Orange Hue

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Running very late today.  Happy Hump Day!


I’ve been on an insane smoothie kick for the last month or so, but this morning, I finally felt burnt out on berries.  This smoothie’s base was actually pumpkin, hence the lovely orange hue.


In the blender:


1 container vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 cup soy milk

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 banana

1 tablespoon salted caramel sauce

5 ice cubes


The salted caramel brought it all together quite nicely.  With some toast for chew.


For Your Reading Pleasure


I spotted this humorous article in the New York Times this morning and thought the vegans, vegetarians, or even flexitarians would enjoy it…


Meatless in the Midwest:  A Tale of Survival



My favorite part, “There was the meal at the Golden Ox steakhouse (baked potato), Stroud’s fried chicken (rolls) and Arthur Bryant’s barbecue, where, searching for vegetarian options on the menu, skipping over the lard-bathed French fries, pausing to consider the coleslaw, I ordered the safest option (a mug of Budweiser).”  Hah!   Sometimes, beer is the best choice.


I know I’m lucky to live in a relatively veg-friendly city (Charlotte is land o’BBQ but there are some good vegetarian options out there), and also have a supportive family.  My 93 year-old grandpa sometimes gives me hell for being a vegetarian, but he’s old so it’s allowed. Winking smile 


Are your eating habits out of step with your family’s or community’s?  How do you deal?  Besides beer, of course.



  • Khushboo January 11, 2012, 11:16 am

    This Smoothie is so pretty! Unlike most of family, I’m not a big fan of Indian food…doesn’t always work well considering I am Indian and all 😉

  • Christine @ BookishlyB January 11, 2012, 11:26 am

    I don’t eat pork or red meat, which is pretty much all my inlaws make. I’m happy eating just sides and grabbing something at home, but I can tell my MIL tries with chicken sometimes. It’s so hard- I don’t want to inconvenience people, but I know if someone was a guest at my home I’d try my best to accomodate their dietary needs.

  • Courtney January 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    I actually live in KC where all of those restaurants are and yes if you go to a BBQ restaurant you are not going to find much options but we have tons and tons of other options! It actually is one of the top foodies cities on the rise which includes several vegan restaurants! So I think its all relative, you just avoid the restaurants that are 100% on meat, just like said about your city!

    • Kelli January 11, 2012, 11:47 am

      I agree. I live in Kansas City too, & was surprised at the reporter’s claims that it is so difficult to find vegetarian food that is good in town. I know of several vegetarian restaurants off the top of my head (the author cites 2) and I’m not a vegetarian. There are many excellent ethnic restaurants in Kansas City, including Indian, Ethiopian, Lebanese, Greek, etc, etc, etc which are very veggie friendly. I hate it when people write articles like this that re-emphasize the stereotype placed on us by people who have never been here! Do we love our meat? Yes….but we are not a food desert. Kansas City has a really big & rapidly growing urban farming movement & honestly, I think this guy has to have been hiding under a rock to miss all these wonderful aspects of our city. Super frustrated over here!

      • Brie January 11, 2012, 1:39 pm

        I agree with these ladies! I’m also in KC, and there are some really great veg options in town. Yes, BBQ joints are tough, but there is really an amazing local/organic food movement going on here. The Purple Carrot blog is great–Leslie blogs about lots of KC veg spots!

        • Lara January 11, 2012, 5:35 pm

          I was also annoyed with the writer’s stereotypicng of Kansas City. There are so many great restaurants with many options in Kansas City. It’s not this backwards town like she and so many other people would like to think. If you go to a BBQ restaurant (which is not all that KC has!) you are stupid to think you would find a vegetarian option. Also, I was quite annoyed with the comment that people here in KC would think you are weird for being a vegetarian. I am not a vegetarian, (but don’t eat a super meat heavy diet) and I would NEVER look at someone funny for being a vegetarian. Sorry to vent, but I hate when people stereotype our great city!

