Archive for vegan

The Best Cabbage Soup Evar

After debuting onstage as a star for Mad King Thomas (really, it even participated in a kick line), this cabbage honorably reincarnated itself as delicious cabbage soup. You, too, can cook yourself a star cabbage soup.

You will need:

Half an hour to 45 minutes

A big soup pot and a ladle

Olive oil

Some small potatoes, skins on, in 1/4 inch cubes

Half a red onion, sliced

Can of navy beans

4 c veggie broth

Cabbage, sliced into thin strips

Boiled sausage from the farmer’s market, optional

A stove, or a fire

Seasonings, such as salt, Old Bay, garlic salt, and pepper

Cook potato cubes in olive oil for five minutes on medium high. Salt them for added dehydrating effect. Add onions. Cook for five minutes more. Add beans and broth. Cook for five minutes more. Add cabbage. Simmer. Season. Top with farmer’s market sausage if you are of the carnivorous variety.

Visit the real recipe here.

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Vegan Week Wraps Up

Top Ten Things I Learned by Being Vegan for a Week

vegan pizzaAll vegan!

(You can read Regi’s list here!)

1. Being vegan, even temporarily, is a good way to force yourself to eat more fruits and vegetables. When I’m hungry, I tend to reach straight for the cheese. The ratio of effort to chew to calories in stomach = very low. I tend to forget the slightly more effortful carrots, kiwi fruits, and apples. This week re-set my brain a little bit. It’s like Michael Pollan’s dogma from In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

2. Non-animal foods can be surprisingly filling and delicious. Walnut-based cookies? Soy milk? Potatoes roasted in olive oil? Home made whole wheat pizza crust? Yes, please!

3. Vegan does not necessarily mean healthy. For instance, vegetable shortening? Soy White Russians? Yeahhhhh….

4. Little bits of animal products are in everything. Processed food and restaurant food are rarely as simple as they could be.

5. It’s fun to swap food, especially if your friends are good cooks.

6. Being vegan takes time, and it takes thinking ahead. Shopping for groceries, spending time at home, bringing lunch from home, throwing away less, and planning more – all these things go together.

7. If you are vegan, you can compost lots of your food waste. Composting worms eat a vegan diet.

8. Being vegan isn’t impossible. It is hard if you don’t have a strong belief that you shouldn’t ingest animal products.

I feel a little bit like a traitor here – as a pragmatic vegetarian, I know that the system of meat production in the country isn’t good for the environment in terms of greenhouse gasses (shipping and, well, methane), crop and water use (a pound of beef equals 20 pounds of corn equals 1000 gallons of water), health (antibiotics required to fight off illness for crowded herds), animal rights….

Milk and eggs don’t bother me. I know dairy farms and egg farms aren’t where I’d choose to spend my life as a cow or a chicken, but it doesn’t sicken me to think of cows and eggs loaning us their reproductive products. It’s a compromise I’ve decided to make. I should probably schedule visits for myself to see where my milk and eggs are coming from, and I know I’m probably opening myself up to angry tirades about constantly impregnated cattle. Maybe I’m not educated enough, and maybe that would change my mind.

Being vegan reminded me of trying to fast for Ramadan in Morocco. I think it’s really difficult to deprive yourself of food without a strong belief system. My whole Arabic class started Ramadan 2006 fasting earnestly – we each other, we had host families, and heck, we had a whole country to fast with – but none of us in that class was Muslim. We all lasted about a week before we crumbled. It was so frustrating to feel foggy during class, to feel hungry before sundown, and to forgo coffee breaks with the other Arabic students without a religious framework.

9. Even progressive people aren’t necessarily sympathetic to veganism. Vegetarianness has pretty much made it in mainstream culture, at least in cities. In some circles, veganness is still treated as an affront to human eating. For example, WordPress thinks “vegan” is not a word. To be fair, WordPress also thinks “WordPress” is not a word.

10. You can’t necessarily trust the USDA food pyramid. You can be happy and healthy by eating any number of ways, and the USDA isn’t immune to political forces. I am sure the grain lobbies had nothing to do with people “needing” 6-11 servings of carbohydrates per day. 11 servings of pasta?! Are you kidding me?

 

My next adventure: spending every dollar in May at a local business! Target and Best Buy don’t count.

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Vegan for Earth Week – Day One

Vegan Week – Day One. So far, we are a little bit hungry but not deprived.

