Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

1 Year Anniversary and Top 10

Thai Curry – Lightsaber 

But first, lets talk about 10 reasons I’m glad I became vegan: In recipes.  These are recipes I absolutely probably would never have tried before becoming a vegan.  Click on the picture for the recipes.  These recipes are listed in no particular order.  Well, except the numbers are sequential. 😉

1.  NO BAKE CRACK BALLS.

Why I wouldn’t have tried these prior to becoming vegan.  WTF IS FLAX SEED MEAL??  Seriously, I’m really familiar with it now, but prior to becoming vegan, it simply was not in my home.  It should be in every home, vegan or not.  It might be in yours.

If you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, do you ever cook with flax seeds?  If you ARE, did you have it in your home prior to becoming vegan, vegetarian?

2. Mujaddara.  If fancy names intimidate you, call it Spiced Lentils and Rice.

Although I haven’t made it since the first time I cooked it, I freaking dream about this stuff.  I don’t know what the hell it is about it, if it’s the sweet spices or if it’s the salty sweet caramelized onions, but the fact of the matter is it was yummy as hell.  Ok, technically there isn’t a recipe for this on my blog yet because I haven’t revamped it just yet.  But if you have “THE GOOGLES” (as my husband calls it), you’ve got yourself a recipe.

Why I wouldn’t have tried this prior to becoming vegan: Many of the dishes I now make are ethnic, not because I enjoyed ethnic foods, but because you can only eat rice and beans so many ways before you try to branch out into other parts of the world.  And lets face it, Americans are not known for their vegetarian cuisine.

What is your favorite ethnic dish?

Lentils and Rice

3.   TOFU AND DUMPLINGS

It’s not really “out there” per say.  But because I was desperate for a crust, I decided to try dumplings.  Since I was trying dumplings, I figured I might as well make a chicken and dumplings kind of thing.  And it was amazing.

Why I wouldn’t have tried this prior to going vegan: I made it out of desperation.  The only dumplings I’ve ever known were soggy mushy doughy grossness and this was amazing.  Also, tofu.  Duh.

What is your favorite vegan comfort food recipe?

Dumplings of Awesomeness

4.  TAHINI SOY DRESSING


Oh my god can I drink this stuff by the bucket.  Well, actually I probably couldn’t cause it’s so stinking creamy and rich and amazing and I want to hump it.  I crave the hell out of this stuff.  Like, a lot.  I eat salads just so I can drench it in this dressing.  It’s so muy yum.  Topped with bacuns, ugh I seriously could eat this by the boat load.

Why I wouldn’t have tried it prior to becoming vegan:  Because I was a ranch dressing purist.  A little bit of lettuce with my ranch, cheddar cheese, bacon,  and hard boiled eggs.

How do you like your salad?

Tahini Soy Dressing

5. CASHEW CREAM SAUCE

Even if I weren’t vegan, I’d still make this.  This shiitake is way yummier than even alfredo, in my opinion.  It’s crazy rich, sweet and salty and just amazing.   I only make it occasionally due to the fat content, but it’s a hit with everyone, even omnivores.

Why I wouldn’t have made this prior to being vegan?   Who needs cashew cream when you’ve got cow cream?  Also, who the hell creams a cashew?  I do, that’s who.

What is your favorite serve-to-omnivores recipe?

6.  FRENCH LENTIL SOUP

Or really anything with lentils. I love lentils. There, I said it.  They’re easy to cook, and they fit into anything.  Also, leeks.  I think I might like leeks more than lentils.  Tough call.

Why I wouldn’t have made this recipe prior to becoming vegan: Where’s the beef? Also lentils and leeks, ewwww.

What is your favorite lentil recipe? 

French Lentil Soup

7.  BLACK BEAN SOUP

Eh, ok so this is a crappy picture and I can’t find my most recent one.  To be fair, it’s debatable whether I would have made this, but it’s my favorite recipe so it makes the post.

What is your favorite soup recipe?

8.  CHICKPEA CUTLETS

These are great on a boat, or in a moat.  I would eat these with a kite, I would eat this in one big bite.  Omnivore or not, these are good eats (sorry Alton).  Isa (from post punk kitchen) sure got these suckers right!  As an entree on a plate, or smooshed between bread and cool veggies… no matter how you serve it, these are awesome.

Not sure why I would want to eat a kite though.

Why I wouldn’t have made them prior to becoming vegan: Vital Wheat Gluten.  Had no clue what the stuff was.

What is your faux meat entree recipe?

9.  DILL CARROTS  

Yum!  Sweet and salty and dilly, these are just amazing.  I never would have thought to put dill with sweetener, but it really worked.

Why I wouldn’t have made this prior to becoming vegan:  You know who needs to find new and creative ways of eating vegetables?  People that primarily eat vegetables. Not carnivores.

What is your favorite vegetable recipe?

