The Veggie | Vegan Delivery Review

There are tons of benefits to plant based eating. All the recent studies seem to be pointing to the same conclusion - healthy eating is being redefined as more plants, less animal products. Belgium recently released an updated food pyramid which lists meat as a junk food, and we all probably have a connection to a friend (or friend of a friend) whose vegan lifestyle has cured some persistent illness or health issue. I'm not a novice to veggie-friendly eating, having spent nine whole years of my life as a vegetarian. But, just like any other elimination diet, it takes lots of work to cut out all animal products from one's diet - they're in what seems like everything. At the same time, it's that complete elimination that does wonders. For me, eating vegan is kind of like wiping the slate blank and starting from scratch. Even if I don't intend on keeping 100% vegan (because let's be honest, I totally don't) I do love it in a short burst, and love that it forces me to reflect on those animal products I was taking for granted.
But back to the whole time consuming food prep. What if you could magically snap your fingers and three days of vegan meals appeared at your doorstep? Well, if you're in the HSV area, you can! I had the pleasure of testing out a three-day meal delivery from Huntsville's new vegan comfort food service, The Veggie! The Veggie truly makes eating vegan a cinch. Not only that, the meals are designed so that you don't feel like you're missing out on anything. While I may be veggie-friendly, my Texas born and bred husband is most definitely used to meat on the table - but he's firmly in the camp that if it tastes good, he's eating it, and I'm happy to report that he gave The Veggie two-thumbs up!

The meals were delivered right to my door and came in recyclable plastics and compostable packaging. Each dish came with nutritional information (calories, carbs, protein) and was ready to serve once heated. It really could not have been easier, and since there was zero-prep, my kitchen had never been cleaner!

My very favorite food item from the plan was this Curried Potato Breakfast Burrito (340 calories, 49g carbs, 10g protein). It consisted of potatoes, tofu and mild curry, and was wrapped in a vegan/gluten free tortilla (which was delicious and I'd have never guessed it was vegan or gluten-free). Y'all, this burrito was magical. I'm hoping there will be a future option to purchase a big box of these because I'd gladly eat them for breakfast every single day (and by breakfast I really mean brunch because I'm usually ready to eat mid-morning, but that's just me). 

The burrito came wrapped in foil so I just popped it in the oven to warm it up. I paired it with a third of the Red Smoothie (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blood orange and vegan protein powder), one of the other breakfast options. I did end up mixing and matching some of the meals a bit because the portions were very generous. I actually usually worry about portion sizes not being big enough when doing meal plans since I'm a hefty server, but I always had leftovers with The Veggie, or even enough to split into two meals (for example with the Jackfruit Jumbalaya, I split the serving and it fed both me and Husby for dinner).

My favorite lunch from the plan was this Fajita Bowl with Guacamole (450 calories, 57g carbohydrates, 16g protein). It consisted of black beans, roasted veggies and rice, and was plenty filling. I paired this meal with Chef Adyre's Citrus Water (which reminded me exactly of being at a spa!). 

The other lunch options were both salads. I was super impressed with the quality of the produce and the freshness. How gorgeous is this Nuts and Berries Salad? (302 calories, 42g carbohydrates, 6g protein)

It came with a made-from-scratch white balsamic vinaigrette, and it was so tasty I wasn't missing animal products in the least. It kind of opened my eyes to the fact that all my salads don't need all the cheese and dairy to be delicious. 

Since I mixed and matched my leftovers, I ended up serving the lunch portion of The Pickled Wedge Salad (310 calories, 28g carbohydrate, 14g protein) with dinner one night. I didn't even tell Husby that the dressing was a vegan Mock Blue Cheese - because it totally passed as the real thing! It was some sort of magical tofu/vegan mayonnaise combo - brilliant!

