Friday, December 12, 2008

A Sneak Peek...

I've been thinking about reviewing food/products on this blog for a while now.

However, "a while" has finally turned into months and months, which means that it's now or never...

As a result, I hope to begin rolling out a semi-regular (how's that for noncommittal?) review column over the next several days. I intend to focus on vegan products and eco-friendly items that are useful in the kitchen.

To that end, here's a little collage of some of the products I'm planning to review:

That ought'a wet your whistle.

Or at least motivate me to get to work...


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

SO me & so NOT me!

This is a really cool "meme" that I stole from Katy over at Legally Vegan. Although I'm generally not one to complete these kinds of things, Katy's intriguing post convinced me to jump on the bandwagon...

I've also tagged 5 other bloggers to complete this, but don't worry - it's self-explanatory, and bizarrely fun! Read on to see if you've been tagged...

This is SO me:
This is so NOT me:
image from

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lettuce-Free Salads: A Terrific Trio

Unlike some vegetarians and vegans, I never tire of salads.

What I do occasionally tire of, however, are lettuce-based salads.

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes it seems like the old "greens + veggies" or "greens + fruit" thing can get a little boring. You know the drill: Throw some romaine lettuce into a bowl, add your tomatoes, toss in some broccoli, sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on top, drizzle it all with a bit of dressing... yea, yea, yea.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Novemberween?

Okay, so I'm about a month late with all of this Halloween stuff. However, it's my all-time favorite holiday, so I figured I could steal a little bit of wiggle room...

Pictured, below, are the pumpkins that we carved (and summarily used to to fill our bellies).

It's Been a Long Time

A little over 2 months have past since my last post, which simultaneously seems like too much time and not quite enough. Although "too much" and "not enough" for what, I'm not exactly sure...

All I know is that these past few months have brought me both amazing joys and unbearable sadness. And because I don't know where to begin, I'll just go ahead and start.

At the end of September, CH's mom passed away. It crushed me in a way that I can't even begin to explain, and I obviously don't need to tell you how difficult it has been for CH's family... I wrote a bit about what was going on with her in my last post, and honestly, I don't want to say much more about that.

What I do want to share is that Suzanne fought with more strength and more determination than anyone I have ever encountered in my life. Her quick wit, brilliant vocabulary, and "matter-of-fact" attitude stayed with her to the very end, which created some much-needed bright spots for all of us.

And while it was terribly difficult to be there during Suzanne's final few weeks, the fact that she allowed me in during such an intimate time is something that I will be forever grateful for. I've never witnessed such unyielding devotion from a husband, such sincere admiration from two sons, and such perpetual and unwavering love from a wife and mother.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is a difficult post to write.

I've been avoiding writing about what I'm about to share because writing about it - putting the words in a permanent place - somehow makes the situation seem more real.

I keep telling myself that things will be alright and that I should keep certain things private (this is supposed to be a food blog, for God's sakes), but right at this moment, at this time, I need to let some of my feelings out...

CH's mother, a woman of amazing beauty and grace, is dying of cancer. It's a terrible, painful, frightening, unfair, and completely incomprehensible situation. She was diagnosed just over a year ago, and has been fighting like hell to beat it ever since.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summery Strawberry Salad + Peanut Butter Coconut Ice Cream

Alright, so maybe these two recipes don't exactly combine to make the perfect meal, but peanut butter and strawberries do go together, right?!

No matter, I guess, because each of these dishes is delicious in its own right.

First, there's the refreshing Summery Strawberry Salad, which is the ultimate meal after a long, hot day in the summer sun. Then, there's the Peanut Butter Coconut ice cream, whose delectable sweetness makes it the perfect end (or beginning) to almost any day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holy Michael Phelps, It's Been a Long Time!

It's official: my nearly 3-month-long hiatus from Veggie Terrain (coupled with a recent 4-day "complete blog shutdown") has finally ended!

