November 12, 2014 § 2 Comments
So I’m sitting here in my [overpriced] Uni cafe, and wasting time perusing the SBS Facebook group, instead of finishing up one of my many research papers. I just love all the positivity in the group, and the amount of newbies on this lifestyle that are so excited to join! But I have noticed some of the comments and questions posted are a bit triggering for me in regards to ED thoughts and behavior. There’s a lot of talk about weight loss and prescribed amounts of calories, and the one thing I have noticed that really doesn’t sit well with me at all is when people seem to just want others to tell them what to do. For instance I have seen some people asking questions like, “Should I be afraid of nutritional yeast?” Or, “Should I not eat garlic and onions, even though I really love them?” It all comes down to listening to your own body. As long as you’re not eating animals, keeping fat and salt low, just follow your hunger drive. Eat what feels good. And that’s that! I’ll stop ranting now, because I really do want to be a part of this group, and continue to help others, and embrace the supportiveness of this community. I think the positivity interweaved in the group far outshines the negative.
But anyways, onto the ‘Quickie.’ What is this anyways? Will I be discussing my own [quick] sexual transgressions? Absolutely not. But the ‘Quickie’ series is going to be a weekly post where I highlight some stuff I found cool/ interesting/ funny/ provoking/ inspiring/ helpful throughout the past week. As of right now it’s going to be pretty broad in regards to the actual subject matter within these posts, but I sort of like that; I see it as a chance for me to share all the things I find interesting with you, that might not necessarily be directly related to leading a vegan lifestyle. So on that note, I’ll get to the good stuff.
- One thing I found particularly applicable to my life right now was this little pizza meme. I’m taking a few different classes about gender and feminism, and I am so glad I decided to take these classes. They have nothing to do with my major, and everything to do with my life. Gender equality is so interconnected with this plant based cruelty-free lifestyle. My biggest piece of advice for anyone currently in school or anyone going to school in the next term, is to take a class related to race, class, and gender. It may sound like something you don’t need, but I promise these two courses have been the most rewarding classes I have taken in my time here at University. My whole mindset has changed, and certainly for the better. But not only did I find this to be relevant in regards to my schooling, but also in regards to this vegan lifestyle. We spend so much time worrying about how we look, and the ‘purity’ of our food, but sometimes it’s just freakin’ wonderful to stuff my belly full of [vegan] pizza. Am I right?
- While we’re on the subject of food, check out these incredible ‘loaded fries’ I whipped up the other night. One of my favorite treats before I went vegan were these incredible loaded fried topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions, jalapeños, and a side of ranch to dip. Of course they were laden with salt and fat though. So I made these completely cruelty-free, HCLF loaded fries, and oh my were they heavenly.
- I started Couch to 5k this week! Wooh. I have this pattern of jogging for a few months at a time, really loving it, then falling off the wagon. But I’ve been feeling pretty sedentary as of late, and I even feel like my metabolism is slowing down, despite the adequate amounts of food I’ve been eating. So I’m hoping this little app will help me turn myself around, mentally, physically, and spiritually!
- Starch Vs. Fruit Conflictions. As I briefly mentioned above, some of the posts in the SBS group have been triggering some not-so-positive thoughts lately. And some of them have been causing me to question my switch from fruit based to a more starch based approach. I’ve been seeing all these beautiful pictures of bananas, and it makes me a little bit sad. I miss my giant banana smoothies in the morning, but they never seemed to satisfy me for long. Not to mention the money I’ve been saving by eating more starch based is a big factor for me. Right now, without having a steady source of income, starch based seems like the best route. But my brain is making me question how good I am really feeling in comparison to when I was more fruit based. Hmmph. Something I am just trying to sort out and not stress about. But I would love any supportive suggestions!
- Rachel Maddow on the IUD. This video puts it into perspective about how vitally important it is for us to vote for our local representatives! Don’t let yourself be represented by someone who’s views are completely misaligned with your own. It blows my mind that people actually think an IUD is like an ongoing abortion in your body, but hey people believe what they want to believe! Just make sure you’re using your voice to represent your own view; don’t let others start controlling your body. It’s yours, and it’s so important to stand up for it! And if as a woman, you agree with this bazaar opinion on what the IUD really is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog, ’cause there’ll be a lot more things I say that you probably won’t like! ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTPeYz5UwFo
That’s my Quickie! I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did, and I wish you a beautiful rest of your week.
