake ice cream before I tried Rice Divine at Expo. OMG! Not only is it soy free, it's gluten free AND has chunks of carrot cake in the creamy goodness. This organic, frozen bit of heaven is a must have in your freezer!

Sweet Leaf Tea - I'm a sucker for a good Arnold Palmer but not so much for chemicals, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. Lucky for me Sweet Leaf Tea makes an all natural version of it called Half & Half! Until now, you could only find these tasty libations at natural markets. But soon you will be able to find canned Sweet Leaf Tea at convenience stores nation wide. That is great news for a road tripper like me who had a lack of healthy beverage options before Sweet Leaf came along and took over the rest stop fridge!

Chocolatl - Who knew raw cacao superfood energy could be so tasty! Chocolatl offers three varieties of raw, fair-trade chocolates. Each cacao square is an energizing snack between meals or an after dinner delicacy. With flavors like Goji-Maca, Cordyceps-Maca, Mystic Mint & Chocolate Maca Sauce, you just might die by raw chocolate ; )

Pure Bars - With their rockin' new packaging and yummalicious flavors, I really like the light yet satisfying snackability of Pure! Raw, vegan and certified organic - it's the smart way to snack.

Health, Beauty & Lifestyle

Diva Cup - For all of my male readers, go ahead and skip to the next listing ; )  For the ladies, read up!  For health reasons, we really shouldn't be using tampons but pads feel like we're still potty training.  Enter the Diva Cup! An eco-friendly, cost effective and healthy alternative to it all. This non-leaching, chemical free, silicon menstrual cup.  Check out their site, throw out the rest of your feminine products and get one today!

Life Factory Bottles -For some time, I have been singing the praises of glass bottles. Over bpa-free, over aluminum, glass is king for all sorts of food and beverage storage.  Life Factory ahs a great line of baby bottles, silicin teaching rings and wide mouthed beverage bottles for adults. They are large but lightweight and come with a great silicon grip cover so you don't drop your precious drink!

Better Life Floor Cleaner - I'm sure we can all agree that mopping is a pain. Filling the pail with cleaning solution and water, mopping, rinsing the pail, mopping with water, repeat. Or worse, swiffering ourselves into a giant landfill.  Better Life floor cleaning product, Simply Floored, not only takes all the steps out of the equation, but it's also all-natural.  All you need to do is squirt and mop with this essential oil rich solution and voila, sparkling floors!

Kids Konserve Ware - Sure, it's called "Kids Konserve" but this product line is great for all ages.  Eco friendly and super convenient, this line is great for sack lunches, road trips and even food prep. They've got everything from thermoses to eco-snack wrappy things called the Kozy.  Start stocking up for road trip season and get extras for back-to-school!

Feelgoodz Flip Flops - I was drawn to this booth because I dug the story behind the brand. A kid goes backpacking in Thailand, breaks his flip flops, gets a new pair at a market, loves the new pair, finds out it's natural rubber that comes from that region and brings the line to the states. Since then, he's grown his brand and hasn't forgotten the people and the land that helped him get here. Feelgoodz starts in Thailand, and their areas of focus are Environmentalism (Planet), Fair Trade (People), and Community Development/Micro-Finance (Phitsanulok, Thailand). The y feel good on your feet and you feel good giving back. Rock a pair this summer ; )

Acai Energy Chews by ToGoBrands - If you've followed me for a while, you know I'm a big fan of To Go Brands. Their Go Greens powders join me on every trip I have been on since I discovered the company at Expo West last year.  Their new Acai chews are a great alternative to candy with all the sweet taste but full of B vitamins and natural energy boosters. Toss these in your bag and when you need something sweet, go for a To Go Brands treat ; )

Booda Organics -This booth caight my eye cause I love me some buddha cartoons and Booda Organics has a cute one as their logo ; ) In addition to their cute marketing, I really enjoyed their vegan products. Their yummy booda butter and booda balm is a nice addition to your beauty regimen because it's full of good stuff for your body!

