Sometimes, I Just Want it the Way it Was

my black bean burgers were quite tasty. we still have a bunch of leftovers, and i’m still enjoying them for lunch, along with a small bowl of pita chips and hummus. seriously, remove the hummus from my presence before i start resembling a chick pea… NOM.

anyways.

yes, the burgers were good- but they still don’t taste like a burger. vegan food can be amazing. it can be hearty and filling, it can be flavorful, nutritious, and sometimes even better than it’s meat-n-dairy-packed counterparts.

sometimes, though, i just want a taste of it old school style. meaning, the way it was. meaning, with meat.

i scoured the aisles of Walmart (don’t judge. we budget.) looking for a packet of Chili mix that didn’t include some kind of dairy component. you’d be surprised how many companies try to sneak milk into their foods. finally, i found one. good ‘ole Lawry’s Chili Spices and Seasonings Packet is vegan friendly! well, Vegan enough for me anyways. there were no overt animal products listed in the ingredients.

the next step was trying to find something to replace the meat part. for that, i skipped to the health food section in my grocery store, and found this stuff…

after i browned it in my pan just as i would have a tube of beef, i added in all my chili ingredients, and voila! vegan friendly, meat-style chili. the taste of the soy meat substitute is similar to that of a Vegan Boca Burger. ¬†meaning, it’s actually pretty good. Boca Burgers are a staple in my house… we buy them from Sams Club, and when i’m just not in the mood to pull together a miracle, i fix them for dinner.

once the seasonings soaked into the “Beef”, i couldn’t even taste a difference between beef chili, and my vegan chili.there is a slight difference in texture… the “beef” is softer than beef, but it didn’t bother me at all. (ps- i hate the texture of Tofu, and this was nothing like Tofu)

hopefully my husband will like it as much as i do. ūüėČ

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Black Bean Burgers

i am a bad recipe sharer. i made black bean burgers today for dinner, and as i was cooking i thought about the recipe i was using- which was none. i took several ingredients from other burgers, and combined them to make mine. almost nothing was actually measured out. i used some pre-soaked then frozen black beans that i had left over from another recipe, so i don’t even know how many beans i used. the recipe, if i were to share it, [which i am] sounds something like this:

  • about half a bag of Black Beans, soaked over night
  • 6 Cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Medium Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Small Apple (Grated)
  • 1 Handful of Baby Carrots (Grated
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Diced)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 C Oat Flour
  • Saltine Crackers (processed into crumbs)
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Liquid Smoke

first, i boiled the beans in about 6 cups of vegetable stock for… a while. until they were soft, anyways.

i thinly sliced the onion (so it was in long shreds, not diced) and sauteed it in a pan with the Olive Oil and Garlic. when the onion was slightly translucent, i added the Shredded Apple and Shredded Carrot (i used a cheese grater to shred the Apple and Carrot) and tossed it around for a little bit with the onion. then i added some salt, some pepper, and 1 tsp of of Thyme and stirred it up a bit. then i set it aside.

i prepared the Oat Flour by taking 1 cup of Oats and processed them in my Ninja. i did the same with the whole wheat Saltines. i have no idea how many saltines i used. then i set those aside too.

that brought my attention back to the beans, which were done. (i had also made a sweet potato casserole in between there, so they took quite a while to cook- i just don’t know exactly how long) i poured some of the bean-boiled vegetable stock into a seperate container for later use, and drained the rest of the liquid out of the beans.

then i processed them so they were only slightly chunky in my Ninja. i used some of the reserved Vegetable Stock to thin out the mixture just a touch.

i dumped them into a bow.

i dumped the sauteed veg into the beans.

i dumped the Oat Flour, Cracker Crumbs, and about 1 Tsp of Poultry Seasoning into the bowl, and stirred the whole mess together.

then i put a few shakes of Liquid Smoke into the mixture, and some Sea Salt.

i balled them up and flattened them out into big bean cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cooked them in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on each side.

they were tasty.

Guessing Game…

let’s play a game! can you guess which pizza bagel is mine? (there are three bagels on the pan, each half facing up. two halves for each person currently home)

if you guessed the bagel on the far left or the middle, then you’d be wrong.

those are obviously the kids’. i’m sure they enjoyed them immensely, and YES it was hard to watch all that ooey-gooey tasty melted cheese go in someone else’s tummy.

my bagel is topped with pizza sauce, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach, and basil.

surprisingly, it was really f’ing good, and left me wanting more.

