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.

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 (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.

Hey if you’re wondering

why I’m all about veganism lately, it goes something like this.

The other day, as I was hanging out with the chickens, one of them looked me right in the eye and I was hit by the realization that I absolutely can’t stand the thought of anybody mistreating one of my chickens. Or any chicken. Or any animal.

I haven’t eaten meat in — I’m not even sure. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life. I started suddenly freshman year of high school. We were in Florida with family and it was the day before Thanksgiving. We went to some kind of fair thing and there were animals, including a turkey. I looked at the turkey and immediately realized that I couldn’t eat turkey. So at Thanksgiving dinner the next day, I didn’t eat turkey. Of course, everybody made fun of me (I swear I’ll cut the next bitch who says “But plants are alive!!”) but I was a devoted vegetarian for two or three years.

Then I started getting sick all the time. I had pneumonia, which was awful. I lost a bunch of weight and ended up being so weak I needed to use two hands to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube. I had an inhaler for a while after that. Then I got mono. Then I was like hey maybe I need to eat meat and asked my mom to go to McDonald’s to get me a hamburger (gross). I ate meat for the next several years.

The thing was I didn’t need to eat meat, I just needed to not eat so much shit. When I was a vegetarian in high school, I ate horribly. I’d seriously go to McDonald’s (I’m mortified by my former McDonald’s love) and get two orders of fries and that would be my lunch. No wonder I was sick all the time. You can’t survive like that!

Sometime right after college, I became a vegetarian again and I’ve been one ever since. I swear I don’t judge other people and how they choose to eat, but for myself, I believe that eating meat is morally wrong. I can’t do it and never will. Ben is a vegetarian. (He wasn’t when we met but converted very early on, figuring that every woman he ever dated had been a vegetarian and he might as well join us because we’re all awesome. He will occasionally try non-vegetarian green chili for “research purposes.”) Soren is a vegetarian. (I hope he will always be but I won’t pressure him.)

And that’s great! Yay, vegetarianism! But if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I know animals are mistreated in the dairy industry. I know that even the cage-free chickens who provide the eggs I eat and the hormone-free cows who provide my cheese and the heavy cream for the ice cream I so adore are at worst mistreated and at best not treated as well as I would treat them.

I’m not sure I can live with that any more, which is why I’m eating more and more vegan meals and am seriously considering either becoming vegan or becoming an almost vegan who eats the eggs from her own chickens. And it’s weird but every time I think about eating vegan food, instead of feeling like I’m missing something, I feel kind of . . . (sappy alert!) full of love. And healthy! If I’m being honest, again, I’ll admit that I don’t think dairy consumption provides any health benefits. I just do it because I like it. And maybe that’s not good enough any more.

In related news, I’m also passionately angry about all the cosmetic companies that didn’t used to test on animals but then started again so they can sell their shit in China, but that’s a rant for another day.

So anyway, that’s how getting chickens might turn me into a vegan. Tonight’s dinner: Tempeh Chimichurri! Yeah!

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!


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

  • 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


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!