Before all the environmental vegans get on the defense we cloth diaper. However, no one at Gro-via will tell you when you invest in their diapers that if you buy Velcro closure tabs instead of snaps that their lifespan is about 15-18 months and then you have to pay them once again ($5 a diaper…after initially paying $17 per diaper SHELL to start with!) to convert the Velcro to snaps. I do wish someone would have told me this as I never would have wasted money on Velcro to begin with but I digress. So our 28 Gro-via shells are on their way to the company to have the shells converted to a snap closure.

So in preparation for sending them off, as I don’t see a point in doing them in sets since it takes 10-12 days might as well do it all at once, I researched the “best” diapers to use in the meantime. Not only were there rave reviews by independent bloggers, moms and a company that JUST tests out diapers and reviews them, but I was sold on the ingredients.

Seventh Generation has a new line called “Like Cloth” and Honest Company has “premium Eco-friendly disposable diapers.” The other reason we wanted to check out diapers is because the Gro-via diapers are for 10 lbs and up and likely our newborn (see the last post) will need disposables until they can wear cloth. Gro-via used to sell their own disposables, which we used with Ellie, but for some reason they discontinued them.

Anyway. Those two brands basically looked pretty good and with them both available atTarget aka my favorite place I could compare and read the list of ingredients too. Now let me say I have always been a fan of Seventh Generation. Until Ellie was born and we took our first trip away where we used disposable wipes. We usually use Charlie Banana cloth wipes in a wipes warmer and we just put water and coconut oil on them. All natural for my baby! So when we went away when she was 4 months old and used the Seventh Generation wipes I couldn’t have ever known her poor bum would turn beet red and have a severe reaction to the chemicals in their wipes. We ended up using Burt’s Bees wipes as the ingredients looked better than what we had used. Thankfully they don’t irritate her bum but I still wanted something less icky for my babies. The Honest Co. Wipes were $1 for a 10 pack at Target so we gave them a whirl. I have to say they are THE softest wipes we have used and they are thick too. I currently only have them in her swim bag, but when we run out of the Burt’s Bees we will go to the Honest brand.

(AGAIN A DISCLAIMER FOR MY ENVIRONMENTAL VEGANS…we have bought literally those three packages of wipes. And the Burt’s Bees wipes have less than half used and my girl is 16 months! We believe in our environment!) So the diapers!!

So Sunday we had to do a load of wash and I figured we should launder and then mail the diapers on Monday to Gro-via for the snap conversion. I ordered Honest Co. Diapers on Target.com as they had a deal and we paid $22.88 for a pack of 68 diapers. Thanks to my Target red card and my 5% savings all the time!! So Sunday began the test. We had heard how so many disposables leak. Not just at night but with BIG poops. And hello, we are vegan, my kid eats 99% plant based diet and a bit of tofu, Gardein, Tofurkey, Field Roast Grain Co., etc. So we have HUGE poops. The last cloth diaper poop she had I was sure would almost have been what I have heard described as a “blowout” where the poop shoots up the back, front, or both of the baby, if I hadn’t changed it sooner because it was centimeters away from leaving the safety of the diaper shell. Obviously leaks and blowouts terrified me. We have had leaks (we also have to replace the leg elastics in all the shells when they get back from Gro-via but don’t get me started on that!) but never ever a blowout or poo-splosion. I was nervous.

Sunday we had a long day with my bestie’s bridal shower and the diapers didn’t seem to cause ANY irritation and they don’t smell NASTY like I recall disposables smelling. Then there is the absorption. These things hold liquid. MAN do they hold it. She had 0 leaks all day. Then after 13 + hours (12 1/2 hours of sleep plus falling asleep and waking up) of the same diaper Monday morning gave me a BIG diaper and a BIG poop. NO leaks.

Now it’s Tuesday evening and we have had 0 leaks, loads of big poops and pees and not one single issue. No bum irritation, no anything. I have to say this cloth mama is SUPER impressed. If it weren’t for the environmental impact of disposables and the cost (our stash of cloth was $800 up front which paid itself back within 90 days of cloth diapering) of them versus cloth I have to say I would switch. Of course they are easy since you toss them, but they are soft and great quality.

