Category Archives: life

Goings On in Pictures (and some words) – Part II

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s good. Because I don’t have a thousand words. I have a ton of pictures. And zero words. Well, some words.

Things have been happening here after moving to the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve been…

running around the beaches in Florence,

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biking all over Eugene,
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hiking all over Eugene,the-state-of-things-part-deux-9 the-state-of-things-part-deux-10 the-state-of-things-part-deux-11 the-state-of-things-part-deux-12 the-state-of-things-part-deux-13 the-state-of-things-part-deux-14 the-state-of-things-part-deux-15

and eating, always eating the good vegan foods.

Vegan Chinese from Lotus Garden: Battered veggie beef deep-fried, broccoli, carrot in sweet & spicy sauce, the-state-of-things-part-deux-16

and veggie pot stickers. the-state-of-things-part-deux-17

Neal’s specialty: homemade BBQ tofu with a side of broccoli and curly fries.the-state-of-things-part-deux-18 the-state-of-things-part-deux-19

Asparagus bowl with creamy avocado dressing, olive tapenade and a jungle juice (I think) from Laughing Planetthe-state-of-things-part-deux-20

And food from one of my favorite places in Eugene, Cornbread Cafe. A vegan omelette with sausage, biscuits and home fries.


Strawberry crepes with tempeh bacon and home fries.the-state-of-things-part-deux-22

For the next post, there will be words. At least more words. Probably the same amount of pictures give or take. Sound good?


Goings On in Pictures (and some words)

I watched this squirrel for an hour one Saturday. Yes, an hour. Squirrels here (compared to Atlanta) seem chubbier. At least this guy (gal?) did. He ran around the back porch and ate the seeds out of these “helicopter” leaves  (who knew they were even edible?).

Goings On | Luminous Vegans

After not knowing what else to put in the recessed window above our kitchen sink, I finally decided on just a few of my precioussess. Like my tea collection, cashews and Vitamix. Along with some mugs, random appliances, kitchen towels and napkins. I might add a plant to this mess some day. But only a plant that requires zero maintenance. Does such a plant exist?

Goings On | Luminous Vegans

The cooking goings on have been mostly throw together or tried-and-true meals. Like the Italian “sausages” from PPK

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

that I used in this hearty, throw-together carrot, cabbage and sausage soup.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

I also made these cranberry muffins, from PPK too. I made a few alterations based on what we had on hand. Which means I used dried cranberries reconstituted with water instead of fresh cranberries, almond milk instead of OJ, 1/4 cup of applesauce + 1/4 cup of canola oil instead of all canola oil and I added 1 tsp of lemon juice. It came out perfectly and was delicious with homemade vegan butter.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

I am also cooking and eating my way through ALL the foods in these two new cookbooks I got! I shall have a proper review of each sometime in the future.

Goings On | Luminous Vegans

I switched from a broken iphone to an android for a new carrier that uses wifi hybrid calling. I did the maths and we’ll be saving about $700 during the first year. After that, we’ll be saving over a grand each year. Take that Verizon! If you research it and wanna try it, I have a linky for $19 off for you and me. I’m not affiliated with them. I just like the company’s mission. Plus I’m cheap.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

We decided not to exchange gifts with each other for the holidays this year. Instead we got new beds for the pups and they finally arrived. They deserve it. These beds are BIG, durable and super cushiony for their bony bodies.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

The too-small-gettin’-really-flat beds are now the guest beds in our offices. (PS that’s a black sock on Miles’ back foot because he refuses to walk around the house without a sock. Not really. He runs a lot super fast and gets boo-boos on his feet that have to get covered with a bandage and then a sock. No sock = a foot licked raw and/or random tiny blood spots on the floor)

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

My current library reads include The Voyage of the Turtle by Carl Safina. It’s an intriguing look into the life of Leatherback turtles. I’m almost halfway through and it makes me go from being angry that I’m human to utterly amazed at these giant “dinosaurs”. It makes me want to visit the Turtle Hospital in Florida again.

