Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There's an app for that.

So I did make homemade falafel the other night as said. It was quite easy. Just a can of chick peas, an onion, garlic and spices with a bit of flour then fry it in a pan. I don't feel like typing out the recipe so if you want it, you can find it here on Seeds for Meat.

Then I served it in a whole wheat pita with whatever type of dressing you like. The huz went for honey mustard. It was yum.

Further laziness: I only took a photo of the finished product. Here it is.

You could also choose to be healthy and add in some lettuce and other veggies. I choose to be lazy.

Last night I was very excited to make an Avocado Mango and Black Bean Salad that I found off of the Whole Foods App on my iPhone. The app is quite great for anyone with allergies and/or special diets as you can select what filters you want to sort the recipes by. I obviously chose vegan, and this popped up. They also have the option to search gluten free. I assume I'll use that one eventually. Now if you don't have an iPhone yet, I guess it's just sad being you and you can pretend you didn't read this last paragraph.

I also found my new favorite smoothie recipe on here (1 cup soy milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, and a cup of frozen strawberries blended together= ecstacy). As a side note, I use a Magic Bullet for all of my smoothies as it's great for small servings and can go in the dishwasher. However, please don't confuse this with any sexual objects that may appear if you choose to Google it. I am definitely referring to the blender, not the vibrator.

But back to the point. Whole Foods and their app definitely let me down last night. My avocado mango salad was not a success. By far one of the nastiest things I've ever tried to eat. The huz wouldn't even try it, and that's saying something. I know the mango and the avocado were delicious as I ate half of each while preparing the salad, so it wasn't their fault. I think it was the nasty vinaigrette. I should have tasted it before dumping it all over my uber delicious produce. What a waste. I wish I had a compost. Then I would feel a bit better about all of this. Instead I wasted half of my lovely fruit bowl and threw it all into the trash. I think this experience wins a point for lazy. An hour cutting all my produce to throw it out. Not cool.

Here's a photo of my very appetizing salad.

And my sad fruit bowl now.

But luckily I had ingredients on hand to make old faithful: vegan happy pizza. If you'd like to see my recipe for that, click here.

Tonight I'm making this recipe for General Tso's Tofu. I'm excited. I'm hoping I can't eff this one up too badly especially since friends are coming over and I have more people to poisen besides the huz. I'll let you know if they're still my friends tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I don't like labels, unless they're designer.

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!

Didn't you miss me? Don't lie. I know you did.

I'll be upfront and honest. I took a month and a half hiatus from veganism. It did not fare well. I realized I don't even really like meat, so why was I eating it? And every time I did I pictured all the horrible images from Food, Inc. and felt quite guilty about myself. However, this is not why I have re-veganized myself. Along with all the guilty feelings came my sicknesses. They came back in full force times 5,000 of whatever they used to be. It sucked. I'm not happy. And now I'm a vegan once again.

This is not to say, though, that I'm not going to have happy eggs every once in awhile. I think having the proper amount of protein consumption is essential and I have a tendency to not get enough when eating vegan. It was also the deal I struck with the madre to have her back aboard the vegan train. I think seeing how sick I got when I stopped with the veganness was enough to get her cheerleading for the campaign. However, she did now warn me not to go and carboload like all those other vegetarians and vegans and gain tons of weight. Thanks for the warning, madre.

And while some of you may now say that I'm not a true vegan if I'm occasionally eating happy eggs, that's fine. I don't really like to label myself a vegan anyway. The madre told me I would be considered and omnivore if I eat eggs (looks like somebody was doing some research). But I have yet to eat eggs since I reveganized and I don't think I'll really eat that much of them anyway, so I don't know that I'd call myself an omnivore either. Maybe I should change the title of my blog to "The tales of the sometimes vegan." We'll see. I really just dislike labels in general in all aspects of life, unless they happen to come on shoes or purses and bear some sort of fancy designer's name. In that case, I love labels.

