Who Dat’s

In life and especially in a marriage you have to learn how to compromise. Deciding to eat a strictly plant based diet is not only difficult and overwhelming for us but also those around us. If you and your partner are used to a standard american diet, high in meat, refined sugars and dairy deciding to “Go Vegan” is a big change that requires years of documentary watching, book and e-book reading and of course the countless days on google and social media sites to learn how to be a vegan and what to eat and how to make it and what in the world is macro? I have been feeling so overwhelmed with so many things to do and learn as opposed to eating frozen convience foods or grabbing pre made foods that are fast and simple. This made cooking and meal prep even more stressful to me and ontop of that I have been dealing with stressful family issues that have been causing my ADD to get worse which makes it even harder to complete tasks around the house or write ontop of having a great big 1 year old who is walking and getting into everything.

So back to compromise. I realized I was being a terrible example to my son while trying very hard to set a good example. Funny how that happens. Because even if I did influence my son to eat a plant based diet I wasn’t showing him the root of why people go vegan. Kindness. And I haven’t always been very kind with my speech.

So my compromise was to go to a resteraunt with my husband for a steak dinner and make due with whatever I could find. Because my diet choices shouldn’t effect how I treat people. And everyday we have an opprotunity to do the kind thing and not the thing that feels right in the moment.

A friend recomended a destination date in quaint Bald Knob, Arkansas to eat at Who Dats, a cajun ispired resteraunt that was rumored to have big steaks which my husband would apreciate since I respectfully declined to cook meat or dairy at home.

I was pleasntly suprised at the salad bar selection.

Shown here

I asked the waiter about the resteraunt’s produce which he told me came from near by at Gillam Farms in Judsonia where they procured the most delicious muskadine grapes I had ever eaten.

Who Dat’s much more famous for their giant steaks and cajun seafood which my friends and husband all loved. But thanks to our server Russell, for his excellent service and helpful information, I also enjoyed myself. Here are some of the meals from my date and when I went back again with some friends. I highly recomend them even if it’s a long drive for me.

Vegan Halloween

I decided to go out of town for trick-or-treating this year but I wanted to leave something out in case any neighbor kids came around.

I used a recipe I found on the back of my ouji themed rubber spatula I bought. Substituting as I went with vegan alternatives. My 1 year old son Clyde loves them but honestly they were very plain. So I have kept them as an on hand distraction for when my son won’t let me cook. Suprisingly only one apple was left when I got home. Here were some of the signs I put out. I’m kinda crazy.

I hope next year I will have perfected a vegan peanut butter cookie recipe. Thank you all for reading. Please leave a comment below if you have any vegan substitution tips for me. I did use 1/2 apple sauce in place of egg of course and raw sugar in place of white sugar and vegan butter substitute.

I also did not have a rolling pin or flat space to make cookies and the cookie dough kept getting stuck in the cookie cutter planchet. But despite all of this I was super proud of myself for getting all of this done before heading out of town. Happy Halloween from my family to yours!

The Root Cafe

Building community through local food.

My loving husband suprised me with lunch at The Root Thursday October 5th. I have never heard of this place but he assured me I would find something I loved.

The Root Cafe is located at

1500 Main St, Little Rock, AR 72202

Owners, Jack and Corrie Sundelle, have owned and operated the resteraunt since 2011 and offer Vegetarian and Vegan options on their menu.

I felt a bit overwhelmed when I saw the size of the menu but my husband pointed out the handy keys to help navigate the menu.

I ordered the Spicy Bahn Mi with vegan mayo. At first I questioned the cashier about the Sriracha, having heard that some brands make theirs with fish sauce. But since my new short hair cut says, “I need to see your manager” according to my husband I got to chat with one of the owners Jack Sundell who assured me that they were prepared for such questions and had done the research for meeting vegan dietary needs as well as gluten free dietary needs. He also informed me that they sourced the majority of their produce from local farms around arkansas.

The staff were all friendly and the dinning room atmosphere was charming and a vintage lover’s dream. Wild flowers in glass bottles on vintage table sets. I was very glad my son was asleep so I could really take in the cozy space.

This sandwhich had the crispiest and lightest fried tofu on baguette hoagie from Arkansas Fresh Bakery in Bryant, Arkansas with house carrot-daikon pickle. Fresh cilantro (one of my most favorite things to eat lately) and jalapenos sourced from Arkansas Natural Produce in Malvern, Arkansas. The carrot-daikon is a vietnamese pickled vegetable and it is SO yummy! I’m learning a lot about foods and the chemical changes that happen during fermentation so I thought I would expand a bit more on the pickled carrot thing I had mentioned. And it was drizzled with sriracha, hoisen, and an in house made vegan garlic aoli and tons of fresh Arkansas grown veggies in my House Salad. The chef can julienne like a MF. Shout out to the incredible cook staff!

