About my work – freelance food writer

People ask me about what I do from home, so I figured I’d share with a little more detail.  First up. food and freelancing. 

I love food.    I love eating, cooking, reading about, and playing with food.  I collect cookbooks and menus.  I love finding new twists on favorite recipes.  I love seeing the look on a loved one’s face when they enjoy something I prepared for them.

I wanted to find a way to do what I love and make money with it.  While searching for a new telecommuting position, I stumbled across a listing for Examiner.com.  I always wanted to write, so I decided to take the plunge.  After all, I had nothing to lose. They liked me, so I became Charleston SC’s Vegetarian Examiner.  I get to play with food more and write about it,

SAMSUNG

Homemade veggie soup – vegan, quick, and cheap. A standard in cooler months.

SAMSUNG

From Crazy Sexy Kitchen – a yummy salad of almonds, sunflower seeds, and veggies.

SAMSUNG

Chickpea Burgers from Grilling Vegan Style. Loved them and so did the omni hubby.

 

If you want to try your hand at writing, consider becoming an Examiner, too.

Finding my passion and finding a way to make it part of how I make my living was important to me.  It’s standard advice for those looking for the right business.  Or anyone looking for peace.  Find your bliss and embrace it.

What’s your passion?

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Oy, Sunday was not my day of rest

I love having a flexible schedule, but hate it at the same time.  I love it because I can work whenever, but hate when I forget to take scheduled breaks.

Yesterday was family day all around. We celebrated a birthday and just hung out together.  Work was the last thing on my mind, but I made a mental note about what I needed to do today,  My to-do list wasn’t long, but it took some time.

How good do these look? Lindsay Nixon (Happy Herbivore) rocks!  Lindsay Nixon photo.

How good do these look? Lindsay Nixon (Happy Herbivore) rocks! Lindsay Nixon photo.

First up, I wrote and published an Examiner article and blog post on an upcoming book release.

I love me some Happy Herbivore!   Sorry, fan girling.

Photo editing, proofreading, and some promotion went along with it.  In between those tasks, I did a little social media management for a client.  While doing so, I took note of ideas for blog posts for said client and performed a little customer service.   I checked the time and realized I was falling behind, so I grabbed a snack and went back to writing.  I finished up and started on my Saturday and Sunday blog challenge posts while noting that I missed the Panthers game.  Nice win, guys!

I also checked email, corresponded with clients, and checked sales circulars for dog food specials. What I haven’t done is plan menus or cooked Sunday dinner.  It’s just us girls at the moment and we know the routine when I’m working on weekends.

So, what’s your Sunday like today?

A day in the life

Curious about this telecommuting mom’s daily weekday schedule? It’s less exciting than you’d think.

5:15-5:30 am  crawl out of bed (yeah, right)

5:45 am  really crawl out of bed, scramble around like a crazy woman

5:50 – 6:30 am  make breakfast and lunch for man and boy, kick them out for the day

6:30 – 7:30 am shower, breakfast, coffee

7:30 am – noon work

noon- 1 pm lunch

1-2 pm exercise break

2-4 pm work

After 4, unless I’m swamped or distracted, I play around online for me. Pinterest, blogs, shopping for free e-books, finding recipes, clean, or whatever.  I start on dinner around 5-5:30 pm and from then on it’s family time.

I take stretch breaks while at my desk (because I pay dearly when I don’t) and am interrupted by dogs, the girl, package deliveries, and the occasional random visit.

On that note, don’t drop by without giving me a call first. It makes me a little cranky.

What does your day look like?

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th!

Have a fantastic, safe, and happy Independence Day!

My first award – thanks, Billie!

I started this blog as an outlet for me and to see if any other telecommuters had similar experiences, especially those with children.  And because I enjoy calling out scammers.  A lot.  I didn’t expect anyone to give me an award for it, but I got my first one and am stoked!  Billie at A Peaceful Serenity, another wahm, gave me this yesterday

Sweet, ain’t it?  Thank you so much!  I’m glad that my ramblings have helped and will keep doing what I’ve been doing.  Her blog is one of my favorite stops!

Part of accepting the award is:
*displaying the award
*linking back to the person who gave it to you
*paying it forward & nominating 7 blogs
*adding links to those seven blogs
*leaving comments on their blog telling them you gave them an award
*enjoying the award

Here are seven that I think you’ll like (I hope you’ve already eaten; if not, you’ll get hungry):

Telecommuting Truths – I love learning from other telecommuters and wish I had found this blog when I started on my job search 8 years ago.  I found Kelly on CafeMom and visit her telecommuting group and blog daily.  She’s a writer and inspires me.  Her recent post on time management is awesome!

Vegan Dad is another of my daily stops.  While I’m not a vegan, I get a lot of ideas for family-friendly meals here.  My kids are picky, but they have found several of his posts drool-worthy.

Vegemommy is another favorite.  Heidi has two little ones and is a total doll.  I’ve made a few of her recipes and my family thanks her everty time we have burgers.