And I just started Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar. I’m a woman, I like domestic things like knitting and baking and I’m also a feminist. Is this conflicty or not? I hope this book has some good discussion on the topic.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

Neal made this desk (using this tutorial) for my office. I love it because it’s simple, small and hand-made.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans

So far I have filled my office with toys and yarn. And some photography things. I suppose I should get more grown up office-y stuff.

Goings On |Luminous Vegans


Lessons Learned from Traveling Across the Country

We recently moved from Atlanta, GA to Eugene, OR. These are a few lessons I learned from traveling vegan-style with two greyhounds in a Buick for nearly 3500 miles.


1. Pet friendly hotels are not hard to find. Our daily driving schedule was not rigid, so we ended up in random cities for the night. But we were always able to find a room in the following pet-friendly hotels  (in order of niceness): La Quinta, Best Western and Motel 6.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think the only one that charged an extra pet fee (which was pretty low) was Best Western but it does vary by location. A helpful pet friendly site that we used was

This guy was always the last to get up.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

2. Although I am in awe of the dark, almost black rocky sand and huge rocky shores of northwest coast beaches, it is intense and scary if you’ve never seen a beach before (like Miles).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We drove along Highway 101 towards the end of our trip and had to pull over frequently to enjoy these scenic beaches.  They made me wanna yell…’Heeeey, yooouuu guuuyss!’ because Goonies.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

3. It’s nice to have generous and kind friends who will give you a place to stay along the way (even when they think you’re part of some vegan army stuff).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We enjoyed the momentary break from hotels and the pups enjoyed running and meeting new friends.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

4. Despite how soy-cheesy it may be, stop at the tourist areas. They’re tourist areas for a reason.

Outside the Trees of Mystery, Nikko and Paul Bunyan.

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An elk at one of the elk viewing areas about two hours outside of Eugene.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

5. When driving west, the end of the day becomes a perpetual chase of the sunset.

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vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

In Joshua Tree National Park.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

6. Traveling across the country by car with two greyhounds, it IS entirely possible to eat well vegan-style even when we didn’t research restaurants before hand (because ain’t nobody got time for dat).

Most mornings we grabbed as much fruit as possible from the continental breakfasts (served at many of the places we stayed). I also had oatmeal and tea that I packed which just required hot water from the coffee maker.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

And while we certainly ate our fair share of Subway sandwiches, we managed to throw in some unique all vegan or vegan-friendly places along the way as well. Thank goodness for cell phones and Happy Cow! A few eats…

Chopped BBQ sandwich with grilled seitan and an El Paso Burger with chipotle vegan mayo and guacomole from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A Mediterranean picnic in the park from International Delights in Las Cruces, NM. The server knew what “vegan” meant and happily accommodated us.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

The “Vegan Caper” bagel with an amazing tofu spread, capers, red onions and a sweet sauce from Los Bagels in Eureka, CA. They had seats outside so we brought the pups.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

Wonton Soup from Noble Veg in Sacremento, CA. I grabbed a menu while Neal stayed with the pups in the car. We decided what to get. Neal went to order and the kind people at Noble Veg brought the food out to the car. In retrospect, eating hot soup on my lap probably wasn’t the best car food. But I was really craving soup.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A vegan barbecue “Chicken” pizza from Tomato Joe’s Pizza in Valencia, CA. This was dinner and breakfast the next morning.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think had this road trip been taken more than ten years ago, it would have been much more difficult to find places to eat good vegan food without meticulous planning ahead of time. But nowadays, its like my phone and the internet gives me super vegan powers. Or at least the ability to find vegan food easily…..unless of course we’re talking about Pecos, TX….now that’s a different story….

Have a Happy New Year!


