Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Herbivore Abroad Interview, Review & Giveaway!

I have to say I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Lindsay's book tour for her new book, Happy Herbivore Abroad.  You can read about my journey to veganism here, but at the end of the day what is most important is that Lindsay is my favorite cookbook author.  When I was first vegan I would get very overwhelmed by the random ingredients in recipes, the amount of time and effort they took and how unhealthy a supposedly healthy recipe could be!  When my co-worker introduced me to Happy Herbivore, I was hooked.  Her recipes were easy, healthy and quick--something I appreciate even more now that I am a working mom of a new baby boy.   

I own both Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore (and enjoy her meal plans that have helped me lose 50 of my 55lbs of pregnancy weight in a healthy fashion!) but I have to say that Happy Herbivore Abroad is my absolute favorite of the three cookbooks.  I don't know if it is the traveler and Spanish teacher in me, but I really enjoy the flavors and variety in these recipes!  I absolutely love the amount of European recipes, specifically the Spanish recipes, throughout the cookbook.  I'm also impressed by the new layout and font.  It is really easy for me to understand how many people each recipes serves and the nutritional information for it.  Additionally, the recipes all call for ingredients that are easy to find, don't cost a lot and are probably already in my pantry.  It is completely accessible cooking for everyone--something that is usually not typical with cooking food from around the world.  As a travel junkie, I adore the stories she has behind each of the recipes and the pronunciation tips for foreign words.  Not only is this a cookbook but also a travelogue of her extensive adventures.  I found myself reliving many of my favorite travel memories through hers.  While nursing one night I sat down and read the cookbook as if it was an actual book and was really entertained.  She has surpassed my expectations with this cookbook--and I have to admit--I had really high ones given my travel experiences. 

Probably more exciting than receiving Happy Herbivore Abroad was my chance to interview Lindsay about the cookbook!  I was definitely a little star-struck to get this opportunity.  Hearing her take on her new book was very cool:

Ashley:  As a Spanish teacher, I love to travel as well. I find that when I do, I discover almost more about myself than I do about my destination. Have you had a similar experience?

Lindsay:  Yes! I have a story in Abroad about exactly that! Actually, two of the stories in there could fit this description...
Ashley:  Being vegan on my most recent trip to Spain forced me to try new foods that I wouldn't have otherwise. What advantages and disadvantages does being vegan while traveling pose for you?

Lindsay:  Like you, I find eating a plant-based diet encourages me to try foods I wouldn't have normally tried. I always like tell people that my diet is much more varied now on a plant-based (vegan) diet than it ever was when I was an omnivore. Being plant-based has opened me up to so many foods, ingredients and cuisines I would have never tried as an omnivore. The only disadvantage is that it's not always convenient -- but that's true no matter if you're in small town U.S.A. or Rome. Eating a plant-based diet takes patience and creativity at times, especially when you're abroad, but I've always been able to find food. I've found Spain to be one of the easiest and most accommodating countries!   
Ashley:  I see you've been to many countries where you don't speak the native language. How do you manage staying plant strong and communicating your needs?  Any tips?

Lindsay:  I speak Spanish, French and some German -- enough to get by and communicate my needs. In other countries, where I don't speak the language at all, I always take notes with me -- food words, how to explain my dietary preferences in their native language. I'll get a phrase book, etc. so I still can communicate, just not well. I've also noticed that English has become more widespread throughout Europe, especially in the bigger cities because of tourism, and many restaurants offer English menus.  
Ashley:  What is the craziest meal you've tried while traveling?  Did you enjoy it?  Will we see a recipe in Happy Herbivore Abroad?

Lindsay:  I'm not terribly adventurous with my food -- but I did eat a fruit once that looked, and, in my opinion, tasted like an eyeball. I was assured it was not an eyeball...  
Ashley:  While in Spain last year I saw a TON of vegan graffiti and support for the first time. Do you feel like you've noticed in your travels that the plant strong community is getting bigger throughout the world?