Fairly Odd Tofu Mom caught me right off.  I saw her link on another blog and had to see what this one was about.  (My kids really like Nickelodeon’s Fairly Oddparents).  Vegan comfort food – yes ma’am!  Great stuff here, and her daughter even has a funny blog of her own starring Veggie Barbie.

Winning Friends with Salad tickled me, too.  I remember that chant during The Simpsons’ barbeque!  Kate (and Eva on occasion) discuss working out, eating well, and living life while you’re at it.  It’s real, and that’s what more of us working toward better health need to hear.

Julie Hasson from Everyday Dish shared the best vegan sausage recipe I’ve ever had.  I haven’t bought Tofurkey brats since I made these.

Comfort Food Vegan.  Inspiration, period.

There are more, but I am now starving.  Enjoy!

Playing with my food – 2 kinds of (vegetarian) burgers, Teese, & Sheese

Hey all! I figured that a major cookout occasion would be a good time to share about what I’ve been doing in the kitchen. Yes, Memorial Day is much more than an excuse to fire up the grill, but that is a given. I appreciate all the sacrifices that our enlisted and retired brothers and sisters have done for me and I thank you all.

I am the sole vegetarian in my home, In my extended family, too. Family gatherings usually involve food, mostly old-school, Southern Sunday dinner-type food; not always veggie-friendly. I’ve been doing my part, bringing hearty sides that are mostly vegan, low cholesterol, lower fat, and wickedly delicious. But when it’s time to fire up the grill, this girl needs a little more than side salads and dessert. I’ve always liked burgers and dogs, but wanted to try my own creations instead of always pulling out Boca or Amy’s. I haven’t found a dog recipe, but Yves, Lightlife, and Morningstar Farms have good ones. Tofurkey and Boca sausages are yummy, too. If you’d rather make your own, try Julie Hasson’s Spicy Italian Vegetarian Sausages. Oh man these are good! I’ve made them twice now, with beans and with tofu. They hold up to grilling quite nicely and made my omni family smile.

As for my burger recipes, a friend suggested adding a little pecan meal to a meatball recipe for a heartier texture (thanks Heidi) and it works! They were deemed the best ever by the family so I’ve made pecan meal a staple around here. The basic burger recipe makes four good-sized burgers or 16 meatballs.

Combine the dry ingredients and sit aside –

  • 3/4 cup tvp
  • 1/4 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup pecan meal
  • parsley, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, & pepper to taste

In a separate bowl, mix

  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat until near boiling (about 2 minutes in the microwave), give a quick stir, and pur over dry ingredients.

Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then stir in 2 T nutritional yeast. Shape into balls or patties, then cook in a nonstick pan until browned.

They freeze well and are great to keep on hand. I made a double batch, and use one as crumbles to quickly toss into soup, chili, salads, tacos, etc.

I mixed up another batch and made bacon burgers! I added Bacos to the dry mix , added a few drops of liquid smoke to the wet mix, and added 3 T of nutritional yeast. Hubby liked these more than the basic burgers.

I’ve done some shopping, too. I bought some Teese and Sheeze online and am glad I did. They were a little pricey, especially with shipping (about $25 total), but both are really good.

I’ve had Teese on pizza, in a quesadilla, and on a veggie reuben. The Sheeze is cheddar, so I’ve had it in a grilled cheese & with crackers. I haven’t liked any vegan cheese cold and these work. The Teese has a nutty flavor that worked really well on the reuben (starring one of my veggie burgers). The Sheeze reminded me of a crock cheese spread. When I snag some pimientos I’ll make pimiento cheese & let you know how that is, too.

Remember to have fun with your food, this weekend and every day. Be safe, be well, and take care.

