Blogging, PSAs

Progress Doesn’t Have to Taste Like Bird Food

Go Jules Go title graphic_Progress doesn't have to taste like bird food_29JUL20

*beep beep beep beep*

I reached over and silenced my phone’s alarm, Uncle Jesse barely lifting his head in acknowledgment. As soon as I got out of bed, he stood up, stretched, and curled into a ball right on top of my pillow.


“Not today, Uncle Jesse, you’re coming with me,” I said, shuffling over to my dresser and yanking out a pair of clean black stretch pants.

Hearing the upbeat tone of my voice, he jumped off the bed and eagerly sniffed the clothing in my hand. Deeming the scent what must have been ‘baked-in exercise funk,’ he twirled in a circle and began his stretching routine.

Uncle Jesse gorge 29FEB20

It was 7:15am on a Sunday and Bend, Oregon’s high desert summer sun had finally worn me down. “I WILL go running before it feels like Satan’s belly button,” I had vowed the night before as I’d set my alarm.

When our run was over, I fixed a healthy breakfast and set to work on my latest project – another course with Plant-Based with Robin: “Is that Bird Food?” I was excited about this one.

Is That Bird Food AD - Aug 2020 promo
And not just because Canva graphics make me look like I know what I’m doing.

By the end of the day, I felt proud, strong, and accomplished. …Until about 9pm. When I wanted snacks.

All the snacks.

Instead of putting myself to bed -for an even earlier, harder work-out the next day- I caved.

Toast sounds great. And those peanut butter pretzels… Ooh and that chocolate Kate just sent from Germany!

I mean gifts don’t have calories, right?

I went to bed full, and full of knowing I’d be unhappy with myself in the morning. On the heels of last week’s shame spiral, I wondered how I could let such a good day slip through my fingers in its final moments.

Was it anxiety? Lack of willpower? Plain ol’ fat-sugar-salt addiction?

Or had I subconsciously decided at some point -based on my unique blend of childhood experiences and genetic make-up- that my ‘ceiling’ was this? Living somewhere halfway between my old life and my new, not quite fully realized, new one?

Go Jules Go: Before & After(ish)

Robin and I have talked a lot about progress vs. perfection as we develop our plant-based living courses.

“I get it. We all have those days,” I said in our first course [about easy meal ideas during quarantine]. “So plan for them. Are you going to be running around all day on Wednesday? Social distance happy hour-ing on Friday? Get the frozen pizza, get the margarita. Plan on it. Work with your schedule and preferences instead of against them.”

It was easy to give this advice, so much harder to swallow it myself.

One thing had changed, though. Instead of thinking that all hope was lost (“what’s the point? Might as well eat nothing but fried Oreos!”), instead of making a series of harsh, empty promises (“tomorrow I’ll eat nothing but lettuce”), I laid my head down on Sunday night and thought, just as I had after last week’s disastrous outing: Tomorrow is a new day.

And isn’t that what progress really looks like?



Everyone Loves a Braggart...Right?, Food, Uncategorized, Wipe the Drool

Food Porn

You know what I don’t talk about nearly enough for someone who claims to be a guilty pleasure connoisseur?


I love food. Food is great. I totally live to eat (and not the other way around). Last night I made an in-my-head-recipe for vegetable lasagna that was so good I feel compelled to tell everyone I’ve seen since then about it. I always use whole milk, full-fat cheeses (lots of different kinds: provolone, asiago, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta), and this time I blended a bag of fresh spinach into the ricotta cheese blend – WOWZAH! Look:

The green on the sides is the ricotta-spinach blend...oozing out, delicious and creamy and gooey.

It also helps that I was able to use 3 kinds of fresh, organic basil from my husband’s (a.k.a. The Peppermeister) garden.

And as long as we’re on the topic of my culinary prowess, I should tell you I have quite a reputation when it comes to baking. I’m excited to share with you a few of my favorite online dessert recipes, along with some of my trade secrets. I hope you’ll try one (or all) of them out and let me know how it goes!

General Baking Tips (I wouldn’t do this for just anyone, guilty pleasure snookums)

  • With rare exceptions, FOLLOW THE RECIPE! People who like to cook sometimes struggle with this baking principle; the order and the measurements make all the difference in baking
  • I HIGHLY recommending using AirBake pans for your cookies and keep a close eye once they’re in the oven – cookies still look a little soft/raw in the middle when they’re done (that is, if you like soft, chewy cookies like me)
The AirBake pans I use look like this.
  • The more you try, the better you get! You have no idea how many things I’ve screwed up on the first go ’round
  • Don’t worry about having your butter and eggs sit out until they’re room temperature before you start making your recipe if you don’t have time (just soften your butter in the microwave and use cold eggs) – it really doesn’t matter that much, despite what you might have heard!
  • Barefoot Contessa would burn me alive for this, but don’t worry about using unsalted butter – just don’t add any additional salt to the recipe if using salted butter
  • One thing that DOES matter: real vanilla! I’ve heard real vanilla bean is best, but I’m very happy with McCormick’s pure vanilla extract (NOT imitation)
  • If you don’t bake often, be mindful of when your dry ingredients expire/go stale

Black Bottom Cupcakes – you and your family/friends will go into a happy food coma from one of these!

Cupcakes before frosting. Photo credit:
  • Use foil muffin tin liners – they peel off easily
  • Once cooled, frost with cream cheese icing* and sprinkle with the leftover mini chocolate chips
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving (like anything with tomato sauce, anything with cream cheese seems to taste better after it ‘settles’)

Thumbprint Cookies – these are soft, buttery and delicious and changed my opinion on thumbprint cookies!

Photo credit:
  • If rolling in nuts, toast the nuts first (I use my toaster oven and it only takes about a minute) and then chop them into nearly a powder using a mini Cuisinart (if you have one). At Christmastime, I like to roll some in nuts and some in red or green sprinkles (they’re very pretty)
  • Make sure you’re using a jam filling that you would want to eat on its own (and remember that some people will only eat seedless jam) – it’s the centerpiece of the cookie. One of my favorites is Dickinson’s Cascade Mountain seedless raspberry jam (I can usually find this brand at any grocery store), but the best I ever had was some random gourmet brand I found at HomeGoods (I really should have written the name down!)
  • You do need to grease your baking pans for these (unlike with most other cookies) – it doesn’t really matter if you use a spray or softened butter

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – just like grandma made, if you were lucky enough to live near a grandmother that baked

Photo credit:
  • You also do need to grease your baking sheets for these
  • Remember to buy quick-cooking oats, not old-fashioned (I guess the name of these cookies is pretty misleading!)
  • I like to buy raisins that come in a ziploc pouch; they seem fresher/softer
  • I’ve determined that it’s the 2 cups of brown sugar that have people react by saying screaming they’re the best oatmeal-raisin cookies they’ve ever had

*My tried and true cream cheese icing recipe

1 bar (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla, and finally sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time so you don’t turn into one of these guys:

We should have listened to gojulesgo. Photo credit: