Canning, New recipes, Pesto, Pickles, Re-homed Goodies, Sorrel, Tomatoes

Houston… we have pickles!

Well, I finally sat down and made out my yearly canning wish list so that I know what to keep an eye out for at local farmer’s markets and produce stands:

  • Tomatoes (chopped)

    SpongeBob's Crispylicious and Oh-So-Garlicky Refrigerator Pickles
  • Butter Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Refrigerator Pickles
  • My Secret Recipe Green Beans
  • Dilled Carrots
  • Boston Bakes Beans
  • Tomato Baked Beans
  • Fruit (various)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Blackberry/Strawberry/Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate
  • Okra Stew
  • Tomato Gravy
  • Soup (Beans and Greens)
  • Soup (Minestrone)
  • Soup (Split Pea)
  • Salmon Chowder Base
  • Tropical Sauce
  • Various Herb Pestos

Saturday we picked up 28 lbs of Roma tomatoes from a produce stand in Edmonds. Although they are not organic, which would have been my preference, I couldn’t pass up tomatoes at ~$0.61/lb. At least they aren’t on the Dirty Dozen list so I feel marginally better about that at least. We also got our hands on our first pickling cucumbers of the season and using 3 extra-large jars were able to can our first batch of about 7 quarts of my world-famous “SpongeBob’s Crispylicious and Oh-So-Garlicky Refrigerator Pickles”. A recipe that started as a lazy way to get rid of the last of some pickling cukes and leftover pickling brine and turned into the best pickle chips this side of Canter’s delicatessen. I had originally tried canning pickles (the kind you can store in the cupboard) but I realized that the reason I wasn’t impressed with them is the same reason I have NEVER liked any pickles that have been canned for long-term shelf-stability… they are cooked and no longer have that crispy texture that makes me go into a deep pickle swoon. There is a good reason that I have single-handedly kept Claussen in business all these years. Of course the downside the refrigerator pickles is that they must by definition be kept in the fridge and finding room for enough pickles to see me through the year when pickling cukes have limited availability is a challenge. I should state that I do plan on water bath canning a few quarts of pickles as I like to have that type around for my Polish Dill Pickle Soup. And if you have never tried a creamy and warm potato and dill pickle soup with crusty bread on a cold night you have never really experienced life as it should be lived… with pickles.

Miner's Lettuce

On Sunday I was able to harvest about 5lbs of purple kale, rainbow chard, and sorrel. I’ve sautéed the chard with some smoked salt and veggie seasoning from the Farmer’s market to serve over pasta, storing it in the fridge for impromptu eating. The sorrel and some miner’s lettuce has been turned into vegan sorrel pesto which I froze into ice-cube trays for storage in the freezer since you really cannot home can anything with a high oil content for safety reasons and the purple kale will go into home canned minestrone soup.

Interruption: ACK! ACK! ACK! I set the bags of fresh greens on the table and after dinner we went to reach for the bottle of mineral water and sitting right on top of the bottle cap with his antlers fully extended and a very excited look on his face was a SNAIL! I have to go faint now. I made Miss Skinny Pants release him back into the wild… hopefully in the neighbor’s yard and then bleach the bottle cap. Have I mentioned that snails and slugs and really anything from the one-foot-and-a-slime-trail genre gives me a seizure? Except Lowly Worm. He wore a shoe and a hat and was considerate about not leaving slime. Okay, and now we’re back…

After putting it out there that I needed a counter top composting bin I was able to find a nice ceramic one for $3.00 at Deseret Industries. AND, just as good, after reluctantly leaving Ian McDonald’s Desolation Road at Barnes & Noble the other night because it was $17.00 before taxes and the other CV has been sent home from work for an indefinite time while they sort out some kind of legal nonsense among the contractors and suits, I stumbled across it used today for only $4.00 when we stopped in at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park for some pickle sushi after working at the P-Patch all afternoon (yes, it’s really real and yes I had two orders of it). I discovered Third Place Books was having a 40% off sale on used books today. TPC is also a most excellent place for free and low-cost entertainment. Aside from the people watching, which is excellent, today there was a showing of Lilo & Stitch with popcorn and bean bags provided. Later in July we will be heading back over for a night of live Scandinavian Polka and vegan brownies. I mean really people, you can’t make this stuff up. Another night will be a 17 piece swing band and on Saturday mornings, Tai Chi… to help me with my chubby balance.