November 7, 2014 § 4 Comments
This will be my second completely vegan thanksgiving, but my 6th vegetarian one. The holidays can very easily seem next to impossible; no turkey, no gravy, no stuffing, no NOTHING really! But there are so many dishes that I’d argue till the bitter end, are better than your typical Thanksgiving foods. Let’s be completely honest here- Don’t you get sick of plain ol’ [animal fat filled] mashed potatoes, over-done turkey, and crappy store-bought pies your aunt picked up from the supermarket the night before, because “she ran out of time” (but really you know it’s because she probably doesn’t know how to make a knock-out pie)?
Last year- and this is no lie- one of the apple pies my aunt actually picked up from the store (yes, my family is a bit lazy) had mold running rampant throughout the entire filling. No one noticed till my grandpa was on his last bite… GROSS, people. Just gross!
Thanksgiving, being as “American” as it may, is far from the ethical vegan’s idea of fun. Because even though I have a kick-ass time in the kitchen with my mom, putting together an entire vegan menu for her and myself, when it’s time to pull up our chairs & unfold our napkins, there’s still a dead bird on the table.
But I digress. No sense in dwelling on the negative when there is so much positive to be had [And by positive, I mean crazy good vegan food fit for a queen]! I’ve compiled a list of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving-y dishes. I say Thanksgiving-y because many of these dishes I’ve made all year round. I will preface this saying, No I have not made every single one of these dishes; however I have made a good portion of them. But every recipe on this list that I haven’t tried, comes from some of my go-to vegan chefs; so I completely trust their abilities to make my tastebuds dance.
I had three things in mind when compiling this list
- Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy dishes
- Low in fat/ easily adjustable
- Both traditional and nontraditional
There’s some recipes here for the folks who prefer a more traditional Thanksgiving meal. And there’s also a bunch here for the more daring individual; the individual ready to embrace the “Thanksgiving-y” plethora of options.
So here we go. From hors d’oeuvres to dessert: 25 table-worthy dishes.
1. If you’re like me, you probably don’t eat too many salads. I love them- I’m just becoming increasingly lazier as the weather gets colder. But this salad will most likely make it to my table this year! Why? Because there’s warm, roasty Delicata squash involved. This Delicata Squash Salad is from one of my favorite bloggers, Oh She Glows, whom I am sure most of you have heard of.
My favorite part? The dressing is nut + oil free! Can I get a *woot woot*?! And let’s be honest, this salad is just so stinkin’ pretty to gaze upon. The type of dish you almost don’t want to eat because it’s so perfect looking. The key word being almost. If you can’t find Delicata Squash in your supermarket, I think rings of butternut squash would work just as well.
2. That salad doesn’t sound like your thing? Try your hand at this Red Quinoa Beet Salad with Cucumber Blossoms and ‘Bacon’ from Canned-Time!
A good portion of this equally decadent salad is brought to you by Terry Hope Romero, Author of the Salad Samurai. Just look at how pretty it is! The little cucumber blossoms give it a summery touch, but the savory beets and coconut bacon, in combination with Terry Hope’s Almond Butter Hemp dressing steal the thunder. This one is sure to impress even your most veggie-reluctant guests!
3. On to one of my favorite parts of the meal- BISCUITS! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could just make a whole meal out of these flaky little treats. I made these biscuits from Minimalist Baker last year and oh my gosh I should’ve made more!
They really are the Best Damn Vegan Biscuits. Just a fair warning though, these are a bit higher in fat. They call for Earth Balance, but I think coconut oil would work just as well. I don’t recommend cutting back too much on the fat in these, because it will affect your flaky texture. But if you’re daring and really don’t want to use too much oil, try mixing half unsweetened apple sauce with half Earth Balance or Coconut oil! They will probably be a bit more dense, but I’m sure just as tasty. I typically try to keep Overt fats pretty low in my day to day diet, but I don’t really fret too much on the holidays. Thanksgiving comes only once a year for pete’s sake!
4. Want something a little more jazzy? Minimalist Baker also created this Pumpkin Sage Biscuit recipe for the ‘All pumpkin everything’ people out there!
These aren’t too different from the recipe above ingredient wise. They’re just as easy and yes, just as yummy!