My first week back to veganism was not without some drama. We had friends up to visit this weekend and we went to Restaurant Row for dinner. After wandering for a bit, the huz was annoyed and chaperoned us all into a Chilean restaurant. There was not one thing on the menu that was vegan happy. I was going to just sit and enjoy with everyone, but then it was discovered that there was nothing I could eat and a nice little hub-bub occurred and we created a little scene and left the restaurant. Luckily, I found out my friend was not impressed by the menu and also wanted to leave (and, by default, her huz therefore wanted to leave, isn't that the way marriage goes?) so I didn't feel as bad. We ended up at a Thai restaurant and ate like kings and everyone was happy. Gotta love Thai for all of the vegan happy options you can find there. Plus, a free appetizer with every cocktail? What other restaurant does that? Love.

My house had also unfortunately lost a lot of its vegan friendliness over the last month and half, so the huz and I did a major shopping trip to Fairway yesterday to stock up. Love that market. Look at my lovely kitchen table now! I've decided I must always have a fresh fruit bowl full to the brim in my house from now on. It just smells so good and looks so pretty!

I'm excited for all the fun recipes I'm making this week. Tonight is homemade falafel. For lunch today I made an almond butter, strawberry and soy milk smoothie. Delish.

All in all, I'm glad to have returned from the dark side. I even kinda missed this blog. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Few Words of Encouragement

After reading my last blog post, one of my best friends' husband's friends (I love friend chains like that) sent me this message. He's also a vegan and was a big help when I first started out my meatless adventures.

Some words of (hopefully) encouragement.

I've been a vegan...almost a year now, wow! I think that if you make it a set of rules to follow or laws to abide by, then this kind of thing is bound to happen. You break the rules, you feel guilty. I try to think of veganism as more of a way of life or a guideline. If I decide one night I want Coldstone Ice Cream I don't feel guilty about it the next day. My lifestyle is such as to lessen the suffering of animals and promote a new way of living in a consumer society. I try to make the best decisions I can but in the end, if I constantly deny myself the things I enjoy I'll go crazy. Maybe once every few months I get real ice cream, and that's about as far as it goes for me.

Next, I want to make a comment about what you said about eating dairy and eggs that come from happy cows and chickens. I think in a lot of ways you're right. However, think about your slippery slope. You stop being vegan, and you eat eggs at home that come from a farm that you know and trust. You even go get your eggs yourself from the farm. This is great. Now you're out in a restaurant, and suddenly it's easier to decide to eat something with egg in it. You don't know where the egg came from,'re not a vegan so its easier to make the decision to eat the egg.

Again, this might sound like rule making. I think one of the most crucial parts of veganism is that knowing it's your lifestyle helps make the tough decisions when you're out and about. However if you constantly deny yourself all things you enjoy this kind of thing will happen.

The other part of veganism for me is showing others that there is an alternative way to living. I think of it as taking a stand in a way. Not in preaching as much as in living. That's partly why I don't get happy-chicken eggs at home. The whole lifestyle of being vegan speaks to others that I'm trying to live in a new world, a world that's already available in some ways but not quite here yet.

My final words are to say: every now and then get your favorite non vegan thing and eat it. Don't even worry about it where it comes from if you have to, just eat it.

I'd like to think that if I ate happy eggs at home I'd be able to resist other eggs in restaurants. But I think we all know the strength of my willpower and realize that that's probably a complete impossibility. Boo.

I think I'm just getting nervous because I've finally gotten to my breaking point with gluten. I knew this day would come just like dairy. It's sad. I don't want to say goodbye to another yummy food group. But I can no longer deal with all the side effects that follow right along my gluten consumption. I'm making dinner with pita bread tonight because it's already planned and that is my farewell. I feel like once gluten is gone combined with my vegan lifestyle, I'll have nothing left to eat, especially in restaurants where I seem to live on veggieburgers...

I'm also get quite nervous for all my travels this summer. It's pretty easy being vegan in NYC and such. I know where to go and what I can eat. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about all these foreign countries. My most horrendous recollection of Spain was the Casa del Jamon (House of Ham) where there are hundreds of carcasses strung from hooks on the ceiling. They'll slice you off some so you can sit at the bar and eat yummy (read: disgusting) tapas. However, they did have marvelous sangria which I consumed copiously whenever there to forget the rotting flesh hanging over my head. I think this experience is where my pre-vegan aversion to ham came from.

Oh well. I will let you know how my gluten-free veganism goes as soon as I begin it tomorrow. I'm debating going out and bingeing on gluten before I have to give it up, but I really don't want to deal with the crazy hives that will produce. Look at me, total addict going out for my last hit. Ridiculous. But yet, I still can't help it.

P.S. If you'd like to hear more of my friend's views on veganism and life, here's a link to his website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slippery Slope: Not just for Adolescent Guidance

Sorry I neglect you. I feel bad. But only a little.

I was having a crisis. If you can find a way to let me make blogging my job, I promise I’ll pay a bit more attention to you. Maybe.

So, the slippery slope. Whenever I hear these words I immediately think of middle school guidance and my nice private religious school upbringing. The day we had to fill out a chutes and ladders type worksheet about how far we would go with a guy was my most favorite slippery slope lesson ever. Just to make crazy redhead Mrs. Montgomery upset, a few of decided we would “go all the way.” Of course we ended up pregnant and with an STD (or should I say STI and be up with the appropriate and politically correct lingo concerning venereal issues) all thanks to the good ol’ slippery slope.

However, I’m now thinking I should have paid more attention to all those slippery slope lessons as I’m now sliding down it quite rapidly. Or at least I was.

When we went away for Memorial Day, the one night I planned on eating rice and beans for dinner. I figured others would want some as well so I bought family sized of both without bothering to read labels. The brand I normally use is vegan happy, so I just assumed all saffron rice was. You know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass out of you and me. (Or I guess that only works with ‘assume’ and not ‘assuming’ and I was the only one with the issue in this case, but you can just pretend it works and go with it, okay?)

Sooo, that fateful night I was hungry and wanted normal food so I figured I’d just eat the effing rice even though it had nice dehydrated chicken flakes in it. Yum. So appetizing. How can we even eat food when there’s crap like that listed in the ingredients?

But unfortunately, this one little bite set me off on a downward spiral. After getting home from Memorial Day, I had a butter croissant. I couldn’t resist. Then I spent the whole day feeling crazy guilty and promising I wouldn’t do it again.

Then we saw some friends the next weekend for dinner. We went to a Thai place and my one friend got Thai tea. I’d never heard of it before and felt the need to try even though it was made with heavy cream. (Thai tea = super strong tea served over ice with heavy cream)

It was also my pap’s birthday that weekend so the next day I got to watch the fam sit around and enjoy cake and ice cream. I’d bought myself some soy ice cream. It was crap. So I was feeling very bad for myself and was deciding I couldn’t go through life being depressed just because I was forcing myself not to eat stuff and then feel guilty about it when I did.

Butttt, I thought about it. I don’t want to eat meat. It still disgusts me. I’m still not allowed to eat dairy and I don’t really like eggs. I really just miss eating highly processed things that have egg or milk product in them. I shouldn’t eat that junk anyway. Soo, still a vegan. However, to be truthful, I don’t think this will be forever. I think being a vegetarian will be forever. Meat = nasty for me. But, I really don’t see anything wrong with eating eggs or dairy that come from happy animals. If you get produce that is locally grown and raised (from a farmers market or co-op) and you know that the animals aren’t being abused for their produce, then why not? Chickens have to produce eggs. Cows must make milk while pregnant. If we’re going to be good and gracious consumers, then I see no issue using these products.