Lindsay:  I saw a huge difference on this last trip, compared to five years earlier. I saw a lot of vegan graffiti, stickers and other posters about being vegan. I ran into an Italian animal rights group demonstrating at fashion week in Milan and they were so excited that I was plant-based. I've also noticed more and more restaurants, bars, etc. offering clearly marked vegan and vegetarian meals in the bigger cities.  
Ashley:  What's your favorite recipe in Happy Herbivore Abroad?

Lindsay:  Asking a chef to pick their favorite recipe is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child :)  
Ashley:  Do any of your recipes hold special memories from your adventures?

Lindsay:  Most of them! There's a story attached to nearly every recipe in the book.   
Ashley:  Are these recipes as accessible to the everyday cook since they have an international flair?

Lindsay:  Yep! That was my main goal -- international flavor, using everyday ingredients we all have in our pantry.  
Ashley:  What are you most proud of with this new book?

Lindsay:  There's so much of me in this book. It's very personal, especially with all the memoir bits. It's not easy to brave your soul to the presses! I'm really proud of this book. It's a beautiful book.
So if you still aren't sure of how awesome this book is, let me show you a few recipes I have made!  Keep in mind that these pictures were taken from my iPhone and I am not a good photographer.  First, I had to try the paella!
At first I wasn't sure how I would like it since it doesn't have saffron in it, but it was amazing.  Besides a quick whiz of my food processor, this is pretty much a one pot meal that doesn't need a lot of fuss-great for a week night meal.  I loved the al dente taste of the rice...just like the paella I've had in Spain many times!

Since I can't really go to Spain right now because of our newest addition, I wanted to have a tapas night in.

I made Patatas Bravas, Tostada con Tomate, and "Cheater" Romesco Sauce.  I added a few olives on the side, per Spanish tapas tradition, and washed it down with the Tinto de Verano recipe.  The sauce for the patatas bravas was great and really easy!  I did have to cook my potatoes longer than the recipe states but that is ALWAYS the case for me...maybe I chop mine too big?  Since it is so cold out I broiled my zucchini instead of grilling it and it was delicious with the romesco sauce.  Tastes just like when I last had it in Toledo in a cool restaurant that was somewhat underground/cave like when out celebrating my co-worker's surprise engagement that I helped with!  The tostada con tomate (which is usually for breakfast but I love so much and can't resist) was amazing.  I didn't have a cheese grater so I had to use a microplane.  That took quite a bit more effort but the result was delicious and very authentic!  And the good.  Reminds me of the Kalimotxos I used to drink when I studied abroad.  Now if only I could get Fanta Limón here in the states as well...

To keep things well balanced among my Spanish-speaking countries I made the Quick Mole Chili and Morir Soñando for lunch.

The chili was unbelievably easy and quick, as was the drink.  I love the name of the juice die dreaming...since I have the Japanese character for "dream" tattooed on my shoulder for my habit to constantly dream.  My oranges weren't that sweet so I did have to add some agave but I can only imagine how much better it would taste with really good oranges.  The chili had a nice subtle chocolate flavor without being sweet...the perfect mole taste. 

Lastly, I made the Stuffed Acorn Squash because it is getting chilly here in Michigan and I wanted some warm comfort food.

I really liked the spices and raisins in the stuffing.  I don't think I would have thought to use them in a stuffing before.  I also enjoyed the use of quinoa instead of rice because I love how quinoa adds protein and is super quick to cook.  It was a very easy recipe and one I will make many times again...besides the acorn squash I almost always have all of the ingredients in my house!

Well, if this post hasn't sold you on how awesome Happy Herbivore Abroad is then I don't know what will!  I really can not sing enough praises for it.  For more reviews, follow the Twitter hashtag #HHATour. 

