Saturday, August 30, 2008

nacho disaster, my disaster!

this pic is from some 'anything goes' nachos i made about a month ago. they were pretty tasty, but after a lecture from my orthodontist, i've decided to lay off crunchy stuff because i don't want to be wearing my braces into my forties. i used blue corn tortilla chips, rice, broccoli, chickpeas, faux sour cream, and salsa.

these nachos weren't a disaster. this week's disaster was a dish titled "macaroni hates cheese" that i snatched off the ppk forum. it looked so awesome but tasted like vomit. it should have been called "jen hates macaroni hates cheese". it was pretty, i'll post the pic later. i don't like throwing food away, even food that tastes like yuk, so i dressed it up with some baked beans and shredded follow your heart nacho cheese and it was better.

my other (insert melodrama here) let down this week was losing in the farmer's market salsa contest. there were three categories: raw, cooked, and specialty. i entered in the raw category and knew i wouldn't win, but figured i might get second or third place. nothin'. i hate entering contests of any kind for that reason. i hate rejection, and like most people with struggling self-esteem i need some sort of prize winning validation to make me feel like i'm okay.

now that i've had some time to meditate upon this idea--that need for others to be pleased with me, i realize that attitude isn't very vegan. i'm supposed to care for all animals, including humans, and especially including myself. so it doesn't matter if i didn't win a friggin' salsa contest. i know my "ass of fire" raw salsa is awesome.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the bitchen kitchen

there was a thread on PPK about posting pics of yer kitchen. i can't seem to post pics on the forum so i thought i'd dedicate an entry with a couple pics from my bitchen kitchen. i painted it to look like the kitchen in the Simpsons, but with way more crap on the walls. don't be fooled--these pics are from a very clean day in our home. normally it looks like a tornado hit it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

don't send the VP after me....

no worries, i haven't eaten any animals. i have been killing insects, specifically large scary spiders and those annoying carpenter ants. i know i shouldn't do it--just take them outside and let them be, but big scary spiders well---they just scare me! ants are unsanitary and annoying. what to do?

the food porn is from a recipe i found online for roasted yellow squash hummus pizza. as usual i improvised because i thought the recipe needed more color. i added green squash, roasted red peppers, and sun dried tomatoes. the pitas were packaged as "for kids" and snowman shaped. vin got 'em on clearance a while ago, so we froze 'em for future use.

Monday, August 25, 2008

sometimes food needs to be pretty

most of my life i never gave much thought about what i was eating. veganism and prayer have given me a reconnection with the world of food and i have come to really appreciate attractive food. this tasty dish is from Vegan With a Vengeance and is called the Sun Dried Tomato and Asparagus Frittata. it was very nice to eat, but did make my pee smell funny-(hey, that's the world of asparagus). one day i hope to own a decent camera so i can take better food porn.

Friday, August 22, 2008

suggestions please...

i get bored easily, and i get into ruts. this is a combo for a vegan disaster--something i don't want to happen. i usually do all my cooking on sundays, but lately i've gotten tired of slaving over the stove for 3-6 hours and want some fast cheap meals to fix. here' s my agenda for this sunday:

  • quickie tempeh salad-from PPK

  • macaroni hates cheese-from PPK

  • i have some firecracker tapenade and i thought that would go good with some stir fry veggies and some sort of fake meat i could score at one of btown's great asian markets

  • tofu scrambler with biscuits

  • some sort of cookies

vin's gonna make some pasta sauce with some beautiful plum tomatoes that i'm planning to harvest from our ghetto garden, so we're covered for this week. do any of you veg heads have suggestions for fast cheap menu items? thanks in advance for the help.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ass of fire poblanos

i'm not a recipe person. i mean i read them and sometimes follow them, but most of the time i look at cook books, figure out the gist of what's being done, and improvise. it's pretty risky of me, but i haven't had a disaster yet.

this dish is from a Bush's baked bean recipe. you're supposed to stuff poblano peppers with standard baked beans and cover it all in cheese. i veganized it by using vegetarian baked beans, adding garlic, cumin, bragg's, and pickled jalapenos. i stuffed a bell pepper and a poblano with the mixture, and baked for 40 minutes at 350. i topped the peppers with soy sour cream and my special "ass of fire" raw salsa. i don't really have a recipe for that either, i just puree a bunch of tomatoes, cilantro, olive oil, cinnamon-(YES, cinnamon), bragg's, lemon juice, peppers, onions, and some magic and it always turns out really yummy. this time i threw in a red chili pepper and it was SMOKIN' hot! seriously, my nose was running. i need to figure out an exact recipe because i'm entering a salsa contest at the end of the month.