5. This next recipe is crazy awesome for two reasons- One, It’s by Fat Free Vegan so all my High Carb vegans can lend praise for no overt fats; and two It’s made… Drumroll please… In a crockpot! There’s never enough room on my stove for all the dishes I want to cook on this fine day, so any other methods of cooking are very welcomed in my house! This could also easily be made the night before and plugged in in the morning. So what is the actual recipe? An absolute must-have- Stuffing!
6. Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts Brussesls Sprouts are hands down my all time favorite fall veggie. Aside from the ever-perfect potato of course. But seriously, I could eat these things for every meal and never tire of them. This recipe from Chef Chloe calls for olive oil, but if you’re like me you can completely omit it and use a bit of water. Just be ware not to use too much, since a nicely charred sprout is essential. These bad boys hit all the bells- sweet, savory, and healthy.
7. As I mentioned before, potatoes are perfect in my world. There’s so many applications for them, and they just never fail to hit the spot. But If you want to shake up your traditional Thanksgiving mashed potato, why not try some Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic and Chives? This recipe comes from Vegangela and is the perfect nontraditional addition to the table. Alter as you like with the overt fats!
8. Another ‘bacon’ dish! There’s really never enough vegan bacon in my life. As if it weren’t good enough as just vegan bacon, let’s toss it with some apples and stuff it inside of a baked sweet potato! Are you drooling with me? Yup. Bacon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, from My Darling Vegan.
9. You’re looking for something a bit more delicate though? This Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pecan Parmesan should fill that need. Another phenomenal addition from Oh She Glows. This one is pretty tough to muck up too; so if you’ve got a million other dishes going, it’s not going to require too much extra time and energy, and of course will impress every last guest.
10. On to the main course! I’ve got so many options, you’re probably going to have trouble ruling them out. But let’s start with [probably my favorite HCLF blogger, chef, extraordinaire] Plant Based Judy’s Shepherds Pie
My favorite thing about her recipes is that one, she never uses oils; and two, everything she makes is so easy! I tend not to follow recipes to the ‘T’ because they can be very complicated. But hers are so easy to follow, and they never call for things you’ve never heard of before that you can only find in the super expensive health store hidden in some back alley downtown. And the bonus of making a Shepherds Pie is that it’s sort of like all the Thanksgiving-y flavors in one dish.
11. If your family is a “meat and potatoes” type family like mine, you might try this Lentil Loaf from The Simple Veganista. It’s a bit more complicated than the Shepherds Pie, but has the potential to be just as tasty! And it’s also low in fat. *woohoo*.
12. These Mini ‘Meat’ loaves are even cuter and take on a bit of an Italian flavor! Perfect if you just want to make a couple little ‘meat’ loaves instead of a whole big thing. This recipe is from Oh My Veggies.
13. This summer I discovered the power of vegan risotto. My life was forever changed when a friend brought it for a vegan picnic meetup. I could’ve easily eaten the entire bowl she brought. But in an effort not to be the selfish gazelle at the watering hole, I held back. But no, seriously. I had to try my hand at it. I found Vegangela’s Mushroom Risotto recipe the next night and dove right in.
The first time I made it I pretty mush followed the recipe exactly. But the second time I used a low sodium bouillon, and cut the oil back to just one tbsp of coconut oil (instead of olive) for sautéing. I also added fresh garlic, and a bay leaf or two when the rice is cooking. Then sprinkled in some nooch the last few minutes of cooking. It was just as magical! Everyone I’ve ever fed this to is completely SHOCKED that it’s dairy free. A job well done if I do say so myself!
14. Another one from Fat Free Vegan! I never tire of her recipes. Broccoli was always served with cheese in my house. American cheese at that. So gross thinking back on it. But looking forward- this Creamy Broccoli and Rice Casserole takes the cake.
15. This is a staple at my Thanksgiving celebration- and last year it won the hearts of a few of my family members! And it’s probably the easiest [and healthiest] Green Bean Casserole around. This one comes from Detoxinista, and her recipes are always winners in my book. This only calls for a little bit of oil, that could easily be omitted by dry or water sautéing the onions!
16. I know what you’re thinking… Where’s the turkey alternative?! Well my friends, wonder no longer. Isa Chandra of Post Punk Kitchen [my all time idol btw] developed some bad ass Chickpea Cutlets. Again, i typically cut back on the oil, but these are so incredibly good either way. They made it to my table last Thanksgiving, and I’m sure they will again. Serve with some mushroom gravy and you can’t go wrong.
