Friday, June 25, 2010

Ah, the thrift store gods are smiling down on me!

One of my favorite things about my local co-op is the bulk foods section which I have recently started taking advantage of. I find buying certain things in bulk  (beans, lentils, rice, flour, nutritional yeast, pasta... geez, what else) saves a ton when you are on a budget like I am. If you have the discipline to do things like soak the beans over night, etc. I highly recommend joining in the bulk party. You don't know what you're missing!

So as I'm frolicking through this new land of bulk, I'm realizing, okay wow.. I need stuff to store everything in. I'm not the type of person that can have things stored in plastic bags and there not be a mess, explosion, whatever. I'm just kind of a disaster sometimes.

I had a couple empty jars that I got all cleaned off and have been using them for my nutritional yeast, and some mint & lemon thyme from my garden that I had dried. I was going to need something a bit bigger for my beans, lentils, and rice...

That ment that it was adventure day, and I was just going to have to ravage my local thrift store for some wicked sweet deals.

Here's what I scored:

-6 storage jars (99 cents each!!)
-two big enormo jars, one for my brown rice elbow pasta and one for my WWh flour
-some book about veggie gardening
-a Braggs apple cider vinegar book (rad)


-a friggin juicer

I got everything home and cleaned. People.. I'm loving my storage jars. I'm going to take some pics tonight of my treasures and post them Monday.

Okay, did I mention I found a juicer??!! As much as it pains me that more people don't realize how awesome juicers are, rarely use them, then give them away, I have to say that I wasn't that upset when I found it in front of me for $15. It's a Juiceman Jr. and it's in fab condition. My daughter and I tested it out that night, and I approve. It's been my goal to increase the amount of raw foods I eat/drink daily. Juicing fruits and veggies is a great way to do it!

So after my total score at the thrift store, I really wanted to get some books on juicing. I picked up 3, which I will have to post later (I'm at Border's right now) when I put up pics of my finds.

I also managed to pick up another vegan source book called, well The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak. I have a copy of Becoming Vegan but it's on it's way back to my school's library. I found this book for $8 used... EIGHT. DOLLARS. I'm a lover of information. Anything, give it to me. So when I finally made the commitment to veganism... a month and a half ago? I wanted to understand everything about it. Books like Becoming Vegan and The Vegan Sourcebook, are wonderful to have when you are wanting to know more about the nutrition, ethics, and lifestyle of veganism. You can buy all the cookbooks you want, but until you take the time to learn about why people all over the world practice veganism, you just won't get it. Sorry. It's so much more than knowing how to cook without animal products.

If you are vegetarian, or curious about veganism, then I highly suggest Vegan Freak: Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan World. Just go out and get it. NOW!

Okay, okay.. I'll leave you with that! More soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Heeellllooooo! New books for mama!

Oh wow. I have to apologize for my absence! I've just finished my last quarter of community college this week, and the past month has been just hellish. BUT I'M DONE! DONE DONE DONE DONE!!!

My only sanity has been a couple new vegan books that I've been feeling fortunate to have bought. The first I have to praise and worship, and worship some more:

This is the revised second edition. I'm about half way through it, but after reading the first couple pages I was hooked. There's one way to reel me in: Facts & Humor. This has both, so here I am! After reading Becoming Vegan (which the authors of Vegan Freak recommend for all your dietary questions and intake info) I wanted another book that got to the heart of veganism. It's not just about cupcakes, people (okay, I bought a cupcake book too.. But we'll get to that!!), for those of you that are new to veganism, or are curious as to what it's all about, this book is a great way to learn about the cause. Did I mention they authors have a sense of humor?? All I'm saying, I get to the part about celebrities & veganism and I almost pissed myself.

