RPL at Home (March 2023)

Welcome to the first edition of RPL at Home!

Each month, I’ll be taking you behind the scenes of Rainbow Plant Life and sharing what I’m up to when I’m not in the kitchen or in front of the camera.

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, get cozy, and come hang out for a few minutes :)

Welcome to the first edition of RPL at Home, where I share what I’m up to when I’m not in the kitchen or in front of the camera. 

Each month, I’ll share snippets of what I’m working, habits I’m cultivating, things bringing me joy, podcasts/books/TV shows I’m enjoying, and more. Think of it as stream-of-consciousness blabbering meets a semi-curated list of recommendations meets life update.

This month’s edition
1. What I’m watching, listening to, and reading
2. What I’m working on (in life) 
3. What I’m working on (in the biz) 
4. Recipes you might have missed
5. What I’m eating
6. What’s bringing me joy

My parents holding their new cutting board, a gift from RPL reader Linda in Ohio 🥰

What I’m watching, listening to, and reading


The show I’ve been most excited about tuning into is The Last of Us. I don’t typically gravitate towards dystopian sci-fi, and I must admit I’m an actual baby who wears noise-canceling headphones during the scenes with scary sounds (I know, I know), but…I’ve been hooked by the magnificent acting and the relationship between Ellie and Joel. 

Pedro Pascal (Joel) is having a moment. And Bella Ramsey (Ellie) is a proud vegan!


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. I went full suburban and recently joined a neighborhood book club! And this was our first book. It weaves together two topics I knew nothing about (horse-riding rural librarians during the Great Depression) and the rare blue-skinned people of Kentucky, but I really enjoyed it. It’s written beautifully and hard to put down. 

A few shorter pieces I enjoyed this month  
He taught Americans how to cook Indian food 
The Fleishman is in Trouble Effect 
100 centenarians’ 100 tips for a life well lived


This recent episode from NPR’s Throughline tells the story of an Indian American man who argued in 1923 that he should be considered white and thus eligible to become a U.S. citizen. The episode covers the creation of race and the myth of whiteness, and for me, it brought up painful memories of my childhood where I wished I was white so I would not feel Othered. But it also made me proud because I no longer feel that way. I love when a podcast can teach you important stuff, prompt a good cry, and spawn a personal epiphany all at once. 

What I’m working on (in life) 

Becoming “a reader

Back in first grade, we had a reading marathon. For every book you read, the teacher would paste a paper star on the wall with your name on it, starting at the bottom of the wall and working her way up. I read so many books that my stars started to creep up the ceiling (my poor classmates had no chance with this nerd). So I’ve always considered myself “a reader.”

But truth be told, I’ve put reading on the back burner since I started my business. While I did read 10 books last year (not bad), I read them all while on vacation because my regular life was “too busy.”  

Recently though, I started doing a few things that have helped reading become a habit I look forward to:

  • Joining a book club (see above)
  • Carving out 10 minutes to read each night (it usually extends longer once I get into it)
  • Leaving my current book on the dining table so I read while I eat lunch instead of the usual doomsday scrolling
  • Treating myself to a new book at our awesome local bookstore each time I finish a book
  • Allowing myself to read whatever I want instead of forcing myself to read the latest self-improvement or productivity book.

And it’s working! I’ve read four books in the last three weeks. That’s four gold stars for adult Nisha.  

What I’m working on (in the biz)  

One of my favorite YouTube videos we published recently was for my Thai Green Curry recipe. The video is fun and playful, and you get to see my parents (and Max!) in a delightfully funny taste test. 

I tried making Thai curry for my Indian parents
I tried making Thai curry for my Indian parents

On the recipe development side, I want to share more desserts this year (not a lot, just a little). I recently realized that I had published only 6 dessert recipes in the last 2 years. To be fair, one of them was my absolute best vegan brownies (recently picked by a group of 47 taste testers as the best vegan brownie!) and I don’t think I can top that recipe, but we all need a little more sweetness in our lives. 

Have any dessert recipes you’d like to see? Leave your requests in the comments!