Welcome to the fourth installment of Vegangrams. This is where I curate pictures that accumulate on my phone.  Some have made an appearance on instagram, while some have just been sitting and collecting digital dust on my phone. In no particular order…

BBQ “shrimp” with sauteed kale and tomatoes on top of creamy polenta. This dish was inspired by Cadry at Cadry’s Kitchen.

BBQ vegan shrimp with kale and tomatoes on polenta - Luminous Vegans

Simple yet extremely flavorful and comforting red beans and quinoa dish inspired by Monique at The Brown Vegan.Red Beans and Rice- Luminous Vegans

Me getting scurred at the Netherworld haunted house before Halloween. This was my second year going courtesy of Neal’s sis (thanks!). I’m proud to say that I did not pee my pants this time around. Just kidding, I peed my pants both time. No, really just kidding…I didn’t pee in my pants either time. I was even brave enough to get my pics taken with these hotties.Netherworld - Luminous Vegans

Using up my free sample of the Vegg in a breakfast english muffin sandwich. There’s fried tofu “egg” with Vegg yolk and coconut bacon (the same coconut bacon used in this twice baked butternut squash).The Vegg - Luminous Vegans

Mexican casserole with nacho cashew cheese.Vegan Mexican Casserole - Luminous Vegans

The dogs clearly not caring that I’m trying to put the sofa covers on after having washed them. This is their nap time after all.Greyhounds - Luminous Vegans

Oh, just hanging out with Alicia Silverstone at a Kind Life Atlanta Meetup hosted by Dough Bakery.
Alicia Silverstone - Luminous Vegans

Getting my grub on at Harmony Vegetarian Cafe in Atlanta: salt and pepper “squid” and eggplant with garlic sauce.Harmony Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant - Luminous Vegans

We recently took a trip to Oregon and played in Eugene for a couple of days. Here’s a chocolate chip doughnut from Voodoo Donuts in Eugene, Oregon. By the way, is it DOUGHnuts or DOnuts? I donot know which is correct. See what I did there?
Voodoo Donuts - Luminous Vegans

We also played in Portland some. Here we are by Multnomah Falls thanks to our lovely tour guides Kenn and Jeanette.
Multnomah Falls- Luminous Vegans

When we travel with the pups, they each curl up on opposite ends of the backseat. But Miles sometimes plops himself in the middle not giving his sister any room. She’s a resourceful cookie though. (Please know that they did not stay this way. I made sure to help readjust them so they were both comfortable.)
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My eyes on Neal’s face and Neal’s eyes on my face. Things like this are not an uncommon way for us to entertain ourselves.
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A meal with Neal’s family at Cardamom Hill Restaurant. Acorn squash roasted in a banana leaf and topped with coconut curry. Served with cardamom-scented plantains and rice pilau. Cardamom Hill Atlanta - Luminous Vegans

This last pic is technically not a phone pic. Here, I am watching Isa give a fun food demonstration at Atlanta’s Veg Fest.  The room was packed and I was in the back because, well, because Isa. She made an extremely tasty caeser salad with tempeh and quinoa. Leave it to Isa to make a salad that made me go “Day-um!! That’s good!”. She also talked about her new restaurant in Omaha a bit. It is meant to be cozy comfort food. I may or may not want to move to Omaha now.

PS. More pics of the Atlanta Veg Fest taken by Seth at VEGANesp can be found here.

Atlanta Veg Fest - Luminous VegansThe End!

Walk for Farm Animals Atlanta

This Saturday we participated in the Atlanta Walk for Farm Animals at Piedmont Park. Atlanta raised over $17,000 smackeroos and there were over 170 participants.

Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta- Luminous Vegans

Despite the sorta rainy weather, it was a lot of fun. And I’m glad we registered (at the 11th hour). I mainly have pictures of just pups and food. Did you know that my camera mainly takes pics of only pups and food?

