Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Success! I actually made my own batch of kefir out of soy milk. Or else we just drank some rotten milk, I don't know. But it was delicious.
I had originally tried to make it with coconut milk, but I am ridiculously air-headed sometimes, and I used unsweetened. I'm pretty sure there needs to be some sugar in there, but I could be wrong about that too. I don't have a clue what I'm doing. So I tried it with soy milk.
I rinsed the grains (they were grown in goat's milk) with spring water and placed them in the glass container with soy milk, then let it sit for two days. I strained it, then did it again for two days. I noticed that there seemed to be more grains, and the milk was thicker. It looked quite nasty, to be honest. I strained the milk and took a tiny sip. It tasted a bit like yogurt. I made strawberry banana smoothies out of it, and it was delicious. Garrett and Grace loved them too! I have another batch that I think will be ready later today.
Am I on the road to finding balance within my body? I hope so. At least it will be a yummy adventure.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Yesterday I was watching a segment of Ellen (love her!) in which Jonathon Safron Foer (love him!) was talking about his new book, Eating Animals:
I called Garrett into the room to watch it with me. I want to educate him, but not pressure him. I want him to know that animals in factory farms are not treated well, but I don't want to traumatize him with visions of pigs being slaughtered. He really, really wants me to buy this book so we can both read it.
I'm so excited I just want to squeal!
I have also been telling him some of the health reasons that I do not eat animal products, and what a meat-filled diet can do to your heart and body.
While we were watching this interview on TV, Garrett said something that really struck me. He said, "It's gross that we are meat, and we eat meat."
Gross is right. We don't need it. I need to buy that book now.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I am sitting here with strong cravings for vegetables. I have kale in my refrigerator that needs to be eaten. I am planning on making green smoothies later. I can't wait to bake tofu tonight and scarf it down. And broccoli, dear broccoli...
I should add a recipe here for something that is not full of processed sugar and evil white flour. Something to restore energy and life to my body. But since I can't think of anything right now, I will simply leave you with this picture of one of my favorite X-mas presents. My step-mom knows of my love (lust?) for avocados, and this is something I didn't even know existed: a Flexicado - avocado slicer. Yay me!
Oh, and Garrett has decided that he is a vegetarian. Except for Subway, because he could not live without the turkey subs there. I am going to do my best to help him replace the meats he loves with cruel-free options.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I made the chocolate coconut cups last weekend as well, but we ate them up already. Sooooooo delicious! Just like a Mounds bar, only better. Luckily, I bought ingredients to make more of them, this time a double batch.
I also made a lot of vegan chocolate truffles. What a freaking mess that was! The filling never got hard enough to roll into a ball, even after being in the freezer. Then I had to dip the "balls" in melted chocolate. They look like crap. All of this work would be worth it, but they aren't even that great tasting. True, I have still been eating them, but I don't think I'll bother with that recipe again.
After the holidays are over, I am seriously taking a vacation from sugar. It is doing some crazy things to my body that I don't even want to talk about. I have recently discovered Kombucha tea through a friend. It is a fermented tea that has many heath benefits, including detoxifying the body, helping with digestive issues, and many other things. It is full of probiotics and good at getting rid of candida problems, which I believe is my main issue. I bought some at the health food store (a small bottle for $4) and tried it out. The smell reminded me of beer at first (which I hate), but I tried it. It was bubbly and tasty. The more I drink it, the more I like it. They sell different flavors. It is also easy to make at home. I have not tried it yet, as I need to get some of the culture from my friend to start my own batch. It's hard to explain the feeling I get from drinking it. It makes me feel clean, I guess.
This friend also makes her own kefir, which is kind of like yogurt, only better for you. She makes hers in goat milk. I have done extensive research on growing it in water or soy milk. She gave me some kefir grains and I am working on converting them to coconut milk. The kefir also has many probiotic benefits, and can be used anywhere milk is used. I think the coconut milk kefir will make for a delicious smoothie. Yummy! I don't really know what I am doing, but hopefully I get the hang of this. I believe I can restore balance to my body and start feeling better soon.
I'm craving kombucha right now. When I start brewing my own, I will share the results with you.
Enjoy the delicious food with your families, and enjoy this clip; everyone's favorite Saturday Night Live skit:
Sunday, December 20, 2009
All right, that's not exactly the truth. But I am planning on having some fun today. I spent all day (well, let's be honest...all afternoon) yesterday making cookies. I baked a double batch of the Chocolate Chai cookies. I realized after mixing the dough that I hadn't followed the directions, but they still came out delicious. My mother-in-law stopped by while I was baking them and she tried one. Her exact words? "Boy, are these ever good!"
I also made a TON of those Ritz cracker/peanut butter things dipped in almond bark. Those are yummy, but almond bark is not vegan. I made them specifically for my husband. Garrett and Drew were in charge of the red and green sprinkles.
Today is gingerbread day. The kids are going to help me roll out and cut out holiday shapes. I am guessing that there will be more sprinkles. I am also planning on making some vegan chocolate truffles and coconut/chocolate cups. Ambitious, I know. We'll see how it goes. If things turn out well, I will share some recipes.
Being the only vegan in the family, I also have to think of some other things to bring to be sure that I will have something to eat besides cookies. For Christmas Eve at my aunt's I am thinking about making some seitan. I am going to make a broccoli salad and some homemade applesauce. For the in-laws on X-mas day, I am in charge of bringing vegetable soup.