And here’s a sneak peek of recipes I’m working on! If you want to get notified when new recipes hit the blog, subscribe to my newsletter

Recipes you might have missed

  • Tofu Stir Fry. A Chinese restaurant-style stir fry with crispy-chewy tofu and a deeply savory sauce.
  • Chickpea Curry. Big bold Indian flavors in an approachable weeknight dinner package.
  • Creamy Coconut Rice with Five Spice Tofu. Creamy rice and five spice tofu crumbles meet nutrient-rich vegetables and crunchy peanuts.
  • Beet Hummus. The most gorgeous dip you’ll ever make. Also nutrient-dense and so versatile.
  • Thai Green Curry. My favorite takeout dish made at home! Easy but gourmet.

What I’m eating

During the week, we mostly eat leftovers from recipe testing and “bowl style dinners” using building blocks (and occasionally some sort of Asian takeout or pizza). One of my favorite things for those bowl-style dinners is vegan Tzatziki

The tzatziki takes just 10 minutes to make and is so versatile. Last week for lunch, I spread it on bread from our local bakery (first, I toasted the bread underneath the broiler, then smeared with a cut garlic clove and drizzle of olive oil, my go-to method for toasting bread). Then I piled it with pan-fried tofu slabs, arugula dressed with Brightland olive oil & champagne vinegar, and pickled carrots. :::::chef’s kiss:::::

For dinner, a recent favorite has been to pair the tzatziki with crunchy roasted chickpeas or white beans and a simplified Greek salad with cukes, cherry or heirloom tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives (no olives for Max), drizzled with olive oil & vinegar + toasted pita wedges (or cooked farro) + pickled onions.

Overhead view of tzatziki in a bowl next to pita chips and small bowls with pepper and cucumber in them.

What’s bringing me joy  

Bi-monthly “happy hours”: A technical happy hour involves adult beverages and usually a bar, but I’ve co-opted the term for something very different. 

A couple times a month, I’ll end work earlier than usual and make hot chocolate. Meanwhile, Max pours himself a glass of wine and, upon my request, lights an obscene amount of candles in the living room and turns on the “relaxing jazz” station on Spotify. 

Then we hang out on the couch until dinner time. We chat for a bit, sometimes about work, but usually about non-work stuff, and then we stare at each other silently like we’re deeply in love but also like we’re in a cult. 

Just kidding, we read our respective books while I occasionally sneak a few sips of his wine (but not a lot because I discovered last year that drinking booze hurts my stomach and that getting old is a real party pooper). 

This may not be a traditional happy hour in any sense of the word, but it’s an hour or two where I feel great happiness. And self-righteous because I am collecting more golden stars for all the books I’m racing through.

Halfway through the novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Will share my thoughts next month!

Hope y’all enjoyed this first edition of RPL at home! You might have noticed that I was sharing mini life updates in our newsletter recently, but the long-form blog format just felt easier and more natural, and I’m already excited for the April edition.

Please let me know what you’d like to see in next month’s edition (and if you have a more clever title than “RPL at home.”)!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

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172 comments on RPL at Home (March 2023)

  1. Melissa

    I loved this!! Always love to hear about what folks are reading too! Have you heard of StoryGraph? If you haven’t you should check it out. It’s my favorite way to track what I’m reading and it’s so fun to watch the graphs evolve over the course of the year as you finish more titles. You can set a reading goal and it will let you know if you’re on track to finish by the end of the year. If you want to rate what you read you can do half and quarter stars so it’s much better than goodreads on that front as well as in the design, and that it’s not owned by a big company trying to put independent bookstores out of business. It’s great! Looking forward to your next At Home check in and some dessert recipes. Now I need to go and try those brownies!

    1. Nisha

      Ooh i love this tip! I will definitely check StoryGraph out. I love the option to give half and quarter stars! I hope you’ll enjoy the brownies, Melissa!

  2. Bridgette V.

    My husband and I are watching The Last of Us and my friends and started a book club in January with the Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! I enjoyed this newsletter and I love all of your recipes that I have tried! I just made your vegan tuna salad for lunch meal prep this week and my 2 year old loves helping tear up the nori sheets for me. :D

    1. Karina

      Just loved to read this.
      In terms of desserts, it would be great if you could develop a recipe for eclairs.

      1. Nisha

        So nice to hear that, Karina! Ooh an eclair, wow, I don’t think I’ve had one in ages. Now I’m daydreaming about one 🤤

    2. Nisha

      We’re twins, Bridgette! I’m honored you’ve been loving my recipes, and it’s so cute to hear your kiddo is helping you in the kitchen. I love when kids get involved in the cooking!