Sweet Dill Carrots

10.  TOFU LO MEIN

To be perfectly honest, it’s the sauce that makes this recipe amazing.  I’ve carried it over into pretty much all of my Asian style cooking.   Also the fact that I learned how to seriously fry some tofu in this helped a lot.

The sauce on this is salty, sweet, spicy, savory and sour.   It was the moment I finally perfected the stiry-fry sauce.  Without fail, if I make baked tofu cubes with this sauce for my foster toddler, he will gobble the hell out of it.

What is your favorite way to prepare tofu?

Lo Mein

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37 Comments »

Kony 2012

Yes, this is a food blog.

But if you’re anything like me, odds are you sometimes ignore things on Facebook, the news, in the papers, or things that your coworkers are talking about, because you’re often in your own little struggling-to-get-by world.

If you have a little one of your own, or one that you care for dearly, you will be especially heartbroken by the thought of that little bundle of perfection being snatched from his or her warm bed to fight a fight of pure power and nothing else.  I didn’t know about Kony before today, and you might not have either.  But for 26 years he’s been abducting, mutilating, raping and killing perfect little angels.

300,000 of them.  

But it’s Uganda, who cares about Uganda?

4 Comments »

Liebster Blog Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Blog award by This is my Everest and Ryes and Shine for the Liebster Blog award – a peer recognition award. Thank you!

Liebster is German and translates into English as “dearest” or ”favorite”. A Liebster Blog Award is given to talented bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, in a way the award not only recognizes these bloggers as amazingly gifted in their own right but also as your very own personal favorites.”

How to participate:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (Some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each)
  • Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

It really is difficult to choose, because there are so many amazing blogs out there, and to be honest, Ryes and Shine and This is my Everest are two of my emerging favorites.

So with a bit of difficulty here are the blogs I choose to nominate.  I do not know their following count,

Epicurean Vegan  – I’m sure she has more than 200 followers, but I cannot verify this so I’m using her!  She is my favorite vegan blog.  Her recipes are down to earth, she is down to earth, and she has similar tastes to mine for example she posted her Tahini Salad Dressing the same day I posted MINE  (even if it did take me a week to post it!).

Play With My Food – His blog is hillarious, and with posts like THIS ONE my husband actually reads it (now if only I could make him make some of the recipes…).

The Copycat Cook – Another blog with similar tastes to mine, with tons of simple healthy recipes.

Live. Learn. Love. Eat – Another blog that I’m sure has more than 200 followers, but it’s also one of my favorites.  I love looking at the pictures of her beautiful girls so much that I sometimes feel like a stalker!  She does so more having 3 kids than I can do with 1, so she’s inspirational.    With girls like THESE how could you resist?

Veggie Grettie – Another one of my favorites – with unique recipes like THIS that are healthy aaannnnd again probably more than 200.  Ooops!

4 Comments »

Every day may not be good…

Every day I’m reminded at how good we have it, and yet how terribly awful we have it.

Last year was the most difficult year of our lives, and it just doesn’t seem to stop.  Almost every single day we have something major to deal with – and I do mean major.    Yesterday was an electrical fire in our breaker box, caused by a short we reported to our landlord a month ago, in the breaker box that needed replaced ages ago which we also complained about (exposed wires?  no, thank you!) in this house that has put us through nothing but hell including WEEKS without a working toilet (there’s only one in the house!), leaking sinks, no hot water for weeks at a time, no heat for months at a time, plus one long run on sentence.

I missed another day at work because on this coldest of days we were without heat and had to juggle keeping a 12 month old warm and entertained while still keeping the house occupied to wait for repairmen. 

But, every time something like this happens, and we get through it – I realize how strong we really are.  How strong we are to have a 6 month old (nephew) placed in our protective custody, and almost at the same time be kicked out of our home because our old landlord of 4 years wasn’t paying his mortgage anymore and into a house that is LITERALLY crumbling around us… while still having to deal with my family that has abandoned us, and courts, and visitations, and an almost 6 month old (who’s now almost 13 months) when we didn’t even have any children of our own. 

I’m proud to know just how strong we are for being able to rearrange our ENTIRE lives, and lose SO MUCH for this little man that we have devoted our lives and hearts to, knowing full well that in 6 months or a year he may no longer be ours and we may never see him, or our hearts, again…

…and yet still manage to hold each other’s hand and keep our heads up high.

We are still laughing (although we cry a little more than usual).  We are still enjoying the little things.  We haven’t let these trials bring us down all the way, though sometimes they do a little bit.

Even though yesterday sucked, there is ALWAYS something good. 

I’m thankful for our lack of ability to cook to push me into trying Daiya cheese again.  I’d tried the cheddar variety before and it made me want to chop my tongue off, but I liked the mozzarella version, and I was able to have the best pizza I’ve had since going vegan almost a year ago. Eh, it’s the little things.

I’m also thankful that after the repair men arrived we were able to spend the rest of the evening at my In-Laws nice and cozy and warm where we enjoyed watching my foster son practice walking… for 3 hours! 