 

Okay, I’m off to make a crustless apricot pie and some dill pickle rye bread.

 

Peace

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Cheating/Struggling

Weight loss, shmeight loss!

I’ve wanted to find our scale, that little bringer of woe and misery, since we moved. We finally found it today, several days ago by the time you read this actually (depression makes me slow and lethargic), and now I sort of wish we hadn’t. The other chubby vegan is doing swimmingly and is on her way to becoming the skinny vegan. I, on the other hand, am apparently determined to stand up for the chubby contingent come hell or high water. Which is frustrating. To say the least. So I asked the other chubby vegan why I’m not losing weight and she is. Now mind you, she works as an electrician on a naval base right now and it is a VERY physical job but I’m also doing more physical work since the move. See the walkway in the garlic whistle post for instance. BUT, as the other chubby vegan noted, lately I am also horking down:

1. Trader Joe’s vegan cookies… bistro cookies, druid circles, trail mix cookies, etc.

2. Honey-Roasted peanuts

3. Avocados

4. Homemade bread, with vegan butter

5. Beer

Now I realize that none of those things are necessarily bad on their own, but the problem is that I’m not having one of them a day. I’m having several, sometimes all of them. So here I am to prove that yes, it is possible to maintain or even gain weight while eating vegan and still staying away from a lot of processed food. I have also begun the troubling habit of snacking late at night when I get up. I usually don’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time and often wake up between midnight and 1:00 am and am up for an hour or two before going back to bed. This is a newish development for me. I never used to do this and I’m pretty angry at myself for succumbing to one of the few bad eating habits I never had before. I really feel like it’s always going to be 2 steps forward and 1 or 2 steps back every time. So I’ve asked the now skinny vegan to help me to get back to my former behaviors. No more snacking at night. Fruit for dessert, not cookies. The very occasional cookie to be doled out by Miss Skinny Pants and otherwise hidden by her. Nothing with more than a 10% fat content. No oil. No butter. No nuts except walnuts in recipes. No more avocados unless it’s burrito night. No more than one beer.

What does this mean? Well I guess I can feel all pissed off at myself and deprived or I can get out my Veganize This book and get back to what made this fun to begin with… good health, feeling good physically and the challenge of figuring out ways and recipes to make this fun and exciting. My first challenge is to make a really good, crustless, vegan, low fat fruit pie/dessert for those times when I want fruit for dessert but crave the comfort of something warm and handmade by my Nana like. Well, made by my Nana before she totally lost her sense of taste due to smoking Pall Mall’s and drinking 1000 degree cups of instant coffee. I swear it was like she could only drink her Taster’s Choice when it was at a temperature approaching the core of the sun. And by the that time she thought that water was just as good as butter and milk when making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I liked to think of it as “Kraft Macaroni and Orange”. My goodness but I sure miss her! Nobody could laugh at themselves quite like she could. In fact I’ve been missing her even more since the move to this house. Nana would have liked it. And she would have been proud of me even with all my mistakes. I miss you Nana!

Peace

Beans, New recipes

Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water, Garlic Whistles and Tamale Bread

I spent 3 or 4 hours in the back yard today pulling the grass off of the brick walkway that runs from our back door to the garage door, trimming some branches off the laurel tree that the “arborists” hacked up like a wanna-be Billy Idol hairdo and trying to do some major revamping on a rhodie bush in the backyard that was being overgrown with roses and bittersweet. Now admittedly, pulling grass from a walkway sounds tedious but not all that difficult. I’m including this picture so everyone can see how difficult this one is. The walkway doesn’t just end there, it actually goes another 20-25 feet to the garage, it’s just buried under what is essentially sod with an attitude. Only sod would be easier to remove as the roots wouldn’t be growing down between each and every brick. But I’m not complaining. It’s actually good exercise that is accomplishing something and not just walking endlessly to nowhere on a treadmill or stairmaster.

