My Journey into Cooking

Our idea for Brownble initially came from my desire to teach people how to cook vegan food, and the fact that we live far enough away from the city that starting with a  small group of "in person" classes was a bit complicated. That's when Carlos came along with his high tech ideas and placed the first grain of sand into what Brownble is today, not only our new site and this blog, but also our online vegan cooking classes as part of our cooking membership program. What I realized the other day was that this has actually been a huge metaphor for what my journey into cooking has been like, and now I'm looking at Brownble in a whole new different light. Today I'm sharing a bit of that story with you. By the end of this post you'll know all about the strange way my mom influenced my cooking, what I used to do as a teen every single day after school, my obsession with the French, how veganism completely changed my experience in the kitchen, and why cooking scrambled eggs under a tree made me into the vegan cook I am today. Yes, I said scrambled eggs!

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Stuck in a Rut: Adding Variety to your Cooking, Exercise Habits and Life

When I was planning out this post, I first thought there would be lots of head scratching if I told you about my relationship with routine. Then I thought that there are probably many of you out there who might read about my two sided dilemma and say "yup! That sounds about right!", so let me paint a picture for you. I love and I mean LOVE having a steady routine I can depend on. I thrive on knowing what the next day awaits, and I love those great comfy feelings I get when I know which days I have time scheduled for going to the farmer's market, or to the movies, or when a hike is coming so I can spend quality time with my dogs and my husband. I love being able to plan things out and having a written schedule really helps me focus and get things done. I love the calm that comes with knowing where life is at the moment and where it's going, and I stick to my people for life. In a way, I find that sticking to what I know and what feels comfortable is right up my alley. I am however, also very prone to get extremely moody and feel overwhelmed when I've had the same exact routine or structure for too long. I start to fret, begin feeling anxious and less energized in the morning upon waking, and I find my mind wandering, I feel unfocused and uneasy. It took me years until I finally understood what was going on, I was stuck in a rut and I needed a boost of variety to bring me back to normal. Knowing that I could get a little bag of tools I could whip out at any time gave me the biggest sense of relief, and that's what I'm going to share with you today.

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3 Easy Weekday Vegan Side Dishes that Require no Measuring!

There's this restaurant I love in Madrid where you basically get to assemble your own meal. Their kitchen is in the center of the restaurant and you get to see all the different sides and components they have, and you get to pick and choose like a kid in a candy store. 

I love to recreate this feeling whenever I can at home, making several smaller components, setting them out and having everybody pick the options they love and make their own combinations of flavors.

When I do this at home, I opt for simple sides that I know so well, I can practically make them in my sleep! That way there's no stress added, and I can focus on making a special recipe, or a delicious dessert, and all my components are taken care of. 

For today's quick fix I thought I'd give you a 3 for 1!

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Happy Birthday to Me! Birthday Memories and the #1 Lesson Learned this Past Year

Happy April 5th everybody! It's the day that marks the anniversary in which against all odds my mom was rushed to the hospital over a month early because I just had to come out! I was destined to be an early morning riser, and the fact that I was born a little before 6 am marked so many of my birthdays moving forward. Every year, I would set my alarm a little before six, at the exact minute I had made my appearance the year I was born. I would rush to the door, and the same thing would always be waiting for me. My mom had woken up even earlier to make me a birthday cart. Not a birthday card (although there were several of those too), but a birthday cart. We had this little table that had four wheels that we used for when we were having our dinner and a movie nights, or that we used whenever we decided to make a jigsaw puzzle for overachievers and the thing was hanging around there for months. On this little table, in the wee hours of the morning, my mom would arrange all of my favorite things. Birthday cards with cute messages from her, balloons, flowers, cake of course, and all my favorite foods.

The fact that it was breakfast time didn't matter, she would fill it with what at that time (in my pre-vegan days) I would have eaten my weight of, things like apple strudel or apple pastries, cheese puff pastries, smoked salmon, bagels, pickles, slim Jims, strawberry tarts, deli meats. and even sushi! Yup! Weird, but fun birthday breakfast every single year.

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How Toppings Helped Me Go Vegan

If I asked you what your favorite type of ice cream was when you were a kid, would you say it was two scoops served in a cup to go? How would you answer that question? Raise your hand if you answered "an ice cream sundae with lots of hot chocolate or caramel fudge on top, chopped nuts, sprinkles, and a cherry", or, if you were anything like me, you may have answered "a banana split with three flavors, chocolate sauce and a ton of whipped cream". Toppings transport us to childhood. They mean that not only are we having something delicious, but also that at a very young age we were able to choose exactly what we wanted. We paid attention to what we were craving, and then it was all about creamy, or crunchy, or tangy, or sweet. It was the toppings that made the whole thing extra fun and enjoyable. It meant my ice cream could be different from your ice cream and that I could make the most whimsical creation that was special. Just for me.

If you've been reading our blog for a while you've probably heard about my childhood fantasy of owning an ice cream shop that only carried one ice cream flavor (chocolate! Hello!), but that had the walls lined with endless rows of toppings.

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Learning a New Way of Cooking: Plant-Based Basics, Tips, Techniques and More

I often get asked the question of whether or not vegan cooking is more complicated than meat-based cooking. I love getting this one because after years of seriously cooking both types of foods I can honestly give you a straight answer from experience. Today we're tackling this topic and I'm going to teach you some plant-based cooking basics, show you some great tips and tricks, we're going to talk about cooking techniques and much more. First however, I'm going to tell you about my experience in cooking both types of cuisines, and share what cooking Thai food has to do with vegan cooking. It's going to be a total culinary party that will give you a ton of tips to help you out in the kitchen whenever you're cooking with plants.

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Lessons Learned on a Picnic Blanket in a Town of Twelve

Yes, there is such a thing as a town with only twelve people, and yes, it is as weird and as magical as it sounds. This little piece of heaven, which was right in the middle of nature, acted as a bit of a sanctuary for us recently when we took a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and headed out. Not only did we enjoy the great company and chats we had, but the dogs got to run free (as did we), we ate lots of delicious vegan food, and more importantly, this little outing turned out to be very transformative. Teaching me a few lessons along the way. 

For today's post and podcast episode, we're doing something a little different.

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WHEN MY PARTNER ISN'T VEGAN...

When you decide to make such a big change in your life and diet such as going vegan, so many fears, myths and issues are swirling around in your head. Many of these can even keep you from going vegan for months or years as was my case, and one of the big ones, perhaps the biggest, is our partner in love and life. This brings up so many issues in us that it can often be the most detrimental aspect of going vegan, but it doesn't have to be, and that's what we're going to talk about in this post. I'm going to tell you why this question kept me from going vegan for years and why in the end it didn't matter. We're going to talk about some of the most common concerns, and I'll give you some tips for living with an omnivore after going vegan. We're going to talk about shopping, prepping, planning, cooking, going out, your in-laws and even raising kids, a BIG one.

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