My favorite dinner meal was this Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette (600 calories, 60g carbohydrates, 30g protein). The combination of the black beans with the roasted veggies was super filling, and I enjoyed that the pumpkin seeds were mixed throughout. Also, can we talk Hibiscus Water for a second? It's a take on the Frescas served in Mexico, and I'd compare it to the Passionfruit Iced Tea at Starbucks - it's delicious. Chef Adyre combines alkaline water with boiled hibiscus flowers and adds warm spiced (which totally reminded me of the Mulled Wine in the U.K.). It's just the right amount of sweetness and such a delightful beverage!

I had fun posting my meals in real time via Instastories:

 I got this response to my Raspberry Apple Muffin (232 calories, 10g carbohydrates, 6g protein):
But yes, it was indeed vegan! The recipe uses applesauce to replace eggs, and I couldn't tell the difference (nor could Parker who chomped down on the other muffin!). 

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Adyre in person, and she just could not have been sweeter! Here's some more about vegan eating in her own words...
What made you start a vegan lifestyle? 

In my twenties I started having lots of digestion issues seemingly out of nowhere. I was already only a “chicken and seafood” meat eater but slowly chicken and dairy started to make me really sick. I was even taking a prescription pill just to be able to make it through my meals without being in excruciating pain hours later. Over about a 16 month period I intentionally made a steady transition from carnivore to pescatarian to vegetarian- Cheese was my Achilles heel! But one day I had a real moment with myself and realized that taking pills just to satisfy my tastebuds was crazy. It also led me on a personal journey asking myself, if you can’t exhibit self-control between food and your mouth, what about when other more important life situations come that require that very quality!? My own personal moment of growth led me to full on veganism in fall 2015!

How did you come up with the concept of The Veggie?

My mom and I always shared a secret dream of entering the food industry but we always considered our ideas just that, dreams. When my mom got sick unexpectedly and passed away last April it led- and is still leading me- on intense paths of change and discovery. The fact that my mom left here with that dream made me realize that I didn’t have time to waste. So last fall I kicked my cushy office job to the curb and dove in head first. The name, “The Veggie,” kind of became my nickname among my mom and coworkers who always called me “a veggie” once I went vegan. The concept of vegan comfort food itself is a blend of my mom’s ideas and mine. My mom wasn’t vegan- she was a southern girl from Alabama who loved soul food!- but when I made my own transition, my initial dishes were all vegan versions of foods my mom used to make when i was growing up. Now I strive to incorporate as many vegan renditions of her dishes as I can in her honor. Although i incorporate various types of cuisine into my menu I want every dish to have soul! Taking hearty, familiar dishes that warm our hearts and turning them into vegan specialities is what the vegan comfort food concept is all about!

How would you classify your cuisine? 

Vegan comfort food is how I dub my food because I've taken my mother's southern recipes and the various cuisines I enjoy and turned them vegan. It's an easier way to transition to a plant based lifestyle when you see dishes you're familiar with and when you realize vegan food can be just as flavorful as anything else. 

What's your favorite vegan dish?

It’s not technically a dish but I could swim in avocado everyday. I absolutely LOVE guacamole and I never get tired of it! My favorite vegan dish that I’ve had over the last few years was at what is still my favorite restaurant, Sushi Samba. Despite the name, I’ve been enjoying their cuisine even after going vegan because of their creativity and versatility. Last year for my birthday the Chef at the Vegas location made a mushroom clay pot, a medley of different mushrooms in a stroganoff-esque sauce, AMAZING!! 

What tips do you have for transitioning or dabbling in vegan eating? 

Going vegan can be overwhelming if you attack it all at once. When I launch my monthly transition classes in March, what attendees will find is that every class is focused around substitutes. I think this is key! If you learn what products to use or techniques to now make things yourself, you can transform the things you already love to eat and cook. I think this makes going vegan much more doable. I also recommend for people transitioning to start with substituting the easy stuff- butter and condiments. There are amazing vegan versions of ketchup, mayo, vegan butter, and easy ways to whip up your own ranch or blue “cheese” dressing and you’ll hardly know the difference! In my case, when I realized there were so many condiments that tasted great I was more open to exploring other vegan products from a positive perspective. 