Monday, August 18, 2008

making it all work

NOTE: i have a food porn entry i haven't been able to post yet, because my home computer is a temperamental geezer, and we are one of five people on planet earth who have dial up. i will try again tonight.

we recently returned from a trip up north to kalamazoo. we were there to attend a couple of weddings, and i was slightly nervous about it because it was my first road trip as a vegan. thanks to the book "Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World" by Bob and Jenna Torres, i felt properly armed so i wouldn't feel like a victim. in the book, they list some handy tips to vegans to help them survive away from home. after all, no one wants to eat plain baked potatoes and spaghetti, right?

the most important point i appreciated is that MEEK VEGANS SUFFER. this means i can't be whiny about my choice nor expect/assume others in my life will cater to my eating habits, so it is MY RESPONSIBILITY to either make my needs known or make my own food. it is also important to thank people for being supportive and understanding if i visit them and they do have things for me to eat. i packed plenty of food for the weekend so i wouldn't be stuck without my comfort items. lucky for me, kzoo has an awesome lebaneese eatery called Shawarma King. the name is kind of cheezy, but there are many delectable vegan selections and the price is nice. i have never tasted hummus that was so smooth and light. some middle eastern places use egg with their falafel, and when i asked the waitress if they used egg in their recipe, she sorta stared at me like i had taken a dump on her shoe, then she smiled and said, "no. in fact, if someone uses egg making falafel, that isn't falafel."
i also believe in the vegan power of creativity. i enjoy the challenge of taking a traditional omni dish and veganizing it-(thanks Isa and Tofu n' Sprouts!). while at my father-in-law's house, i was watching an itallian cooking show on the food network. i'm very intrested in making eggplant timbale (supposed to be an italian word for drum). it is a delicious dish made with thin pieces of grilled eggplant that cover a wheel of yummy marinara, ziti, peas, cheese, and meat. i know i can make this vegan, and will try to do so in the very near future. the one she made on her show required the use of a spring form pan, which i don't have. i think i can improvise by making a rectangular one using a loaf pan, or making mini tambales using a muffin pan. cooking has become my new medium for making art.

then there are things that just can't (nor should be) made vegan. like haggis, foie de gras, chitterlings, or the dish made after the eggplant tambale that caused me wince and just shut the t.v. off: veal and lemon slices wrapped in prosciutto ham and fried. call me crazy, but i just wasn't interested in eating that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the nosh pit

this piece of food porn was an experiment. i took a recipe for vegan s'more brownies, and improvised adding bananas to the batter instead of applesauce to make it moister. i know applesauce can be used as a vegan egg in baking, but i think it tends to make things dense and dry, and there's nothing worse than a dry brownie. instead of baking it in a pan, i made individual s'more brownie cupcakes. if things are in pan form i can easily eat an entire pan, but if i make small portions, vin and i tend to eat them slower. i know it doesn't make sense, but i don't make a whole lotta sense. anyway-- even though i used the bananas, i found the brownie/graham cracker crust combo to be a bit dry for my taste so i HAD to top the whole thing off with a generous scoop of chocolate soy delicious and some vegan marshmallow topping. i had a total foodgasm as i reminisced of sitting around a campfire.

i love me some food talk, but i kinda get highly irritated when i hear RR's sentiment of "yum-o!" c'mon, is that all you have? i don't like "yummers!" either. i need to invent my own food oreinted expletive i guess. my husband used to love her, but something happened and he became full of rage overnight, saying that she was too intense, blathering on how she sounded like a methed out chain smokin' lezzie gym teacher. i happen to be fond of lezzie gym teachers, but whatev.

