"Oh, I may be on the side of the angels...but don't think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Being vegan, especially now

For some reason, I have quite a craving for meat lately.  I don't really know why.  Maybe it's because I'm surrounded by meat eaters.  I never realized just how pervasive - actually downright ubiquitous - eating meat is.  It's everywhere.  And cheese and eggs and milk are in EVERYTHING.  I've gotten so I don't like to go out to eat, because there are few vegan options, and I am tired of what few there are.

I'm not going to quit - but... it sure is frustrating.  And I need to get some exercise.  Maybe I should make my New Year's resolutions early.  Lose more weight, start exercising at least three times a week - those are two that MUST happen.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marcus is here!

Marcus arrived late afternoon, Thursday, December 15th.  I've had a wonderful last 3 days with him.  Of course, now it's back to work.  We only made one meal at home, and that was Gado-Gado.  I'm going to have to find some good vegan meals that are easy to make.  He's making veggies and pasta this evening before we go out to the kids' school concert.  We have school concerts tonight and tomorrow, so we'll be pretty busy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

oldest daughter coming to visit

Alison (AKA Aliboo) will be coming up from R-town this evening.  I don't know what I will make yet.  Thinking of making my veganized Spaghetti For Peanuts again, since that was a favorite of hers from childhood.  I would like to make it special since she is going away for a while on the 9th and won't be back until after New Year's.

Here are some other possibilities:

Insanely easy vegetarian chili

Saturday night pizza fever (for a Wednesday night, not so bad, eh?)

Multi-potato Latkes from Tofu Mom

Of course, we might just have the old stand-by, Gado-Gado.  We have gotten our vegan version down to a science!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had a lovely Thanksgiving.  The spread wasn't as big as I originally planned.  I made gluten-free pumpkin bread, which was very crumbly.  We also had gado-gado, rice noodles, Brussels sprouts (the only thing that didn't turn out all that well; they needed to be roasted a bit longer and at a higher temperature), broccoli, a shepherd's pie, and Alison brought a ham roast for the omnivores (truthfully, it did NOT look tempting; she didn't like it very much).   

Learning point for gluten-free cooking:  When baking using gluten-free flour, you need more moisture in the mixture.  Now one suggestion is upping the oil, but that is way too much fat.  As it is, the recipe for the pumpkin bread called for an entire CUP of vegetable oil.  Perhaps sub applesauce or something like that?

Later in the day, Alison's Aunt Susan Spillane came to visit; I had not seen her in a number of years, and it was wonderful to catch up and take some pictures with the family.  My kids are growing up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

After my rather apocalyptic dream last night, I'm glad to awaken to life the way it is.  I dreamed we were attacked, and that there was impending death and destruction.  I'm truly grateful that this was only a dream.  Despite the fact that we will do a fair share of cooking tonight and tomorrow, it is still good to sit down at table and give thanks for all we have. I guess I'm just a bit nervous about my first vegan Thanksgiving.  We're having a brunch in the middle of the day, rather than an extensive evening meal, since my daughter and her husband are committed to going to his aunt's house for dinner. 

Now, the menu:  First of all, gado-gado.  Amy insisted upon this.  It's virtually her favorite thing we make at home.  So that means LOTS of roasted vegetables of all kinds.  And pasta.  Maybe even some rice, but I doubt it.  AND pumpkin muffins.  AND pumpkin bread.  I might make some spaghetti for peanuts as well, since now I know I can veganize it.  And since one of our family members has celiac disease, everything will ALSO be gluten free.  Yes, and a vegan shepherd's pie.  AND herb biscuits (using the recipe in Vegan Brunch) with Navy Bean Gravy (I believe that is in Vegan Brunch also).  We also found a recipe for Southwestern Corn Pudding in VB, so I will try that.  We've made pretty much everything before, except for the last three items, so it is just a matter of doing all the work.  We will be busy.

UPDATE:  I am also hoping to make the cinnamon rolls from VB, but I don't know if I will have the time.  I will have to make them at home, so if I DO make them, I will have to wake up REALLY early in the AM.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And Vegan Church for ALL!

This morning is the third Sunday of the month and liturgically, it's Christ the King Sunday. However, it is also, for ME, promote Vegan Baking Sunday! Every third Sunday of the month, we have a fellowship time between Sunday School and the Divine service. So it's time for me to promote veganism by providing tasty baked goods. Today, I baked what I bake best: http://www.theppk.com/2008/10/super-moist-pumpkin-bread/ (Super Moist Pumpkin Bread, recipe posted by Isa Chandra Moskowitz on the PPK) and The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan With A Vengeance. The last time I took the muffins to church, I got asked for the recipe two or three times, at least. Looking forward to church!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seitan - my first try

Seitan with Satan - Heavy Metal Vegan Cooking In the video, they use the seitan recipe from Veganomicon. I went back a little and used the one from Vegan With A Vengeance. The only difference I noted was that the recipe in VWAV has tomato paste and lemon zest in it. I didn't have a lemon, so I put a couple of squirts of lemon juice in the recipe instead. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. It is simmering for an hour. Then it has to cool for an hour. Smells pretty good.