Happy Herbivore Abroad is available now on Amazon but I am lucky enough to give away one copy to a reader!  To enter, leave a comment below (I have to approve comments before they post, just FYI when you post them) telling me either what your favorite travel memory is or what your favorite food while traveling has been.  Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  The giveaway will end Saturday night, 12/1/12 at 11:59PM.  I will post the winner on Sunday and choose the person by using  The giveaway is only open to those in the USA and Canada.  Good luck!  :)




  1. First off, I am so happy and excited for you!! I've watched you make your transition to being vegan and I am so impressed by your dedication and passion. As you know, I consult you for most of my questions on vegan lifestlye eating, how you made your transition, and let's face it....pretty much everything in life. As a fellow Virgo and (what I consider) the sister I have always had, but never lived with; I have always felt we share many similar lifestyle perspectives and I am so thankful for your constant love and support!
    My most favorite travel memory, has to be from this past summer, when Joe and I shared our honeymoon in my dream destination, Europe (specifically, Italy as my family's ancestry from there holds a special place in my heart). It was my BEST travel memory for many obvious reasons and some not as obvious reasons. Not to mention, I had never traveled outside of the USA and had never traveled with anyone that wasn't one of my immediate family members or first cousins.
    Obviously, I had just recently married my best friend, the man of my dreams, and truly, my better half. The trip to Europe (France, Switzerland and Italy) was something we didn't think we would ever be able to afford. However, as was meant to be, it worked out and another one of my dreams came true! My most favorite dish that I had while abroad, was in Italy (surprise, surprise since I grew up on my Nona's Italian cooking at our Italian family, weekly Sunday dinners). While I loved almost all of the food I had in Italy, my most favorite was a simple, traditional, yet staple dish we ate growing up, Risotto. I have to say that authentic Italian Risotto from Rome was different than how my Nona used to make it. My Nona always used long grain rice with a tomato based sauce. In Rome, they made it with the traditional arborio rice, with a white wine sauce and mushrooms. I tried to mimic it from a recipe online when we returned, and while I got the "this is good, you could make this again" approval from my husband, I felt it just wasn't the same as Rome made it!
    Italy has always held a special place in my heart, as my family heritage stems from there and my family means everything in the world to me.
    Not as obviously, it now holds even more meaning than ever before. The most amazing part of Europe might have been what happened upon our return. My 86 year old grandmother(Nona) was born in Turino and she met my grandfather, who was from Rome, in Italy. The past few months, my grandmother's health has been deteriorating. She has difficulty remembering our names, she cannot get a sentence out, and she no longer does the Sunday dinner cooking (though we still gather and her children, my mother and her siblings, now do the cooking). Upon returning from Europe (Italy), I was showing my Nona some of our pictures. Her face lit up with her oh so beautiful smile and she started talking about her mother and her father (who passed away long before I was even born), she was commenting on the pictures and she seemed to remember being a little girl standing in those streets, laughing, playing and loving Italy, just as I did! Italy will always hold a special place in my heart and now when I think about it, I not only remember the smell of the aromas that would invade the streets, the people who were so friendly (and a few times asked me for directions stating they thought I was a native of Italy), or the sights that truly were works of art, but I see that smile on my Nona's face and know that seeing the pictures of Italy, in her mind, brought back a memory of her family and her forever home.
    If I were selected to win a copy of this cookbook, I would be such a "happy herbivore" as I would be able to try out healthy, delicious recipes from all around the world and bring them in to my home. As Nona always said, "Mangia! (Eat!)"

  2. Count me in! Love that you were chosen and love perusing her cookbooks while sitting at the book store but I admittedly don't have any. I am sort of a vegetarian/whole foods cookbook whore though so it's only a matter of holidays before I do I'm sure. Gonna have to check this one out one way or another though.

