Friday, October 31, 2008

Lasagna Pizagna

When I first went vegan, I was a little dismayed that I would have to give up old favorites like lasagna and such, but then I found Isa's Veganomicon and all was not lost! Omg, her lasagna recipe was incredible!!! It tasted just like my mom's lasagna, minus the dead cow. Even my picky hubby enjoyed it! The only downside: it took me 8 hours to put together... but then again, I have a four month old that wanted in on the action, so trying to do things one-handed was likely the reason. I just hope she's learning something as she watches from her perch upon my hip!
Anyways, I just had to put up some pics, just in case anyone is reading this and wondering "so, just what do vegans eat?"

This is the roasted garlic marinara sauce, into which I tossed some spinach...

... and these are my sauteed mushrooms that I added as an extra layer in the 'sagna...

...and this is the cashew based "ricotta," which I thought tasted too lemony, but it worked amazingly well in the lasagna after it finished baking. Hubby thought there was a slight nutty aftertaste but that it otherwise tasted just like ricotta!

... and lastly, I topped it off with Isa's fab pine nut cream...

And oh my goodness it was soooooo yummy!
Yes, we ate half of it. It was that good!
Do yourself a favor and spend an afternoon making this lasagna. Your tummy will thank you!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!

Alright, so I know it's the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo for short), and I have been wanting to get this blog up and running so I can post some of my new fav foods, but alas I have not sat down long enough to type until now. Unfortunately, it's late so I only have time to share one, but I will return tomorrow with another one.

When hubby was out of town earlier this month, I ate alot of really simple dishes. Caring for a four month old by myself was not an easy task, and there was not a lot of time for cooking. However, I discovered collard greens, black beans and rice. Easy peasy and soooo delish!
I always cook my beans from scratch since it's so much more economical, but otherwise, it was a 20-30 minute meal! Here is my recipe:

Smoky Black Beans and Rice over Greens (serves 2)
1 c. brown rice
2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. cooked black beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
2 tbsp. Chipotle Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)
1 bunch of collard greens
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce

I put the brown rice and veggie broth in a pot and brought to a boil. While that was working, I put my black beans in a bowl and sprinkled with the Chipotle Tabasco sauce and stirred to combine.  

In a massive bowl, I tore the collard greens from the stalk into smaller pieces and covered all the pieces with water.  Swirl them in the water a few times to get rid of all the sand and dirt.

Check your rice; once it comes to a boil, you want to turn the heat down to low and cover. Let it cook for 15 or so minutes.

In a medium size saucepan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the garlic and stir until slightly browned and fragrant.  Add the collard greens (or as many as will fit; you may have to wait for the first few to wilt in the pan before you add more) and the veggie broth, liquid smoke, and tamari.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the collards are wilted and a bright green.

To serve, pile collards on each of two plates, top with rice and then beans. Pour the extra nutrient-rich liquid from the collards over the whole shebang and voila! Dinner is ready!

I think I ate this meal a couple times that week, and once I added a Mac and "Cheese" dish on the side. We're talking good ole Southern comfort food! Here's a pic:
I adapted the recipe from "Macaroni Hates Cheese" on Isa's website. Unfortunately, since it was a couple weeks ago, I don't remember exactly what my modifications were :(. I guess that's what I get for being such a procrastinator. 

Tomorrow I'll share my adventure the other day w/lasagna... yummmmm!! For now, though, happy dreams and happy eats!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Awakening

As my first post, I would like to share with you my vegan journey thus far...

My vegan awakening occurred about 6 weeks ago, when my hubby and I discovered that our 3 month old daughter had an allergy to milk and/or peanuts.  The doctor advised me to abstain from milk and nuts, and although my initial response was, "I really don't eat much dairy," I quickly discovered how wrong I was. I baked with it, I cooked with it, and I ate a lot of yogurt and cheese.  When we returned home from the doctor, I looked at the meals I had planned for the week and realized that most of them were no longer feasible.  I didn't know what to do, what to cook, or even how to cook without using dairy products.  So I went to our public library.

I entered the library looking for info on how to cook for kids with allergies, but on the next shelf, I happened to see several vegan cookbooks. It dawned on me that vegans were the best people who would know how to cook without dairy products, and I picked up a copy of Vegan With A Vengeance and Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.  Just out of curiosity, I also picked up Erik Marcus' book, Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, not knowing that my life would forever be changed. (okay, so that's a little melodramatic, but seriously... how random is life sometimes?!)

That evening I opened Marcus' book and could not put it down! While I easily bought the health reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle, I was initially skeptical of his research and conclusions in the section regarding animal rights.  However, I could not easily dismiss the stories I had read of routine animal abuse and the impact that a carnivorous lifestyle has on the planet.  My curiosity was piqued. I googled veganism, and I looked up podcasts that I could listen to while running, driving, or cooking.  I had already adopted several vegan recipes, but I had not yet committed to the lifestyle as a whole. I told people that I was going vegan for "health reasons" and that I did not believe that it was wrong to eat animals.  In the end, the "Food For Thought" podcast convicted me of my blindness and convinced me that veganism was more than a dietary choice.  I learned that veganism is a lifestyle and that this lifestyle better conforms to my Christian ideals of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and enables me to be a better steward of the Earth's precious resources.

 This transformation occurred over the period of maybe a week. There was no "last dinner." Once my eyes were opened to the suffering embodied in a piece of chicken, cow, or pig, I swore I would never eat animals again, and I have never looked back.  My hubby has been supportive for the most part, but he does not yet see anything wrong with eating animals.  He has greatly diminished his consumption, and he will eat what I prepare, but he is not ready to embrace my veganism and make it his own.  It saddens me that we still have dead animals in our freezer, but in his eyes, I made a sudden, drastic, and radical decision that negatively impacts his ability to eat what he wants.  However, he is my husband, and I took an oath to love him and respect him regardless of all else, and all I can do is talk to him about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and pray that, in time, his eyes will also be opened.  

Now that I have typed a novel for my first post and y'all have a better picture of where I'm coming from, I hope this blog will serve as a place for me to share my adventures in food and also in grappling with vegan issues as they arise. Thanks for reading!