Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kefir Smoothies

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

Embarking on a New Adventure

My nine-year-old son Garrett is serious about no longer eating meat. I knew this day would come, because he gets really upset when we walk by the meat counter at the supermarket. He has been asking a lot of questions about what he can eat. I have put no pressure on him at all, and told him that it's completely his choice what he wants to eat. I will not be angry with him if he chooses to eat meat. But I will support him and teach him how to transition. I remember when I stopped eating meat a few years ago, at first I wasn't sure what to do. I just replaced the meat in my diet with fake meats or tofu. My diet was a work in progress, and it still is. I didn't get rid of everything all at once.

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 don't think I would eat a cookie right now if someone paid me. Okay, I would, but it would have to be a significant amount of money, as in enough for me to buy myself something I really want. After this past week or so, I can't even bear the thought of making another sweet thing, let alone eating it. I feel bloated, gross, fat and sluggish. Why do we do this to ourselves? I don't know. It's a minor form of self-destructive behavior. An apathetic "whatever-I'll-worry-about-it-later-I-just-don't-care-life-sucks-anyway-I-might-as-well-be-fat" behavior that MUST STOP NOW.

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

Delays and Fermentation

Well, the weather is making life difficult for those people who have family get-togethers planned. Do we make the turkey, or not? What about the pies? I don't have to worry too much, because all of my cookies are in the freezer.

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

Holiday Baking

The Holiday fun just never ends!

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.