    My favorite food while traveling memory was on my favorite travel trip. Post my first skin cancer surgery I was having a rough time so my then boyfriend (now husband), Russ, called and suggested we purchase tickets to Iceland, which we had casually mentioned would be awesome to visit after watching Heima, a move put out by a favorite band of ours, Sigur Ros. They are from there and they made a movie of their music and the land they call home. Anyhow, we bought tickets that night. We were both student (poor), and not yet married so we stayed in a hostel and typically bought one meal per day that we both shared, and then would have a snack out maybe and/or cook at our hostel. One day we walked by what looked like a super cozy spot, The Grey Cat. We returned the next morning and it was this underground coffee shop, all day breakfast stop with a red door and one window. The place was lit by the one window and little green candles at each table. I had the best cup of individually brewed coffee I've ever had in. my. life. And we ordered the biggest breakfast on the menu, The Trucker, so that we could share it and be full. We sat there and journaled, read, ate, sipped, sipped some more, ate some more, and didn't leave for hours (and it was okay! it was that kind of place.) The Trucker included eggs two ways, potatoes, spinach, homemade toast and I can't remember what else. We took a photo of my coffee and the green candle and it's in our kitchen. It's SUCH a good memory, and the food was incredible. We still talk about it often.

  3. OK, you've convinced me to try incorporating more vegan recipes. I'm not sure I'm ready to go the entire way, but I did order the Happy Herbivore cookbook. I guess this is a case of the student teaching the teacher! favorite travel memory? Too many to choose from. I guess I'll go with the most recent trip to Europe with students. We had the best improvised meal on the overnight train from Madrid to Paris. The students, Mr. Brakke (you remember him!) and I were craving fruit. We hadn't had any since we'd arrived (and orange juice doesn't count), so we went to grocery store in the Corte Ingles and bought fruit and cheese. We weren't allowed to eat the food we bought in the dining car, so we were just about to eat in one of the compartments when they came to pull down the beds. So we stood in the corridor and ate. It was awesome. We laughed and had a great time.

  4. Not exactly a spectacular trip, but my favorite traveling food memory was in Cincinnati. There is a cafe there called Loving Hut where the menu is entirely vegan. We went when I was seven months pregnant or so, and it was so amazing. It was so, so exciting to know I could pick ANYTHING off the menu and be able to eat it. I hadn't been able to do that in years! It was nothing fancy, but man was it good. To this day I regret not getting the cheesecake, but my stomach was already starting to get squished by baby at that point and the appetizer and entree were too good to stop eating. I should have gotten it to go though ;)

  5. I have many traveling stories as I've travel quite a bit throughout my life, but I've found my favourite place to eat was a local restaurant in Tampa, Florida. It was a plant based food restaurant and everything on the menu was suitable for me and my daughter. I was in heaven! I had the best meal I have ever had out since embarking on this journey (17 months ago).

  6. I've been looking forward to this cookbook, but your post is making me even more excited! I have some wonderful memories from traveling, but the best has to be meeting my (now) husband in Shanghai when I was studying abroad. He is originally from Norway and had never been to the U.S. before. We got to spend a month together, and then I went to Spain for a semester as I was studying Spanish. Instead of returning to Spain to finish out the school year, I decided to go back to Shanghai to study Chinese...and for another reason too :) The story ends with him moving to California for me and we got married last June.

    Food-wise, I have had some amazing vegan food in pretty much every country I've been too, but the ones that stand out were a buddhist restaurant in Shanghai, a restaurant in Tokyo, and Shojin which has vegan macrobiotic Japanese food here in Los Angeles.

  7. Ooooh, my favorite food travel memory is from my honeymoon in Italy with my wife. Definitely in my top 3 favorite meals EVER was dinner at Il Margutta in Rome. My wife and I had an amazing 5-appetizer sampler, along with chestnut pasta and seitan piccata. The chocolate souffle for dessert is one of the tastiest experiences in the life of my taste buds. I could write an entire book (maybe I will!) about Italy as a whole and how simple it was to eat plant-based/vegan. For now, hopefully my delicious Il Margutta experience will suffice. Excited about the opportunity to indulge in Lindsay's worldly food experiences through her book!

    All the best and yummiest,

  8. My favorite travel food memory was going to Mexico as a child and learning how to make all the Mexican dishes I loved so well in a very different way. Everything was by hand, but not as easy as we can do it in the USA. I just remember being so thrilled to be part of this big food party that was going on around me. That has stayed with me since then. It was spectacular from grain, beans, veggies -to flours & foods - to sitting down with amazing people.