RPL at Home (March 2024)

Welcome to the March 2024 edition of RPL at Home!

This month, I’m sharing how you can finally order my cookbook(!), how I’m resuming an energizing habit, and a recap of our trip to Australia!

Get cozy with a cup of tea or coffee and come hang out for a few minutes :)

Welcome to the March 2024 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’m sharing snippets of what I’m working, habits I’m cultivating, things bringing me joy, books/TV shows/podcasts I’m enjoying, and more. Think of it as stream-of-consciousness blabbering meets a semi-curated list of recommendations meets life update. 

📖 My new cookbook is *finally* ready!

I am so dang excited to announce that my second cookbook, Big Vegan Flavor, is finally available for preorder!!! 

After 3+ years of hard work over two thousand recipe tests, this baby is ready for the world. I have never worked so hard or so passionately on a single project in my life, and I could not be more proud. 

And I would be so honored and overjoyed if you preordered a copy! Your support means so much to me and is the reason I get to do the work I do. 

If you want more context on why it took so long to write this book and the cookbook writing journey, check out this previous RPL at Home post

What’s inside the book? 

This is no ordinary cookbook.

It’s a 600-page(!) comprehensive guide to mastering vegan cooking, complete with 150 recipes with lots of global inspiration.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • The first four chapters are your education in vegan cooking with tons of techniques, tips, and ingredient pairings that will level up your skills in the kitchen and empower you to whip up big flavor meals without a recipe.
  • The next four chapters are devoted to “building blocks” (if you watch my YouTube videos, you’re probably already familiar with this concept). These are high-impact condiments, big flavor proteins and grains, and everyday vegetables that you can mix and match to make gourmet meals even on a weeknight. Perfect for meal prep or easy weeknight dinners.
  • The final five chapters are devoted to wow-worthy recipes, the kind of dishes that’ll allow you to flex your culinary creativity and impress your guests and loved ones.

And if that’s not enough, it’s also big enough you can use the book as a tofu press 😉

Why does pre-ordering matter? 

I know it seems kind of silly to talk about ordering a book that won’t be officially published for months, so let me give you a little insight into the publishing biz. 

Your preorders actually make a *huge* difference to the success of the book. Preorders determine whether stores like Costco and Target will stock the book in person, how many copies bookstores and big box stores will order, whether mainstream media outlets will decide to cover a book about vegan cooking, and so many more things. 

And don’t toss those receipts! I’m working on some fabulous bonus content as a thank you for folks who preorder, and we’ll send that out in a few months once it’s all ready! 

🙏🏽 A note of thank you!

I would be remiss if I didn’t end this section with a big THANK YOU! You may not realize it, but by being here—by reading my content, making my recipes, and watching my videos—you are the reason I get to write this cookbook in the first place. 

No sane publisher would let me write a 600-page treatise on vegan cooking if I didn’t have the support y’all have shown me. So thank you for making this dream of mine come true and for your constant support over the last several years 🥹🥹🥹 

☀️🚶🏽‍♀️What I’m working on in life 

If you’ve been reading along for awhile, you know that I love walking. During the summer months, Max and I were pretty religious about going on a 45 minute walk every morning, shortly after waking up. 

It was a great way to start the day with light exercise, as well as a nice opportunity for us to chat about both big and small issues in the business, in life, and in the world. And lots of research has shown that viewing sunlight early in the morning has lots of powerful benefits: it improves our energy and mood throughout the day and primes us for better sleep at night. 

However, once winter arrived, our dedication to the morning walk waned. I’d be awake for an hour before the sun rose, which was enough time for me to ensconce myself at my desk and lose myself in work. And I know many of you live in actually cold climates, but winter mornings in San Diego can be chilly for someone with my constitution (it gets into the 40s!), so a long walk became less appealing. 

During the last few months, we’ve still gone on morning walks…but only a few times a week and usually for 20 minutes instead of 45 minutes. 