  3. Angela Luna

    Nisha, thank the heavens for you!! This Saturday after a slushy snowstorm and a baby shower where every offered dish had some form of cow in it (lol), I came home from a long drive and threw together your coconut curry Red Lentil dish ~it was so out of this world!! My 14-year-old daughter and I ate three bowls each. Every single recipe I cook from your design is simply astounding🙏🏽 I have shared your website with so many people, including meat eaters who are excited to try your dishes… I enjoyed your newsletter. It was my first time reading it and I’ve already gotten some fabulous tips. I too am saying I am a reader, so with that said -off to go read a chapter from a very good book by James Clear called Atomic Habits…the skill to do it in the doing;)
    Many Blessings

    1. Nisha

      What a lovely comment, Angela! I’m delighted you have been enjoying my recipes and so sweet you and your daughter both devoured the lentil curry. Sharing my site with others is the best kind of support, so thank you thank you! I read Atomic Habits when it first came out and I have to say that the 2-minute rule has been really helpful!

  4. Deborah Lloyd

    There is a sequel called (IIRC) The Bookwoman’s Daughter

  5. Leonie

    Loved reading this blog Nisha. Your happy hour sounds awesome – think i will try that too ! I have just read Life’s Invisible furies by John Boyne which i really loved.
    As far as dessert recipes go how about a nice comforting chocolate self saucing pudding?? Its Autumn here now so starting to crave some cosy winter meals

    1. Nisha

      I just read the description for this book and it sounds like something I’d definitely enjoy reading. Thank you for the recommendation! I don’t think a self saucing pudding is common here, but it looks DELICIOUS!

  6. Kavya Vashisht

    This was such a nice and breezy read! Will be eagerly waiting for your next blog. I have been in a bit of reading slump myself. This really motivated me to go do something about it. Maybe hot chocolate is the answer? Methinks yes! :)

    1. Nisha

      Hi Kavya, I’m honored you thought so and are excited for the next edition (I am excited to write it!). And yes, haha the reward of hot chocolate is great motivation!

  7. Steph

    Thanks Nisha…I’ve been following your recipes on Youtube since my husband turned vegetarian and I wanted to add a little bit of variety to his diet than his usual wrap. In the process its put more vegan meals on our dinner table and reignited my love of cooking. I’m also a reader (or was until my son was born) so really appreciate how you are making time for it…maybe I’ll try that too. Thank you! Loved this first installment:)

    1. Nisha

      Hi Steph, I’m truly honored to hear that my videos and recipes have reignited your love for cooking! That’s the best compliment! I’m sure it’s not easy finding time to read with a little one around! I’ve found that starting with just 5 minutes a day, whether it’s reading or exercise or meditation, helps a lot towards building back a habit. Maybe that’s something you can try?

  8. SNL

    I agree, blog format is better. For some reason, I absorb the words better, maybe because of the set up/different fonts etc. And we can reply to you! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for aloo gobi. I love it but frying potato in a reasonable time frame (lol) and making it a one pan meal (too idealistic? 😆) is problematic which means it gets relegated to the weekend which is a shame when it’s technically a simple and easy dish! I too love reading, it’s a great way to educate and/or enjoy people and human relationships more intensely/more empathetically than TV/film which I find forgettable for the time investment (in my opinion).

    1. Nisha

      I’m glad you agree and yes the comments are so fun! And yes, you’re right about Aloo Gobi! The one-pot versions that cook everything together are ideal but I found the flavor was lacking and the texture not great. I found a solution that’s less work than separate frying and tastes amazing! Can’t wait to share :)

  9. Lauren

    I would love a vegan tiramisu recipe that does not contain cashews! (allergic 😭 although other nuts are OK for me).

    When is your next cookbook coming out? I love your first book so much! I’ve been buying vegan cookbooks since 2007 and yours is def in my top 3 ever! Maybe #1.

