Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vegan on Vacation

Maybe I should have said 98% vegan on vacation...

I recently took a four day trip to Duluth, MN with my husband and three children. I packed plenty of snacks for the drive, brought my own stuff to put in my coffee, and hoped for the best when it came to food.

I think I did pretty good as far as finding vegan choices, or at least the best I could do when I am at the mercy of a restaurant that doesn't really a Mexican restaurant I ate mediocre veggie fajitas, blah refried beans (after I scraped off the cheese), only to discover when I was finished that there was a tiny piece of meat among the leftover veggies. WTF? How does that happen? I don't really wanna know...

I was worried about breakfast, but it worked out well. The first morning there we ate at a very expensive, fancy, revolving restaurant at the top of our hotel. I ordered oatmeal (no milk) and fresh fruit. The oatmeal came with brown sugar, raisins, and cooked apples. I skipped the raisins, and only put in a little of the sugar, and it tasted like I was eating apple pie for breakfast. Grace and I shared the fruit, and the coffee was delicious.

On the trip, I also ate two veggie burgers (one that might not have been vegan), a lot of french fries and onion rings, and some veggie pizza with no cheese. At Perkins I ate dry toast with strawberry jam and some breakfast potatoes and fruit, and more oatmeal. I also drank coffee that was not organic.

Even though some of the food I ate wasn't too junky, I was sick to death of eating out at a restaurant after a couple of days. My body was not happy with me. I had a craving for a real smoothie that felt like an ache in the middle of my stomach, kind of like where it hurts when you miss someone that you love. I didn't actually gain any weight on the trip, but I feel sluggish, and I need a detox. Here comes days of fresh veggies, real fruit smoothies, and delicious, homemade food. Also lots of water, juice, and hopefully kombucha if my batch turned out all right. It's detox time, baby. Off to make that smoothie...

Comedic Therapy

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I am coming down from my food high. It was pretty intense. I came across yet another awesome recipe on Oh She Glows- Tahini Avocado Chickpea Salad- and tonight was the night to try it out. I worked out on my elliptical machine (twice this week, oh man!), then turned on some tunes and got out the food processor. Grace heard the sounds of my getting ready to make food and she was there faster than Drew on a can of Root Beer.

But seriously, what could have gone wrong here? It's like mixing all of my favorite flavors all together into a bowl of ecstasy and delight. Chickpeas, avocado, tahini, onions, spinach, cumin, for god's sake...

I don't think I ever want to eat anything else. Except some fruit for dessert. This is the perfect way to get veggies and healthy fats and flavor that will knock your socks off. The dressing is perfectly creamy and slightly spicy with the cumin and coriander. A perfect combination.

There is a potluck at work tomorrow for the paraprofessionals. It's supposed to be healthy food. I doubt there will be anything vegan, unless someone brings fresh fruit. I don't care. I am bringing this salad for sure. At one work potluck, a co-worker saw me eating my soup while the rest of the staff chowed down on potluck food and Christmas treats. She commented that I must be jealous of everyone. Really? I don't think so. It's not like I am being forced to eat this way. It's my choice. And seriously, if I am eating stuff like this, they should be jealous of me. For sure.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mac and Cheeze with Broccoli

Two posts in two days? That's insane! I must be bored. Or actually cooking real food! Or maybe it's because here in Minnesota we are having yet another snow storm, this time with some freezing rain thrown in for fun. So here we sit...

I make this Macaroni and Cheeze with Broccoli a lot. I mean a lotta lot. Like maybe every other week during the winter. I can't even remember where I found the recipe, I just know it was on someone's blog. It is so freaking delicious, you don't even know. It's so delicious that every time I ask Garrett if he wants me to make it, his eyes get really wide and he nods his head vigorously.

This is sooo cheezy and easy. Imagine the amount of calories and fat it would have if I really used cheese. Yuck. This way is pretty low fat in comparison. And healthier by a long shot.

I usually use whole wheat penne pasta for this casserole, but this time I opted to use the box of quinoa pasta I found at the B&D for like 50 cents or some outrageously low price like that. I had never tried quinoa pasta before, but I am always willing to experiment with other kinds of pastas, and I feel a person should eat a variety of things, including gluten-free options. It was sooooo yummy! Grace was eating it while I was trying to mix things up. It was lighter than wheat pasta, if that makes any sense.

Since I can't really link to the recipe, and I have changed it up a bit over the years, I am going to share it with you. Lucky you! Comfort food at its ultimate best. No joke.

