Vegan Setback

So I’d been plugging along with my awesome little vegan life. Everything was delightful and I was even beginning to maybe grow accustomed to ice cream that tastes like coconut. And then it all went to shit.

I worked from home Tuesday and spent what felt like the whole day making separate meals for Soren and for me. Then yesterday Ben made breakfast burritos for dinner. He was making a bunch of them (he brings some to work to share with coworkers) and it’s a pretty elaborate process that takes up a lot of kitchen space. The original plan was for me to have pudla, which is great, but I had pudla on Sunday and don’t want to get tired of it already.

So I was going to make vegan pesto, but I was kind of grumpy and tired and I started to get the food processor out and there was like no room on the counter and I had a little meltdown. I wanted something good! And homemade! Not another frozen fake chicken patty or whatever.

Then I was all, holy shit, I can’t live like this with all these separate meals. This is such a pain in the ass and I’ve been spending so much time thinking about and preparing food and just . . . just . . . fuck it!

So I said, “I give up! I can’t do this!” I had a goddamn breakfast burrito, with eggs and cheddar. And I sulked the whole time, super dramatic style. After dinner, I moved my Becoming Vegan book to a shelf where I wouldn’t have to see it all the time. I told Ben we should order pizza on Saturday.

And then I just felt like shit. The burrito was yummy, but the totality of the circumstances left me feeling sad and like a complete failure. Ben suggested — and people always suggest — being an almost vegan, or just having dairy once in a while. But what I’ve learned from my very short time of trying to be vegan is that it doesn’t really work that way. I mean, maybe it does for some people, but for me, I think it has to be all or nothing. I either eat dairy products or I don’t. If I eat them some of the time, what’s my motivation to not eat them the other times? I don’t even think that makes sense, but that’s what it’s like in my head.

While trying to transition to veganism, I’ve been reading a few vegan blogs. They’re good for getting recipe ideas and stuff, but more often than not, they’re kind of disheartening, too. All these vegan bloggers (at least the ones I’ve found) are, like, professional vegans. They make their living by being vegan. Everyone they know is vegan. They live in and travel to exceptionally vegan-friendly locations. They go to vegan conferences. They go to vegan schools! They go to vegan churches! They go to vegan institutional learning facilities!1

And my life isn’t like that at all. I know exactly one vegan in real life. My husband isn’t vegan. My kid isn’t vegan. He likes a lot of vegan food, but he likes a lot of non-vegan food, too, and I don’t feel right about taking those things away from him. It’s harder to get together with non-vegan friends (which is all of them) to have meals, and I generally feel like a pain in the ass. Not that being a pain in the ass bothers me much, but when you add that to making all these separate meals at home and remembering to read labels to check for hidden dairy ingredients where it wouldn’t even occur to you they’d be and thinking about how to make ice cream that doesn’t taste like goddamn coconut . . . it all just feels like a bit much.

But at this point, I’d rather try harder than accept failure. So I’m going to try harder. I’ve already planned our picnic dinner for Sunday: spicy chickpea salad, three-seed bread, sun-dried tomato and basil “cheese,” and beer. And maybe pie, which most definitely will not taste like coconut.
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Veganize It: My Signature Pizza

Is it useful for me to tell you when I veganize an old recipe (or quasi recipe, as the case may be)? In the event that it is, I veganized my signature apricot preserves, chard, roasted garlic, and brie pizza this weekend and it turned out really well. Rather than repost the (quasi) recipe, I just updated the old one with veganized instructions.

(FYI the vegan brie recipe is not included because it’s from a book and I’m not going to copy something from a book. It’s probably a worthwhile investment if you’re into vegan cheese, though!)

 

Pudla!

Pudla (aka vegan omelet)!!

Do you guys know about pudla? It’s so good I kind of want to evangelize it, and I’m not a fan of evangelizing. Pudla is basically a vegan omelet-like thing made with chickpea flour.

I followed this awesome recipe and it’s seriously the easiest thing ever to make. I added green onion, cilantro, and a bunch of spinach. After flipping, I added some shredded Daiya jalapeno garlic havarti. When the pudla was done cooking, I put the pan under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes to melt the “cheese.”

This is delicious and it’s super filling and keeps you full for a long time. Amazing.

Easy-Ass Vegan Dinner

First, you should listen to this awesome song. I’m going to post my epic reggae playlist soon, I promise. I’ve been in a reggae and friends phase since like March and it’s the best. Put some reggae on while you’re just, like, hanging around at home making dinner or cleaning or whatever and I guarantee it will increase the awesomeness of your experience by a noticeable amount.