I think that is a standard misconception, though. Cows don’t produce milk all the time. Just like humans, they only produce milk while pregnant and just after giving birth. The huge dairy farms keep their cows constantly in gestation (fancy word, hopefully you know it) and as soon as they give birth they take the babies and sell them to veal farms. It’s mean and cruel and keeps the cows in horrible health. Again, after learning all this stuff, I’m surprised anyone is willing to consume these things. But, like always, to each their own.

This entry has no recipes as I’ve been lazy lately and have tried no new recipes. I’ve basically been living off rice and beans. However, I did make another great discovery today. My co-worker went out in search of cookies for the two of us and she came back with Lorna Doone shortbread cookies! They’re vegan happy! So exciting. I was just thinking at the grocery store yesterday how much I would miss shortbread. I rarely eat it, but when I do, I love it. Sooo now I have an easy vegan happy option. They do have gluten though… But I haven’t gotten around to dealing with that issue yet.

Ok, that’s all for now. Hopefully it was enough to make up for a week of neglect. If not, sucks to be you.

OH, I almost forgot to add my madre’s latest words of wisdom. All my hair is apparently now going to fall out because of my B-12 deficiency on my vegan diet. Good thing Demi Moore once did a movie entitled G.I. Jane and made bald heads cool for the rest of us.

Gotta love the madre.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I plead insanity.

So apparently I'm going insane.

No, that's not referring to my tenure as head juror the past two weeks (although my fellow jurors are worse than my fourth grade class last year with their bickering). No, that's not referring to my job (or lack thereof). No, that's not referring to the zoo of animals I keep in my house.

That's referring to what my mother told me on the phone this afternoon.

I'm going insane.

Or so said a random gastroenterologist she met at a dinner party this weekend. Apparently, it "just came up in conversation" that all vegans eventually go crazy. His theory was that as we vegans don't get all of our essential amino acids, our brain chemistry slowly starts to shift. It happens so gradually we don't even notice. Telling my mom that she could keep her eyes out for me and let me know once I start going insane and that I'd eat a steak didn't help either... "By that point, it'll be too late!" says she.

My mom also had another wonderful revelation from this conversation. "So when you see all these weird vegan people and think that they're crazy, they actually are! They're going insane!" Wonderful. Thanks random gastroenterologist for all your fine help and medical advice.

It was at this point that I discussed with the madre that I am taking this quite seriously, read about it all the time, and plan my meals to be sure I get all my essential amino acids in during the day. If anything, I eat much more balanced now than I ever did. However, she says her great worry, as always, is child birth. (Somebody's a bit desperate for grandkids, I'd say.) She told me to consider myself like an old cut down tree. I have all these "health" rings inside me that I'm building up now. It's not just my health when I'm pregnant, but my health history beforehand.

I told my mom gracias, but I think her career with analogies is over. No girl wants to be compared to a tree trunk.

However, that's not what I actually said. I agreed with her that it's smart to keep an eye on my health and promised to make an appointment with a nutritionist. It definitely couldn't hurt. And then at least the madre will have no ammo for calling me insane in the future... or at least no ammo stemming from my diet.

So last night I made my vegan yum pizza again, so I guess I'll finally blog about it. I just bought a vegan friendly crust from the store, coated it with olive oil, spread spicy tomato basil sauce all around, sprinkled garlic powder and red pepper flakes all over then added a whole bunch of veggies such as red and green pepper, onion, broccoli and eggplant. (Italian eggplant no less. I like my veggies like I like my men. Foreign.)

Then I dumped a bit more sauce on the top, a bit more garlic powder then baked it at 450 degrees for ten minutes or so.

Super easy, super delish.

You can feel free to add any sauce or toppings you please, as long as they're vegan friendly of course.

So I guess that's all for now. Maybe tonight I'll have another fun nightmare to blog about that involves my vegan tree self being chopped down for sprouting insane sprigs or leaves... We'll see. One can only hope.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ask [Google] and you shall receive.

First, sorry for the lack of posts last week. I've been quite busy with jury duty. What with the 10 am start, the hourly breaks, two hours for lunch and the crazy long days till 5 pm, there's just been no time. Jury duty is quite taxing. It doesn't leave much room for anything else in my life.

But anyway, I have a lot to catch up on. I take all these pictures of yummy food I make or eat then never blog about any of it. People look through the photos on my phone and think I'm some food-obsessed lunatic (which really, I am).

Last weekend after brunch I was most upset that Nutella wasn't vegan and I asked if anyone knew of a vegan friendly recipe. Well, I did something better than asking my friends. I asked Google. 

And of course, I found a super scrumptious vegan Nutella, or Not-ella if you prefer, recipe. Here's how I made it. (Sorry the recipe's not exact. I have a thing against measuring cups. I like to pretend I'm Martha and can just throw ingredients around and magically concoct a dish.)

1 1/2 cups roasted hazelnuts (You can use raw hazelnuts if you feel the need to go through the hassle or roasting them yourself. I like to use my time wisely, so I went with roasted.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract

First, you should smoosh up all your hazelnuts in a food processor. Probably about 3 minutes. You want them to have an ultra fine consistency. Then add in all your other ingredients and continue to process, scraping down the sides occasionally until it is well mixed. You may need to add slightly more oil to get the right consistency for you. But really, once you do that, you're done! Ta-da! So easy. You can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month before it will start to go off. (Go off, go bad, same difference. Blame the huz if you don't like that expression. His foreigner speak has rubbed off on me.)

It was super yummy on my bagel in the morning. And no, I do not need any commentary on how I'm not supposed to be eating bagels. Thanks.

Soooo, what else do I have to tell you about? Vacation?

The huz and I plus Chip-a-roo went to a lake house with friends for Memorial Day weekend. We had our own mini-couples retreat. (I mean mini-retreat, not mini-couples, although some of my friends are quite short.)

The first morning there, everyone had pancakes. Unfortunately, the mix had eggs and milk in it so I couldn't have any. So while the others were cooking, the huz and I took a trip to Walmart to pick up some stuff I could actually eat. (And as a side note, never go to a Walmart in the middle of nowhere America. I've never been so scared in my life. Much scarier than vegan-eating vampires.)

I just got some Bisquick batter which is easily used to make vegan happy pancakes. I made myself a batch when we got back. However, everyone was done eating by that point, so it was a bit sad.

The next morning I decided to solve the problem by making everyone my vegan happy pancakes. Here's how: Just follow the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box for pancakes, but where it calls for two eggs, use one banana and instead of regular milk, use soy milk. It's super delish! Especially if you use vanilla soy milk.

In many recipes that call for eggs, especially baking recipes, you can easily replace the egg with a smooshy banana. This is another great use for icky spotty bananas that my banana-racist self refuses to eat. Basically, one banana = two eggs. For those of you who suck at math, that means half a banana = one egg. 

So anyway, I made a huge batch of vegan happy pancakes and everyone loved them! I think I had them quite convinced that vegan food was not so bad, and maybe even quite scrumptious. 

And then they ate my vegan happy pancakes with a side of bacon.

Oh well. To each their own. At least they all realized that vegan food does not equal nasty food as many are inclined to think. I think that's still a point for vegan. I do have to thank my friends though. They were all super nice and concerned about what I could and couldn't eat. They even bought me special dark chocolate that was dairy-free for smores. (Although my smores still lacked marhmallows. Couldn't expect Walmart to carry vegan friendly marshmallows, now could we? Or maybe they were sold back by the shotguns and fishing licenses and I just missed them.)