Literally THE only downside and it’s actually quite funny, is the diapers are SO thin in comparison to her cloth diapers that she has a teeny tiny bootie now and I have had to dig out old clothes as the current ones she is wearing literally fall off her bottom half. Gerbie (my nickname for my beautiful sunshine girl) is 30 1/2 inches tall and weighs 20 lbs. She is long and lean. And now she clearly looks it and has a tiny bootie. It’s so cute.

Honest Company has really impressed me. Now I can only dream that before April of 2015 they will design a cloth diaper with a snap in insert, like my Gro-via all in two diapers, and I would switch to them. They have won me over for temporary use.

For earth friendly Mamas at least these diapers have natural ingredients for the most part and aren’t nasty petroleum, plastic crap. I highly recommend them. I STILL recommend cloth because I think it is worth our kids having natural fibers on their skin and helping our environment as much as possible.

Let me know about your diaper experiences, cloth and disposables!

Well we did the whole “wait 12 weeks” and it’s time to spill the beans! Baby Clements #2 is on the way!!

This kid is giving me a run for my money in the health department as I have morning sickness (I am hoping by the time we get to 12 weeks, as I am writing this at 8 and scheduling the post he he he) and between that and the exhaustion from building a human and placenta I am about a useless pile of person. I have no energy to do anything and I have no appetite for “real food.” I only want bland and definitely not nutritionally sound food. Such as chips, bread, “cheese,” anything white or salty. I am forcing myself a salad or large kale dish each week because I want my baby to be healthy!!

I haven’t had much to say yet as so far so good but the plans are: another home water birth with our amazing midwife Katrina Hollon from Holistic Maternity. If it’s a girl she will be named Hannah Michelle and if it’s a boy he will be Jack William. And I am encapsulating my placenta this time to help prevent Postpartum Depression (which can be very severe and is a very real thing, having suffered through it for almost a year with Ellie’s birth in quiet and alone, so if you need help reach out!)

So we don’t know much yet about “Hank” which is the two names combined, but we can’t wait to meet our new baby!

PS – scheduled this to be posted at 10:30am on 10/14/14 because two years ago exactly we told the first person aside from us that we were pregnant with our beautiful Ellie Clements So it only seemed fitting to tell on the same day.

So I have had some desire for “comfort foods” lately. I remember loving those Morton Fish sticks and filets and of course the horribly bad for you “fish and chips” as you might find at any Florida seafood restaurant.

Part of what makes those filets so darn good is the delish crispy and flaky crust as well as the way the fish kind of flakes when you cut it open with your fork. I totally wanted to try Gardein’s Golden Fishless Fish Filets because hey let’s face it if anyone can do it Chef Tal & his team are the ones that will!

I have to say the filets did NOT disappoint. While they aren’t as flaky as I recall fish being they flake very nicely and give the same visual appeal. The batter is crispy and not heavy. Absolutely perfect if you’re trying to go for a vegan fish n’chips! I used some of my Earth Balance Mindful Mayo and mixed in a bit of spicy mustard (I used Koop’s Horseradish mustard) and some horseradish as my “tartar sauce” and then proceeded to devour these yummie treats.

If you need a treat this will not disappoint you!

Go grab some and enjoy!

So it’s one thing for most ethical vegans to convert their wardrobe choices and food choices to completely vegan but for vegan women it becomes a different sort of investment to switch your beauty routine over.

I had always tried to purchase “Cruelty Free” but it’s a whole different story when you determine to purchase vegan toiletries.

When I had my beautiful princess baby in June of 2013 one thing that was highlighted for me was dental care. A blogger I read via Pinterest talked about Earthpaste so my hubby did some research and really liked the ingredients as well and we got some. It’s pricey at $7.99 a tube via Amazon or Whole Foods but the lemon flavor was delightful and left my teeth feeling smooth like I’d just been to the dentist.

It doesn’t contain fluoride which is NOT vegan and a big nasty thing maybe or maybe not linked to cancer and other nasty stuff. Well being a mama my girl gets only the best. Organic produce, good food, and vegan toiletries. So I thought sweet we are set. Well my weirdo husband decided his teeth didn’t feel “clean enough” after using it for a few months and gave up.