  • shelly January 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I enjoy a much more healthy lifestyle than the rest of my family. If I say nothing and go to their house, they’ll serve fried food or ribs. And while those foods are delicious, I end up feeling like death if I eat that way. My latest tactic that’s been working pretty well is to request that my dad make bbq chicken (he loves to grill, after all) and bringing a big side dish of cabbage slaw (cabbage, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper) so that I can make sure there’s something green on my plate. So I try to ask for something that’s within their range of enjoyable food (b/c they love to cook for their guests and I don’t want to ruin their fun) and bring along a green and fiber filled side.

  • Lee January 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    My mom eats similarly to me. My dad and stepmom eat more meat, but not a ton, I guess. My husband and his family are definitely more “traditional” eaters, but he’s warmed up to tofu and hummus since meeting me!

    I’m lucky that Atlanta has a ton of vegetarian options!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    I’ve been rocking the smoothies hard lately too! My eating habits are a little out of step with those of my family – my sister is vegetarian, my mum despises cooking (and hence hates making more than one meal to cater to all members of the family) and my dad will eat everything. I’m not a red meat eater and don’t eat a lot of dairy, so we are all very different! Normally though, if I’m visiting either one of my parents, I’ll volunteer to do the cooking. If I’m with my sister, I’m totally fine with eating vegetarian meals and make them a lot for myself anyway.

  • Chloe (In Fine Feather) January 11, 2012, 11:33 am

    I was surprised when moving to Atlanta how easy it is to eat a vegetarian diet here. I’m even planning an event at a BBQ place but am still finding good options for vegetarians. It’s definitely a benefit of living in a big city & in a coastal state.

  • Diana January 11, 2012, 11:34 am

    Ahhhh this article had me cracking up! I live in St. Louis, so same difference really between here & KC, and I am often road-tripping with friends and family members throughout the midwest and disturbing the locals at rest stops with my vegan requests – they just don’t understand! And like the author, I moved here (although I actually grew up here) from NYC – different. world.

  • Tanya January 11, 2012, 11:37 am

    Being a vegan in Portland, OR is a perfect fit, so I got the community part covered.
    Family is pretty good. My husband and daughter are pescatarians and both my sons are vegetarian. And all are happy to eat vegan. My parents are a bit more difficult. They were fine when I went vegetarian 21 years ago, but 3 vegan three years ago threw them. Thankfully it only comes up a couple times a year during visits.

  • Ashley January 11, 2012, 11:41 am

    I’ve been with my boyfriend, who is a vegetarian, for 8 years, and my parents still sometimes make a comment or two about my boyfriend “just needing to eat some meat.” Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards a more vegetarian-like diet, with the exception of a few meals with meat a month. I pretty much eat meat if I feel like eating it. My sister, who lives with me, sometimes makes a comment or two to my mom about how I don’t cook meat with my meals (honestly, I really hate cooking it haha) and so I get some comments now and then as well. It’s hard sometimes, them not understanding why my boyfriend or I eat the way we do- but I tell them I just love food- and I will eat and cook what I think tastes good and is best for me:)

  • Hillary January 11, 2012, 11:45 am

    Saw the article this morning and thought this was my favorite part:

    “Being a vegetarian in Nebraska is like being a Republican in Brooklyn — less of an outcast than a novelty,” said David Rosen, who became a vegetarian as a teenager in Omaha and is now a writer in Brooklyn. “Except that you don’t have to prepare special meals for Republicans.”

    Wonk wonk!

    Seriously though, I’m lucky to not have very different eating habits than my family. The biggest difference is that my dad and brother are human garbage disposals, and can throw back three times as much food as me, but I’ve gotten used to it!

  • Cait January 11, 2012, 11:54 am

    Re: that article: I don’t know about the other towns he mentions, but I lived in Kansas City for a few years. There were tons of vegetarian options, and i actually found it to be an awesome city for food. It has an amazing farmers market and lots of veg options all over town. Of course, if you go to a small BBQ joint, you can only get BBQ. Then again, if you go to a Vegetarian restaurant, you can’t order a steak.
    I live on the east coast now, and still find myself longing for the great vegetarian options i left behind in Missouri.

  • emily January 11, 2012, 11:54 am

    OMG; salted caramel and pumpkin sound like a divine combo!!!