Also lots of presents to wrap...this is going to be a busy, crazy week. At least I will have some good food to enjoy.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Well, I had my final Thanksgiving dinner for the year yesterday at my aunt's house. On Saturday I made my green bean casserole, and the caramel apple pie that I found on VegWeb. Let me just say that when people hear the words "caramel" and "apple" together, they go completely pie-crazy. The pie was gone in like three minutes. And even though there were plenty of pies there, everyone kept asking for this one. And nobody knew that it was vegan. Thank goodness I grabbed a piece when I did, because it was heavenly. I wouldn't say there was a strong caramel flavor to it, but definitely something more than just a plain apple pie. And it was easy to make. It was my first attempt at an apple pie, and I must admit, it was a success. It even looked pretty! You can't really tell from my photo; I had to snap a picture of Grace eating hers because by the time I thought to get out my camera, my plate was empty.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Ahh...my belly is really, really full. I just ate leftovers from lunch, topped off with a piece of vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Wowza!
There are a jillion recipes for this online, and most of them are probably about the same. This is the most delicious pumpkin pie I have ever had, vegan or not. I have not been a big fan of pumpkin pie since I was a kid and my brother and I attempted to eat an entire leftover pie on Thanksgiving night. I went years not touching the stuff after that. In fact, I always passed it up, until I made this version. I promise this will be my last pumpkin-related post for a while.
Today we ate lunch at my in-laws. I ate my delicious green bean casserole (I can't stop eating it!), corn, fruit salad, cranberry apple relish, a bun, and a sweet potato (no butter or anything because once again I forgot my Earth Balance). For the cheesecake, I was lazy and used a store-bought graham cracker crust. I then managed to forget the flour, but it made no difference. It was sublime.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 12 oz. package silken tofu
1 container vegan cream cheese (I used Toffuti)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup natural sugar
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Pour into graham cracker crust. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. That's it. Seriously. You're welcome. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I also ran across a recipe that I MUST try. Caramel Apple Pie. Oh, yeah. It's real. It's vegan. It's fattening. It looks easy. I think I will bring that to a family get-together I am attending this weekend. Along with more green bean casserole, of course. And a lovely fruit salad, because I can't live without fruit.
Sometimes it's hard to feel thankful for all that we have. Sometimes the terrible things stand out more than other times. Here's to pushing the nastiness aside and enjoying each other. And enjoying great food, as well.
I'll share some recipes later.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Not that it wasn't tasty. I don't mean any kind of disrespect to Vegan Dad.
My favorite Cuban beans and rice recipe is on the menu for tonight. Along with some steamed broccoli.
I am getting paid on Friday and I am soooo excited to go buy groceries. How lame is that? I was thinking today that I am a pretty low-maintenance kind of girl. No makeup, no fancy hair styling or coloring, no expensive jewelry, and I get my clothes at thrift shops or on the clearance rack. Once I had a purse that I bought at a garage sale for 10 cents, and I used that purse for about three years. I save money in so many areas, including food, that I feel justified in buying the best ingredients, and trying out new foods as well.
Just no fake meats for a while.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
A long time ago I read a post by Vegan Dad on his seitan lunch "meat" and went on with my life, never imagining that it would be something I could actually make myself. I don't know what it was that intimidated me so, but I figured since my last attempt at seitan went so well, maybe I could do this one as well.
If you can measure, use a blender, and mix things together, you can make this stuff.
Funny note- His instructions said to use a blender to mix the beans, water and spices before adding the wheat gluten. Stupid me thought for some reason that I should use my food processor. After three seconds of that and wiping up the mess, I decided that it was pretty presumptuous of me to think that I knew more than Vegan Dad. Use a blender.
I rolled the dough into a log and wrapped it in foil like a tootsie roll. For the steamer, I used my bamboo steamer that I have never used before. I put water in my wok and placed the steamer with the seitan over the water, covered it and let it steam for an hour. The thing was, I had to add some water after a while. Then later I forgot about it and it ran out of water, and my wok had a big black spot on it and my house reeked of burnt wok and almost-burnt bamboo steamer. But all was well. It was ready for the oven anyway.
After it cooled in the refrigerator for a while, I sliced a couple of slices off and made myself a sandwich with whole grain bread and Vegenaise. Grace shared it with me, because she does not have the ability to eat her own food. It was DELICIOUS! I am betting it would be even better with lettuce and more veggies on it. Woo-hoo! I am Super Vegan Woman! I can do anything!
OK, not really. But, still. It was fun.
Yes, I am aware that my photo sucks. And I am aware that it doesn't look much like Vegan Dad's lunch meat. Those things just do not matter.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
She imagined that I spent my days eating salads. Oh, if only that were true, maybe I wouldn't be overweight. Quite honestly, there are days when I don't get enough vegetables. Like when I am not feeling well and really lazy and just have a sandwich for supper.
This lady was very nice about it and was just curious about the kinds of things I eat, and how my family eats. She said, "So you're pretty limited on what you can eat then."
I don't see my diet as very limited, unless I am at certain restaurants or looking through my children's Trick-or-Treat bags. I don't need all that candy, and I don't need fast food. So, in certain circumstances it is limited, but it's worth it to me.
Sometimes it's annoying to be asked questions, partly because I don't like to have attention focused on me like that. But it's also a good thing, because I had a chance to educate someone about an animal-friendly diet. Where this person lives, she may never meet another vegan/vegetarian again in her lifetime. It also depends on how the question is asked. There's a difference between real curiosity and the beef farmer who is personally offended by how I eat and not afraid to give me a lecture about how we need meat to survive.
The main reason I started this blog is because I get asked that question so often. It's nice to show people that there are different ways to eat, and that I have oodles and oodles of delicious choices every day. Food and nutrition for me is fun now; an experiment, an exciting adventure. I mean, how often do people really think about what they are eating? How often do people enjoy every single bite they eat, experience all the flavors together and really appreciate it? People need to do that more often.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It was a little different drinking something that tasted like a pumpkin pie, but it was really yummy. I am going to drink my leftovers right now!
