What Plant Based Means to Me and How We Eat

My mom was a vegetarian while I was growing up. I was used to having tofu, tempeh, fresh veg, lots of legumes, fruits and homemade foods. Bc I grew up with it, it never occurred to me that other kids didn’t live that way. My father was always a healthy eater and great cook, but he ate meat. As I see it, I had the best of both worlds.

When I met my husband, he was vegetarian and had been on and off for most of his life. I ate meat then, but I never had any issues eating less or no meat during our meals together. Eating less meat made me realize that when I did eat meat, I didn’t feel as good as when I ate more fruits and veggies.

By the time we moved to New Jersey, we were eating fish, but little to no land meat. We wavered back and forth some (my husband even ate chicken for a while) but it was mostly ovo lacto vegetarian for us. Some events in the Summer of 2018 lead us both to come to the conclusion that we would give up all meat, from land and sea, in a serious manner.

Personally, I think humans are supposed to eat animals. We, ourselves, are animals and omnivores as far as I can tell from the evidence I know. But I think the way most people currently eat animals is unsustainable and inhumane, wasteful and unnecessary. In an attempt to lead a more sustainable and less wasteful life, eating plant based is an easy and obvious choice.

 I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

Now we eat what I like to call a vegetarian, plant based, whole food diet. That’s a mouth full and what does it even mean? We stopped eating any fish and sea creatures. We do eat dairy like cheese and butter and sour cream. We try to eat mostly fruits and veggies and eat whole foods that have not been overly processed. We eat fermented foods like miso, pickles and vinegar.

We try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Some with every meal! The term Plant Based really refers to a diet that is only plants but I use it to mean a diet that is based on plants, which we definitely do.

We also try to keep local stores, growers, producers in mind when we eat. This year was the first one where we grew our some of our own food and it was a game changer. It’s important to us to eat this way so that we are conscious of the environment, animals, our home and our health.

There are, of course, some ways we could improve our current diet. An example would be to make our own cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt, or only buy local cheese and dairy. But right now this diet works for us.

Some of our typical and most eaten meals are:

Quesadillas with black beans, corn, olives, fresh veggies, sour cream and hot sauce.

Cheese, crackers, veggies, mustard, pickles, olives, and mustard.

Miso soup with veggies and noodles.

Pasta with red sauce or pesto or cheese or garlic oil.

Sides meal with potatoes, veggies, grains, and various other “sides”.

Salads with home made croutons, veggies, sometimes we add fake chicken patties, and dressings.

Tofu, rice and broccoli with soy sauce, peanuts and chili garlic sauce.

Peanut butter and jelly (and sometimes hot sauce) sandwiches.

Bean and rice bowls.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with red onions and hot sauce.

Pierogies with onions, sour cream and veggies.

Smoothie bowls with various toppings.

Oatmeal with fruits, nuts and nut milks.

Beans on toast.

Chickpea salad sandwiches with carrots, onions, celery, and mayo.

 This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

Let me know in the comments if you also eat meals like this! Or if you would like recipes or more info on any of the meals listed above. What kind of diet do you eat? What role does your diet play in your lifestyle?

Two Habits I love and Two for November

I’m still working on my habit goals for October. I’ve been better about taking a minute to stretch in the mornings, but it hasn’t been every day. I’ve been trying to incorporate doing the dishes into my mornings and keep the sink dish free.
Since I don’t do the same things at the same time everyday for the most part, habit forming has to fit in where it can. Not the ideal way to form habits! It might take me a little longer than I would like, but having my habit blog post has helped me to stick with my goals. I like to refer back to it for motivation. How do you keep yourself motivated to change your habits?

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For November there are some new habits I want to start working on. In order to get myself ready, I like to look at some habits I already have and remember why they help me and why I like them.

Watering the plants once a week
We have a lot of plants. Plants are, to me, an essential for every home. At last count we had 50 indoor plants and it takes about half an hour to forty five minutes to water them all. I like to water them once a week. I find when I do it less often, they are not as happy and they tend to leak more, or I will feel rushed watering them. I don’t water every plant every week, but making sure I check every plant each week is best.

