Jan 23, 2011

But What do Vegans Eat? V. I

One of the many questions I get being a vegan is, "Well if you don't eat meat, dairy or eggs, what do vegans eat?" The funny thing is, I don't know what I would do if I did eat those things because I am already going crazy with all of these amazing vegan recipes I have found. My computer is overloaded with bookmarked recipes that I can't wait to try out!

So I have decided to start a feature called "But What do Vegans Eat?" I love helping out fellow vegans with awesome recipes and I also love spreading the vegan love by showing that just because it is vegan doesn't mean it is not tasty. It just takes a bit more thought.

So without further ado, here is what I have been eating recently....

Steamed Broccoli with Orange Dipping Sauce, Edamame and Sweet Potato Fries

Orange Dipping Sauce:
(from "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone)
2/3 cup orange juice + 1/3 cup maple syrup

Sweet Potato Fries:
cut sweet potato into halves then cut again and then again until they are wedge-like fries. Drizzle olive oil over the wedges and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender on a cookie sheet.

Toffuti Cream Cheese Sandwich with Cucumber and Black Olives, Steamed Broccoli with Orange Dipping Sauce, Celery with Peanut Butter and a Clementine

Eggplant Chana Masala
from 'The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone (one of my new favorite reads!)

3 large onions
4-5 garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp curry powder or to taste
1-2 tsp cumin to taste
1 large eggplant peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 (18 0z) cans chickpeas drained
2 (14 oz.) cans peeled tomatoes drained
1 can vegetarian chili (I used Amy's)
I large handful chopped fresh cilantro

"Saute the onions and garlic with the oil, curry powder and cumin in a large pot until the onions are soft or translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the eggplant and saute for 5 minutes longer, until lightly browned and softened. Sometimes the eggplant will absorb a lot of oil, so you might need to add more to prevent sticking. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and chili. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. It will get watery but then reduce to a thick, stewy chana masala. Add more spices to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve. "
-excerpt from her book, pg. 166

(sidenote: I served this with brown rice. Also, this makes a very large portion which is great because I have tons of left-overs I can freeze. But if you don't want leftovers for 2 weeks, I suggest cutting this recipe in half or even a third)

Anyways, I hope you lovelies enjoy these fun and simple recipes. Keep an eye out for a vegan baking post soon to come!


Jan 20, 2011

Vegan Baking V. I

I have decided to start a Vegan Baking feature as I continue in my adventures in being vegan. My grandma, being the amazing cook and baker she is, has been helping me to make some amazing vegan baked goods. I joked with her that we should start out our vegan bakery....
Anyways, here is the first round...

Vegan Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe here
(the key here is to pull apart the dough after making it into a ball, then sticking it back together with the pulled-apart sides sticking up. I know, this sounds complex and unnecessary but it helps to make the cookies nice and chunky)

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and Buttercream Frosting

recipe here and frosting here

Like I have said before, many people think that being vegan means you can't indulge in life. I disagree. It just takes a bit more determination and willingness to experiment.

Look forward to more vegan treats to come!

Jan 15, 2011

Doing My Part

Click Play for some awesome music by First Aid Kit to listen to while reading (it's a long one!)

First Aid Kit (Tangerine)

hello lovely readers!
Hope your weekend is going well and that you are all taking a bit of time for yourselves. I think it so often becomes the American ideal that we should feel guilty for relaxing. My thoughts? Life is too short to not enjoy yourself. So take some time for you!

Anyways, I just thought I would share a few things with you....

Last night I went to a launch party for a website that pulls together vegetarian and vegan resources around the Cincinnati area and the tristate called CincyVeg.

It was launched at this amazing cafe/store that I had no idea existed in the Cincinnati area called Park + Vine and the best way I can describe it is like a general store of the future. It kind of has that small town feel to it. Like back in the old days when you went to the general store to get all your supplies. You can also grab a coffee there and pick up some amazing vegan pastries. The general store part in the back hosts a variety of vegan products all in one area. The amazing thing is that you don't have to check the ingredients to make sure they are vegan because the store owner is vegan and makes sure everything he purchases is vegan-friendly! It makes shopping so much easier.