Monday, November 2, 2009
I pulled a double-duty and made two meals at once last night. I made homemade hamburger stroganoff for the boys, and the Seitan Portabella Stroganoff from VWaV. My recipe turned out to just be okay. Nothing spectacular. But I have leftover seitan, so I am off to my favorite recipe sites to find out what is for supper tonight.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Maple Pumpkin Spice Bread (recipe used without permission from Vegetarian Times magazine Nov/Dec issue)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil (or unsweetened applesauce)
2 flax eggs (or real eggs, if you want)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional- I didn't add any nuts)
Preheat oven to 350- Spray 9x5 in. loaf pan with cooking spray or coat with oil. Mix together flours, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice in large bowl. Whisk together maple syrup and oil in separate bowl. Add eggs or egg replacer, then pumpkin and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix. Add nuts if using. Pour into loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. Eat this stuff warm, and add a little Earth Balance margarine if you want.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I hope I win!
Off to make some pumpkin bread.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Last night we had our ritual carving of the pumpkins. Things have certainly changed over the years. Todd and I used to carve triangle eyes and a nose and some sharp teeth and it was great. Now they want complicated things...Drew had a skull, Garrett ended up with a bat, and Grace wanted a puppy. We were short on time (and artistic ability) so she ended up with a scary face. It is always a fun time when we do this, as you can see by the photo that Todd took. For some reason, Drew lost his shirt in the process.
The reason I am posting this hear is because this year, for the first time, I decided to roast the pumpkin seeds. You can find recipes for this anywhere on line, but since you're here right now, I'll tell you what I did.
First, I dug through all the slimy guts and picked out as many seeds as I could. I rinsed them, getting all of the pulp off them. I then put them on a large cookie sheet and let them dry overnight. Today, I tossed them with some olive oil, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. I didn't measure, just threw some in. Any spices could be used here; some cayenne pepper if you are so inclined, or maybe some cumin would be lovely. Put them back on the cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Wa-la. You're done. You are snacking away on the salty goodness. They were nice and crunchy and kind of addictive. I will definitely do that again sometime.
Speaking of pumpkin, I found a recipe for Maple Pumpkin Bread in this month's Vegetarian Times. I love cooking anything with pumpkin, but add some pure maple syrup, and I'm in heaven. I think I will make the bread tomorrow, if I get the time.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
As soon as it becomes cooler outside, I no longer want a crunchy, cold, raw salad. I want to get my veggies from a nice warm soup. I used to be in Weight Watchers years ago, and they had a recipe for a vegetable soup that was zero points. That's how this recipe started out, but I have changed so many things about it that I can now call this my own. It's easy, especially because I use a bag of frozen veggies. But still very delicious, extremely nutritious, beautiful, versatile, and hot. Also good for the cold I can feel coming on! Measurements are estimates, as I usually don't measure and I do it differently all the time. This time I threw in some kale and mushrooms, and that was a great idea.
Vegetable Barley Soup
2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil works well too)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups water or vegetable broth (I used a no-chicken broth base)
1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans)
5-6 white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup Quick Barley (just a guess)
dried herbs of choice (I used basil and parsley)
Saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the veggies, mushrooms, herbs, and barley. Simmer for a while -until veggies are tender and barley is cooked. Add as much kale as you would like and mix it in. Simmer a while longer until kale is wilted.
I am now wishing I would have made a double batch because it was so tasty.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I ran across this recipe for chocolate chai cookies on Vegan Joy. Holy cow! I was making them last night when in the middle of it, I realized that I was out of black tea. All I had was about five boxes of green tea or herbal teas. So in my pajama pants and my flour-covered t-shirt, I ran to the store to purchase some. One of my students was working there. "You're buying tea for cookies?" he asked. I explained what kind of cookies I was making. I told him that I make the best cookies ever, and they are always soft. Guaranteed. He told me to bring him one today, so I did. He liked it.
I absolutely love chai tea spices, and they are perfect in these cookies. Grace helped me make them (of course) and she enjoyed rolling the dough into balls and rolling the balls in the sugar. The molasses makes for a nice touch. I think I will add these cookies to the list of things I will be making for Christmas. The only thing about Christmas that I am looking forward to is the cooking. I can't wait to make gingerbread men with my kids again. I should start planning the delicious foods that I am going to bring with me to the parties right now, since there are very few vegan options for me. It would be SO sweet if I could host Christmas this year and make it totally vegan, but I'm afraid nobody would come. Or if they did, all they would eat would be these awesome cookies.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Definitely soup weather these days. We had another wet and cold one today. All day I was planning on making chicken noodle soup for the omnis and a cheeze soup from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I added some steamed broccoli to it, because almost everything needs broccoli. It was pretty good, nice and creamy, and I ate two bowls of it. Grace ate some, too, because she loves broccoli. I wish all my kids ate like Grace.
As for the bowl, it's the only bowl I eat soup with. It's supposed to be an asparagus. I got it for my wedding from an old man I worked with at the time, John. It came in a pair, but the other one broke a long time ago. When I got it, it had some powdery broccoli cheese soup in it. John was a funny old guy, genuinely nice. He had a million and one stories to tell, and I think most were exaggerated, if not completely fabricated. He would pop up and say things like, "Did you know I had coffee with Robert Kennedy the night before he was shot?" As the story went on, you would find out that he had coffee with a LARGE group of people that included Robert Kennedy, and it was probably a month before he died. He was also on a cruise during the Perfect Storm. He traveled a lot and told stories of haunted hotels he had stayed at. He loved musicals and showtoons.
