Way back in September, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by two awesome bloggers – The Veg Abides AND Gallivanting Vegan! Between traveling, starting a new job, and a fried motherboard this never got posted (oops!), but I thought it would be fun to share now. I would love to hear your answers to my questions. Enjoy!


The rules are:

  • Answer the questions provided by the nominator, then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
  • Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
  • No Tag backs (i.e. you cannot nominate the blog that nominated you)
  • Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

Now let’s get started!

What food did you hate as a child and enjoy/tolerate now?

I used to hate okra and papaya. Luckily I gave them a second chance and I love them both now. I’m not really a super picky eater – just don’t make me eat arugula!

Favorite sandwich filling?

Avocado and tempeh. Mmmmm! And of course you can never go wrong with the classic PB&J.

Do you have any strange food habits (my food can’t touch, has to all be a different color, etc.)?

After living in China, I became so used to using chopsticks all the time that it felt weird to use a fork in other countries. Sometimes I still use chopsticks to eat random foods.

Which type of vegan substitute (veggie meat, plant milk, etc.) can you not live without?

Soy milk! It goes in everything – oatmeal, tea, smoothies! And “flax eggs” for baking everything. (Or chia eggs.) Flax seed is amazing and I love the added fiber, protein, and omega 3 boost!

What food item do you prefer to make at home, even if it’s easily bought?

Do tomatoes count? Home grown tomatoes are one of my favorite things. I love hunting for red tomatoes in the garden and eating them every possible way. There is just something about tomatoes that you grew yourself that you can never replicate from a store bought tomato.

Which fresh herb or spice do you love the most?

I don’t discriminate against fresh herbs. Basil, mint, rosemary, cilantro – I love them all! I also use a lot of pepper, garlic salt, cinnamon, and crushed red pepper.

What’s your fondest food memory?

Every year before Christmas, my family spends an entire day baking cookies at my grandma’s house. It’s great to spend time with my family. And what’s not to love about cookies? I have missed a lot of holidays when I was out of the country, so I am really looking forward to cookie day this year!

What’s your number 1 comfort food craving?

Chocolate! Always chocolate.

Why are you vegan?

I think I’ve always gravitated towards a more plant based diet. Thanks to a very graphic Lonely Planet video in geography class, I developed a desire to see the world and a stronger distaste for meat. As I entered college, I became more interested in nutrition and learned a lot about the benefits of eating plants. I learned that my body didn’t need to eat meat. I never really woke up one day and declared myself a vegan, but I would say that point in my life was when I really started focusing more on becoming vegan. As I did more research, I discovered other benefits as well – plant based diets are better for the environment and don’t contribute to animal cruelty. The more you get into it, the harder it becomes to separate each of these reasons.

What is your favorite vegan restaurant and why?

I don’t eat out a ton and generally I enjoy finding dishes in mainstream restaurants that are accidentally vegan or can be easily veganized. Having the ability to choose anything off the menu is always exciting though (and the cheesecake from The Chicago Diner is awesome!) While I was in Kathmandu, I think I ate at a place called Shree Lal at least once a day. I love Indian food and the people there were super friendly.

Now it’s your turn!

1. What is the best mistake you’ve made in the kitchen?

2. What is your favorite zucchini recipe?

3. What is your favorite thing in your kitchen?

4. What strange food combinations do you enjoy?

5. What are you planting in your garden this year?

6. Why did you start blogging?

7. What is your favorite vegan pizza topping?

8. What is the best way to eat chocolate?

9. If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

10. What would the theme of your own cooking show be?


12 More Things I Learned from a Year (Eating) Abroad

After my first year in China, I wrote about 12 things I’ve learned from living abroad. Here are 12 (tastier) things that I learned while eating my way around the world.

Hot Pot!

1. Food always tastes better when it’s on a stick.

Always. It’s obviously a law of nature. Pineapple on a stick. Tofu on a stick. Deep fried vegetables on a stick. Doesn’t matter what it is. It will instantly taste better when you are eating it off of a stick.

2. Sometimes you just need to buy peanut butter.

I feel guilty about buying peanut butter. It is expensive. And I should be experiencing traditional Chinese dishes. But every once in a while you just need a piece of home.

3. Never underestimate the power of a rice cooker.

Seriously. These things are magical. I don’t always have access to a kitchen, but I have gotten very creative with my rice cooker. You can make SO MANY things with a rice cooker!

4. Just eat the street food

Get your vaccinations, remember to pack the anti-diarrheal meds, wash your hands, but don’t be too afraid to try the street food.


5. You have never had tofu until you have been to China.

So. Delicious. Tofu in any other country just isn’t the same.

6. Don’t let one bad experience hold you back.

I tried papaya once and instantly hated it, vowing to never let it pass through my lips again. And then I found myself in India where I decided to give it another try. I was instantly converted and it has become one of my favorite fruits. Bottom line: sometimes you just need to try things more than once before judging too harshly. Don’t be afraid to give second chances.

7. Chopsticks are more useful than you may realize.

I’ve certainly come a long way since first awkwardly fumbling around with chopsticks and slippery noodles. I’ve really grown to appreciate how useful they can be. Sometimes a fork just won’t cut it (pun intended =D ).

8. But sometimes you also just need to eat with your hands.

Or specifically your right hand in many countries. It just tastes better that way. (Also see # 1)

9. Never underestimate the magical powers of garlic soup.

While I was trekking in Nepal, I experienced horrible altitude sickness. My excruciating headache and nausea were so paralyzing that I started to fear I would be medically evacuated. A little Diamox and some garlic soup and I was a brand new person the next day.

10. Sometimes bananas are red and oranges are green.

Life is strange. Just go with it.

11. Food still has calories in other countries.

It is possibly to eat well, be healthy, and enjoy traveling. But if you are eating too much and not moving around enough, it is also very possible to gain weight.



12. Dumplings taste so much better when you make them yourself

Kind of like how fresh, garden tomatoes that you grow yourself are so much more flavorful than any tomato you could ever buy in a store.