i speak veganese

Hey, I haven’t burned the house down yet!

Archive for December, 2008

Toys!

Who said toys are just for kids? I played with every toy I got this Christmas. My rolling pin, my non-stick dough surface, my very cheap, but all I need juicer, and both blenders (my pre-Christmas gifts), plus nearly all of my recipe books (which as of today I have all the recipe books I could ever need). And I have made everything. Easy dishes, mind you. But I’m never one to belittle the day of small beginnings. I’ve made everything from cauliflower mash to homemade vegan pizza-dough and all-to sweet potato fries. How’s that for a former microwave queen? I am a mad woman! Pics soon to come.

Right now I’ve got to go nurse a cold. The Doodlebug is taking meds for an ear infection and I may be next. I’m a regular snot factory.

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Faking it

Last night’s dinner was a hodgepodge of stuffs. I had some leftover red cabbage and potatoes. I made some quinoa rice blend and topped it with black beans. For a little something extra, I tried some fake chicken strips. It was tasty. The quinoa had a nutty flavor to it. Even my daughter liked it and that’s a picky sister. Here’s me inhaling it.

quinoa-bean-blend

I joined a vegan twitter group yesterday too. I’ve already found that it’s much easier to tweet from tweetie on my iPod than from my cell. I just learned about this twitter network, therefore, I live under a rock.

Fast food!

Okay. I may as well just face it. Sometimes, I’m just too lazy to cook. Other times, I might just be in a rush. In such times, a girl has got to have some standbys. And in such places like Delaware, that is pretty hard to do. If you don’t know where D-ware is, don’t sweat it. We’re only about ten minutes passing through on I-95. There’s really no need to stop either. While you could get a million checking accounts since we have a ton of banks, we have very few specialized vendors (i.e. vegan restaurants). If you can find a specialized vendor for your area of interest, there usually is only one. So, while I haven’t found any completely vegan or vegetarian restaurants in my area, because that would just be TOO convenient, I have found one restaurant that does accomodate vegans and vegetarians alike. Yesterday, in a rush to get something to eat before rushing to pick up my daughter, I ordered a pretty tasty Veganized Thai Chicken Wrap from the menu at Home Grown Cafe on Main Street in Newark.

homegrowncafethai

I subbed tofu cutlets (yeah, I’m hooked) for the chicken. The wrap came with a choice of side salad, chips, or fries. I could have kicked myself for forgetting to order the wrap whole wheat though.

While I was waiting for the order, I snapped this pic of the restaurant.

homegrowncafe

The other shops I have frequented on Main Street are deli-like settings. Okay, I’ve only gone to about two others. I like Lettuce Feed You and Newark Deli and Bagels. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. Lettuce Feed You has pretty decent salads (although I’m kind of partial to the one in downtown Wilmington). Newark Deli and Bagels has, well, bagels. I think they have a couple vegetarian wraps too though. If you hold all the cheeses, I think you can make it vegan. They also have a veggie burger that I haven’t tried yet. Lettuce and Newark Deli are pretty cost-effective choices for any student who is a vegetarian. It gets a little trickier for veganizing stuff, but it can be done. I think Home Grown is a little steeper than these two. But they have a very nice atmosphere for dining out and they have made the distinctions between vegan and vegetarian dishes which is very convenient. I made a note of it for future reference.

So, I hadn’t really planned on posting today. But I thought I’d just share my good, veganny fortune!

Tofu, I think I love you

I have been open about my skepticism surrounding tofu. It looks odd. It’s kind of spongy. It doesn’t smell like anything. Then I tried a tofu scramble and it was just heavenly to me. I suppose the recipe (or the combination of recipes) did that. Whatever the case, I knew the tofu scramble was going to be in my mental recipe box to stay. But what else would there be? I am the only vegan in the house at the moment. I doubt my husband will ever change. My kids may not. So right now I only have to cook vegan for one. How will I eat without wasting (which is mad important when you are married to an accountant)?

Enter the tofu cutlet.

tofucutletwrap2

I got a cutlet recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano. Since I was only preparing the cutlets for one, I can’t say that I followed the recipe exactly (and no, I didn’t divide a million times to get to what it should be for one serving). I just decided to wing it like usual. And they still came out very flavorful. I decided to wrap them in a whole wheat tortilla (I’m still looking for these phyllo things because I think they look so cool, but in the meantime…). I had also seen this recipe for a savory white sauce in Skinny B*tch in the Kitch and I figured I’d throw that on top. Again, preparing it for one, I kind of didn’t follow it exactly. Plus, I subbed the soy milk for almond milk which I think is the reason the sauce was on the sweet side, but I didn’t mind it at all. It gave it an unexpected but very nice flavor. At the end, I figured I had to have some kind of green veggie on the plate so I garnished it with some chopped green peppers. This dish was so good! It didn’t taste like chicken or any other meat cutlets I had ever had. It really had it’s own flavor and texture. But, it was pleasant. So….I might become a tofu convert after all.

By the way, if you see this post two, or three, or maybe SIX (!!!!) times, please forgive WordPress. They’re working on it, I think…

Breakfast Bars!

breakfastbars2

Look Ma! I’m cooking!!

I can’t believe it!! I decided to go buy some of the more usual ingredients I have been seeing in the recipes I like from….well, everywhere! I had seen the segment on Breakfast Bars from Vegan A Go-Go a while back and I figured I might not blow up the neighborhood trying that. Okay, true to form, I actually didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I didn’t get it from the web before I saw the video on my iPod. But, hey, my stove is still in tact. My ingredients were more like sesame seeds, almonds, and fresh cranberries (with a little cane sugar added for these), and the rest of the ingredients (peanut butter, agave nectar, etc.) were the ones from the show. Anyway, even with the subs, they came out great!! I loved them! Too bad my oven took so long to bake them crunchy. They’re more like brunch bars!

Well, after I patted myself on the back for these, I decided to test out some Tofu Scramble. Hey, may as well have breakfast for dinner since I was having brunch for lunch, right? I used tamari, sea salt, nutritional yeast powder, green peppers, etc. I didn’t get a picture of it because it jumped into my mouth so fast. Like literally, jumped off the plate into my mouth. I ate the whole dish and was mad that I hadn’t made more. It tasted better than the scrambled eggs I used to cook. Unbelievable. When I told my mom, she was like, “Yeah, you want it to taste better.” I can’t blame her. I am somewhat a tofu skeptic myself. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how to eat it as anything else when it’s so spongy. It kind of related well to scrambled eggs. But I’ve seen recipes where you can cube them and eat them as like cutlets. Huh??? Not getting it yet. I guess I’ll have to try that and see.

For my last experiment though, I tried some vanilla soy ice cream called Toffuti and, well, I just don’t know why I never went vegan sooner.

I got some great cookbooks this weekend too. That’s where the inspiration came from. I already had Skinny B*tch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. It was the last kick to really go vegan. This weekend I got the sequel book called Skinny B*tch in the Kitch. By the look of those titles, you may be surprised to know these girls cuss like sailors 😉 , but the books are pretty informative and humorous. And, thankfully, for folks like me, because of they’re seemingly super lax approach, the cookbook directions are very simple to follow. Just be sure to skip every other word you read. I also got Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. But the fun didn’t stop there. Oh no. I had to really break the bank and get a brand new Oster Fusion Blender to go wth my Bella Cucina Rocket Blender. Merry Christmas to me y’all!

Okay, I’ve seen enough

I saw this on YouTube today. I will definitely be watching what I buy to wear in the future. This is so sad!! I keep saying that, “I’m not going to go that far.” But the more I see, the more I think differently.

Triple Threat: Left-overs, leg lifts, and last day

Lunch is left-overs. I’m having sauteed squash over wheat pasta. I don’t know how all these folks take such great pics of food with these digital cameras. I’m a painter. Never been mechanically inclined at all. I’ll be trying to figure that out. But first, I’ve got to charge my camera. And I think it would help if I stopped eating the food before I take a picture of it! You’ve got to understand though. I’m an almost broke, hungry college student again.

Yesterday was the last day of classes at the university and I’d be really relieved except for I have a review coming up on Monday. So, I’ve got to prepare for that. Since beginning in the fall, a lot of my eating is done on-the-go again. In my defense, however, at least this time around my main staple isn’t Doritos! I spoke to a doctor recently about making the switch to veganism and she said I had to treat it like a job in the beginning. Hence, thinking of it as learning a whole new language…which it really is. I mean, nearly all the things that I used to eat that used meat, have a counterpart in the vegan diet. Many of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins I got from a meat-based diet, I now have to find out how to do with a more plant-based diet. It’s strange for me still. “Yeast” and “wheat gluten” really aren’t terms I’m too familiar with. And every time I hear “yeast” I think of the yeast balls Tina Fey was having in Baby Momma! But, figuring it all out is fun too for some reason….Or maybe I’m just weird?

gearAnyway, the greatest thing about classes ending is that I get to get back to my exercising! Now, before I go any further, let me just say that exercise to me is any activity that you do from marching in front of the tv to running on a treadmill to training for some triathalon…whatever as long as you’re moving and the intended goal is for better fitness. I don’t know how I started even liking it, but they say it takes 21 days to form a new habit and it seems like that might be true. It did help that I saw some results. I used a portion control formula (WW points system) that I found out about on a site called peertrainer. But I knew that I wouldn’t do it forever, so I only loosely followed it. Coupled with exercise, this worked for me. Before I cut the meat out, I had gotten down to 125 just by doing that. I figured I wouldn’t go any lower than that because that’s my natural weight after I had had my first child. But since I’ve stopped eating meat, it seems my new natural weight was actually little lower than that. I’m right back to the weight I was when I graduated high school! Go figure! I still have some problem spots. There aren’t many women who don’t. But, I’m thinking, these eat healthy and get some activity people might have something there! It was very helpful in the beginning to see the other logs on peertrainer so that you could know how othes dealt with healthier ways to eat. But, during the time I was making the transition to my current MFA program, I began to lose touch with it and some of my other partners got upset. Excuse me. At the time, it was just impossible to strap a laptop to my hip everyday! So, when they got rude about it, I just left. By that time, I had learned better habits anyway and I had the self-motivation to continue. I’m glad I found that I can do it on my own. At some point using peertrainer though, I began the Walk Away the Pounds dvds with Leslie Sansone because it was so easy…and at thirty-something with no exercise in years and riding a desk for about five of the last years of that, I REALLY needed easy. So I did that for awhile and I would jump rope for a while maybe a few times a week. And I started to see some changes. Then I figured, I could just walk during my lunch break. So I did that. When I needed a greater challenge, I added ankle weights. After a while, my weight was affected as well as my heart. I went from a person who couldn’t run one mile without stopping in high school to a thirty-something running four miles now (on a treadmill though) without stopping to catch a breath! My husband was the track star in our family (and he never let anyone forget it). But I think I might be able to beat him now! At least in distance anyway. That’s girl power!

Still, I haven’t really exercised in about two weeks. The first week I was sick as a dog. The second week, I had sniffles, but I had so much to do with getting my students through their finals and getting myself through my own that I just couldn’t make it. Ordinarily, I exercise about 4-5 days a week. And since beginning at the university I’ve had more options because they have a fabulous gym. But, today, when I break back into it, I think I’m going to take it easy…march in front of the tv with some leg lifts (and maybe some dumbbells or the bands). Leslie, here I come!

I’m really excited about the good choices that I’m making for me!