A little more about my green life

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a green mom longer than I’ve been a green biz mom.  I drove my mother crazy with my recycling, vegetarian-leaning, liberal ways, but I’m a better person and mom because of it.  I want to give our Mother as much love as I can and help heal her.  I know my individual efforts are small, but if each of us does our part, we can help.
Recycling is a given – paper, bottles, cans, dryer sheets, clothing – everything we can.  We donate the kids’ (and our) outgrown clothing to Goodwill, have reduced the amount of waste we produce and amount of energy we use, and reuse goodies that we can find.  I have an old console tv body that mom was going to toss and use it as a plant stand.  It means the world to me that my husband and kids are also on board, and that in general the world is becoming a greener place.  Even if it is the trendy thing to do.
Let’s go back to the beginning.  I was born at 11:59 pm on March 30, 1069…Too far back?  K.
When I was 12-13 I told my mom I wanted to be a vegetarian.  She said ok, then loaded my pate with meat, veggies cooked with meat, and rice cooked in chicken broth and told me to eat. She said that until I started cooking or had a job and could buy my own food, I had to eat what she cooked.  So I did.  Until I hit 17 and got my first real job (I wanted to work before then, but she wouldn’t allow it).  I started limiting meat and increasing veggies, bread, and cheese.  Oh how I loved cheese!  When I got my own place I discovered Books, Herbs, & Spices, a local  health food store, and became a regular.  My love of cookbooks and all things cooking blossomed then, and I saw food as an adventure.
[Yes, vegetarians can be heavy!  I just hadn’t learned how to balance out the things I loved with things that I loved but should limit.  Even Fruity Pebbles is vegan, but that didn’t mean I should eat it for breakfast, second breakfast, late snacks, etc.]
I also learned more about my impact on the environment and set on the path to reducing my contribution to Mother Earth’s pain.  I walked, rode my bike, and rode the bus more often than starting up the car.  I cleaned my apartment with vinegar, baking soda, Borax, & lemon juice concoctions.  Air freshener was usually some orange or lemon peel tossed in boiling water with a cinnamon stick or plain.  I bought a couple canvas shopping bags and took them everywhere – and had clerks put the plastic or paper bags inside the canvas bags.  I washed my cans and bottles & lugged them to the recycling center about 20 minutes from home.  And then DD was born.
I occasionally ate meat while pregnant because she craved it.  Then decided she didn’t like it.  Mom would drop off food after DD arrived – usually a roast or casserole – and I’d eat it because I was too tired to argue about it, hungry, and not up to cooking.  I went back & forth for a while flirting with a veg way of life and a generally healthier way of life.  Then I met hubby.  We ate out often.  By often I mean weekly.  I gained at least 80 pounds and was already heavy when he & I met.  I’m not sure how much I actually gained because I stopped weighing myself when I saw the scale hit 252.
Fast forward to more current events.  In April 07 hubster was away for a training session so I took the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Veggie Challenge and was meat free for months.  Then I had a craving and fed it.  And regretted it over the following days while my body yelled at me.  Last October I joined Shaklee and started a new supplement regimen and between it and my way of eating I’d dropped a few pounds, gained energy, and reduced my blood pressure.  I’ve been visiting sites like Lime, Green Mommy Guide, and my fav veg communities and blogs for more tips and hints on keeping on track.  I participated in Earth Hour and spend my cash in places that do their part to save the Earth.  I receive and pay bills electronically and have cut down on a lot of mail.
I went veg for my health.  I went green for the Earth and my children.  I keep on this path because I couldn’t go back to living any other way  It’s a part of me and I know my family is happier and healthier because it.

There is a lot happening with this WAHM during Women’s Health Week!

As usual, your friendly neighborhood insomniac workaholic wahm is busy. For once classes are not a part of the routine, but that will change in a couple of weeks.
It’s vet time for the dogs, my babies and my mom’s sweetheart, Rosie. That’s going to be a fun couple of days I tell ya. Meetings galore for my daughter this and over the next few weeks since she’ll be leaving middle school and headed to high. Sniff. My baby’s not a baby anymore – she’s a moody, angst-filled, Goddess! It had to happen. Can’t keep ’em frozen in time.
All week I’ll be participating in MommyFest, but then again I’ve told you that. I’ve been enjoying it so far. It’s been good to see what the other blogging moms are up to, what their businesses, work, and lives are like…and to see that I’m not the only one chatting away in cyberspace.

On the health front, I’ve been challenged! I’m a Skinny Bitch wannabe and so are the girls plodding away with me. Most are vegetarians and all are trying to cut down and out the crap we’ve been eating. I’m also pushing play every day with a mix of walking, Slim Series Express (a Slim in 6 follow-up) and Turbo Jam, and Pilates – yep, another challenge. I’ve been successfully released from my third round of physical therapy and am cleared to do most exercise. As much as I’d like to hit Turbo Jam daily, I have to skip a day or two between those workouts. I’d rather see the slow steady changes in my body than end up on my back again because I tried too much too soon.

I’m also taking part in the WOMAN Challenge sponsored by the US Department of Health & Human Services. When I complete the 8 week challenge I’ll get a nifty certificate mailed to me and the satisfaction of reaching my goals. (Thanks Heather for turning me on to this! I’m headed cross country – you?) It’s free and there’s something about a challenge that gets me going!

WOMAN Challenge 08

If you decide to join and want to team up, just give me a shout. Our daughters can participate, too.

Speaking of health, did you know it was Women’s Health Week? Come on ladies, let’s get it in gear! Let’s get to know our bodies so well that we know when something is wrong. Check your blood pressure. Make note of your headaches and see what triggers them. Know your cholesterol & triglyceride numbers. Check those boobies monthly.

There’s another challenge for me this week. Well, it’s an everyday thing: make sure my loved ones know I love them. They always need to know. And if you’re in the middle of a disagreement, it makes you look like the bigger person when you express your love. 🙂

Until tomorrow!

Hey Vegetarians! Free veggie burgers at Johnny Rockets!

Yeparooni! If you’re a vegan blog addict like I am you’ve probably already heard about it.

The Streamliner is JR’s veggie burger – a Boca patty w/lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, & pickle.  I order it every time, even before I went veg, and even the carnovire hubby think it’s good.  He ordered it last time we were there.  He also had a chili dog, but I digress.

Get the coupon here – http://www.vegcooking.com/johnnyrocketspecial.asp

And find a location near you here – http://www.johnnyrockets.com/locations/

Make sure you check the small print: Free Streamliner® with the purchase of a Streamliner® or any sandwich, starter, and drink. Only valid at participating locations.