Feeds:
Posts
Comments

This was on the front cover of our local newspaper:

Industry sees vegan agenda in puppy bill.

The bill it speaks of is being backed by the U.S. Humane Society, all it states about the bill is:

The House agriculture committee is expected soon to hear a bill pushed by the national Humane Society that regulates and imposes licensing for commercial dog breeding. Some dog enthusiasts oppose the bill but its proponents portray it as a crackdown on puppy mills, such as the one that was raided in Goldsboro in February because of unsanitary conditions. Officials from both Wayne County and the Humane Society of the United States removed about 300 dogs and puppies.”

In addition to the dog breeding bill, the group is backing legislation here that would prohibit keeping a dog on a tether, such as a rope or chain, for more than nine hours a day. The organization also supports a bill to prohibit keeping a fox or coyote in an enclosed area so that dogs can practice hunting them.”

Apparently this bill is being battled by the meat industry stating that the true motive of the Humane Society is to end MEAT EATING as we know it . *GASP!* After all, they have a vegan president…so it’s only logical. I mean, if the Humane Society just had a president with a  normal and healthy lust for slaughtered animals, we might be able to level with them.

Let me remind you that this was indeed on the front page of the newspaper.

*tries to supress laughter*

veggies

(I want to take this time to credit Alain for making my psychedelic graphics. Look to the right under my links for the link to his blog.)
I thought of this post when I made dinner a few nights ago. I decided to count the number of vegetables in mine and my husbands dinner. I counted 10.

This might not surprise some of you as I’m sure there are those of you who eat lots of vegetables. However, this surprised me quite a bit. Why? Well, because about 11 years ago I wouldn’t touch vegetables….and here I am, me, eating my vegetables.

It’s a feat that I’m proud of.

See, I grew up in the Good ‘Ol American way.  I still remember when I was about five years old, my parents would take me to Captain D’s (a fast food/seafood place). If I finished my kids meal of fish/chicken and french fries, I was awarded a Mickey Mouse lollipop.  Eat your junk and be rewarded with….more junk.

13871742881892100103084470iiqtey_th

How could I resist a lollipop in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s decapitated head?

My mother was kind of strange about food. She generally fed me only what I liked and never made me try anything I didn’t want to try. She thought that by doing so she would be a bad mother. I ate whenever I wanted and as much as I wanted.

I wanted to like vegetables though. I hated the idea that I could see people in restaurants comfortably munch their salads and I could not. This was an obstacle to overcome.

So, one day I asked my mother to make me some broccoli. I was sure she could find a way for me to eat it. So, like any other normal American mom would, she decided to dump cheese sauce on top of it. I hated it. My dad ate it.

I then went through life rather jealous of others. Those damn vegetable eaters! How dare they flaunt themselves in front of me with their cucumber slices and julienne carrots! There must be a secret to this vegetable eating thing that they are keeping from me!

Finally, one day…it dawned on me. This was a few months after I had decided to give up meat. I realized that I should not worry about how others eat their food or what delicious secrets lie in their taste buds. I realized that if I wanted to find good, nutritious food that I liked…then I would have to experiment myself and find the perfect combinations for my personal taste.

It was a bit of a wild ride. Trial and error. Delicious food and not so delicious food….BUT, I stand here today with a plate of food, but not just any food….food cooked by me. 10 vegetables on one plate.

You probably think that I’m crazy.

That’s ok.

PEACE

potatocurry

I got this delightful recipe from Curry in Kadai and modified it to mine and my husbands tastes. It was so wonderful, it lasted for about 5 whole minutes.

This recipe is great for people who don’t normally like cabbage. The cabbage is stir-fried and cooked down to where it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the dish. The cabbage also becomes translucent and would make a great substitute for onions in a stir-fry.

I used a russet potato because it was what I had on hand. If you use a russet potato just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t over cook and fall apart.

I don’t really measure anything when I cook, so the measurements in this recipe are approximate.

My version:

Potatoes, Cabbage and Peas Curry

Ingredients:

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed

2 cups chopped cabbage

3/4 cup green peas

6-8 curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I forgot to buy green chillies when I went to the store, so I had to use the flakes)

1 teaspoon cumin

1  teaspoon chili powder (I was pretty liberal with it, it’s not spicy)

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida/hing (optional)

1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp (I use frozen Goya pulp)

2-3 tablespoons of oil (I used one tablespoon of ghee)

1/4 cup water

salt to taste

Instructions:

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium until hot. Add cumin and mustard seeds and when mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, hing and pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds.

