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Saturday, December 27, 2008

A yummy vegan Christmas

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. This was my second Christmas as a vegan and the food went over very well. I made many side dishes from years past only veganized. I was happy to hear some of my vegan dishes were liked the best by a family member. Because there were some non- vegan dishes there as well (I am the only vegan) I said to my family now you can do a taste test to see if they can tell a difference for example between vegan and non-vegan sweet potatoes. I was happy when a family member preferred my vegan sweet potatoes over the non-vegan ones. :) Some of the things I made were broccoli with browned garlic and oil, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, orzo pilaf, pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding pie and sugar cookies. The pumpkin pie is the one I posted last year and this year again. I have been wanting to try it and I can now say it was very good. I could not tell the difference from a non- vegan version. It did take longer to cook then the recipe said but it was still worth it..I do not have pictures of the food except for the cookies which I will post. All I did with the cookies is what I said in my cookie post by veganizing a recipe I had. I used vegan sour cream, vegan sugar and egg replacer as substitutes for some of the ingredients in the recipe. And they were enjoyed as they were last year.

Have a Happy New Year.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Post from 2007 on making cookies.

Monday, November 12, 2007
It is cookie time :)

I was not going to talk about sugar so soon in the blog but being that the cookie season is approaching I thought it would be a good idea. Recently I learned that sugar is not vegan. I did research and here is a website I found about this topic. It also lists brands of sugar that are non-vegan and vegan. I thought the information may be of interest especially around the holidays when sugar cookies are popular. And do not worry about finding the sugar because it is out there. I found it at an organic /whole food store and the local supermarket.
When I looked into colored vegan sugar I did not find that. But I did find vegan sprinkles that one uses on ice cream on one of the web sites I listed in my previous blog for vegan groceries. I thought to myself you could probably make your own colored sugar with vegan sugar and food coloring. Well I researched it and others had the same idea. This website has a recipe for making your own colored sugar.

I also noticed that some other recipes use cinnamon plus sugar for coating. Here are some web sites I found with sugar cookie recipes that seem worth trying. ( this person uses applesauce instead of margarine. I saw someone mention that on a website. Thought I would plug it in here for more options)

If you have your own sugar cookie recipe you use either from a book or your family recipe, read through the ingredients and see what really needs to be substituted. I compared a recipe I use from a cook book to the ones in the web sites I mentioned above and it was very similar. I would only need to replace sugar with vegan sugar, the egg with an egg replacer ( see note following this paragraph), and the sour cream with tofutti’s sour supreme. I have not tried the latter product yet so I can not comment. ( 12/08- addendum- I used the tofutti sour cream last year for cookies and they tasted good) In one of the above recipes someone uses tofutti cream cheese. And if you are not really comfortable changing things around yet then try one of the above recipes. I suggest doing a trial run before the holiday. Cut the recipe in half and then in half again if you want (depending on the yield of the original recipe) and give it a test try. You do not even have to decorate if you do not want for the trial run, just make the cookie and see if you like the dough. And then you will be on your way to a vegan holiday.
Note: I bought the Ener- G egg replacer in an organic food store. It is in a box and I think it was in the baking section. You can not make scrambled eggs with it because it is for baking purposes. It is a powder that is mixed with water. I have used it in some recipes which called for egg and it worked fine. I have also seen the other products I have in bold in the organic food store/ whole food store.
A note on margarine: Butter is dairy so it is not vegan. (12/08- addendum- I use the brand earth balance which I found in my local organic store. They have a few variations from margarine spread to buttery spread. I find it works well with cookie recipes and every day purposes.

Last year I made quite a bit of cookies and they were enjoyed by even the non-vegans. I did what I stated above using vegan substitutes and the finished product worked out well. I made my own sugar sprinkles. One recipe I had called for jello so I used vegan jello. The brand is by "natural desserts" and it is called jel dessert. Orginally I found it online (I have the sites listed on my very first post) and then I found it in my local organic store. I hope this information helps and that you enjoy your cookie time. :)

Happy Holidays


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving will soon be here.

