Nashvegan

A not-very-definitive guide to eating (and living) as a vegan in Nashville.

Happy Herbivore Abroad December 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 12:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HHA Cover

Greetings faithful readers, and welcome to Nashvegan’s first ever cookbook review, author interview, and giveaway!  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably heard of Lindsay Nixon, better known as Happy Herbivore.  Nixon is a prolific author and blogger who advocates for a plant-based diet that includes no added oils and only a few added fats from nuts and avocados.  Her cookbooks Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore shot up the bestselling ranks on Amazon.com and now her newest installment, Happy Herbivore Abroad, is doing the same.  Her publishers were kind enough to send me a review copy and they’d like to send one of you a copy as well!  Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post.

First things first: let’s meet Happy Herbivore!  Nixon was kind enough to answer a whole bunch of my deeply probing questions about her life and her work.  Here’s what she had to say:

Nashvegan: There seems to be a current trend towards global vegan cookbooks (yours, Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World spring to mind) – why do you think that is?

Happy Herbivore: I’m not sure. When I finished writing Everyday Happy Herbivore, I left for a long trip to Europe. While I was there I decided to write a cookbook that combined my lifestyle (my love of travel) with food from the places I’ve traveled too — it was about me and celebrating my passions (food + travel) together. I haven’t seen Romero’s book, but I imagine it’s quite different.

NV: How does Happy Herbivore Abroad (HHA) stand out both from your other offerings and from other vegan cookbooks in general?

HH: HHA is international themed and has a lot of me in it — personal stories and such. You won’t find that in my other books. This book is so personal, and I really love that about it…

My cookbooks (all of them) focus on being low fat, no oil — using whole foods, and basic ingredients, which makes them stand out from the vast majority of other vegan cookbooks on the market.

NV: How are you handling life after Earth Balance?  For many, it may feel like “life after cheese” syndrome all over again!

HH: I never really got into Earth Balance. I wasn’t much of a margarine or butter person before I was plant-based and a huge motivation for my dietary change was health… Earth Balance isn’t exactly a health food :) I also adopted the no oil/low fat whole foods approach early into my plant-based change, so it was something I just passed up.

NV: What inspired you to come up with the idea of offering your plant-based meal plans?

HH: Fan requests :)

NV: What are your favorite plant-based “convenience foods” for people trying to live a low- to no-fat plant-based lifestyle?  Basically, what would you recommend for vegans who need something grab and go, perhaps in a gas station?

HH: Gas stations usually have fresh fruit and oatmeal :)

Lindsay Nixon headshot

NV: Give us your top three favorite recipes from HHA.

HH: Asking a chef to pick a favorite recipe is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid :)

NV: After your previous career as a lawyer (this is a personal question for me because I have my J.D.), how did you make the transition from lawyer to plant-based cookbook author?  What sorts of practical challenges (student loan debt, etc.) did you deal with before your success, and how did you manage those challenges?

HH: I was never happy as a lawyer. Not to say the profession is a bad one, it just wasn’t for me. I’d been working as a lawyer for a few years (miserably) when the opportunity to write my first cookbook came along. I knew there was no way I could work as a lawyer AND write a cookbook, so it was one or the other. I decided to take a big chance, quit being a lawyer and work on my cookbook while also doing various freelance assignments to pay the bills. My husband and I also had to do some major downsizing to make it happen — selling our cars, moving from a large apartment to a teeny, tiny studio, etc. (I’m so glad he was up for it!)

I still have a mound of student loan debt crushing me — some $120,000 is left. I joke that it’s my summer home, since my law education costs more than what a friend recently paid for her house.

The book business is not lucrative — even when you’re a best seller so we continue to live with less “glitter” than we had when I was a lawyer, but I’m so much happier and I’ve really come to love the minimalist lifestyle.

NV: Why Los Angeles?  How did you end up there?  How do you like it?

HH: My husband’s work brought us here, but we’ll be leaving again soon for Tahoe. I love snowboarding more than anything and you can’t really do that in LA :)

This is the second time we’ve lived in Los Angeles. You can’t beat the weather or the casual, California lifestyle but the traffic is ridiculous. LA without the traffic would be perfection.

NV: I know a lot of my readers like to try to eat seasonally and locally.  Is this an issue that you’ve given much thought?  Have you considered writing a seasonal cookbook?

