Hey Bloggies! This week has been pretty crazy the moving is coming along pretty well but there is still so much to do! We are lucky that a good friend of ours is letting us store as much stuff as we can in her basement which will be great and we are hopping that means we don’t have to get a storage unit. Oh moving how ready I am for it to be over and it’s only just begun.
One of the benefits of moving has been the pantry challenge and it has been going great for us. We have been cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer and cupboards and I’m proud to say our fridge and freezer are almost empty.
Yesterday we picked up our first CSA and I am excited to see what dishes I can come up with using all these yummy ingredients.
This Week’s Vegetable Share Contains:
Here are some yummy meals we’ve eaten this week:
JL began her vegetarian-to-vegan journey in 2002. Four years ago she made a conscious decision to change careers and find balance in her life, which meant she could finally explore interests outside of work. Those include volunteering for nonprofit organizations, enjoying all kinds of red wine, taking up knitting and running a few half-marathons and triathlons each year. Then she began eating vegan; she became obsessed with cooking. When she’s not making grocery lists, training for a half-marathon or trying just one more recipe she found on a vegan blog, she goes to work as an administrator at a community college and teaches a course on nonprofit management at a local university. JL lives in metro NYC with her husband and two cats. You can find her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JLgoesVegan or in the blogosphere http://jerrilynn.tumblr.com/ where she’s taking baby steps to find her blog voice.
EVERYBODY HAS A STORY
At the age of 36 I quit eating meat. Almost. I was in Kenya for work. We were in a small village in the Rift Valley. There was a celebration held in for an auspicious occasion and my colleagues and I were guests of honor. Early in the day an elder from the community brought a goat to the site of the celebration—a truth demonstration of generosity. The goat was presented and subsequently killed and boiled. That evening, we were offered the goat for dinner. To refuse it would have been an affront (or so I told myself?) Essentially I met a goat, shook his hand then ate him. I became a vegetarian.
Not exactly. I become one of those—I‘m a vegetarian, but I eat fish—people. That went on for nearly four years. Fish was my crutch. I didn’t eat fish at home but had convinced myself that eating out would be too difficult so I should just order fish. I ate out a lot. On a vacation four years ago, after eating fish to the point of ridiculousness, I decided it was time to be a real vegetarian. I gave up fish.
During this span of eight years I had somehow morphed from a 36 year old couch potato who smoked a pack a day and would eat half a bag of fun size Baby Ruth candy bars in one sitting to a non-smoker, 20 pounds lighter, gearing up for her first marathon in 2005 at the age of 40.
Fast forward to January of 2010, age 44. I run. A lot.
I compete in triathlons. I eat vegetarian and pretty healthily at that. But somehow every November and December I would find myself nursing a post-race season injury. Less exercise and holiday feeding frenzies = chubby JL each January. This year I received an email from my local yoga studio about a cleanse workshop. I had never done a cleanse in my life, but it intrigued me. I met with Jill of Hera Wellness who led an extremely informative workshop explaining a variety of cleansing methods. And I was off, a 14-day cleanse of clean eating (no processed foods), no coffee, no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no wine (what?! no red wine?! I survived) and, in the middle, three days of Master Cleanse. At the conclusion of the cleanse I felt fantastic and became a cleanse convert. I continued eating the same healthy way (but resumed red wine and a cup of coffee a day) and I continued to eliminate dairy and wheat from my diet. Suddenly I realized that the only animal based foods in my diet were honey and eggs. I realized I was an egg away from being a vegan.
For six months I have been eating vegan. I have never felt better. I had my annual physical with my general practitioner about 5 months into my new vegan diet. I told her to indicate in my file that I was eating vegan. She scrunched up her nose and asked “Why vegan?” I described a typical day of eating and she concluded that I may be one of the healthiest eaters she knows. Four days later she phoned me with my blood work results. She began the conversation by saying “Keep eating the way you’re eating.” My already decent cholesterol from a year ago (174) was down to 128.