But as much as I've truly missed blogging, I'm proud to say that I accomplished a lot during my absence. During the past few months, I graduated from law school, completed an undeniably hellish Bar-prep program, and ultimately sat for the Bar Exam, itself. And although I won't know whether I passed until the 2nd week of October (talk about traumatic), I'm trying to be as positive as possible, and to take comfort in the fact that I've never worked so hard at anything in my life...

So, with that little bit of Bar Exam talk out of the way, let's get to the new - and hopefully improved - Veggie Terrain!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just a Quickie... No, Not that Kind!

Don't be alarmed! Veggie Terrain isn't turning into some kind of weird book-fetishist website or something - I just wanted to let everyone see exactly what's been preventing me from posting during the last two months...

Pictured, above, is the ridiculous stack of Bar-prep materials that I've been having a torrid affair with since Barbri and PMBR effectively kidnapped me back in May. (Sorry, CH!)

Fortunately, at this point, it's safe to say that there's an end in site. The Bar Exam is fast approaching (yikes!), and I'm finally beginning to think about what life will be like when I no longer have to spend 10/+ hours a day studying.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's the Deal with Organics?

This is one of the first posts that I began writing back when I initially started Veggie Terrain. At that time, I was just beginning to fully appreciate the importance of "organics," but was also aware of many of the questions and much of the confusion surrounding organic food. As a result, I began writing this comprehensive article, which I'm finally posting - just in time for summer's abundance of fresh, organic fruit and produce!
image borrowed from

There's been a lot of talk about buying organic over the past few months. People seem to be going crazy for Whole Foods, and there's lots of whispering about people incorporating "organics" into their "green lifestyles."

But what exactly does "organic" mean, and what are the benefits of going organic? Furthermore, when is it important to spend the extra money on organic produce, and when is it okay to skip organics all together?

Well, if you've been wondering about any of these issues, you're in luck! Read on to find the answers to these, and many more questions, below.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Edamame + Black Bean Summer Salad

As much as I hate to do it, I'm planning to start posting shorter blog entries during the next couple of months. Tomorrow is the official start of my Bar Exam prep classes, which means that things are about to get a little crazy around here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Vegetarian Myths, Debunked

Imagine my surprise this evening, when an email with the following subject line appeared in my inbox:
"Meatless Like Me."
"Hmm..." I thought. "Could this be from someone who reads my blog? Or maybe it's from a family member or friend who decided to become a vegetarian. How weird."

Well, I was wrong.

It wasn't from anyone who I knew, nor was it from one of you fantastic bloggers. Instead, it was an article from, which is an on-line mostly politically-based "magazine," and is honestly one of the last places that I'd expected to read about vegetarianism.

Thus, I began reading the article, fully expecting to encounter a tirade against vegetarianism - "Humans are meant to eat meat! Vegetarians have such a superiority complex! It's impossible to get enough protein if you're eating like that!" Etc.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Crunchy Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos + Homemade Taco Seasoning

Feel like having something healthy?
Just plain pretty?

Well, get ready to say "Hello, Delicious!" because these Chickpea Tacos are INSANELY fantastic! They're one of the few meals that I could probably eat every single day and never get sick of (see also: Spicoli Burgers and Black Beans + Rice w/ Sweet Potato Cubes)!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Veggie Terrain Update

Don't worry - I'm still here. I've just been working "behind the scenes" of Veggie Terrain a little bit more...

Basically, I've started adding a few additional features to my blog, in an attempt to make it more user-friendly, and to add a bit of spice, if you will. In light of that, I figured I'd go ahead and publish a quick post about what I've added recently.