So anyway, it was good soup and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Cheez Please Soup (from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
Put these things in a pot and boil. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring a couple of times, until vegetables are tender.
In a bowl, mix the following and add to the cooked veggies:
12 ounces firm silken tofu
1/2 -1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Puree all of this in a blender until really smooth. I added a few pieces of steamed brocoli to the puree, and put a few large chunks in as well. Put pureed mixture in a soup pot, add 1 cup soy milk or water. Heat and serve!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I can't believe I pulled together an awesome meal today. I have been dragging so badly...we have had cool, dark, dreary, rainy, wet, sloppy, depressing weather for what seems like weeks around here. I have been so tired...and this afternoon after work I had to write an article that was long and boring and took forever. In the mean time, I was determined I was having this for supper tonight.
This is easily my favorite way to make tofu these days. I have eaten an entire block of it before...and Grace just helped me do it again. I found the recipe in my usual place - "somewhere online." This tofu takes time to prepare, so it's good to plan ahead. I am not good at doing this, so when I make it, I usually eat around 8 p.m. It's SOOOOOOO worth it, though. I also made the garlicky kale with tahini dressing from VWaV. This recipe introduced me to kale, which I now love, and tahini dressing, which makes me moan in ecstasy. I also made a butternut squash that was perfection, but I had already eaten it before this stuff was finished. I was hungry!
Indian Baked Tofu
For this recipe you need to press the tofu. I use one package, or 14 oz. of firm tofu. I press it by slicing it in half width-wise and placing a cloth napkin over it on my cutting board. I then place my hardcover illustrated edition of The DaVinci Code over it (the only purpose this book serves) and let it sit for about a half-hour. This way the tofu will soak up the marinade better. After that I combine the following ingredients in a zip-lock plastic bag:
3 tbsp olive oil (organic extra virgin cold pressed, of course)
1 tbsp lemon juice (or juice of half a lemon)
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes, place in bag and toss around really well. Place in refrigerator 30-45 minutes, turning once in the middle. Bake in a baking dish or on a baking sheet for about a half hour, or until it is chewy and tough on the outside. Mix it up every now and then. You can then broil for a few more minutes to get it crispy, if you wish. This is not a really spicy recipe, so feel free to add more curry if you want.
When I first became a vegetarian, I was afraid to try cooking with tofu. I had no idea what to do with it. I didn't learn about pressing it for a while, so sometimes it didn't soak up the flavors well, or else it was rubbery. I remember for a while just frying it in olive oil and putting a mixture of ketchup, mustard, vinegar and brown sugar over it. After many trials and errors, I have learned the secrets of great tofu, although I still have some failures once in a while. There are so many things a person can do with tofu that it's mind-boggling, and so much fun to try.
Oh, yeah - VEGAN MOFO!!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
While getting groceries yesterday, Drew threw some cookies in the cart, those ones that you simply place on a cookies sheet and bake. He followed me around the house with them today, hounding me until I finally made them for him. Naturally, they contain eggs, so Grace could not have any. She was screaming, crying, sitting on the counter, touching the chocolate chip cookies lovingly, trying to "just smell them." I wanted to make the pumpkin oatmeal cookies for us, but she was insisting on chocolate chip.
Now, I think the best vegan chocolate chip cookies in the world come from VWaV. However, the recipe calls for one cup of Earth Balance. I am way too stingy with my precious vegan margarine to part with that much. Also, that's a lot of fat. Instead I pulled out Vegan Planet, which I rarely go to. In fact, the only recipe I make regularly from that big fat book is the Ultimate Veggie Burgers. Absolutely the best veggie burgers I have ever made. But I digress...
I got her to calm down quickly by helping me bake the cookies. She loves to pour things in the bowl and stir. She sat on the counter and I sang Cloud Cult songs to her as we baked and jammed out to the music.
The cookies were pretty good, even though I over baked the first batch. I used flax meal for the egg replacer. Once again, mommy saved the day by allowing her to eat what her brothers were eating.
Friday, October 16, 2009
1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Plain soy milk or almond milk. Hemp milk is also quite delicious in cereal, but very sweet (and expensive) so that's for once in a while.
2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
I am going to make apple crisp for a family get-together tomorrow. I have some pumpkin left over so possibly pumpkin oatmeal cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance. And I am going to make a broccoli frittata whenever Carissa gets her butt over here for a visit.
3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Oh, man. Which one? I know! The pistachio rosewater cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. YIKES! They ended up in the garbage.
5. Favorite pickled item?
6. How do you organize your recipes?
They are written on recipe cards and put in alphabetical order in a recipe box my hubby made for me. Or else printed out on a paper and stuffed alongside said recipe box.
7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I recycle what I can and throw away everything else.
8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
avocados, chickpeas, broccoli (I'm going to assume there is fruit on the island)
9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?Hmmm....I just remembered picking strawberries with my cousin, and then he made some homemade jam with them.
10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
I don't eat it much, but one time I bought some chocolate ice cream made with Coconut milk and it was freaking awesome!
11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
12. Spice/herb you would die without?
13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
As far as the vegan ones, probably the whole, natural foods one I got from someone. I can't remember what it's called and my friend has it right now.
14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
I don't serve much to omni friends, but I like to share baking and salads, and the artichoke spinach dip was a huge success.
16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
tofu - I love tempeh but am ashamed to say I have still not tried seitan.
17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Supper, in the evening.
18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Cereal boxes and crap I am trying to keep away from the kids.
19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
strawberries, bananas, flax meal - my smoothie staples.
20. What’s on your grocery list?
A lot. I am going shopping today.