Thanks so much to Chef Adyre! I loved this period of vegan eating. For me, the elimination of dairy made me feel lighter and better after eating (not to mention all the other perks of plant-based eating). As a bonus, it was a lovely way to take a break from cooking (saving time prepping, cooking and washing dishes!). My final verdict? The Veggie is an awesome way to easily eat vegan! 

Thank you to The Veggie for providing me with the three-day meal plan in exchange for this review!

Life Lately - Valentine's Day Edition

Valentine's Day this year came right off a week plus of illness, right when we were getting back into the swing of things. I feel like we were still a bit slow-going, but so happy to be celebrating my very favorite holiday. I saved up all the valentines that Parker had received in the mail and put them out for him on Valentine's Day morning along with his pink pancake breakfast.

The day before, I had made arrangements of pink roses for Parker to give to all the teachers at his school (I had saved and washed clear, plain soda bottles to serve as vases for all of them). 

Husby surprised me with my own floral arrangement that morning from my favorite florist in town, Old Frond!

Dinner that night was super easy but super special - King Crab Legs! Parker requested it months ago - he's seriously a magnet for whatever is the most expensive (fancy aged cheese, sushi - he wants it all), and we have to constantly tell him that some things are for special occasions, and we can't just have crab every single night 😉 Our Nashville friends always do steamed artichokes with their crab, so I ran with that and added garlic bread and Caesar salad - a perfect Valentine's Day dinner!

As for what's new with this little guy, he received his official acceptance letter for kindergarten in the mail and I completely lost it. The formality of the envelope and opening it up reminded me of a college acceptance letter, and I just burst into tears (which totally confused Parker, btw). It wasn't at all that I was sad about kinder (I'm totally excited about this next step and think P is beyond ready), it was more the ceremonial aspect of the confirmation - does that make sense? It totally didn't to Parker, who kept asking why I was crying if I was happy. 

And what better to cheer myself up than with a smoothie bowl?

I listed the recipe for this vegan strawberry one on Instagram. My secret ingredient is fresh house made Almond Milk (I get mine from The Juicery Press). I think it makes all the difference!

Wishing you happy like a four-year-old with a mocktail on a Sunday morning!


Coffee + Donuts

Cheers to Friday! I love a bright, happy donut to make a Friday (or any day) just a bit more special.

For these mini donuts, you'll need a mini donut baking pan (and you most likely will have all the ingredients on hand). Here's the recipe:



5 Tbs. softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk


1. Blend butter and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Add eggs and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, then add to butter mixture.
4. Mix in milk.
5. Spoon into greased mini donut pan (halfway full).
6. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden.

Now, are you ready for the really good part? This chocolate glaze is amazing. If you've ever eaten brownie batter directly from the bowl, it tastes pretty much the same. And with just three ingredients, it couldn't be easier.



4 Tbs. unsweetened chocolate powder
4 Tbs. powdered sugar
4 Tbs. Left Field Farms Sweet & Creamy Coffee Creamer


1. Mix all three ingredients well and drizzle on top of donuts (or just eat directly from the bowl - it's that good).

You most definitely could also pick up some plain donuts from Walmart, and just decorate with the glaze at home (my little one had a blast doing his own sprinkles). While you're there at Walmart, check out the new Left Field Farms coffee creamer. It's non-GMO, and made with real cream and real sugar (and no artificial ingredients). Plus, how cute is this packaging?

I used the Sweet & Creamy for the donut glaze (and in my coffee!), but I think the Caramel flavor would be heaven in an iced coffee!

Happy Friday!

WDW Day Two | The Magic Kingdom

Below is how Parker felt after our first full day at Walt Disney World. We tried to let him sleep as long as we could on day two, then fed him a quick in-room breakfast of milk and yogurt before heading off around 8:30AM so we could experience rope drop at The Magic Kingdom just like the day before.

When planning our trip, I knew I wanted to do two full days at The Magic Kingdom so we could see and do everything (and we just about did!). 