So, the following 3 things are new:
  1. The "printer-friendly" versions of Veggie Terrain recipes. I've started adding these because I thought they'd be nice for those of you who want to quickly/easily print my recipes. Sometimes I hate having to highlight everything or cut + paste everything that I want to print, so this is my way of helping to reduce that necessity for you!
    1. Note: Apparently I haven't been able to perfect these yet - they'll be fixed asap!
      1. Consider the print-friendly links fixed! Yay!
  2. The recommendation links. I've been working on adding links to other recipes on my site that you might like, based upon whichever recipe you happen to be viewing. In other words, what that means is that certain recipes will now: lead you to similar recipes; suggest different things that you might like; or assist you with additional ways to utilize the specific recipe, itself. Hopefully you'll find these things useful!
  3. The "Twitter" updater. This is just a fun little sidebar that lets you know what I'm doing at the moment - as if you're actually interested - whenever I get around to updating it. The question that it poses is: "Whatcha doing JD?" While I do admit that it's really more of a social-networking application, I decided to add it here since I don't do the whole MySpace/Friendster thing.
That's all for right now, but I plan to post another entry soon.

And it'll have food, I promise!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Brighten Your Day Salad + Vegan Poppy Seed Dressing

You know how sometimes when you're feeling down, just seeing something that's bright and sunny can make you feel a little bit better? Well, as silly as it might sound, that's exactly what creating this salad did for me...

Last night, my mom called to tell me that she had finally decided to put our cat, Natasha, to sleep. We've had Natasha (or "Tashie," as we liked to call her) ever since she was a kitten and I was about 8 or 9 years old. She was a Seal Point Siamese cat, with blue eyes, beautiful white fur, and the typical black legs/ears/face that're associated with Siamese cats.

Tashie was a sweet and affectionate, yet calm and sophisticated pet. She was the kind of cat who could even make sworn "non-cat people" want to pet her, and was the envy of my friends when I was growing up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spicoli Burgers, Potato Squashers, & Thyme Roasted Tomatoes

Sorry for the gap in posting! Lately, the days seem to be running together... Mondays quickly give way to Fridays, while Saturday AMs covertly turn into Sunday PMs in the blink of an eye. I suppose it doesn't help that my schedule is jam-packed with a disproportionate amount of law school annoyances, but really - where has the time gone?!

Between classes, work, and weekend-long Bar review courses, I'm practically ready to invoke the insanity defense, myself. Not only do I have a major (mock) trial to prepare for my final Trial Advocacy class, but I'm also attempting to plan my graduation festivities, which is turning out to be a bit harder than expected. On top of that, people are failing the Bar and dropping dead left and right in my practice Bar Exam questions, which isn't exactly a morale booster...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Portland: Food & Sights + The Inside Scoop

Hello everyone! As you can tell, CH and I have finally returned from our AMAZING Portland trip (boo hoo!), and I can't wait to share all of the details with you...

First of all, let me just say that Portland was so laid-back and vegan-friendly that I felt like I was on another planet. Almost every restaurant and pub had at least one vegetarian option on its menu, and there were tons of places that were exclusively veg!

The coolest thing was that it actually seemed as though veganism/vegetarianism were completely accepted there (unlike in the Midwest), which made me feel right at home. I highly suggest visiting Portland if you haven't already - even if you're not vegan or vegetarian - it's worth it for the food alone!

Anyway, I have tons of pictures (of course), so I'll try to keep this post about food as much as possible, but please don't hate me too much if I stray from it a bit...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Apple Chowder with Maple Cashew Butter

JD (of Veggie Terrain) and CH will be on vacation in Portland, OR for the next week. Their flight leaves early tomorrow AM, so they'll be out of touch for a bit. However, they will be sampling lots of beer and veggie meals - and are planning to share the tasty details (and visit your blogs!) when they return.
Dear reader, let me introduce you to the most fabulous breakfast that you'll ever meet. His name is Apple Chowder, and I have no doubt that once you see him in person, it'll be love at first sight.