So now that warmer and brighter days are ahead of us, I’ve re-committed myself to the morning sunlight walk. To hold ourselves accountable, Max and I have decided to stick to the same morning schedule. 

I am an extreme morning person, while Max is a moderate morning person. For the first time ever in our 14-year relationship, he has finally agreed to wake up early with me: 5:30 am to be precise. I am over the moon. 

It’s only been a week and a half, but here’s where we’ve landed:

After our basic hygiene stuff, we have the opportunity to do our own thing until 7 am. I’ve very recently started meditating for 10 minutes (as has Max), and then I then brew a cup of my Indian-spiced tea, followed by settling into my desk to plan out my day. I’d like to meditate for longer, but for now, I’m taking baby steps since it’s been several years since I regularly meditated.

Then we have a hard stop at 7:00 a.m. We unload the dishwasher (it’s always full in my house) and do a brief tidy up. Then, we must put on our sneakers and go for a walk.  

We’re still taking 20ish minute walks instead of 45 minutes, but we’ve built in time for another 20 minute walk in the afternoon (and we always take a 20-minute walk after dinner). 

So far, we’ve stuck to the schedule! The morning walk is energizing even if it’s not as long as it used to be, and our afternoon walk is a great way to break up the day and ward off afternoon slumps. 

The only downside is that I live in constant fear of the day when Max decides he’s no longer a 5:30 am person. 

getting that morning sunlight!

What I’m watching, listening to, and reading

📺 Watching

Currently, we’re watching the new series Shōgun, a historical drama miniseries that takes place during the Sengoku period in Japan in 1600 (it’s based on the 1975 novel Shōgun by James Clavell). 

The visual effects are mesmerizing, situating you in Japan in the early 17th century (or the closest you’ll ever come to it). The characters are layered and interesting. There’s mystery, intrigue, and tension. 

It’s been compared a lot to Game of Thrones, and I agree to a certain extent. The visual production is stunning and the central plot revolves around taking, shifting, and holding power, but unlike Game of Thrones, there is less glorified violence and lawless brutality (a plus in my book). 

So if you liked Game of Thrones (but thought it was maybe too much in some ways), I think you’ll love Shōgun

📚 Reading

Over 10 years ago, I read the debut memoir from writer Jesmyn Ward, The Men We Reaped. I instantly fell in love with her writing, so when I spotted a weathered copy of her third novel—Sing, Unburied, Sing—in one of the lovely free libraries in my neighborhood, I knew it would be the next book I’d read. 

The novel tells the intimate, often heartbreaking story of a family in Mississippi whose lives are interconnected by the cruel history of the Parchman Prison. 

After reading just the first chapter, it became clear to me why this book won the National Book Award, and why I think Ward is one of the most talented writers and storytellers of our time. 

It was so good that I immediately went to my local bookstore and bought a copy of her new book, Let Us Descend (not finished with that one yet). If you’re interested in Ward’s work, I really enjoyed her interview in The Guardian

On my recent trip to Australia (more on that below!), I read Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo, which tells the remarkably true story of a couple’s daring escape from slavery in Georgia in the late 1840s and their journey to freedom. 

The woman, Ellen, used an elaborate costume to disguise herself as a wealthy white man seeking medical care in the north, while her husband, William, pretended to be her enslaved property. 

Every chapter is engrossing and keeps you at the edge of your seat. It reads like fiction but is an exhaustively researched and true story that—until Woo’s book—was barely known. 

🎧 Listening

For the last 9 years, I have listened to almost exclusively “serious” or serious-ish podcasts. Podcasts on history, racism and homophobia and sexism, the news and politics, life in prison, threats to democracy, war, climate change, and other big questions about humanity. 

I have learned so much from these podcasts, and I’m so grateful for this free education. 

But after 9 years, I finally felt like I needed something a bit lighter. So, back in January, I granted myself a temporary break from serious podcasts. 