It is that time of year again when the hustle and bustle of holiday cheer has come knocking on our doors. Family, friends, love, and food..... The time when you have an excuse to eat to the point of needing those stretch pants. :) I have not written in a while because life has been a circle of time which has not giving me the opportunity to write. Those twists and turns that halt your life and make everything but the situation at hand stand still. But I wanted to at least write and say I have not forgotten my readers and give links to recipes I posted last year for the holiday. Following this post you will see a link to two posts I wrote last year. Click on the link and scroll down to 1- Dec. 12 07 and 2- Dec. 1, o7. The December 12 post was about my first vegan Thanksgiving with recipes. The Dec. 1 post is a pumpkin pie recipe (I have not tried) and chocolate chip cookies I did try and were yummy. I hope that this will help give some recipe ideas for the holiday. I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.

May the circle of life bring not only stillness of uncertainty but a fresh breeze of calm.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Brussel Sprouts and Cherry Tomatoes over Rice by Gnewvegan

Brussel Sprouts and Cherry Tomatoes over Rice

Serves 4

This is a recipe I made in my rice cooker. If you do not have a rice cooker that is ok. Simply cook the rice per package directions in a pot and steam the vegetables separately with the same seasonings per the recipe.

1 lb brussel sprouts, cut off stems, remove loose outer leaf and cut each in half
3 cups of brown rice
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
3 large or 4 regular size garlic cloves minced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of adobo with pepper seasoning
Vegan parmesan to sprinkle

1- Mix the brussel sprouts and the tomatoes in a bowl.
2- Preheat a 7 or 8 inch skillet for one minute and then heat oil one minute on a low flame.
3- Brown garlic about one minute or until a light brown.
4- Pour garlic over vegetable mixture and mix .
5- Add the rice to the rice cooker and add appropriate amount of water per package directions.
6- Put steamer from rice cooker in place and add to it the vegetable mixture, cover, set to cook.
7- When the button pops up to warm, carefully open cover because of the steam. Add Adobo and salt and pepper to the vegetables. Fluff the rice with a fork, put on plate, top with vegetables, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Vegan Chit Chat and my trip to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

I realized I have not written a post since August. This summer has just been so busy. I am still thinking of my amazing trip to the farm sanctuary in Watkins Glen.. I am excited to walk in the NYC walk in September.. It is going to be a wonderful experience for a precious cause. I look forward to going back to Watkins Glen one day. I recently took another trip to the Woodstock farm sanctuary which was also another lovely trip. It was such a treat to be sitting down at a table outside and have goats and lambs around you. One in particular is Albie, the goat who was found in Prospect park after escaping from a Brooklyn slaughter house. Albie now wears a prosthesis after loosing part of his leg that could not be saved with medical treatment.. He does not always wear it and it is amazing to see he can walk on three legs. But what is more amazing, is that he is here and happy. I sat on the grass with him, petting him as he ate the grass. I looked around me and saw the mountains surrounding me and felt at peace. The goats were so friendly and they all just wanted to be loved. It was like my kitties when they rub up against me showing their affection. Then there was this lamb just "BAAAAAA " in away. I am not sure exactly what he/ she wanted but whomever called out to her/him this lamb would run to you with such excitement. Like a child running to their mom, so sweet. I was really impressed to see cats and dogs running around with these animals. The kitty was actually in the area where the pigs were, rolling around. I had compared the pigs liking their bellies rubbed to my kitties liking their bellies rubbed when I went to the farm in Watkins Glen. It is a wonderful thing to see these animals living together showing they are all loving beings. The pigs were so cute and had a jealous streak. I was petting one pig and all of a sudden he was making it known he did not like it when the other pig came over also. He wanted all the attention to himself. Then you had one of the pigs just rolling around in the mud and another behind him in the water.. The cows were grazing in the green pastures and the air was a crisp rainbow of peace. I wrote a poem about my experience there which I will now share.

Eyes of forgiveness,
Amazing to see,
Trust in your touch,
Now roaming so free,

Mountains surrounding,
Stories of tears,

Standing in the midst,
calling out for love,
Running to reaching hands,

Many souls combined as one,
now they see
a rising sun,
others may never see this day,

The planted seeds of renewal
must continue,
surrender not,

Motionless in time,
together we breathe,
beside me,
the one that got away,
his name,

Greener pastures,
the breeze so fresh,
an everlasting moment,
a sign of stones overturned,

The bridge of hope,
above troubled waters,
growing chains of love not sorrow,

This I hold onto,
for many more tomorrows .

Written on Sept. 1, 2008 By Gemma M. Carrara

Each experience I have touches my heart and I hope you enjoy reading about them. I will end this with a picture of Albie.. Soon I will post another recipe.

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.