How did I go about making the transition? I am a planner. I love a good spreadsheet. I knew I couldn’t go into this without really thinking it through; I consulted with my nutrition counselor and with her guidance, and the vegan blogosphere, I equipped myself to do it right. As a result of reading many, many (many! blogs) I purchased several books
The first vegan blog I stumbled upon was Cook.Vegan.Lover! After reading Lindsay’s blog I kept clicking links and finding more and more great blogs to read.
Where to start with all of this great information on the web? Most mornings, before going out for a training run, I sit down with a cup of warm water, cayenne pepper and lemon or a cup of half-caf/ half– decaf coffee and I read, read, read. Each time I stumble upon a recipe I must try, I cut and paste it into a Google document (I have 192 recipes, but who’s counting?) Then, when out and about I may find one of the new ingredients because it’s on my iPhone. (Medjool dates, Bragg Liquid Aminos, chia seeds, dulse flakes, nutritional yeast)
I used to eek through preparing a meal. Boca cheese burger on a wheat bun, steamed veggie, a salad. Now I’m obsessed with vegan cooking. I plan my meals. Each Saturday my husband and I hit the farmer’s market and my local health food store for most of my organic produce and “hard to find” items, and Trader Joe’s for the rest. On Sundays I move into the kitchen, turn my stereo on full blast and just start cooking. I try out new recipes with tofu, TVP and tempeh. With lentils and beans. Soups, stew. Veggie burgers, collard and kale salads, quinoa a zillion ways, chutneys. I purchased a L’Equip dehydrator and make “raw” kale chips, flax crackers and sunflower seed bread.
I take pictures of my food.
They say the journey is the destination. I have been on a vegetarian journey and have finally arrived to eating vegan. Note I say eat vegan. I now find myself confronted with what it means to be vegan. The journey continues.
Last year I had the pleasure of working with CSN and doing a giveaway for one of their products, a Bodum French Press, so this year I’ve been given the opportunity again and will be doing a review this time.
Did you know that CSN has tons of great products for every room in your home? One of my favorites are these Bathroom Vanities which I could only dream of having one day in our own home. However the ones in our new apartment are a huge improvement over our last two places.
I have a couple products that I have my eye on, I will have that review for you soon!
Three Bean Burgers
- 2 cups of black eyed peas, kidney beans, and chickpeas
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2-3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2t chili powder
- 1/2t cumin
- 1/4t garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1T hot sauce (I used VT Pepperworks Chocolate Chipotle)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Mash the beans up and add in the spices, chickpea flour, panko breadcrumbs and hot sauce. Form the patties into 1/4 cup patties and bake for 10 minutes on each side.
- 5 large carrots, sliced into thin strips
- 1t Montreal Chicken Spice
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss the carrots with Montreal Chicken spice and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- 1 head of Red Russian Kale, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2t salt
- 1/2t garlic powder
- 1T nutritional yeast
- pepper to taste
Heat a sautee pan over medium-high heat and add in the vegetable broth and kale. Sautee until the kale begins to wilt and stir in the salt, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and pepper.
This weekend we have been busy with packing and cleaning our apartment that I unfortunately haven’t had time to blog until now. We are moving in a few weeks …to my parents …I know not what we planned but our apartment won’t be ready to move into until early/mid July so we are going to be homeless. We have to put all of our belongings in storage so we are hoping to do that ASAP.
This weekend I have been having major cravings for vegan grilled cheese so both Saturday and Sunday morning I had a yummy vegan grilled cheeze and a Bubbies pickle.
After a yummy breakfast it was time to head to the farmers market to pick up the items for our pantry challenge. I found a number of great items from Pete’s Greens organic produce stand and some snap peas from another organic farm stand. We also headed to another farmers market where I picked up some more organic produce.
- Pak Choi $2.50
- Red Russian Kale $2.50
- Red Bliss Potatoes $1.50
- Purple String Beans $1.75
- Snap Peas $3
- Garlic Scapes $2
- Strawberries $6
- Total: $19.25 ( I also cheated a bit because we needed bananas for banana soft serve and lunches so I bought $4 worth of bananas from the grocery store)—New Total: $23.25
- Q: How is your pantry challenge going?