21. Favorite grocery store?
The Good Food Store. But I can't afford to get everything there, so I get a lot at a store in Iowa that has great produce at a great price. I try not to shop at Wal-Mart...but it happens.
22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Vegan Dad, Happy Herbivore, Yeah, that "Vegan" Shit
24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
I have a terrible weakness for Oreos. I wish they weren't vegan. Otherwise, I prefer my own vegan cookies.
25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Yesterday I splurged and bought the LARGE size Vegenaise for 6.99. For me, that is a big deal. But I have two kids constantly begging for chickpea salad sandwiches. And the small version was $5.00.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I am not doing a great job of posting every day. Oh, well. That's life. I am, however, eating every day. Last weekend I had to bring a pan of bars to my husband's grandpa's 80th birthday party. Since I knew damn well I would have nothing else to eat while there, I made mine vegan. I used a recipe I found on the Post Punk Kitchen website for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Just so you know, I only use 1 cup of sugar in them instead of the 1 1/2 cups called for. Instead of shortening I use canola oil (or appleasauce if I feel like being healthy). Instead of soy yogurt, I add about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to some soy milk. The cookies always turn out so cake-like and moist that I like to make bars out of them. They are the perfect bar, and I have received so many compliments from people who can't believe they are vegan. And they are AMAZING. So AMAZING that I probably gained a few pounds that day. I love to make things with pumpkin. And chocolate. Which reminds me, I still have some pumpkin in the refrigerator that I need to use up.
Last night I was in a casserole mood. It's cold and snowy here already. I remembered a creamy baked risotto that I made last year at some time and really loved. I dug through my recipes and found this one, hastily scrawled on a recipe card, no title or anything. It didn't make a lot of sense to me, especially at the end where it said 2 tbsp chives et. al. WTF does that mean? And it called for parmesan cheese. I don't know what I used last year (probably nooch), but I added some of the Buffalo Mostarella cheeze I made last week because I need to use it up. It turned out really creamy, comforting, and delicious.
Creamy Mushroom Spinach Risotto
2 cups brown rice
5 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp vegan margarine
3 cups (or so) mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup vegan parmesan, or nutritional yeast flakes
2 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of choice (I used basil and oregano)
Toss everything into a baking dish except the spinach and herbs. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes, stirring ocassionally, until rice has absorbed all the water. Remove from oven and stir in the spinach until it's all wilty. Add the herbs as you please and enjoy.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Anyway, you will have to take my word for it. This tastes nothing like mozzarella cheese, but it is very yummy. It doesn't slice easily, and it's still kind of mushy, but that's okay too. I made a grilled cheeze with it for lunch, and it was delish.
Funny side note - I am doing a series of stories for the paper about farming in the area. First was crops, then dairy, and I am now working on the hog story. Of all people to go interview these farmers...I feel bad for the dairy farmers who are hemmorhaging money, but inside I am cheering when they say things like, "Dairy consumption has decreased over the last year..." I wish that while interviewing them, I could ask things like, "So how much pus really is allowed into each gallon of milk?" and "Did you know that the animal protein in milk is actually bad for your bones?"
Wait until I get to the beef story- I'd like to bring up the fact that red meat is the leading cause of colon cancer. But, of course, I won't. I will bite my tongue.
Back to the cheeze...I am going to put some on a pizza this week. I have some whole wheat flat bread that is going to be the crust. I'll let you know how it goes.
Monday, October 5, 2009
I really prefer to make things from scratch these days, but somehow I ended up buying two box mixes. Because of Grace's egg allergy, I used the box Egg Replacer from Ener G. I haven't used that very often, and never with a cake mix. While cutting and serving the cake at the party, it totally fell apart. On the positive side, it was quite delicious. However, from now on I am going to go homemade vegan. Nobody will ever know anyway...
The fam had pizza for supper Saturday and I ate my go-to pizza for when I am too lazy or don't have enough time for a real pizza. I discovered that Kashi has a frozen pizza that is made without cheese, and it's oh, so yummy. It's called Sicilian Veggie, and it has kale (!) eggplant, roasted red peppers, carmelized onions and so forth. As healthy as pizza is going to get, really.
I also discovered that while signing up for Vegan MoFo, I gave the moderator the wrong web address. I made a correction, but who knows if she will see it or make the change. Oh, well. I don't really mind. I'm a little embarassed to be included with such amazing blogs anyway.
Not sure what is on the menu for the week...I really need to make some sweet potato black bean burritos soon, though. Anyone want to come over for horror movies and vegan food?
Friday, October 2, 2009
I have no problem eating fake meat. It's much better to eat something that slightly resembles meat in texture and flavor than to actually eat a dead animal. I don't, however, eat a ton of pre-packaged veggie burgers, faux chicken, or veggie dogs. They are very heavily processed, and not the healthiest foods to eat.
Today is Grace's 4th birthday, and she requested chicken nuggets for supper. I was going to go to the store to buy her some, but she fell asleep on the couch and refused to wake up. I got hungry and found this recipe on VegWeb. Thank goodness I had those chickpeas in the freezer, huh?
I did cook Grace some popcorn shrimp that she likes, but my chicken-nugget-type-things were done first, and she devoured two or three of them. And they were yummy. Nothing like a chicken nugget, of course, but that is totally fine with me. They had a wonderful flavor to them. However, there were a few things I did not like:
-I fried them in oil, and that was not very healthy
-After eating several of them, I became sick to my stomach from all the oil
-I also burned my arm on splattering oil
-They became a bit chewy after sitting for a few minutes.