Both authors have their Ph. D. and cite resources... THANK YOU. Citing resources makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, for real. Apparently some people didn't like this about their first edition.. wtf, yo? WHY?? They are basically tell you that they haven't pulled this information out of thin air, and also that they are professional enough to give credit where credit it due. I don't know, maybe I've been writing too many research papers this year, but nothing makes me feel like I'm eating mystery meat more than information that isn't cited.

Okay, remember when I made that snarky cupcake remark?

BAM!!! Yeah, that's right. I know everyone knows about this book, brought to us by the fab authors of Vegan With A Vengeance. So as I mentioned I'm graduating from community college this week, and am planning a party later in the month to celebrate. Don't ask me why, but I knew I wanted cupcakes instead of a cake.

My daughter saw this book so we pulled it from the shelf and flipped through it briefly before deciding that it would do that job! This book is radical. I've never really been to keen on what flour is best for what, or if shortening is better than margarine, but this book outlines it all. It's a wee book, but really, once you get some basic recipes down, you will feel comfortable jazzing up your own!

That's all for now! I'm ready to relax for a bit before my graduation ceremony on Friday! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Menu for 5/15!

Breakfast: Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes w/ Vanilla Soymilk Smoothie

Lunch: Tofu Spring Rolls w/ peanut sauce & Iced Green Tea

Dinner: Churizo, Brown Rice & Bell Peppers wrapped in Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas w/ Tofu Sour Cream

*pose* Sup?

Crunk Ma PB Cookies

This morning Violet and I were up bright and early. After breakfast we were ready to get down to some serious cookie making. I had seen a recipe for vanilla vegan cookies in my The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook and they seemed like they would be yummy!

....Well I don't know what the hell happened. They just didn't 'wow' me. Once we got them out of the oven and cooled them, they were these flat, thin disks (I'm talking like 3 sheets of paper thin). *insert sad face*

I was on a mission. I was going to make DELICIOUS vegan cookies today and I wanted them to be soft & chewy, and this time around I wanted peanut butter!! *stamps foot*

I've had this PB cookie recipe for a while and it makes those softy & chewy pb cookies I love. I wondered if it would be just as amazing using soy milk and egg replacer. People, the answer is a thousand times YES!

Here is the recipe:

3/4 c. chunky peanut butter
1/2 stick or c. of all-vegetable shortening
1 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. soy milk (I used unsweetened and they still turned out great)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Follow the instructions on your egg replacer to make the equivalent of 1 egg!
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Turbinado sugar for sprinklin'

Preheat your oven to 375 deg.

Combine PB, shortening, brown sugar, soy milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. With an electric mixer beat at medium speed (if you are a hardcore baker and do it by hand, hats off) until well blended. Add your 'egg', then in a separate bowl combine your sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then while mixing on a low speed, slowly add your dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until blended.

Drop large rounded tablespoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet, giving them about 2-in space between each ball. Make a criss-cross pattern on the ball, pressing down with a fork. Sprinkle a small amount of your turbinado sugar on the top of your cookies and put in the oven for 7-8 minutes! Cookies should cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to cooling racks.

BAM! These lil' guys right here made up for the vanilla cookie disappointment. BIG TIME. Our batch made a little over two dozen. Enjoy this one!!

P.S.!!!! So I noticed in the picture that there is a stick of butter in the background. Don't worry, none of it went in the cookies. It's still sitting there since my official transition into veganism (which was the beginning of this month). I haven't had the heart to just throw it out, it seems like such a waste! I packed up all my non-vegan stuff and am giving it to a friend of mine. This just hasn't found a home yet..

Nice little Saturday dinner!

I was feeling pretty lazy tonight for dinner and wanted something that Violet and I could curl up to. I had picked up some organic brown rice pasta at Trader Joe's as well as their organic basil tomato sauce. In the water went the pasta, and into the sauce pan went the sauce along with some TVP I had pre-made last night.

Then of course my fav right now, Dave's Killer Bread, and....

*drum roll*

TA DA!! This hit the spot! V cleaned her plate and I was tempted to have seconds. I was glad that I made a big batch because this is going to be my go-to for left-over-night.

