My weekend

June 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Auto-biographical | Leave a comment
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This past weekend my husband and I traveled to North Carolina for my sister-in-law’s wedding. It was a wonderful weekend, and we had a great time seeing our families! I enjoyed being a bridesmaid in the wedding, and it was so much fun to visit with everyone! I put a lot of thought beforehand into how I would handle my vegan lifestyle while traveling: I took vegan soap, shampoo, conditioner, and cosmetics in 3-oz. containers, in a plastic quart-size ziplock bag (for air travel). I bought some vegan shoes to wear with my bridesmaid dress. I took some healthy snacks with me– Odwalla cereal/fruit/nut-type bars, tamari-roasted cashews, a banana, and some date/raisin/sesame seed squares.

Even though I’d been worried ahead of time about how I would manage to eat vegan food in the heart of the South, I managed to (mostly successfully) navigate my way through all the meals. When my in-laws picked us up at the airport, they took us out to eat at an Indian restaurant, which was the first time they’d ever eaten Indian food, I think! So that was fun! I ordered a lentil curry and rice, and it was delicious! The next morning, for breakfast, my mother-in-law fixed me a breakfast of fruit (fresh local organic plums!), tea (she knows I like tea, so she always makes tea for me when I visit her– she’s so sweet!!), and a cinnamon bun. I ate the cinnamon bun, even though it was not vegan– in cases like this, when I am someone’s guest and they make an effort to feed me, I feel it’s more important to appreciate their hospitality, than to make them feel bad by refusing their food (although I don’t ever eat meat). For lunch that day we ate at a Mexican restaurant, and I ordered veggie fajitas without cheese, sour cream, or beans (they only had refried beans with lard).

The rehearsal dinner was a bit difficult: the dinner was at a steak-house. The guests had their choice of steak, chicken, or salmon, along with salad and a baked potato. When the waitress took my order, I asked for just a salad and a plain baked potato, without any meat. I asked what salad dressings were available, and she said that they all came with ranch, so I asked for a plain salad without dressing. And I ate some bread, without any butter. I had mixed reactions from the people at my table: I got some very strange stares from the groom’s mother when she heard me say that I am vegetarian, but my husband’s uncle, who was sitting next to me, asked if I was vegetarian or vegan, after seeing what I ordered. He was very impressed that I was vegan, and said that his son had been vegetarian for two years. He also said that he and his wife have started eating a lot of raw vegetables after reading about the raw food movement. I was impressed!

The next morning was the bridal brunch. It was a buffet, with bacon, eggs, sausage, chicken salad croissants, various pastries, and a fruit salad. I knew that this would be the only meal I would get until dinner, since we would be busy with getting ready for the wedding during lunchtime, so I decided that in order to not starve during the day, I would eat some (non-vegan) pastries. I felt like I really didn’t have much choice, so I don’t regret it. I ate an apple-walnut danish, a biscuit with jelly, and some fruit. It was still not a substantial meal, but at least I was able to avoid meat. (And I munched on my vegan snacks around noon.)

After the wedding, at the reception, I ate some fruit and crackers (the only vegan items), and for dinner that evening, my mother-in-law prepared a really great meal– I was so happy and impressed!!! She made brown rice (since she knows I like healthy foods), and a vegetable stir-fry (fresh local organic zucchini, squash and onions, with olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce), and sliced tomatoes. She also made chicken with mushrooms and onions, separately, for the meat-eaters. All the vegetables were really fresh, and really local– they were grown by a local couple who have a vegetable garden behind their house, and sell the veggies at a roadside stand next to their house, just 2 miles away from my in-laws’ house! The veggies were delicious!!! I was so happy– that was a very good meal!!! Anyways, so that was my weekend. I had a wonderful time; it was great to see family!!

To finish up, here are a few pictures. This is a meal I made sometime last week– mashed yellow potatoes (with a little almond milk stirred in), topped with portobello mushrooms (cooked with olive oil, onion, a sun-dried tomato tapenade, garlic powder, cumin, and coriander), and broccoli topped with a “cheesy” white sauce (pureed cannellini beans, firm tofu, olive oil, almond milk, garlic powder, salt, and dried sage). (In this picture you can see Mirabella sitting on a chair underneat the table– isn’t she cute?!!)

And here is a yummy, easy breakfast dish: cornmeal mush (cornmeal and water), with a little wheat bran, some flax seeds, walnuts, almond milk, a little salt, and pure maple syrup.


Homestyle dinner

April 22, 2008 at 11:39 am | Posted in Dinner | Leave a comment
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Last night I felt like making a simple, homestyle kind of meal. I was home in the afternoon, so I threw a pot of beans (pink beans and white baby lima beans) on the stove and simmered for a few hours. Even though I hadn’t presoaked them, they turned out fine. Near the end, I added a few diced up Tofurkey franks. I also made some fried potatoes, with cajun seasoning.

I wanted to make some kind of zucchini patties, but couldn’t find a good recipe. So I improvised one, and it turned out fine– but the taste wasn’t quite right. I’m not sure how I would change it, but it definitely needed something else. I used grated zucchini, carrots, and tofu, along with some salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and Spike vegetable seasoning. I added just enough chickpea flour (the only kind of flour I have on hand right now) to be able to soak up some of the moisture and hold it together. I fried it in olive oil, and served it on top of pea shoots (yum, crunchy!). I think maybe next time I would add some paprika, or garlic salt, or something… it was just lacking somehow.

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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