I started cooking and baking when I was fifteen.

No one told me that I had to learn to cook, nor did anyone “take me under their wing.” I just realized that there was a whole variety of delicious-looking dishes (and desserts!) out there that if I didn’t make myself, no one else was going to make or buy for me.

I soon began looking up all kinds of recipes online and immersing myself in all the free “Food Network” videos I could find (we didn’t have the TV channel at the time). I would tear out the beautiful recipe pages from the Sunset magazines my parents got in the mail. I even became the secretary of my high school’s “International Cooking Club,” where we shared home-cooked meals featuring the cuisine of a different world region every week (we became a very popular club on campus).  As my cooking skills and confidence improved, I started contributing more to our big, family holiday meals – until one year my extended family trusted me enough to cook and host Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all – and I pulled it off (I was 20).

Fast-forward to 2015; my husband and I started to prioritize conscious eating.

We switched to eating mostly organic food, knowing that the harsh pesticides used in conventionally-grown produce were going to harm our bodies over time. It was an adjustment for me to be okay with paying more for higher-quality products, but I made up for it by not buying so many processed, packaged foods (which are expensive and not very nutritious). Since organic meat and dairy products were significantly more expensive than their conventional counterparts, I bought these items with less and less frequency and took the opportunity to experiment with some new vegetarian recipes.

A few months later, our research led me and my husband towards a vegan, plant-based lifestyle, and we’ve never felt better! My husband lost over 30 pounds of excess weight – about 15 pounds after switching to organic, another 15-18 since we switched to vegan eating – and looks the best he has since high school (actually, he’s even more handsome now!). I wasn’t really overweight to begin with, but I did lose about 5 pounds, which, for my petite frame, is enough to make the difference between often tight-fitting, muffin-top jeans and feeling comfortable in my jeans all the time. More than the weight loss though, we feel more nourished and satisfied with our meals, we have more energy and include physical activity in our daily routines, and most importantly – our conscience is lighter knowing that our meal choices do not support an industry of cruel animal abuse and are leaving a lighter footprint on the Earth.

My goal for this blog is to document my favorite new recipes/meal ideas and to show people that vegan cooking can be accessible, satisfying, and incredibly tasty! People often think that if they go vegan, they’ll have to sacrifice all of their favorite foods, but the truth is, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities and creative cooking.

Two things I really like about vegan cooking and baking, respectively: no more messy clean up after handling raw meat (veggies are much more sanitary), and you can safely taste cookie dough and muffin batter (since there’s no raw eggs to worry about)!

Thanks for stopping by; I aim to fill this blog with lots of yummy content!

-Linda