Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kona Coffee Macadamia Chunk Cookies

Kona Coffee Macadamia Chunk Cookies

Makes: 1 dozen cookies

Time: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (ground flax seeds should work too)
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 3/4 cup oat flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules 
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine the chia seeds and nondairy milk in a medium bowl, set aside.

Combine the oat flour, baking powder, salt and both sugars in a large bowl. 

Add the coconut oil, coconut extract, and espresso granules to the nondairy milk and chia seed mixture, and stir to combine. If the coconut oil hardens up at all, pop in the microwave for a few seconds to make sure it is melted. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, and chocolate chips. 

Drop by generous tablespoons onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Asparagus Tart with Shiitake 'Bacon'

Tarts are one of my favorite things. They're probably one of your favorite things too. (Who doesn't love them?) I know we're getting a little far out of asparagus season, but this tart will help you exit asparagus season with a bang! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats

Hi guys. It seems like it's been a while, eh? Sorry! I've been adventuring in Europe for a few weeks with my husband! And while I had a few posts that I wanted to schedule so that they would run while I was away, April was a hectic month and I just didn't get to it. So that's part of the reason it's been a bit quiet around here! I did however, have a great time taking pictures in Europe (with my phone--sorry photo snobs, we were traveling light--just backpacks, and no room for my nice camera!), so if you're curious about what I was up to and any vegan finds along the way, check out my Instagram at @bourbonisvegan!

But enough about that, because I'm really excited to share with you something I've been eating A LOT of lately (everyday actually!). Overnight oats.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lemon Earl Grey Fizz

Do you ever want to feel sophisticated, but then you realize you're too lazy for it? You want to make that fancy cocktail with the infused liquor, but it's just too tedious, and let's be honest, you want it now and not in a week? You feel like you want to start boozing before noon, but you're tired of mimosas and blood(less) Mary's? 

Friends, this drink is for you. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grapefruit Rosemary Scones

I'm really excited about this recipe. I've basically been chomping at the bit to share it! I've always loved scones. I think it's because I've never had a big sweet tooth, and scones are not super sweet, but they do hit the spot in your belly that craves flaky baked goods. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Walnut Herb Crusted Seitan

It really is fascinating how your views of the world around you change when you become vegan.
When you realize that you are living, breathing, happy, healthy, and thriving without participating in the mass cruelty and slaughter of billions of animals every year, it really makes you step back and consider everything you used to take for granted.

Easter Egg Colored Roasted Root Vegetables with Lemon Herb Aioli

Lettuce turnip the beet! Amiright?! Okay, so I saw someone with a cute little canvas grocery bag that said that the other day while I was buying beer. If anyone knows where I can get a bag that says that, please let me know, because I would love to have one. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Homemade Baked Seitan

Seitan is one of my favorite vegan options. But it has to be done right––store bought seitan can prove particularly disappointing, although, I have found it to work well if ground up with lots and lots of other flavorings, such as this taquito recipe my friend shared with me quite a while ago. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tortilla Soup

Growing up in the southwest, I didn't fully understand spring until I moved to New England. While we definitely have a real winter in New Mexico, replete with snow and single-digit temperatures, you are always confident that the end of winter is near. The cold is reasonable there. It comes just before Christmas, hangs around through January, and starts to lift in February. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Homemade Vegan Irish Cream

Did anyone else know that two of the things that give Irish cream its distinctive taste are cocoa and coffee? I didn't. I never really knew exactly what Irish cream was until I decided to try to veganize it and started doing my research. It makes sense now why it's so good! Anything with chocolate, coffee, and whiskey... Well, you just can't go wrong! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sriracha Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Hash

I have a confession to make. I have tried. Several times. And I do not like shepherd's pie. I find it to be bland and complicated to make. With it's billowy mashed potatoes mashed with plenty of fat, shepherd's pie is also not your beacon of health.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rooibos Cheesecake with Blueberry Amaretto Sauce

Guys! Guys. This whole recipe has only 9 ingredients. Can you believe it? That's 9 ingredients for the crust, sauce, and cheesecake itself!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cheezy Broccoli Soup with Garlicky Croutons

So far, I've been loving this Colorado winter—it's been just the right amount of snow and cold, with so many sunny and warm days in between. It's kinda like eating my cake and having it too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brandy Alexander Nice Cream Sundays for Two

Brandy Alexanders have intrigued me since I first heard the Feist song of the same name. They sounded like a hopelessly romantic cocktail with a turn of the century charm and my 20-year old self really wanted to try one.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Korean Seitan Bulgogi and Cheater Kimchi

This is based off of a recipe that I've had laying around for about ten years (no, really). The recipe I had predated even my pescatarian (while self-identifying as vegetarian) years, and as such was meat-based. I've always kept my favorite recipes in the same notebook, so I rarely look through the first twenty pages or so, since essentially none of these are vegan or vegetarian. However, looking through this section one day, it dawned on me that Bugolgi, or Korean barbecue, wouldn't be a difficult thing to veganize at all. So, I made some changes to the old recipe, and tried it out on seitan. 

