Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Veggie Vero

So I take a trip 2 hours North to visit the parents & introduce them to their new grandson... Wait for it... a furry 4-legged grandson!  I already told you I like animals more than people... you should have known my children are the variety that don't speak, cry, whine or complain!  My sons love me unconditionally & give me constant kisses & poop outside in the yard... natural fertilizer.  ha ha ;)
Meet Simba & Jagger:
These 2 munchkins have my whole heart!  They are both chihuahua-mutts that I rescued from the Humane Society.  Simba is 2 1/2 & he's 5 pounds while Jagger is the newbie, he's 5 months old & about 4 pounds but he probably will end up being the bigger brother one day, at least in weight, since he's still a growing boy!

Ok, so I packed up the boys & headed from Miami to Vero so that Mom could hold the new baby:

Yes, love at first sight for Grandmama too!  Don't you love his boots & sweater?!  Mom knew I was getting a new pup so she was prepared for that... what she didn't know is that her eldest & only daughter had become Vegan!  Now my Mom is no ordinary cook, she is an amazing chef that can put restaurant chefs to shame.  She can make anything and everything & she does it with an amazing Lisa Birch-flair!  So she was up for the challenge when I told her that I no longer was interested in dairy or meat.  So what do you think the very first words out of her mouth were?  "No worries, you can still have pizza, I'll just switch out the cheese."  And switch she did.  Evidence A:
Can you tell which side is mine?  The light color cheese is the non-dairy daiya cheese.
She made an amazing white pizza with olive oil, spinach, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, garlic, herbs and just a change of cheeses! 

My parents were more than willing to accommodate my veganism but they are not quite ready to take the plunge themselves.  However they did eat entirely animal-free with me one night when my Mom made bean & lentil burritos and I made kale chips.  The kale chips were a simple recipe that I stole from my friend Giselle.  All you do is rip up the kale, put it on a cookie sheet, mist with olive oil (in our case, truffle oil) and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Bake on 500 degrees until kale leaves are brown & crunchy.  They end up tasting just like yummy crispy chips... but they are way better for you! 

The boys like the kale chips too!

But the real challenge was going out to eat!  Vero is a beach town on the Atlantic, so of course they are known for their seafood.  Any other trip up there & I would have eaten fish, especially at my favorite restaurant, Citrus Grille!  But after looking at the small & limited menu, I was so impressed when my Mom told the waiter I was Vegan & asked if the chef could make me a special dish for my special diet.  The waiter was not even mildly surprised or bothered & here is what he brought to the table for me:

White Beans with tomatoes in olive oil - not butter, zucchini with mushrooms and peas!  Major yummy!!  I loved that meal & I loved that I could eat out with my Mom & Dad without cheating on the new diet that I love soooo much.  Being Vegan is now a lifestyle & a part of who I am, so I don't want to feel forced to eat something that I really don't want to put in my body.

One final meal for show & tell!  This was my easter brunch: raw sliced veggies to dip into an eggplant dip, a bean dip, pita chips, sweet potato & green beans... all made by my Mama!  While everyone else ate ham, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, bread & butter and carrot cake... would you ever believe that I was more than content with my veggie meal?  I had no cravings for the junk.  I really think it's because the desire is there & I'm so fulfilled by how much healthier I am & how amazing I feel now that I'm eating so clean.  I'm fueling my body, not polluting it!

One last pic because I couldn't just focus on Mom & forget about Dad!  This is my father, Michael Birch, with my eldest son, Simba.  PS I'm so proud to report that my Dad is eating many more vegetarian meals these days (thanks to Mom's cooking) & cutting back on the dairy.  He even tells me that he LOVES Almond Milk.  Don't tell him... but we may have a vegan-convert just waiting in the wings... baby steps Dad, baby steps ;)

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