Anyways, the launch party was amazing. Ther was tons of free sample food ranging from vegan gravy over seitan and rice to strawberry cakes and chocolate chip cookies. There was great live entertainment and I met some awesome fellow veg heads! I definitely plan on returning to Park + Vine and hopefully doing some more networking and meeting some more vegans. I think it is important to get involved and meet others experiencing the same thing you are. It definitely helps you along in the process of transitioning and staying committed. Park + Vine makes it very easy to stay involved because they host events almost every weekend ranging from classes on permaculture design and composting to vegan chilli bake-offs! I am so glad that I found this little gem and cannot wait ot get more involved.

So before leaving last night, in an effort to do my part to not partake in animal products, I purchased some amazing body soap/shampoo and hemp conditioner that are guaranteed to never have been tested on animals and contain only plant=based products. I used them this morning and let me tell you, they are so lovely. I bought Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in eucalyptus and Nature's Gate Nourishing Hemp Conditioner. The soap can be used on the body and hair and is so invigorating. They also gaurantee that all the oils are fair trade which is pretty awesome. The soap is in oil form so you only use a tiny amount, combine it with water and you get a really soapy sudsy mixture! So really, I can see this bottle lasting me a very long time. I also ordered vegan lip balm online from Hurraw! Balm.

(I got coffee bean, chai spice and coconut!)

Concluding Thoughts....
I know that you can't control every aspect in your life, nor do I want to. I think when you become vegan it is easy to go crazy over all of the little changes. I think it is important to keep track of the goal, which in my case is to improve animal welfare, improve my health and to help the environment. I think the best I can do is to do my part when possible.

Well I will leave you all with some photos of another yummy vegan meal I made this past week. No recipe really, just kinda whipped it together.

breaded, baked tofu with sesame soy broccoli and veggies with couscous (sprinkle some crushed cashews on top)

images via: my camera and here

Jan 12, 2011

Hello, I'm Vegan

Hello my lovely readers.

I am not sure I have really talked much about my eating habits in the past, so I am not sure if you knew that I was vegetarian. Well, to be precise, I was vegetarian for 3 years and started eating fish about a year and a half ago so technically that is considered pescetarian.

The other day I decided to read "Skinny Bitch, a no nonsense, a tough love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous." (click here for the link)

It was on the New York Times best seller list and I can honestly say it is such a great read. Authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin write in a way that, as the title suggests, is a no nonsense approach that left me laughing out loud at their witty banter. As shallow as the title sounds (they had to draw people in somehow, right?!) It is actually a really interesting book packed full of really interesting facts about the food we eat. What I didn't realize is that this book advocates for being vegan. Now before I scare you all away, I am not suggesting you all go vegan. But just reading the book, and being knowledgeable about the food you put into your body would be a wise decision for anyone, I think.

After reading the book (which I finished in one sitting...it is small), it got me thinking about all of the facts about factory farming that I had so conveniently chosen to forget over the years. You see, I was vegan for a couple of months about 4 years back. At that point I was a freshman in college, living in a dorm with no access to a kitchen and no knowledge of nutrition. So, as you might have guessed, that trend did not last long. But the knowledge remained, deep in the back of my heart. I won't go into detials, I am not one of those people who are going to force my opinions on anyone but if you want to read more about factory farming and other reasons to become vegan including improving your health and helping the environment, you can click here, here and here . Also, I found this really positive documentary on becoming vegan. It is not the typical slaughterhouse documentary that you normally see on PETA's website. It talks about great vegan restaurants, farms, etc. It does have a section about factory farming that may be difficult to watch but in my opinion, ignorance is not bliss, so do yourself a favor and watch it. It may be hard, but it is the truth my friends. So click here

You can also check out these two lovely videos on youtube full of pictures of cute animals and quotes on being vegetarian/vegan