But there was also yoga by my pal Rachel from Tough Love Yogal, music by our friends New Terminus. And I got to hang out with a couple of internet pals (Becky from Glue and GlitterSeth and Elena from VeganESP, and Holly from Traveling Pink Lips).Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta- Luminous Vegans

Miles was shocked to see a dog bigger than him.Miles and a Great Dane- Luminous Vegans

There was a lot of that big dog- small dog thing going on.Pups-Luminous Vegans Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta-Luminous Vegans

Nikko and Miles refueled after the walk.

Nikko and Miles-Luminous Vegans

So did we.

Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta-Luminous Vegans

Nikko only sorta begged for some food.Nikko-Luminous Vegans

Will you be participating in your city’s Walk For Farm Animals? 

A Picture an Hour

My Saturday. A picture (or a few) an hour.

8am-Shut off my alarm on the nightstand. It was hard to get up because I stayed up late reading this photography book. (I went back to sleep and actually got up at 8:30am).picture-an-hour-luminous-vegans-2464-1

9am-Stayed in bed to read.


10am-Had coffee and an apple and caught up on internets stuff.


11am-Made a very late breakfast with Neal.

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12pm-French toast (using the Vegg) with a strawberry sauce.


1pm-Read more. A different book. I am a multi-book reader.


2pm-Started a hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park.


3pm-More hiking.


4pm-Traveled back down the trail. The dogs were pooped after climbing rocks and wading in the creek.


5pm-Headed home.


6pm-Made stuff and snacked on stuff. I made a batch of coconut bacon (from Veggietorials), roasted chickpeas and cashew cheese for the week.


7pmCoconut bacon finished baking. This was my first time making it. I think my coconut flakes were thicker than Cobi’s on Veggietorials, but they came out DEE-licious either way! They were slightly crispy in some places and chewier in others (much like real bacon). I will definitely make these again.


8pm-A little relaxing and reading after a shower.


9pm-Neal prepared our late dinner of sushi rolls. He made a variety of rolls with cucumber, avocado, coconut bacon, shiitake mushroom, carrots and tofu.


10pm-Watched the end of a silly “Ghost Adventures” show before watching “48 hours”.


This picture an hour post was inspired by a recent post by Sayward at Bonzai Aphrodite. The goal was to photograph life as it happened rather than make life happen in order to photograph it.

I had an alarm set on my phone to go off every hour and when it went off, I snapped a pic (or a few) of whatever I was looking at at that moment. I had to estimate the hours during the hike based on when we left the car and got back though because I did not have my phone with me. I really enjoy documenting the world in pictures and I’m trying to improve my photography of things other than food, so I might revisit this picture an hour project again.

How was your Saturday?

I’m on the V-List!

I was so thrilled when one of my all time favorite bloggers, Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen asked to interview me for this year’s Vegan MoFo. I met Cadry (and her lovely husband, David) after her presentation at Vida Vegan Con this past May. She was so inspiring and her message of “being authentic” is something that I strive for every day in every facet of my life.

So of course, I immediately accepted the interview invitation momentarily forgetting that I am extremely camera-shy and mostly awkward when it comes to public speaking. But hey, awkward and weird..that’s authentically me. So hop on over to Cadry’s Kitchen by clickin’ on my mug if you wanna see the interview!


PS Thanks Cadry for being such an inspiration. And for giving me a cheat post for Vegan MoFo!

A weekend, brought to you by the letter T

T is for Thai Larb Noodle Salad.  This dish is traditionally very pork-heavy.  No pigs were harmed in this version and it came out mouth-wateringly delicious.


T is for three pups instead of the usual two. We were dog sitting for a friend, so that meant three times the cuteness in the house for a while.weekendT-8750-2


T is for testing out making almond butter in the food processor. The first time I made almond butter was in my beloved vitamix and as much as I love that appliance, it didn’t come out as smooth and creamy as it did this time.weekendT-8540-4

Making almond butter is a practice in patience. It takes awhile for the almonds to release their oils, so I pulled up a chair and got comfortable.weekendT-8562-5

It was worth the wait.weekendT-8541-6


is for taking walks. I’m enjoying the weather as we slooowly start to transition to fall down here in the south. weekendT-8608-8

is for take-out. We haven’t eaten out in a while so we treated ourselves to food from Greensprout Veg Chinese. We got hot and sour soup (no egg), chikin drumstucks andweekendT-8661-9

sesame portobello with broccoli.

