Hello, I am Stephanie. I am a New York born and raised girl currently trying to figure out how to live in the rural prairies of Montana. I am married to a beautiful free-spirited man named David. We have four furbabies; Two cats (Butters & Haylie-May) and two bunnies(Harry & Gimli). My family is my world so if you catch my blog posts often, you’ll most likely read mention of them. On my own time I have many different hobbies and passions. Sometimes it’s hard to juggle all of them and some take a seat on the back burner, like my guitar (this one stings of guilt). Some other passions include art (painting mostly), crafts, and furniture repurpose. I may touch a little on my other projects now and then, but my biggest passion and the reason for my blog is vegan cooking and food photography.
So with all of these other hobbies and passions why vegan food photography?
I have been a vegetarian for over 13 years and for nearly 2 years now I have been vegan. In the last 13 years I have seen and heard it all when it comes to the scruples and stereotypes people have about the vegetarian diet. And for every question or reservation they have for vegetarians they have about 10 more for vegans. Answering patronizing questions and putting up with snarky remarks never got easier for me and I decided it was time to shut the naysayers down. I already loved to cook and to make my food too pretty to eat. I know what I have in my lifestyle and it was time to share it in a new light with my friends, family and the world.
So I began by studying food photography, learning about camera angles and lighting. I also took notes from some of my favorite food photographers. As I gained more knowledge and practiced food styling, a new passion began to arouse in me. As for the recipes; I have acquired quite a plethora of my favorites from other sources over the years, but I knew that if I was to have my own food blog one day, I’d have to spend more time creating my own recipes.
I imagine people have the idea that I sit around all day eating carrot sticks. It is important to me to try to erase that attitude towards a plant-based lifestyle. I am not necessarily on a journey to convert meat eaters, it’s more about removing the negative image. Giving people a better grasp on what it really looks like, what it really is to live out a plant-based life style. I want to help develop a fresh perspective, and if they try my recipes, they’ll learn how delicious life can really be.
I began by posting my photographs and recipes on Instagram. It has been incredibly useful and has allowed the support of my friends and family to encourage me to go further with it.
For as long as I can remember I have always had a great love and admiration for animals. When I was a child I used to ask my mother all the time to let me become a vegetarian. Like a good parent she was, of course, concerned for my well being and told me no. But like an even better parent she always made me eat my vegetables. It wasn’t until I was eighteen years old that I finally made the transition. It is an odd beginning, but it has to be recognized.
I was watching the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson. They kept mentioning her works with the organization PETA and all of her achievements for animals rights. This caught my attention in a huge way. Somehow during my eighteen years on earth I hadn’t heard of PETA before. So I went online and began to search and what I found was disturbing and shocking, but also what I had been looking for my whole life. The truth, about any and every industry that uses animals.
The first industry that caught my attention was the experimental, animal testing on our everyday products. Before I cut meat out, I started with my everyday products. I researched companies that don’t test on animals and companies that do. I tossed out all of my tested products for cruelty-free and I’ve been cruelty-free ever since. It used to take a lot of work to try to find cruelty-free products, but these days it’s easier than ever. My favorite grocery store, Albertsons, has really caught on (I will share some of my favorite products with you in my blog posts.) and I have a couple of app recommendations that’ll help you find cruelty-free products as well.
It wasn’t too long after, that I decided to become a vegetarian. I was at the local cat shelter, mingling with the kitties when I began discussing my new journey with a shelter volunteer. She told me that she was making the transition to become a vegetarian and she gave me a pamphlet on comparing different species. The article (I wish I had kept it, though I’ll never forget it.) in the pamphlet that changed my life compared a chicken to a cat. Imagine you are at the park one day and smell people’s barbeques. You might even think to yourself “that smells quite yummy!” and then you notice a party of people barbequing a kitten or cat over a grill. You look on horrified and disgusted, maybe you even call the police on them. Then the next day you look out your window and see your neighbor, who is a farmer, grappling with a chicken, forcing the chickens head down upon a slab, and then chopping its head off. You look away horrified, but a few hours pass and you smell that chicken roasting on the grill. You think it smells delicious and now you head over to your neighbors to see if they’ll share it with you. Why? Because that’s the “grand” order of things? Because that’s the way it’s always been done?
This was the scenario in the article and these were the questions they posed and challenged me to ask myself. My favorite animal is the feline, but what sets them apart from the chicken? And who am I to make that call? They both have life inside of them. They’re both capable of so much more than we give them credit for. If you could ask them “Do you wish to live?” and they could answer, would not their answer be “yes”? Soon my thoughts went beyond a cat and a chicken, but expanded to all. I always knew I wanted to become a vegetarian but at this moment I tapped into something deeper that helped me recognize why.
I remember the last piece of meat I ever ate. After reading that article I went over to a friends house for dinner. They made me some kind of hamburger helper. I remember rolling the beef around my tongue, not wanting chew it and not wanting to swallow. I was officially grossed out. I spit it out into a napkin and said I wasn’t hungry. I hear from people all the time “I could never give up meat.” I’ll just say that from my experience, once my perspective was changed, it changed who I was and it wasn’t a matter of giving something up because I didn’t want it anymore. There was no desire there to ever go back and there never has been.