Aside from the yard work however, and no, I haven’t made anymore progress on either the rockery out front or the front yard, I did do a bit of cooking yesterday that turned out really well. I started with a batch of what I’m calling tamale bread. The original recipe called for the use of cornmeal but I substituted masa harina instead to give it more of a mexican food flavor. It turned out really well and half the loaf is already gone! I also made a batch of Hawaiian chili pepper water. If you are wondering what that is, well, I had never had it before a trip to Hawaii myself last August. I cooked for myself the entire trip and stuck to rice, veggies, fish and grilled chicken. With such a simple menu I was game to try as many new condiments as I could and this was one of them. To quote another website, it is, “Like a distant island cousin of Crystal or Tabasco sauce, chili pepper water is a fiery brine used in Hawaii to add a spicy kick to rice, eggs, spaghetti, fried foods, Bloody Marys—just about anything.” Now I wouldn’t call mine fiery it’s more sort of “zesty” but then again spiciness is all relative. As a matter of fact I have one relative with an asbestos tongue who would happily suck on a scotch bonnet Tootsie pop and another that nearly cries at the merest drop of mild taco sauce (and they know who they are). Lastly, since the other chubby vegan is working another Saturday to help us pay off moving expenses, I tried to make her a dinner that would blow her socks off. Or at least make them flap in the wind a little. I started with a salad plate of avocado slices and garlic whistles (her two favorites), added a slice of “buttered” homemade bread (I know, it looks like frosting, right? I’m working on it… ) and finished with a big bowl of Greens and Beans soup. The greens being golden beet greens from our garden and the beans being my home-canned Butter Beans. Not only was it filling in the extreme but every part was even tastier than the last.

Tamale Bread (for a bread machine)

Warm Tamale Bread

1 cup water, 80 degrees

3 tbsp oil

1 cup whole kernel corn

1/2 cup jalapenos, chopped (I used pickled jalapenos for nachos)

2 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1 cup masa harina

3 2/3 cup bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

Follow your bread machine instructions for white bread, adding the ingredients in the order they appear on the list which should keep the yeast separate from the liquid until you turn on the machine and start making the bread.


Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

1 clean, used bottle with a good tight cap. (I used a clean olive oil bottle from  Trader Joe’s as the cap includes a plastic strainer)

12 dried red chili peppers (I used dried red chili flakes instead)

6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Optional: I also added a few tbsp of dried garlic

4 fresh Thai chilis, thinly sliced

2 red jalapenos, thinly sliced (these are just for color and variety)

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 tsp sea salt

3 cups hot water

1. Push the peppers and garlic into clean bottle.
2. Mix the vinegar, salt and hot water.
3. Pour the liquid into the bottle to cover the chilies. Let cool.
4. Cap the bottle and store it in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a month. (I used mine for much much longer. Remember, vinegar is a preservative)
5. Sprinkle this spicy, garlicky water over your food as the Hawaiians do. Enjoy!

Garlic Whistles (Garlic Spears, Garlic Scapes) and “Beans ‘n’ Greens Soup

Garlic Whistles

Trim the spear ends, not the blossom end. The blossoms are edible and oh so very tasty. Par boil in salted water, drain, toss in Garlic Expressions or the vinaigrette of your choice and chill. These can be served hot but are really fun to nibble on as a salad or snack. The soup is even easier:

2 large bunches of your favorite greens, rinsed and chopped. I often use beet greens or rainbow chard but any green will do. Plop them in a dutch oven or stock pot.

Add 2 15 oz cans of beans with bean juice. I use butter beans or navy beans, but again whatever makes you happy.

Add 1 onion, chopped

Put in sufficient vegetable broth to cover the beans and greens in the pot.

1/8 to 1/4 cup sweet smoked paprika, depending on your taste.