The results were fantastic. The seitan is thinly sliced and marinated before being broiled. The brown sugar in the marinade caramelizes and the edges of the seitan blacken. The seitan is extremely savory and quite firm, with loads of umami flavor (umami is the "meaty" flavor that many people crave). 

Meanwhile, I was considering what veggies to have as a side with the seitan. Often, bulgogi is served with kimchi, which is the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut. But, I had a number of roadblocks. Roadblock #1 was that store bought kimchi costs more than I am willing to pay (at least at Vitamin Cottage, where I normally shop), at about $8 to $15 per jar. 

Fine. "I'll make it myself," I thought, and I found this really great looking recipe at the Kitchn. However, on week one Vitamin Cottage didn't have daikon. On week two, they had daikon but no Napa cabbage (they stock only organic fruits and veggies--at really great prices--but this also means that you don't necessarily have the huge selection of say, Whole Foods, who can fill in with non-organic or non-local produce if needed). I ordered the Gochugaru, but it came late, and then I accidentally used all my scallions on another recipe before realizing I needed them here. 

So, seeing as I really just wanted to see how the seitan would come out, and I was running out of options in my refrigerator for the week, I decided to cut my losses, and not pay the $$$ for kimchi and also not to spend my time trying to ferment it. I came up with cheater kimchi, which may not be exactly like true kimchi. However, this "cheater" kimchi captures many of the flavors of real kimchi, and is a nice, healthful accompaniment to the seitan. If it bothers you that this isn't very traditional, keep in mind that somewhere on this blog is a recipe for enchiladas that uses flour tortillas--a travesty for a New Mexican like me--and that I did this because I thought it tasted good and not because I'm a jerk. :) 

Korean Seitan Bulgogi and Cheater Kimchi

Time: 45 minutes (plus 1 hour to marinate the seitan)

Serves: 4-6

For the Korean Barbeque

1 pound seitan
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons sambal oelek
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil

Slice the seitan into slivers (as thin as you can!). Combine the garlic, ginger, sambal oelek, brown sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a large shallow dish. Add the seitan and stir to coat. Marinate for an hour, stirring occasionally. The seitan should soak up all the marinade. 

Preheat the broiler on Hi. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with the canola oil and spread the seitan out in a thin layer. Broil on Hi for 7 minutes. Remove from broiler, mix seitan with a spatula to expose uncooked seitan, and return to broiler for 1-2 minute intervals, stirring until the edges of the seitan are evenly charred (but, obviously, you don't want to completely burn the seitan). 

Remove from the broiler and keep warm until ready.

For the Cheater Kimchi

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 daikons, cut into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 Napa cabbage, halved and sliced into 2 inch chunks
2 tablespoons dulse (a crumbled seaweed, or use crumbled nori sheets)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add all ingredients to the skillet and cover. Steam the vegetables just until the cabbage is softened and the flavors begin to mix, no longer than 5 minutes. 

Serve with the seitan and cooked rice. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chipotle-Infused Tequila Bloodless Maria's

For a long time I hated bloody Mary's. I wasn't a girl who liked fruity drinks by any means--Jack and Coke was my cocktail of choice for years. In fact, drinking a Jack and Coke still takes me back to my 21st summer at my husband's family's lake cabin in northern Minnesota. We would take the boat over to the creaky old bar at the other end of the lake in the afternoon to drink Jack and Cokes and eat tater tots while grumpy old men with John Deer hats filtered in and out, some picking up a to go cup on the way... a to go cup of bourbon and coke that is.

Only in Minnesota. 

Anyways, my mom has always been a big fan of Bloody Mary's. I'm sad to say I don't know when I came to the Bloody Mary dark side, but at some point I realized that they are pretty darn good. I also realized that Worcestershire sauce is pretty darn not vegan (it's got anchovies in it--so beware brunch-lovers!). 

So that became a problem. Over the summer I also saw someone post pictures of a Bloody Mary they had in Manhattan. It was basically a cocktail with an entire appetizer resting skewered on top of the drink. I think maybe aside from the lone olive, none of it was even vegetarian. But I was so jealous at the same time! I really wanted a Bloody Mary with an appetizer on top of it too! 

So I did some thinking. And Field Roast did some cheese-creating, which made appetizer-worthy garnishes possible. I did some learning about Bloody Mary's and came across the Bloody Mary's even more exciting relative, the Bloody Maria. Bloody Maria's are made with tequila instead of vodka. I was suspicious, but seeing as I've come around to liking tequila a bit more (another one of my mom's favorites that I have previously shunned), I thought I would give it a try. 