Add potatoes, turmeric and chili powder  and stir for a minute, then add peas, cabbage, water and tamarind.

Cover and reduce heat to a medium low and cook until cabbage and potatoes are cooked through and soft. The potatoes should be soft, but should not be too mushy.

Salt to taste and serve!

Yummy.

Kale Soup Recipe

kalesoup

This recipe was semi-inspired by Fran’s House of Ayurveda – Creamy Kale Soup recipe.  Mainly in the measurements of lentils & water and the adding the kale part. The rest of this soup is a recipe that I had already been making for over a year now. Adding kale just seemed to add that special touch. It also helped this soup to become extra nutritious.

I live off of this soup, I eat it ladled over rice. I make it in batches and refrigerate it for about three days. It cooks quickly, it’s easy to digest and as I mentioned above, it’s very good for you.

This recipe is exactly the way that I make it at home. All ingredients listed were low in price and I got most of them at my local Indian and Asian markets. Don’t worry if you can’t find everything listed in this recipe…experiment with what you have and don’t have.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup split peeled mung dal (split mung beans)

3-4 large sized, crisp kale leaves (or the equivalent in smaller leaves)

2 small roma tomatoes, seeded and diced or approx. 4-5 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes from a can

5-6 cups of water (to preference)

1-2 seeded and diced green chillies (optional, I like to use serranos)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon hing/asafoetida (can be substituted with one chopped clove of garlic)

5-6 curry leaves

1 bay leaf

1 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon tamarind juice

1 tablespoon crushed dried fenugreek leaves.

1 tablespoon oil (of your choice)

1 teaspoon (or to taste) turbinado sugar

Salt to taste

Directions:

soupspices

Heat oil in a saucepan (one big enough to hold 5-6 cups of water). Let the oil get hot, then turn the heat off (this is to keep the spices from burning). Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, red pepper flakes, hing/garlic, curry leaves, bay leaf, fenugreek leaves, cinnamon stick & green chillies.

Turn the heat back on medium and roast the spices in the pan for a few seconds, then add the split mung beans. Roast for a minute.

soupsplitmungbeans

Add water (you can start with 5 cups and add more later as needed). Wash and chop kale (or just tear it with your hands like I do) and add it, the sugar and the tamarind juice to the water. The sugar helps balance any bitterness that might be in the kale or tamarind juice. You can omit it if you want, but I find it makes it taste more balanced.

kalesoup2

Bring water to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the split mung have broken up and become starchy (like in the first picture). Just before turning off the heat, check and make sure that you like the consistency of the soup. Add more water if you think it is needed. Also add your tomatoes at this time, cover for a couple more minutes and remove from heat.

Add your salt after the soup is finished cooking (or at least when it is close to being done). Adding salt to most beans while cooking can cause problems with gas and can also make them tough.

Serve ladled over rice.

I wish I could explain all of the health benefits of this soup but it would almost require another post. This soup offers protein, iron, vitamin c, vitamin k, vitamin a, fiber, calcium and more. Spices such as cumin and turmeric have great health benefits.

Also, the beans mixed with the rice provide a complete protein.

Enjoy!

Peace,

Ashley

Well, this is a couple of days late but I wanted to tell everyone about my nice birthday (which was January 31st).

I originally was going to post a big long message about where I went and what I did and I realized that I was just rambling on and on. So I will cut to the chase here and talk about my birthday present! I picked it out for myself…

I got a laptop lunch system, which includes everything shown here:

ob-laptop-lunch-pink

I had originally wanted to get a traditional bento box, which come in a wide variety of options…but when I looked at the Laptop Lunches website I realized that these were more practical. Not to mention they are reusable and earth friendly…as well as lead free.

Why did I want one you ask? So I can have fun filling them with food…and then showing it off! I’m going to start doing regular entries showing what I’ve put into my bento box. These entries will be accompanied by recipes and (hopefully not completely) useless chatter. I will try to give a glimpse to new vegetarians (or the curious) as to what we actually eat on a regular basis. (or at least what I eat on a regular basis)

Hopefully these entries will give you some ideas for your lunches and/or perhaps show you that eating food from home is always the best and most economical option!

