Thursday, March 31, 2016

What Vegans Eat: The Really Hungry Burger

Remember when I did that review of Anna Jones book A Modern Way to Eat?  This burger is from that book.  I had a few of her The Really Hungry Burgers in my freezer.  You can find the recipe here on her site.  I substituted portobellos for creminis and I used black beans.  Mine never look like her's, but they are amazing with a good bbq sauce.  

The fries....oh french I love you so.  Why do people buy those pre-cut, frozen things pretending to be french fries?  Listen, get a mandoline.  I like my OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer.  Scrub, don't peel them.  Run them through the mandoline, and throw them in a pot with cold oil.  Yes, cold oil.  Crank the heat up.  Once it starts really bubbling, mix up the fries.  Randomly stir so they brown evenly.  That's it.

The slaw was a basic coleslaw.  Shredded green and red cabbage, julienned carrots and apples.  I mixed some mayo (vegan I have to keep pointing out the ingredients are vegan?), vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Basic, but basic can be just fine.  I prefer it finely shredded, but I was being lazy, and I forgot to use the OXO Mandoline that I already had out...duh.  Have you seen this vegan mayo recipe at Serious Eats?  It's chick pea based!  I'm fascinated!  As soon as i run out of mayo, I'm going to try it for sure.

The fries probably aren't healthier, I'll give you that.  Vegan mayo...yes, healthier than it's egg-based nemesis.  The burger, obviously healthier, and my goodness, it was delicious topped with lettuce, sauteed onions, and Hak's Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce (way cheaper at Target, than Amazon, fyi).  What do vegans eat?  The same delicious food that you do, just healthier and without all the torture and death.  Just saying.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Don't Eat Lamb (Yuck), Sponsor One Instead!

Spring into Easter - AAFA

You know what is so much better than eating a sweet faced little lamb for Easter...sponsoring one at Farm Sanctuary.  Religion aside, consider using this day to teach your children about kindness and having compassion for others.  Check out the stories of these little babies on Farm Sanctuary.  If you can do a monthly sponsorship, great.  If not, a one time donation is just as good.

No lamb or ham or anything of the sort for us this Easter.  We'll have a vegan turkey roast from Trader Joe's and a clear conscious.  We also sponsored some lambs, and we'll be dyeing Dandies Vegan Marshmallows...I was inspired by this video online:

We're also going to coat them in sprinkles, to give them a Peeps feel.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Time to Start the Seeds...

Baker Creek sent my seeds a while back and I am super excited.  If you're going to buy seeds, buy quality seeds.  They only sell 100% Non-GMO seeds which is incredibly important to me.

That cat in the corner, is Chloe to Ninja Attack Cat...a.k.a. The Bear.  She heard the packets shaking and tried to tear them open.  I had to take this picture very quickly before she destroyed everything.  Dogs are nice.  Cats are insane.  Just saying.

I have my artichoke (I started them late again, ugh), tomato, pepper, eggplant, melon, and cucumber seeds started.  I have to start the cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts...I never feel like I'm starting them at the right time.  I am highly confused about growing them, but I'll keep trying anyway.  

The lettuce, carrots, beets and whatnot will be direct sowed, probably this weekend.  First, we install the 7 ft deer fence, which will hopefully be the last garden fence we ever attempt.  I love groundhogs.  I just don't love them in my garden...sampling tomatoes and eating all the kale.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Love Dogs, Love Pigs...ALL Lives Matter

Happy National Puppy Day.

I wish more people could make the connection.  If you are opposed to eating dog, then you should be opposed to eating pigs, cows and everyone else.  You can not be an animal lover and be against animal abuse if you continue to eat meat.  Don't be a hypocrite.  All Lives Matter.

Getting off my soapbox....

Monday, March 14, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan Eggplant Parm with Almond Ricotta Cheese

Yes, you heard me correctly.  Almond Ricotta Cheese.  I am obsessed.  Almond Ricotta Cheese is one of those things you hear about and say, there's no way in heck that's going to work.  But it does!  The Tyrant and the Hubby both thought it was real ricotta, that's how real it tastes.  I ate my whole serving before to remembering to take a picture, so don't mind the dirty plate.  That's a picture of my second serving.  I'm eating last of it for lunch today.  Like I said, I am obsessed.  Let's begin...

If you're like me, you buy almonds with the skin on.  That's fine, but first you have to blanch and de-skin them.  Seems like a pain in the ass, but really, it's no big deal.  I mostly followed the directions from Tori Avey's blog, Every Day Inspired by the Past..  First, I started soaking a cup of almonds when I woke up.  That night, I dropped them in boiling water for a few seconds (you do need to let them sit a full minute if you didn't pre-soak them), then drained out the boiling water and replaced it with cold, then drained them again.  I sat with them and the Tyrant and we just popped the almonds out of their skins.  She compared it to skinning tomatoes, but easier.

Then I mostly followed Hot For Food's Almond Ricotta recipe.  Basically, throw in the blender your soaked, blanched almonds, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and seasoning and blend.  My Vitamix started making a weird noise and it was obvious nothing was swirling about in there, so I added an additional 1/3 cup of water.  Initially, I thought, since her directions say to drain it, what's the difference if you add more water?  I have to say, with the additional water, it was loose enough to really blend everything, but not soupy enough to require draining. I wouldn't say an additional 1/3 is definitive amount, add water slowly till it starts moving.  I would compare my extra-water/non-drained version to store bought ricotta texture and her recipe to homemade ricotta.  

