Yummly is a site that helps you discover and collect recipes that are specifically tailored to your preferences. For people like me who have food allergies and dietary restrictions, it lets you customize your profile to filter recipes with the offending ingredients from your recipe search. For example, if you’re vegetarian and prefer not to look at recipes involving meat and/or prefer to avoid the hassle of swapping out certain ingredients to make a dish vegetarian, this feature is especially handy. The same goes for vegans, and paleo eaters.
I like to adapt recipes to make them healthier, whether that means eliminating empty carbohydrates like flour and sugar; eliminating the fat; or swapping in non-starchy vegetables in place of semi-nutritious (but not paleo-friendly) starches i.e. potatoes.
It’s often a lot of fun to give antiquated recipes a “makeover”. On holidays especially, I love to paleo-veganize recipes from my grandmother’s recipe box. I also like to adapt classic recipes from the culinary traditions of miscellaneous cultures throughout the world into something that might or might not turn out the way I expect them to—but in cases like that i.e. when I replaced shredded pork with string beans in a vegan tamale recipe I saw things headed south and immediately did damage control, turning my would-be tamale fail into a delicious paleo (legume free) spicy tamale hummus.
Recipe makeovers are kind of my thing, so some might think I wouldn’t use Yummly. Think again. When I want to find a recipe to adapt—e.g. one of the classics from Mastering the Art of French Cooking or for a challenge, a recipe so characteristically not-vegan and so laden with butter or cream that to turn it into a healthy vegan recipe would seem impossible by default, such as something from Joy of Cooking—I still use Yummly. When I’m in Guatemala or Mexico, I can’t bring along my vintage cookbooks or call the manager at my storage unit to dig through boxes of books to find them and relay a particular recipe from a specific book over the phone. I can’t trust Google Books, since although most of my cookbooks are vintage they’re not antiquated enough to be in the public domain. Yummly is great for this. Normally I know the key ingredients of the recipe I want to paleo-veganize. With Yummly, I can create a customized search based on what I recall from the recipe.
Yummly features up-and-coming bloggers. They also feature bloggers with published cookbooks. I see myself as somewhere in the middle, as in:
2005: I started developing paleo-vegan recipes
2006: Started a job at whole foods in the juice bar/coffee bar
2007: Went fully raw-vegan (from “cooked vegan”). Started college, and engaged in many after-class tea parties and/or wine nights that involved paleo-vegan “spreads” i.e. raw chocolate made with stevia, kale chips with raw sunflower seed pate, gluten-free, grain-free vegan crackers dipped in hempseed butter, apple slices and almond butter, etc. with my college roommate and friends across the hall/in the dorm next door.
2007a: Advocated for a better salad bar in the dining cafeteria and a visible, posted list of ingredients for the soups, sauces, and entrees.
2008: Transitioned from the dorms into my boyfriend’s van
2008a: Ate mostly raw kale, nuts, seeds, and apples
2008b: Started working at Evo’s, a vegan-friendly cafe with a diverse clientele including transient philosophers and misc. homeless people. During this time I lived part-time in my boyfriend’s van and the rest of the time in my BFF’s apartment she shared with her boyfriend, her sister, the sister’s boyfriend, 1 kitten (her’s), 1 iguana (my boyfriend’s), and a guy who was always on the couch yet I could never figure out why. I was basically homeless, too…but proud of it. This was my freegan anarchist phase.
2008c: Access to the food processor at the cafe I worked at resulted in the development and fine-tuning of paleo-vegan hummus and pate recipes.
2009: Started blogging paleo-vegan recipes on blogger.com
2009a: Spent the summer in Mexico for an internship and to backpack throughout the country with a friend/other intern in September. Throughout both experiences I learned to paleo-veganize traditional recipes from the culinary traditions of Mexico, Korea, Lebanon, Nigeria, Bolivia, and Eastern Europe by way of living with a multi-cultural team of interns.
2010: Started blogging paleo-vegan recipes on wordpress.com
2010a: Spent Fall living and breathing Rosetta Stone Intermediate-Advanced Latin American Spanish, during a cleanse/detox diet while living in a tent.
2010b: Spent Winter-Spring backpacking, volunteering, and improving my Spanish in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Central America, during which I lived on beets, beet greens, wild greens, mangoes, cabbage, avocados, instant coffee, guanabana, heart of palm, fava beans, and coca leaf tea (not a narcotic, BTW, if anyone is wondering. It a remedy for/means of preventing altitude sickness).
2010c: Returned to college for summer school to catch up on anthropology courses and start a minor in photography. Purchased a Nikon DSLR which inspired me to get more serious about food photography in 2010.
2010d: Picked enough wild blackberries to compensate for an entire year’s worth of fruit and juice. I dried them for trail mix, froze them for smoothies and raw vegan ice cream, defrosted them for salads and no-sugar-added jams.
2010e: Started work at Pangea, a global-fusion restaurant/cafe specializing in natural/organic/locally-sourced ingredients. their “Squirrel Nut” salad is paleo vegan. So is “The Cleopatra” when you hold the Parmesan.
2011: With a full-time school schedule/coursework load, an internship, and full-time job, I didn’t have time to focus my energy on recipe development. I did however, perfect the technique of throwing vegetables into an antiquated oven to broil on high for 10 minutes.
2011a: Spent summer working in production at a music festival; ate mostly broiled vegetables and drank a lot of coffee.
2012b: Spent winter-early summer in Guatemala for field research in medical anthropology. Ate mostly steamed/boiled or raw cabbage, greens, carrots, tomatoes and onions; cashew nuts, chayote, avocados, and the occasional tortilla and/or beans (didn’t have an oven). Focused more the on research than blogging, but observed and took notes on certain food-preparation techniques that had significant influence in subsequent recipes/blog posts.
2012c: Worked at the music festival again; boyfriend found an apartment sublet with a grill…so not so much recipe development occured that summer as grilled vegetables are easy and recipe development can’t happen during 20-hour shifts.
2013: Worked as a copy-writer, editor, and web designer and blogged when I could
2013a: Decided to take my blog to the next level, by purchasing a domain name and transferring my blog to a self-hosted WordPress site. It started as vegan-paleo.com, the name of my wordpress.com blog.
2013b: In December, while home for Christmas with my family, the name “Paleoveganista” came to me and I never looked back.
2013c: Returned to Guatemala for research/to work on my documentary. Tasted, photographed, wrote about, and learned how to make dishes that are traditionally vegan in Guatemala and Belize.
2014-present: Designed websites and infographics, and campaigned via social media for non-profit organizations. Also blogged, connected with readers of my blog through comments, emails, and social media i.e Facebook and discovered useful new websites such as Yummly.
Yummly’s features include a virtual recipe box to store the recipes you find through the site. It allows you to quickly and efficiently find a way to transform whatever you have on hand into a satisfying, nutritious meal. On a break at work, on the bus, the subway, or whenever you have a free minute…you can start planning what to make, gauge how long it will take, and find a recipe that works with what’s in your refrigerator. Not all of us can plan that far ahead when it comes to meal preparation. Yummly makes it easier to fit meal prep into our schedules, plan on the go (using their free app for iPhone or Android) and you can conveniently store Paleovegan recipes to your recipe box directly from my blog, using the “Yum” button below each of my posts.