Interview with the Happy Herbivore and a book giveaway of HH Abroad!

Today is a big day! I am very excited to share this interview with a plant-based rock star AND giveaway a copy of her latest cookbook. When friends and family tell me they are thinking about trying to eat less meat and ease into a more plant-based lifestyle, I point them in the direction of the Happy Herbivore. Lindsay Nixon’s cookbooks are part of my own journey into a plant-based diet. Lindsay’s recipes are super easy, and use ingredients that you can find in just about every grocery store in North America.

Lindsay has a no-fuss attitude towards cooking healthy, low-fat, plant-based food, which is one of the reasons I love her. Her first book; The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes was one of the first vegan cookbooks I bought. Her second; Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes, is a must-have for quick and easy family friendly recipes. The recipes are also able to accommodate a household with food allergies like ours. I have the first two Happy Herbivore cookbooks and they are dog-eared, and food splattered.

Her third book, which I will review in more detail in a later post, is a fun journey that will take your taste buds around the world; Happy Herbivore Abroad: A Travelogue and Over 135 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes from Around the World.

For a chance to win the latest Happy Herbivore cookbook, read on…

 

Happy Herbie-view 

My barefoot interview with Lindsay Nixon…

Let me start by saying that I have both your books. I buy them as gifts for friends and your books are the first I recommend to anyone thinking of living a healthier life but do not want to eat ‘weird’ ingredients. What inspired you to write your first book? The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
Aww thank you! The first book was an extension of my blog, happyherbivore.com. I started blogging because back then, I couldn’t find many vegan or plant-based blogs (or cookbooks), let alone ones that followed my dietary goals: whole foods, no oil, low fat. I thought there might be someone out there like me, trying to eat and live this way, so I started to share what I was doing — hoping to help someone like me. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect my blog to become popular, and then turn into a book :)

Please prove to us that you are human; what are some of your biggest recipe disasters?
LOL! This is really embarrassing but somehow I blew up seitan and it splattered everywhere. I’m really not sure how I did that. I’ve also left the top off the blender more times than I can count and am always scrubbing my kitchen fan and ceiling. I also have a habit of trying to pull things out of the oven without an oven glove on… and I may or may not disable the smoke detector when I’m cooking…

Blender-messes are the worst! Your minimalist approach to food and life is what attracted me to your books; un-fussy, simple ingredients that my 4-year old can pronounce and that I can find in most grocery stores. What is your favorite recipe with less than 5-ingredients?
I must confess that I don’t have any recipes memorized, so I can’t even think which ones have 5 ingredients. Maybe my cornbread has 5 ingredients… I really like that cornbread, but I always end up adding things to it — corn, jalapeños, so then it definitely has more than 5! LOL

What were your biggest challenges in putting together your latest book? Happy Herbivore Abroad: A Travelogue and Over 135 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes from Around the World
Initially, I tried to respect the original recipes I brought back with me as much as I could — they are classics, after all! But that proved difficult since the original recipes used meat, dairy, oil, butter — things I don’t eat or cook with… There were also the elusive ingredients to contend with — ingredients that I’m sure are all over the place in, say, Italian markets, but aren’t readily available in the United States (and we all know how much I love “everyday” ingredients!)

Eventually I found a sort of peace where I’d stick to the original recipe closely if I could, but as long as it tasted like the original recipe in the end — I felt it was okay if I used different ingredients and methods to get there. It’s just a new interpretation! I wanted to respect the cultures, traditions and dishes I pulled inspiration from, and I feel I did that with the book and my recipes.

Tell us about your writing routine. Do you lock yourself in the kitchen? Do you set up shop on the couch? Hang out at your local café?
It’s been a little different with each book — often because my life situation has been different. For example, with the book I’m writing now, I’m trying to juggle writing it with going on a press tour for Happy Herbivore Abroad, flying around the country for speaking engagements and cooking classes, managing Happy Herbivore (i.e. writing blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, fan email, customer service) and live my life (that one gets neglected a lot!). So with all these balls in the air, I tend to play in the kitchen whenever I can (even if it’s at 10pm) and write the book, the manuscript part, on airplanes. When I was writing Abroad, my life was a lot less hectic — I was running Happy Herbivore, and going on a press tour for EHH, but I wasn’t traveling for work nearly as much, but it was snowboarding season… so….

