Vegan Dinner

March 29, 2008 at 7:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I had such a great time last night! I was back at my sister Karen’s house, after spending a few days at home with my parents. My cousin Lauren was here also, and we all decided to cook a really good dinner. Fortunately I had brought some cookbooks with me, and we decided to make the Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls from Veganomicon! I was so excited, because I’d been waiting to try that when I could cook for more people than just Scott and myself. We made both the regular recipe and the variation with the Asian Tempeh-Pear Salad, and we all agreed that we much preferred the variation.

I also made oven-fried purple potatoes, rutabaga, sweet orange peppers, and onions (with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper). I had never realized how hard it is to split open a rutabaga– I think I ended up getting the knife stuck half-way through, and I pried the rutabaga open with my bare hands!!

My cousin Lauren made a really delicious main course: black bean cakes (beans, cumin, tomato paste, and corn flake crumbs) and portobello mushrooms, topped with a vegan sun-dried tomato cream sauce (from La Dolce Vegan, but we added mustard powder). We also had extra grated soy mozzarella to sprinkle on top. It was delicious!!

My sister Karen made a luscious strawberry-rhubarb pie, drizzled with chocolate sauce. It was so incredible!!! And it looked really easy to make, too. She used a store-bought frozen spelt pie crust (vegan), and then just sliced up the strawberries, rhubarb, and added sugar and flour. It did turn out sort of runny, so I think if I were to make it I’d use a little more cornstarch instead of the flour. She made the chocolate sauce by melting a vegan chocolate bar with some Earth Balance. It was delicious! And we topped the whole meal off with some Sierra Nevada pale ale.

I was so happy that they all were so willing to cook a vegan meal with me; it was so much fun! Karen eats meat, and so does her boyfriend Matt, but Karen’s roommate is vegetarian, and Lauren is “locatarian.” She describes it as a combination of locavore (only buying meat/produce from local farmers at farmer’s markets or directly from the farms), and freeitarian– vegetarian except for when you’re someone else’s guest and they feed you meat.

I think the funniest quote of the whole evening was Karen’s boyfriend, Matt, arguing that soy milk is a deceptive term: it should be called soy juice! “Find me a nipple on a bean,” he argued!

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North Carolina

March 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’m visiting family in North Carolina this week, and it’s great to see so many of my friends and relatives! I’m having such a good time!

I’ve been kind of disappointed, though, that my family’s schedules are so busy. I was hoping to cook several good vegan meals for them while I was here, and I’ve only been able to cook one meal for my sister, and none for my parents. In between her classes yesterday, we had just enough time to go back to her house and cook a quick lunch. I made a kale and pepper stir-fry (with a little olive oil, sesame oil, mustard powder and black sesame seeds), and rice topped with baked cherry tomatoes (with olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt & pepper). My sister had never eaten kale before, and she really liked it!! I also baked a mushroom artichoke dip (with silken tofu), for her and her housemate to eat later that night.

I was very happy that my sister and her boyfriend seemed interested in my reasons for being vegan. Even though they were skeptical, I love being able to answer questions about being vegan. My sister’s boyfriend asked me several questions such as “so what do vegans eat?” and “how can you give up cheese?” which of course I don’t mind answering! He seemed pretty skeptical of a vegan diet, and warned my sister (semi-jokingly) not to follow my footsteps, but he was genuinely curious about why I would want to be vegan.

I explained how I decided to give up dairy products when I learned that cows–like any other female mammals–only produce milk when they have babies, and that dairy cows’ babies are taken away and either slaughtered for veal or are raised without drinking their mothers’ milk, so that humans can have the milk that was meant for the baby cows. It was easy for me to give up cheese when I realized that consuming dairy products does in fact harm animals. (There’s a wonderful episode about dairy cows, on the Compassionate Cooks podcast– I think I heard it after I became vegan, but it definitely cemented my decision to not use dairy products any more!)

Also, my sister took me grocery shopping the other night, which was fun. But, I’d forgotten that “normal” grocery stores (at least here in the South) don’t usually carry items that vegans/vegetarians would buy. I’ve been pretty spoiled by the wonderful selection of vegan items in the food co-op I shop at at home! We went to a Harris Teeter, and I was disappointed to not find some of my favorite staple food items: tempeh and nutritional yeast. I did find one brand of soy milk, but they didn’t have any soy yogurt or Earth Balance. So disappointing! But I shouldn’t really be surprised, considering this is North Carolina, the largest producer of pork in the US and home of 100’s of kinds of pork barbeque… although I’m sure I could find some tempeh at a Whole Foods or something. But I did find some local North Carolina produce (including the kale) at the grocery store, so that made me happy!

Spring!

March 21, 2008 at 11:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s officially spring, as of yesterday!! I’m so excited; I was definitely ready for winter to be gone. I love the sunshine. Anyways, I can’t resist sharing some pictures of flowers that have been popping up in our yard!

These are tiny little sunflower sprouts:

These are sunflower sprouts!!

And this is a gladiolus:

And I’m not sure what this is, but it looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book!

I love spring… I love watching things grow. It makes me feel more connected to the earth, somehow.

Anyways, Happy Spring, everyone!

March 19, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Next week I’m going to the East Coast to visit my family. I’ll be staying with my sister for several days, and also visiting a bunch of family and friends. I’m so excited to see them all!

I’ve offered to do the cooking while I stay with my sister, and to be honest, I’m a little nervous about it. This will be the first time I’ve cooked food for my sister since I’ve become vegan, and I really want to impress her! I don’t want her to think that being vegan is hard or boring! So I’m trying to come up with ideas of what to cook each day. I want to make some really impressive, sumptious meals! But also ones that are simple and easy, so she’ll see how easy it is to be vegan. I’m planning on taking the Veganomicon cookbook with me, of course; there are some really fantastic recipes in there that I’ve been waiting to try until I have a group of people to cook for.

Anyways, some more pics– quinoa macaroni (I love quinoa pasta, by the way!) with acorn squash, kale, and portobellos, topped with cashew ricotta (from Veganomicon, but made creamier by adding rice milk); and then a strawberry oatmeal scone.

Intro

March 19, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Auto-biographical | Leave a comment

I’m Katie, and I’ve been a vegan for about five months now! I love being vegan; it’s wonderful! A little bit about me: I grew up lacto-ovo vegetarian, since my parents were (at the time) in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which has a wonderful emphasis on health and vegetarianism. I’m very grateful for that vegetarian upbringing; I feel like it taught me compassion towards animals and conscientiousness towards a healthy lifestyle in general.

My parents left the Seventh Day Adventist Church when I was a teenager, and hence we started eating meat. Sadly, my very first experience with meat was a filet-o-fish sandwich at a certain worldwide fast-food chain!! Needless to say I was disgusted, but ended up being an omnivore until college. I briefly became vegetarian again in college, but that didn’t last.

I married a wonderful man (Scott) whose father, ironically, had a long career in the poultry industry before becoming a preacher. Anyways, long story short, I decided in November 2006 to return to my vegetarian roots. I felt much better in general (health-wise and conscience-wise) being vegetarian. I strongly care about animals, and it really pains me to think of animals being used for food.

I’ve been vegan now since October 2007 (five months!), and I love it!! I lost several pounds of extra weight (without trying) that I’d half-heartedly been trying to lose for the last few years. I’m now back to my ideal weight, and I feel great! Also, I feel much more at peace as a person. I am, to the best of my ability, trying to live a peaceful life, and not harming any animals by the choices I make of what to eat and wear. And it amazes me how quickly (in just five months) being vegan has became a vital part of my identity. I feel like this is one of the main things that defines me, in a way!

I’ve really enjoyed finding wonderful new vegan recipes, buying new vegan cookbooks, and adapting some of my old favorite recipes. My husband still eats meat, but I respect his choice. I believe each person has to make their own decisions for their own reasons, and he respects my choice to be vegan, so I respect his choice too. He actually doesn’t eat meat as much as he used to now, and I still (secretly!) harbor hopes that he will eventually become vegetarian, if not vegan. But in the meantime, we have found wonderful ways of compromising on food, and continually enjoy many delicious meals together!

On this blog, I hope to share a little about myself, lots of pictures of food, and some recipes. Maybe some thoughts on life in general also.

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