Saturday lunch was baked sesame tempeh with roasted broccoli and Alexia waffle fries with a sriracha aioli.
Dinner on Saturday was leftover tempeh with pak choi and curry noodles, unfortunately so hungry that I forgot to take a photo.
Lunch today was wonderful. My parents came down to help us pack and brought green beans, potatoes, broccoli and mushrooms which I made into a lunch along with the beans I cooked up. We had balsamic roasted broccoli, soy roasted green beans, mashed potatoes with mushrooms gravy and a trio of beans.
Dinner was great as well- I used up the last of the beans I cooked up and formed them into bean burgers which I baked in the oven along with carrot fries (my new obsession) and then I cooked up some kale with a little garlic and tossed with a large pinch of nutritional yeast.
Alright Bloggies I am exhausted after this crazy weekend so I am going to catch up on some episodes of Parenthood and enjoy an evening treat.
So over the next few weeks the Hubz and I are going to be crazy busy with moving and various events. I am taking this busy time as an opportunity to feature a number of different guest bloggers who will be covering a number of different topics. I will be blogging whenever possible and will keep you up to date on the pantry challenge but for now enjoy the upcoming guest blog posts.
Hello Cook. Vegan. Lover. readers! My name is Lauren, I’m a blogger and I chronicle my journey towards healing Crohn’s disease through a high raw vegan diet, on my blog, Ginger is The New Pink. I’ve had crohn’s for 5 years and became a vegan shortly after diagnosed and noticed a huge difference in my symptoms. I am now pregnant with my first child, due in November and staying vegan, or healthy hasn’t been much of a challenge at all.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I felt great for 2-3 weeks, I was eating well, exercising, meditating, doing all my usual “rituals.” Then came the morning sickness. Or as many call it, “all day sickness”. I found myself not hungry or wanting to eat at all. Exercise.. ha, and anything else that involved moving from the couch, out of the question. I’ve seen a lot of people leave veganism at this time. They tend to crave more bland protein foods like eggs, fish, or chicken, but not me. I had no cravings, and leaving veganism was never an option for me. I got through this time with lots of brown rice and other grains. My doctor assured me that the baby would be healthy because of how I ate before I became pregnant. Phew! What a relief! I knew my mostly veggie, high raw, vegan diet would help the baby thrive, while I couldn’t.
Luckily this phase did pass. At around 10 weeks my appetite started coming back and I was craving kale again! Happy day! Since then I’ve started working out again, doing prenatal yoga, cooking, un-cooking, and just all around enjoying feeling good again! I was so happy to be able to provide my baby with the right nutrients and vitamins I know he/she will thrive on. My doctor questioned my diet at first, but when she realized how much I knew about veganism, and what I should be eating for the baby, she stated that I knew more then she did about nutrition! Score for vegans! I do take a B12 shot once a month, vegan DHA oil, a vegan prenatal and a few other supplements as “insurance.” But I am pretty confident that as long as I eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies and make sure my protein is a little higher then normal, that I will be fine. For iron, I use spinach daily in my green smoothies and Sunwarrior protein powder has made it very easy to make sure I am getting enough protein. Normally, I am not a protein gal, I feel that I get enough protein from different vegan sources, but with pregnancy, I have been extra cautious.
Now I am 16 weeks and loving ALL vegan food! I’ve even been eating more raw then ever. The baby seems to have a fondness for watermelon and kale! I’ve been having some minor aches and pains and exercise definitely helps improve that. I can’t imagine myself eating junk at this time. My baby is thriving on my diet! When he/she comes into this world I will teach him or her to be kind to all living beings, and why would choose not to eat animals. Most children don’t even understand that the chicken they are eating is the same chicken that they learn about in school. I feel it’s very important to educate my child on this, hopefully when he or she is old enough to make his or her own choices he or she will remember kindness and appreciate all that I have taught them about empathy towards animals and the environment.
Thank you Lindsay for letting me share! I hope you all stop by my blog and watch as my pregnancy progresses, I promise vegan food only! 😉 Lots of love to all your readers! 🙂