I've been craving baby bok choy so I think I'm going to head down to the market on Thursday with Violet to pick some up. I'm trying to really sit down and plan out some more meals. I picked up some vegan chirizo (sp) which I'm dying to try, plus I'm doing food inventory tomorrow so I can get a better idea of what I'm working with.

FOR SURE in the morn Violet and I are making vegan blueberry pancakes. :D

Blog & pics tomorrow!!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Right now I'm in the process of retiring my camera and upgrading to a new one. The pics that I've taken of my food is actually done on my cell phone. I basically do what I can with the pics in Photoshop to make them a little easier on the eyes.

Hopefully soon I can get some pics that have a bit more depth and quality.

Hang in there people! I'm still new at this!

Vegan TVP Sloppy Joe's

When I saw The Farm's sloppy joe recipe, I was intrigued. I'm not sure if it was because it was vegan... or because they were using this thing called TVP.

TVP stands for Textured Vegetable Protein. It's made from defatted soy flour. The oil has been sucked out of it, leaving protein and carbohydrate. It's then cooked under pressure, pressure through hole, then cut in to liiiiiiittle chunks. It comes in packs and it looks like dry bread crumbs. You add one cup of dry TVP to 7/8 cups boiling water, then let sit for 5-10 minutes. In this recipe however, you add it dry because it absorbs all the juices and flavors of the sauce.

The possibilities for TVP are endless! Spaghetti, 'meat'balls, taco/tortilla filling, chili, lasagna... and of course... what has brought us here today MF SLOPPY JOE'S. *pose*

So the recipe is as follows:

Saute 1 lrg. onion (diced) and two med. green peppers (diced) in 3 Tbsp. oil.

Then to it add:

1 1/2 c. boiling water (this is for the TVP basically)
2 1/2 c. tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. chili pepper (I left this out because of my daughter, she's 4)
2-3 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used Tamari)
1 Tbsp. mustard (I used grain dijon mustard)
2 Tbsp. sugar (I used Turbinado Sugar, yum!)
a pinch 'o' pepper
1 1/2 cups of DRY TVP

*Now, when I put it all together, I knew right away something was missing. I've been a lover of Sloppy Joe's for 27 years and my nose picked it up right away! I grabbed some organic ketchup from the fridge and added about 1/2 c. to the sauce. PERFECT!! It tied it all together.

Simmer for 20 minutes then serve on hot buns! :D

I served mine on some Dave's Killer Bread (I didn't have buns) .

Man, these were perfect. This is one that I definitely could see serving to people and they would have NO IDEA that they contained NO MEAT aaaaand! are vegan :D

Enjoy this one, people. From The Farm, to me, to you!

Vegan Tofu Salad Sammie!

I still have it all over my face. Not ashamed. After seeing a pick of a tofu salad sammie on Sweet Swallows' site I've been craving one hardcore! I recently picked up some Veganese, microgreens, 'super firm' tofu (not 'extra' or 'really really'), and some really deelish grain dijon in preparation.
Oh and let us not forget some of Dave's Killer Bread. Damn it, I love this bread...

I crumbled about 2/3 of my 1 lb. tofu block (you can totally do the whole thing. I was just making sure that if it didn't turn out, I would be wasting the whole block), then threw in one diced green onion, two small (or one big) clove of garlic very finely chopped, some black pepper & kosher salt, lemon juice, 1Tbs. of grain dijon, then blend with a fork.

I constructed my sammie with DKB, the microgreens, and sliced avadacos...
Hands down. Fav sammie. If I could run slow-mo in a field to anything, it would be this.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Master cleanse.... Day..6? Brief food-journey rambling.

So a week into my veganism, I for whatever reason felt the need to cleanse my system, and do this master cleanse that I've read about. It just seemed to make sense to me.