Move the plants every two to three months
This goes along with watering on a regular basis, I love to take the time every two to three months to move all the plants around. Some plants just get a small move or turn but some go to different rooms, or areas of the house. Since the weather has turn I got to do this ritual recently and it was lovely.

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For November here are the habits I want to make:

Read everyday
I love to read but sometimes it’s hard for me to choose reading over other activities. There are times when I get in a groove and read a lot. That time is not now. But I want to read SO MANY things! This month I want to get into the habit of reading everyday, even if it’s just a few pages.

Morning Pages
Lots of people sing the praises of morning pages. Over the last few months, I have tried to start this habit a few times. But this month I’m going to get serious about it. People say there are a ton of benefits for morning pages, and I’m excited to see what it does for me.

What are some habits your trying to adopt this month?

Here are some of the past habits I have tried to learn:
Stretch everyday
Dish free sink

October Plant Update

Plant observations were many this month. We had a lot of opportunity to walk around town, be in our yard, and visit new places. We saw bees buzzing, squirrels scavenging, flowers blooming and dying off, creatures and plants working together and everything getting ready for Winter.

 On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

 Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

 The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

 Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

 The dunes looked majestic in October.

The dunes looked majestic in October.

 We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

 Another active plant observer.

Another active plant observer.

 We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

 Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

 Another late bloomer.

Another late bloomer.

 Another busy bee.

Another busy bee.

 The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The weather was mild and it was a lovely month. For November, we are planning on ways to keep our plants happy over the Winter.

What were your plant observations in October?

October in Review

October was a super smooth month. So smooth, I can barely remember what happened. Not it a bad way! I felt calm and at peace most of October and it was a great month where we got to see family and friends, got to explore our favorite places, got to eat and make merry!

 1) Perfect watcher in Allentown, NJ. 2) Practically obscured in Asbury Park, NJ. 3) Hairless and serene in Ocean Grove, NJ. 4) A friend and visitor at home.

1) Perfect watcher in Allentown, NJ. 2) Practically obscured in Asbury Park, NJ. 3) Hairless and serene in Ocean Grove, NJ. 4) A friend and visitor at home.

We saw so many #watchercats and #watcherdogs this month! It was glorious!! We also got to spend time with friend cats! And as usual we took time to care for our own cat family.

 1) The Great Swamp. 2) A prayer for the beach. 3) Dinos in strange places. 4) Bee mine.

1) The Great Swamp. 2) A prayer for the beach. 3) Dinos in strange places. 4) Bee mine.

Visiting new place in our state is always fun and we got the chance to explore! We also made a now rare visit to Brooklyn. We had friendly dinners, coffee dates, and guests!

 1) TWIX! 2) A lovely fence sitter. 3) Porch cat in Asbury Park, NJ. 4) Cat sitting for Garfield!

1) TWIX! 2) A lovely fence sitter. 3) Porch cat in Asbury Park, NJ. 4) Cat sitting for Garfield!

October was a pleasure. As the weather turns, and Winter’s on it’s way, let’s say hello to November!

Garden Tour | Summer 2018

Since first moving to New Jersey and into our own house, we have wanted to start gardening. It took about 3 years, but this Summer was the first year we seriously started growing vegetables. 

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We started small, but this was a great introduction to gardening at home! We started basically everything from plants, except our radishes which we started from seeds. For us, starting from plants was less intimidating and we thought we would have more success. We had lot of success with just about everything we planted.

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Our main bed, and the biggest producer, is in our front yard. My dream is to have more and more beds in our front yard since we don’t really utilize that space. We planted four or five different tomatoes, basil, orange thyme, and shishito peppers. We also planted items in pots that were scattered between front and back.

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In the back we already had blueberry bushes and we also put a raised bed with kale, hot peppers and radishes from seed. We plan to devote one whole side of the yard to our garden next year, have some space in the middle and eventually plant fruit trees on the opposite side.

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This summer was mild but we had lots of sun and lots of rain and the garden loved it! Our tomatoes exploded. We ate one of our favorite meals, tomatoes and mozz, all year and never bought any tomatoes from the store!!