T is for time out to relax. I love lazy Sunday mornings where I can just graze on breakfast-y foods and read the paper.weekendT-8724-11

T is for tasty treats. A perfect way to end a late Sunday afternoon is with creamy root beer floats. I put two scoops of ice cream and then poured the root beer in. How do you make yours?


is for tomorrow is coming too soon!

Still Happily Redeeming My Yearly Trips Around the Sun

Alright, real talk. When I was a teenager, I used to think that I would never make it to my 30’s due to some terrible, random accident. I had no legitimate reason for thinking that. It was just a strange premonition I had that I’m sure wasn’t helped by teenage angsty broodiness and a feeling of not belonging. Thankfully, I suck at being a psychic and I gratefully (and happily) enjoy my yearly trips around the sun with good food. And lots of cake! Come on, did you really think this post was going in any other direction?


A stroll around the hood resulted in some indulgent pre-birthday dinner cupcakes at Dulce Vegan – caramel, chocolate, orange cardamom and lemon.


Next, we had an early dinner at Cafe Sunflower.


Since we don’t eat here very often I usually end up getting some of the same dishes that I know I love.

For apps we got the “Supreme Vegan Nachos”- organic corn chips, Daiya, homemade chili, shredded romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno and fresh guacamole.


and “Mushroom Ceviche”- shiitake, enoki mushroom, jicama, mango, onion, garlic, cilantro, smoked paprika, lime, orange and avocado.2013bday-7364

We each got a “Green Tea Chai”-green tea, soymilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave.2013bday-7360

For the main course, Neal got his usual, “Fiesta Enchilada with Corn Salsa”- Marinated soy chicken, sauteed onions, red bell peppers, and granny smith apples wrapped in a flour tortilla topped with shredded romaine lettuce and corn salsa.


and I got the “Garden Loaf”- veggie loaf, herbed mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, spring rolls with organic mushroom gravy.


Despite having a plethora of leftover cupcakes at home, I had to get a slice of strawberry cake!2013bday-7377

After dinner, I scared myself silly by watching The Conjuring. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Big blowout or low-key affair?

Welcome Food Surprises

When little things become amazing things.

Little thing:

I jokingly told Neal that he should make me breakfast on Saturday.

Amazing thing:

He not only made me breakfast, but he made it a nice spread with a tropical twist because he knew I had tropic lust. (tropic lust: noun, the desire for all things tropical when you see people’s tropical vacay pics on instagram).

French toast (recipe here) with coconut shavings and maple syrup.

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A virgin pina colada with coconut water, fresh pineapple, coconut cream, almond milk and ice.IMG_6550 _Snapseed

Little thing:

A friend texts suggesting we all eat and hang out at their pool.

Amazing thing:

We not only hang out and have good times, but it spontaneously turns into an amazing shared vegan meal!

It was a “build a plate/bowl” smorgasbord.vegspread

Left side below: watermelon, basil, strawberry and tomato skewers with a sweet balsamic dressing; Udon noodles with bamboo shoots, baby corn, and tofu with a soy and sesame dressing; and nachos with black beans, scrambled tofu, fresh corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, and green onions covered with a salsa and melted Daiya mix.


Right side above: Jasmine rice topped with bbq soy bits, slaw, green onions and ranch (this was what we brought and it was our nod to Native Bowl’s Mississippi bowl).

I had seconds of everything!

And for dessert we had open-faced s’mores and a lovely blueberry cobbler made with organic blueberries and oats.

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My only regret is that I could not make more room in my stomach because I wanted to keep having magical tastes in my mouth.