He’s up to about 20-30 wibbly wobbly-toddly-beautiful-screaming-in-frustration-every-time-he-fell steps at a time, and I’m thankful that we get to enjoy them.

I’m thankful that I was blessed with a mate that makes days like yesterday worth it.

Keep moving forward!

10 Comments »

RIP Whitney Houston

I know that this is a vegan blog about cooking and other things relating to food, but for me it’s also about my journey in this life.  Every thing we see, experience, or hear effects our lives in little and big ways. 

Whitney spent a great deal of her life abusing or neglecting the journey she was given, and it’s sad that her actions lead to an early departure from this planet (or this lifetime).  But while she was here we were blessed by her beautiful voice and her spark and I’m grateful for how she touched our lives, in her own little way. 

2 Comments »

NEW *All Recipes* Tab

Just wanted to let everyone know that I created a new tab which includes all my recipes.  I realize that I don’t always enjoy flipping through hundreds of pages of posts when I’m reading a blog, so to make it easier, I’ve listed them all HERE.

It’ll be easily accessible right on the front page. 

Go peruse some recipes!

 

5 Comments »

Riddle Me This

I eat very few processed foods – mostly a mix of fresh and cooked whole fruits and vegetables with a few legumes, some soy and whole grains mixed in.

I always figured that fruits and vegetables were loaded with digestive enzymes, yet every single day I battle with heart burn. 

I eat a (mostly) whole, plant based diet so an example of a day for me looks like this:

3-4 servings fresh fruit
2-3 servings raw vegetables
3-4 servings cooked (usually steamed or cooked in soups)
1 serving soy (either milk or tofu)
1-2 whole grains or starchy vegetable
1-2 servings legumes
1 serving nut butter or nuts

So why, for the love of god, do I get so much damned heart burn?

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

8 Comments »

This was not the tofu scramble I was looking for…

There’s a vegetarian restaurant near here called Consciousness Blossoms, and there I had my very first tofu scramble.

Every since then, I’ve been absolutely in love.  In love with THAT tofu scramble.  It’s perfect.  In every way.  I could eat it every day.   And I haven’t a darned clue what the freak is in it.

Anyway, I’ve been searching high and low for that perfect recipe and finally decided to try it out, and this is what I came up with:

Tofu Scramble

Yep.  Looks good.  And in it’s own way, I suppose it was… or rather would be if it didn’t taste like tofu.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good flavored tofu, but I can’t freaking stand the taste of that very unique tofu flavor by itself.    Anyway, needless to say, it was not the tofu scramble I was looking for.

The recipe is from Isa, so I’m sure it’s good and it’s just my taste buds.  But since I didn’t approve and neither did the hubby figure, I’m not going to bother putting the recipe on here.   If you’re interested you can find it at The Post Punk Kitchen.

Do you have a favorite Tofu Scramble recipe?

4 Comments »

New Year GOALS

I really hate the word RESOLUTION. 

To me, and many people I know resolution implies something that is supposed to be done perfectly, and if you don’t, then you’ve failed to keep your resolution.  Do you know anyone that has actually ever kept an honest resolution?  It requires determination and resolve that is typically very difficult to carry through an entire year, especially if you’re trying to do something very difficult or against your normal way of life.

So instead, I have my new year daily GOALS.  I’m directing my efforts towards improvement, my motives are my day to day actions rather than an end goal (eg lose weight, etc). 

Ahem.

Goal number..

1 – Eat more fruits and vegetables every day.  8-10+ servings to be exact.  I’m a solid 3-4 a day kinda gal. 
2 – Eat fewer processed soy based products.  If I wanna eat soy, it’s going to have to come from tofu more often rather than Boca burgers, etc.
3 – Find more go-to vegan recipes that make not stopping for a bean burrito easier:  things like my Black Bean Soup,  and my Chili Mac with Kale.
4 – And unrelated to food – each day try to be a little more positive.  This is an ongoing goal, I don’t think I’ll ever NOT have this goal unless at some point I start farting rainbows.  Then I might cut back on the positivity. 

What are your daily goals for 2012?

4 Comments »

Oatmeal hates me.

I love oats.  I love steel cut oats.  I love plain oatmeal with a little splenda.  I love oatmeal with apples, or bananas, or nuts and dried fruit…  Any way you present it, I love it.

oatmeal

So whats my problem?

 
Oh…. just that almost every-single-time I have oatmeal I get wicked painful heartburn. 
 
“Oatmeal?” you say?  Well, even if you don’t… yes, oatmeal.  The worst freaking heartburn known to man.  I’ve tried a billion different ways of preparing it and adding and subtracting ingredients.  I’ve tried all the different cuts.
 
So tell me, someone.  What the heck?  It’s the only food on the planet that gives me heartburn, and I’m not willing to give up on it.  I’m vegan and I gotta have my hot breakfast food!
 
So is it acidic?  If so, does anyone have any experience with balancing alkaline foods? 
 
Please tell me someone else has this problem!
4 Comments »

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