9:00AM The fireworks are shot off and we snap a quick family selfie. Parker literally still has a pillow imprint on his cheek 😂

Being the only child has its perks - Parker got to once again select our first ride of the day. If he's anything, he's a creature of habit, and requested Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which is how we started our morning the day before (even though I told him we had a Fast Pass to go on it that afternoon). He claimed it was his very favorite ride, so we were happy to oblige.

We hopped off around 9:20AM, saw that there was still only a short (15 minute) wait, so we told Parker we'd be silly and ride it again! Twice in a row! Parker only wanted to ride with Mommy (I think he knew he would always beat my score, haha!).

After our second spin, we saw the line was still short enough that we could fit in one more ride before our 10:05AM brunch reservation.

This is the giddy face of a four-year-old getting to ride his very favorite attraction three times in a row. 

Side note - I loved that my boys were in red on this day! If we ever split up (say, to use the restrooms) they were so easy to find afterward!

10:00AM We had reservations for a Quick-Service meal at Be Our Guest, The Magic Kingdom's newest restaurant. This is the only quick service spot that requires a reservation, and we were also able to pre-order our food. It's the most expensive of all the quick-service options (so a bargain for your meal plan), but the price is largely due to the Disney factor and not the quality of the food. At five months out when I made our dining reservations, there were only a couple times from which to choose, so we were lucky to get in.

At night, it turns into a table service character restaurant with visits from The Beast, but for breakfast and lunch you get to choose your own table in one of three rooms. There's the West Wing (a bit foreboding and dark, just like in the movie), the grand hall, and the sitting room. The hall was fancy and had gorgeous chandeliers, but we preferred the quieter, more intimate sitting room with the comfy sofas.

After we checked in and scanned our bands, we found a table in the sitting room and then went to get our self-serve drinks. And then, our food was delivered right to our table! We are still trying to figure out the "magic" on this one - our best guess is that there's a scanner at each table that detects Magic Bands. Really, it was super impressive. As for the actual food, think somewhere between cafeteria and room service, with Disney prices. I think Max won best selection with his Cronut (and all tables are also served a platter of pastries at Breakfast service).

If you can score a reservation, it's definitely worth it to get to eat in such a fun setting (and doing it as a quick-service meal meant we didn't have to give up a table service credit). 

11:00AM Now, I assumed that after brunch we'd go to the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction (it's literally right next to Be Our Guest Restaurant). Parker loved seeing all the princesses at dinner the night before, but when he was presented with the option, he said he wanted to see the pirates instead 😂 I still think he would have liked to have seen Belle, but he had Daddy on board with Pirates of the Caribbean. So off we headed to Adventureland. 

The line for Pirates was 40 minutes at that point, which ended up being the longest we waited for any ride the entire trip (between Fast Passes and staking out the times on the mobile app, pretty much everything else was 20 minutes or less). Parker was a champ in line, and Mommy had fun spotting all the Johnny Depps throughout the ride. We ended up in the very front row, and discovered that it's the row that gets splashed on this ride! 

12:00PM We headed back to Fantasyland to use our first Fast Pass of the day: 11:35AM for It's A Small World. While this wasn't a must-do Fast Pass (there are times when the wait for the ride isn't too bad), I booked a Fast Pass for it because I really wanted to make sure we made it on. It's such a classic favorite, and one that I distinctly remember from childhood.

That song is still the sweetest! 

And we loved spotting our names in the Good-Bye area!

12:30PM We had about a half hour until our Seven Dwarf's Mine Train Fast Pass - this was the pass to have. Seven Dwarf's Mine Train is The Magic Kingdom's newest ride, and the wait times are insane (think 200+ minutes). Since we were already in Fantasyland, we headed over to Mickey's Philharmagic to spend the time until our Fast Pass. 

We weren't sure what to expect besides it being some kind of show. It ended up being a fun, 3D musical movie showcasing characters and songs from tons of Disney classics. The sensory additions were my favorite part (squirting water on us during an ocean scene, spraying a scent while playing a dinner scene).

