Monthly Archives: March 2008

BBQ

It’s only March, but the weather has been so nice lately around here that grilling season has started early. But then, we know a few people who live for grilling so much that I’m pretty sure they use their grills even during the winter. Anyway, we were invited to Ryan’s dad’s house for an Easter barbecue (or is it barbeque? According to Firefox’s spell-check, it’s with a “c”). We took some Yves brats with us, nicely wrapped in their own foil packet to avoid any greasiness they might encounter on the grill. In addition to that, we took some foil packets of some veggies that I put together: asparagus stalks, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, and green bell pepper along with some olive oil sprayed on them and dried basil, pepper, and sea salt sprinkled on top. They look delicious, so of course I forgot to take a picture. I did get a picture of the fruit salad though, which we are taking to share with everyone:

Fruit Salad

You probably can tell, but just so you know, it has one whole pineapple, one pound of strawberries, probably about 3/4 of a pound each of green grapes and red grapes, and two whole kiwis. We also bought some bananas to take too. I know people don’t typically go to barbecues for the fruit, but I will use any excuse I can to have a delicious fruit salad!

Pita Pizzas

Here’s another one from a while back. I apparently need to get better about taking photos off the camera right away. Oops! Anyway, it is tough to find pre-made crusts that are vegan around here, because all of the ones I have found have honey in them! So, I had the bright idea to make us some mini pizzas using pita bread! I had to use the white ones rather than wheat, because the wheat ones also had honey in them.

Pita Pizza 1

On top of the pita bread, we spread some pizza sauce (from a jar, although you could easily make your own) and then topped them with green pepper, mushroom, and tomato. They are also sprinkled with some dried basil (fresh would be better). They aren’t hugely filling, so it’s a great excuse to eat like three pizzas in one sitting. I think we put them in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes or so, if this is something you’re going to try yourself. Really simple!

Falafel Wraps

Ok, we actually had these a week or two ago, so … sorry! But here are pictures now!

Falafel 1

You can’t really tell from the picture, but we used those big spinach tortillas/wraps. Also in the wrap is Nasoya fake mayo, dijon mustard, home-made pickles courtesy of Ryan’s uncle, and fresh lettuce and tomato. Yummy! This is such a fresh, summery meal. I think I’ve been using a bit too much oil with the falafel though – they give me a bit of a tummy ache. Oh, and this meal is so easy because the falafel is from a mix. Yeah, I’m willing to admit that. It’s Fantastic Foods’ falafel mix, and it couldn’t be easier … or tastier!

Lent, and living for something more than yourself

Some of you out there may celebrate Lent, the 40 days of fasting and prayer that occurs before Easter. I have never been one to participate in this particular religious tradition, but many who live in this area do. As a vegetarian, and now as a vegan, I view this tradition in a unique light.

The way Lent works (at least as far as I and Wikipedia know; I’m no expert) is that people do not eat “meat” on Fridays (although fish is allowed), and people typically give up something in addition to that for the entire period (some common examples I’ve heard: soft drinks, chocolate, swearing, etc.). The Lenten season is marked by specials at restaurants and grocery stores, displaying their “new,” “limited time only” items that fit the Lenten criteria. This season is also marked by people (young and old) saying, “Awww … I can’t eat meat on Friday.”

Now that just doesn’t make sense to me. There are tons of foods available to EVERYONE that are not meat-based. I do understand that it is hard for people to break out of their norms and actually look at every option available on the restaurant menu. Lent leads to many people being frustrated because they don’t know what their other options are. However, some of our closer friends have wised up to the fact that we don’t EVER eat meat! How could we possibly live?! Well, they see how we live, and they see how well we eat. They have started taking some of our tips for eating meatless, and I hope that they feel better for it. I could take this topic all the way and go into a full-fledged religious discussion, but for now I prefer to just leave it at the diet aspect.

So, the greater idea behind Lent is to give something of yourself so that yourself and others may benefit. Fasting is a form of giving up something for yourself, and prayer is in order to benefit others. However, this whole “benefiting others” seems to have fallen by the wayside. My own philosophy on veganism is that it is something that I do for more than just myself. Yes, I receive benefits as well, but it is more a way for me to be responsible and give back some of that which I take. I think that it is a greater overarching idea that goes beyond what you eat and “will this diet help me lose weight?” It is more about being conscious of yourself, of others, and of our interactions together. For me, going vegan has not only opened my eyes to both animal and human suffering related to food production; it has also enhanced my awareness of the greater world around me: the environment, human rights, the destruction of the earth for a great many “reasons” (which I put in quotation marks because there is really not much reasonable about it). Being vegan makes me want to be a better person in all ways and to enhance my interactions with the world around me.

Chili and Cornbread

Ok, I remembered to get some pictures of the meal I made the other night. They aren’t anything fancy – I’m still working on my photography skills, especially in my kitchen where the lighting is less than perfect.

This is a shot of our chili and cornbread, which I made from scratch. I modified a recipe for “easy cornbread” that I found on the Web somewhere, and it turned out great. Maybe a little too sweet, so I’ll have to play with the amount of sugar next time. Scroll down for the recipes!

Chili & Cornbread

Chili (serves 4)
4 cups tomato soup (I get the non-dairy organic kind from Imagine)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can mild Rotel, drained
a couple teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (I’m not real big on measuring ingredients)
a couple teaspoons cumin (again … I pour some in my hand, and if it looks like a good amount, I add it)

Um, this recipe is almost too easy to type out. Put a big pot on top of the stove, pour in the tomato soup, add all of your ingredients, and simmer till it’s hot enough. I guess that’s it.

Cornbread (serves about 6, but I guess it depends on how much you want to eat!)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar (I’m going to try less – maybe none – next time)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1/2 can corn, drained
about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 400 F. Spray 8″ or 9″ square pan with your choice of non-stick whatever. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir in soymilk, oil, and egg (replacer) in bowl until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes (20 minutes was perfect for me) or until golden brown.

The cornbread was deliciously crumbly, and the cilantro added a nice flavor to it. I will definitely be making this recipe again. It’s great to pair with the chili, because the chili is just so easy that it’s hardly any work, so while the chili is simmering, you can just work on the cornbread.

Forgot again!

I keep forgetting that I want to take pictures of the meals I make and post them on here (along with recipes)! I made something that was really yummy last night (couscous with veggies and cilantro), and it looked nice too. I apparently need to start keeping my camera in the kitchen so that I remember to do this. And it’s just not the same to take pictures of leftovers and put them on here. Tonight I am making chili and (hopefully) cornbread, so I will try to remember to get pictures!

Leafleting update

As of now, my registration form as an exhibitor for the Lawrence Earth Day Celebration has been submitted. We also have received the leaflets from Vegan Outreach – their turnaround is FAST! Also, we are trying to think of activities we could do to show the relationship between eating meat and the environment. So far, I think we will have some coloring pages for kids: a few different styles, but the one I am most excited about is a coloring page of a vegan food pyramid, that basically shows how to balance a vegan diet and gives ideas about what exactly to eat. That one will likely also get handed out to adults as well. I often find that people are interested, but thinking about something new or out of the norm is overwhelming, and they never get past that first step. We would also like to have some fruit and vegetable samples there as well – something that doesn’t require cooking or baking!

If anyone has any ideas, or if anyone is reading this at all (!), let me know in the comments. I’m really excited about this idea to “speak my truth,” as Colleen from Compassionate Cooks would say. I hope the weather is nice!