I was still attempting to finish my giant stash of “garden toothpaste” as my hubby jokingly calls it from Trader Joe’s so that I could make the switch. (I use their Fennel, Myrrh and Propolis toothpaste and personally I love the flavor lol…hubby says it tastes like a garden.)

Enter the glorious Vegan Cuts I had been blessed with 3 months of food boxes for my birthday last year and 3 months of beauty boxes for Christmas. I LOVE that I can eat anything in their snack boxes as its ALL vegan and that the beauty boxes are ALL vegan.

So I have tried and loved some great products because of Vegan Cuts and I think their boxes are very well priced for what you get and every month is a fun treat! Since they’re a company I trust I went looking for toothpaste and found The Dirt Now this is their direct website and I bought via Vegan Cuts and got the powder and copper tongue scraper. I believe it was much less expensive via Vegan Cuts as well.

So my beautifully packaged Dirt arrived and I was anxious to give it a whirl. Now I was only a tiny bit hesitant as it is branded as having cinnamon and orange as flavors. Both of which are flavors I am not fond of. I loved some cinnamon in my homemade apple pie and I love fresh oranges and orange juice but not things flavored with either generally. So just to be clear this isn’t a tooth paste. It is powder and you wet your toothbrush to get it on there and then brush as usual.

I have to say I really really enjoyed the flavor. It was really good. The thing that made me laugh, and this could have just been because I am somewhat obsessed with The Walking Dead at the moment, but I didn’t quite realize I had to spit and it kind of ran out of my mouth. And yes, it literally looked like I was eating dirt. So I played out the awesome zombie moment.

I have been using my Dirt paste ever since I received it and I love the way my teeth feel. I have receding gums from grinding my teeth and the exposed roots are extremely sensitive. I have noticed a big difference in my teeth not being sensitive at all. So my reviews for The Dirt is buy it. It’s yummiest tasting and leaves your teeth feeling like they’ve just been cleaned by the dentist except without any chemicals or anything unnatural. I’ll let you know if the promise of the jar lasting 6 months is accurate. Hubster and I are currently sharing it so by my guesstimate it should run out sometime mid to late December.

Check it out! If you’ve got a dirty mouth, clean it up with The Dirt!

Now I can only speak for my somewhat limited circle of vegans who I know, but it seems we have things like a love for animals, vintage and quirky things, we are fairly crunchy people and we have a deep love for cats. (I also want to insert a disclaimer that ALL of our kitties are rescues. 1 from our first foster fail (Cole,) 1 from Friends of Strays (Zeus,) and 2 from Humane Society of Pinellas (Juno & Charlie.) I am a strong supporter and proponent of adoption. It saves lives and let’s be honest the best breed is Rescued!

Kathy Palatsky is a great blogger who I found via Pinterest and aside from having MANY awesome and delicious recipes she loves kitties.

I have previously blogged about my love for Annie Shannon and of course she too has kitties.

My one close friend who is a vegan is actually the Executive Director of the shelter I volunteer at and she has a host of kitties and doggies at home as well.

My point being, we love our kitties!!! So I thought I would take a minute to introduce you guys to our four legged family.

This silly beauty is Juno Diana. We actually just celebrated her 6th “Got me” day which was 9/14 and our beautiful girl is 6, having been born on 4/6/08 :) She is her black and gorgeous. She also is a chatty little thing, silly and a snuggle bug. I love my Junie bear!!

This next guy is Zeus Alexander. Zeus was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself back in 2001. A fun fact is that he was Zelda until I was paying to adopt him and the girl said “you know he is a boy right?” And I said “no, I wanted a girl!” But he had already won my heart and I had waited 3 weeks, visiting him weekly, to make sure we were supposed to be together. Zeus was a HUGE pain when he was “young” and didn’t settle down until he was 7!!! He used to be wild but then he stole my heart and soul and became my soul mate kitty. I adore all of my cats, but Zeus is the guy there when I am sad to cuddle me; when I am sick to lay with me and when I just need love to cuddle me. He is a sweet 13 year old man who I adore and can’t imagine life without. He is still super playful, loving and active. I love my Mr. Juicy!