I didn't want to be boring and stick with tabasco, and the tequila had fanned the flames of my New Mexico heritage, and so I decided to experiment with a different pepper altogether. I decided to try infusing the spirits with dried chipotle chiles. Chipotles are just smoked jalapeños. To be on the safe side, I tried infusing both vodka and tequila, and while both came out well, I ultimately preferred the tequila. I'm not an expert on tequila by any means, but I can tell you that Jose Cuervo is bad, bad, bad. I've been drinking Espolón for quite a while now, and I personally really enjoy it. For this recipe I used their tequila reposado. 

Because the infused-tequila has a complex flavor all it's own, I kept the rest of the Bloody Maria (from here on known as Bloodless because it is more accurate) very minimal, to let the tequila shine. I only make one cup of tequila in the recipe, but you will be able to make many Bloodless Maria's from it. It ended up quite spicy, so for one cocktail I would use about 1/3 shot infused tequila and cut it with 2/3 shot regular tequila. This allows you to adjust the spice level to your own taste. 

The Bloodless Maria's will be delicious on their own without the garnishes, if you're not into that or don't have the time. But, if you're feeling celebratory (or hungry) for any reason, they make a great addition! I hope you enjoy!

Chipotle-Infused Tequila Bloodless Maria

Makes: 1 drink

Time: To infuse the tequila 3-4 days, to make the drink, 10 minutes

For the Tequila

1 cup tequila
3 dried chipotle peppers

Place the tequila in a sealable glass container, such as a mason jar. Add the three peppers and close the lid. You can keep infusing the tequila for about five days. I noticed that after one day the tequila was spicy, but didn't have much depth of flavor. By day three, the tequila was picking up a noticeably smoky flavor. I stopped at day four because I thought it tasted just about right, and I'd read that the longer you infuse chiles the spicier they continue to get. 

For the Garnishes

1 slice sourdough bread
2 slicess original flavor Field Roast Chao Cheese
1/2 Field Roast Italian sausage, sliced widthwise
1 pimento-stuffed olive

Heat a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, place two slices of Chao Cheese onto the sourdough and toast in toaster oven (or toast bread in toaster, place cheese on top, and broil until melted). While the open-faced grilled cheese is cooking, place the bacon strip and sausage in the pan. Cook until browned on one side, flip, and brown the other side. Once finished, remove from heat. 

Returning to the bread and cheese, once melted you can cut the bread into 1 inch squares. Add the grilled cheese squares, fakin' bacon, sausage, and olive to a cocktail skewer to complete the garnish.

For the Bloodless Maria

2 shots organic tomato juice (the good stuff)
juice of 1/4 lime
1 tablespoon olive brine (from a jar of pimento-stuffed cocktail olives)
1 tablespoon Annie's vegan Worcestershire sauce (I actually think it's better than the other stuff!)
1 generous pinch black pepper
1/3 shot infused tequila (to taste)
2/3 shot plain tequila 

While the garnishes are cooking, add all the ingredients to a tall glass and stir. Add ice and stir again. Add your garnish and you're ready to go! 


*Please note that while I have linked to several products in this post, I've done so only to help out readers who aren't familiar with these vegan items, and am not making commissions of any kind from these links.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ginger Matcha Pear Crisp

I always like the idea of using tea in baking, but haven't tried it much in the past. I had the idea for this crisp on a cold winter day while staring at an old bag of Matcha Izu tea.

Matcha isn't tea like most of us envision—dried leaves in little satchels, or better, loose leaf. Matcha is actually finely ground green tea, and it is bright, BRIGHT green. I imagine it being extremely good for you! But it is not my favorite to drink, try as I might. Which got me thinking, what would happen if I cooked with it? And seeing as this winter day was a pretty good day for a crisp, and I happened to have some green pears, I decided to experiment.

In the list of ingredients I've included a link for New Mexico Tea Company's Matcha Izu tea. They are by far my favorite place to buy tea, and they will ship it to you (at least within the U.S., not sure about elsewhere). If you do buy the Matcha, I also highly recommend the Rosy Earl Grey and Lemon Gunpowder Green, which are both delicious hot or iced.

One big thing to note before getting to the recipe: I don't normally peel vegetables or fruit. I didn't peel the pears the first time I made this recipe, and I regretted it! Take the time to peel them. It's so much better without their crunchy skins.

One other big thing to note: You cannot substitute regular green tea for the Matcha. All you'll get is a crisp with sticks and leaves in it. Matcha dissolves into the juice that the pears release as they bake, leaving a rich green tea color.

One LAST thing. Mincing the ginger into tiny little pieces is much better for this recipe than grating it. If you grate it, you end up with all the ginger fibers throughout the pear filling. If you mince the ginger the pieces seem to dissolve away, or at the very least have the same texture of the pear, so you get the fresh ginger taste without having to pick out strands of ginger.