Now, I know what you're thinking:
"I worked so hard to snag Mr. Popularity (aka: "Johnny Cereal"), and now that our "routine" is down to just 5 mins, why in God's name would I wanna leave him?"
"But Old Reliable (aka: "Oatie Oatmeal") and I have been kickin' it since the days of middle school, and he's always been so good to my heart - I'm not taking a chance on someone who might break it!"
Don't worry, I completely understand. You and your breakfast already have a great relationship going, right? I mean, it's not like you get hungry before noon is it? And you're certainly not getting tired of having the same thing over and over again, are you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lemon Garlic Pasta

Pasta and I have been good friends for a very, very long time. (See Exhibit A: my ever-expanding waistline). In fact, I'm so in love with pasta that one of my uncles has been calling me "Noodles" since I was around 11 or 12 years old. (Back then, my favorite meal to make was a gigantic tower of spinach-flavored spaghetti, slathered with butter and garlic salt - eh.)

Despite my remaining affection for the nickname Noodles, I do like to think that my pasta tastes have matured a bit since I was little. These days, I tend to stick to a handful of my favorite sauces (aglio e olio & pesto) and types of pasta (penne & spaghetti). However, I do like to throw something new into the mix occasionally, just to keep things interesting.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Pantry Challenge

It's true: I've been threatening to take part in my own so-called "Pantry Challenge" for quite some time now. And, unfortunately for my beloved CH (and as is clearly evidenced by the pictures below), it appears as though that time has finally arrived.

But wait!

Before you begin scrolling down this page and sighing about how much effin' food I've managed to amass, please understand that this isn't easy...

In fact, there's something very strange about the idea of exposing my entire food stash to a bunch of virtual strangers. I mean, what if you decide that I have bad taste in crackers, or that my organizational skills are seriously lacking, or that I have so much food that I must weigh at least 500 lbs.?!

Honestly, it almost feels like I'm letting all of you into one of the most personal parts of my life, which is particularly weird considering the fact that I spend so much time blabbing on this blog. I guess I never realized how intensely intimate my relationship with food is, which is really a lesson in itself.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Foodipedia ™ - Tea!

Welcome to what I hope will become one of my regular, monthly, themed-posts! I'm calling it "Foodipedia" (aptly named after Wikipedia), because I'm planning to provide you with something that goes beyond my typical food pictures and recipes.

However, I'll be the first to admit that these entries certainly won't rise to the level of being encyclopedic. My goal is simply to provide you with some interesting facts and in-depth information about whatever food or beverage I've decided to feature.

The reason that I decided to start something like this that I often find myself wondering about the things that we eat/drink every day. I have questions such as: Are there any little-known tricks for determining whether certain kinds of fruit are ripe? What specific health benefits stem from the foods that we eat? How does one variety of a particular fruit/veggie differ from another? What are the truths behind some of the most commonly held myths about foods/beverages? And more...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

There's a Hummus Among Us!

I'll tell you one thing: hummus doesn't survive for very long at our apartment. CH and I are completely and utterly obsessed with it. (We don't even flinch at the nearly 30 minutes it takes drive to our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant just to achieve hummus nirvana!)

And although we often buy big tubs of it from Costco, I also like to make my own whenever the mood strikes. That's why I was so excited to discover all of ED&BV's hummus recipes when I first got my copy several months ago. (FYI: The cookbook's hummus ingredients involve everything from sun-dried tomatoes to roasted red peppers and almonds. Cool.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Zucchini + Tomato Pizza

Ah, zucchini. It's one of those vegetables that my subconscious constantly tries to convince me that I don't like...

You see, I'm a really big "texture" person when it comes to food. As a result, certain types of veggies freak me out if they're too mushy (ex: zucchini and tomatoes), while overly-ripe fruits (like brown bananas) make me want to run into the corner and cry.

Monday, February 11, 2008

An Obama Breeze

Something weird happened today.

I arrived home early from work this afternoon, and have been walking around in pajamas ever since. (No, that's not the weird part.) My PJ's currently consist of a t-shirt, a long-sleeved flannel shirt, long "sleeping pants," and a pair of socks. And I've been wearing all of these clothes despite the fact that the heat is on, and despite the fact that I've been wrapped up in a blanket for hours.

Notwithstanding all of these warming efforts, I wasn't quite able to shake my chilliness. So, I decided to settle in for a bit of TV watching (AKA homework procrastination) and to make a conscious effort to stop worrying about it. After all, it is like -5 degrees outside!