why i got on the bus

i've already talked a bit about my vegan journey in my first blog entry, but i wanted to discuss the whys of my vegan choice:
i care about animals- i know omnivores care about animals too, i just believe that there is a disconnection omnis experience made between animals when they're alive and buying a package of meat at the store. i have my theories about why this disconnect exists. Western culture fosters the utilization of things in an instant gratification fashion. People don't want to wait for anything and want what they want in the prettiest package possible-(sorry for the alliteration.) i experienced this universe for most of my life. today-- knowing what i know about factory farming-(even "nice" organic farms, or kosher meat) i cannot in good conscience eat meat, eggs, and milk. one thing that has puzzled me about the animal rights movement is the need to see multiple videos about how animals are treated. why watch that over and over? i only needed to see it once, and it changed me. even when i was going back and forth with meat eating i still had this awful feeling in my soul about my consumption. i would think, this animal i just ate, he/she unwillingly gave it's life for me just so i could say, "yeah, i want a #6 with cheese and a sprite". the bird lived in conditions i would never want to subject anyone human or non-human to, and the people that had to slaughter this bird were probably also underage, underpaid, and working in a dangerous unsanitary environment for long hours. an additional note: while i don't like scare tactics, i think it would be interesting to see how many omnivores would change their eating patterns if they had kill the animals they were about to eat themselves or had to see an animal slaughtered before he/she became the finished product. or read this
an additional note: i think it would be interesting to see how many omnivores would change their eating patterns if they had to kill the animals they were about to eat themselves or had to see an animal slaughtered before he/she became the finished product.
i want to do my part to heal our world (Tikkun Olam)- do i think i can end the raping of our planet all by myself? hell no. i do believe that i can reduce my carbon crater print by being vegan, because i am never gonna be in a financial position to buy a hybrid car or add solar panels to my roof. i'm consuming products that are less taxing on the environment, and not consuming products that are taking up space in landfills, polluting our water, and making others sick. Many people forget the political move they can make simply by not buying crap.
i want to repair my relationship with food and respect my body-again, i realize that omnivores also care about eating quality food and respect their bodies. and please for the love of god don't think i'm talking about being on a diet. i hate diets, and the amount of hatred i have for the dieting industry could easily take up another blog. once again, the disconnect that i've mentioned comes into play. i have a history of abusing food that i'm not really comfortable talking about. i can say that i've been in remission for a number of years from said problem, and i believe it's because of the fat acceptance movement and vegetarianism. i love junk food as much as the next person; however, i feel better when i eat good nutritious, unpackaged, and minimally processed foods. i'm not gonna lie, the hard part about being vegan is the forethought. i spend my time looking at cookbooks, obtaining items for a recipe, and cooking in the kitchen. this ritual has helped me become one with what i eat. once i sit down and eat i'm amazed at my little masterpiece. i've been taking pictures of my creations. in our fast-paced and crazy-assed world it's been the stopping and taking the time to cook that has saved me mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially! i usually dedicate my sundays to a good 3-6 hours of cooking so i have grab n' go meals ready for my family throughout the week.
so, what do you do if you're contemplating veganism? get some books, read, do your homework, go to a vegan potluck, take a cooking class, and don't get involved with holier than thou vegan douche bags. take your time making the transition. you can do it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

a vegan blog ain't a vegan blog without....

....good ol' fashioned food porn! no, i'm not talking about doing it with food.

here are some tasty lemon corn waffles with blueberry sauce and a bit of soy yogurt on top. they were dee-lish! i made these for me and vin on sunday morn. i snagged the recipe from "Vegan With a Vengeance" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. it's important for non-vegans to know that we don't suffer one bit and eat REALLY WELL. i had never had home-made waffles before. now that my tongue has had this awesome experience, i don't think i could ever have a frozen one again.

Friday, August 8, 2008

incidental milk

one of the great things about being a vegan is how i have developed an appreciation for reading labels. i'm much more connected to the foods i eat and less likely to shovel food in without thinking. however, once label reading is done and the food item is in the clear then it's all over for the food product that is in front of me. hello there my delicious little cookie!

there are a multitude of ingredients that vegans need to look out for. some are really obvious: meat, eggs, milk, and lard. then there are the pesky chemical components that look innocent, but are really that are animal derived. then there's the feeling of elation reading an ingredient list hungry as hell, thinking it's okay, then seeing the last ingredient:

*item contains incidental milk

i encountered this debacle while trying to find a vegan dark chocolate at the grocery store. i don't want to have to go to the co-op to buy a single choco bar that costs $2! i felt like i was the butt of some cruel joke as i carefully read each bag. i'd get excited--feeling like i had just had winning lotto numbers read on tv, then to get to the last number and find out it didn't match. what the hell is incidental milk? even my spouse was stumped. i ended up getting the Kroger brand chocolate chips which are both cheap and vegan.

last time i checked, food items either had milk in them or they didn't. incidental milk doesn't make any friggin' sense. it's like being 'sorta' pregnant.

and (((insert whiny voice here)))WHY, WHY, WHY does everything have to have cheese on it? sometimes i wonder if i'm going to wake up and the world will be covered in the stuff, which might be my husband's dream come true--but a living hell for me next to the nightmare i had about ted nugent the night before last. since making the transition, i've noticed how horribly reliant i've been on cheese. no wonder so many americans have super-high cholesterol. if something didn't taste good, i'd just drown it in cheese sauce or ranch dressing. i've been missing out on other flavors of food. now that my tastebuds aren't plagued by dairy, it's like i've been given a super power. ever heard the TMBG song "john lee supertaster"? that's me, well except in a good way. i know that real supertasters have a hard time eating anything. in fact, i'm happily tasting some awesome green chili sauce right now, sitting in a chair in southern Indiana, from a cafe all the way in Taos, New Mexico, and my mouth ain't even open.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a vegan nightmare

i had quite possibly the worst vegan nightmare ever. i dreamt that i had a passionate love session with the nuge, and i liked it. i'm gonna hafta scrub every inch of my body with a big block of tofu to make it right.