    Also, love that you’re reading more. I read (mostly books but some audiobooks) almost 70 books in 2020! Then I had a baby and now I just pursue my interests vicariously through people without kids 🥲

    1. Nisha

      Maybe #1?! Consider me flattered 🥺 My next book will be out next year. It’s a beast of a book so it’s gone through a lot of revisions and there are huge book production delays due to the pandemic, so next year it is! And wow, 70 books in one year! That’s an amazing feat, and hopefully in a few years, you’ll be able to resume that hobby :)

  10. Amber

    Love the new blog series! As for dessert recipe requests, key lime pie, please! My aunt’s key lime pie is famous in our family, and I really miss getting to eat it together with the rest of my family. I tried partially veganizing it recently with lackluster results. Her recipe uses butter (an easy swap), sweetened condensed milk (I tried swapping with sweetened condensed coconut milk but it didn’t seem to set right), and 3 egg yolks (not sure what the best swap for this would be in this context – I haven’t tried yet since my neighbor has a “chicken hospice” in her backyard and so I had access to 3 cruelty-free eggs for my experiment). I’d love to see what you could come up with!

    1. Nisha

      Hi Amber, ooh key lime pie! The best vegan one I had used coconut cream and avocados (I believe it was a no-bake version) and it was really rich but still light tasting!

  11. Kristen

    Definitely share the books you’re reading and what you think about them. I’m a big reader and it’s fun to see what others read/love.
    Also loving The Last of Us. Episode 3 was such a beautiful love story.

    1. Nisha

      I definitely will! I am thinking of joining StoryGraph to track the books I’m reading so everyone can see :) And yes, episode 3 had me in tears! SO SWEET.

  12. Ellen Morell

    I enjoyed the book suggestions. I too am trying to increase my reading time.

  13. Preethi

    Awww….this was such a “hygge” read! Thanks for sharing, Nisha 🤗

    1. Preethi

      I would loveee to see more things that are bringing you joy

      1. Nisha

        Hygge! Aww that’s so sweet! I’m honored :)

  14. Sue

    Loved reading your thoughts! Thanks Nisha. I lived the Book Woman .. and the sequel, the Book Woman’s Daughter. Highly recommend Lessons in Chemistry. I’ll look forward to next months RPL at home.

    1. SNL

      +1 recommend lessons in chemistry. I’ve read a lot in my short life (I’m over 18) and it’s my top 3 favourite books ever.

  15. Shawn Marse

    I love your recipes and get a kick out of your fun videos.
    I would love a quick, easy, weeknight vanilla cake recipe. Oh, how about a banana cream pie recipe? Thanks.

  16. Stef


  17. Megan

    Loved this so much, thank you!

  18. Arlene Maben

    Thank you for posting this! I relate completely to your experience as a reader. Love the idea of happy hour with the hubby…don’t think mine would go for it, but who knows? Keep up the good work, congrats on writing an excellent article and I hope you are successful in the future.

  19. Serena

    Hi Nisha!
    I really enjoyed reading about your life. I’m also trying to read more this year and it feels so good.
    Also I’m very happy you are developing some sweet recipes.. I have an extremely sweet tooth and I would love to try some of your recipes. I would love to see some kind of sweet breakfast bread that is not banana or pumpkin bread!
    Thank you for sharing with us amazing recipes and inspiring life updates 💚

    1. Nisha

      So nice to hear that you enjoyed reading this, Serena! Reading more is such a fun goal :) And a sweet breakfast bread….hmm I’ll give it a think!

  20. Deb

    Hello Nisha
    Yes—please keep creating RPL at Home. I love it! Always enjoy getting good tips from good people and seeing what inspires others….which in turn fuels me…..as I scroll too much when tired and my stack of books is high and needs attention. Love the reward system. (that hot chocolate is one heck of a reward!) Just keep on following your heart and we’ll follow along.
    Best Wishes!

    1. Kathie V

      I loved your RPL at home first edition!
      I related to you, I laughed with you, I felt like I was reading a book with you! Your childhood memories are all our childhood memories: striving to accomplish something, wanting to fit in, funny parents.
      Thanks for sharing!

      New title idea

      Nisha, Now and Then

      1. Nisha

        Hi Kathie, I’m so tickled that you felt like you were reading a book with me. And yes, I’m sure so many folks can relate to that feeling as a child. I appreciate you stopping by!

    2. Nisha

      Hi Deb, I also love getting inspired from the tips and habits that others use and follow, so I’m glad you enjoyed this! And yes, the hot chocolate is such a delicious and cozy reward! I’ve even convinced Max to make it for me a few times haha!

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