Thursday, December 13, 2007

Burger Goodness


Dinner tonight was Chipotle Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries. I bought a case of Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle burgers from work, good price and they are fully vegan. And fully tasty. And in the future they will be put to use in fajitas, tacos and other Mexican fare. Served them up on a bun with chipotle vegainaise, onion, tomato and leaf lettuce. Julienned some sweet potato, tossed with roasted garlic oil, cumin and salt. I loved the burger, but the fries could have been better. Crispier with more salt and cumin.

I will be attempting to cook with tempeh for the 2nd time tonight. I made some gawdawful chili a few weeks ago with it. I did not cook the tempeh long enough and it was bitter. I hope to make some tempeh salad for sandwiches for lunch. I have been looking longingly at people's sandwiches at lunch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vegan Snacking, oh, my.

I snacked on veggeroni (fake pepperoni seitan) tonight. And I really enjoyed it. Oh, my.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good Golly Gee Wizzz



What a busy day it has been. Kristin has been whipping up so tastee vittles left and right....I am the lucky taste tester :-) I've got our vegan friendly ETSY shop fired up and ready to list. We've decided to give a whirl with soapmaking, bath salts, and home products initially.
Today, I listed the inagural item in our shop, a magazine bowl. An upcycled Real Simple magazine that is pining to find a new home now. The inspiration came from A Little Hut's blog tutorial. I had been searching for a way to upcycle old phone books and this seemed to be a perfect fit! Though this one isn't a phone book, you get the idea. Tomorrow I'll post a phone book bowlie.


Anywho, swing on by our ETSY shop, Marge & Vina, as new vegan goodness will be added as often as we can crank it out! Some of you all might know me from Oso Azul Design where I sell me arts. No worries, I am still selling the arts over there....I am just working with Kristin to sell some homey goodness over here! Wanna check out my art bloggy....click here. nitey nite.

~elli

"Sour Cream Chick'n" Enchiladas, bitches!

I made these tonight. If I do say so myself, they were excellent. And being newly vegan, I think I especially appreciate that I could not tell the difference between these and omni enchiladas. I think I enjoyed them more, as I tasted the different veggies more, as they were not loaded down with sour cream, or cheese. My mother loved them. Dad didn't have any, wasn't feeling well. But I bet he will. Yes, indeedy. His opinion is the one I really wanted, as he is more of a meat-and-potatoes kinda person.

First, this recipe would actually make two pans of enchiladas. But I love the filling so much, that I made 1 pan enchiladas, and I am going to use the rest of the filling for quesadillas, and a tasty southwest chicken salad. Roasting or grilling the vegetables is a bit of extra work well worth the time. It gives them so much more flavor. The amount of poblanos depends on how spicy they are, or how much heat you like. The same goes for the chipotle. I made these for a dinner with the parents so I wanted them mild.


"SOUR CREAM CHICKEN" ENCHILADAS


INGREDIENTS


  • 8 oz. package "chik'n strips" (I used Morningstar brand) , or equivalent frozen, thawed and drained tofu (not silken!)

  • 1-2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced

  • 1 zucchini, diced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 15 1/4 oz. can corn, or small bag frozen

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes , drained (I only used half a can), or fresh diced

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. oregano leaf

  • 6-12 oz. Tofutti "Better Than Sour Cream", depending on how much "dairy" you like. I used 9 oz. or 3/4 of a container

  • 1-2 T. chipotle in adobo, pureed or mashed

  • salt to taste

  • 1 16 o. can green enchilada sauce, or homemade if you aren't lazy like me!

  • about 9 6" corn tortillas

1. Thaw "chik'n" or tofu. If using tofu, squeeze out all water. Dice it up.

2. Drain canned corn or thaw frozen. Toss corn, onion and diced zucchini with a very small amount of oil (just enough to barely coat veggies), broil or roast in oven at 500 degrees until onions start to brown. I actually like mine a bit burnt. You could also grill them.

3. Mix "chik'n" or tofu, chiles, onions, corn, zucchini, drained tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, beans, cumin, oregano, chipotle and salt to taste. At this point you could just leave out the "sour cream" if you want a less fatty enchilada.
4. Heat up a very small amount of oil in a pan and quickly saute each side of the corn tortillas, just heating through. If you do not want the added oil, you could just cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave.

5. Dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, stuff and put them in a lightly oiled pan. Top with more sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I topped mine with fresh tomato and green onion when they came out of the oven.

I used what I had at my house. Certainly fresh or frozen corn would be better. Fresh tomatoes, dried black beans and homemade enchilada sauce would also be good. But, HOT DAMN, these turned out swell. I am new to the vegan thing, but have cooked professionally for years and am happy for that. I think I know a few more tricks, and such. Elli is just finishing up the dog's new vegan muesli, wit
h some TVP, shredded carrots, parsley and celery. So far he approves of the sample he was given. Oh, and above is a picture of the tastee brownies Elli made. My mom snarfed them down. -Kristin

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cooking adventures




So, this whole vegan thing has really inspired me to really cook again. Last week I came home and baked bread. I have never done that at home before. My vegan ranch turned out swell. I roasted five pounds of garlic. That almost killed us. Once I took the foil off the top of the pan to check it our home was filled with garlic fumes that made our eyes tear up and burn like the dickens. I made hummus yesterday. I need to pay more attention when I make it next time, because it is very tasty, if I do say so myself. When I do I will post it. I just took my first batch of seitan ("veggaroni") out of the oven and it is cooling on the porch. It will top the pizza we are having tonight. Thanks to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for the recipe! AND I made the filling for what will be tomorrow nights "sour cream-chicken" enchiladas. Hot damn, I think they are going to be good. I believe that they would be tastee without the Chik'n strips, and with more roasted poblanos and chipotle, but they are for dinner with the parents and I need to customize it a bit for them. Tomorrow night I will put up the recipe with a picture.

We have been having some "crap" meals and some healthy ones, as well. By crap I mean tofu dogs with crescent rolls wrapped around them, with fries and frozen broccoli. Or hard shell tacos and taco salad the next day. Chipotle "mayo" topped veggie burgers with tater tots. High sodium, a little more fat, etc. The first week I believe we ate a bit better. I am not going to be too hard on myself, though. Compared to the pure, unadulterated crap I ate before, I am eating much better than I have in my entire life. And as stated earlier, there have been healthy meals, too. I had hummus with veggies and minestrone soup for lunch. Made tofu stir fry Saturday night. I need to have my "crap" meals once in a while. It certainly eases the transition.

We started to watch the documentary "Earthlings" on Google video last night, and after about 30 minutes, I had to turn it off. Just too disturbing to watch all of the way through. I had never heard of it. I think we will maybe watch it in a few more installments, so that we do not completely lose our minds. Watching it really solidified that this is not a diet. This is our life from now on. Forever and ever amen. Neither one of us sees how we can go back after starting on this journey.

That is all. Tomorrow we shall see how the enchiladas turn out. And I am now going to go get the seitan off the porch and try it. I do miss pepperoni on pizza, so here is hoping that it turned out good. -Kristin

Monday, December 3, 2007

Random Title

I feel that I have so much to say about this whole vegan "thing", but am too lazy to sit down and type it all. But suffice it to say right now that I am proud to be vegan for 8 ENTIRE DAYS, without any major cravings or issues. I feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and happiness that compensates for the fact that I cannot ingest mozzarella cheese. Or Funyuns. Oh, suh-weet Funyuns.

And because I am lazy and will keep this brief, what I wanted to impart, to myself, or anyone who deems to read this is this: It is so very crappy that I can be so excited, proud, happy and allofthatthere with becoming vegan, but that if I tell almost anyone, I just face ridicule. Or scorn. I am a chatty bitch. I like to talk too much at times. I like to regale people with boring stories about my daily life. I wanna tell people about the biggest thing I have done EVER, excepting the Flock of Seagulls-esque hairdo I had in high school. I am not pushing this on anyone else, nor am I judging them. Can I not just be happy about it, without the other junk? I have had many instances in my life where people tell me something they are excited about, and I inwardly groan, or cry. Does my father need another record player? Is three not enough? Does the woman I work with really need to purchase a cheap plastic pink mirror with fake lace and roses glued onto theback? I will feign my own excitement. I do it almost every day. Because if something makes someone happy, or proud, who am I to take that away from them? As long as I do not tie anyone down and force tofu down their throats, lemme be happy. Puh-lease. Thanks much.

Friday, November 30, 2007



Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more.

~Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Spirulina Popcorn, oh, my!

We had popcorn tonight with spirulina and nutritional yeast sprinkled on it. It was a tip from friends. Thank you, Kris and Karen. In case you are not aware of this, "Spirulina is a blue-green algae. It is a simple, one-celled form of algae that thrives in warm, alkaline fresh-water bodies. The name "spirulina" is derived from the Latin word for "helix" or "spiral"; denoting the physical configuration of the organism when it forms swirling, microscopic strands." We used it as a dry powder, and it is green. Very green.

Nutritional Yeast: "Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. " Alrighty then, two foods that I am positive that I would never, ever, ever have put on popcorn. Ever. But it was delicious. And the popcorn was slightly green. Did I mention that it was delicious? That is all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Beaver butt juice : - (

Here we are, Cyber Monday as it is known now in our spanking, new cyber world. Thanksgiving dinner is done, it was traditional as promised to the family, and I did have a few bites of turkey though I really didn’t want to and I felt bad for the little one….10 lb’er….light weight. Next year, we’ll experience some tofurky which doesn’t sound so absurd to me anymore.

Back to today, this is the designated drop dead *no pun intended* day for finishing/donating or tossing the rest of our animal/animal by-product edibles. On all the other animal stuff, like cleaners, leather, wool, etc, we’ve decided to use until gone or worn out. The decision to continue using certain items, such as the leather furniture that was bought last summer, has a lot to do with the fact that the damage is already done and it isn’t practical to flush these items without having a few thousand extra dollars to replace them immediately. Frankly, we are ok with this decision. I swear to all that matter that I will never ever buy these items again!

On the food front, boy oh boy have we been schooling ourselves on what all this lifestyle change encompasses and how we can fit it into our lives. Honestly, I feel like a need a class or two for certification! Perhaps even an Associates of Applied Science degree would be sufficient to induct one into the world of veganism. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled about the change, I am just a bit overwhelmed by the scope of product used in every-flippin-thing! Good lord! Who came up with this shit to begin with? Beaver butt juice makes a gives a lovely pungent bouquet for food??? WTF??? Who the hell figured that one out? ACK! Ok, I’ll settle down now.

Today I look forward to leaving my meaty and dairy delights behind….as I learn more and more about where they come from…the weight of it all makes them not so delightful after all.

~elli


The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.

- Alice Walker, African-American writer & storyteller

Friday, November 16, 2007

Confused, at best.

Veganism (also strict or pure vegetarianism) is a philosophy and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.[1][2] Vegans do not use or consume animal products of any kind.[3] The most popular reasons for becoming a vegan are ethical commitment or moral convictions concerning animal rights, the environment, or human health, and spiritual or religious concerns.[4][5][2] Of particular concern are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources required for animal farming.

Here is the definition of vegan on Wikipedia. It pretty much supports any other definition I have seen. I feel like I am, in a way, trying to be one of the "cool kids", if I can fit into the definition of a vegan, and that is confusing, and annoying, as well. I am trying to figure out if I can ever become a true vegan. Elli and I have leather furniture. It makes me sad that we bought it, but it has yet to even be paid off. I own leather shoes. I own wool sweaters. Other things of that nature. A few silk scarves. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. And I smoke. I saw one site that stated that you can not be a vegan and smoke, as you can not eat and/or use anything that is tested on animals. Well, someday I would like to quit smoking, but giving up all that I am, and readjusting to it all seems like enough to me at this juncture. Can I just smoke Natural American Spirit cigarettes? I am positive that they do not test on animals. I think that might be adhere to the definition anyway. If a vegan can not use anything that was tested on animals, we might have a problem with much of anything.

And now I get to the bones of all of this......Do I really need to worry about if I can define myself as a Vegan or not? Or if someone else can? If I was so worried about keeping up with the Joneses (?) would I even be doing this? I am doing this because I am so repulsed by factory farming. And animal testing. Pretty much anything wherein animals are treated as something less than a creature that feels pain, joy, loss, fear, happiness, etc. Anyone that has ever had a pet knows that animals feel all of these things, and more. And anyone that really looks at what is going on with factory farming would be a liar if they were to tell me that they would not have a problem with their pet being treated in this way, that they are "just animals". So, I do not care if I am one of the "cool kids", I will still smoke, but I will also not eat anything with any animal product in it, to include certain beers, which I now understand to be filtered through BONE CHAR! Holy moly. I will not purchase anything with any animal product in it. I will keep what I have. I will use it til it is gone. Or until it is shabby, in the case of the furniture. I will no longer support the industry that is riding on the backs of animals. But to reiterate ad nauseum, I am keeping what I have. I have not come far enough yet, or am not ready to, or do not have the extra resources to do away with what I have. So be it. I am doing this for animals. Not for others to call me out on not acting or doing as a true vegan. I will have to just label myself as an animal lover.

Also, I have gone to different grocery stores and assorted other places to scope out what food options are open. I have never before spent so much time reading so many labels. And have never realized how much of everything contains animal products. Good Gawd. I will find an item that I love to eat, and I will scroll down the ingredients and I think that I am safe, I can eat this.....YES! And then, at the bottom of the list is something like "whey". Something I would not even have noticed before.....And did I mention the vegetarian cheese made of soy that I thought was safe until I read the ingredients? It is non-dairy cheese but has one little ingredient in it made from milk. Sonofabitchthatmadememad! So, out of the 10 varieties of cheese not made mainly from milk, there are two or three that are actually vegan.

Okay. Here ends the diatribe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dinner 12NOV2007

The nightly problem often is..."What's for dinner"

Planning and pre-prep is ideal. Figuring it out at the last minute when you are tired from a days work and HUNGRY is reality sometimes. Last night was one of those nights :-)

What's in the fridge??? Tortillas, onion, tomato, salami needing to go....whip up pizza sauce from tomato paste and tastee spices...grate up some soy cheese....bake on 450 d for 5 minutes....mmmm

This meal was really good and quick! Yay!

~elli

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why are we here? Too.

How in the hell do I think it is even within the realm of possibility that I can go vegan? I have absolutely no self control when it comes to food. That could very well be the reason that I am fat. That is the reason I am fat. Damnit. Here is why I am attempting to become a fine, upstanding vegan:

video

This is my motivation. This is what makes me sick to my stomach. I will watch this over and over if need be. I have thought a lot about this. This is a HUGE life change. It doesn't just affect what I eat, but how I will have to live. We are going to take this slow. Eat up whatever animal product we have in the house, then wean ourselves a bit, allowing "organic" dairy products, until we cut all of those out as well. I find it hard to trust labels, and that is why it is necessary to cut out all animal products. Just because a cheese is organic, that might mean that the cows were not fed hormones, but were they allowed to roam freely, or where they still penned up?

We had an interesting dinner tonight. Pizzas made with whole wheat tortillas, tomato sauce, onions, tomatoes, soy cheese and........regular, old came-from-a-cow salami. But it was a bit of a breakthrough for me. That is one thing that we can make (albeit without the "real" salami) that is fast and easy and still seems like a treat. Eating vegan takes a lot more work, more chopping, more assembling, more cooking. Eating out will be tough. And when you are hungry you just want to eat something now. Instant gratification. Another reason I am fat. So, along with the time and labor intensive food we will be making, we really need to find some fast, easy and tasty meals.

That being said, though we are doing this mainly for animals, I do hope that along with it all, I lose some weight and feel better. I am positive that this will happen if I can stick with it. Less fatty food, less empty calories. Less crap.

And before I get any guff for it, I am making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and I am going to eat some of it. And hopefully it will be my last. On that note, there are a few food items I am going to have one more time. That is probably dragging it out and not a good idea, but I think it will help me in the long run. I can't excuse myself by thinking that I did not get to enjoy something before it was gone forever. I know how my mind works. Wish us luck. -Schmegan

Why are we here?

We make no claims to innovation or brilliance. We just are taking the journey of becoming vegans. We like food. We love to eat. We even like meat though it doesn't have to be on the plate. We don't like the thought of how animals are cruelly treated from the womb to death in the industry. We don't like the testing. We don't want to give anymore of our dough to to an industry who treats these creatures so poorly. It is really really really disturbing. Also, we don't actually need meat in our diets to survive....though the meat industry pays loads of money to make us believe so. So we've decided to go vegan understanding that it is going to be a difficult learning experience. I mean, there is more to being vegan than meat. I personally LOVE ice cream. Bye-bye ice cream as I've known it. We are journaling it here just cuz...doesn't everybody blog all the random aspects of their lives nowadays? hee hee. There are two of us doing this. Its gonna be good :-) For simplicity and anonymity (sorry stalkers) we are going by the names vegan and schmegan. As I, vegan, have blahblahblah's enough already, I'll turn this post over to schmegan to record her fascinating thoughts now...

~elli