Do you ever get recipe-writer block? How do you get past it?
When I wrote my first book, I really didn’t have anything else on my plate except my “day job”, so I treated writing a book like a part- time job. I worked from home as a freelancer, so I spent my mornings and afternoons in the kitchen experimenting while Scott (my husband) was at work, and then did my freelance assignments at night to pay the bills. I was in the kitchen for hours every day and I would have days where nothing worked, or I couldn’t think of anything. Now, I don’t get those days anymore because of my schedule. I only have a hours here and there to experiment, so I look at my notepad where I write ideas down (ideas that come to me when I’m doing things elsewhere and can’t get to my kitchen) and try to run through that list. I think having days away from my kitchen now also keeps me from getting mental block.

What book are you reading right now?
Unfortunately I only read when I’m on hiatus (after I turn my manuscript in, I don’t work on another book for three months, but still do all my other “work”). I wish I could read all the time — but I find it impossible with everything on my plate. :( The last book I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower — I read it on my 17-hour flight to Finland. When I go on my hiatus I read like a maniac.

What songs are on the soundtrack of your life?
I’m not sure about my life soundtrack, but there is always a song that seems to cling on to me about a place I lived. Like a souvenir or something. (I’ve lived in a lot of places!). I can’t explain it except that every time I hear the song, I get transported back to that place. For example, any time I hear Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind I’m home in NYC, if only in my mind.

As for my life… off the top of my head, “You and me” by Lifehouse. It’s my “wedding” song (even though we did not have a wedding).

Love Lifehouse! Why do you do what you do?
For my fans. Everything I do, I do for them. I want people to eat healthier and live better :) I find most people want that for themselves too, but don’t know where to begin — that’s where my work comes in.

Happy Herbivore Abroad Book Giveaway

Want to win a copy? Post your most hilarious, embarrassing, ‘OMG’ kitchen disaster in the comments below. Don’t be shy, share your absolute biggest blunder – hopefully you can laugh about it now. I have too many to count. I have prepared inedible dinners, baked cakes that resembled melted chocolate, and, once, had a little kitchen fire (the dog is still afraid of smoke detectors.)

A winner will be selected on Friday, December 7 at 12:00 pm EST. Contest is open to entries only from the US and Canada.

I’d love to live in a world where green juice is on every menu, going barefoot is totally normal, and homes downsize instead of up-size. Plant-based cook and aspiring minimalist, my un-fussy food and minimalist musings have been featured on Mind Body Green, Kris Carr, Happy Herbivore, Mint.com and The Local Beet Chicago, to name a few. When I’m not simplifying busy people’s plates and getting more fresh whole foods into busy folks, you can find me devouring books on food and culture, trying not to fall over doing downward dogs, then finishing my day off with a big glass of organic red wine and a hunk of dark chocolate. I show stressed-out folks how to re-connect with food and un-fuss everything about their cooking + home, so they can enjoy a more experience-rich life.

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33 comments on “Interview with the Happy Herbivore and a book giveaway of HH Abroad!
  1. Sandy Trojansek says:

    What a great interview!! I have had a few embarassing disasters in the kitchen. I baked chocolate chip cookies that resembled frisbees (by forgetting to add baking powder!), and set off the smoke detector by cooking filet mignon in the oven when I ran out of propane for the BBQ…total disaster! ;)

  2. Claire says:

    I was making Baja tempeh tacos and suddenly my cast iron skillet erupted into a 2 foot tall grease fire. Ultimately the fire was put out and the tacos were amazing but I have to reseason the pan!