I ate my vegan dressing on the side and dipped my fork in it before I stab some veggies. I have never enjoyed arugala in my life before that day! Grown in arkansas. That is the number one reason to buy local vegetables. The amazing taste!

My husband and I shared sweet potato fries with a dipping sauce made from vegan mayo. I have since found all kinds of uses for my Veganaise from Follow your heart. Making dressing using it as a base.

Here is my husband’s burger. I know he enjoyed it and we were both happy to find a place to fit both of our dietary needs!

I will be posting soon about my date night at Who Dat’s in Bald Knob Arkansas.

Blues and Food

I went grocery shopping at Krogers today. I have had too much on my plate to really plan a fantastic meal prep that not only will be healthy but also good tasting enough to someone who might not necessarily like the idea of eating healthy but is strong armed by his wife who has gone Vegan recently.

When I first discussed wanting to go Vegan with my husband I told him I wasn’t going to push my vegan lifestyle on him and even promised to cook him meat so as to keep feeding him “healthy” food from home. I had a faint memory of why I went vegetarian when I was a freshman in college at age 16. But when I get interested in a topic I obsess over it like an addiction. When I was about 23 I was addicted to you tube documentaries. So knowing how hard it was for me being a vegetarian when I was an insecure and flighty teenager I knew I would have to really reinforce my reasons for going vegan so I decided to use a combination of Netflix documentaries and free streaming documentaries on youtube.

I changed my mind quickly on what was a healthy diet for myself and my family. I became alarmed and highly reactive. Excitedly rambling on and on to my husband about the death of our planet, animal agriculture, and the lives of animals who are raised for slaughter. I became fervent and full of anxiety but I also became excited and overwhelmed at the same time at the possibilities of food to make that was beautiful and tasty but compleley plant based.

My husband and I used to eat fast food all day when we met. We were busy, overworked, and exhausted. The idea of meal prep would have elicit a hearty laugh from me 3 years ago. Alot changed for me this year. And my husband. Neither of us are who we were 3 years ago.

So today after shopping I washed and chopped up vegetables while listening to Soul Blues by Lightnin’ Hopkins. I found myself chopping my vegetables slowley and diliberatley trying to find the answers to my questions swirling in my head within the sound of that man’s deep love for his art.

After sorting spinach and kale into ziplocks, cutting and storing vegetables I cut up a head of red cabbage. I sliced some of it really small to add to salads in a container in the fridge but the bigger pieces I threw into a wok with some soybean oil ,a tbs of minced garlic, lime juice, left over green onions, broccoli, and shallots from last week’s Buddha Bowls. I also added crystalized ginger and soy sauce.

If I’m cooking raw veggies in some oil citrus juice I tend to use a pizza pan as a lid to let the broccoli steam themselves to a brighter green and the cabbage softens nicely that way I find. Stay near as it cooks and using a hot pad or towel to lift the pizza pan and mix everything with a bamboo spatula. Once the broccoli it the right texture let it continue to cook uncovered so as to make sure the cabbage cooks down enough.

Next I prepared some faux pulled pork and tortilla shells. The faux pork was easily microwaved and I usually heat my tortillas over a gas flame.

Like I said before, I was super stressed and did not plan anything for this week. I let colors guide me. I knew if I tried to cover all the basic colors I should be getting a wide variety of vitamims. I was prompted by anxiety and frustration but the results were fantastic. I’m happy I was able to use my negative energy in such a positive way! I know this post needs a bit of work but I just wanted to share.

Jamaican Eats

This yummy little duo was exactly what Mama was craving!

I may meal prep but I am far from organized. So tonight I made some fried cabbage with fried bananas. Read on for more…

First I sprayed the outside of my vegetables with a diluted white vinegar spray I make at home. Then I rinsed in cold water and chopped up

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 banana

I heat up a stainless steel wok with soybean oil (feel free to use your oil of choice) and started to coat the cabbage in the wok with the oil. Once the cabbage began to “cook down” I sprinkled kosher salt, minced garlic, dryed thyme, and pepper cayenne pepper. I am sparing with these. Then I added the bell pepper to the cabbage. Try to keep an eye on it and keep it moving so as not to burn your cabbage.