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Mostly for my own records here is a list of what we grew in 2018 and how it did:

4 small tomato varieties - these were bananas! Next year I hope we label/mark/ remember what we plant. That would have been nice this year.

1 large tomato variety - these got completely over shadowed, literally, by the small ones so they didn’t produce much. What we did have was delicious! We like the smalls better, but it seems worth it to have one large each year.

Shishitos - this was my favorite thing we grew this year. I want to have like a million of these next year!

Hot peppers - I’m not sure if we even ate any of these.

Kale - Next year we have to get better about harvesting and eating our own kale!

Radishes - Why did we even grow these? We tried pickling them but they turned out pretty bad. Next year, if we plant them, we will only do a few at a time.

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Basil and purple basil - what we planted in beds did really well, the ones in pots not so much. I hope to plant again next year but be better about picking and using what we grow.

Orange thyme - probably my husbands favorite thing we grew, we will def be planting this again.

Assorted herbs - some of these I’ve had for ears and they just keep coming back, some are new this year. I want to get better and maintaining and using herbs next year.

Blueberries - our bluebs did really well this year. Over the winter we hope to protect them better bc they took quite a beating in heavy snows last year.

Raspberries - we only got a few but they were good! We have them in pots, but perhaps we will transfer them to beds or the yard next year.

Strawberries - we had more strabs than ever before but never got to eat them. We could never get to them before the critters.

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Looking at the list, it’s a lot longer than I thought it would be! I can’t wait to grow more next year and rely on store bought foods less!

What did you grow this year and what are your plans for 2019?

Off Season: Moth Coffeehouse

We recently headed to one of our favorite small towns, Allentown NJ, and finally got to stop in at a Moth Coffeehouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but somehow always visit the town when the cafe is closed. I was not disappointed. I love that this coffee shop is in a hundreds year old building and that it offers a lot of healthy and vegan options.

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The whole cafe and aesthetic is lovely. They have plenty of low waste options, to stay cups and plates. It’s cozy and if I lived closer, I could easily see myself becoming a regular.

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What’s your favorite coffee shop?

Tattoo Story: Cup of Coffee

My second tattoo might seem a little out there, or childish, but to me it fit perfectly with what I want my tattoos to be and how I want my body to be decorated.

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I got my second tattoo only a few months after my first. I knew that I wanted more and more right away. It was an easy choice to get another from the same artist as my anchor.

My coffee cup clearly depicts my love of coffee, but it’s also a replica of the cups I served coffee out of for 8 years at one of my favorite jobs. It’s very whimsical but it’s remembrance is very special to me.

Do any readers have tattoos of food or drink?

Why I'm Not Changing the Name of This Blog

The anniversary of this blog is Oct 28th 2013. I started it mostly bc that was around the time that I was quilting seriously. I wanted to become part of the online quilting community and to document my journey. For many years, this blog was my accountability partner as well as my journal for keeping on track with quilting.

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Earlier this year, I decided to take a break from quilting. Quilting had become a chore, something I did bc I knew I had to/should but not bc I wanted to or was inspired. I found myself dragging my feet on making things, and therefore dragging my feet on posting on the blog, as well. Although it started as an avenue to share my quilting, this blog also became a way to share my life and other passions. So I didn’t take a break from the blog even though I needed a break from the reason I started it.

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I’m happy to share my zero waste journey, my love of where home, my attempts to lead a more mindful life. But I’m not going to change the name of this blog to move away from the quilting and towards some of those other avenues. Quilting has been a part of my life for a long time and I plan for it to continue to be. Quilting has ties to all the aspects of my life that I want to share here, whether I’m currently doing it or not. Hopefully I’ll return to quilting sooner rather than later and this space will be the spot to share it.

Mad Cat Capsule: Fall 2018 (Oct, Nov, Dec)

For this Fall Capsule, I did things a little differently. I still eased clothing that I wanted in the next capsule in over the last few weeks of the previous one, but this quarter I divided the items by color. I usually try to only have a few colors in each capsule, aside from certain neutrals. But for this, I didn’t hold back.

The result is that the color themes in this capsule includes cream, light blue, green, black & white, yellow, black, white, and grey.