I could go on for ages but I figured I would just share a few of my faves. Be sure to look out for more Expo product recommendations in upcoming posts .This year's expo was a lot of fun and I'm already excited for next year!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Careers in Wellness & Fitness

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring Suzanne Monroe of Real Life Food & Jenna Phillips of Mission Possible:

Next week we talk holistic health with Dr. Lederman & Dr. Lederman as well as greening your life with Tracy Hepler of Your Daily Thread!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's a Nice Day for a Green Wedding!

As wedding season approaches, I thought I would share some pearls of wisdom with bubbling brides-to-be; ) As some of you may or may not know, I was a wedding and event planner for many years. And as of a few months ago, I planned & put on my own wedding! I took what I learned over my years in the biz and put it all together with our limited budget to host the most eco-friendly and affordable weddings I had ever planned. If I do say so myself, it was quite beautiful and I missed none of the elements that come with a large and expensive event.  So I figured I would share some insider tips and secrets with you in the case that you or someone you know is headed down the aisle and is frantic about finances and/or their carbon footprint ; )
  • Plan Ahead & Be Flexible -  I've planned many weddings within all kinds of time frames. From a couple of years to a couple of weeks. Depending on the size and style of your wedding, you may only need a few months but I typically advise on a year.  Especially if you are looking for a specific date or venue, in which case I advise 18 months.  This is why I say, be flexible. More often then not, the perfect date and/or venue will not be available at the same time so be sure to have options. And a lot of times, getting 1 and or both come at a premium cost. Consider an off day like a Friday or a Sunday, as well as an off season date. Many venues have lower rates on off days and seasons so try to plan around those dates to get the best possible rate in your dream location. Also, think outside of the box. Traditional venues come with many rules and stipulations that can either jack up the cost of your day or force you to use vendors that aren't at the top of your list. In my instance, we chose to do our ceremony at a park overlooking the ocean. We had our guests stand, created an aisle with flower petals and let the scenery be our decor. Price tag - $0. Afterward we had some champagne with our guests, sent them on their way to dine and freshen up while we took our photos, making it back home just in time for our backyard reception. Lucky for us we have a fun patio complete with a tiki bar but if you're looking for affordable, consider asking a friend to use their house or yard for the reception.  It can be their wedding gift to you. Stringing up some market lights will do wonders to a backyard, making it look simple and elegant for the cost of dinner & a movie, if not less.  We saved time, a ton of money, frustration and added to our eco-karma by not renting chairs or having anything delivered. So again, be flexible with your times, dates, themes, etc. because you may be surprised at how great it turns out if you give yourself some options ; )
  • Pool Your Resources & Get Creative - There are many elements to a wedding: flowers, music, dresses, food, photos, videos and on and on. And having been a part of the wedding world for almost a decade, I will tell you that as soon as you mention the word wedding, vendor prices sky rocket.  What makes a regular portrait session any different then an hour of wedding photos? Or why is a wedding cake boatloads more then a  birthday cake? Because it's your "special" day and why shouldn't you have the best, right? Wrong! You can totally have the best and save money too! Get together with your honey and see between the two of you, who might be able to cover what. Do you have a buddy who is a an amateur photographer or budding film maker? Do you love your aunt's cupcakes? Is your neighbor a phenomenal seamstress? Put your heads together because you might find out that you've got a handful of vendors within your circle of family and friends! Fill in the blanks with vendors you don't have covered but do it wisely.  Don't have a dj? Consider making your own play list, adding it to your ipod, renting a speaker system for $50 and hitting shuffle. Rent a microphone for an additional $20 or less for toasts and announcements & you've just saved yourself a good $2k or more! Know how to sew? Make your dress or find one at a second hand store and tweak it.  Do your own hair &have a fab friend do makeup. Have the guys wear suits they already own, not tuxes. There are a number of ways to get the same result for a lot less, just get creative and don't be afraid to ask.