Not exactly a replacement for chicken, but a very nice chickpea patty or croquette. The thing is, right now I feel so gross that I may never make them again. Perhaps I will try baking them. I think I better make a cup of tea to help ease my stomach...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today was really cold, and it was dark and wet and dreary all day. While I was working, I was fantasizing about what I was going to bake when I got home. I knew I would be blogging about it, because today is the first day of Vegan MoFo. I have a major weakness for cookies, so when I got home I asked Grace what kind of cookie I should make. She answered, "White ones." I looked up vegan sugar cookie recipes (I have never made them before!), and I came across a recipe from Vegetarian Times for Snickerdoodles that I thought looked even better. I cranked up the oven to help warm up the house, and set to baking.
I don't know why I am bothering with a food blog, I really don't. I have no great photography skills, no fancy camera equipment or great place to take professional, appetizing pictures of my food. But whatever. A picture of Grace, fresh out of the bathtub, eating the cookie will have to suffice.
These cookies are really tasty! Vegan cookies are so soft and perfect, just like a good cookie should be.
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch (seriously!)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 oz. or 1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
(Mix together on a large plate.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder. Beat margarine in a separate bowl until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy (mine never got fluffy). Beat in soy milk and vanilla extract for 30 seconds or until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat 30 seconds until smooth. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet and flatten a little. Bake 10-12 minutes. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The other day Garrett was begging me for a chickpea salad sandwich. This kid is not even vegetarian (although I think he will be one day; he gets really upset when we see the meat at the grocery store). I told him I was out of canned chickpeas, and his reply was, "Well then I'm not eating ANYTHING for supper!"
Wow! I pulled out a bag of dry chickpeas and soaked them overnight. Yesterday I cooked them a while and I got enough for a large batch of chickpea salad, and two freezer bags full for some other time. All organic, all for 30 cents. Am I awesome, or what?
Today I made the chickpea salad, and we had sandwiches for supper with fresh spinach and alfalfa sprouts. The kids insist on the sprouts. Well, not Drew, he wouldn't eat a sprout if his life depended on it. But at least there is hope for the other two.
This is the recipe that I use for these unbelievable sandwiches. It's not my own recipe.
1 can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, mashed
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1 large dill pickle, chopped
1-2 green onions, chopped (or red onion)
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
black pepper to taste
Mix it up. Pile it high one some good whole wheat bread, with spinach and sprouts. Eat the rest of it with a fork right out of the mixing bowl. Blog about how awesome it is. Talk about it until people are sick of hearing about it.
Friday, September 25, 2009
October is VeganMoFo...the Vegan Month of Food. Bloggers all over the world go crazy and try to post something vegan every day. I don't know if I will sign up. I mean, this is a pretty pathetic blog. Who is gonna care? There are thousands of awesome vegan blogs out there that are professional looking, and people that have good cameras that can actually take appetizing photos of the food they are eating. These people make up their own recipes and write cookbooks. I am, as always, a dork in a sea of people that are cooler than me. But I enjoy blogging. And eating. So I may take the challenge.
How will I get some more salt into my diet so that my blood pressure isn't so close to a dead person's? How much weight will I gain in the attempt? How can I use up those three cans of crushed pineapple? Why did I buy them in the first place? Will Grace ever stop whining? Stay tuned to find out.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I used a bag of gluten free elbow macaroni made with rice and soy flour because I had bought the bag at my favorite Amish store (which will here on out be referred to as the Bent & Dent, or B&D for short) for 50 cents. The pasta was delicious. I recently splurged on a jar of Vegenaise for $4.99 plus tax, because the stuff is just that good. The Italian dressing I had was fat free, so that helped the fat content some. Other than the fat from the Vegenaise, which is expeller-pressed canola oil high in omega-3 fatty acids, the salad was pretty low fat. And ohmygodican'tstopeatingit good. Seriously. TONS of flavor. I think this will be my staple for every family picnic or potluck I ever attend. Easy peasy. I have a ton left over. I ate it for lunch today and I'm looking forward to a big bowl for supper, and most likely lunch again tomorrow. And that's okay with me. I'm copying this recipe here because I made it a bit differently, and really, who the heck is gonna know? I don't think there's anyone reading this blog anyway.
Summer Pasta Salad
12 oz pasta (your choice)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-2 large carrots, grated
1 green or red pepper, chopped
broccoli, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup vegan mayo
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chickpeas
Cook pasta - drain and rinse well with cold water. Add the chopped veggies. Whisk together the mayo, dressing, mustard, dill, salt and pepper. Add to pasta and veggies and mix well. Mash chickpeas with a potato masher until crumbly, then add to salad, mixing well.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Mexican Pasta Salad
1/2 pound pasta (I prefer something small, like little shells, but I usually use Isreali couscous - quinoa would work as well)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles (or one can of diced tomatoes and one can chiles)
1 red pepper, diced (or mix up green, red, yellow, whatever)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
dash of salt and pepper
1-2 Hass avocados, diced
Cook the pasta. Combine rest of the ingredients except avocado. Rinse pasta with cold water, add to bowl. Stir in the avocados last. You can wait until serving the salad before adding the avocados, but they really do hold up well in this salad, even the next day. Eat, enjoy, and thank me later.
OK, I have an anecdote to share. I made this for a family picnic this summer, and I used the little shell pasta. My aunt was eating it (she loved it) and she asked me, quite honestly, how I got all those black beans inside all of the shells. It was really an accident, but I should have told her I slaved all day filling the shells with the beans to get it just right. Yeah. Cuz I got nothing but spare time...