1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, again add according to your taste preference.

Simmer until greens are soft and flavors have melded nicely. Do not add salt until you taste the finished product. We didn’t need to add any.

Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Peace!

Fresh Apricots, Lentils, Liverwurst, New recipes, Stuffing, Vegan Sandwich Spreads

Liverwurst?

Yes, it’s true. I do miss liverwurst, that most mocked of German sausages. Because nothing says home-cooking like pink pureed meat things in a plastic casing. , And actually, I miss braunshweiger too now that I think about it, the smoked version of liverwurst. Which, if you know me is odd, as I would generally rather undergo some sort of painful dental procedure in the nude than eat liver.  Whoever first looked at some unfortunate prey’s jiggly insides and thought, “Mmmm, I’ll eat the part that looks like a big purple tongue” should have been kicked off the island. Nasty nasty stuff. But, thanks to mom and the mayo-riffic white bread and liverwurst sandwiches of my youth, I do have a weakness for liver processed beyond any resemblance to anything occurring in nature. It is also likely the basis for my love of deviled ham spread and vienna sausages in a can. And Spam. Let’s not forget spam, which I have been informed was popular in the south pacific in part because it tastes the most like people. Because if you weren’t vegan before…

So while I was poking around the internet looking for a tasty lentil spread to add to my vegan sandwich making repertoire I stumbled upon a recipe for mock chopped liver and immediately figured I could easily convert that to a mock liverwurst. About 18 months ago I purchased a book called Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. I know it seems a bit weird to be using a meat book on a vegan diet but this has some of the best sausage recipes and I see no reason not to convert as many as possible to vegan/vegetarian options. I’ve used it to make breakfast sausage, including maple chicken sausage patties as well as homemade bratwurst. That one was more of a challenge since I don’t have casings or a stuffer. I ended up making meatballs out of the “filling” and serving them on egg noodles and it was superb. I think it’s all just a matter of changing your mindset and not letting yourself get locked into doing things the traditional or accepted way. If you can’t do it the way tradition or a recipe dictates then find another way around. Do something totally unexpected. You never know what you might discover.

Mock Liverwurst

or, as I like to call it… Liverbest! or Lentilwurst!…

1 cup lentils (I used brown lentils)
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp sage, marjoram, nutmeg and smoked black pepper
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoon nayonaise
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste, or smoked sea salt if you cannot find smoked pepper.

In a pot, boil the lentils in 2 1/2 cups water. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils soften. Drain the lentils and let cool. In a food processor, blend together the drained lentils and remaining ingredients except nayonaise. Do NOT liquefy-leave somewhat chunky, chunky being relative as liverwurst is pretty homogenized and fine grain. Stir in the nayonaise, and salt to taste. Cover and chill. The spread I mean. Although you may chill as well. With a beer if you like. Whatever blows smoke up your skirt.

* UPDATE: This stuff looks like chopped liver if my memory of what chopped liver at Canter’s Deli looks like is correct. I couldn’t get it as pureed as I wanted and still keep it thick enough to work as liverwurst. As far as taste goes this is a real winner. It does taste like what it’s supposed to taste like actually. I may try it with a bit of that turkish black salt to give it that hint of iron and sulphur that gives liver it’s liveriness if I can ever find some. I may be forced to buy it on the internet.

One more recipe for the day. I, being a lover of all things Thanksgiving with the possible exception of overly tight bonnets and large-buckled shoes, feel that any time is the right time for stuffing. And in that vein I am making snack stuffing. Yes, I said snack. Because who doesn’t like to snack on stuffing?

SpongeBob’s Summertime Apricot Snack Stuffing

2 large onion, chopped
4 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried peaches, chopped (or you can use prunes or sour cherries)
1 or 2 cups of your favorite broth, depending on how moist you like your stuffing. I used “chicken”.
1 cube of vegan butter, melted
1 box (2 bags) Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing Mix
5 or 6 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions, celery and dried fruit together until onions are soft. Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss until liquids are well distributed. Lightly oil an 8×8 inch baking pan and scoop stuffing into pan. Do not pack down too tightly. Bake uncovered until hot and a nice crust forms on top. Grab the first bowl of this because other people eat it and then you don’t get any. But I’m not bitter about that!