Now for my first lunch photo:

laptopbentoboxx

Top row from left to right: Eggless Mushroom & Cabbage potstickers made with spring roll wrappers, One small apple and some candied pineapple pieces.

Bottom row from left to right: Lentil & Kale soup over rice, sliced kiwi

Sauce container (not pictured): Hot sauce (for potstickers)

This lunch was pretty easy to put together as I keep a pot of the Lentil & Kale soup prepared in my refrigerator on a regular basis. While I would love to post the soup recipe now, it really deserves it’s own post, so I will wait.

For now though I will give you a recipe for the super easy potstickers:

Egg-less Mushroom and Cabbage Potstickers

Ingredients:

6-8 Baby bella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

1 cup of chopped cabbage

1/4 cup of julienned carrots

1 1/2 teaspoon Soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons Sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/4 of a package of soft tofu (optional)

Pinch of turbinado sugar

Spring roll wrappers, thawed

Small amount of canola oil for frying

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl (except for wrappers and canola oil). Take a few wrappers out of their package, taking care not to tear them. To keep them from drying (when not using) place a damp cloth on top of the wrappers.  Follow instructions on the package for the wrappers on how to fill and roll them. (due to the nature of these wrappers, you won’t be able to make the familiar crimped dumplings that are usually associated with potstickers)

When you have rolled your potstickers, heat a frying pan and place just enough canola oil in the pan as needed for stir-frying. When the pan is hot, place 2-3 of your potstickers (end side down) into the pan and allow it to become golden brown on each side.

When the potstickers have browned, add about 4 tablespoons of water to the hot pan and cover with a lid (do not reduce heat if you can help it) and let it steam for about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully lift potstickers out of the pan and allow it to drain on a towel. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

***********

The above recipe is very versatile…you can add whatever veggies you have around the house. Experiment!

Enjoy!

Peace,

Ashley

Out and about…

Well, I haven’t been getting out of the house a whole lot lately due to the fact that I don’t have a lot of money to spend!

But since it’s nearing my birthday (It’s this Saturday) and me and my husband had the day off together, we decided to just go around a nearby town for the fun of it.

We stopped a thrift shops and antique shops for the most part. Didn’t buy much.

However when we spotted a tiny little Asian market next door to one of the antique shops my husband knew I would HAVE to go in. As I got closer to the shop, I saw it was in a really really ratty brick building and at first glance I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk in or not…but I took a deep breath and hoped that the door I was going in was actually the entrance.

To my pleasant surprise, it was! Not only that but the people running the shop were very nice. I was so happy I went inside. They had great prices on everything.

This is what I got:

Pack of tapioca pearls

Small package of split mung beans (the stuff of the Gods)

Packet of whole cloves (89 cents!)

Kombu (seaweed)

Two packages of spring roll wrappers (as they are egg-less)

Package of “Flower’s Kiss Candy” :

Flower's Kiss Candy

And last but definitely not least:

mangodrink2

Calpico or Calpis in Japan.

It’s mango flavored, it’s fortified…and it has a picture of  Hello Kitty on the front. What more could you want? I had to buy it.

My order totalled to a feasable $11.40

**************

I already said it, but I wanted to say it again:

I highly recommend visiting Asian markets! Always look in places like this before hitting your supermarket in order to get the best deals.

***************

Well…not bad for a small vegetarian adventure!

Now if only my husband had taken me out to that Mongolian restaurant….oh well.

Peace!

- Ashley

P.S. I will be going out again tomorrow for my birthday! Dinner at a vegetarian restaurant and a movie! I am starting to feel really spoiled. Hopefully I will have a blog entry about it soon.

Another post taken from my other blog.  After this post all of my posts will be new. :

Anyone who has been a vegetarian (or vegan) long enough to tell someone else about it knows all about the issues I’m going to bring up in this post.

It’s quite unknown to me as to why, whenever I tell someone (who is not a vegetarian) that I’m a vegetarian, that they have to automatically become defensive…and/or make quick judges about my personality, income, politics or health.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m neither a rich hippie (in fact, I work in retail), I don’t live on tofu and I’m not sacrificing my taste buds one tenth of a degree for the sake of my health. I also get plenty of protein, iron and b vitamins.