  • Make a list of "Must Haves" & "Could Do Withouts" - As I mentioned above, see what you've already got and what you don't. You may have a few photographers in your contact list but you may not like their style. No worries, make a list with your sweetheart of what elements have to be perfect and what don't. You may find that all you really care about is what your dress looks like and the cake, everything else can be average or even be left off the itinerary entirely.  We opted to not have seating the ceremony and asked a friend to marry us. We decided to have cake and cocktails instead of serving dinner. We hired DJ Ipod instead of a real dj. For us, we chose to skimp on certain things that for us, didn't make or break the wedding. For some, getting a friend ordained may not cut it so be sure that a church wedding makes it in the must have list. But if you can do without printing programs, do so. If you do want a program but can't afford to print up 150, print one big one and display it at the ceremony site. Make a copy for you to keep in your scrapbook but don't worry your pretty little head about what the guests take home (it usually ends up in a landfill).  There are many things that make up a wedding but it is important to choose what makes up YOUR wedding. Just because a wedding check list says you need x,y and/or z, doesn't mean you need the entire alphabet. Customize your wedding the way you want it and don't feel guilty if you don't have wedding favors, open bar, a chocolate fountain, etc - it's ok!
  • Reuse, re-purpose, recycle & re-imagine - Here is where you can save some serious cash ; ) There are so many ways that you can be green and save green while wearing white! For instance, making your own centerpieces, sign-in book, favors and more.  This may sound like a lot of work but really, it's a snap. If you're crafty, you will enjoy it and if not, have your girls over for some wine, snacks and Martha Stewarty time.  What I chose to do was make my own card drop box, favors, and sign-in book. I gathered some cardboard boxes, in different sizes, and wrapped them in wrapping paper that matched my wedding colors. Instead of buying a card box for $50 that I would never use again, I cut a slit at the top of the box, wrapped the whole thing and printed the label on my computer. I decided I didn't want a traditional sign in book so I used an old photo album and decorated the pages with wedding themed stickers & scrapbook goodies. I used recycled construction paper to have people write their wishes & messages on and stuck those to the blank pages of our book after the wedding. I wrapped a tea canister with the matching wrapping paper and voila, a cute pen holder! Lastly, we didn't have favors in mind but I had plenty of neat construction paper left over. So I created a recipe that reflected Dan & I's fave combined dessert and printed them up for our guests to take home as their gift. All of this cost us about $15 total, if not less, and I did it all in 1 evening ; ) You can create your own everything from your invitations to your bridesmaid jewelry. It's all a part of the must have vs. do without step along with a touch of being creative, green and budget conscious. I will add that my dress was 100% green and made by my one of my closest friends, Anna of Annatarian - we bought no fabrics to make the dress, just what she already had in her incredible eco-studio!