17. This is my last “main course” dish that I’ll be highlighting- but it is most certainly not the least. This one’s for all the rule breakers. And also the self-confessed pizza addicts. Trust me, when your family sees you downing this pizza’f art [ha see what I did there?] they may be green with envy. May I introduce the Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Flatbread from Oh My Veggies.
18. The moment many of you have been waiting for- Desserts! Another winner from Plant Based Judy. Vegan Apple Crumble. Pies are a bit out of my reach when it comes to making the crust. So this is perfect for the lazy chef! And also Gluten free for any of my gluten sensitive folks.
19. I made this pumpkin pie last year and fooled my most anti-vegan cousin with it! A victory if I do say so. Again, it’s a bit higher in fat as it calls for canned coconut milk- but experiment if you have the time! And like I said before- it’s Thanksgiving, I’d much rather spend my day hanging with my family, than stressing about finding a “suitable” alternative. If you haven’t checked out Chocolate Covered Katie’s site you definitely should! She has a ton of awesome dishes- mostly sweet, but all super healthy and easily adaptable to your dietary preferences.
20. Here’s another one from Isa Chandra- Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf! Again, alter as you choose. I think to avoid using all of the coconut oil you could replace half of it with more applesauce. You may have to bake a bit longer if you decide to do that, since the bread will be more dense. Just keep checking as it gets close to the time.
21. I left the oddball stuff for last. The apps, drinks, sauces & gravies, may be odd but they’re a key component of the meal! The first is a Simple 3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce. Another one from Isa & the Post Punk Kitchen! Super quick and easy if you don’t feel like getting too creative with it. After all, you’ve got your work cut out for you with the rest of the meal!
22. But if you do want to jazz things up a bit, here’s the recipe for an Apple Cranberry sauce I used last year. Not all that much more effort, and super sweet on the palate. Finish it with some raisins, and you may just want to eat it on its own!
23. The ever-obligatory Savory Mushroom Gravy! One last one from Isa, I promise [I told you, she’s my idol!]. I made this last year with her Chickpea Cutlets (above), and OMG drool. I tend to use low or no sodium broth, and I completely omit the oil here. But it’s so decadent. Please, if you don’t use anything else from this list, USE THIS DANG GRAVY.
24. This smoothie comes from one of the first vegan bloggers I ever started following, Carrie on Living- Who used to be Carrie On Vegan. I started following her blog when I made the leap from vegetarian to vegan. Sadly, she’s no longer vegan :(. But to each their own! She started including animal products in her diet again because she said after several years of veganism, she felt nutritionally lacking. I feel better than ever being vegan for almost two years, and I’ve met people who’ve been vegan for over 15 years who say they’ve never felt better! But everybody is on their own path I suppose! Luckily for us before she made the switch, she developed this rockstar Vegan Egg Nog Smoothie. This is perfect as a dessert (probably will be my main dessert this year), or as a breakfast before all the heavy cooking commences.
25. Last but certainly not least, this one is a little appetizer for your hungry guests. Dreena Burton’s Pumpkin Hummus is quick & easy and of course, festive. Serve it with fresh veggies, vegan baguette, homemade corn chips, or whatever your little heart desires!
That’s it! Phew, this took quite a bit more time than I had anticipated. But I’m so glad to be able to help all the first-time Vegan Thanksgiving cooks, or even those who have been vegan for a while but are just looking for some new holiday inspiration. I hope this list comes in handy this year, and I would love to know what you try!
November 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
Halloween came and went so quickly it seems, this year. In previous years I spent the majority of my Halloween celebrations bingeing on candy, pumpkin seeds, and booze. That’s not to say I didn’t go out this year with friends. Yes I did partake in the typical college rituals that the holiday entails, but this year was a bit more tame. And I did a bit more self reflection following my Halloween transgressions.
Drinking the leftover wine my friend had brought over the night before for pumpkin carving, left me in pretty rare form. Once I got home and crawled into bed, the alcohol hit me and I was done for. I spent the next hour or so in the bathroom trying to reverse what I had done to myself; e.i. sitting in the shower till I ran out of hot water. And all of Saturday was spent nursing myself back to the vibrant human I typically feel like.
It’s been a long time since I indulged that deeply in the pool of wine & spirits, and every time I drink myself into oblivion it makes me less and less keen on drinking at all.