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This little man is Charlie. Charles Spencer, named by his foster mama because he has a mustache like Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin’s full name was Charles Spencer Chaplin, so we named our boy Charles Spencer. I have a million nicknames but Lolie was the first. A short version of Charlie with a twist…as that “Charlie bit me” video kid was British and if you try an accent you could fudge it to Lolie lol.

Anywho he is a sweet and wild little guy. He reminds me SO much of my Zeus when he was a kitten and young adult but he is definitely a fiesty, playful lover boy who was my hubby’s first cat. While we have 4, Charlie was totally Dave’s decision. But don’t get me wrong. I love my Lolie. Just look at his legs!!!

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And last but not least, my Cole Nathaniel Elliot. How how I adore my Cole bear. He was one of 3 kittens that my first foster kitty had in our apartment. And the odds for black cats and kittens in shelters, at the time we adopted him, was so bad that I couldn’t bear to put him through the shelter even though I volunteered there. My pitiful request finally wore Dave down and for Christmas 2009 Cole Nathaniel was my bestest gift. He was always very shy, skittish and generally not friendly (despite being with us since birth,) but all that changed when Ellie was born. Cole kind of loves her. He is super comfortable around her and the only one of our cats who actually lets her pet him and give him “hugs and kisses.” Cole is much more Juno’s cat, as he is usually stuck to her side, sleeping, grooming or snuggling her, than he could ever be mine but I still adore him. My Guacamole Cole!!! (Also he for some reason really doesn’t photograph well, but he is also black with a touch of white on his chest and a white “diaper”)

The first photo is Junie and Cole curled up with Cole in the foreground.

So…I had a hankering to try Gardein’s “meat loaf” when I saw it in the freezer section. Now I have to say I made a wicked good meat loaf when I wasn’t vegan. With brown gravy and onions and it was phenomenal so I had that memory to contend with.

As soon as we put it in the pan to cook and it started heating up I smelled the familiar aroma of a meatloaf. This kind of brought me back because the smell reminded me of being a kid and my mom’s meatloaf. I know it’s no fancy meal but meatloaf and mashed potatoes was always a favorite meal when I was a kid. And when I was 11 it was the first full meal I ever made and I cooked for our extended family for my mom’s 40th birthday.

Now between memories and pure enjoyment Gardein had a whole lot to contend with. The smell hit the spot and had me waiting very impatiently to devour my meatloaf.

As soon as it was served up the smell and texture when I cut into it were just as I remembered. So the final test was gravy and the taste. Now on a scale of 1-10 I would give this meatloaf a 9. It would be a perfect 10 for me without celery. I have this WEIRD aversion to celery that I literally hate it so intensely I rarely eat anything if it shows it in the ingredients. However, every bite didn’t have celery and once I was made aware I completely removed any remnant of celery before I ate any more. I know this sounds mental but you truly cannot comprehend my disgust for celery.

So I applaud Gardein for a job WELL done and highly recommend this product to anyone who misses Mama’s yummie meatloaf. I will say this isn’t meatloaf as some friends I knew growing up ate it: with ketchup and red sauce. This is good old authentic meatloaf and it is well spent money and a fast meal to fix! Next time I might throw a side of Earth Balance Mac n’Cheese onto the plate to really get nostalgic!

I shamefully admit to devouring my meatloaf prior to taking a photo to document the beauty and deliciousness but I promise to do so ASAP as we will absolutely have this again!

If you know anything at all about me you know that I LOVE Annie Shannon of Meet the Shannons also the famous author of Betty Goes Vegan. If I hadn’t found Meet the Shannons I am not sure I could have survived year one of being vegan. Annie’s pantry checklist helped me be a smart shopper and her comfort food recipes helped me not miss any meats.

Anyway, when I finally decided to give into my quiche craving, what better source than a recipe from who I believe the be a vegan goddess!!!

So I found this recipe by Annie for quiche lorraine and decided to give it a whirl.

It wasn’t too difficult to make (I used my Kitchen Aid instead of hand rolling the dough,) and we didn’t add any liquid smoke, but somehow we messed it up. It had a funky after taste, which I have NEVER encountered when following an Annie Shannon recipe precisely. I did enjoy it as it had a great quiche like texture but we didn’t devour it like I wanted to because it had an odd taste.