And what have I been listening to for the last 2 months? The most ridiculous and hilarious podcast that, given its wild success, I can’t believe I had never heard of until 2 months ago: My Dad Wrote a P*rno

Here’s the description from their site

Imagine if your dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it – but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he decided to read it to the world in this groundbreaking comedy podcast. With the help of his best mates, James Cooper and Alice Levine, Jamie reads a chapter a week and discovers more about his father than he ever bargained for.

Warning: While this podcast is not sexy in any way, it is dangerous to listen to while operating a car or motorized equipment. 

While listening to this podcast, all of the above has happened: I missed my exit on the freeway, I was stared at with sheer terror by children crossing the street (I was cackling hysterically while waiting for a red light), I laughed so hard I started crying. 

So, yeah, if you need a funny and light podcast in your life, I cannot recommend this one enough (of course, don’t listen with your kids in tow!). 

New Recipes and Posts

RECIPES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

  • Saag Aloo: If you enjoy my Indian recipes, I think you’ll fall hard for this dish. My version of saag aloo features pillowy yet crisp potatoes, silky greens, and an intoxicating blend of Indian spices and aromatics.
  • Buffalo Cauliflower: Make your favorite game day bar snack at home, no deep frying needed! Cauliflower florets are coated in a seasoned batter, baked in the oven, then doused in a spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet buffalo sauce. When dipped in my vegan ranch, it’s the most addictive pairing!
  • Sesame Noodles: My new favorite noodle recipe! These cold Chinese noodles are perfectly saucy, a little nutty, contain layers of rich savoriness, and are easy to customize into a balanced main dish or an indulgent side dish.

Videos you might have missed

  • 24 hours of healthy vegan meals: After I got back from a very indulgent vacation in Australia, I was ready for some home cooked meals, so I filmed a day in my life of nourishing, high-protein, and easy meals. 
  • The mushroom noodle soup I can’t stop making: This is probably my favorite recipe from this year (you know I don’t say that lightly!). It’s got a super creamy and highly savory broth, bouncy udon noodles, and seriously crispy mushrooms (that won over my mushroom-hating partner). Make this soup—you won’t regret it!

🧳✈️🏝️ Fun Things

In February, we traveled to Australia for 12 days! Max’s grandparents (originally from England) moved to Australia 20+ years ago, and this was my third time visiting. 

They are the *sweetest* people I know, and I feel so grateful for the time we get to spend with them. At 91 and 88, they’re still deeply in love, hold hands, and look after one another.   

When I ask Max’s grandfather what their secret is, his response is always “I always agree with my wife.” (Max, are you reading this?). 

We also got to spend time with Max’s cousin and her husband, who are expecting their first child very soon, as well as Max’s dad and brother who came along for the visit. So it was a lovely family trip that both of us really enjoyed. 

We then headed to Melbourne for 5 days. I had heard that Melbourne was vegan-friendly, but I was not prepared for what a vegan paradise it was! 

We truly had some of the best vegan food we’ve ever eaten and were shocked by how many “regular” restaurants and even bars served vegan options that were actually interesting and delicious. 

I’ve always enjoyed the food in Australia and found it to be vegan-friendly, but Melbourne was on another level. If you love to travel to foodie destinations, Melbourne is a must! Check out this video for some of my favorite dishes from the trip!

  • Ballard’s 915 High Street. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Fully vegan, fine dining quality food with extremely reasonable prices. The food is brilliant. 
  • Vegie Bar. A super fun and delicious menu in a cute, casual spot from a popular vegetarian & vegan restaurant (almost everything is vegan).
  • Smith and Daughters. We did the chef’s tasting menu, which was really creative (and so much food). If you’re into vegan “meat,” check out their sister restaurant, Lona Misa. The tasting menu was too “meat-heavy” for my taste but the dishes were very innovative. 
  • Molly Rose Brewing. A bar that serves really great food, including several vegan options. (it’s not just “bar food.”).
  • Red Sparrow Pizza. Really great vegan pizza joint with melty cheese! 
  • Yuni’s Kitchen. A casual Indonesian spot that had amazing vegan laksa in a lovely outdoor setting. 
about to enjoy one of the best meals of my life at Ballard’s 915 High St.

