Welcome to Little House on Azalea! I’m Rhea Frederick, vegan recipe creator, practicing minimalist, and mom to a vivacious toddler. When my husband and I first learned that we were pregnant with our daughter, we knew we wanted a drastic lifestyle change – healthier eating and a more minimalist, sustainable approach to the way we live.

After graduating with my MPH in 2015, I was influenced by some of the smartest professionals in the field of Public Health. I then knew how important it was to make the change to a more sustainable life through eating mostly plants, practicing minimalism, and reducing waste by making smart consumer choices.

But, it can be really hard.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I felt an even stronger pull towards a plant-based lifestyle to save the planet and build a healthy life with my new family.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, Western North Carolina, home of Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trend of living more sustainably and minimally is on the rise. People in this area want to be healthier, mentally and physically.

My goal here at Little House on Azalea is to provide inspiration from WNC to help guide your change to a vegan lifestyle and inspire your journey to a minimalist, more sustainable parenthood.

Eating Plants

I’ll be the first to admit that being plant-based is way different than being vegan. Here, you will find recipes for both lifestyles. I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, heart of country music and the south. I grew up eating biscuits with sausage gravy for breakfast, chocolate chip cookie dough on the weekends, casseroles during the holidays, and fried everything for any event. Southern cooking is the core of my heart, and I understand how down-home cooking has a huge influence on southern families. I would never ask anyone to change if they are happy and comfortable.

Vegan pinto beans with southern cornbread and greens

Some of the most favorite southern inspired recipes here are:
Mamaw’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Applesauce Bundt Cake
Southern Vegan Cornbread

Vegan applesauce bundt cake with glaze

Some people ask if we our raising our daughter to be vegan, and the answer is yes! She will make her own choices as she gets older, but practicing kindness towards animals is a part of our family’s core values. We aim to teach her that eating plants contributes to a healthier, more sustainable life.

Apart from vegan sweets and southern food, you will also find baby-friendly vegan ideas here, including ideas for vegan baby-lead weaning (BLW):
Vegan Baby’s First 100 Foods
Pumpkin Oat Pancakes for BLW
Sweet Potato Patties for BLW

Pumpkin oat cakes with almond butter for BLW

Living Minimally

Practicing minimalism is so much more than having white walls in a clutter-free home. It’s about taking the time to make space for you and your family. It’s learning how to find space amid life’s everyday chaos and clearing your mind so you can focus on what’s important to you. Living minimally is living intentionally, breaking away from distractions and noise that prevents you from becoming the person you want to be. This can feel impossible if you’re a parent. How do you make time for yourself?

Living in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes it easy to practice minimalism. My family is fortunate to be able to escape to the forest after long days of working or beat the crowds early on the weekends. This is where we find the calmness we need to feel revitalized and conquer our days.

Barefoot toddler by the river

But, on days when we don’t make it to the woods, I take the time to find quietness and stillness for myself and my toddler. We sit together, free of distractions, screens, and noise, and just be. This may only last 5-10 minutes, but making space to be mindful will benefit us both for years to come.

Where you live doesn’t have to influence your ability to make space in your mind and home for what’s important to you. Whether you live on a farm in the Midwest or a skyrise in New England, I’m here to inspire you and to help you learn how to create space as a parent, mentally and physically.

Find inspiration in the following articles:
How to be a Minimalist Parent
The Benefits of Minimalist Parenting
How to Teach Your Baby Stillness

Benefits of minimalist parenting

Reducing Waste

So, you’ve switched to a plant-based lifestyle? Great. You’re already on the right track to reducing waste in your home and saving the planet. Reducing waste comes in many forms and goes hand in hand with eating plants and living minimally.

At Little House on Azalea, we are working towards a waste-free home. This is one of the biggest challenges we face – even more so than parenting. We have access to bulk items in multiple grocery stores in our community, and we never get carry out. We buy local produce as frequently as possible, and we even have a compost pile. But, we have a difficult time cutting things like cereal, canned beans, and milk alternatives out of our life. We are a work in progress and try to follow three simple steps:

Step 1: Care about the environment.
Step 2: Make small, eco-friendly changes to your everyday life.
Step 3: Inspire others by leading by example.

Follow us and learn with us as we share our journey to becoming a waste-free family.

For inspiration now, click here.

Our Thanks to You

We are so happy you are here! Thank you for joining us on our journey to becoming better parents and humans by eating plants, living minimally, and practicing sustainability.

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