Back to work!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I ran across this recipe a couple of days ago. Since I was having a friend over today, I decided to give it a try. I had a bag of black eyed peas in the cupboard, so I soaked them overnight and cooked them yesterday. As usual, I forgot about them and cooked them too long and they became mushy. But whatever, they were still good. I had recently bought a package of different colored peppers so I cut them up, along with a bunch of cherry tomatoes out of my step-mom's garden. I changed a few things about the recipe - I didn't use as many beans as called for, but I still used the same amount of dressing (the balsamic vinegar and raw sugar). This was not due to some great idea or purpose, I just tend to do stupid things like that. When I halve or double a recipe, there are always a few things that don't get halved or doubled. In this case, it was just fine. I added some red onions, because you must have those. Even though the recipe doesn't call for them, the picture seems to have them in there. And I added a couple tablespoons of olive oil just for fun.
The result was beautiful, and delicious. I ate it for a salad today at lunch. When my company came over, we ate it as a dip with tortilla chips. Either way, it was so tasty and addicting and healthy (well, the chips not so much).
I think I will chill out in front of the TV tonight with a bowl of this and my bag of chips and watch a movie. I am ready for my four-day weekend!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This has been the craziest summer. Technically, even though we have started school, it's still summer. But this weather sure feels like autumn. It has been chilly here, especially in the mornings. In typical Minnesota fashion, I used my heater in the van yesterday morning, then used my air conditioning in the afternoon. The kids came home yelling at me because I made them wear pants to school and it got too warm.
So last night I was in the mood for soup because I love it and I haven't made any for a few months. I made one of my faves, a curried lentil couscous soup. I found this recipe somewhere online and changed it a little and added some chopped up kale. I love how it adds color (and nutrition) to the soup. For the couscous I used the Israeli variety because I really like those little round circles of pasta. The measurements are hard for me, because I pretty much eyeball the spices. I also had to add quite a bit of water after the lentils cooked, so then I just dumped in some more spices.
Soup is really easy to make, is filling and comforting, and can be full of nutrition. Lentils are one of my favorite ways to get protein; they are just so yummy and versatile. And anything with curry powder and cumin is going to fill my house with one of my favorite aromas as well. I made a LOT of soup, and I'm the only one eating it (unfortunately), so I may freeze some and see how that works out.
Curried Lentil and Couscous Soup
2 cups lentils, rinsed
8 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup carrots, sliced or chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup couscous
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp paprika
2 or more tsp madras curry powder, depending on your tastes
1/2 tsp turmeric (no big deal if you don't have this)
1/2 tsp cumin
1-2 cups chopped kale (or any other greens)
salt to taste
Saute carrots, onions and garlic in some olive oil until tender. Add water or broth, bring to a boil. Add the lentils, couscous and spices and simmer for about a half hour or so (I really don't know, I didn't time it, just watch for the lentils and couscous to get done). Add more water if necessary. Add the kale and stir around, cooking until kale is wilted. Serve with some bread and fresh fruit and it's a perfect meal for a cool night. I put a bowl of strawberries on the table and the kids and I ate them all up with our soup.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The great thing about this place is that I find things there that I cannot find anywhere else. There are a lot of organic items, and also many items that are so expensive elsewhere that I can't justify buying them. I have also tried some new things. Yesterday I found tapioca flour for 75 cents, and a large jar of PURE maple syrup for $3.50 (a steal - this stuff is expensive).
The bad thing about this place is that I buy too much! I get home and I don't know where to put it all. My cupboards are crammed full. I now have six cans and four bags of organic coffee shoved away. I cleaned out my pantry cupboard thingy and realized my biggest problem is not even realizing what I have at home already. I found four cans of crushed pineapple stuffed in there!
But I can't pass up a good deal. If I see something I love there (like the occasional Vegenaise) I take whatever they have because they might never have it there again. I'll find room for it somewhere.
We also saw something horrible there...cans of pork brains. I kid you not. I showed them to Garrett and he was mad at me for grossing him out. On the front of the can they had a little illustration of a plate of pig's brains on top of some potatoes or something. Jesus...the cholesterol level was 1050 percent of the recommended daily allowance. *Shudders*
Now that I know what I have in my pantry and have it all neatly organized, I feel like cooking. I am going to read my cookbooks and go online and find something great to make with all my new ingredients. And I think I better make something with pineapple in it.
Ooh- good news...there is a lady who has a food column in my paper and she let me know that she is quitting. Hopefully I will get another chance at my own food column!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tomorrow we are taking the kids on our little mini-vacation for the summer. We are going to the Mall of America to play all day, then back to a hotel with a sweet water park. They also have a restaurant and the kids eat free. I don't have any idea what I will be eating. I think I should pack my own food, or at least some soy milk for my coffee in the morning. At the breakfast buffet, I will be eating the fruit. I think I will bring the homemade granola I made because it was really good.
I certainly won't starve to death, that's for sure. All of these little bumps in the road are totally worth it to me. There's no way I'm going to give in just because it's easier. I just really wish the world was more vegan-friendly.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I just returned from a shopping trip with the kids. I went to my favorite Amish farm and bought some produce. This time she had some Italian eggplant so I bought a few of those. They are long and skinny. I also bought a big zucchini, broccoli, a bag of red potatoes, a bag of peaches, a really funny-looking white squash, and kohlrabi. I have never tried kohlrabi before. I spent a total of nine dollars.
At the grocery store I bought a coconut, so we will see if I can get the damn thing open and enjoy it. Among the other fruits and veggies I bought, I picked up some apples to dry in the dehydrator. I might sprinkle some cinnamon on them.
I managed to survive the trip by singing loudly to Tom Petty songs while the kids fought, screamed, cried and threw things at each other in the back of the van. I feel so good that I can handle anything.