    My in-laws eat very differently from me and I’ve learned to rely on a mix of packing my own food and sucking it up and eating what I can. The most important thing in that situation (beyond not actually compromising the food beliefs that I feel most strongly about – ie not eating mammals, period) is BE POLITE!

  • Erica January 11, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I just moved to a very vegetarian-friendly city… Norfolk, VA (home of PETA), but I definitely don’t take this for granted. I’m originally from Roanoke, VA where I was the only vegetarian I know for a long time. I went with a church group to a BBQ place once and tried to order a grilled cheese off the kid’s menu. The waitress had to go talk to her manager because I wasn’t 12 years old. I’m very grateful to have so many vegetarian options when I go out now… Even if it is thanks to PETA 😉

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed January 11, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I’ve been trying to eat less meat, but it’s so hard living at home. My mom’s meals definitely revolve around meat (and tons of beef). It’s especially hard when she makes something that I like… I really can’t turn down something that a) is super delicious b) is free c) is already prepared and waiting for me. I think when I move out it will be much easier because I will be planning everything.

  • Abby January 11, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I totally understand this, coming from the Texas Panhandle (only 30 miles away from Hereford, “Beef Capital of the World”… yeah, it smells great around here). When we eat out I usually get a Caesar salad and a side dish, like mac and cheese or sweet potato fries or regular french fries. It always throws the servers off, though, because when they hear “salad” they think I’m going for a healthy meal, then I throw in some french fries or onion rings and they give me a “WTF” look. My other stand-bye is cheese quesadillas (or a pasta dish if we’re at an Italian place). Not the healthiest option, but there’s hardly any other options.

  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 11, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I just had the conversation last night with my husband about the fact that I don’t eat “normal”…not the vegetarian part, but things like chia, millet, quinoa. I think it’s sad that eating healthy, well balance variety is not considered normal…

  • faith January 11, 2012, 12:42 pm

    “Sometimes beer is the safest option”! I had the exact same experience once in Alaska, I was invited to dinner and my offer to bring some veggies was refused. When I sat down I was served a plate of bbq chicken and mayonnaise laden cole slaw (I’ve never liked the white stuff). I’d never eaten chicken in my life! I played with my food and kept busy by chugging cans of beer!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb January 11, 2012, 12:45 pm

    delicious smoothie! i love salted caramel… mostly in cupcake form, but i’m sure the smoothie version is good as well… and a little more nutritious 🙂

  • Jen G. January 11, 2012, 12:46 pm

    I’m a bit jealous of the writer, actually. The author should move to the RURAL midwest. My only restaurant option is Papa John’s. And that’s only because I eat cheese on rare occasion.

  • Sarah @ w30 January 11, 2012, 12:55 pm

    ohmygosh YES! As a vegetarian in Oklahoma, I am frequently at odds with my options. I have learned that 9 times out of 10 I just need to bring my own food to things like work lunches and parties. Although – it is getting better, and my grocery store choices are definitely improving with a slew of organic and specialty stores opening up this last year. I’m about to write a post about it since it’s been exactly 6 months since going vegetarian. 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife January 11, 2012, 1:01 pm

    mmmm salted caramel and pumpkin!!! SOunds tasty!

  • Jenny January 11, 2012, 1:02 pm

    I think the title of the NYT article is snobby and condescending. Regardless of region, it’s hard to find vegan/vegetarian options in ANY rural area. It’s relatively easy to find vegan/vegetarian options in ANY urban area, including areas in the Midwest. I am a meat eater, and I still know plenty of restaurants in my city that would fit the veggie bill.

    • Sarah @ w30 January 11, 2012, 1:34 pm

      To politely disagree: I used to think there were a lot more options for vegetarians before I became one. I live in Oklahoma City – which is in the midwest but not rural. There are some great restaurants here but at the majority my only “choice” on the menu is salad or grilled cheese or veggie burger – not always the case, but enough to get boring! (of course, I don’t know where you live so maybe there are more options there)

  • Emily January 11, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Well of course besides beer, thats a given! (If you aren’t pregnant, that is)

    I think my parents would like to eat more like I do. My dad especially, since my mom eats pretty well in general, would like to eat healthier and he always asks my opinion for the”better” option when we are out to eat. I appreciate that.