Peace!

Beans, Canning, Italian Stew, New recipes

Circumcised Lamb? Oh! Cumin-spiced…

I was poking around the internet for some ideas on an apricot and chickpea salad this morning when I saw a recipe for “circumcised lamb”. Well you can imagine MY face. I really should read things more carefully, cumin-spiced lamb is very different. I’m just saying.

I think, after much more poking around and after a gander at the apricot chickpea salad recipe in my Urban Pantry book I will combine several recipes to make my own, like I often do. Some of the various recipes called for kalamata olives (too salty), some for Bulgar wheat (too bulgary), some for pistachios (I don’t have them), and some for cardamom (Yechhh…) and all of them called for dried apricots. So I’ve decided to use Israeli couscous as the base and a mixture of dried and fresh apricots instead of just dried. With summer here, technically anyway, it’s a shame not to use more fresh ingredients. Most also use a vinaigrette dressing but I am thinking of using something with a fresh lemon juice base instead or the no-fat citrus dressing we tried on our garden salad last week. I should mention that with the garden salad we had another success with a very quick and easy to prepare off-the-cuff meal. I tossed a box of cooked elbow macaroni with two jars of home-canned pinto beans, a can of enchilada sauce and some diced onions and peppers to make a warm and comforting “Pinto Bean Mac”. We all had large servings with a green salad on the side and I have to say that for a cool rainy evening it was delicious. Last night we prepared steamed broccoli with garlic and lemon along with vegan whole wheat and potato gnocchi from Trader Joe’s smothered in marinara sauce. The gnocchi was fabulous and I’m thinking will be a tasty addition to my Puttanesca Stew in the future. Tonight is the teenager’s turn to make dinner (Something I am fairly certain he has forgotten). With the move essentially completed he is back to cooking dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights, a turn of events that apparently shocked him as he gives every impression now of laboring under the assumption that turning 17 and having good grades means that he need not be bothered with contributing to the household in a way that involves taking time away from his social life. But, while I won’t be cooking tonight I will be providing the recipe and ingredients ( I learned the hard way after a meal of meatloaf and ketchup and nothing else that it behooves me to help with the planning in these things). My only problem this evening… I have no idea what to have him make. It’s so much easier when I can just do things on the fly myself. I am trying out the new bread machine today though. I’m using a basic white bread recipe to start but I tossed in a packet of Knorr Vegetable Dip mix. We don’t eat toast much anymore because of the whole problem with applying butter with a putty knife but we still like it for sandwiches and for eating with soup so I’ll be interested to see how this comes out and if it makes for a nice savory loaf.

Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin)

We stopped at our very neglected P-patch garden yesterday for some much-needed weeding, planting, harvesting and work party hours. I came home with big bags of beet greens, purple kale, dandelion greens and broccolini. I also ran to the nursery and picked up some kabocha, delicata, zucchini and tomato plants as well as some new golden beet starts to replace the ones I harvested yesterday.  The other chubby vegan laughed at me for planting 6 zucchini plants, she says we never learn, BUT I pointed out that we didn’t throw away a single zucchini last year. So there, I said, out that in your zucchini bread and smoke it. At this point we have about 3/4 of the weeding done but it is raining today so I will try again on Wednesday when the rain is supposed to stop. I got our 2 tomato plants and a few raspberry canes in the ground here at the house and I’ll try and get some watermelon poppies and coral colored sweet peas into the rockery out front.