  3. Katie says:

    Would be honoured to own Happy Herbivore!! When I was first married and learning to cook – I proudly made my husband stuffed green peppers for dinner but I had confused a clove of garlic for a bulb of garlic. The entire house smelt like garlic for a week!

  4. Becca says:

    I had the smart notion that I could substitute waxed paper for parchment paper. Realized how dumb that was when smoke came billowing out of the oven as the exposed waxed paper was burning!

  5. Cassie says:

    Wow, Jacq, cool interview! Love HH! :) My most recent flub was pumpkin maple cupcakes that I made for my mom’s 60th birthday in October. I swore to my meat-lovin’, junk-eatin’ family they would not even be able to tell the deliciousness we were about to consume was gluten free and vegan. They were bricks…completely inedible! So much for the big sell…

    • That’s the worst when you talk something up and try to sell healthy food :( Now I try to keep the fact that something is healthy a secret, except people who know me are usually suspicious :)

  6. Jennifer says:

    My kitchen disasters usually involve too much heat or too much spice meaning we have to toss whatever I made. :) I can’t think of any one really awful disaster but I know I have had many! I love Lindsay’s cookbooks and can’t wait to try the recipes in Happy Herbivore Abroad!

  7. Rusty M. says:

    Mine is fairly recent. Have a Vitamix (we call him Marty…don’t ask :))and was making a morning fruit/veggie drink (of course with lots of red berries!) and didn’t have it’s lid on tight and lets just say that the cabinets and the ceiling and the undercabinets got a good scrubbing. It’s amazing how far something like that can go.

    • LOL – I have a Vitamix too, and thankfully have not had an explosion from that baby yet – that blender is so powerful I would probably have to clean my neighbors kitchen!

  8. JLynn says:

    My biggest kitchen disaster, wasn’t so much the baking part, but what came after. I was making a cake, a TARDIS cake (Doctor Who fans will understand). For those that do not know, the TARDIS is a bright blue police phone box that is the time traveling space ship of Doctor Who. I decided to try using fondant for the first time to make this cake. Now, The Cake Boss makes it look so easy so I figured I could do this. The fondant wouldn’t stick as we added decorations, so my niece and I had to create a system using my iron set on steam to steam the pieces. This resulted in me getting minor steam burns on my fingers. This would have been uncomfortable, but after the fact, I realized I looked like the creature from the Blue Lagoon. Six hours spent on a cake will catch up with you! The dye we used for the fondant made me, my kitchen, my iron, and everything else blue for weeks. I had to replace the iron, try a dozen different things to clean the kitchen and answer the question, “Why are you blue?” about a million times that week. Lesson: Things that sound great in your head and even turn out when sketched out, do not always translate to cake. (But I did find great vegan baking and cake decorating resources out there)

    I love the first two HH books and can’t wait to get my hands on this new one!

  9. Michaela says:

    What a great interview! Thanks for hosting this giveaway. My biggest blunder was in nutrition school when we had to learn how to do quantity food preparation. We were supposed to plan a brunch menu, cook it, and serve it–well, we got the grand idea of doing eggs benedict as the main course and everyone agreed that it would be fabulous (except no one had made it before or even poached an egg in their life). Come serving time and everyone is waiting for their food and we are learning how to poach eggs. Then we are told that we can’t serve undercooked eggs so we have to take each semi-poached egg out of the water and try to cook it through in a fry pan. All I can say is, we were so embarrassed to serve our crazy eggs to hungry people and have to sit at the table with them :P Our professor was at the table and after a bite said, “So, what can we learn from this experience?” That was awfully kind given the blunder on our part!

  10. Laura says:

    I once had a blender full of hot chocolate mousse explode all over the kitchen because I hadn’t opened the top to let the steam escape. I was still finding chocolate on the walls of the kitchen months later.

    • Oh, I have done that so many times with hot soups. I invested in a Vitamix since then, and don’t have to worry about exploding soup anymore since it’s designed to vent automatically – definitely worth it!