I also paid close attention to texture, fabric and weight in this quarter’s capsule. I’ve been working my way towards a plastic free wardrobe, but this capsule has a few synthetic pieces I’ve had for a long time and want to see if they are worth keeping in my closet.

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This capsule turned out quite large. The weather has been all over the place, so partly the capsule reflects that but also I had fun putting this one together and getting out of my comfort zone.

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14 shirts - Black and white ribbed mock neck (thrifted and vintage), silk mock neck (thrifted and vintage), snake skin turtleneck (thrifted and vintage), boat neck tee (ethically made, 10+ years old), waffle long sleeve (ethically made, 10+ years old), silk blouse (thrifted), black and white flral crop (5+ years), black and white dot crop (second hand), white floral crop (thrifted), mustard silk (vintage and thrifted), denim crop (vintage and thrifted), cream silk blouse (vintage and thrifted), floral long sleeve (thrifted and vintage), mustard silk knit (thifted and vintage. Not pictured).

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10 tee shirts - grey crew (ethically made, 10+years), cream crew (ethically made, 10+years), green v neck (ethically made, 10+years), dark grey v neck (ethically made, 10+years), team sandwiches cat crew (thrifted), forgotten boardwalk (local biz), pizza and bee (local biz), MLB crop, yellow attendance (vintage and thrifted. Not pictured).

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4 skirts - wool grey (thrifted and vintage), black suede (vintage and thrifted), black and white stripe (10+ years), long black.

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6 pants - black skinny (thrifted), everlane (ethically made), light grey (thrifted), black mom (thrifted and vintage), green silk (thrifted and vintage), blue sailor (thrifted, not pictured).

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6 sweaters - Grey kimono (thrifted), dark grey, cream crop (thrifted), yellow cardigan (second hand), green confetti (hand made, vintage, and thrifted), black holey.

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4 over shirts - yellow cowl neck sweatshirt (10+), grey crop (thrifted), denim (found, not pictured), linen (vintage and thrifted, not pictured).

Edit: Light has not been my friend lately. While creating this post, I was only able to get limited photos. I’ll add more as soon as I can capture them.

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6 dresses/jumpsuits - Long hippy (vintage, handmade, thrifted), black and white pineapple, black and white rabbit, cream cats, blue denim, grey jumpsuit (thrifted).

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4 tanks - Black strappy tank (10+ years), black ribbed (10+), grey ribbed (10+), yellow.

7 shoes - bright vans, cat vans, velcro vans, zip booties (thrifted), emily booties, brown suede booties (vintage and thrifted), high tops.

In total this capsule has 61 pieces. 46 of them are slow fashion. I have also been trying to remove micro fibers/plastics from my wardrobe. It’s not easy, and I worry that I will never be able to fully eliminate them. I have to count exactly how many non synthetics.

Who else is starting out a capsule around now? Share your posts, or closets below!

Three Habits I love and Two for October

A few months ago I shared some habits I want to build in the rest of 2018. This week I want to start documenting the habits I'm working on for October. 

Working on building new habits isn't the funnest activity. It can be frustrating and I sometimes forget why I'm even bothering. So before getting into the habit I hope to make, I want to share some of my favorites habits I already have. 

Making The Bed
I don’t make hospital corners, I don’t change the sheets every day, I don’t buy expensive sets, pillows, or have a fancy mattress. But I love to make the bed! making the bed every day makes me feel like I have done something that day (even if I haven’t).

Cat Naps
While we are talking about beds, let’s talk about naps. I try to take a nap several times a week, if not once a day. I like a nap of course more importantly, I need the bonding time with my babies. I used to think that this wasn’t so important, but it has become a vital part of my self care.

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Walking to Work
Walking in general is an activity that I have come to realize is very important to my mental health and over all well being. I wish that I took many long walks, and I used to. But lately, I have settled for just walking to work. Not only do I get a walk in, it takes about 20-25 minutes to get to work, but I get a few moments to prepare from my day ahead.

I plan to continue these habits, hopefully for a long time. But this month, and especially before the cold weather sets in, I want to make some new habits, too. Here’s what I want to work on:

Stretching
This is one habit I have wanted to incorporate for long time. I’m hoping this month I can cement doing daily stretches every day. I plan to start small but I’d like to eventually try a yoga class or something like that.