Next I heat up another non stick skillet and put 2tbs of earth balance in the pan then began frying the sliced banana. I threw in some crystalized ginger for an added sweetness.

For the side dressing pictured is vanilla coconut milk yogurt alternative.

The spicy and sweet dishes play together in perfect unison.

I usually sprinkle chia seeds for extra protein.

Leave a comment if you liked this recipe and please share with your family and friends.

Little Rock Vegan

Friday Sep 22 my husband took our little family to a vegan resteraunt!

I know my blog is about what I cook but it is SO nice to have someone else cook for you on occasion.

Maria and Keith are co owners of Viva Vegan at 4601 12th street Little Rock. It is currently only open on fridays. The outside of the building is Pink and festive with picnic tables and chairs for an outdoor dining experience.

The menu was small but promised to be completley Vegan and Gluten Free.

The Mexican Inspired menu comes from Co owner Maria’s family background. In our breif meeting we discussed how food brings family and people together. I expressed how I’ve come to realize that food can also divide and she told me it’s why they chose a mexican inspired menu.

I like to eat my dessert first if I get the opprotunity and the Vegan Strawberry Cheeze Cake was the perfect food to start with. It was creamy, light and delicious!

The nachos pictured above were so good I am inspired to try and make some nachos like this for myself one day!

The tacos my husband and I tried. He had the Korean BBQ taco to go with his nachos and ate it so fast I didn’t get to try it. But I did eat the Jackfruit taco. I had to look at it after I took a bite to make sure it wasn’t tender pork. The team at Viva Vegan went above and beyond. I plan to go again this friday.

I was so excited to write about what Maria was saying I forgot to get a picture of her. I will add it after I return there. Pictured here is Keith, co owner of Viva Vegan.

If any of you have tried Viva Vegan or any other Arkansas Vegan Eats please leave a comment below!

Also mark your calendars for NOVEMBER FIRST! There will be a food truck event at their location. I will probably make a new post after I eat there again. It is currently my number one favorite Vegan resteraunt. And my husband who isn’t vegan and is a die hard meat eater enjoyed his food also, date night is saved!

My First Buddha Bowl

Let me start by saying I am not a chef. And I do not have near the knife skills that I would like. But none the less I am sharing my first Buddha Bowl attempt.

I have been following differn’t vegan food instagram accounts over the last two months in order to gain insight and inspiration for the meals I would prepare for myself, my friends and my family.

This week in my meal prep I decided the theme would be buddha bowls. I started by looking up a recipe for a make ahead vegan buddha bowl and it turned into a massive open ended salad bar in my fridge!

I am very ADD and one thing I hate is having to scroll through a long winded article before the writer tells me how to make something but I feel like a little information will go a long way before I give a “recipe” for a make ahead vegan buddha bowl.

I realized with buddha bowls on Instagram it’s all about lining the materials in your salad in a beautiful array of colors or what is called “plating”. But it seems to break down to a simple formula of veggies, grain, seeds, and sometimes dressings.

First the dressing:

This dressing was so easy to make my husband threw it together for me while I was chopping vegetables.

  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c raw tahini
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2tbs minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning (This is where you can really control the flavor add whichever seasoning you want)

Blend together in a food processor. Boom! Done!

For the veggies:

Eat A Rainbow of colors in your meals to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs. All the veggies were put into storage containers in the fridge seperatley.

  • 2 or 3 radishes sliced thin
  • Arugala, spinach, or other leafy greens ( I seperated all of the greens into ziplocks in the veggie drawer)
  • Green onions chopped
  • cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 bag of baby bell peppers
  • broccoli washed and chopped
  • cucumber sliced

For the grain:

Rinse and sort through 2 cups of quinoa. I had to work very slowley or I found I was losing too much in the sink. Combine with 4 cups of water in a pot that has a lid. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on med low for 15 minutes then fluff with a fork.

I put this in a zip lock container in the fridge along with my brown rice. (I am not going to explain the brown rice in this post. Still learning how to make the perfect brown rice everytime instead of messing up and throwing away tons of rice).

But I decided instead of putting a bunch of salads together like I normally do I just left everything seperate, made a pretty instagram worthy photo of two, then explained to my husband how to one together himself to take with him to work. ( Always keep the dressing seperate until ready to eat). So I feel that giving my non vegan husband a wide variety of vegetables to pick and choose from to put his own bowl together might make him more likely to enjoy eating his veggies that his weirdo vegan wife sends him to work with.

