Category Archives: Veganista? Or Veganish?

The Blog Tour Cometh

Sensational Saturdays

a blog for whatever the bleep I feel like writing

It’s coming. I can feel it getting closer day by day.

The blog tour for Little Red Riding Wolf approaches.

I haven’t set up many stops yet, but even the thought of setting them up gets my mind spinning. Where should I go? Who should I contact? How do you do this? Little Red Riding Wolf is paranormal, so I need to do something on paranormal blogs, but should I do other kinds as well? Of course I’m going to start with my friends. Some of them have already kindly offered and been accepted with great relief. I have a place to go where I am welcome.

Who knew this almost anonymous action of blogging would feel so personal? I don’t have to pick up the phone and call anyone, listen to their hemming and hawing while they pretend to check their calendars. I don’t have to knock on doors, or face no-soliciting signs. But somehow even with the apparent facelessness of the internet, it feels intimate.

My internet friends are friends. Even if I’ve never met them. Despite the fact that I’ve never met them. They are my friends. This thought dawned on me as I watched Elaine Cougler interview Sharon Clare at her blog (On Becoming a Wordsmith). As they smiled and chatted and talked to the camera, I almost recognized their reactions, their tones, their quirks.

Why? Because we’ve been getting to know each other through the internet. And for centuries that’s how friendships have grown. No, I know the internet is new, but writing letters, revealing yourself through words, that is centuries old. Many people who considered themselves friends never met through anything other than letters. They would strike up a correspondence as strangers, but through common experiences or goals or interests they would become friends.

Meeting friends through the internet isn’t as deep as writing a personal letter. You know everyone is reading your correspondence, and it is composed of one or two liners. That’s why Twitter is so successful. It turns out that one or two lines can express your personality, outline your goals, or sink your ship as well as entire letters. Okay, maybe not as well. But think of taking the time to write a letter over a week, or even a month. Filling the pages with one or two lines at a time. Lines that might be full of deep thought, or lines that are quick in-between glimpses into your daily life. Then its all saved up and mailed at one time. It’s still small bursts of intimacy.

I believe we were losing the art of correspondance due to the telephone. No one wrote letters, at least not very often. Maybe cards during the holidays, or maybe not. When the computer and printer came around most of my friends settled on a group letter. Sure it let you know what every single person in the family had accomplished over the year, but it was generic and didn’t feel very personal. Now with Facebook, I can see my friends and their kids as their lives evolve during the year.

Yes, our lives are busy. Yes, we don’t have time for more than scanning and sending out a quick tweet. Yes it might feel like this isn’t what a close one-on-one cup of coffee would be like. But I feel the friendship. I feel that I am getting to know each and every one of you who comments. The pithy one liners, the carefully constructed words, the love and support.

Its all real, and I appreciate it all. And BTW: if you haven’t heard from me, I’ll be knocking on your door soon. Asking for a place to hang my hat for the day. In the old paper writing days one would write a letter of introduction, asking for an interview. Now I’ll be writing a letter of inquiry and sending it by email. Not so very different. Words, whether electronic or on paper, do promote intimacy. Thank you everyone for the friendship.

And in that spirit I will burden you with a last vegan recipe. This one is culled from a pot-luck dish and can be served to anyone as a side dish. (Just don’t tell them it’s healthy) And it can form a satisfying main meal if you will be having any vegetarians or vegans as guests. I like to make a big batch and freeze it in small containers for lunches.

Savory Lentils and Rice

  • 1 med onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup lentils (I like the color of red lentils, but green works just fine)
  • 3 cups water* mixed with 1 Tbl Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 tsp each Tarragon, Thyme, and Marjoram
  • 1 cup greens, chopped into small pieces, I like turnip or kale

Pre-heat oven to 350° . Sauté onions and garlic in oil over med-low heat till soft. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake covered for 1/2 hour, then stir and uncover, another 1/2 – 1 hour.

*I am at high altitude and need to use 4 cups of water and a longer cooking time, total 2 hours. Also if you use short or long grain brown rice, that can change your cooking time. Short grain cooks faster. This dish can be made ahead of time and re-heated. It is very accommodating.

Enjoy!

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Whine, Whine, Wine?

Sensational Saturday’s

a blog for whatever I feel like writing

I did it. I finally fell off the blogging wagon. I missed Thursday.

On Wednesday I thought “Oh, I need to write Thursday’s blog.” But in my mind Thursday was still two days away! What’s up with that?

Working full time during November has made me into a crazy woman. I get up early, spend a frantic half hour on the computer, slurping down my coffee and shoveling in my oatmeal with raisins while dealing with emails and trying to write blogs, possibly tweeting. (And don’t even mention Facebook!)