  • Have a potluck meal or a cocktails & cake reception - For many, this might not fly, but again, consider it. To be frank, most guests don't care about what their eating, they are there for the party & the couple. A lot of the times, wedding food is less then average and if it's not, it cost more then half of the wedding budget. If you're spending a third to half of your budget on catering, it's time to re-think it.  You can still have a beautiful, sit down meal if it is a buffet style, potluck. You would be surprised how many people enjoy potlucks because of the variety of foods as well as the feeling of inclusion that they have been able to contribute to your celebration. You cut out a big chunk of the budget so that you can put it towards a better photographer or a few more days on your honeymoon. Again, what do you really want and what can you do without? In our case we opted for cake and cocktails. We bought booze and mixers at Costco and had some chips, salsa, guac and hummus to nosh on. We offered our favorite cocktail choices (Margaritas and Jack N' Cokes), serve yourself style, as well as beer and wine so we didn't have to spring for stocking an entire bar. Remember we had a few hours in between ceremony and reception so folks could grab a dinner of their choice and meet back up with us for the fun part.  In addition, we had people voluntarily show up with trays of food so we were more then covered.  Because of this, we didn't need to rent table and chairs so we saved ginormously! Because we didn't have to squeeze in a meal, we had more time to spend with our guests, dance and enjoy all the reception events (first dance, garter & bouquet toss, slideshow, toasts & cake) without rushing.
  • Borrow - I'm a huge fan of borrowing items for weddings. Even though it is your special day, you really only use things once and afterward it takes up lots of space if you choose to hang on to it. I've been hearing that a lot of brides are renting their gowns which is a smart choice. This way you get the designer gown of your dreams without the hefty price tag that goes with it. I've also seen brides borrow each others dresses because chances are, there will be very few overlapping guests and no one will know the difference. Share the cost of the dress and enjoy it 100%. If you're having a home wedding, borrow furniture from friends and neighbors, don't spend money on rentals. Create neat spaces like loungy areas, standing areas and seated table areas with mismatched furniture. Tie it all together with a common theme like candles, lighting, centerpieces, etc but ultimately you can save thousands of dollars by borrowing seating while making it feel more personal and quaint.  We made a few fire pit seating areas around our patio which lent itself to some fun guest interaction and spread the crowd out so as to not have everyone crammed next to the food or bar. Conserving resources and cold hard cash!
  • Make it a collaborative effort - One thing you will learn is that many people want to help you with your wedding. You will also learn that what is meant to be YOUR day isn't yours alone, it's everyone's, especially close family. So instead of resisting because you want things just so, take them up on it! If you delegate well, you will have a stress free, beautiful day that everyone involved can rejoice in. You can have plenty of your own days with you wedded partner on your honeymoon ; ) Think of it, how much more fun would it be if Aunt Tilly made the flowers instead of an overpriced florist who has 5 more weddings that day? How much would you love to have your uncle Joe's lasagna for dinner instead a plate of wilted lettuce and bland pasta? Wouldn't you like your detail oriented best friend setting up your reception just the way you want it instead of handing it over to a catering manager who might not get your vision? This all ties back in with planning, flexibility, must haves and not cares. If you are willing to let go of the gold encrusted linens for handmade table cloths made by your grandma and the 5 tiered castle cake for a tower of your favorite cupcakes, go for it. Bringing friends and family into the planning and execution of the wedding day not only makes it more personal and unique, but all the more memorable. 10 years from now you might not remember the name of your caterer but you will remember your family crammed in your kitchen, prepping for the big day and having a wonderful time ; )
All in all, it's your day and you want it to be special. But remember that the most important thing is the marriage and the wedding day is a celebration of that. Make it unique and memorable but don't drive yourself to crazy with the details. In all honesty, in a short while from now, will you remember the details or will you remember the day?  Don't miss out on your journey to the altar worrying about minutiae, budgets perfection. Make the most of what you've got and savor it, happily, healthily and affordably ; )

