A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

i didn’t plan on cooking anything special for Thanksgiving. actually, i didn’t really cook anything special for Thanksgiving. my husband just happened to be home (sometimes he isn’t. it depends on the whim of the assholes who call the trains he works on) so i planned on making his 2 favorite dishes… Sweet Potato Casserole and Walnut Lentil Loaf. both dishes are relatively labor intensive, so by the time i popped them in the oven, i was starving and dreaming about cranberry sauce. i also used a package of Herb Stuffing mix to make my bread crumbs, so i thought “why not make the rest of the stuffing”. if i did that, i’d have an excuse to make cranberry sauce, because i like to mix cranberry sauce into my stuffing. i also couldn’t go without putting some kind of green item on the table, so i steamed some green beans (that i topped with Earth Balance and Garlic Salt)  as well.

Thanksgiving 2011:

-Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf
-Sweet Potato Casserole
-Cranberry Sauce
-Stuffing (made on the stove top)
-Garlic Butter Green Beans

the picture isn’t fancy, and it’s actually the remains of our dinner. it’s not enough for most people to call a “feast”  but for the four of us, it was more than enough to fill our bellies, satisfy our tastebuds, and leave enough for dinner tomorrow too. 🙂

it ain't pretty, but it sure was good,

NOM.

 

Soy Vay

slowly, though out my quest for healthier living, i’ve actually come to enjoy cooking. *gasp* i know. whodathunkit, eh?

one of my favorite things to make is stir-fry. it’s not authentic stir fry… it’s just stir-fry the way i make it. i’ve tried many, many sauces over the years, but nothing was ever quite “wonderful”. i’ve tried to make my own sauce, but a really good sauce takes time and lots of tiny, powdered/pureed/grated bits and pieces to make properly.

finally, finally my husband and i came across a teriyaki sauce that blows the competition out of the water!

meet… Soy Vay, Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade. 

Vegan by Coincidence, Kosher by Design, and Delicious by Nature, it’s the best Teriyaki sauce we’ve ever had. it’s a staple in our home now. when i want to throw together a quick meal, all i have to do is steam some rice (or boil some noodles) and stir fry some veggies in this sauce. most often, i’ll sautee some diced garlic, sliced onion, mushrooms, and broccli or asaparagus or chick peas or green beans or peas or whatever. the sky and your tastebuds are the limit. simmer in some Soy Vay, and voila! instant amazing meal.

NOM.

My Favorite Chips

sooooo… i may or *may not* have eaten an entire bag of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips all by myself. i may or *may not* have eaten so many that i went to bed feeling like i was gonna hurl. the only thing i’m sure of right now, is that those chips are still the most awesomest in the world. i don’t buy them because of the “reduced fat” label or the “kosher” label, or any of the other appealing labels that these chips have. i buy them when i’m in the mood for something special because they are AWESOME.

i don’t buy junk food for my house on a regular basis. my husband and i both have a problem with junk food… when it’s available, we eat it. we eat it like crazy. before we became vegans, before our brief stint as vegetarians, we still ate it like crazy, and i still didn’t buy it for our home on a regular basis. last night i was feeling a little down…. hey, i’m a woman, it happens. i was a little depressed, and decided on a quick culinary pick me up that didn’t involve over an hour in the kitchen.

i spent my post-kid-bedtime evening sprawled out on the couch, shoving chips in my face, drinking water, and playing Skyrim. (only the most awesomest video game EVER) i didn’t mean to eat the whole bag, but i’ve decided that if i’m gonna gorge myself on junk food, it’s best to just get it out of the way in one night, rather than space it out in smaller doses throughout the week.

yeah.

right.

in other news, i have a partially used can of pumpkin in the fridge i used yesterday to make Angie’s Pumpkin Maple Baked Bean Cornbread Casserole, and i have no idea what i’m going to do with it. i’m all out of Blackstrap Molasses after those delicious baked beans, so making my favorite Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread is out. 😦

i’m up for ideas… any of my, uh, zero readers wanna chime in?

For a Catalogue of all my Recipes, Click HERE!

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is a staple in my home. we use it for TONS of things including, but not limited to, crackers, apples, sandwiches, bananas, smoothies, sauces… it goes on. there’s always a jar in my cabinet.

i try to buy the “healthiest” peanut butter i can… the shorter the ingredient list the better.  it’s a good snack when i need a boost, and it’s one of the things i can always count on to be vegan friendly,

or can i?

a couple weeks ago, i bought a jar of peanut butter at Sam’s Club. all they really had there was a jar of “Naturally More” peanut butter with Omega-3 and Flaxseed. i’m all for healthier products… in fact, when i make my daughter a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, i often sprinkle flax seed on it just for the hidden nutrition. the jar sat on my shelf for a week before i opened it.