I made some gazpacho and it is marinating in the refrigerator. The tomato juice is not raw, but that's okay. I have done well. Tomorrow I am going to eat some cooked food, because it is sweet corn season, and I have a veggie Italian sausage I need to grill. But I am going to still explore some of the raw recipes I have found and try to eat a lot of raw foods.
Okay, you don't have to hear about my detox anymore. It was very difficult, especially yesterday. Last night I was really tired and as I was lying in bed I felt really depressed and didn't think I could do another day of it. Maybe I will do it again sometime, but try to go longer. I enjoy a challenge, and I do NOT like to give up.
It suddenly occurred to me that I might be the luckiest woman alive.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Some of the side effects of the cells rejuvenating and getting rid of the junk inside are headaches (check) irritability (check), fatigue (check check), physical aches and pains, nausea (check) and vomiting, colds and fevers. These are your body's way of getting rid of the nastiness and healing itself.
I'm starting to wonder if three days will really be enough time for a detox. I picked the time period on my own, I am not going by any rules here. I just felt it was a realistic time that I could do it. And there are many ways to do it. I just picked raw because there are no restrictions to how much I can eat, fat or calories, and there's no way in hell I am drinking juice for a week. I think that after tomorrow I will slowly ease back into eating cooked foods and still have the major part of my meals be fresh fruits and veggies. And for treats I will make my little raw treats that are so yummy. No matter what, it will be good for me.
Having some hot flashes and I feel like going to bed. But I'm going to drink a smoothie. I may attempt to write, but my brain doesn't feel like it's all there.
I am tired. I am stressed out. My house is a mess; there are toys on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and my kitchen floor looks filthy. I have no time to deal with this right now. Being with the kids 24/7 is starting to make me feel really, terribly, claustrophobic and frazzled. But I feel something changing inside me. This brain-fog and weirdness I feel (probably my body detoxifying) is starting to clear and I am feeling a strange elation.
I think that after this my body is going to be satisfied with less food, and I am going to lose my cravings for sugar and salt. I am actually going to crave good things, and prefer the sweetness of fresh fruit to other things. I am going to re-learn how to eat only when my body is actually hungry, and to stop when my full. I used to know how to do that, but it's so easy to lose.
I'm not positive, but I think I would kill for a chickpea salad sandwich on pita bread.
Well, maybe not kill. But hurt someone.
I'm halfway through. I'm halfway through. I'm halfway through. I'm such a wuss!
One thing I noticed is that I didn't really eat any meals, I just kind of ate a bit here and there throughout the day when I felt hungry. I had a Chilly Chai smoothie and the Popeye Goes to India salad for lunch. I ate some broccoli dipped in Annie's Natural Goddess dressing for a snack. I marinated mushrooms in olive oil, tamari sauce, garlic powder and onion powder all day and ate some when I got back from my meeting last night.
One other thing I noticed is that everything I ate was just bursting with flavor. Maybe because I was hungry, or maybe my palate wasn't deadened with junk, but everything tasted so, so good. The fruit I ate was so sweet, sweeter than any cookies or cupcakes, and left me feeling light and healthy.
I think I can do this for a couple more days, but not forever. I really think it's going to help me get off processed sugar. Today I am going to make some almond meal crackers in the dehydrator. I bought a bag of almond meal for really cheap but never knew what to do with it until I found this recipe. I hope it's good!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Eating raw, or live, food is so good for your body. It makes for a good detox because it is so easy for your body to digest, it can work on getting rid of the other toxins in your body that it usually doesn't have the energy for. Eating living foods gives people more energy. I know I feel a sort of energetic rush when I eat raw fruits and veggies. I love that feeling.
So this is day one of my trial. I am hoping to jump-start some weight loss, have more energy, and mostly, decrease my cravings for junk. Last night I bought a shitload of ripe bananas at the grocery store for half price. They were in the dehydrator all night. Grace is eating them like they are cookies, and they are so sweet and chewy and delicious. I have cookbooks ready, plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, etc.
So far I have had a banana, some of the dehydrated bananas, a nectarine and my coffee. No, coffee is not raw, and neither is the stuff I put in it. There's no raw food police here. I can do it however I want!
I think this could be fun!
When I was seventeen I became a vegetarian for the first time, much to the dismay of my family. My step-mom was very considerate about it, and always made me a meat-free version of the meal she was cooking. I remember feeling so good that year. When I moved out and was living with my aunt and uncle, it was even harder for them to know what to feed me. These people lived on red meat. They still do. I also was unsure of what to eat to be healthy and get the right amounts of protein and vitamins, and I was often so hungry that I would eat meat. I would get cravings, and there weren't a lot of meat substitutes back then. When I moved out and into an apartment with Todd, I just kind of fell back into eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), even though I felt guilty about it every day.
A little over three years ago I made the final switch. I was tired of just living life the convenient way, and wanted to be who I really was no matter how difficult it was. The last piece of meat I ate (intentionally) was an Asian Chicken Salad from McDonalds. I was at the park with a friend and our kids were playing. I told her I was thinking of going back to being a veggie. For supper that night, I got a bean and cheese burrito and that was it. I was done.
This time it was so easy. I learned to make dishes with foods I had never eaten before. I made things with lentils, black beans, chickpeas, tofu. I tried new spices, new herbs, new greens and veggies. I bought an avocado. Many people in my family didn't even know what an avocado was. I felt so daring, so excited. It was all new territory to me. I learned to love cooking. LOVE it.
I knew that veganism was the way I wanted to go eventually, but I couldn't imagine giving up cheese. I did it a year ago now, and I have never looked back. It has opened even more doors to more possibilties, and I feel wonderful. For this blog, I just want to share the things I have been eating in this adventure, the new recipes I try out, the new foods I discover, and the road I am taking to good health, both mentally and physically.