Ginger Matcha Pear Crisp

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes, 20 minutes active
Serves: 6


5 firm d'anjou or other green pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick vegan margarine, melted

Vanilla-flavored coconut ice cream (such as Coconut Bliss), to serve


Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl combine the pears, sugar, ginger, green tea, and salt.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, almond meal, almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Drizzle in the melted margarine a few tablespoons at a time, tossing until crumbs form. Do not over mix as it will make the crisp tough.

Pour pears into a 7x11 baking dish and cover with crumbs.

Bake for 50 minutes or until crust is golden and the pear mixture has thickened. Serve with vanilla coconut ice cream.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Truffled Cauliflower Cassoulet with Shiitake-Garlic Confit and Parmesan Thyme Biscuits

Cassoulet and confit are funny things to me. Both originated in France as peasant food, with confit in particular being a way to preserve meat to eat throughout the winter. The stuff was not fancy. 

But nowadays it's rare to go to an upscale restaurant that you don't see confit of some kind (you can make confit of just about anything--meat, vegetable or fruit). When it comes to cassoulet, people get fierce! Just doing some background research on what exactly cassoulet is I came across lots of gnashing of teeth... 

...over what was once a peasant dish. 

And you get all these people with what they think is the best possible cassoulet. Some people say it needs breadcrumbs. Some people say it should never have breadcrumbs. The only constant I found among recipes was a reliance on white beans (and duck, but of course, that is irrelevant here). Apparently towns in France bicker over the true origin and to this day get their panties in a twist if you don't think their town is the true creator of the dish. 

If I'm being honest, this is the only part about the whole mess that I understand. I can commiserate because once, ONCE, Colorado tried to co-opt green chile as their own. I'm from New Mexico. And I may live in Colorado now, but I'm still bitter about that. You can't have it all you rat-bastards. The only green chile you will ever own will come in a bushel bag labelled Hatch, NM, and that is that!

But I digress. So now people have taken this peasant food, which was made with what people had on hand to feed legitimately hungry bellies, and now it's this crazy fancy ridiculous dish that rich people eat while feeling self-righteous about their money. I think an apt comparison would be perhaps if we jumped 300 years into the future and suddenly Hot Pockets are haute cuisine. It's equally absurd as the current cassoulet situation. 

I may have been a "foodie" at one point in my life, but I have a thing against pretentiousness, so that didn't last. I genuinely like food, and I don't really care what others think I should think about food. People have all these recipes for "Best Cassoulet and **** Confit Ever!" which is think is ridiculous. There's no way anyone will ever make the best of anything. I'm convinced that no matter how good you think your dish is, there is someone out there who will whole-heartedly hate it.  Which is why I think that we should eat what we actually enjoy and think tastes good, and be creative about it instead of always trying to be "the best." Food is not like a marathon which has objective and easily measurable "bests" and "worsts." Food is subjective.

So basically, I've taken cassoulet as an inspiration and ran with it. I've used beer instead of wine because I normally have beer and I never buy wine. This is 'merica, (and I was inspired by the Leek and Bean Cassoulet recipe in Veganomicon), so I have added biscuits. I've added truffle oil as a kind of sarcastic nod to how pretentious this dish has become and to push it over the top (on the ridiculous charts!).

But, after all that, I think this is the perfect dish for those cold January Sunday evenings. It takes a while to make, but the result is pretty amazing. The shiitakes give a meaty flavor and bite, the biscuits make it hearty and satisfying, and the cauliflower and truffle flavor melt together with the thyme and thaw you inside and out.

EDIT: I now realize tomorrow is National Cassoulet Day. My timing couldn't be better to piss off some foodies with this sacrilege! 

Truffled Cauliflower Cassoulet with Shiitake-Garlic Confit and Parmesan Thyme Biscuits

Time: 3 1/2 hours total, 1 hour active

Serves: 4 to 6

For the Shiitake-Garlic Confit

10 garlic cloves
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems still on
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Remove the skins from the garlic cloves and rinse the shiitakes with water. In a large bowl, combine the warm water and salt, and then add the shiitakes and garlic. Let sit for at least an hour. Strain garlic and shiitakes, and then thinly slice the shiitakes.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sliced shiitakes, cover and let cook for an hour. The point of confit is to cook the vegetable in oil over low heat (as opposed to frying it). 

Remove from heat. If not using immediately, pour into heat-safe container and refrigerate.

For the Parmesan Thyme Biscuits (adapted from Well's Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2012)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegan parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup vegan margarine, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup non-dairy milk

While the confit cooks, start the biscuits. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, parmesan, and thyme. Add the chopped margarine and combine with two forks until the mixture resembles cornmeal (a few small lumps of margarine are fine). Alternatively, you can use a food processor, pulsing the mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Add the non-dairy milk and mix until just combined.

Move the dough to a cutting board. Using your fingers, press the dough out into a 10-inch circle (about 1-inch thick). Using a knife, slice the circle into six pizza style wedges. Set aside until the cassoulet is ready to go into the oven.