  11. Erin says:

    I don’t have any MAJOR blunders since I’m a play-it-safe cook (aka I barely cook) but I always manage to over-do my vegetables!! It’s so frustrating!

  12. nik says:

    I guess my biggest “oops” moment was making haystack cookies as a teenager. You know, the kind where you just empty a bag of chocolate chips into a double boiler and add a bunch of crunchy La Choy Chinese Noodles, then drop spoonfuls on a cookie sheet to cool and harden. Super simple, right? Only way you could possible mess that up is to accidentally leave the empty chip bag on the stove, touching the burner. Yep, poof! Big flames. Me running to Mom in the next room yelling help, lots of throwing of salt and flour to put out the flames, many many apologies and time spent cleaning it all up. Oh we laugh about it now but it scared the socks off my Mom and me at the time! I’ve never repeated that mistake! :)

  13. Shaunet says:

    Loved the HH interview. My kitchen blunder was when I baked some cookies. After placing the cookies in the oven to bake, I noticed that the cookies were not holding their form and expanded into one big cookie on the pan. After removing the big pan shaped cookie from the oven and breaking a piece off to try, I noticed that they were slightly crispy. I read the recipe again to see if this was how they were supposed to turn out or if I had missed a step- it was then I found out that I didn’t read the title properly and it was a muffin recipe!

  14. I cannot for the life of me boil pasta or rice without it boiling over. Its almost a given. I start to boil starches ;) and DH is standing around with a mop to clean up after me. And the worst is the clean up because all that goopy white stuff sticks to the stove and the gets burnt on … none of my pans will ever be the same!

  15. Tracy says:

    Well this is a recent one…plantstrong change means I am actually cooking for myself all the time now. No more TV dinners around here! But in my amateur way I had mixed the spice covers for cinnamon and clove, Lets just say clove pancakes…not so good :)

  16. Karen says:

    Kitchen disaster? Mine was a living room one. Back in the day when we ate meat, I was carrying a glass jar of turkey juice (for the gravy) to the dining room table. The outside of the jar was slippery from some fat that had dribbled over, and before I knew it, the uncovered jar tilted and most of the juice fell onto the carpet. I cleaned it as best I could, but this particular spot was right next to the floor grates of our heating system. Thereafter, whenever I served vegetarian meals like soy cutlets, I could turn the heat on for a few minutes and the odor of roast turkey would arise and fill the room.
    Love Lindsay’s books and ethnic food; hope to get this one. It sounds great!

  17. Lydia Claire says:

    This was BEFORE I WAS VEGAN. I made Thanksgiving dinner for 12 guests and timed dinner for cooking an unstuffed turkey because I wasn’t cooking the stuffing in it. But I had put other ingredients in the cavity like citrus that was recommended to enhance the flavor. So it was actually a stuffed turkey and dinner was about 2 hours late.
    Now I have a lot of fun coming up with new vegan menus to replace the old ones that make me just plain sad.

  18. Sandy Trojansek says:

    I had another one yesterday! I made zucchini fritters and forgot to drain the excess liquid…lol! Needless to say, the first batch was a disaster! Extra panko to the rescue!!! ;)

  19. Holly says:

    Loved this interview! My worse kitchen disaster was more frustrating than embarrassing. I was hosting a meeting for ladies who were interested in changing to a plant-based diet. Of course I was running behind schedule and 5 minutes before they showed up I turned on my food processor, the lid was on but the hole you can put food down didn’t have it’s “plug” in it. Chocolate frosting (dates and cocoa) went everywhere. Walls, counter, cabinets and all over my brand new cookbook. I didn’t have time to clean it all up and had too scoop quite a bit off the counter and into the trash. :(

  20. Jennifer K says:

    Hi!
    I’ve had a lot of kitchen disasters but probably the most embarrassing one was this time I had confused a bulk plastic bag of salt for sugar and attempted to bake a cake. Not only did it not rise at all, but it was obviously inedible. Really tough one to explain to the family :-/

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  1. [...] to Nik who won last week’s book giveaway, winning a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad for [...]

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