Overall, vacation was wondefulicious. (Wonderful because I got to frolic in the sun with friends and delicious because we spent the long weekend stuffing our faces around the clock. What else do you do on vacation?). I  also got a tan so that the random Russian lady who sits next to me on the jury can stop asking me if I ever go in the sunshine. I may be Finnish, but I'm seriously not that pale. Hopefully this will shut her up for the rest of the trial.

I have still never blogged about my uber delicious pizza that I've made twice now! And the tofu mozzarella sticks! But, I'll get to it one day. I like to keep my readers in suspense. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cheese is a gateway drug.

So as of yesterday, I would have said being a vegan was a piece of cake. (And obviously I would mean a vegan-friendly piece of cake.) But today, it was rough. I've made it a month (I missed my anniversary! Sadness...) with no issues, but not anymore. We went out to brunch in Hanover Square with friends to finally get our 'H' date done since the weather was too ick to make the drive to the Hamptons. This brunch turned out to be quite a boozy brunch. Loooove the all you can drink $10 champagne special. The restaurant obviously didn't know who they were dealing with when they decided upon this marketing campaign. Soo, two bottles of champagne later, it was very very hard to resist the cheese the restaurant smeared all over my otherwise vegan happy potatoes. I miss cheese. I miss milkshakes. I miss whipped cream. I miss all things cow related. However, I was still a good little vegan and gave the yummy cheesey potato goodness to the huz and got yet another veggieburger for brunch. I sense a pattern forming...

For dessert the huz and I split a banana and Nutella crepe which was crazy delish. Buttttt, like everything else delicious, I came home to find out there's freaking MILK in Nutella... Something else delicious I have to cross off my list. I'm wondering if I can find a recipe to make a vegan friendly Nutella....

So I suppose I technically cheated today. However, my philosophy is if I didn't know there was milk, egg, etc. in it, it's ok. I just won't have it again from there on out. I guess today was my farewell party for Nutella. I'll miss you more than you'll know, yummy hazlenuty deliciousness...

Thank goodness champagne is vegan friendly otherwise I might actually die. No, really. I'd die.

But the good news is, the champagne did wear off (is that really good news, though?) and I am no longer so obsessed with my cheese cravings.

Have you ever noticed that though? We all crave dairy products like we're strung out on coke. We all assume that dumping cheese on a meal will automatically make it more scrumptious. Why is this? Why are we all soooo obsessed with cheese? Might I even say we're addicted to cheese? Yes, I might.

We are all totally addicted to cheese. There's a protein in all dairy products called Casein, but it is found in a more heavily concentrated form in cheese than in other dairy products. And... "Opiates hide inside casein, the main dairy protein. As casein molecules are digested, they break apart to release tiny opiate molecules, called casomorphins. One of these compounds has about one-tenth the opiate strength of morphine" ( So in other words, cheese is a gateway drug. We're all freaking addicted. You better watch out. The next step might actually be you sniffing a line in a dirty NYC bathroom...

But now it makes perfect sense to me why I don't miss eggs or meat in the slightest, but cheese makes my mouth water and gives me horrible cravings. I'm an addict.

The same is also true of a protein that's found in gluten. It also causes addictive behaviors. I love how the two food groups I'm not supposed to eat, gluten and diary, are the two food groups that are actually addictive. It's like God is punishing me for all the times I've told smokers that they need to stop whining and quit smoking already. I'll take this moment now to apologize. Addiction sucks, even if it is only to cheese and gluten. I totally feel like a junkie who is way overdue for a fix...

But, the good little vegan that I am is resisting. When I first read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, I remembered her saying that there would come a time when we all missed the food so much that we would debate going back to eating the animal nasty foods. She recommended we reread the section in her book where she outlines all the junk that goes into our food and all the horrible treatments the animals go through to become our food. It was a good suggestion. I am totally back on the bandwagon. 

I am no remembering that when I sat down I totally meant to write this post about a yummy pizza and tofu "mozzarella" sticks that I made the other night... I was obviously sidetracked. Maybe the champagne hasn't really worn off yet...