I am absolutely going to try to make this again using my own pie crust recipe, (I also messed up by using butter for 8 tbsp of the required shortening which definitely affected the crust texture,) and following the quiche recipe to a “t” minus the liquid smoke.

The photos are decent and so was the quiche but I still highly recommend trying it out!!

First off I wish I could take the credit for these beautiful tofu steaks. They’re essentially blocks of tofu marinated in something like an “Emeril’s Original Essence” and then I bake them for about 20-25 minutes in the stove or about 10-15 in our toaster oven. However, they are a “deli” delight from a local whole foods type store called Rollin’ Oats and they are a wonderful store with amazing and awesome employees and owners. If you’re local to St. Pete or Tampa I highly recommend visiting them!

Anywho they are the focus protein of my beautiful little meal but kale is the Rockstar. Chef Tal Ronnen is an amazing vegan chef and inventor (gardein & Kite Hill) and wrote a beautiful and delectable cookbook called The Conscious Cook. I highly disagree with a simple 4 star review of his book though, I would say it is 5 stars all the way. Some very challenging and gourmet recipes but most I feel any vegan could make.

He has a braised kale recipe which I sort of altered to make my own. I always use Lacinato, or dinosaur kale, as I prefer the texture to “curly” kale. I take a full bunch of organic Dino kale and about 1 cup of Not Chick’n Broth (lower sodium) and I cook it on fairly high heat with the lid of my pot on in order to steam and soften the leaves. When I see it is starting to wilt I add nutritional yeast. And when I say I add it I ADD as much as it takes to make the sauce creamy. Sometimes that’s a cup sometimes two. Remember for vegans it’s a GREAT source of B vitamins. Just 2 tbsp give you a daily source and let’s be honest it tastes pretty awesome!!

So once my tofu is cooked and my kale done I top it off with a couple of caper berries courtesy of the “olive bar” at my local Whole Foods.

Easy and super fast meal and it seems pretty gourmet with the beauty of the caper berries on top!

I don’t know about y’all but are you as addicted to Pinterest as I am?!?!

There have been some beautiful photos of heirloom tomatoes and being a lover of a good tomato, you know I had to hit up my local Whole Foods and check for some lovely organic heirlooms. They did not disappoint.

As a vegan people think we can’t have pimp breakfasts or awesome and amazing meals because we can’t eat dead animals. Well I have to say why eat something dead when you can eat something vibrant and dripping with ripe goodness?!

I pimped my breakfasts for a few days and got my everything bagel topped with some Go Veggie cream cheese with garlic and chives and then some fresh chives and finally a beautiful heirloom tomato with a sprinkle of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and a dash of fresh ground pepper.

If you haven’t indulged yet get them while they last!! What’s your favorite tomato? I think green heirlooms are mine!!

Well you guys know me as Marti or Martina depending on when in life you met me. Martina for PD or Pre-Dave or Marti for AD as in After Dave.

I am a bit odd, have a wickedly strange sense of humor (this illustrates me perfectly!)

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and I am a woman who prides herself in being a contradiction in terms.

Since having my beautiful daughter Ellie on 6/25/13 my life could not be more different. I’ve always been into tattoos, piercings and rock music so a vegan lifestyle wasn’t much farther to stretch as many of those who are vegans are already tattooed rockers! (And I think that’s all awesome!!) But I also first and foremost love Jesus. I am totally and ridiculously in love with Jesus. He is pretty much the awesome-est ness of my life. I am nothing without His love. So for many “religious” people I don’t look like a typical Jesus freak per se but I guess I am not anything typical.

The Jesus I know, love and follow is a lover. He is a lover of this planet and ALL of it’s people. Fundamentally speaking I believe in Jesus, His death and resurrection as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit who lives and breathes in all believers. I believe in miracles, in passionate love for our fellow man and in life abundant. My church and family are the most amazing people I know they’ve loved me into wholeness without allowing me to keep the dysfunctions that held me back.