Okay, that’s it for this month! Drop me a line below and let me know what you’d like to see in the next edition :)

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58 comments on RPL at Home (March 2024)

  1. Dena Dahilig

    As a mid-morning person married to an early riser for 17 years I can tell you from experience that my husband likes the I’ve-had-enough-sleep ME much more than the I’m-getting-up-at-this-ungodly-hour-for-YOU-because-I-love-YOU-but-I-would-rather-be-a-better-ME-for-you-and-THAT-me-wakes-up-at-8am ME. But I love that you two are such a good team. Hellooooooooo, btw! New here. :)

  2. Vicky Mileva

    ‘My dad wrote a p*rno’ is HILARIOUS – I laughed so hard at Aldi once I was getting similarly creeped out looks from other shoppers.

  3. Erica

    Nisha, I cannot thank you enough for that podcast recommendation! I have been binging it and I’m just finishing up book 2. I haven’t cry laughed like this in a while!

  4. SALLY HUFFMAN

    I so enjoy receiving updates and very excited about the new cookbook! Preordered… so now I shall be waiting patiently.. well maybe TRYING to be patient…
    You had a tea you made with certain spices fenugreek coriander and others…but I can’t find it now. Is there a way to get the recipe?

  5. Dalisha Shingler

    I love to hear the tv and book recommendations! Thank you for taking the time to share them.

  6. Jennifer

    Hi Nisha! I follow you on YouTube and enjoy your content so much! I especially love when your parents taste test your food. That always makes me feel so happy. Congratulations on your book! I just pre-ordered. Thank you for the recommendations for books and the show to watch. I loved Game of Thrones so will definitely be checking Shogun out.

  7. Diane

    Hey Nisha! I really enjoyed this update and I preordered your cookbook last week! I’m waiting for it in great anticipation along with my Hogwarts letter, it’s that exciting! As a fellow San Diegan I totally get that it’s literally Freezing here in the 40’s. Actually, I’m in a beanie, puff coat and Uggs in the low 60’s. That’s the SD life my midwestern friends will never understand! Thank you for the delightful, delectable, hilarious and inspiring content! I love your videos. They literally make my stomach growl! As a long time vegan I’m always thrilled to find new delicious vegan things to share with friends and family, in hopes that maybe one day, one of them will come to the green side. Just one? Thank you for the fun and uplifting inspo and congratulations on your book! I’m a writer and dream of seeing my books on a bookstore shelf. It lifts me up so much seeing others making their dreams happen! More videos on lifestyle and healthy habits would be fun. And keep those recipe ones coming too. ❤️

  8. Tiffany

    Hi, I will looking into ordering your cook book today. I follow you on YouTube and haven’t checked out the site until now, plus need to do Facebook. Your an inspiration. My husband and I are dabbling more and more into healthful meals, even harder when in our area there are no vegan places local 😑. Thank you for what you do.

  9. Kerri

    That’s it, you’ve inspired me. Thank you, Nisha! I’ve been wanting to start a first thing in the morning walking habit and kept making excuses about not being able to fit it in (since I also do a breathwork practice (SKY) each morning.) But, the benefits of morning light and feeling refreshed are worth making time for, so I’m going to start! ❤️

  10. Neha

    So excited about the book. Just pre-ordered from Germany. Love your content and recipes :)

  11. Shivani

    Hi Nisha,

    I live in India and I would love to pre-order your new book.
    However, only the Kindle version is currently available for pre-order on the Amazon India website.

    Can you please check with your publisher whether the hardcover will also be pre-orderable?

  12. Siddhisvari

    Glad you had a wonderful time in Australia. Yes, Melbourne has some excellent vegan restaurants. X

  13. Ann

    I love your recipes and am waiting for the cookbook
    I always recommend your channel and website to my friends that vegan curious
    ❤️❤️❤️

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