HH: I too like to eat seasonally and locally (and living in Southern California makes that easy!) but it’s not really practical for a cookbook since what’s local (and seasonal) varies so much from place to place and I try to write books that are accessible to everyone — no matter where they live. That’s one thing that really frustrated me when I first changed my diet. The vegan cookbooks I bought used bizarre ingredients that didn’t exist where I lived or they were way outside of my price range. I think that’s why I try so hard to use “supermarket” ingredients. You shouldn’t have to live in LA or NYC to be able to cook up a good meal!

——–

So I’m sure now you want to know about the food.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, I happened to cook some.  I cooked two meals from HHA, totaling six recipes.  I went on a Tour of Europe and then took a trip South of the Border.

TOUR OF EUROPE

Who needs a Eurorail pass when you have HHA?  This menu consisted of Swedish Meatballs, Irish Colcannon, and French Savory Glazed Carrots.

Getting ready to cook

Getting ready to cook

One of the things I love most about Nixon’s cookbooks (I have them all) is that they all use “normal” ingredients and are easy to prepare.  These recipes were all easy to follow, a breeze to prepare (if you don’t count all the time I spent chopping things), and of course turned out delicious.  I cheated a little with the meatball recipe, which called for mixing the gravy with chunks of tempeh, and used Trader Joe’s frozen meatless balls instead (THE HORROR).

Swedish Meatballs, Colcannon, Savory Glazed Carrots

Swedish Meatballs, Colcannon, Savory Glazed Carrots

First, I am a doofus and was so eager to get this on the plate and INTO MY MOUTH that I neglected to toss the meatballs with the gravy and instead just poured it over them.  Following recipe fail.  Whatever, they were still incredible.  I am serious, this food was so good I could eat it every day.  I couldn’t believe how much I loved the colcannon.  As a person who believes that all foods are better when slathered with Earth Balance, I thought there was no way I was going to like mashed potatoes that were fat free.  But guess what I INHALED THEM.  And they’re full of freaking KALE.  Talk about a nutritional powerhouse!  In your face, margarine!  The carrots had a great flavor but in my impatience I undercooked them a little.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER

Ole!  For my trip to Mexico I made AJ’s Pico de Gallo, Drunken Beans, and Migas.

AJ's Pico de Gallo

AJ’s Pico de Gallo

Despite my obsession with pico, I’ve never actually made it from scratch, mostly due to laziness.  This recipe was easier than I thought it was going to be and I loved that it used shallots instead of regular onions because, let’s face it, shallots make everything fancier.  I made this early in the day and then let it sit in the fridge until it was time for dinner so the flavors could marry and this was definitely the way to go.  It tasted a lot better later.

I’ve never heard of migas so I knew I had to make it.  Migas is traditionally an egg-based dish with corn tortilla strips and veggies.  I added nutritional yeast because I couldn’t make what was essentially a Mexican tofu scramble without nooch and I thought it added a nice depth of flavor.  I’ve also never actually bought a poblano pepper, which this recipe called for.  That worked out fine, too.  Turns out they sell them in the produce department.  Who knew.  Anyway, on to the booze.  Drunken beans are awesome.  They taste like beer.  I like beer.  I like beans.  I like beer and beans together.  Seriously though, the smoked paprika really made this dish for me.  Don’t skimp and just use regular paprika or you’ll be seriously missing out.

Migas, Drunken Beans, Pico de Gallo

Migas, Drunken Beans, Pico de Gallo

Happy Herbivore Abroad is a really solid cookbook and it’s definitely going to be on heavy rotation in my kitchen.  The recipes (and beautiful food photos) are interspersed with Nixon’s travelogue and personal stories.  Everything is plant-based and low- or no-fat.  Everything is made from “normal” ingredients that you can pick up in pretty much any grocery store, and there are no overly complicated cooking techniques.  This book is accessible, flavorful, and not too shabby to look at.  I highly recommend it.

HHA_31DaysofGiveaways_badge

After all that, I bet you want to get your mitts on a copy of this book.  Well now it’s giveaway time!  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling me about the best vegan thing you ever ate on vacation.  But what’s that you say?  You want to earn additional entries?  Of course you do.  Here’s how:

1. Share this post on Facebook and be sure to tag Nashvegan.  Leave a comment telling me you did this.
2. Share this post on Twitter using the hashtag #HHATour and mentioning @NashveganBlog.  Leave a comment telling me you did this.
3. Be my special friend on Facebook and “like” Nashvegan.  Leave a comment telling me you did this (or that you already liked me because duh we go way back).
4. Follow @NashveganBlog on Twitter.  Leave a comment telling me you did this.

So if you do everything you can get a total of five entries.  FUN.