I used to make homemade dairy ricotta.  Non-dairy, almond ricotta is much easier to make and healthier.

The rest is the basic eggplant parm recipe.  Dip your eggplant slices (I never pre-salt and drain, I think that's pointless) in whatever egg replacer you fancy, then breadcrumbs (I did half in panko and half the standard sawdust looking store stuff and I felt like the panko was much greasier than the regular breadcrumbs) and fry them at 350 till golden brown.

I bought jar sauce, because I was being lazy.  I will say that Wegmans 3 pack for $3 is actually a pretty good jarred sauce.  It is now my go to.  See, vegan can be inexpensive.

Then layer sauce, eggplant, almond ricotta, handful of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds, and repeat.  I'm guessing you know that part, I think everyone knows that part.

This is definitely a recipe you can feed to non-vegans and they'd have no clue.  Repeat after me people, what do vegans eat?  The same stuff you do, just healthier and no poor mama cow had to have her baby stolen and killed, while she cried and howled for weeks begging the universe to bring her baby back.  Torture and misery never leads to a good meal.  Just saying.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

My Mom keeps telling me you have to be creative to eat vegan food.  I keep telling her, no you don't, because I still eat everything I used to eat...except no animals had to be tortured or murdered, plus it's healthier!  Why are people so into eating stuff that's slowly killing them?

Anyway, here's my lunch.  Doesn't it look like a generic sandwich?  Of course it does!  See Mom, whom I love and adore, you don't have to be creative.  Just make a sandwich, it's not rocket science.

Mine is on this amazing Syrian Kosher Rye bread, with Just Mayo,  Lightlife Smart Deli Meatless Veggie Ham Slices (no, it doesn't taste like ham, but it's still good!), GoVeggie American Singles (not as soft as dairy cheese, but fine on a sandwich), lettuce (no link requires, I would hope....), and homemade pickled green tomatoes (made at the end of last summer and still delicious).

For all the people out there who are like my Mom, and are convinced it's difficult to be vegan, here's proof that it's not.  Nor is it more expensive, because the prices for all the vegan products I used were comparable to the prices I pay for the animal based options.  Plus, I'm cheap as all get out, so if it was more expensive I wouldn't have bought any of it.

For the record, you don't have to stop eating meat all at once.  If you want to be healthier.  If you love animals and are bothered by the torture they endure.  Just take small steps.  I mean really, if you switched to non-dairy cheese and meatless deli slices, you'd save enough animals to make a difference.  Plus me, the animals and your heart will thank you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Vegan Product Reviews: Gardein Golden Fishless Filets

One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan, is figuring out what stuff is worth buying.  Do these faux meats and fish taste like what you grew up with?  While I have only been vegan for a short time, I was mostly vegetarian for a very long time.  So I can still remember the taste and texture of dead animals (not very appealing when you think of it that way, is it?) enough to know if these faux versions are any good.  (I bought this item myself. No one is paying me for this review.  I include Amazon affiliate links, but they only sell grocery in bulk and I don't expect anyone to buy ten boxes at once...)

Today's Subject for Review:  Gardein Golden Fishless Filet

Does it Taste Like Real Fish Filets?:  A  While they are not necessarily flakey like real fish, the outside coating is perfect (and that comes from someone who makes her batter from scratch).  They were nice and crunchy on the outside, deep fried or baked.  When I deep fried them, the coating didn't absorb the oil, and stayed light and crisp (*the key to deep frying is a really good thermometer and the maintaining the right oil temp).  The inside texture is good, not exact, but still good enough to feel like you're eating fish and not a chunk of tofu.

Can You Feed it to a Meat Eater?: B/B+ When you dunk them in tartar sauce, you can only barely notice the difference in texture if you're playing close attention.  If you use them in a fish taco, or make a fish sandwich, you would not notice the difference, because, hopefully, you're also putting cabbage slaw or other fresh veggies on it.  I say B/B+ because while I think it easily works to replace fish, if you're feeding them to someone resistant to non-meats/fish, they would probably bitch about the flakey factor.

Is It Healthier?:  For the record, I am not a nutritionist.  But when I see Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillets Nutrition Facts compared to Gardein's Fishless Filets, I'd say Gardein's version appears healthier. Heck, Gardein has almost half the sodium, zero cholesterol, more than twice the fiber, and even a gram more of protein! Yes, Gardein's has more ingredients, but nothing that appears more unappealing than dead fish, just saying. Also, they are good fried, but they are even better baked...and I never say that about anything.

Information is from Gorton's site:

Information from Gardein's site:

Would I Buy it Again?:  YES I actually started buying this at BJ's Warehouse a while back (they no longer carry it at my local store) because I wanted something easy to make for a quick dinner.  I also have concerns about sustainability, wild caught vs. farm raised, etc., but, honestly, when I first bought it, I mostly just wanted a quick meal.  This turned out to not only be a quick dinner (paired with Alexia Sweet Potato Fries, and cabbage slaw if I'm not trying to get anything else done while it all bakes), but it's also become a family favorite.