For the Cassoulet

1 recipe of the confit (above)
1 onion, diced
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup pale ale
2 15 oz cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons truffle oil

Heat a 12-inch cast iron (or other oven-safe) skillet over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shiitakes and garlic from the confit mixture and put into mixture. Reserve the rest of the oil for another use (but be sure to refrigerate it and use within a few days, because it otherwise can potentially be a botulism risk).

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Once the mushrooms and garlic are sizzling, add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until wilted slightly and reduced in volume. Add the beer, bring to a boil and reduce sightly. In a measuring cup, combine the broth and cornstarch. Add the beans, cornstarch mixture, and truffle oil to the pan. Stir until combined well and remove from heat.

Lay the biscuit wedges over the cassoulet, leaving some room between each wedge. Place the entire pan in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden.

Remove the cassoulet, turn off your stove, and you are FINALLY done!

But it will be worth it. Promise.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Whirlwind 2014

This is a really, really long post, and it's only tangentially related to food with an occasional foray into animal protection, so if you're on the hunt for a recipe at this very moment, you can skip to the list on the right and choose a recipe to start with! :) If you feel like reading my biography for 2014 and browsing through some pictures I took, keep reading. I figured I'd write this post for a few reasons. EDIT: Now that I've actually posted it, I see it is so long that it no longer shows any recipes on my homepage. To skip to my recipes, click here.

Reason #1 is because this blog is sorta a little bit like a journal for me, in that I can look back at the posts and remember what was going on and how things felt to me at that time. Since I won't have that for this past year (I've been missing for a while now), I thought, why not make a list of the best things (okay, perhaps #1 wasn't necessarily a good thing, but it was an interesting thing) that happened to me last year.

Reason #2 is that I had the idea for the post at New Year's. The post is a month late because I had some issues with the pictures which were on my phone and Instagram, and not easily accessible from my computer. That is, until I ran out of storage on my phone and had to backup and erase all my pictures anyway. Then all 3,500 of them were in one folder which made finding the ones I wanted for this post like a gigantic scrolling word search puzzle.

Reason #3 is that I dropped off the face of the earth for a year, and it seems as though I could share what I'd been up to.

So that's why this is here. You can criticize my Instagram obsession and say it's not real photography if you want, and I'll probably agree with you. But. To me, these pictures capture so well how things looked and felt to me when I took them. So. That's that. In somewhat of a chronological order, here are the most noteworthy things that happened to me in 2014.

1) Broke my arm to smithereens. (Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad).

Let's go snowboarding they said. It'll be fun, they said. 

It was NOT fun. Well... maybe it was. Until the first run after lunch when I knew I really should have been calling it a day. I had the pleasure of being pulled down the mountain in a little cot by ski patrol and then spending the rest of the day in a hospital in Leominster, MA. This is what they found:

Not good. So they tried to reset it (and when they tried to reset it I would have appreciated some forewarning so that I could have been adequately up on my pain meds!). But instead of fixing it, they just pushed it out of place the other way.


At which point they gave up and decided to operate. Which I was really excited about!

I've never had an adventure quite like this before!
The last thing I remember before going under was telling everyone in the operating room that I once watched a team of veterinarians do surgery to mend a hawk's wing, and that after this surgery I hoped that, like the hawk, I too would be able to fly again!

After the surgery I was a little alarmed to see that they used a small vacuum attachment to hold everything together.

After a few weeks of occupational therapy I'm happy to say that my wrist is now back to normal! I now also have a pretty gnarly scar. This is actually the fourth time I've broken a bone, and the third time breaking my left wrist. Before anyone rolls their eyes, like my doctor did when he found out I was a vegan who had broken four bones in her life.... This is actually my first broken bone as either a vegan or a vegetarian. Causes of my other broken bones? Age 3: Monkey bars. Age 8(ish): ice skating. Age 11(ish): soccer.

2) Went on my first business trips, both to Washington, D.C.

I got to go to the Science of Animal Thinking and Emotion conference and the Taking Action for Animals Conference both of which I enjoyed. I went for a nice run around the National Mall and snapped these photos.

3) Worked in this awesome office in downtown Boston.

Overlooking the graveyard where Paul Revere, the victims of the Boston Massacre, Sam Adams, John Hancock and Mother Goose (yes, Mother Goose!) are buried.

4) Played with horses at a rescue.

I grew up riding horses, but then, at some point, I guess when I was too old for summer camp, I went off into that awkward adolescent phase and forgot entirely about my love for them. It wasn't until grad school when we covered horse slaughter and other related issues that I "remembered" how important they once were to me. 