1:00PM We still had s few minutes until our Fast Pass, and Prince Charming's Carousel had almost no wait, so we all hopped on for a spin!

1:10PM Then it was time!

I'm so happy that we watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs prior to coming because the ride totally showed all seven dwarfs, their mine, and tons of colorful gems! The majority of the ride was a super fast rollercoaster on swinging cars. You probably can't tell by my face below, but I was having loads of fun.

After disembarking, we all concurred it was our new favorite ride.

All the smiles!

1:30PM We picked up some hot dogs for a super-fast quick-service meal.

2:00PM We stopped for a photo op in front of Cinderella's castle.

Parker was still not a fan of his new Mickey ears, so I pretty totally bribed him with the promise of Dole Whip.

It was one of those "Am I the best mom ever or worst mom ever?" moments.

Real life: as soon as the photos were done, those ears were off. 😂

2:30PM The promised Dole Whip!

Seriously, I'd eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And a Dole Whip Float for Daddy.

3:00PM After our snack break we asked Parker if he wanted to watch the parade again. Practical Parker said he had already seen it the day before, so we hopped on the train instead.

It picked us up in Frontierland, and went right by Thunder Mountain Railroad.

3:30PM We hopped off the train in Fantasyland and beelined for Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland, our last Fast Pass of the day. We were hoping the line would be short due to the parade going on, and we were correct! So instead of using our 3:10PM Fast Pass, we hopped in the regular line first with the intention of riding it a second time in a row with the Fast Pass.

Our plan worked perfectly! The second time through, we all hopped in one car together. 

4:15PM Back on the train!

We hopped back on in Fantasyland, rode it through the front of the park, and ended up back in Frontierland. 

4:45PM We realized we were right by The Jungle Cruise, which we still haven't made it on, so we decided to give it a go!

Since the park was closing at 8pm this day, we tried to power through the whole day instead of napping. Our tired guy needed a little lift from Daddy.

Onto the ride with our silly driver!

Parker gave all the funny jokes two thumbs up. 

5:45PM We headed to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Cafe for a quick-service dinner. Think Taco Bell to set your expectations and you'll be pleased. I actually really enjoyed my beef nachos (especially the serve-yourself topping bar for them).

Parker ordered his own meal using "please" and "thank-you" which was something we had worked on long ago, and is just his norm to do now. The cashier taking our order said she was so impressed with his manners and how polite he was that she wanted to give him a strawberry slushy. Y'all, he was just thrilled (and hearing your child be complimented by a stranger is so heartwarming).

6:45PM After dinner we were debating staking out a spot for the fireworks show, or hitting up a ride or two and calling it a night. Parker voted for going back to the hotel (Little Man was tired), but he asked to ride Dumbo one more time. That we could do.

I'm so happy we made it over to Fantasyland at night because it looked completely different all lit up!

7:30PM We were able to ride Dumbo twice in a row before we headed out of the park. The area around the castle was crazy packed, as was Main Street (like, too many people for my own comfort level) but it was an awesome time to ride the Monorail because it was practically empty.

8:00PM We made it back to The Contemporary just before eight and headed up to the balcony to view the fireworks. Literally after one minute, Parker said he was done (this guy was a champ for making it through that whole day) so we headed in and passed Max's cousin and family as were were walking through the hotel! It was so very random and special to run into them - what are the odds that we all would have been staying at the same hotel over the same dates (and that we would cross paths?!). Later that night, I checked our schedule for the next day using the Disney app (it has everything from restaurant reservations to Fast Passes and park times - it's totally a must for visiting WDW).

Our summary for Day Two: three quick-service meals, one show (Mickey's Philharmagic), twelve rides (including five times on Buzz Light Year's Space Ranger Spin), one train ride around the park, seven miles walked on foot, one stop for Dole Whips, and one Monorail ride back to our hotel. Next up - Epcot!
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