So yes, I have now become a vegan. At first I struggled with the idea of missing out on eggs and dairy (and to be honest I am still struggling a bit with it) but that is perfectly normal. Eating is a learned habit and it will take some time to break certain eating habits. I know that there is the argument that life is too short to not enjoy things. And while I completely agree, I cannot be okay with knowing that I am supporting certain cruel practices. I cannot describe the amazing feeling to you of knowing the impact that I am having on animals and the environment. A clean conscience feels pretty good my friends. Anddddd, being vegan doesn't mean that I will be missing out on yummy treats. It just means that the they will be healthier for me and that I will be doing myself, the animals and the planet a favor! I have already prepared vegan sugar cookies

and cooked this amazing Indonesian noodle salad.

You can find the recipe here.

Okay, so I know this post is long and I so appreciate you sticking with me this far. I give you major credit. I don't want to come off sounding preachy and I will never force my views on anyone. But after reading this I hope you feel a bit more knowledgable about the subject.

As for the future of the blog, I plan on keeping all of the same elements, but also incorporating a bit more vegan/vegetarian tidbits in as well. So keep an eye out for photos and recipes while I experiment in the world of vegan cooking.

images via: here and weheartit.com

Jan 10, 2011

Seeing the Beauty in the Unconventional...

First of all, I have to credit The Curious Pug for finding this wonderful slideshow on msn of an old farm manager's cottage, one of the only four remaining cottages left on the Henry Ford plantation in Georgia. A lovely couple saved it and turned it into such a cozy little home. I adore it and I thought you would too!











I think it is such an "American idea" to feel the need for so much space. I personally love cozy little spaces that feel intimate. I think this place finds the perfect balance. I feel like houses have a personality all of their own. I'm sure if this house could talk he would say "Thank you dearly".

Jan 6, 2011

Everyone Else is Taken...

Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
(this song makes me happy like no other song can)

Came across this quote today.
Don't know why I haven't come across it before.
But I absolutely adore it.
so I created this little gem


Jan 4, 2011

Olive & Willow

i kind of (really) adore these prints from Olive & Willow....

and their jewelry...just as whimsical and beautiful


Tea Time Tuesdays V. IV

Okay, so I am changing things up a bit this year with a different twist on my usual "Tea Time Tuesdays" posts. Just as a refresher, these are the posts where in the past I have interviewed some of my favorite bloggers and shared their blogs with all of you lovely readers.

As much as I loved communicating with and sharing my fellow bloggers, setting up interviews and organizing them all became just a bit much. Plus, I felt like the questions became mundane and repetitive. So instead (with the permission of the featured bloggers of course) I am sharing my thoughts on their blogs and what makes them so great. I feel it will be a bit more personal of a touch. I hope you enjoy!

Oh and this feature is called "Tea Time Tuesdays" because I would be delighted to sit down and have tea with any one of these wonderful bloggers.

So without further ado... starting out the new year is......
Chelsea from Tea Talk
(fitting, I know!)

The reason I love Chelsea's blog so much, well I have many reasons, but one of the major reasons is that she has such great outfit posts where she features both herself and her boyfriend. The clothing does not feel pretentious and is actually something that can be done and worn by most people. I love that she also includes her boyfriend in the photos because I feel that men's clothing and style is too often overlooked in the blogging world. I think we all wish our boyfriends dressed a little more like him, don't you agree?!

As for Chelsea, I absolutely love her style. She does a great job putting together a a fun vintage-ey look but most of her finds are really accessible. Plus aren't her freckles and platinum blond hair adorable?! I have had the opportunity of being in contact with her (I won one of her fantastic giveaways) and she was so sweet. Sincerity is always endearing.

Another thing I love so much about Tea Talk is that you can really tell how much Chelsea loves where she lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She showcases some awesome places to check out while there and it really seems like she takes advantage of living in such an awesome city!

Anyways, I hope after reading this you feel encouraged to stop by Tea Talk to check out such a wonderful blog. It will be well worth your time!