when i opened it, the oils had separated… not a big deal with natural peanut butter. what surprised me were the big chunks of bleached out flax seed floating in the oil mixture. i gave it to my children, and my 3 year old daughter spurned it after the first bite. she refused to eat any more. my son said it tasted like the peanut butter you get in processed peanut butter cracker sandwiches. when i turned it around to read the list of ingredients, i was shocked to see that it contained egg whites! who the fuck puts eggs in peanut butter?

in my mind, the list of ingredients on the back of a peanut butter jar should read something like this: Peanuts, Oil, Sugar, Water. THAT’S IT. who ever heard of non-vegan peanut butter???

in the end, i had to throw the peanut butter away, since my husband and i don’t eat products containing eggs, and 50% of the kids hated it.

 

after that little waste of grocery money, i got curious.

i had to replace the lost jar of peanut butter, so i when i went grocery shopping, i took the time to look at the back of another jar of Omega-3 containing Peanut Butter. this time, i was even more disgusted than before. turns out, Naturally More actually makes a good brand of fortified peanut butter.

you see this stuff?

the list of ingredients are as follows: MADE FROM PEANUT BUTTER [ROASTED PEANUTS, SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT], ANCHOVY* AND SARDINE OIL*,TILAPIA GELATIN, TOCOPHEROLS AND CITRIC ACID (ANTIOXIDANTS).

WTF?!? 

in a life or death situation, i’ll take the egg whites over the anchovies and sardines ANY day. even Jif’s regular “Natural” peanut butter’s ingredient list is longer than necessary. (PEANUTS, SUGAR, PALM OIL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, MOLASSES.)

in the end, i picked my peanut butter, and will not stray from that brand.

world, meet Skippy. it’s cheaper than almost all the other brands, and has a whopping ingredient list that looks like this: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt.

that’s what i’m talkin’ about.

let’s leave the sea creatures and chicken eggs out of it, shall we?

Ignorance is Bliss for the Ignorant

we’re Vegans. it means we don’t eat meat, dairy, or eggs. it’s not a disease.

if i cook food for you, it will taste good. it will be filling, i can cook comfort food, desserts, soups, and breads. it’s the same goddamn thing you do for your family every night, i just go about it a little differently. i detour around the eggs, i push aside the cheese. instead of making a loaf out of muscle fiber, i make it out of bean fiber. my food won’t kill you.

my number one gripe about being vegan isn’t about the food i have to eat…. i’ve grown to love my favorite recipes, and have discovered that with a little research my diet doesn’t lack for anything, comfort food included. what i’m sick of is people saying “what do you eat anyways?” as if we have some sort of medical condition.

i went to MIL’s for Thanksgiving dinner, and she wouldn’t even taste the mashed potatoes she made for us… she had me taste it and tell her what it tasted like. WTF??!?

my food won’t poison you unless you added actual poison to it yourself.

yes, i love bacon. i love a big, fat juicy steak and i love icecream….

but i’m trying to live my life the best way i feel i can. i’m eating to live, not living to eat. i make my food good, but i don’t make it my ultimate source of comfort. people talk about “hoity-toity vegans” whining about saving the animals… well guess what. i’m a vegan, whining about ignorant omnivores.

Sick Day.

i am SICK. as in, i have a chest cold that is about to drive me crazy with the coughing. seriously. i’ve been craving nothing but ramen all week. too bad so sad for me- ramen isn’t vegan friendly. most hardcore vegans would snub their noses at ramen and call it “garbage”. but DAMMIT i’m still that girl that lived off of pickles and ramen noodles in college. right now, when i’m at my worst, all i want is some ramen.

today, i decided to compromise… i have some Better than Boullon, which i absolutely adore using as a soup base.

i bought my ramen noodles. thankfully, the price is so reasonable that i can justify throwing away the seasoning packet. toss in a teaspoon of BTB, some frozen mixed vegetables, and i have my instant comfort food. after all, i’m sick. i don’t want to spend an hour chopping, steaming, and pureeing other veggies for a soup- no matter how good my butternut squash soup is. (and it’s pretty damn good)

i also scoured the racks of Walmart looking for a dietary-vegan friendly chocolate bar. not so easy… most everything, even the dark chocolate contains milk fat. if i was a “save the animals” or a “severe milk allergy” type of vegan, i’d have to forgo everything on the rack, and live without chocolate. (BLASPHEMY!) thankfully, i am neither. the one bar, my savior, is Ghirardelli Twilight Delight. it’s the only one that doesn’t contain milkfat, although it is manufactured on the machines that manufacture other products that do. in my admittedly pre-menstrual state, that’s good enough for me.

today, it’s a rest day. it’s a ramen and chocolate and peppermint green tea with a dash of honey kind of day.

well, until the next time i need to cart the kids around, anyways.