Tomorrow I plan on planning out some canning (we ate all the jars of pinto beans I canned and need some more) and making a list of what we really liked: My Secret Recipe Green Beans, Navy Bean and Greens soup, Chili beans, Italian Stewed Vegetables, Herbed Carrots, canned red and green tomatoes, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and butter beans. (I don’t care what anyone says about how quickly you can soak and cook beans, when you’re tired and your feet feel like you’ve walked them down to the ankle bones, just opening a can and adding extras is so much easier than quick soaking and boiling. And not just physically but mentally.) I should also start roaming the farmer’s market looking for deals on whatever vegetables they will sell in bulk. I know Nash’s does carrots but I will have to learn to haggle this year and see what deals I can get on veggies that are not grocery store pretty but are still fresh and good.

If anyone has any good canning ideas let me know!

Peace!

Curry, Italian Stew, New recipes, Re-homed Goodies, Vegan Salad Dressing

Mary Poppins Bag

When we first got word from our former landlord that he was losing the condo to foreclosure and we would need to move I spent a considerable amount of time in a state of high anxiety convinced that we were looking down the barrel of living in either a freezer box on the street or perhaps one of those weekly hotels with rental sheets and a generous sprinkling of prostitutes and crack addicts. Now is probably the time to admit that in my mental world everyone online is thinner and better looking than me, everyone I went to high school with more successful, every prospective tenant more appealing and with better credit and every other job applicant more qualified. It’s exciting to be me, no? Thankfully, we are NOT living with cardboard walls or fending off the tempting money-making offers of street pimps but after this move the life of a wandering mendicant is looking more and more like a practical lifestyle choice. Whoever recommended moving a freezer with the food still in it so that nothing defrosts needs to be slapped really hard with a frozen mackerel. And what’s with all the boxes? I dump them in the garage and then every time I go back in there… more boxes. It is clear to me that they are breeding in there. And the old condo is like Mary Poppins bag, every time we reach in and take something out something else appears. At this rate we won’t be done moving until… maybe… Christmas??? Okay, I vented enough now. And truly I am thankful for the beautiful home and wonderful landlord we have found.

New Recipes

Vegan but NOT low fat!

This last week has been an exciting and challenging one in so far as cooking has been more difficult in terms of both prep ( I can’t find all my kitchen stuff) and finding the time and energy to cook. But we have actually made some really tasty and relatively easy to prepare meals given the circumstances. One night we made a quick vegan curry “stew” served over red Thai Hom Mali rice using S&B Golden Curry mix with potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, home canned butter beans and chunks of delicata squash. The great thing about using

Delicata Squash
Don't forget to remove the casing!

delicata is that even though it is a “winter squash” the skin is thin and edible making it a breeze to use in stews and soups. Another night I chunked up a half-dozen tomatoes, some onions, red peppers, garlic and zucchini and simmered it all, no water, with some Italian herbs. When it had cooked down we added sautéed meatless Italian sausage chunks from Trader Joe’s and sliced green olives. I think of it as my Puttanesca Stew… which I was thrilled to find out means “Whore’s” stew. I think that has a certain ring to it. Last night I made a Mexican cornbread casserole by mixing Trader Joe’s soy chorizo with roasted corn, diced onions and peppers a little enchilada sauce and topping it all with cornbread batter and baking it. On the side I made a green salad of romaine hearts, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, black olives and red onion slivers. The dressing I made by tossing some tofu, half an avocado, the juice of one lemon, jarred guacamole mix and some water in the blender. It made a wonderfully creamy Mexican style avocado dressing. Topped with cracked pepper the salad was a real winner.

We have taken real advantage of Freecycle the week (see the link on the right), using it to re-home many of our moving boxes as well some items we didn’t need or no longer have any use for. It’s been a real godsend not having to either throw these things out or haul them away and that doesn’t even take into account that these items are going to someone who needs them. It’s another step in our effort to consume and waste less. I was also able to find a second-hand shower chair that retails new at Home Depot for $90 in perfect condition for $10 as well as a gorgeous, nice condition overstuffed reading chair for $40 at our local Goodwill.

Hopefully tomorrow I can start posting normally again, including real recipes and ideas and such. We have done well sticking to our vegan plan this week but we have modified it to include occasional fish which I realize makes it a non vegan diet but thankfully the world is still a place where we can make our own rules and labels for ourselves. Perhaps we should consider calling ourselves “vegish”? Yeah, we’re vegish, I like that! Of course that means we’d have to change the blog title to Two Chubby Vegishes. What exactly IS the plural of a vegish? Vegi? Ah well… more mysteries to ponder!