I quarantined all animal products in a section of our fridge. We’ll get to you next week, guys! (Especially you, bottle of Bailey’s. But maybe not you, carton of herring tidbits.)

animal products

The day so far has involved:

  • Breakfast burritos with corn tortillas, black – pinto – and – kidney beans, tomatillo salsa, tomatoes, jalapeños, and a hint of lime
  • Bananas, plums, and pear juice
  • Coffee with chocolate soymilk
  • Papas Bravas à la Popp!!’s appetizer menu
  • Leftover aleche &  ingera with walnut/chocolate/oatmeal cookies for dessert
  • Caprese salad with Vegan Gourmet mozzarella alternative (which is 80% convincing – in taste if not in texture – even to a quesophile such as myself)  

     
    vegan gourmet mozzarella alternative

We cooked up a storm of future lunches for the psycho week ahead, including stew (veggie broth with carrots, potatoes, and green beans), chili (beans, tomatoes, and jalapenos), and home made baba ganoush. 

In terms of feeling, you know, bright green and peppy with my new do-gooder diet? I do feel a little more clear headed than usual, but nothing remarkable yet. I’ll let you know if my skin starts turning green tomorrow, or if I spontaneously start running marathons. 

Delightfully, constant wheedling and acquiescence to the idea of our having a pressure cooker has won me Caleb‘s approval to purchase a worm bin for our apartment. Since worms eat a vegan diet, most of our food trash from this week can be turned into wonderful delicious worm compost.

In other news, we had a stowaway in our groceries yesterday:

stowaway sunflower seeds

Anyone missing $2.50 worth of bulk sunflower seeds?

 

(x-posted at Happy Food)

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Gearing Up for Vegan Week

To celebrate Earth Week (and/or to keep me eating healthy foods during a crazy work week), I am going vegan with the help of the Happy Food team. After a trip to the Mississippi Market, I’m confident we’re going to have a delicious week full of protein.

vegan haul from the mississippi marketFor the sake of my mother and other skeptics – a list of the week’s protein sources:

* Nut-based vegan cheese

* Peanut butter

* Soy-based milk substitutes

* Beans, including hummus and falafel

* Textured vegetable protein

* Whole grains, including whole wheat, buckwheat, and oats (and teff! the foil triangle is ingeera)

 

This looks completely do-able to me. I’ll let you know how things go – read about our adventures at Happy Food.

 

In other news, I am told my bulk food jar collection has gotten out of control.

jar collection from planet packrat(jar collection from planet packrat)

But think of all the delicious bulk foods and delightful bulk soaps (and bulk BEER) that can be held in each of these containers…!

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Vegan for Earth Week?

So Regi and I are thinking about going vegan for Earth Week. Or maybe Earth Day. As quasi/mostly vegetarian healthy/foodies, we’re thinking it’ll be OK, right?

(FETA CHEESE / OMELETTE / CHEESECAKE / ICE CREAM / MILK IN COFFEE / PIZZA / LASAGNA / TUNA MELT *smacks self*) Ahem.

Fish-cheese-milk-and-egg-loving anxieties aside, I am sort of fascinated by the idea of trying this hippie diet made mainstream by the likes of Skinny B**** and Mark Bittman the Minimalist. A little soy milk and tofu never hurt anybody, right? Plus, think of how many more vegetables I’ll eat! I went a week with out trash (sort of), surely I can go a week without ingesting animal products.

Plus, it’ll encourage me to cook for myself more often – and let’s face it, eating at home is not something I’m good at. (This past week has involved the Cheeky Monkey, the Good Earth, chunch, the Macy’s Cafe, E-Noodle Cafe, and.. the Macaroni Grill.. and maybe cheese sticks from Arby’s once… OK OK, I know… it was a tough week!)

Good thing beer is vegan. I picked up some New Belgium Sunshine Wheat at Big Top today.. yesssss, spring is coming!

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Vegan Shoes, Natalie?

Am I the last person to hear about Natalie Portman’s collaboration with Té Casan to create a line of vegan shoes?


“All of my shoes are from Target or Stella McCartney,” says Portman. “As a vegan, it’s been challenging finding designer shoes made of alternative materials.” The line launched January 15 online and hit stores February 1.

Now, call me old fashioned, but any reference to vegan clothing always throws me for a bit of a loop. I’d prefer a more technical description, such as “leather free” or “no animal products.” The “vegan clothing” label stresses me out, as if I’ll be expected to eat it or something. Maybe I just have unfortunate associations with the early days of spelt egg-free cakes that tasted like chalk. All it means is that the shoes are made free of leather or any other animal products, and 5% of the profits (all of Natalie’s share) will go to as-yet undisclosed charity (various non-profit organizations dedicated to environmental preservation and animal rights) – one source said it would be The Nature Conservancy.

Speaking of old fashioned, does anyone else think the shoes look, well.. a bit outdated?

My read: save energy, wear your old shoes, and donate $10 to charity (equal to 5% of the $200 you would have spent on the vegan footwear).

But mistake not my sarcasm! I appreciate Natalie’s efforts. Maybe someday I’ll find a pair of $20 animal-free classic-style shoes and 100% of the profits will go to charity (oh wait, it’s called Goodwill…).

I kid, Natalie, I kid. I’m just jealous.

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