Even though I work in animal protection, progress can seem slow and frustrating. The best metaphor I've ever heard for the difference between policy work and service delivery was from Bruce Friedrich of Farm Sanctuary (an organization that bridges these two elements of animal protection beautifully). Essentially, service delivery is when someone is throwing babies into the river, and you're the one scrambling to save them as they float downstream. You can be doing this forever, and nothing is going to change until you march upstream and put a stop to whoever is throwing the babies in the river to begin with. However, it can be really hard to get that person to stop throwing babies in the river.

I think that's why being able to work directly with rescued animals was a really good way for me to cope with the perceived lack of change on the policy front. Week to week I could see the animals improving and becoming healthier, stronger, and regaining their trust of humans, which in turn improved my outlook on things.

This is Snickers and I. He is an old man, around 30 years old. He was my absolute favorite because he reminded me of a wild little pony in a book I read growing up.

Here's Snickers again, looking very stoic.

This is Peggy. The morning after she was born she was found with a broken leg. The farmer was going to put her down, but the person who runs the shelter put her foot down and took her in. She was named Peggy for her little peg leg in a cast. Because she was raised away from the other sheep, she always was familiar with humans. She "baahs" to people who walk by even when the other sheep ignore them, and cries when you leave, even though when I stopped volunteering at the end of the summer she was no longer a baby.  It was really amazing to see how much personality she had, just because she was familiar, and not afraid of, humans. She was essentially a dog with hooves (she even wagged her tail and learned to walk on a leash!). 

This is Chevy, and he was a wild one.

This is Spice, a little pony who no longer is skin and bones and whose coat is silky and smooth! The Shriners used her as a therapy animal for children, but unfortunately she was housed most of the time by an unrelated individual who clearly was not treating her well. There was a complaint made against him (he had other animals as well). In retaliation, this individual began shooting all the animals he had. Luckily, when the Shriners discovered the situation, they broke into the barn at night and stole Spice back, bringing her to this rescue instead. The guy had a warrant out for his arrest and skipped town. (No, I am really not making any of this up).

Just another friend.
This is Mabel, she is a donkey who was rescued at an auction where she was going to be sold to a killbuyer (a kill buyer is a person who buys equines at livestock auctions in the U.S. to export them to slaughter in Canada or Mexico, since horse slaughter is not currently legal in the U.S., although there have been and continue to be numerous efforts to bring it back).

Here's a view from the horse barn. The rescue overlooked the Merrimack River. It was a really peaceful place to be.

5) Graduated with my masters.

Graduated with my masters along with these fine ladies who also now have their M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts Vet School.

6) Ran my first half marathon... 

...and I got 5th in my age group and 7th overall! Okay, maybe it wasn't the most competitive race ever.... So what if it was named after the cheap beer of New England?? It still happened and I can be proud if I want to be. 

Also, you can't see it, but I was proudly sporting my anti-fur shirt from Vaute Couture (anti-fur in July, I know). :)

The runner's high was hitting pretty hard. After my complementary beers and a large burrito from Chipotle (extra guac!) I literally slept the rest of the day.

The free beer tickets were actually my biggest motivator throughout the race.

Shandy's are my guilty pleasure. Beer mixed with lemonade is just about the best thing on a hot summer's day, especially after 13.1 miles! Even if beer snobs don't like 'em, I'm just glad I'm able to enjoy the little things and prove.... that I'm not a snob! :)

I mean, you really can't get much more New England than a 'Gansett!!

7) Destroyed any part of me left that thought I was a city person while backpacking and visiting Burlington, Vermont. 

For our four-year wedding anniversary we took a few days and went to Vermont on a whim. Definitely one of the best decisions we've made! We backpacked on the Long Trail, and then spent the second night in Burlington, which is an adorable little college town that sits on Lake Champlain.

We were ready for our hike! It only took us half an hour to find our trailhead, but once we did there was no stopping us on Vermont's Long Trail! 

The first built camp we came across was moderately creepy, so we kept going. Unfortunately the next camp was already taken. In Vermont, you can camp anywhere below a certain elevation. Being from New Mexico, that's what we planned to do. Because when you backpack in New Mexico, there is space enough between the trees for you to put your tent. Not so in New England. Here, if you can find a level spot with a gap in the trees wide enough for a tent, it's most likely because it's a small swamp. They can say "Camp anywhere you like" with confidence because you can't actually like any of your options. Thus, the built camps are really your best option. It took a while, but we finally, FINALLY found a flat(ish) place to pitch our tent just before sundown.

Ready to fall asleep with the stars overhead. (I insist on backpacking with pillows. Shhhh....)
Sunrise on the Long Trail.
Back in Burlington we went to Zero Gravity Brewing and American Flatbread (they share the same space). The restaurant was very accommodating and was happy to make us vegan pizzas. I remember the beers being fantastic, but as anyone who's gone backpacking knows, beer tastes REAL good afterwards.