Peace!

Egg Salad, Fast Food, New recipes, Tuna

The Whopper Walk of Shame…

This is a blog I started writing last week before the move. It’s been much hairier than I thought and we still aren’t done yet so i thought I would post SOMETHING. Sorry for the absence!

It suddenly occurs to me that somewhere in here (probably subconsciously AND on purpose) I failed to mention that I had a MAJOR slip-up some days ago. Yes, that’s right, not only did I blow my vegan choice but I actually bought and consumed fast food, something I haven’t done in almost 2 years. Normally I try to keep some sort of snack like dried fruit, tomato strips, sandwich, etc. in my backpack to head off the temptation for anything “fast” but I was out and about unexpectedly, failed to pack a snack AND let myself get overly hungry. To be fair, I immediately confessed my sins to the other vegan, who in a fit of supportive sensitivity, gasped, fell backward, clasped her chest like she was having some sort of cardiac episode and stage-whispered my name in the same sort of way that your mother might upon discovering you’ve sold small handicapped children on the black-market. And so now I am reminding myself just exactly what I consumed… NOT a tasty treat that tickles my tastebuds and leaves my tummy singing it’s burger-iffic praises, but 720 calories (the equivalent of 2 large vegan meals),  44 g of fat (a whole days worth on a “recommended” diet but about 4 times what I have on my vegan diet) and 1240 mg of sodium (stroke anyone?). And none of that takes into account the other issues… sugar-filled buns made with white flour, thin-skinned veggies with high pesticide content and possibly contaminated with E Coli or Listeria if the farmer hasn’t been careful, pre-formed meat with high fat content from factory farmed cows fed grain, chemically altered with added “flavoring” and God only knows what else so that all whoppers everywhere taste the same, cheese that isn’t really cheese at all and condiments swimming with fat and sugar. I may as well have brewed up a hot cup of lard, sugar and salt now that I think about it. *Note: I did not pick on the pickles. I never have a bad word to say about pickles. I am, I confess, a pickle supremacist.

NOW, moving forward… having discovered a most tasty vegan tuna salad recipe (which is included in an earlier post and is even better with the addition of even more kelp powder) I am moving on to one of my other most-missed sandwich venues, egg salad. I am going to try a tofu egg salad recipe from online. This looks even simpler than the vegan tuna salad but will require that I search out and find some Turkish Sea Salt to give the salad that familiar sulphury taste that is imparted by the eggs in the egg salad. I’ve also noticed that humus often has a similar taste to the filling in a deviled egg and am wondering if there is a way to combine the 2 recipes to make a really kick ass version. Alas it will have to wait until this evening however so that I can pick up some celery. I also want to look for some no-fat nasoya as I suddenly realized I am out of no fat mayo and have packed up my food processor. Poor planning on my part . (I never did find the turkish black salt… my search continues. I tried mixing the hummus into my egg salad recipe and that didn’t cut it, I wasn’t impressed. I still far prefer the mock tuna salad, as do the non-vegans I cook for who were impressed with how tuna-y the mock tuna was.)

Last night I made a cottage pie that was pretty simple. I made a filling of frozen peas, fresh diced carrots, one leftover zucchini (diced), a can of baby limas, a can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes and TVP I soaked in vegetarian “beef” broth. Then I made a gravy using more vegetarian “beef” broth seasoned with onion, garlic, thyme and oregano and thickened with cornstarch. I mixed the filling and the gravy and dumped it into my dutch oven and then topped the whole thing with mashed yukon gold potatoes made with a bit of unsweetened almond milk and sea salt and baked it at 400 degrees for 45 mins covered and another 15 uncovered. Served with a side of halved brussel sprouts sauteed with some Pele’s Fire Hawaiian seasoning, we ended up eating the ENTIRE thing.

Okay, back to moving…