  • Emily January 11, 2012, 1:11 pm

    Great article – thanks for sharing it!
    I am a vegetable centric eater, which means I tend to have it relatively easy when on the road as have that flexibility (I was a vegetarian for 9 years though, until I started traveling around a lot more). One thing I will say I had trouble with is that in some out-of-the-way places the supermarkets fresh produce looked pretty old, which was kinda sad.

  • Sara January 11, 2012, 1:21 pm

    It is often hard to find good vegetarian food around where I live (in the suburbs near Richmond, Va). There are great options in the city, but we mostly have chains or family-owned Italian, Mexican and BBQ joints. I can usually find something to eat but it is very carby or lacks protein. I enjoy eating Mexican (beans!) or Chinese when we go out (veggie sushi, tofu, etc.) I LOVE Italian food but many restaurants near me usually don’t have whole wheat pasta. Bummer. My husband’s family is fairly supportive (they bought veggie hot dogs to keep on hand–isn’t that nice?) My husband isn’t a vegetarian but he eats what I fix at home and he enjoys it. 🙂 I’m very grateful! My parents aren’t that supportive so I try not to bring it up. When I travel, I bring a lot of snacks with me.

  • Meagan January 11, 2012, 1:24 pm

    How about the opposite? I eat Paleo-style and a ton of my friends are vegans. Eating together can be a challenge.

    • Meagan January 11, 2012, 1:26 pm

      By challenge, I mean, challenge to find a place to accommodate all of us when eating out. When eating at someone’s house we just bring whatever will suit us.

  • Kimberly @ January 11, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Haha sometimes beer really is the best choice! I feel really lucky to live in Northern California where the majority of restaurants are not only vegetarian friendly, but conscious of special needs diets (gluten free etc.). I’m spoiled!

    • Sonia the Mexigarian January 11, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Completely agree with you on that. Living in the CA all my life we’re pretty lucky to have such a variety of cultures here that offer veg friendly, vegan, dietary allergen proof options. Bay Area is packed full of them 🙂 and there is always something new to discover. Now I am craving Thai.

  • Stacy January 11, 2012, 1:30 pm

    As a resident of Missouri, I’m not a huge fan of that article. He went to three restaurants known for their meat dishes expecting meatless options. I’m not saying these restaurants shouldn’t “beef up” (pun intended, hehe) their veggie options, but maybe he should have perused the other awesome restaurant options in KC before claiming that the entire midwest was deficient? St. Louis has an immense veggie and vegan population and food options. KC isn’t far behind and in fact, I know a vegan that lives there that survives just fine!

  • Chelsea January 11, 2012, 1:43 pm

    I live in South Texas and mine are sooo out of whack for where I live. My whole family is really into hunting, nothing but BBQ, steak houses, etc. where I live. I try and stick with asian food because it’s more on the safe side ha 🙂 They at least know that tofu isn’t nasty.

  • Corrie Anne January 11, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Haha. Where I’m from in Minnesota, people think that hummus is like some crazy adventurous vegetarian food that they won’t even try. Now that we’re in Denver, we’re good to go!

  • Penny January 11, 2012, 1:57 pm

    I’m a vegetarian and an Oklahoman. It is not easy. Well, eating out is not easy. In fact, I rarely eat out because of my extreme lack of options. And I can not count how many times on a daily basis my family and friends call me weird. And that’s after being vegetarian for 2 full years.

  • Meredith January 11, 2012, 2:16 pm

    I live in/am from Iowa. I grew up on a farm, down the road from a hog farm and I’m now vegan. My dad worked with farmers for 25 years and when I decided to stop eating meat he had a really hard time with it, thinking I was better than the life i grew up in. Honestly I did it because I was just out of college and poor and then it just stuck. I later realized that I have a severe( I call it severe when any drop of dairy or milk gives me a paralyzing migraine) dairy/milk allergy and when I went Vegan, he was totally cool with it. I think having veganism be a “cure” to my migraines has helped ease the distaste and questions with my family. Most of them are pretty cool with it, I am the hippy tree hugging save the world and go green child, after all, and I always have been.