Mac and Cheeze with Broccoli

1 lb box pasta
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
A few dashes black pepper
2 tbsp. tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch or two of turmeric
1-2 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 -1 cup chopped broccoli
bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Boil noodles and drain. Melt margarine in a saucepan - add garlic and cook for two minutes. Whisk in flour, then add the 3 1/2 cups water, tamari, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir until it starts to thicken- a few minutes. Then whisk in the oil and nutritional yeast flakes. Add half the sauce to the pasta and broccoli and mix well. Then pour the rest of the sauce over everything, top with bread crumbs and sprinkle paprika on top. Bake 20-30 minutes, then cool for at least 10 minutes to let it thicken up. This stuff is seriously better the next day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lemon-Lime Detox Smoothie

Who needs detoxing? Probably everyone. I know for sure I do. I have been consuming sugar in unbelievable amounts while I sit around, aching all over, depressed, fat, and miserable. It's a vicious cycle and I must stop it now. For real this time.

This recipe is my first attempt at a green smoothie. I have always been afraid that my blender will suck and not mix the greens enough and I will end up chewing my smoothie. I am going to ask for a new blender for my birthday/Mother's Day (same day).

I had the lemons and limes already because I have been slicing them up and putting them in my water bottle at work everyday. It really helps me get the water I need each day, and it's addicting and delicious. It always elicits comments from my students, and there is one student that will get to eat a slice of lemon from my bottle if he gets his work done first.

Tip: Do not cut yourself while cutting up a lemon. Yow!

I decided to put the ingredients in a glass jar and use my immersion blender, thinking it would do a better job at chomping up the spinach. It did pretty good, but you can still see some small pieces in there. No can't taste the spinach at all. Seriously.

How does it taste? SOUR! But super-duper delicious and lemony-lime refreshing. I am so gonna make this one again. I feel inspired to get rid of all the processed sugar - again. I can do it. I can be well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vegan Alfredo

My son Drew will eat spaghetti anytime. Really, anytime. Since he eats so few foods, I made it just for him yesterday. He can live on the leftovers for a few days.

Since I was boiling the spaghetti noodles anyway, I got the idea to make this Vegan Alfredo sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance. I freaking LOVE this recipe. ADORE it. Lick-the-plate-moaning love it.

The creaminess of the sauce must come from the pine nuts. Also, anything made with nutritional yeast is my BFF. Seriously, I could eat that stuff every day and marvel at the bright yellow-ness of my pee.

I always saute mushrooms to go with this dish, but this time, I felt like adding broccoli as well. How on earth could that go wrong? It just can't. I was not disappointed. I can't wait to eat the leftovers tonight for supper.

I haven't opened up my VWaV book in a while, and that's really a shame. I need to go back and make some more of those recipes again, and try some of the ones I haven't tried yet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Curried Lentil Soup

This winter in Minnesota stuff is not for the weak. Right now it's 3 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature is dropping. The next two days are going to be worse, with highs barely reaching zero, if they do at all.

Hanging in there....getting through this January stuff. I think I'm going to make it...

Last night I came across this recipe on Oh She Glows. So I made it. It was really easy. I have made soups like it before. Ah....the soothing sounds of my music, chopping onions and carrots, letting it simmer...

If we each have our own personal heaven, mine will smell like curry simmering on the stove.

The soup was good. Really quite good. But thick. And after a while, I got tired of all the lentils. I think that's the only way to explain it. I just didn't feel like chewing them anymore.

It looks like vomit, but many of the best dishes do.

I am sure I will make this soup again. But I may add more veggies, use less lentils, and add rice or couscous or quinoa. But then it will just be another soup. Oh, well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meat Meat Meat

I am right now writing an article for the paper on the new meat locker/processing plant/butcher shop/house of torture in town.

I knew this would happen ever since the building was first being planned. I live here. It's only natural they would ask me to write about it.

I waited for my boss to ask. I didn't offer it up.

I stressed about it a little for a week before the interview came up. I felt sad and torn and disgusted. What would I see? What would I have to hear about? Could I handle it? I almost turned it down and said no.

It wasn't too terrible. We sat in the front room so I didn't have to see anyone carve up a carcass. There was some blood on the owner's apron, but that's all. I didn't tell her I was vegan. I didn't say anything. I asked about the animals - turns out they are alive when they come and they "take care of everything from start to finish." Except, of course, when deer hunters bring in their already-dead deer.

It was hard, though. And the place smelled like death. If I would have heard a live animal in the back, I would have walked away.

I just don't get it. How people can look at the animal, living, breathing, scared, and then butcher it. How the pile of guts and blood and bones and tissues can be okay if it's a farm animal, but would be gross or wrong if it was your dog or cat. How these people can look at the meat and think that it looks tasty or delicious.

To me, it's absolutely no different than looking at roadkill and thinking it looks tasty.

Anyway, I survived. And now I am writing the article. Then I will be done with it all.

I wish I could write an article on a tofu factory. Or the new vegan restaurant in town. Ha!