Be sure to include a real email address when you comment so I have a way to tell you that you won.  The contest closes at 11:59 PM CST on December 31.  I will use a random number generator to select the winner.  The winner will be announced on January 1, 2013, so long as the world does not end before that time.  If I email you and you don’t get back to me within 72 hours, I’ll give the prize to someone else, so there.

About these ads
 

30 Responses to “Happy Herbivore Abroad”

  1. Tracy Says:

    I recently went to Chicago with a good friend and on the way out of town we stopped at her favorite quick restaurant that is known for burgers/sandwiches…basically I didn’t think I’d find anything to eat…no veggie burger on the menu! I ordered the roasted veggie sandwich without cheese. Yes this may sound boring to you, but despite my low expectations it was a marvelous sandwich plus it came with a big crunchy pickle! So simple and good!

  2. Rugrat Chow! Says:

    The best vegan meal I had on vacation was in Avon, NC – I walked into a bar with my husband and was able to order a plate loaded with grilled veggies on brown rice, with a side of thai peanut sauce!! Made my day … my vacation!!

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I have only been on vacation once since going plant based and we didn’t go to any “vegan” restaurants but we did eat out. The best thing was probably mexican food. It is so versatile and easy to make plant based and it always tastes good!

  4. Janet Says:

    When we are traveling, we often eat at a Chinese restaurant. I like to order a steamed vegetable dish w/ tofu…..yum!

  5. Janet Says:

    Liked you on Facebook!

  6. Tina Says:

    I’ve never intentionally ate vegan on a trip! My husband ordered a vegetarian cassoulette at Cinderella Castle though, from looking at

    • Tina Says:

      Hit the button early! Sorry! Looking at the ingredients, it was actually vegan. Looked scary, quinoa, vegetables… Wed never even heard of quinoa yet…but it was good!

    • Nashvegan Says:

      Based on the menu description, it sounds like it would be vegan. Disney is surprisingly awesome for vegans.

      • Tina Says:

        So I’ve heard! I follow a few vegan/vegetarian threads on a Disney message board. :) It’s interesting all the allergy sensitive items they have. I never knew of them!

      • Nashvegan Says:

        The ice cream parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom has both chocolate Tofutti and vanilla Rice Dream. Not one but two varieties of dairy-free ice cream? Seriously, my hats off to Disney for being so incredibly accommodating.

  7. Tina Says:

    Added you on Twitter (@_Tinad)& Facebook, (Tina Lou) :)

  8. Simona Says:

    The best vegan food i had abroad is mongolian bbq food! A regular restaurant easily vegan friendly…a mix of veggies and tofu on the bbq with rice yuuum

  9. Simona Says:

    Following you on Twitter @catinaweb

  10. Simona Says:

    Tweeted about the giveaway!

  11. mikyzptlk Says:

    The best vegan meal I ever had was at this fancy restaurant where my beautiful fiancee and I got these stuffed mushroom things. They were incredibly spicy (which I normally don’t go for) but the taste was so incredible I just ate through the pain! After dinner, the chef came out and asked us how our meal was and then told us that the mushrooms had been marinating for 9 hours in some kind of sauce…I think it was some kind of awesomesauce. ;)

  12. allisondavis Says:

    Does working on a campaign count as a vacation? Because if so, the best vegan meal I’ve had was at a vegan restaurant/bar in Pensacola, FL called Sluggo’s…the most amazing vegan potstickers!

    I’m not on twitter but I’ve liked you on fb!

    • Nashvegan Says:

      Did you know that Sluggo’s has another location in Chattanooga? I wanted to go the last time I was down there but unfortunately they’re not open on Sundays.

  13. Heather Says:

    Cashews and vegetables in a brown sauce with jasmine rice at Tuptim Thai in Topeka, KS.

  14. I love to scope out vegan restos when travelling. Lots of great meals. I think my favourite find was Pat Greer’s Kitchen in Houston where I could buy takeaway raw food. The portobello pizza hit the mark for me. :-)

  15. Laura Says:

    Already “like” you on FB! Have read your blog since the 1st post. :)

  16. Laura Says:

    Best vegan meal ever was Root Down in Denver. Second best was Wild Ginger in NYC a couple of years ago when we missed our flight home and were stuck there on Christmas Day. Wild Ginger ended up being the highlight of the trip that year.

  17. Laura Says:

    I have to add that the turnip and caraway soup with rice croutons and vinegar gastrique at Tayst was the best local vegan food I’ve ever had. I could eat that every day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers