I wrote about Ethereal Confections on my personal blog today. They make DELICIOUS chocolates that are vegan! No way! Check it out.
I usually cook from scratch because I have Celiac’s disease. That means that I’m allergic to the protein in wheat called gluten. My kitchen is a gluten free zone so I’m inclined to work with whole ingredients that I can be fairly certain are not contaminated with the infernal substance! This culinary contribution might be a little daunting to the inexperienced but I’m pretty sure anyone with some motivation and a free afternoon can make this recipe. Otherwise, get yourself a pre-made graham cracker pie crust, a can of cherry pie filling and skip to secton 2 – just keep in mind that canned filling and pre-made crust are both loaded with preservatives and highly processed refined flours and sugars. (That’s code for: my recipe is probably better for your body and for the environment.)
Make the crust first. The ingredients necessary are as follows:
WARNING! Photo of meat below. Poor turkey.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I had already decided that I was going to eat meat for the holiday. I’m really glad because the only vegan dish served for lunch at my Aunt’s house was Brussels sprouts. Of course, I would have planned ahead and made or brought something vegan for myself and everyone else to eat, but I’m not quite ready to have the “I’m trying to go vegan” talk with the extended family just yet.
Lunch consisted of a small piece of teriyaki chicken, four lumpia shanghai (those suckers are gonna be tough to give up), a piece of roast pork, Brussels sprouts, and white rice. Dessert was a no as all the options contained dairy: buko pandan, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato cake. I felt sorry for myself for a minute, but then thought about all the calories I wasn’t having and immediately felt better.
Mom made the Brussels sprouts using a recipe that she saw on The Chew. They were freaking delicious. Check out the recipe – it’s straightforward and yields great results. She also prepared the turkey using a recipe that she saw on The Chew. For my contribution, I made quinoa potato cakes using a recipe I found on Vogue Vegetarian. People, check out this blog! The Vogue Vegetarian has some amazing recipes. I veganized the recipe by using instant potato flakes and about a 1/4 cup of water instead of an egg. They turned out pretty tasty, along with the roasted red pepper sauce.
I like quinoa and really appreciate how nutritious it is, but I’ve had a hard time really enjoying it. I think it’s because I’m so used to the texture and size of jasmine rice. Packing the quinoa in a crispy cake like this is a genius idea. I can see putting the entire mixture in a dish and making it a quinoa casserole. I can’t wait to try this again with different ingredients. I’m already thinking of adding corn and tiny raisins to it. I think the cumin was a turnoff for some. I’m thinking that they would probably taste OK without the cumin or by replacing the cumin with something else. At any rate – it’s vegan, soy-free, and the quinoa cooked perfectly in a rice cooker. Yay!
For dessert, I was able to enjoy a slice of pecan pie. I was a bit annoyed that it wasn’t totally vegan (egg in the crust), but was super happy that it was dairy-free. In fact, I got through the entire day without having any dairy and I don’t feel like I missed anything at all.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of veggies!
Dining out has become, well, interesting since I decided to change my diet. Elimination of dairy alone drastically cuts down my choices. A trip to the cafeteria at work has become depressing and almost maddening, but I have managed. The foods I have been able to get include:
I’m giving myself slack when it comes to meat, so I’ve also had a gyros without tzatziki sauce, and a roast beef panino with no cheese. I had to turn down an invitation to go out to lunch last week because the restaurant the group was going to had no desirable menu options that didn’t have cheese.
I went to the Yardhouse today, which is one of my favorite spots. Great atmosphere, huge menu, lots of beers to choose from. I perused the menu before my visit. I couldn’t have any my usual choices: tortilla soup, spicy Thai chicken pizza (even though they offer a chicken substitute), mac and cheese, classic sliders. So, today, I opted for the Hongos y Rajas tacos, which have shiitake mushrooms, roasted pasilla peppers and grilled onions with lemon sriracha aïoli,
jack, feta, avocado and red chili threads:
These were delicious! I’m gonna guess that they aren’t vegan, but I’m really jazzed about them. Truthfully, I never would have ordered these before. An added bonus is that I haven’t tried them with the cheese, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
It’s interesting how differently I look at menus now. A lot of restaurants are great at pointing out vegetarian or gluten-free options, but I mostly have to study the ingredients of a dish to determine if it’s vegan. I won’t get complainy about it. Many people “choose” to be vegetarian for cultural or religious reasons. Allergies can’t be helped and reactions can be life-threatening. But vegan diets? I am thinking that it will be some time before menus point out vegan dishes. All I really want is a server who won’t get confused if I ask whether or not something is vegan or if they have a cheese substitute.
This post has a picture of a salad, but it’s really about spinach. People ask me “where do you get your iron?” as if beef is the only thing on the planet that has iron in it. I’ll tell you: spinach is the best source of iron I can think of after having consumed several glasses of wine. Ounce for ounce, spinach has almost twice the iron compared to beef. Calorie for calorie, spinach has ten times the iron versus beef. No wonder Popeye was so studly after freebasing the stuff. As an added bonus, spinach contains calcium and vitamins A & C. Beef offers cholesterol and fat. Anyways, I’ll get off my spinach soap box for a little while and tell you a bit about this salad.
Salad isn’t the only thing I eat, even though the rabbit is my power animal. Still, salad doesn’t have to be boring. This one includes tofu that I marinated with dill and lemon. It reminds me of feta cheese. It’s a nice balancing element to the mellow pecans and sweet currants. Balsamic dressing might have been superior to raspberry but still delicious, crisp and refreshing. Now I have to go make some vegan quesadillas so I don’t get too self righteous about being a health nut.
this is Christie, signing out
My name is Christie. I’ve known Melissa for a few years and she’s invited me to contribute to this blog. I’ll admit I’m flattered. I’ve gotten into a habit of creating home-made vegan dishes and posting pictures of them on my FaceBook page. I’ll keep telling myself that they’re photo worthy and anticipate adulation. I’m probably also one of a handful of vegans that she knows.
I became a vegan for three reasons. 1. It’s better for the animals. I always hope this one is self explanatory but I have a few anecdotes about why it isn’t. 2. It’s better for my body. My family history includes heart disease and cancer and research shows that plant based diets can reduce your chances of suffering from both. 3. It’s better for the environment. This is probably the least discussed reason for going vegan so I’ll elaborate, but just a little. Factory farming of animals creates more greenhouse gas than all transportation combined – trains, planes, cars, buses, motorcycles, ships, etc. That’s more than 20% of all carbon emissions, according to the UN, from farming animals. I hope that statistic blows your mind. Factory farming of animals is also the biggest user of fresh water of any industry and pollutes more water than any other industry. Factory farming of animals is also one of the biggest sources of human disease – to mention a few, just think about swine flu, bird flu, antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and at least 76 million cases of food poisoning that happen in the United States every year.
These reasons are all important to me and I hope at least one is important to you. Whatever your reason, even if you just want a challenge, I anticipate I’ll win more converts with delicious looking food than cold statistics. I hope you’ll peruse this blog and gain insight from our 2 different perspectives as to why rational people who love food would voluntarily forego bacon, sausage and cheese.
Twizzlers (yum… Twizzlers) may be vegan, but that doesn’t mean I should partake in them. I’ve been thinking about them lately because they are quite possibly my favorite non-chocolate candy, and I bought a huge bag of them before Halloween.
I am trying to focus on eating healthy as a whole. Therefore, I have decided to snack on fruit (or veggies or nuts) instead of candy. It’s simple: candy is not nutritious. It may be delicious, it may taste fruity, but it is not fruit. I think the ingredient list for Twizzlers proves my case:
At least I know what I’m getting when I eat a grape or carrot or pear.
I’ve heard and read many, many times over the past several years to pay attention to the listed ingredients of the foods you eat. Two general rules:
1. Opt for products with less ingredients. When the ingredients list takes up half the package, it’s probably best to put it back on the shelf.
2. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Part of me does celebrate the fact that I can indulge in Twizzlers and not feel like I’m breaking any vegan laws. The other part of me knows that, vegan or not, Twizzlers should stay on the shelf and out of my body.
For dinner last night, I was in the mood for something with a kick, so I decided to cook some tofu with Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce.
I minced 2 large garlic cloves, threw it in a pan with some canola oil (I would have used sesame oil if I had some), and then browned firm tofu cubes. I added some mushrooms and salt, and let it sautee for a bit. When the mushrooms were about halfway where I wanted them to be, I added about a half cup of the curry sauce and coated the tofu and mushrooms. Then, I added about a cup of frozen peas, covered the pan, and let it all simmer. I served it to myself with some white jasmine rice.
I give this dish a B. The sauce does have a kick but is otherwise pretty bland; I had to add more salt as I was eating. The mushrooms took over the dish. I’m thinking that it may work out better if I sautee them a bit in garlic first, drain any liquid, and then add the tofu and more garlic. Fresh chili peppers would have done wonders for the dish, too, as well as some fresh ginger.
The challenge going forward will be to find non-Asian ways to cook tofu. I’m Asian myself, so I can do Asian everyday, but I know tofu is versatile and I’d love to cook it in pesto or something.
Another note on tofu: my sister has a soy allergy and so she avoids tofu, soy bean sprouts, soy milk, and even edamame. So I’d love to find non-tofu and non-meat protein sources so that we can enjoy vegan and vegetarian meals together.
I am not a vegan. I am not a vegetarian. I am not an animal rights activist.
I love meat. I love cheese. I love fast food. I once went a whole month without eating a single piece of fruit.
Until a week ago, my diet was horrible. I overloaded on Halloween candy, potato chips, and deep-fried goodness. Fruits and vegetables were missing from my diet. I ate way more than I should have. Maybe it was psychological, like I was eating emotionally. Maybe I was just really hungry. I knew I was eating too much, but I couldn’t help myself… until, finally, I could.
I decided on Monday that I was going to avoid dairy. I also decided to eat more fruits and veggies. I only ate meat for one meal a day. I haven’t had any meat for the past two days.
I never thought I could go without meat. Even during Lent when, as a Catholic, I don’t eat meat on Fridays, I have had difficulty. I tried to give up dairy once before and was horrified to realize that I ate cheese in some form or another EVERY DAY.
There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that, if I put my mind to it, I CAN make better food choices. I can live without dairy. I can live without meat or fish for a few days. I can even live without eggs.
Finding meatless and dairy-free ways to get nutrition has become a fun exercise. I’ve tried new recipes, new food products, and have found a culinary creativity in myself that I didn’t know I had.
So that’s what this blog is about: trying new recipes and foods and overcoming the desire (yes, desire) to have unhealthy foods. It’s only been a week. It’s possible that I could abandon this healthier diet. But I don’t want to! And I’m looking forward to learning how focusing on a plant-based, dairy-free diet will change me physically and emotionally.