So Jesus is #1. These two are my number 2:

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That’s my totally handsome and wickedly funny best friend and hubby Dave and my beautiful girl Ellie

As I said my life totally changed when she was born. No, I take it back, before she was born it totally changed. When I got pregnant I became this green and crunchy hippy that I never knew existed. I did a home water birth without any drugs and breastfed exclusively for the first year. Now we eat loads of yummie organic foods together and she still breastfeeds up to 6 times a day if she needs me. I also went from a drug toting gal to being all homeopathic and we use EO’s and homeopathic medicines instead of “drugs.” So I don’t take Advil, Aleve, Tylenol even. They, being everyone, told me “oh you can take Tylenol while you’re pregnant” I said nah…I’ll pass.

So crunchy green mama me emerged.

I also finished a back piece since becoming a mom, re-pierced my nose and am planning my eyebrow to be done as well as a large arm (upper) piece to represent my daughter.

I have struggled in my walk thinking that God doesn’t hear me or love me. But then look back on my dreams, and His promises fulfilled: I got my VW Tiguan with the exact colors and features I wanted (thank you Lord!) and I got to be a full time stay at home mom. So I know that despite the struggles, God is good and He loves me.

I have become even closer to some friends, I LOVE you Stacey, Amy, Lauren & Sarah, and drifted away from those who I thought would support me in my transition to motherhood.

I have moved from the house we birthed Ellie in, to a townhouse in a true family neighborhood.

And I’ve become even more in love with veganism, and vegetables to be specific. Briefly off topic, Ellie loves beets, yellow beets to be exact, and I have found myself really liking them as well!! There are no veggies I don’t like. At least not off hand. I don’t like ANY melons. I also don’t like pears. Ellie, however, devours about a pear each day. She eats kale, spinach, garlic, hummus, spicy foods, beans, taters, and every fruit we have ever given her.

So I am a contradiction in terms of sorts. A tattooed, pierced, rocker mama who loves the “spirit of the south” in that I love the kindness and ease that is associated with it but I hate heat and humidity. I am drawn to Portland. The land of veganism, crunchy non-vax parents and hippies. That’s where this power packed Jesus worshipper wants to land! Oh and did I mention that my dream is to be a worship leader for Jesus?! So you can find me shouting His praises listening to Bethel Music with Ellie. And the same day, rocking out to Godsmack on the Elliptical machine.

Just because I “look” a certain way doesn’t mean I’m not a kind, compassionate, loving hippy on the inside. I love to read James Patterson, Bill Johnson, Danny Silk (who writes THE best books on parenting & relationships,) Banning Liebshcher, Kris Vallotton and more. I also love me some killer rock music: old stuff like Tool & AC/DC, Metallica, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and newer rock like Three Days Grace, The Pretty Reckless, Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Linkin Park…

Then you’ll also catch me blaring Keith Urban, Rascall Flats, The Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum and more. And on occasion I’ll rock out some pop…mostly dance or techno since it’s good to blast driving alone or at the gym on the elliptical.

So in essence I love Jesus, Dave, Ellie, my friends, my kitties, pitbulls (which I intend to adopt some oldies sooner rather than later), tattoos, rock and country and all things beautiful. Peonies, pink, tulle and being a girl. Cold weather days and snuggles under a warm blanket nights, sweater (or in my case hoodie) weather, gloves, boots and jeans that fit just right. I love a Florida spring day and the feeling of falling asleep in the August sun. I love Portland and rain showers, Hunter boots and puddles. I love the teachings of my amazing Pastor Terri Dieter, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Steve Hale, Scott Thompson and Todd White. I love Bethel Church and Music and what they’ve done to advance God’s kingdom. I love rock and country and dancing. I love Jenn Johnson, the way she worships and her powerful voice. I love my British husband and family, my dual citizen Ellie Grace. I love my baby’s smiles and giggles and how she lights up every room she enters. Because her name means “beautiful woman, bringer of light” and she does bring light wherever she goes. I love that I’m not like anyone I know but I can relate to a lot of people. I love that I am weird and unique and a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I love being vegan and not doing harm to animals in living the lifestyle I have chosen. I love that Ellie will be raised this way. There is way too much to feel blessed about than not. I am one heck of a lucky woman and am blessed to have a beautiful healthy family and a relationship with God. I. Am. Truly. Blessed.