Monday, July 25, 2011

Recent Changes and Some Not So Recent

For nearly 10 years I was vegan and I was happy with it. I suddenly LOVED cooking and creating in the kitchen. Last spring, that was no longer true. I wasn't happy. I was craving and nothing I did seemed to change that. The worst of it was that I was what I was craving; Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's!

I made a compromise with myself one day while I was driving. I wouldn't go to the big McD, but instead I would run to safeway and get some muenster cheese from the deli and a dozen eggs. I went home and made a grilled cheese sandwhich and 2 eggs over medium and I was a sane person again.

It boils down to this. We've fallen on some difficult times. Sometimes we just can't afford to eat well. I make sure the kids have more balanced meals than I manage to provide for myself, but in the end, our economic situation had made veganism an unhealthy choice. There's only so much cheap pasta and cheap sauce one can eat (especially when I shouldn't be eating tomatoes in the first place).

So, like it or lump it, I eat some dairy, though I cannot tolerate straight milk, and eggs. I did finally eat that Fillet-O-Fish one day when I was starving and it was that or an over-sweetened oatmeal and fries. It was okay, I guess. I wish the tartar sauce had been tarter sauce. It just sort of fell flat, which is fine. I'm not beating myself up over it, though I am pretty sure my husband would freak. My kids both eat eggs right now, and seeing as how Alex is 13 and has a say in his food choices and he chose to include eggs, I'm okay with that. My husband is very unhappy that our toddler is eating eggs and some dairy. And I agree that it's not ideal, but I'm not going to lose sleep over a financial reality like this.

However, a majority of our meals are still vegan, though we at the moment are not. I don't know if my eldest child will ever return to veganism, and I am fine with that as long as he's happy and healthy and doesn't have to worry about what he eats. Food should be a happy thing, eating should be an enjoyable experience.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

COMING SOON.... Vegan Spinach Artichoke Success

We had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you all had the same. The kids had a blast doing that typical American Christmas, and in the evening we had my parents over for a variation on Christmas Dinner. I even put out appetizers! Weird, huh? It's not really my thing right as my dad was walking in the door I noticed that we had a ton of stuffed olives at the back of the fridge.

I cut up some carrots, placed a different type of olives on either side of the carrots, and I still had a half empty platter. I peered back inside the fridge for further inspirations and saw the artichokes, so away I went. I pulled some spinach out of the freezer and the last couple slices of vegan cheese from the fridge. Then I mixed those in a pot on medium-low with the jar of artichokes and about half the marinade mixture with a little freshly ground mixed peppercorns. All I have to say is, nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. A real recipe and MAYBE pictures are coming soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marinated Strawberries Salad

2 lbs Fresh Strawberries (tops removed & quartered)
12-18 oz. Mixed Salad Greens or Baby Spinach
2 large Carrots (grated)
1 large Cucumber (peeled, halved & cut into thick chunks)
1/2 package of Chickpea &/or Lentil Sprouts
1 can of Chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbs Dried Basil
1 1/2 tbs Vegan Cane Sugar
2 tbs Frozen White Grape Juice Concentrate
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

20-30 Fresh Basil leaves mixed into Salad Greens

Mix Balsamic Vinegar, Sugar or Grape Juice Substitute, Dried Basil and Freshly Ground Pepper in a large mixing bowl or a large plastic storage container. Add Strawberries, stir and refrigerate. For best results chill for 8 hours, stirring every 2 hours.

Mix remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl. Use the Marinated Strawberries in place of a traditional salad dressing.

Ahh Progress

I have made quite a bit of progess on the bones of what I am calling The Veg Book for now. I have made a chart of protein content of various vegetarian protein sources. I've compiled a huge list of the dishes I want to include in the book and I've given myself a deadline for the rough draft. It needs to be done about a week before Sara and Dallas come to pick the kids up.

I've also decided to post a few of the recipes here as I finish them. I've given myself a goal of finishing 5 of the recipes before bed tonight and posting one of those here tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Cookbook!

I've been constructing the bones of the cookbook that some people have been trying to get me to do for a while. Well, Dallas was the straw that finally broke this donkey. When he dropped the kids off here at the beginning of the summer he asked me for recipes to help him cook healthier meals for the kids. I feel like I've got most of the dishes that I really must include on the list already. I may be missing a few, but that's okay for now.

More than the meals and dishes that are going into the book, I think that I need to include a section on nutrition of ingredients, presentation, locating ingredients & economizing. Some of that will take a good deal of re-research since I never remember the exact details, rather the general concepts. For example; I don't know how much Potassium watermelon has, just that it has it in abundance.

So, that's the plan folks. I am striving to have the first draft of the cookbook finished by the time the rest of the kids go back to Florida in mid-August.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Fare

I have determined that I need to make more of an effort to expose the kids to the fundamentals of food. I want to show them the building blocks. I want to sit around a bowl shelling peas with them. I want to shuck fresh ears of corn with them. I want them to know the smell of the cornsilk. I also want them to get to know the heros of the food world; the farmers. So, the best I think I can do is weekly trips to the local Farmer's Market.

At the Farmer's Market we can also do our part to help out our local farmers. In my lifetime the landscape of Northern Virginia has radically changed. I moved in and out of the area my whole childhood and everytime I returned there were fewer farms. I mean drastically fewer farms. Whole communities sprouted up where a farm once had been. Whole cities, a.k.a. planned communities, have literally sprung out of the forests. McMansions and real mansions have replaced cows and corn.

I feel really good about this and I hope the kids will have fun. I think it's good to slow down a bit. They need to know that food doesn't have to come from a box or a can or a microwave.

Friday, May 1, 2009

An Attempt to Recapture Curry Noodles

This is another adventure in replacing the long, lost tomato in my day to day diet. Spaghetti and other noodles are a mainstay around here. It's kinda hard to raise kids without a weekly (at least) night devoted to that tomatoed temptress of carbs, but we've been limited to either Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles or Balsamic Bruscetta Noodles. It is starting to feel a bit repetitive because we're now missing just good old Veggie Spaghetti. So, I suppose it's time that I get down to business and come up with some new ways to dress my pasta.

Another flavor I've been missing is the Curry Noodles that Trader Joe's used to have. Oh, they were so divine with a little EVOO, Onion Powder (the cheap, 2 for $1 crap from Wal-Mart for some reason worked best) and diced Pink Lady or Cameo Apples! I ate that almost everyday for about a year for one meal or another. But, like all things the Trader Joe's has carried and I've become addicted to, it was a short lived product and nothing even remotely like it is available anywhere that I can find. I've tried and miserably failed to recreate the flavor using curry powder on noodles.

Tonight I will try to blend the feel of a kid friendly Spaghetti Dinner with the Curry Noodle thing in this concoction I came up with.

3 cloves Garlic minced
1 Medium Onion diced
1 pound Cauliflower Florettes
2 cups of Sweet Peas (maybe... I haven't decided yet since we had peas last night.)
2 cups Plain Soy Yogurt
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs Pataks Biryani Curry Paste
1-2 tbs Sriracha Hot Sauce

I will sautee the Onions and Garlic, then add the Cauliflower and cook until it's about halfway tender. Then I will mix in the Yogurt, Curry Paste and Sriracha and as much water as is necessary to bring it to the consistency of Alfredo Sauce. Then I'll add the Peas and let it simmer until the Peas turn bright green and I'll put it over Spaghetti Noodles.

We'll see how it turns out, but I have high hopes for this one.

If this does turn out well I will take pics and post the final recipe.