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Healthy Voyager Radio - Seasonal Spring Cooking & Eco Shopping

Listen to the Healthy Voyager Radio right here!! Featuring The Blissful Chef, Christy Morgan & Sydne Garchik from

Next week we talk health, fitness & possible new careers with Suzanne Monroe from Real Life Food & Jenna Phillips of Mission Possible!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Healthy Bunny's Spring Giveaway

Yes, the Easter Bunny is due in just a few days but he'll be bringing candy, chocolates and a bunch of stuff that's probably not so good for us. Enter the Healthy Bunny!  He comes at the same time every year, spreading the message of health and green living ; ) This year he's giving one lucky winner one of his best prizes yet.  This Sunday, the Healthy Bunny will be giving away a Life Factory beverage bottle!

Just like me, the Healthy Bunny believes that glass is the best way to store your beverages and Life Factory's bottles take the cake.  They are large (22oz), wide mouthed glass bottles, encased in a colorful, non-toxic silicon sleeve. You can add just about any beverage along with ice, fruit, tea bags, whatever, and no chance of slipping out of your hands with the super cool sleeve. A $22 value, the Life Factory bottle will become your very best friend.

How to enter:  Leave a comment describing a Spring time beverage you'd like to put in your Life Factory bottle as well as the color bottle you might like. Be sure to leave your email as well so that I may contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen this Sunday, April 4th by (with some help from the Healthy Bunny).

Good Luck!!

Spring Clean Your Kitchen (And Your Body Will Thank You!)

Spring is upon us and with new season comes the idea of sparkling freshness. Out with the old, in with the bright, shiny and new.  So what better area to spring clean this year than your kitchen? Now, I could go on and on about the kinds of foods you should be stocking your cupboards with or how to prepare healthy meals to get you ready for swimsuit season. However, did you know that what you are cooking and storing with is just as important? You might be surprised to know that many of the items we use on a daily basis can be causing us harm. You may be eating the purest, most organic foods but if you are cooking with or storing foods in any of these items, you might be rendering your healthy foods useless. I’ve compiled my top 5 items that should be added to your toss pile this spring cleaning season in order to keep you and yours as healthy as can be!

·     Non-Stick Pots & Pans - The most important health factor that should be considered is the transfer, or leaching, of the cooking surface material to the foods being cooked. Heat changes the composition of materials so what may be safe at room temperature can be extremely toxic when heated.  Non-stick surfaces like Teflon, are the biggest offenders when it comes to leaching. In fact, it has been admitted by Dupont, that when a non-stick surface is heated beyond a certain level, the fumes can kill birds and create a sickness in humans they call Polymer Fume Fever, producing symptoms resembling a cold. Most recipes call for the cooking surface to be heated to a medium to high temperature so cooking with a non-stick pot or pan will almost always be dangerous.  So don’t wait until the bottoms of your pans are chipping to trash them, start replacing your most used pieces as soon as possible. REPLACE WITH:  Ceramic, stainless steel, cast iron, and/or glass. Be sure there are no toxic paints or coatings.

·     Plastic Containers – As I mentioned above, leaching is hugely important factor to consider.  Whether it is food or beverage, plastic should never be the vessel. One must even be cautious of BPA-free containers as there are other contaminants that can be leached from low-grade items.  Be a discerning consumer and buy the best! When you add hot foods to plastic storage containers, it draws toxins from the container and mixes with your food. This is why you should never leave plastic water bottles in the car. Ever taste “plasticy” water? It’s been sitting in the heat, leaching toxins into your otherwise healthy beverage. This happens when you store food as well and even more so when you microwave them. Don’t let chemicals be the secret ingredient in your dishes. REPLACE WITH:  Ceramic, stainless steel and/or glass

·     Dish Towels & Sponges - Bacteria breeds mainly in cool, damp places like sponges and dish towels. We use these every day to clean up our counters and plates but if not taken care of properly, we are doing more harm then good.  A sure fire way to keep your cleaning aids at their best is to: wring them out to release excess water after every use, store them properly so that they can air out and dry quickly, wash regularly and throw them away every 2 weeks to a month. If you have old towels and sponges, it’s time to go shopping!

·     Overcrowded Refrigerators/freezers – Clutter is never a good thing and that goes for refrigerators and freezers too.  When these are overstuffed, there isn’t enough room for the air to circulate properly and decomposition begins. In addition, many foods will pick up the odors of others which will most likely cause you to gag, throw a way your food and waste quite a bit of cash. This can also cause bacteria and mold to grow in between containers, on walls and in drawers. In freezers, overcrowding can cause freezer burn as well as forgetfulness! Ever forget what’s in the back of the freezer but it’s to frozen over to get to it? From now on, toss foods as soon as they expire, don’t keep items that you “think” you will use someday like fast food sauce packets, properly pack and label your foods with the date and consolidate items when possible. Your food will last longer, will taste a whole lot better and save you a considerable amount of green.