 

I swear this isn’t going to become a blog where I tell you about everything I eat, but one thing I’ve noticed about vegan meals is that they sometimes require a bit of effort. This is fine because most of what I eat requires a bit of effort, but sometimes you’ve worked all day and then worked out and your husband is out in the yard building a chicken coop and you just don’t feel like doing much. Also, I’m trying to rely less on store-bought fake meat products, but damn I really like them, especially when they’re vegan and made with organic ingredients. I suppose there are worse things.

Anyway, here’s a vegan dinner that isn’t impressive but will take you about 15 minutes (for real) to make:

  • Thinly slice some baby bok choy, which is the best. Heat a little oil in a pan (cast iron is good for this) and stir-fry bok choy. When it’s almost done cooking, add some tamari and sweet chili sauce. Stir and cook a little more. Sprinkle on a little cornstarch, stir, and cook for another minute or two.
  • In a separate pan, prepare Gardein Mandarin orange faux chicken according to package directions.
  • Microwave some organic edamame and sprinkle with sea salt.

15-minute vegan dinner

Here we are enjoying our meal at our kitchen island thing, which seats two. I really miss our dining room table, which is currently occupied by our brooder.

I like vegan pizza!

So, I ended up eating my quinoa salad for breakfast at work because I had leftover vegan pizza for lunch. And it was really good!

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Last night we made regular and vegan pizza. The vegan pizza included homemade vegan pepperoni, spinach, basil, green pepper, and onion, as well as a generous amount of sauce and a mixture of Daiya mozzarella and cheddar. Obviously, vegan cheese does not taste the same as dairy cheese, but I thought it was just as good. This is awesome!

Vegan Lunchbox: Quinoa, Carrot, Cranberry, and Garbanzo Salad

I’m generally all about home-cooked meals but often, when we don’t have any leftovers, I end up taking frozen meals to work for lunch. I always get fancy organic frozen meals, but still, I’d rather bring something homemade if at all possible.

So this week I decided I’d try something crazy: I’d make something ahead of time to bring for lunch during the week. Groundbreaking! I mean, not really. People do this all the time. I’ve just never been so, well, plan-aheady.

I decided I really wanted some kind of quinoa salad. So I took to the internet and found a recipe for “Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad,” which sounded just odd enough to be kind of fun. I made some changes and voilà, I have something I’ll look forward to eating on Monday at the office. Yay!

I hope to make “Vegan Lunchbox” a regular thing here, but seeing as I don’t really have regular things, who knows what will happen.

Also I’m sorry I never give you estimated times when I post recipes. I never find them useful. Every recipe ever is like, “Total time: 15 minutes,” and it takes me an hour.

New vegan thing!

Quinoa, Carrot, Cranberry, and Garbanzo Salad

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 or 4 green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder (I have two kinds of curry powder, one with cinnamon and one without. Today I used the one without, but next time I’ll use the one with because I think cinnamon might be nice.)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa (I have never rinsed quinoa! Never! And I like it anyway, so why bother?)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (I use the shredder attachment on my old Cuisinart for this and it works magnificently.)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large orange (peel and cut each segment into 1/2-inch-ish pieces)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 cup flaxseeds (I hate it when people talk about being obsessed with this or that thing, but I’m kind of obsessed with these.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt

Directions

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about two minutes (don’t let them get brown). Add curry powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add veggie broth, quinoa, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed and quinoa is done. (The original recipe refers to it as “translucent,” but honestly I don’t think I have the kind of discerning eye to appreciate the translucentness of quinoa, so I just taste some.)

While the quinoa is cooking, put carrots, cranberries, orange, garbanzo beans, flaxseeds, orange peel, parsley, and a little salt in a large bowl. Mix well. When the quinoa is done, add it to the bowl and mix well. Taste and add more salt if you like. Pack for lunch and enjoy!

What do vegans put on bread?

As I’ve been kind of fumbling toward veganism (my vague goal right now seems to be “almost vegan,” which to me means vegan but for eggs from my own chickens, once they start making them), I keep having questions. It’s actually really fun, as long as I look at quasi-veganism as an amazing culinary adventure where I will discover new worlds of flavor, rather than focusing on the things I don’t want to eat any more. And it’s not hard to focus on the vegan positive. The internet is an amazing place when you’re learning about veganism.

But sometimes you don’t need the internet. Tonight’s question was: What do vegans put on bread? I googled it and got stupid answers, like “vegan butter” and was like no, I don’t want to go out and buy vegan butter. I want to make something good to put on my bread using ingredients I already have in the house. So I used common sense, which actually worked. I’m sure vegans have been making something like this since the dawn of veganism, but for me it was new:

olive oil, nutritional yeast, Sicilian seasoning, salt.

That’s it! And it was good. So good, in fact, that I didn’t miss butter or olive oil with parmesan cheese and Ben even liked it.

Yum!!

FYI, my vegan ranch dressing recipe is a work in progress. My first attempt was decent but too runny and too sweet. I might have to make my own soy milk.