Dish Free Sink
I actually really like to do dishes. But I am guilty of often not doing them right away. It doesn’t help that we have a small space to dry them. But ever since we got a on tap filter, I have been wanting and trying to keep the sink dish free most of the time.

What are some habits you’ve recently adopted or wish to?

One Day in Cape May

Last month we took an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places, Cape May NJ. We left pretty late as it was a last minute decision to go, but it was a ridiculously gorgeous day and once there, we went right to the beach! It’s about an hour and a half drive so it was really relaxing to swim and lay out.

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Congress Hall is a favorite of ours when we stay in the area, but it’s also great to pop in and see how it’s decorated or for a bathroom break.

We walked around town and popped into a few shops, but then made our way down to Sunset Beach. We love the weird gem shop there and that there is a sunken ship still visible. We even got to see a flag ceremony with muscat salute! It’s also known for it’s sunsets, of course.

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On our way back into town we stopped at the Animal Outreach Of Cape May. It was too late for it to be open, but we got to see a few kitties.

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On the way back north, we stopped at Big Wave Burritos. It was pretty tasty! I was happy to try a few local spots this trip that we hadn’t before. Earlier in the day we also got a nice coffee at Out There Coffee.

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I’m so glad that we live so close to Cape May now and it makes for easy day trips to one of our favorite places! One day in this town is plenty to see and do a lot and I highly suggest a visit if you are close by.

Do you have a near by getaway that you love to revisit again and again.

September in Review

My goodness, September is over already. It was a great month and I’ve talked already about how September is one of my favorite time of year Down the Shore. This month was the perfect local’s summer with visitors, Sept swims, visits to our favorite towns, cats, #watchercats, plus more adventures!

 1) A rainy day in Bayhead, NJ. 2) The sky over Wesley Lake. 3) Backyard tendrils. 4) Exploring in Howell, NJ.

1) A rainy day in Bayhead, NJ. 2) The sky over Wesley Lake. 3) Backyard tendrils. 4) Exploring in Howell, NJ.

It was important for us to see friends this month and we were lucky to have some come to stay with us. We were able to relax and explore. We were able to travel around NJ a little this month which is a favorite past time.

 1) Porch #watchercat. 2) Irving, watching. 3) Bond Street buddy! 4) And a brother to #1.

1) Porch #watchercat. 2) Irving, watching. 3) Bond Street buddy! 4) And a brother to #1.

The weather in September was so great and the #watchercats loved it!

 1) This crow was loud. 2) This moth was huge! 3) This caterpillar was huger!! 4) This crane was pretty chill.

1) This crow was loud. 2) This moth was huge! 3) This caterpillar was huger!! 4) This crane was pretty chill.

We were able to observe a lot of animals and plants this month. We took a lot of walks which is one of our favorite activities. This was something we missed doing more in the Summer when our schedules are more hectic.

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We tried to spend a lot of quality time at home this month, too. We were able to take care of our family in Sept which is a great feeling!

September was everything I hoped it would be! And Local’s Summer isn’t over! I can’t wait for October to settle into Fall!

September Plant Update

September has become one of my favorite months since moving to the beach. Local’s Summer, changing of the season, back to school, and slower living, are part of why I love it. I also really love my plant observations during this month.

We went to some new beaches, new parks, got to forrest bathe and hang out in the back yard.

 Higbees Beach, Cape May, NJ

Higbees Beach, Cape May, NJ

 We brought these plants all the way from Brooklyn and September is their time to shine.

We brought these plants all the way from Brooklyn and September is their time to shine.

 I’m not sure what these little flowers are but they are pretty neat!

I’m not sure what these little flowers are but they are pretty neat!

 The bees are still doing the good work this month.

The bees are still doing the good work this month.

 Our raspberries were briefly infested with these little bugs.

Our raspberries were briefly infested with these little bugs.

 Our morning glories are happy.

Our morning glories are happy.

 Exploring some local parks.

Exploring some local parks.

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 Clematis at night.

Clematis at night.

 More night blooms.

More night blooms.

What month of the year is your favorite for plant observations?