·     Microwaves – I know that there is quite a controversy when it comes to microwaves. But I’m here to tell you, anything that heats your food that fast and is otherwise cool to the touch, can’t be good for you. These microwaves that are heating your quick lunch are actually transforming the chemical makeup of your foods on a cellular level. Ever notice that many things are less crispy and more rubbery when nuked? That’s because while those little waves are heating up, they have mutated your food. And mutated food not only loses it texture and taste, it loses all its nutrients too. REPLACE WITH:  Convection oven and/or toaster oven

While a full kitchen overhaul may be costly, be sure to at least make a dent by getting rid of and replacing your most used items.  You can always add from there and have fun doing it. We should all make an investment in our health and the kitchen is a great place to start. I wish you all a very happy Spring as well as super healthy cooking spaces ; )

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Genesis Awards Night

The 24th Annual Genesis Awards was held a few weeks back and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. A star studded gala that is The Humane Society's version of the Golden Globes. In fact, these awards are held in the same location! The Genesis Awards honors media, print, TV, film as well as individuals who have made strides in highlighting animal rights stories in their medium. Stars from TV and film present these awards after a lavish vegan meal, that is then followed by a swanky after party. And if you're lucky, you get to go home with a rockin' gift bag (I was a lucky one!)

The evening commenced with a fabulous dinner (featuring Gardein) by none other then celebrity vegan chef and friend of The Healthy Voyager, Tal Ronnen.  The awards show was sweet, inspiring, entertaining and even at moments, tear jerking. I was taken with the number of news stories as well as films and TV shows that do so much to bring light to the cause.

The after party was complete with vegan sushi and decadent vegan desserts as well as attendees letting loose on the dance floor.  A bunch of notable vegans chowed and boogied the night away like Rory Freedman, Ari Solomon, The Discerning Brute and the gals of VegNews & Vegetarian Times, to name a few. We all had a blast but here's a bigger scoop!

The winners of the evening were:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Tippi Hedren
  • Feature Film - (tie) - Hotel For Dogs & UP  
  • Documentary Film - The Cove
  • Sid Caesar Comedy Award - Family Guy "Dog Gone" 
  • Dramatic Series - Bones
  • Children's Programming -  Nick News With Linda Elerbee  "Kids to the Rescue!  Helping Homeless Animals"
  • TV Newsmagazine - Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell  "multiple segments"
  • News Feature - KCBS / KCAL TV (Los Angeles) "Animal Shelter Abuse, Faux Fur Investigation"
  • News Series - KLAS-TV 8 (Las Vegas)  "I-Team: Shark Fin Soup"
  • Morning News Show - Today on NBC  "multiple segments" by Jill Rappaport
  • Talk Show - The Ellen Degeneres Show "Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer"
  • TV Documentary - Death On A Factory Farm- HBO
  • Reality Series - Whale Wars "The Stuff of Nightmares" Animal Planet
  • TV Film - A Dog Named Christmas
  • Brigitte Bardot International - Bear Sanctuary - Animal Planet Europe
  • Ooutstanding Written Word- Isthmus (Wisconsin)  multiple articles by Bill Lueders
  • Newsmagazine - Time  "The New Age of Extinction" and "The Real Cost of Cheap Food" by Bryan Walsh and Abused No More by David Von Drehle
  • Magazine - O Magazine "What Are They Thinking?" by Eugene Linden, "Wild Things" by Rick Bass, and Operation Rescue by Barry Yeoman
  • Brigitte Bardot International Print - The Independent (UK)  "multiple articles" by Martin Hickman
A few of my favorite gift bag goodies were:
The bag was jammed with great stuff (a lot of companies I already love) but these were new and exciting to me!
And of course, some of the stars in attendance were:
  • Teri Hatcher
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Maria Menunos
  • Kristin Bell
  • Ginnifer Goodwin
  • Emily Deschanel
  • Moby
  • Jon Lovitz
  • Tipi Hedren
  • Melanie Griffith
  • Michael Vartan
  • Carrie Ann Inaba
  • And more!!!

For more information on The Genesis Awards as well as the Humane Society, please visit their website. I was honored to be a part of such a wonderful event and look forward to attending again next year ; )