Did I mention nutritional yeast smells pretty good?

UPDATE: I think I need to follow the recipe a bit more carefully. AND I think I want to use water to make it rather than vegetable broth. Gonna try the recipe in Veganomicon next time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gado Gado again

Gado-gado has become a favorite in this house.  Tonight, we're having it with steamed carrots, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and pasta. 

One of the problems we've had recently when we've made this is that it is too thin and watery.  Well, I decreased 2 cups coconut milk to 1½ cups, and did the same with the water.  Additionally we added onions (my vegan version of the recipe, here, does not include onions, but we love them, so in they go).  The kids love this recipe, and it's quite easy once you get the ingredients together, if a bit messy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spaghetti For Peanuts - VEGANIZED!

I did it!  And it worked!  I took Diet For A Small Planet's Spaghetti For Peanuts and made it vegan.  It worked beautifully and tasted pretty good.

You can find the original recipe on page 254 of the 20th anniversary edition.  For copyright reasons, I don't want to reproduce my veganized version here.  My substitutions were as follows:  for the margarine I used Earth Balance (note to self: use a different kind of EB.  The whipped stuff was kind of greasy); for the low-fat milk I used soy milk (2 cups; worked beautifully and the sauce wasn't quite so heavy); and for the cheese, Daiya.

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but when I have cooked with Daiya before, it didn't melt all that good.  I decided to up the temperature of the oven from 350ºF to 360ºF.  And instead of baking for 25 minutes, I baked the dish for 40 minutes.  This seemed to do the trick; the Daiya Cheddar Style melted pretty good.  However, you want to eat this before it gets cold enough for the Daiya to get gooey, because when it cools off, it gets a rubbery consistency.  Hopefully the food chemists out there will eventually make a vegan cheese that is a lot more like real cheese.

Results:  Well, it tasted good.  The peanuts were a bit old; I will use fresh roasted ones next time.  Something else I need to do is process the peanuts longer so they are more of a mealy consistency.  I don't like them to be peanut halves.  And I won't use quite so many of them.  (FYI, I did not stick with the proportions in the printed recipe; I added a lot more of everything because we were hungry.)  Another thing I'd like to try is cashew cheese instead of the Daiya.  Or maybe Follow Your Heart vegan cheese.

In a nutshell:  I'll do this again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking forward to doing some cooking this weekend.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Weekend...

...has come to an end. Nothing all that great food-wise. We had gado-gado last night. The kids prefer steamed veggies, I prefer roasted. I did roast another turban squash. mmmm. Yum.

I just received Vegan Comfort Food. Can't wait to try some of the recipes.

In non-food news, I've started playing clarinet again.

I just don't want to let the weekend go, but I must. 4 AM comes really early.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crash Hot Potatoes redux

http://veganyumyum.com/2009/01/crash-hot-potatoes/  I've made these once before, but tonight I'm trying them on with paprika and thyme.  Sides include vegan baked beans and roasted broccoli.  I suppose it helps that I made eight potatoes AND I am ravenously hungry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Spiritual Journey

At first, I thought being vegan was all about food. One morning I simply woke up, was writing in my handwritten journal, and it just hit me: I'm vegan. I had kind of seen it coming, I suppose. My father's poor eating habits had ruined his health to the point that I could see him going downhill really fast. And I didn't want to die that way. And it just hit me: this is the right way for me to eat.

It has only been in the last few weeks that I have come to realize - quite slowly - that there is a spiritual component to how I eat. There is a connection between what I choose to put in my mouth, chew up and swallow, and the aspect of life that we cannot see and feel, yet sense all around us. I am not sure how I feel, other than that there is a sense of peace I feel that I have not had at any other time in my memory. Who would have thought that such a seemingly small thing could reap such great change?

My faith is more meaningful to me, because I feel I am less of a hypocrite. I will have to explore this further.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday night's dinner

Black Beans and potatoes

We don't have any tortillas, so we're doing without those.  However,  that will simply cut down on the starch in this recipe, which is pretty starchy without them.  Also, I don't like green bell peppers, so ixnay on those, as well.  Hmmm... should be interesting what we end up with.  How much would a person alter a recipe before it's no longer THAT recipe?  Seems like I do this an awful lot.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kitchen disaster

Well, I didn't end up making the Butternut Squash recipe after all.  When I took the squash out of the oven, I set the cookie sheet it was on, on top of a burner.  And I'd forgotten to turn off that burner.  I was roasting a pumpkin at the same time.  So Brian took the pumpkin & added it to the cooked pasta, and we put a little dried sage & salt & pepper in it, and at that.  Needless to say, the butternut squash was ruined. :(

These things happen sometimes.  Oh well.  Try, try again.