Then I get myself together to drive the 20-30 minutes (while listening to a book) to work. I’m at work over my eight hour day. Why? Because it’s that kind of job. Even though I don’t really get paid for the extra fifteen minutes at the begining or the extra fifteen minutes at the end. I still am there. Then I drive home. And deal with whatever crisis needs dealing with. And walk the poor Lab. At just over a year she’s still a puppy and needs, needs, needs that hour walk.

By the time I get back and deal with whatever else is going on, I’m pooped! And even though I have the best, absolutely the best, intentions of blogging the night before. I don’t. And I have to get up early the next morning and do it all again.

Am I whining? YES!!! I know most people out there live this way. But I love being a full time writer. I love actually getting to write every day and getting to touch base with all of you. It makes me happy. Working is making me crabby and stressed and I think, bald.

So, I’m almost finished. Just a little bit left of this contract and I will be back here, and on Twitter, and answering my email. And oh yeah, back to editing my BIAY. Which is so close to being finished I can almost taste it!

Bear with me while I do the dirty work of actually working so I have some money and we can eat during the debut of Little Red Riding Wolf in February. Thanks for your patience. And for all of you who live this way normally, I am in awe.

How do you all manage your lives? Do you actually work full time and write and have families? Are you like me and in the sandwich generation? Caught between aging parents trying to change their lifestyles and kids? Or do you have way too many pets as children and do they steal your attention? How do you get it all done? Let me know because I need some good advice while I still have some hair left!

Here is my Vegan Recipe for Today. Brownies of course, because we all need chocolate when stressed!

Jessica’s Vegan Emergency Brownie Recipe

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 12 tbl cocoa
  • 4 egg equiv. egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups vegan sugar
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix First 5 ingredients, add sugar and maple syrup. Stir well. Mix in dry ingredients all at once. Pour in 9×13 greased pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes.

These are a fairly dark moist brownie, but not overly sweet. If you try them and think they need more, you could try making a nice ganache icing with soy milk and vegan chocolate chips. I’m still playing with this recipe, so any suggestions would be helpful. Enjoy!

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Meatless and Loving it? What is up?

Sensational Saturdays

my MISCELLANEOUS blogging day

When I first started trying veganism it was easier than I thought it would be. The toughest thing was, and still is, going to other people’s houses. Or eating out. That is very hard. But eating at home has become not only easy, but my preferred way of eating. Its taken about six months, but I don’t really want to eat meat anymore. And the way that I know this is we went out to dinner last week. And I ate meat.

I love Red Robin’s Teriyaki Chicken Burger. I love the pineapple and Teriyaki combo. The whole thing is just delicious. So I decided I would be a bad vegan and have one. I haven’t eaten chicken for months, just the occasional piece of salmon and beef. (See, I told you last week I’m not a perfect vegan!) But when we went out I ordered so fast, that I ordered the wrong burger. I ordered the California Chicken Burger.

And when it arrived I was so disappointed. It wasn’t the one thing that I had given myself permission to go off of my strict food program for. But it was what I had ordered, so I ate it. And you know what? I made a discovery. The chicken was not what I wanted. What I wanted was the flavor of pineapple, teriyaki and (let’s face it) mayonnaise. I really wished, if I hadn’t gotten the Teriyaki Chicken Burger, that I had ordered a Garden Burger!

Wow! I actually wanted a Garden Burger instead of meat!

So it does happen. I’d heard that once you started eating a certain way your body’s cravings for things changed, and I think that’s what is going on. I really love the smell of barbecued meat, but I’m very happy sliding my Tofurkey brat onto the grill instead. Go figure!

Today’s recipe is based on my sisters adaptation of a recipe from Carraba’s Italian restaurant. They have a wonderful lentil soup. My sister lightened it with turkey sausage and makes something similar at home. I’ve gone one step further and used the Tofurkey Italian sausage. But I put the meat alternative instructions at the bottom. Just in case you are not ready for the dreaded Tofurkey. Not too long ago I wouldn’t have touched it. Now I have to tell you  that this soup is very satisfying and delicious and I ate the whole pot by myself over the course of last week. It is that good. Enjoy!

