Sarah in Veganland


Rice Pudding Anyone?
February 5, 2011, 5:57 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, Vegan Cooking

Ok so I used to think rice pudding was NASTY. DISGUSTING. HATED IT.  Wrong, again.

Actually it’s good, you just have to veganize it and eat it warm.  Not cold. And with shortgrain rice, not long.  So, to review:

warm>cold

short>long

soy>dairy (duh)

So here’s what I did.  I had about a cup of shortgrain brown rice leftover from dinner.  I put it in a saucepan.  I poured soy milk over it, just to the top of the rice.  I put the heat on medium-low.  I stirred.  I added some sugar.  I stirred.  I added some nutmeg.  I stirred.  I added some cinnamon.  I stirred.  I stirred and stirred until it was starchy and thick and simmery and smelled nutty and amazing.  I then served it into a bowl and ate it with a spoon and realized that actually this is pretty damn good and would make a delicious breakfast and now I will make extra rice on purpose all the time oh no. 

The end.

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Vegaversary One
November 12, 2010, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Food, The Journey

I officically hit the one year mark, I haven’t eaten any animal products for an entire year, and here’s what I have to report:

I am in the best shape I have ever been in.  A few months after going vegan I found the energy to take up running, something I would have never considered before.  I now run about 10 miles a week, eat an entirely plant-based diet, and have lost weight, gained energy, and love what all of this has done for my body.  The running has had a huge impact on my fitness, but I wouldn’t have thought about running had I not lost weight and found new energy because of my new way of eating.

I have made some terrific friends.  Some people I used to know I have gotten to know all over again due to veganism, and have some really great vegan friends.  We share food, recipes, health tips, and community.  We love animals, we love the earth, and we love TO EAT.

My spirituality has reached new levels.  Since lifting the huge burden of animal consumption from my conscience, I feel lighter, and more full of gratitude.  My muscles and organs are no longer weighed down by guilt.  I find that I have more time to lend a hand to anyone that wants to change their life.  My younger sister has gone vegetarian, and my older sister has cut a lot of dairy out of her diet.  I don’t pass judgement on people, like my sisters, who choose to consume some animal products and not others, because I recognize that everyone’s journey has to be their own, and whatever small steps a person can take toward cruelty-free living I acknowledge and appreciate.  I know that I have played a role in their paths toward conscientous eating, which is an amazing feeling.

I cook now.  I used to eat pre-packaged food almost every day.  I made very little fresh food and bought very little produce.  Now I cook for myself and when I sit down to eat I think about what I am going to get from this meal.  I love food and I love what it does for me.  Food no longer runs my life, as it once did.  I do not diet, I do not even restrict portion sizes, and I still maintain a healthy weight, by cooking wholesome meals packed with nutrition for myself.

I have not been ill, not even with a cold, not even once.  That’s right! Nasty viruses have gone through my workplace and I have remained unaffected.  I work with the public, in high volumes, and I don’t get sick.  My body has what it needs to protect itself from illness now.

My seasonal allergies were severely reduced.  I used to take daily allergy medication from March through September, and I really needed them–I could barely function without the help of these pills.  This past year I took allergy pills for the months of June and July. That’s it.  That’s how long I needed them.  I really did need them for two months, so I am not totally cured, but they were much less severe for those two months than they usually are.  I went from debilitating congestion and a wicked allergy-induced cough that I couldn’t shake, along with serious itchiness, to some itchiness and congestion.  No more cough. No more debiliating symptoms, just some discomfort. That’s a huge change. 

I know a lot about nutrition now.  I used to think if you ate a bunch of stuff and were basically healthy you were fine.  I now understand what exactly it is that humans need, and why.  Food can hurt and it can heal.  Food is your fuel, and if you want your body to last a long time, you have got to give it premium fuel.  Because of my newfound knowledge of nutrition, I also switched what my dogs eat–to the dismay of many vegans, I am sure.   Our digestive tract is made for processing plants, and the dog’s is made for processing meat, and now my dogs and I both eat biologically appropriate diets.

  So there you have it.  Can’t wait to see how much my life has changed this time next year!



Bean and Barley Soup
November 8, 2010, 3:42 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes

I just made this from things I already had in my kitchen, and it is SO GOOD I had to share.

Ingredients

1/2 onion

1 tbs marjoram

1tbs thyme

2 tbs basil

1 can kidney beans

1 cup pearled barley (uncooked)

2 small yukon gold potatoes

1 8 oz can tomato paste

2 tbs canola oil

8 cups vegetable broth

Directions

Cook the onions in the oil for about 3 minutes, add the herbs, wait about a minute, then add the tomato paste.  Let that simmer a little while you chop the potatoes, I leave the peel on–and I say this is because the peels are so good for you (which they are) but really it’s because I am lazy.  Add the potatoes and the broth next, then add the beans and barley.  Let the soup come to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and let it cook for about an hour, covered, or until the barley is fluffy and perfect.  Pour into a large bowl, curl up on your couch with your dogs, and enjoy!



Tofu, Sarah-Style
September 7, 2010, 2:03 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, Vegan Cooking

A friend asked me to write this because she is afraid of tofu, and a recent vegetarian.  Now, not all veg*ns eat tofu, but a lof of people who aren’t veg*ns eat tofu.  What’s the deal?  The deal is, tofu is actually really yummy when prepared well.  For me, P.F. Changs got me over my tofu apprehension, and I suggest you go there and try some of theirs if you’re skeptical. 