Can I just say, I can't wait until Friday. Friday will be day 10, and I'm done. I just can't understand the people that do it for 40 effing days. WOW. By day three I felt like I was going to go insane. I think I wasn't helping myself by looking through all my newly purchased vegan cookbooks, drooling over recipes.

I dove into some YouTube videos before I started to see what people were saying and, frankly, I wanted to laugh at the people that were shocked that this wasn't a diet, and you gain back all your weight. Well, duh you knob! IT'S A CLEANSE, NOT A DIET! You're resetting your body. Plus, if you read the original text by Stanley Burroughs he talks about transitioning into an animal-product-free diet after cleansing. So these people that just dive back into their meat & potato lifestyle are OF COURSE going to be disappointed! Sorry guys, but you've got it all wrong.

Everyone weighed themselves before starting, I however did not. It's really not about losing weight. Now, that statement right there, is huge coming from me. I've struggled with weight and food all my life. At some point in my life, it's aaaalways been about losing weight. I really took food for granted. Even after being homeless and starving I never really appreciated food. We battled, the food and I. No one ever taught me about food, and how my body uses it, what I need, and what I don't.

Over the past year and a half I've been on this food journey. I feel so grateful that it's brought me here (to veganism). I knew that I wanted to beak the cycle within my family that was this ugly food battle. Now, finally, I feel that I appreciate food, and I know what it means to me and my daughter. Just on a side note, my 4 year-old daughter has been the most amazing partner on this journey! I'm blessed to have a kid that sees trying new food as an adventure.

Oh, Friday. I can't wait until you get here. I see avocados, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers... all tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette in my future. *sigh*

Okay, some Master Cleanse ranting... making dinner for my daughter has been rough hahaha. I made her some KILLER spaghetti and 'meatballs' last night. OH LAWDY! It smelled amazing. I'm surprised it didn't enter my dreams.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vegan cookbooks that have been making me drool.

My favorite part of researching veganism has to be the cook books. I have been fortunate enough to come across a couple, either from my school's library, from garage sales, or recipes that actually have come from cook books I already had in my house.

My favorite so far is this:

I scored this beauty at a garage sale this weekend. It's not the 'New' version, but the second edition. I didn't realize who had put this book together until I got it home and began reading. I had read about The Farm this this book:

Both books rock! Though the title says 'vegetarian' The Farm's cook book is vegan, at least my copy is. The Farm was founded in the 70's, and still operates today. You can even stay there.

Becoming Vegan is all info. This one I got from my school's library. I took the time to really sit down and read it, and I do recommend it to anyone that wants more information on what veganism is all about.

Now this next book I hope every vegan has:

This book is a very VERY close second behind The Farm's cookbook.

This next book reminds me of some sort of vegan cookbook zine. It retails for about $8 and I picked it up at the bookstore downtown.

This book is just an adventure through food & cooking! If you know anything about me, know that I love adventures. There is a brief index in the beginning of book, but I highly suggest that you sit down with this one and read it front to back. There is a story that continues throughout the book, that's where the adventure comes in!

 I believe that the best way to increase your meal-index is by spending as much time with your cookbooks as possible! Pretty soon you'll know what books have what recipe, and eventually you'll just know them by heart! This is where your imagination comes in, and variation is created.

Lastly, I wanted to mention this book. My aunt gave me this book for Christmas. Before I decided to go vegan, I had already used this cookbook MANY, many times. It dawned on me a couple weeks ago that I remembered seeing 'vegan' specific recipes! Each recipe is marked with symbols for easy, vegetarian, vegan, or a dorm room favorite.

I found that many of the recipes in here that were vegetarian could easily be adapted into vegan recipes (all they had to do on at least a hand full of them was sub margarine for butter). This brings me to my second point. Take the time to look through cookbooks you already have. There are a ton of recipes that can be made into vegan dishes simply by substituting, or subtracting ingredients.

Well! This is my collection so far. I'll post & review more as they come in!