I’ve grown up with a family that drinks. While most of my family members drink “socially,” I do have a few very close family members who’ve struggled with alcoholism their entire lives, one of them being my father. I didn’t start drinking until the last half of my freshman year at college, for fear of walking down the same path as my dad. He started drinking at age 12 (possibly even younger) and didn’t quit until he was 46 years old. I am so happy to say he’s been sober now for five years, and have complete confidence that he won’t return to that lifestyle. Now that I do drink, I don’t fear falling victim to alcoholism, but it does make me question why I drink at all.
One reason I suppose is for social reasons; I’ll admit it, I do feel a bit out of place being the only one of my friends at a social gathering without a drink in hand. I am working on changing that, but right now while I am still in college, having a drink in hand makes me feel a bit less anxious/ socially awkward.
Another reason is because I have worked in the beer industry since day one of my first ever job. And I love it. I think craft beer is awesome. I think it’s an art. I think it tastes wonderful (for the most part). I think beer brings people together. And everyone I’ve ever met who works in this industry are just awesome people. I realize not all beer is vegan, but there is a vast majority of [especially craft] breweries that don’t use animal products in their beer. It just takes a bit of researching to figure out which brands are safe.
So what am I getting at here? Do I think I’ll ever quit drinking completely? Probably not. Like I said, I love beer and I love working in this industry. But I do want to stop treating my body so poorly by having way too much to drink in one sitting. No one wants to admit to “binge drinking.” But we’ve all done it. It’s a part of our culture. But I am not really one to follow the crowd. All of these boozy thoughts got me to thinking about my goals for the remainder of the year. With the SBS Startup starting November 1st, what better time than now to kick start some of my goals?
- Drink less alcohol- while I know this will make my loving boyfriend a little sad, It’s something I really want to work on. I just feel so much better when my body is working in my favor all the time. I am going to enjoy a glass of wine with my girls over dinner every now and then, or a beer with my babe at our favorite craft beer spot with some vegan pizza. But I really want to work on enjoying alcohol for what it is- appreciating the art of it, the subtleties of each different pour, the social cohesion it fosters- rather than drinking to get drunk.
- Eat more greens- I’ve been a pretty lazy cook lately. And I’ve also been freaking out about money a bit. As my last semester winds down, my bank account seems to dwindle respectively. I know it’s only a short matter of time before I am working again- with a big girl job [yaaaayyyy]! But I really hate asking my parents for help. So in trying to save some pennies, I’ve not been buying as much fresh produce. Still eating vegan of course (and primarily high carb), but I’ve been eating more starches than veggies. I definitely want to up my green veggie intake, ’cause that’s when I feel the best.
- Continue yoga- I’ve fallen back in love with my practice. Taking time every day to come to my mat and find some movement and peace is really helping so much, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I guess if I had to pick a specific “yoga goal” it would be to stretch my heels down farther in my downward dog. It’s by far my favorite pose, but I’m still working out my flexibility.
- A starchy island- Everyone seems to be doing a rice or potato island. While I never quite got through a banana Island I am curious to see how I would do with this. I’ve also been eating a bit more processed lately so I think it may help to get back to the basics. It will probably be a rice island, just because I think rice is more versatile. Although my love for potatoes continues to grow day in and day out.
- Post at least 2 times a week– This doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but I have so many projects, papers, and finals coming up I know I’ll be pretty busy. But It is a major goal of mine to keep writing for you guys! If you have any requests I’d love for you to comment, or email me! I’ve got an awesome post coming up that I think you’ll all love! For now it’s a secret though…
- Affirmations– In my last post I wrote about the three affirmations I made in the bathroom at a brewery here in town. Looking at myself in the mirror and appreciating the body, health, and the love I have in my life, made me so happy. It’s my goal to make some sort of self-love affirmations on the daily.
Those are my goals for November! And yes, I want to carry them on after November ends (aside from the possible starchy island), but November is a great place to begin. I wasn’t quite sure about Tina and Jil’s SBS Startup at first. I didn’t want to partake in any “eating challenge,” and I thought it would be just for people following RawTill4. But it’s honestly just a community of kind [vegan] people looking to better themselves. There’s no crazy guidelines or challenges; just cool people looking to find a supportive vegan community. So yes, I’ll be joining in with these six goals in mind and I can’t wait to see what else this month holds!