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Archive for September, 2009

Well, it’s official.  Tomorrow is V-day.  For the next year I will cast aside all animal products to embrace a healthier and more compassionate way of life.  I am looking at the coming change with excitement, anticipation and a slight bit of trepidation.  I have the support of family, friends and vegans everywhere.  One of my friends has even signed on to go vegan with me.  I have to admit that I feel much less likely to slip up with her holding me accountable.  

Tomorrow morning promises the start of a new adventure.  It also promises a very tasty smoothie for breakfast.  I am looking forward to my new challenge.  Bring on the veggies!!

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As mentioned in the previous post, I was experimenting with some new recipes this weekend.  The lentil loaf recipe appealed to me because I had some leftover rice in the fridge and I love lentils.  I put my own twist on this recipe which I found in the New Farm  Cookbook edited by Louise Hagler and Dorothy Bates.  I highly recommend this cookbook.  It has many great recipes that can be customized to suit anyone’s taste.

Spicy Lentil Loaf

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups Lentils

3-1/2 cups water

2 small or 1 large Onion, chopped

2 cups Brown Rice, cooked

1/2 tsp. minced Garlic (optional)

1/3 cup + 1/3 cup Hot or Mild Salsa, divided

 Seasonings of your choice (I like cumin, chili powder and crushed red peppers)

 

Directions:

Rinse and sort you lentils then cook them with 3-1/2 cups of water.  Lentils are ready when almost all of the water has been absorbed.  While the lentils are cooking, sauté your onions and garlic in oil or water until onions are clear and soft.  In a large bowl, partially mash lentils with a fork or potato masher and combine with the onion and garlic mixture, brown rice, 1/3 cup salsa and seasonings.  Firmly press this mixture into a well oiled loaf pan and cover the top with remaining salsa.

Bake for 60 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

I enjoyed this with some vegan cornbread and mixed green salad.  How do you like you lentils prepared?

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It was really nice to get a chance to relax this weekend.  There was not one day last week when I didn’t have to be somewhere.  I made the most of my downtime by trying out some vegan recipes from The New Farm Cookbook by Louise Hagler and Dorothy Bates.   I have had this cookbook for quite a few years and I loved it even before I went vegetarian.

Since I only have a few days left until the big V-day I wanted to try some recipes that I hadn’t yet.  That way I could expand my arsenal of tasty vegan stand by foods.  On the menu were Vegan Pancakes, Lentil Loaf, Dal, Soft Sandwich Buns and Banana Bread.  All of them were fantastic, but I have to admit that I improvised a bit on some of them.   I’ll be sure to post my adapted recipes later this afternoon and will hopefully be adding pictures shortly.   I just need to get the camera dusted off and ready to go.

What are some of you favorite vegan go to foods/recipes?  Let us know the foods that you can’t live without and definitely feel free to pass on the recipe.

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Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a great giveaway going on at Chocolate Covered Katie.   Katie, an amazing vegan goddess, is giving away a box of Amazing Grass Chocolate SuperFood Energy bars.  She also has a coupon code available that gets you 15% off purchases from Amazing Grass.  Get more information on how to enter, just click here.

Even if you aren’t interested in winning free stuff (But who doesn’t love free stuff?), you should check out Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog for some amazing vegan recipes.

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When I got home tonight I decided it was time to start going through the pantry to prep for my coming veganization.  With V-day a mere week away I knew that there would be some things that either needed to be consumed or disposed of.  When I began to go through my stockpile of veggie meats, boxed pastas and assorted mixes I was really surprised at how many of them contained animal products.

There were several items that came as no surprise.  Like the brownie mix, parmesan garlic pasta or my old standby Kraft mac and cheese.  Then there were several unexpected finds.  Almost all of the veggie meats contained egg whites and casein.  Some even had powdered milk.  This was an interesting discovery for me. 

The revelations in my pantry led me directly to the freezer and my stash therein.  Lo and behold, I found that only 2 of the 4 brands of veggie burgers that I currently have in stock are vegan.  Sadly my favorite spicy black bean burgers are of the non-vegan variety.  Also, the veggie corn dogs and chick’n strips did not pass inspection. 

After all of this label reading I learned a valuable lesson.  ALWAYS read the label.  You may be surprised by what is in your food.  I know I was.  And while I am sad have to set aside my spicy black bean burgers, I am confident in the fact that I can make a homemade version that will be just as good.  I definitely want to do some more research on animal based food additives as well.  So if anyone has or knows where I can find a complete listing of them, please let me know. 

That is all for now, but watch for more updates as V-day approaches!

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This weekend I got to spend some quality time with my parents.  I also got to tell them about my plans to go vegan.  My mother was quite encouraging until I mentioned the part about doing it for a year.  ” Really?  A whole year.  Why would you do that?”  She looked like I’d told her I was going to try walking on my hands for a year.  I explained that I wanted to see first hand all of the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.  It’s about more that just changing my eating habits, it’s also about making a conscious effort in my  everyday life to think about the impact my choices have on a larger scale. 

My dad on the other hand was pretty nonchalant.   “That’s interesting.  What are you gonna eat?”  I told him  I can eat anything except animal products/ by products or foods that contain animal based additives.  He just sort of nodded and left it alone.  For the rest of the day, at random points, dad would throw out questions like,  “Can you eat eggs?”  “What about breads, they have milk in them don’t they?”   

When it was time for me to head home dad was still contemplating all the different things I wouldn’t be able to eat and mom was excited to try some of the recipes I had found.  Mom even said she would pick up some Tofury when she knew I would be by to visit.  You’ve got to love that!

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In The Veganing…

To say that I am truly a virgin to the ways of vegany goodness is only about 70% true.  I’ve dabbled in the world of vegan cuisine off and on for several years.  I’ve also been primarily vegetarian for quite sometime.  But  lately I have been thinking about the benefits that a vegan diet would have to my health, environmental sustainability and… my wallet.  With these thoughts in mind I have decided that for the good of the world, or more importantly myself, to go vegan for 1 year.

I know.  Some may find this daunting and even crazy but let me explain.  Despite being raised by very meat and potatoes type parents I’ve never been overly fond of meat.  Ground meats in particular have been low on my list of culinary favorites.  At the tender age of 5, the cheeseburger in my Happy Meal “crunched” as I bit into it.  There was pretty much no going back to after that.  As to eggs and dairy products, I will be mourning some hefty losses.  Eggs have always been a cheap and easy meal when money is short.  And omelettes are always my go to breakfast item when eating out.  While milk will not be missed at all, I will be very sad to give up the melty goodness of cheese. 

Upon embarking on this vegan journey I decided to start this blog.  It will not only serve as a motivational tool for me, but will hopefully help others who have toyed with the idea of veganism.  I will share my  discoveries, challenges, frustrations and recipes in hopes of creating an accurate look at the transition to becoming vegan. 

V-day is October 1st.  In leading up to that I would love suggestions and recommendations from all you vegans out there.  Especially revolving around substitutes for cheese as I know that will be the hardest thing to give up.

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