Thank you for reading my blog and please subscribe to me here as well as my twitter @craftyveganmom

P.S. Chia seeds are the garnish of choice. Enjoy!

Sandwhich Craves

An old recipe I know for beginner vegans is a browned mushroom sandwhich. I have been making this for over a decade now and it is a cheap and filling way so satisfy a sandwhich craving for sure!

  1. 2 slices of Rye Toasted
  2. Dijon Mustard
  3. Vegan cheese
  4. 1 jar or can on sliced mushrooms drained and put in a large skillet with some minced garlic and olive oil.
  5. A trick I learned from Julia Child is “Don’t crowd the mushrooms!”
  6. When you find out how much you love browned mushrooms after trying this at home feel free to leave a message in the comments. Remember you can un-veganize this if you want and add cheese if you like. I plan to make my own kimchi and krout this week so more on that later but if I had some krout this would have been an amazing Vegan Rueben. Being Vegan doesn’t mean only eating salads.

Mexi-Chickpea Salad

Hello there! I have another EASY recipe I decided to make tonight while meal prepping.

I love fresh cilantro! The smell is unlike any other and it adds a beautiful color to any dish.

In this dish all you will need is

  • 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed in a collander
  • 1 can of black beans (optional I like the added color)
  • 1 can of sweet corn drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatos
  • Half a bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 red onion
  • Half a bunch of greennonions
  • 1 package of taco seasoning

You can mix it in a bowl and serve, let it chill in the fridge and serve cold or warm it up and eat it in a tortilla. This is extremley versatile and full of protein! Let me know if you have tried this recipe in the comments. Post again soon!

P.S. The cucumbers pictured are for a salad sorry… But maybe another time I will try that.

How me Going Vegan has Changed my Family

I loved this article so much. I have been a vegan now for less than a month but it has definitley caused issues with my family and friends. I don’t always come across the way I would like and this article was perfect for me!

Spicy Guac

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3 avocados

1/2 a red onion

1/2 a bunch of cilantro

4 jalapenos

1 lime worth of squeezed juice

2 tbs of vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

My old roomate told me the other day that making guacamole at home was easy but I was weary none the less.

I went to my usual cookbook, Google, and got inspration before heading to Whole Foods to get my supplies (but you can get these items anywhere).

Once all of my supplies were chopped I used a potato masher and a fork and mashed it until it was a pretty green shade all over. When I tried it I was amazed! And my MIL liked it too! On that note I wanted to ask your preference on something so please leave a comment. When cleaning my jalapenos out of all their seeds my MIL (who has been cooking with peppers her whole life and is a self taught cook originally from Thailand) told me the seed is the spicy part of the pepper and that she uses all the insides. What are your thoughts on jalapeno preparation?

Sweet Potato and Split Pea Crockpot Recipe

2 cups of dry split peas

8 cups of water

3 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped

1 red onion chopped

A couple handfuls of carrot shreds (optional)

Season with 2 Not-Beef bouillon cubes (use whatever bouillon you perfer)

parsley, salt, pepper, thyme to taste (I don’t measure these I am sparing with my salt)

Add Garlic

Minced garlic already in a jar is my go to when cooking and I usually put a spoon in and get a big pile out for recipes.

Two bay leaves ontop (remove before serving)

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours in a crockpot.

Easy! And it made my house smell wonderful all day!

Since I became pregnant I have grown quite fond of sweet potatoes. I experienced the most horrific leg cramps while I was sleeping and pickle juice and bananas weren’t doing the job. Then I read that sweet potatoes offer almost 500 grams of potassium in a single serving and I didn’t have that problem anymore.

I grew up on Split Pea soup made with a ham bone for flavor. It’s the kind of soup that makes me want to stay curled up with a blanket and a good movie on a cool day in fall. And when I read one recipe for split pea soup that called for potatoes I figured why not add sweet potatoes since it’s what I keep on hand now as an important part of my new vegan diet. I was nervous that the seasonings I chose wouldn’t work with sweet potatoes. But when I woke up in the morning the house was filled with the most tantilizing aroma and my stomach was HUNGRY! I wouldn’t normally eat split peas and sweet potatoes for breakfast but if you try this recipe you may not be able to resist either! Let me know if you tried this recipe in the comments section and please follow my blog if you would like to see more recipes from me. I am by no means a nutritionist, doctor, or a scientist so please consult a doctor about dietary questions but I will continue to share my recipes with everyone in hopes we can all have open and positive discussions on food! I’ll post again soon!