After a nice long afternoon nap we caught Lake Champlain at sunset before heading to Citizen Cider, a brewery for ciders only. Neither of us are big fans of ciders, but we'd never been to a "cidery" before and so thought we'd give it a shot. On the way over, we just so happened to walk by an apartment just starting to catch on fire. (!!) After helping to put the fire out, we finally made our way to the cidery.

Lake Champlain at sunset.

Citizen Cider. Visited after helping put out an apartment fire that started right before our eyes. 
We had dinner at Revolution Kitchen, a vegetarian restaurant in the area. The food was good and the setting was great, but they had some major staff problems that night which resulted in our meal taking several hours from the time we walked in the door to the time we left (!!). It basically took up the entire evening, and even though they gave as an appetizer on the house (without us saying a word about the service), we were too tired to explore Burlington any more that evening, which was a major bummer. I did however have the opportunity to try Vermont's renowned Heady Topper IPA.

The notorious Heady Topper IPA! At Revolution Kitchen.
The next morning we had coffee at one of Burlington's many coffee shops, before breakast at Magnolia Cafe. Magnolia Cafe has many vegan friendly options (I had French toast!), and the service was much better than the night before! 

Morning in Burlington at one of the many coffee shops, before a delicious vegan breakfast at Magnolia Cafe.
For the rest of the morning we explored Burlington and used the bikes that our hotel offered to ride along the beach.

Happy to take a picture with Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain.

Parting brews at Four Quarters Brewery. Which was newer and quite phenomenal!

8) Drove from Boston to Denver to find a new home in Boulder, Colorado. 

After four years in Boston, my husband's job (he's an engineer in the wind energy industry), moved to Colorado. While Boston was without a doubt one of the most important things that has ever happened to me (for the friends I made, the amazing mentors I had, and the unforgettable experiences it offered, plus, having moved there as a lost 23-year old, it is where I found my life's calling) it was time for a new chapter. Colorado was an ideal place for us for a number of reasons, but largely because it is closer to both our families in New Mexico. An 8 hour plane ride is now and 8 hour car trip. Luckily for me, I was able to keep my job and work from home in our new home.

While I intend to make the experience of driving cross-country as a vegan (and with a non-traditional pet!) a separate blog post since it would be too lengthy on this already-long-enough post, below are the major non-vegan points of the journey. 

On our last night in Boston, we had dinner and beer at the same restaurant that we had dinner and beer at with my Dad (who helped us move to Boston) on our first night in Boston. Technically, we lived in Brookline, a community which basically is in Boston, and our first apartment (an approximately 500 square foot shithole) was on Beacon St. right on Boston's green line and was surrounded by restaurants and taverns. This particular tavern is Washington Square Tavern, and we have so many fond memories of coming here to warm up during our first, very cold, winter in Boston.

I can't remember now what beers we ordered, but I suspect probably a Clown Shoes and a Pretty Things. :) 

The next morning (okay, I should say evening), we were off in our little green car with our little yellow bird, who hangs out on my shoulder, even when driving. I like to wave at people in other cars who happen to see her and give me weird looks, because I know I'm never going to see them again, and I am not ashamed of my bird... or the fact that I wear bird print shirts with my bird in my car. 

We made it to Syracuse, New York.

And then to Chicago.

And then through the midwest.

All the way to Omaha, Nebraska (Nebraska is ROUGH!).

Then to Denver to find a new place to live, and finally to Boulder, where we stayed because Boulder is amazing (also to be the subject of another post). Until then, these are some snapshots I took from what is basically my backyard in Boulder.

9) Presented my graduate research with my adviser at a wildlife conference. 

In October I had the opportunity to present my graduate research along with my adviser at a wildlife conference, conveniently located in Estes Park, a little less than an hour away and right next Rocky Mountain National Park. 

It was an interesting conference because it's focus was human dimensions of wildlife, which translated means, methods of managing humans to minimize human wildlife conflict. While this may sound like a progressive field because it focuses heavily on human behavior, it is still in the purview of traditional wildlife management, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters, trappers, fishermen, state wildlife agencies, and university wildlife management departments--not a forward thinking bunch, who tends to manage at the population level with little regard for individual animals. There were entire workshops dedicated to things like "hunter satisfaction" and "increasing hunting participation" (wildlife agencies in the U.S. are funded by hunters, fisherman, and unsuspecting gun-buyers thanks to the Pittsman-Robertson Tax). I even got stuck listening to a talk by someone from Safari Club International, who, by the way, closely resembled what I imagine satan would look like--an all black suit with sharply shaved goatee and head, dark piercing eyes, and a gleaming gold lapel pin. He hardly fit in with the relaxed casual dress of the other conference attendees who dawned canvas pants, vests, and hiking boots. And.... perhaps I didn't sit through his entire talk... I may have gotten up and left. 