  • Amber K January 11, 2012, 2:34 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid and my parents were not supportive. I have never liked the taste of meat and that hasn’t changed over the years.

    Since I’ve expanded what I eat to include quinoa (my dad still asks me what it’s called when I bring it) and other “foreign” foods my family is even more weirded out by my food. I practically have to cajole my stepdad to try stuff, even though 90% of the time he likes it just fine.

  • jen January 11, 2012, 3:05 pm

    my eating habits are SO out of step! even though my mother is also a vegetarian, we have VERY different approaches to eating. She eats a lot of processed fake meat prodcts, while mine is more natural and clean, which she doesnt understand. in general life, it does get kind of annoying when people i regularly hang out with say things like “i made this dish for you, its just ooked in chicken broth” when i thank them and gently explain why it was so nice of them to think of me, but i include broth as meat, they say “god youre so picky!”. on a side note, i am SO not a pushy veg. i eat what i eat and never comment on others food, but MAN do i get a lot of defensive questions! ” so youre trying to save cows? we have teeth made for meat you know! whats so wrong with meat??” my entire state is like 85% italian, so being veg is not totally common, and i think many people view it as weird. were kind of backwards like that haha

  • mrs. span January 11, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I live in Milwaukee, WI and despite the image my city and state may have of brats/beers/cheese… this is a very vegetarian friendly city. The stigma of Midwest being meat/potatoes may still ring true to outsiders, but those who really live here with veg lifestyles know otherwise.

  • Alexa @ Simple Eats January 11, 2012, 3:28 pm

    My parents are finally trying to eat healthier. They used to eat high-quality food but wayyy to rich. It upset me bc I want them around for a long time!

  • Tiff January 11, 2012, 3:29 pm

    Mmmm, I can see how pumpkin & caramel would go well together.

  • Ashley January 11, 2012, 3:30 pm

    I just recently moved out of Kansas City after living there for my entire life, and it’s where I first went vegetarian. Vegetarian meals are not hard to come by if you are eating in the city, but once you go to the suburbs, there aren’t a lot of options for a meal with sustenance especially for someone like me who doesn’t eat dairy as well. I didn’t really think much about it until I moved to Portland where there are delicious vegetarian options everywhere. I think the food movement is definitely growing there, however.

  • Gabby January 11, 2012, 3:47 pm

    I’m lucky. I just moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma (land of meat and potatoes) to Ann Arbor, Michigan (definition of liberal). I went vegetarian and then vegan in Oklahoma and dreaded having to go out to eat with people or go to other people’s houses for dinner. The questions (always with a rude tone), the misconceptions & judgement were just plain annoying. The article suggesting carrying a jar of peanut butter everywhere (jokingly) but PB&J could always be found in my purse!

    I love the thought-provoking posts on vegetarianism! Keep it up 🙂

  • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon January 11, 2012, 3:52 pm

    I became a vegetarian after going away to college…in Vermont. Probably one of the most veg-friendly states out there! I always have to adjust when I come home and remember that every restaurant and convenience store isn’t going to have dozens of vegetarian options.

  • kwithme January 11, 2012, 4:11 pm

    I am a flexitarian and live in the midwest. My focus is on all natural products. I am always excited to see a great vegetable option someplace. I often go out to breakfast and my favorite place uses fresh veggies in their omelets. Every other place I have been usually uses frozen or canned and processed cheese.

    I have learned a lot about eating healthfully while traveling on HTP. My fav trick is the grocery store. Or another good one when driving through rural areas and you are lucky to even see a gas station, Low sodium V8 and trail mix.

  • Peter January 11, 2012, 4:38 pm

    People with food fetishes that require ‘special’ foods(as opposed to diagnosed allergies i.e. peanuts, or disease – i.e.Celiac or Crohn’s,) are IMO annoying.