While I'm at it

I'll add my favorite vegan pot pie recipe.  Make sure you use vegan pie crust.  I usually make my own with oil.  But that is another post.

The kids eat this up, and it definitely fits the bill for comfort food.

Delicious Vegetable Pot Pie

1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup melted margarine or vegan spread
½ cup all purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3-4 cups chopped cooked seitan if desired
2 pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sauté onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in margarine for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour to sautéed mixture, stirring well.  Cook one minute stirring constantly.
  4. Combine broth and soy milk
  5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture
  6. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly
  7. Stir in salt and pepper; add seitan, if desired, and stir well
  8. Put one pie crust on the bottom of a cast iron skillet. 
  9. Pour mixture on top of bottom pie crust (Hint: baking the lower crust by itself for about 15 minutes before adding the veggie mixture will make it a bit more crispy if you like a crispier pie crust)
  10. Top with second pie crust.  Seal edges to keep the filling from bubbling out.
  11. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
  12. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

Good news and tonight's dinner

Two things:

First, I have lost two more pounds.  Considering the fact that I do my worst eating in the summer, that is not too awfully bad.  But I can do better.  MORE FRUIT PLEASE.

Secondly:  We're having the following for dinner tonight.  It is another of my favorite recipes.  It is a veganized version of a recipe for Sage Squash and Pasta I found on the Better Homes and Gardens site.

Butternut Squash and Pasta With Sage

From Better Homes and Gardens: 

Browned butter and sage help to flavor this simple pasta dish. This is a delicious way to enjoy butternut squash, or use another winter squash or pumpkin in this dish. I love it just the way it is, but feel free to add some cooked white beans or baby lima beans for extra protein. Use rombi pasta, farfalle, or a similar flat or ruffled pasta.

 To veganize this recipe, I have replaced the butter with Earth Balance, and Parmesan cheese with vegan Parmesan flavor topping.  You could also top with nutritional yeast if you like.


  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds
  • 1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces rombi, farfalle, or similar flat or ruffled pasta
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance or other vegan spread or margarine
  • 2 dozen sage leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan flavor topping


Heat oven to 375°.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash. Scoop out seeds and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes. Combine squash, chopped onion, and 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat and spread out in a large jelly roll pan or roasting pan.
Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned, turning about halfway through the roasting time.
Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on the package; drain and rinse with hot water. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat, cook Earth Balance and sage leaves until the butter begins to brown. When the sediment turns medium brown, add the garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Do not let the solution burn. Remove from heat and remove the sage with a slotted spoon; use a spoon to crumble. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the mixture, along with the crumbled sage and roasted butternut squash and onions. Put back on the heat and continue cooking stirring, until pasta and squash are hot. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Toss with the 1/2 cup of  vegan Parmesan type topping just before serving.  Serves 4-6

Now, some things I'm doing differently tonight:  I'm sautéing the onions with the Earth Balance instead of roasting them, because I forgot to chop up an onion when I was peeling and cutting up the squash.  Secondly, I am not using fresh sage leaves.  Instead, I'm adding about 1½ teaspoons of dried sage when I add the pasta.  I think that is all the changes.  I'll post again if I make any others.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Considering my eating has not been all that disciplined in the last three months, I should not be surprised when I weigh tomorrow.  I don't think I've lost any more weight, even though I hope I have.  Just a couple of pounds less would be nice.

Another person's success story

Beyond Willpower: One Year Anniversary and an update 

This lady has lost quite a bit of weight since going vegan.  I have lost about 26 pounds.  I just wish it would come off faster.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eating vegan - a new beginning

I'm too late for the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo), but I can add a few things here and there, and chronicle my journey into the heart of veganness.

I've been vegan since March of this year (2011 just to be sure). I remember the last time I ate meat. I've had some slip-ups into stuff that had egg or cheese ingredients, but those can be counted on less than one hand. Fortunately, most people are really supportive, and tell me right off if something has animal ingredients in it. Though I started out doing this for health reasons, I realize now, I'm staying for the animals. If I don't eat cats, dogs or rabbits, why should I eat chickens, pigs or cows? They too have a face.


Vegan Gado-Gado


  • 1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

  • 2 cloves garlic—finely chopped or pressed

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • 1 cup coconut milk or other skim milk or soy milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 6 tablespoons natural peanut butter

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon sambal oelek (Indonesian chili sauce) (substitute hot sauce if you do not have the sambal oelek)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Steamed veggies such as chopped cabbage, broccoli, cooked cubed potatoes, boiled eggs, raw bean sprouts (carrots are not very authentic, but I like them anyway) Use what you have on hand. I've also tried it with rice, and with pasta.

HEAT the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the garlic for 1 minute, stirring constantly to brown. ADD the remaining ingredients, except the lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency. ADD the lemon juice, and stir to combine.
Once ready, pour over vegetables, and ENJOY!

Our family has this about once a week, and my kids LOVE IT.