However,  over the course of the days I was there, I realized there were, sprinkled among the attendees, a few animal advocates (as well as Jonathan Balcomb who presented on bycatch in recreational fishing, with whom I had the pleasure of sharing lunch one day since my adviser had worked with him previously developing a policy course at Humane Society University). There was a girl giving one of the conference organizers hell for the lack of vegan food, to which me and my adviser chimed in. Both being vegans ourselves, we had been subsisting on pasta or rice with boiled vegetables and Kraft Italian dressing for several days. There was an amazing talk about how the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (you can think of it as the Bible or Constitution of wildlife conservation) states clearly that wildlife are a public trust, and as such, wildlife management practices cannot be determined only by hunters and fisherman as it largely is now, but rather the public at large. And the fact is, the public at large is increasingly opposed to killing animals. 

So, why were we there? We were there to present on public attitudes towards coyotes on Cape Cod. In fact coyotes in the Northeastern U.S. are only part coyote. They've actually hybridized with wolves in Canada and migrated downwards, so they are bigger than their western counterparts. The conflict with coyotes in the Northeast has to do with attacks on pets, as opposed to in the west when the major conflict comes from livestock producers. Wildlife managers are more than happy to use the conflict with pets as reason for lethal removal and expansion of hunting seasons, or lack there of. Massachusetts is actually one of only a few states that actually has a coyote season, which restricts the time of year that one can actually hunt coyotes. Most other states have no season for coyotes, meaning that you can hunt them in any number at any time of year, which has led recently to coyote killing contests (if you haven't heard of this, look it up! Truly disturbing!). At any rate, Massachusetts wants to expand the coyote season. 

However, what we found, by and large, was that pet owners were more accepting and more tolerant of coyotes than non-pet owners. Those that were concerned about pets being attacked tended to keep their pets inside, and those that felt that their pets needed to be outdoors for their wellbeing tended to accept the risk they were taking in doing so. Pet owners were significantly more adverse to lethal control of coyotes. 

So how does that translate into useful information for wildlife managers? Basically, the claim that coyotes must be lethally managed to prevent conflict with pets is no longer valid. If pet owners themselves accept coyotes and are opposed lethal control, then wildlife managers aren't listening to or acting upon the interests of their stakeholders. They're creating reasons that don't exist. 

Given the makeup of the conference I was obviously a little nervous to present research which so directly opposed the actions of most wildlife agencies, but was excited when the other speakers in our workshop (all on urban wildlife conflicts and all but one on coyotes) also came to conclusions which opposed lethal management of coyotes (hooray!). We got no nasty questions or comments (also a hooray!). 

This will be the last thing I say about the conference. Circling back to the sprinkling of animal advocates, I noticed a few things about the crowd that made me hopeful for the field of wildlife management. There were two major demographics: older white men and young women. As I know from being a biology major and getting my masters at a vet school (not a vet degree), life science fields have shifted to be female-dominated, and accordingly we're beginning to see a shift in some of the major perspectives of these fields. My mentor, a veterinarian at Tufts, once told me that the best thing that has happened to veterinary medicine is this gender shift, and that over his career he's seen the importance of animal welfare skyrocket. Let's hope that a more female dominated (or at least gender balanced!) field of wildlife management will mean a shift from one of consumption of natural resources to one of care for the world around us!

A any rate, I didn't take pictures at the conference itself, but I did take some pictures of our excursions into RMNP, which I hope you enjoy. I'd never seen elk before, but it was elk season and they were literally everywhere. I even got photobombed by one.
Just an 8 point buck, out for a stroll on the sidewalk, nbd.
Another big guy.
Fall beginning to set in... and two mule deer that I'm just noticing now. Definitely did not see them when I took the picture!
This just screams of The West to me.

10) Was honored to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's wedding.

Last but not least, my long-time friend (over a decade now!) got hitched in December. It was a beautiful wedding (with delicious vegan food!) at a ski resort in northern New Mexico and it even snowed for them! It was perfect. :)

Somehow the only photo I happened to personally catch that night was one where the bride was blurry. :(

I made hundreds of macaroons as gifts for the guests, which was an experience in trial and error which required the consumption of more sugar I thought humanly possible!

So, that, in a nutshell, is how I spent my 2014 and what I was doing when I wasn't here.

Somehow I feel like this post needs a good conclusion, but that is impossible because it's not a story with an ending yet. I'm looking forward to the next 11 months of 2015--so far have plans for a work trip to New Orleans (where I have always wanted to visit), potentially meeting friends in Yellowstone, visiting my brother-in-law in Charlottesville, VA, being a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding in North Carolina and hopefully a few visits from family and friends here in Boulder. (So much travels!). The biggie biggie thing that I'm excited for though, is that for Christmas my husband got us tickets to Europe! So in May we'll be traversing from Munich to Italy, over to France, and then back up to Belgium and Amsterdam! I've found a few helpful sites on traveling in Europe as a vegan, but if anyone has any tips to share, I'm all ears! :)