  • Kayla January 11, 2012, 4:41 pm

    Alberta is what I like to call the “South” of Canada.. if you know what I mean. It’s all about the Alberta beef and potatoes.. so being veg can be a little tricky. That being said, sometimes, out of necessity, some great little vegetarian restaurants will pop out of nowhere out here. You just have to find them!

  • Army Amy* January 11, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I’m in Dallas and being veggie here is ok. Austin is really where it’s at. Once I visited there I realized how much better their veg scene is.*

  • Dana @ the Big Fat Skinny January 11, 2012, 5:39 pm

    I blogged about the same article today! LOL! I thought it was a great little read, and shed might give some perspective to meat eaters as to what its like being veg …
    Unlike you, I don’t live in a very veg friendly area. I’m generally a little jealous of the bloggers who are surrounded by veg family and friends, and lots of dining options easily available to them, because this is not the case for me at all. I liked hearing someone else’s perpective on being sort of a loner vegetarian!

  • Holly January 11, 2012, 8:55 pm

    This is hilarious! We live in Kansas City and whenever we have visitors, we bring them to Jack Stack BBQ, where I have enjoyed many, many baked potatoes and side salads. KC does have outstanding restaurants….but the BBQ places haven’t yet caught on to adding a ‘Vegetarian’ item to the menu! (or veggies for that matter)

  • Jes Suazo January 11, 2012, 8:59 pm

    I read this article yesterday! Very interesting. Makes me even more grateful that good ol’ Oklahoma has been getting healthier & adding vegan dishes as well as vegan restaurants.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 11, 2012, 9:24 pm

    I always struggle a bit with meals when I go home because of our differences. My parents are heavier meat eaters than me and my dad doesn’t really understand the concept of moderation when it comes to butter, cream and salt. 😛

  • Sarah January 11, 2012, 9:30 pm

    I am not sure how I never put caramel in a smoothie before.. brilliant!

  • Jen January 11, 2012, 10:54 pm

    Beer doesn’t sound like SUCH a bad option…well, for non-pregnant people, of course! 🙂

  • Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie January 12, 2012, 12:03 am

    Salted caramel sauce?!?! Where did you find that?

  • Charity January 12, 2012, 7:57 am

    I live in Atlantic Canada, home of “the best shell fish”… Which I don’t eat. So many people are shocked to hear that and amazed I have never even tried a lobster.

  • Charise January 12, 2012, 8:10 am

    That article kind of annoys me. I understand the reporters experience is that being vegetarian is a novelty and the people and restaurants around her are big on meat and don’t eat vegetables, but there was no need to generalize and stereotype the entire Midwest based on the writer’s experience. I live in Ohio, consider myself a flexitarian, and we have plenty of vegetarian and healthy restaurant options AND access to a ridiculous amount of fresh produce at many amazing farmers markets. It frustrats me when people from the coasts think they are better than those of us from the middle!

  • Katy @ HaveYouHurd January 12, 2012, 9:00 am

    HA! That article is very funny – and reminds me of the gift I got my sister-in-law (who is a vegetarian) for Christmas:


  • adie (all of the above) January 12, 2012, 11:12 am

    I just tried pumpkin in my smoothie for the first time last week! I had frozen berries but wanted to bulk it up a little. Enter canned pumpkin! The pumpkin/berry combination is actually super tasty (just ignore the strange looks people give you when you tell them the ingredients!). Yum!

  • Mandy January 13, 2012, 1:21 pm
    • CaitlinHTP January 13, 2012, 1:42 pm


  • Holly January 14, 2012, 8:36 pm

    I see I’m a little late to the game, but I too, am from the KC area and, like many others, felt very insulted by the article. It’s a shame that KC was pigeon-hole into being considered unfriendly to anything other than a bbq lover. While it is true that KC is (deservingly) famous for its BBQ, it has quite a bit to offer in the way of culinary variety. I see that others have posted rebuttals and examples of this, so I will refrain. Just please keep in mind how rude and narrow-minded articles like “Meatless in the Midwest” can be. I expected more from a blog that beyond promoting healthy living, promotes tolerance and acceptance.

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