However, I do stand up for my beliefs. I have chosen to take flesh out of my diet for a reason (Which I addressed in the last post). If you ask me why I’m a vegetarian, I will tell you why. It is not a threat, but a mere explanation. My decision is part of who I am and influences my outlook on life and I will not soften that simply because you don’t agree with it.
*And for the record, I would like to state that if I had children (or if I have them in the future), they would be raised vegetarian.*

Getting back to the topic however, I would like to address certain stereotypes (and general pre-set notions) about vegetarians and vegans that have been worn and used so often that they really should be tossed out the window by now.

1. “If you don’t eat meat, you won’t get any protein, iron or b vitamins….” or “If you give up dairy products, you will have problems with calcium and b vitamin deficiencies.”

This is obviously very wrong. Anyone with a brain and a reasonable diet, will get most of the nutrients and vitamins that they need.
Vegetarians get protein from beans, leafy greens, dairy products and tofu/soy. Iron can be absorbed from vegetables such as spinach (and other greens) and potatoes.
Iron is best absorbed when paired with vitamin c (such as pairing spinach with citrus fruits). Potatoes contain both iron and vitamin c and are a good option, especially when combined with other iron rich foods.
Some items such as fortified cereals and milk alternatives (rice, almond, soy) often are fortified with iron as well.

Many vegetarians get b vitamins from dairy products. However, there are other sources for b vitamins such as the famous Nutritional Yeast which is often used as a substitute for cheese. Many products geared towards the vegetarian/vegan population is fortified with B-12 such as the above mentioned milk alternatives. Last but not least there is always Marmite.

So, especially for those of you who have children who want to become vegetarian or a family member of yours has made this decision…stop giving them grief! Instead, buy them some cook books and encourage them to eat wholesome, nutritious meals!

(For more information, please see the Vegetarian Resource Group site about Vegetarian nutrition.)

2. “Life’s too short, so eat meat while you can and have fun!”

This reminds me of a quote I read recently: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson

I can think of at least four sitcoms which have used this idea as a basis for a cheap plot. Just picture a male character and his significant female other, living happily in their apartment/large expensive home. Male character has a health issue that causes his significant other to be concerned for his diet. She then tries to make him go vegetarian. She serves the obligatory and disgustingly predictable Tofurkey.
Male character rebels and decides to teach his significant other a moral lesson on how life is too short to give up all of the “good things” in life (like charred flesh). Significant other finally decides that the male character must be right. She confesses, is embarrassed and serves the family a huge pork roast dinner in honor of this fact….served with a side of celery for comic relief, of course.

This, of course, is incredibly absurd. People seem to have it etched in their minds that people who give up meat are only torturing themselves and will only feel normal again when they eat a slab of bacon. This is almost on the same wavelength with the ancient idea that any woman who claims to be a lesbian is only torturing herself and can easily be swayed by “the right man”.

This idea simply should just go. I have been meat-free for ten years and have no interest in meat and find the smell of bacon to be disgusting. (I did even before my meatless diet)

3. “Vegetables are expensive, vegetarian meals are hard to prepare. Only die-hard hippies and/or rich yuppies can sustain a vegetarian lifestyle.”

This again, is very false. Vegetarian meals are easy to fix. Especially once you get the hang of it and know what dishes it is you like to fix on a regular basis.
We do cook a lot, but, we are eating healthier dishes in the process.

I’ve already done a post on how to save money on spices. Similarly, there are ways of saving money on vegetables.
Buying vegetables locally can sometimes be a way of saving a little here and there. Buying in bulk is another way.
Last but not least, some vegetables can suffice in a canned or frozen form (both of which are frequently on sale at supermarkets). Also big staples such as beans can be very cheap if bought in dry form.
Just keep in mind that you should only buy what you need. If you can not certainly say that you will use something, don’t buy it.

And above all, try to stay away from designer “vegetarian” products! Unless you REALLY need it, resist the urge. These products are often overpriced and generally made by companies who also produce meat products.
However, if you are a very new vegetarian who feels the need for a meat substitute or someone who simply can afford this type of food every day, then by all means, indulge!

OK, I think that this post is long enough for now. I hope that I have successfully targeted some of the very common issues that vegetarians seem to face almost daily.

Let’s hope that in time we can start to erase some of these preconceived notions from people’s minds.

But until then…we can still whine and complain about it.

Peace,

Ashley

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.