Sausage Lentil Soup

  • 2-3  Tofurkey Italian Sausages
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 tsp crushed fennel
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 28 oz diced canned tomatoes (Stewed Tomatoes work great)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 8 oz dried lentils (I like red because they are prettier, but green work just fine)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper and 2-3 tsp lemon juice to taste
Sauté onion, carrot and fennel for approximately ten minutes till onion and carrot are soft. Add tomatoes, water, bouillon, bay leaf and lentils (rinse and sort lentils first). Cook1 to 1.5 hours till lentils are done. Add chopped up Tofurkey sausage and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
*For meat eaters: Brown 8-12 oz turkey Italian sausage (remove from casings) first. Then add the onions and carrots and fennel and continue with the recipe from there.

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Veganista or just Veganish?

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write what I want to

This past March I’d had it.

My birthday is in February and I had made what should have been a healthy cake. Chocolate carrot cake made with whole wheat flour. Homemade and full of fiber and vegetables. It knocked me sideways and lay me on the bathroom floor in migraine hell.

It wasn’t like I didn’t know it could happen. I’d spent the entire holiday season last year in a constant fight against a low grade migraine. You see migraines do what I call “lurking”. After you start a migraine, they don’t go away. They hide in a corner of your head and wait for you to do something stupid, then they jump out and lay you low.

I’d begun 2011 with the full intent of eating better, getting exercise and avoiding stress. And I did pretty well, but that cake was the breaking point. I knew I had to do something different.

So I became vegan.

For those of you not familiar with the term here is a definition:

ve·gan [vee-guhn] noun

a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.
Now it’s not that easy. There are vegans who believe that you should not use animal products, and vegans that believe that you need to watch each and every ecological decision you make to be sure it doesn’t hurt another creature or the planet.
Given all that, why don’t I call what I’m doing vegetarianism?
Because I’ve found that vegetarian food frequently contains eggs and or dairy. And I’m avoiding those. Mostly.
Okay, you caught me. I’m a terrible vegan. I try.
At home it’s easy. I can make my own food. Control each and every ingredient in my homemade granola. Purchase only the veggie burgers that are true veggie burgers and not egg and cheese burgers with vegetables in disguise.
But when I go out, it is almost impossible unless I eat nothing but salad. And even then you have to be careful. Ceasar salad has anchovies and eggs, after all.
So why do it at all?
INFLAMMATION. I’ve discovered that most of my health issues are better when I decrease my inflammation. And that means cutting down on the foods most likely to cause it. Meat, eggs and dairy being some of them. White flour and white sugar being culpable also. In other words. The staples of the American diet.
So I’ve become something indefinable. I’m vegan by day, vegetarian at noon and meat eater at night. No. Acutally it’s closer to: Vegan at home, Vegetarian if that option is offered at the convention, and meat eater when that’s all there is. Because I’m not good without food. Those sneaky migraines don’t like if it I eat wrong and they don’t like it if I skip meals.
And guess what. It gets even more complicated.
I’m allergic to some nuts. Not terribly allergic. Not, “OMG you smell like peanut butter so I can’t breathe” allergic. Thank goodness! But when you go out and look at a restaruant’s choices even the vegetarian options have either nuts or cheese or something else on them that makes them something I can’t eat. So I cheat.
Oh, and I will add another confession. I do eat the occaisional chocolate chip cookie when it is waved under my nose. Even though I know it has white flour, white sugar and the evil twins, eggs and butter. I’m sorry. I’m human.
So for the month of November I’m calling on you all to send me your best vegan recipes. Those without cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts or peanuts. Oh, and eggplant. I just hate eggplant (sorry eggplant people!). And in turn, on Saturdays I will share my favorite recipes (so far).
Today I’m sharing my granola recipe. Actually it’s Alicia Silverstone’s mother’s recipe with a few modifications. If you aren’t familiar with veganism, Alicia’s book The Kind Diet is a great place to start. While Alicia herself is a “superhero” (macrobiotic) she introduces veganism in a kinder gentler fashion. And she has some killer recipes. Her peanut butter pie is to die for!
(For those allergic to peanuts, substitute almond butter instead)
So here is the granola. And as Alicia says, “Yumm!”
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Place 6 cups of rolled oats onto a flat large baking tray. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once.
(I actually use two pans because I like my oats well done, and metal works best for crunch. Don’t forget to stir.)
In a large bowl mix 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped raw almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 3/4 cup wheat germ. Stir and add hot oats.
In a separate container mix 1/2 cup oil (I use canola, but you choose), 1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff please!), and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla (also only use real vanilla).
Mix the liquid into the dry and stir well.
Spread back into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway.
Cool (stir before completely cool so the granola doesn’t stick)
Store in an air tight container and don’t over eat no matter how delicious it tastes. It is very filling!!
Have you ever tried veganism? What about vegetarianism? What about simply trying to cut out something that everyone loves from you diet? I’d love to hear your stories!

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