At home, I make it like this:

  • Buy extra firm organic tofu.  Yes, it does have to be organic, it’s one of those things.  Do a search for “Roundup Ready Soybeans” or “Evil Monsanto” and you’ll get why.
  • Press the tofu to get rid of excess water.  Do this by wrapping the block of tofu in paper or clean cloth towels, placing it on a plate, then placing your cast iron skillet or something else heavy on top of it.  I like to press it 2o minutes each side, changing out the towel each time.
  • Cut the tofu.  This is where you need to let your creativity shine.  Me? I first slice it into 1/2  inch rectangles width-wise, then cut the rectangles in half, then cut the squares into two triangles.  If that seems too hard for you, just be boring and cube it, but be sure that the cubes are only about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Remember that cast iron skillet you used to press the tofu? Get that thing hot. Which won’t take long, since it’s cast iron.  Medium-high heat usually does the trick.  Oil the pan, I like coconut oil but sesame oil adds delicious flavor, and vegetable oil will do just fine.
  • Now, add the tofu to the hot skillet. And then don’t touch it.  Let it pop and fry and get crispy. It will need a few minutes, depends on your skillet and how hot it is.  When it is brown on one side flip it, and cook the other side.
  • Let’s talk seasoning…Seriously, tofu by itself has no flavor, so you have to season it.  After pressing it you could marinade it, anything you would marinade dead animals in is fine.  I personally like to add a splash of tamari and a spoonful of chili garlic sauce when the stuff is almost done and toss it around in it. 

Ok, now that it’s cooked, what the heck do you eat it in? I eat it in stirfry.  Over rice, of course. Enjoy!



No Really, What Do You Eat?
June 18, 2010, 6:03 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, The Journey, Vegan Cooking

I eat really delicious food.  Every day, people. I LOVE food. The misconception that vegans don’t eat or don’t like to eat is one of the most irritating and least truthful of all the misconceptions (and there are many).  Today I ate really really good food that I made for myself.  And I don’t want to hear your bullshit about working full time or being a parent or any of those crap excuses for not cooking and being absolutely forced to eat McDonald’s.  I got news: no one needs to or is forced to eat McDonald’s. 

Here was my day:

Got up, put three cups of water on the stove to boil while I prepared my dogs’ breakfasts (they are not vegans, but I do make their food, more on that later, or on my dog blog).  I put a pot of coffee on (please do not lecture me on the downsides of coffee, you will see that I need it as you finish reading this) and then added my steel cut oats to the water, reduced the heat to a low-ish boil and hopped in the shower.

Fast forward a little bit, I’m ready to go, the oatmeal is done, so I pour it into a mug, mix in some blackberries and brown sugar, poor my coffee into a to-go cup and off I go.  At work as I prepare for the day I consume my coffee and freakin’ yummy oatmeal. I work.

Fast forward again to lunch.  This is easy, I bake a potato and pour Amy’s vegan black bean chili on it.  Devour. Delish. Drink a ton of water (this is so important, if you have a soda at lunch make yourself have water or unsweetened tea for a couple of weeks and you won’t understand why you drank soda in the first place).  Then I go back to work.

I shoved a granola bar in my face before I taught class, and drank yet more water.  Then I was finally done.  12 hours ago I got up, and now I was finally on my way home.  I headed to the gym, spent an hour there, and came home to make my new quick-n-easy staple:

Boil some water. While that is happening cut up some mushrooms, any kind, and dice up some garlic.  Get a pan with some oilive oil nice and warm, then toss in the mushrooms and add some fresh baby spinach, toss and cover to let the spinach steam a second.  Add pasta to the water when it boils.  When the pasta is about 5 minutes out, add the garlic to the pan with the veggies.  Let that get all comfortable and then pour in some jarred pasta sauce of your choice.  Let that warm up while the pasta finishes.  When the pasta is done toss it right into the pan with the sauce and you’re done, delcious, nutritious, fabulous. Make it even better by using whole wheat pasta and/or adding white beans.  YUM.  You wish you ate this well…



Holy Shit Mac and Cheese
April 29, 2010, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

And that is what I shall call this dish:

I took the white sauce recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, you know the one, it’s in the Red and White Cauliflower Bake recipe.  Yeah, that one you want to bathe in.

THEN…oh, and then. Then I went to Whole Foods where they now carry Daiya, and bought some Daiya, and gushed to the cashier about how incredible it is.  And probably scared her. Anyway, so I made the white sauce, then then I melted in some Daiya.  No, I do not know how much, do I ever measure things?  And then some more coconut milk (because I use that instead of soy milk, not the can kind the carton, duh) because you need to make it more liquidy after adding the Daiya. 

Then boil some pasta, and toss in some kind of green thing because if you don’t you’ll just be a fatass as you eat this.  I chose peas but plan on making this with broccoli and possibly steamed kale or spinach in the future.  Then when all is ready toss it all together in the most cheesy glorious vegan thing ever. Then eat it and try not to moan.



Sarah’s Snowy Day Split Pea Soup
February 21, 2010, 3:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I adapted this from a couple of different recipes, mainly one in Vegetarian Times.

Ingredients

2 tbs olive oil

1 cup split peas

2 onions

4 cloves garlic

1 organic yukon gold potato

1 organic red bell pepper

1 tsp paprika

3 tbs chipotle salsa (made with chipotle chiles)

1/4 cup chopped carrots

How To

Chop up everything. Yeah, all of it, and put it aside in a big bowl (minus the garlic, leave that on its own little plate or the cutting board–and use a frickin’ knife on the garlic, would ya? those garlic presses are ridiculous). Then heat the oil over medium heat in a big pot (I don’t know how big, just the biggest one you have), and stir in the paprika and the salsa.  Next add all the veggies to the pot, season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.  After that, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Next put in either six cups of water, or veggie stock (I did half and half) and the peas.  Bring that to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for an hour and a half or until the peas are tender.  After that, enjoy copious amounts of hot savory goodness while the white devil (snow) falls down around your house.