My First Vegan Cookbook (and Half-Marathon!)

About a week ago, I met that awesome chick on the left hand side of that cookbook. Her name is Sarah Kramer and she is the vegan goddess of the world. No joke. How it all Vegan! is the first vegan cookbook I ever purchased, and if it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t be the Baking Bird I am today. Really, this cookbook changed my life. Because of her, I began making my first vegan black bean salads, sweet potato cornbread, tofu huevos rancheros, decadent chocolate cakes, tempeh chili, blueberry banana flax muffins, carob chocolate chip bars (made many, many times…), and learned that 3 tablespoons of ground flax meal or a banana can be substituted for eggs in a recipe. Kramer and her partner, Tanya Barnard, co-authored the first two cookbooks, How it all Vegan! and The Garden of Vegan. The third book, La Dolce Vegan! was solely written by Kramer herself, and it looks like that’s going to be the last one coming out for a while (I asked her if she was coming out with a new one, but she’s burnt out for a while… can’t blame her!). Kramer set out to visit a few select cities to celebrate the 10 year anniversary for How it all Vegan! and to publicize some other goodies she’s made available recently. There is Vegan a Go-Go!: Cookbook & Survival Manual for Vegans on the Road, and she came out with a super cute calendar for 2010.
I’m so glad I just so happened to glance over at a weekly newspaper the night before and was able to attend! I had no idea. It was so random. A good, small crowd showed up at the local bookshop and there were samples of food from recipes in the cookbook available for everyone to try! Sarah blogged about it at her blog,!

Samples included spinach lasagna, banana bread, herbed dill scones, greek salad, and coconut cream pie! I need to make that coconut cream pie, pronto.
Sarah took our picture! There I am on the far right!

She gave a quick spiel of her life story on how she became vegan and stayed vegan, and basically opened it up to the audience to ask her any questions for the rest of the time… short and sweet!

And she was nice enough to sign not one, not two, but all three of the cookbooks. She ain’t no Rachael Ray, I can tell you that for sure. (Maybe the Rachael Ray of the vegan world, though…)
There is so much I want to say! So many possible and future blog posts! My life is very full and happy right now. I will say that I went to Monterey last weekend to participate in the Big Sur Half Marathon (my first half marathon!) and it was an incredible experience. I’m still high from it. It turned out even better than I had imagined. Woke up at 5:30AM in pitch-black freezing-ass-cold weather (even though I didn’t sleep too well) and started off near the wharf at 7. The really cool thing was that they gave out “sweats bags” where you could put your warm-up clothes in a bag, put it in a huge truck with 7,000+ other bags, and retrieve it at the end. Such a genius idea! I was so pumped and excited and started out in the very front of my corral. The weather was absolutely perfect once it warmed up, and we ran through Cannery Row, past the Aquarium, and up toward Lover’s Point right next to the ocean. I was so happy the entire time, I don’t think I’d ever felt so great in my life. I was flashing peace signs and smiles at every photographer, and not once did I ever think a negative thought about being in pain, or wishing it were over, or that it sucked. I felt bad for the people that felt like dying. I didn’t stop at all, only when I had to get water once and suck down a Gu. I will admit, the last and final mile was a little grueling, and it was great to see the finish line up ahead, but all in all, it was amazing. Finished with a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, 47 seconds, came in #11 out of #164 girls in my age bracket (20-24), and was the 165 woman (out of about 3,070) to cross the finish line first. I didn’t get these results until the next day and I was pleasantly surprised! I had no idea. If I had finished two minutes earlier, I would have placed for my division. So crazy! Meanwhile, I happened to see a lot of people I knew from Santa Cruz (including a few Shopper’s customers) and it felt like such a small world, but in a really good way. Everyone was so congratulatory and happy. There was a big tent at the end where you could fuel up on fruit, bagels, muffins, juice, BEER, minestrone soup, you name it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer at 9:30 in the morning, especially after running 13.1 miles. After a few sips, I made a smarter switch to water.

Now I am so ready for more! Now I know why some people say it’s addicting and can’t wait to run more races (take Murakami, for example–I love this book so much not only because it’s about running, but it’s by my favorite author on the planet!). My sights are now set on the San Francisco Marathon. It goes through the whole city, starting at the Ferry Building, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, even goes through Haight Street. Don’t know much as far as hills and demographics goes but I’d like to aim for the full 26.2 miles. I have until the end of next July. In the meantime, I’m going to try to join the local track club and train with them, and possibly try out the Training feature available on the NikePlus software (this technology is actually pretty darn cool–I can track my distance and time on my iPod and it automatically loads it onto this website to graph my stats and achievements. It’s like a pedometer but way better. At first I was skeptical because it wasn’t calibrating with my stride correctly, saying I was running farther or shorter than true distance, but a few laps at the track and a treadmill have helped that tremendously). Okay, enough with my talk about running. I know it doesn’t have much to do with baking, but it’s a big deal to me. So there you have it.

Pancakes for lunch at Jeffrey’s was definitely where it was at a few hours later…

While I was in Monterey, I also went to the infamous Big Sur Bakery for the first time, and although it was decorated very cute, the food wasn’t that impressive, to be honest. And it was super expensive! I scored some pictures of their lovely baked goods though! I took a pumpkin muffin to go, and it was probably one of the worst I’ve ever had. It seemed somewhat stale and didn’t taste anything like pumpkin. Oh well! Check out their cute sign though!
Bacon avocado omelet with a side green salad. Good, but way overpriced.

Also, just because I never tire of this song, the fact that they’re my favorite to listen to this time of year, and it just now came up on my Pandora playlist and always makes me so so happy… for your listening pleasure…

7 responses »

  1. Wow, amazing job on the Big Sur Half marathon. Am I too easily impressed? I think it's amazing.Now I feel really pathetic that I get tired after taking like ten minutes to stroll along Cannery Row. I need to get in shape. You're my inspiration.

  2. It was rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.Best wishes

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