(the bagels are whole wheat, btw- i’ve found that whole wheat bread products leave out the milk and eggs more often than their less-healthy cousin, white bread)

Cheese.

i admit, i’ve been struggling lately with the whole “vegan” thing. it wasn’t an easy decision to make… i’m not the girl who feels ill at the idea of eating an animal. i don’t tear up when i think about some poor cow being slaughtered to make my dinner. i just don’t. i’m vegan because of my health, not my conscience.

i love cheese.

i always have, and i still do.

when i was a kid, i used to take the cheesy topping off my pizza and eat it, leaving the bread and sauce behind. now that i’m a grown-up, i still dream of doing it, but don’t because of the waste. i love to melt cheese onto my sandwiches, and sprinkle it into my salads. my favorite soups are clam chowder and broccoli cheddar. it’s not the icecream or chocolate i miss… it’s the cheese.

don’t worry, i’m not in too much danger of giving up. my gut has been happier than ever since getting used to the vegan diet. it doesn’t miss the meat, and surprisingly- i don’t miss the dairy either. i still have rough days, but on those rough days, i have less problems than i did before. yes, i like my vegan diet… but my taste buds really miss cheese.

in a way, that makes me more determined than ever to stick with it.

human beings should eat to live, not live to eat.

that’s one of the main problems with our society today. we’ve put too much value in what we shove in our mouths. obesity in America is a literal epidemic, and it’s because we live so that we can shove more delicious, but terrible for us foods down our gullets. most people rely on food to bring them temporary highs to get through the day. they rely on food to comfort them, and become emotionally dependent on it. i say “they” but of course i mean “we”. even with my “sacrifices” i still rely on an occasional glass of wine to soothe late-night rattled nerves, a pack of oreos here and there to ease my pms, and nothing is better than a hearty, home cooked meal.

food should be a fuel source, not a pleasure source. 

i’d like to think, that by denying myself some key ingredients to the most unhealthy (but sadly tasty)¬†food i can shove into my face, i am setting myself up for a healthier lifestyle that is less dependent on food for happiness.

or something.

i still want cheese.

For Love of Mushrooms

i love Mushrooms. really. a lot.

i’d eat them just about any way you can imagine serving them up- raw, chopped in a salad. in a soup. in stir fry. sauteed in wine or butter. unfortunately for my salads, i read that the mushroom has several nutritional components that our bodies can’t digest until the mushroom is cooked. *sigh* i suppose i can find something else to top my salad… but sauteed?

NOM.

today, my belly said MUSHROOMS.

i found the prettiest baby bellas at Sam’s Club yesterday afternoon. i don’t know much about the individual species of mushrooms, but i just know these ones were meant to be stuffed. unfortunately, my belly said it wanted mushrooms, but my brain said it didn’t feel like stuffing them. last night i made a delightful stir-fry out of half the batch, and today i really, really wanted a wrap.

which brings us to my absolute favorite way of eating mushrooms. pre-vegan, this recipe would have involved melting some smoked gouda on top, but alas… i’m for healthier days.

i sauteed some garlic and onion in olive oil, then tossed in the rest of the baby bellas, all sliced up nice and pretty. in went whatever brand of red wine i just happened to have laying around the house.

i smashed some avocado, and spread it out on a fat-free tortilla. (the fat-free kind is not only fat free, but it’s typically the only one made without lard)

i laid down a little bit of baby spinach and some sliced tomato.

i topped it off with sauteed mushrooms and onion.

i made a huge mess devouring that amazing lunch. 

then i ate a piece of Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream frosting.

then i blogged.

which brings us to this exact moment in time, in which i need to GET OFF MY LAZY ASS AND DO SOME HOUSE WORK.

i think i’ll go mop, or something.

 

 

 

 

PS: if you actually follow this blog, i would absolutely adore you if you’d sign in through Google Friend Connect, my most recent addition to the right hand sidebar. i will still continue to blog my thoughts even if i don’t have any obvious followers (in some ways it’s actually easier to talk when i think nobody’s listening) but i feel kinda lame every time i see the one lone follower. (which amplifies the lameness, because that follower is actually ME)

Hummus or Bust

well, it’s BUST. in a big way.

i attempted my first Hummus recipe today, and turns out i just don’t have the equipment for it. i have a Ninja Blender, not a food processor. it’s done me just fine in the past- my Butternut Squash Soup was so good i’ve already made it twice. same with the processing of my favorite Lentil Walnut Loaf and the blending of black beans for burgers.

unfortunately, chick peas are a whole other kettle of fish.

the best my Ninja could do was a texture similar to fine sand… and i don’t particularly feel like eating flavored wet sand.

i’m going to put any further attempts at making Hummus on hold for now, until i get a real processor.

 

Hummm Hummus?

i admit, i don’t think i’ve ever tried hummus before. not really… i’m pretty sure i’ve taken at least one bite, but i expected it to be gross, therefore i thought it was, and i remember it as being gross. or maybe the specific type i tried really was gross? regardless, i’ve always had this preconceived notion in my brain that hummus was icky.

yesterday i took the kids up to see their grandma, and in a non-vegan household, the vegan-eats are few- especially in a home that actually produces a dozen of farm-fresh eggs each day. (can you say Hobby Farm?)

when lunch time came around, the kids enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches on non-vegan bread, and i was left saying “oh, i’m fine thanks”. then my mother in law broke out a tub of hummus and some pita chips. i gave it a try (okay, i wasn’t okay. i was starving.) and fell in love. it was wholly unexpected. the stuff i tried was Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and if you know me at all, you know i hate bell peppers.

my new mission is to create hummus. i’m missing a couple key ingredients (mainly Tahini) but i plan on hitting up the grocery store for exciting things like fresh dill, lemon and peppers to mix into a couple different attempts at hummus. i already have the chickpeas and the carrots ready for dipping.

i’ll let you know how it goes.

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