Thus, it wasn't until CH called that I made a discovery.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup

If there's one thing in life that I know for sure, it's that a warm bowl of lentil soup will cheer just about anyone up.

Personally, I've witnessed cold weather, pessimism, and even a general disdain for lentils be overcome by this simple, yet delectable, soup. Honestly, it's pretty amazing what can be done with just under an hour and only a few basic ingredients...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

¡Tacos Muy Guapos!

Tacos are, without question, one of my absolute most favorite foods. I especially love how versatile (even if "inauthentic") they can be. And obviously, as a result of their flexibility, almost everyone has his/her own spin on tacos. There's the rice v. no rice rule; the refried beans v. whole beans policy; and even the taco "meat" v. just veggies maxim.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal

I don't know about you, but all of this "wind chill" action has really been cramping my style lately. It takes so long to scrape the ice off of my car and get it warmed up in the AM that I'm starting to become concerned about the safety of my alarm clock. Seriously - if my 7:05am wake-up time has to be compromised solely so I can freeze to death, that little clock just might have to take a trip to "the farm."

As you can probably tell, I've been feeling a bit of hostility toward the cold weather lately. So, to counteract the situation, I've decided to start making oatmeal again. It's warm, filling, and so simple and comforting that it helps to calm me down in the morning.

This oatmeal is particularly delicious - especially because it happens to taste a lot like an oatmeal raisin cookie (which hopefully explains the redundancy in my "Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal" title). I like making it for CH and myself on Saturday mornings, but it's quick enough that you could prepare it before work or school during the week as well.

So, enjoy - and stay warm (to hell with the wind chill)!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vegan Puppy Chow

image borrowed from Pug Blog
Ah, yes, Puppy Chow...

It seems like the perfect "olive branch" to extend as my apology for being blog-sent (absent) for so long. And truthfully, while it has only been about 2 weeks since my last post, it feels more like an eternity.

Since my Jan. 8th (birthday!) blog entry, Winter Break has ended and I've returned to school. In fact, Monday marked the beginning of my last semester of law school, which means that the pressure is officially on. (Not as if it were ever "off" to begin with!)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pink Lemonade Birthday Tartlets

"You know how I remember what day your birthday is?" my uncle asked me, fourteen years ago today.
"No, how?" I inquired, curious and excited about the fact that my uncle cared so much about my special day that he had actually developed a method for remembering it.

"You were born on the same day as Elvis," he announced. "So, when it's his birthday, that means it's yours, too."
Yea, it was a bit of a let-down - especially from the perspective of a slightly self-involved, 13-year-old girl.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Vegan Tostada Pizza

Ahhh...the Vegan Tostada Pizza. It's fresh, colorful, and delicious - not to mention the fact that it's another exceptional platform for a bit of Vegan Ranch Dressing - yay!

This pizza was born out of my adoration for black beans, specifically, and for pizza, generally. And the coolest thing is that it's completely versatile: Don't like black beans? Have pinto beans instead. No time for home-made salsa? Try the pre-made stuff. Not feelin' avocado today? Go ahead - skip it entirely.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Maple Corn Fritters

It's true - I've decided to try and get a little bit more organized for the new year. However, this "organization" - which despite taking place at the beginning of the year, and despite being something of a promise to myself - is NOT a resolution.

(You see, JD and resolutions don't get along all that well...)

So, whatever it's called, my goal includes:
  1. Cleaning up the study
    • (AKA: small room that CH and I delusionally call "The Study" to make our apartment sound bigger)
  2. Recycling my growing collection of magazines/newspapers
    • Of course, this includes saving/filing the good articles/recipes, too
  3. Organizing my blog postings
    • So far, this means instituting a weekly Saturday post for recipes that I've tried from other people's blogs
  4. Instituting my own "Pantry Challenge"
    • In other words: grocery shopping less/not at all for a period of time, yet to be determined
There you have it.