Friday, August 1, 2008


surprisingly so, the hardest part of vegan ain't the eatin'--it's dispelling those wacky myths created by the very unvegan world we live in! i'm gonna address these in no particular order:
gosh, stop being such a baby and eat yer dang flesh!

vegans are whiny pains in the ass (PITA)- according to who? i shamefully admit i used to buy into this lie, esp. during my brooding ex-vegan days. let me hip you to this trip: being a whiny PITA knows no eating pattern. it just seems that way because we live in an animal consuming culture that encourages us to eat it, eat it, put in yer mouth and feed it without ANY questions. is it really whiny to ask what's in our food, clothes, or beauty supplies? that's 1/2 the creamy nougat of most vegans malcontent, is trying to find what we need among all the crap that's out there, and let me tell you there's animal shit in EVERYTHING! don't make a blanket statement about someone based on a few vegan knuckleheads-(and YES, they exist--we've all seen that pretentious vegangelical on Wife Swap) that you encountered in college. conversely so, some vegans could benefit from not making blanketed judgements about omnivores as well. we want to attract people to the vegan way, not send 'em running for the hills.

being a vegan will help you lose tons of weight aka "she/he can't be vegan...they're too FAT!"

WRONG! ever seen a cow, hippo, or elephant? what do you think they eat? don't be so gullible. people come in all shapes and sizes. some of this is hereditary, some of this is lifestyle. it's not my job to make judgements about someone's size because fat hatin' is so wrong. being skinny isn't a bill of health-(doesn't necessarily mean someone is anorexic either) and being fat ain't a death sentence. i've seen vegans that hardly consume vegetables, eating nothing but french fries, chips, pop, and fake meat. hell, i was one of them!
note: 8th Continent soy milk technically isn't vegan
because the source of vitamin D comes from lanolin-YUK!
information from Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World

you won't get enough vitamins and minerals being a vegan- not true. most soymilk and other soy products are fortified with all the vitamins and minerals that one needs. one can also easily obtain these vitamins from...guess what? eating fruits, grains, and veggies.

being vegan is expensive- i also used to buy into this lie. sure if you buy specialty pre-packaged food items all the time, it just doesn't pay to be vegan. however, if you read vegan cookbooks and make things from scratch, most items are fairly cheap. i learned this from Vegan with a Vengeance, How it all Vegan, and La Dolce Vegan. there are more cookbooks out there i want to get my mitts on, but i'll have to wait my turn. there are currently 9 people waiting to check out Veganomicon! most of the time i usually do a google search for a vegan recipe and almost always come across one i can use. veganism is all about DIY culture.

vegan food is gross-well, that's just silly! does any of this look gross to you?
karyn's vegan pizza
from a Chicago Veggie Diner on Halstead
and yes, vegan cheesecake DOES exist!

vegans care more about animals than they do other people- i honestly don't know how to answer this. i recall a VDB*-(VeganDoucheBag) in my past that I had witnessed berating a teenager for not being vegan-(he would move on to annihilate me for falling off the vegan wagon) and i asked him how could he possibly send a message of compassionate living when he was treating another human that way? he said his job was to speak up for animals because they couldn't speak for themselves. i understand his logic, but i'm afraid that if animals could talk they wouldn't yell at some teenage girl who didn't understand what happens to her food and make her feel like shit. who knows-- maybe i'm being arrogant trying to predict that an animal would be nice if he/she could talk. for all i know, they might just yell at us, using fowl-(ha-ha) language. i'm even thinking if they could talk, they could do other things too and as a bit of poetic justice there would be a free range human farm and we'd be on special order. my spouse asked me if i was driving down the road and there was a human and a dog in the middle of the road and i had to hit one of them to avoid hitting the other, which would i choose? he added that the human was wearing a rebel flag t-shirt. knowing that the said teeshirt represents good ol' fashioned southern hospitality, my instinct was to hit...the...human? why can't i save them both? so maybe this myth isn't a myth at all. i love animals, and that's part of why i choose ethical veganism, but i don't hate my own species. all life matters human, animal, insect et al. some people just suck.