Here is the website address for the newspaper story about Albie.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Trip To The Farm Sanctuary

This past month I had the privilege of visiting the farm sanctuary in Watkins Glen , NY. They had their annual yearly Hoe Down where they have guest speakers, vegan food, dancing, and the visit with the farm animals. The farm sanctuary is a non-profit organization that rescues animals that were going to be slaughtered, or in need of rescue , i.e.: the most recent Iowa floods. There many pigs were losing their lives and the farm sanctuary team went out there in horrid conditions and rescued those animals. They spend countless hours doing their best to try and help these animals reform to a healthy state. They take them for medical care and take time with them to help with the transition to learn that humans can be care takers of them instead of harm them. They place them in loving homes when they are well and keep the ones that need their constant care. Their work is remarkable and they are saviors of those animals. My favorite part of the tour was the pigs. They are so friendly and loving. All they want you to do is rub their belly and they make such cute noises.. Similar to my kitties. :) There are all kinds of animals there such as cows, goats, chickens, roosters, sheep, and of course the pigs. This experience is one I will never forget and I look forward to going back. In September there will be a “walk for the farm animals” in NY to help raise money for the farm sanctuary. I was so touched by this experience that I will be one of the walkers. I created my own personal fund raising page. If you would like to see some pictures of my trip and read a poem that I wrote after the journey please go to:

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fiesta Bean Salad By Gnewvegan

It has been a while since I posted. This summer has been a busy one. So before I post my recipe I am going to write about a few things. One of my past posts was about the plants I have in my mini garden. Here is a picture of one of my first tomatoes this year in a pot. I planted the tomato last year but the pot I used was too small and I only got about two tomatoes. So far I grew three and two more are growing right now. It is great to be able to pick a tomato fresh from the vine and the other herbs I planted. I had made a sandwich with the tomato one day with fresh basil, onion and hummus. On 2/16/08 , in my post titled, "Broccoli Sprouts and my Saturday Morning" I wrote about another sandwich with hummus..

Next I am writing about a delicious vegan chocolate cake that I made for my nan's birthday. Unbelievably moist and rich.. I have found the special occasion chocolate cake and It is all because of Nava Atlas. I posted on another post about her new book "Vegan Express". This is one of the recipes in her book and I highly recommend this book. Thank you Nava for a chocolate cake that even non-vegans could love.. I can not wait to make it again. Here is a picture of the cake before it was eaten up. I had some fresh strawberries on hand so I decided to add that to the cake. Yum Yum and thanks again Nava.

Next is my recipe for the Fiesta Bean salad. I had two potluck events to go and came up with this salad to bring. I learned about using the juice from marinated artichokes from a recipe by Nava Atlas. This recipe is best made the night before so the flavors can blend together. But you can make it the day of and have it sit at least one hour or more in the refrigerator. I hope you enjoy it if you make it.

Fiesta Bean Salad

Serves 10 or more
(Yields 11 cups)

1 pound (16 oz) Red baby potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed (leave skin on)
1 15.5 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 of a one pound bag of frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed, halved
4 oz red onion, peeled, sliced and cut into about 1/2 inch slices
4 oz jarred roasted red peppers, finely chopped
1 (6) oz jar (saving juice) marinated artichoke hearts, coursely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon adobo all purpose seasoning (the one with pepper)
2 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon cider vinegar

1- Put potatoes in a 3 to 4 quart sauce pot and fill with water to cover potatoes completely. Pot will be at least half way full. Cover and bring to a boil. When boils, uncover and simmer on a low - medium flame for 20 minutes. (set timer)

2- Put the drained beans (not green beans) in a big bowl or big pot.

3- Add to the beans the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic and artichokes.

4- When there is 7 minutes of cook time left to the potatoes add the green beans and stir the vegetables in the pot to mix together. Continue cooking until the twenty minutes is up.

5- To the jar of artichoke juice add the vinegars and seasonings. Close lid and shake well. Refrigerate until ready for use.

6- When the potatoes are done (should be fork tender) pour them into a collander to drain. Rinse under cool water until cool to touch. Cut the potaoes into bite size pieces. Usually cutting each potato into 4 pieces will do. If it seems to big you can cut adjust accordingly.

7- Put the potatoes and green beans with the other ingredients. Pour the dressing over the mixture and mix well but lightly. (You do not want to mix too harsh or else you could smash the beans. Mix like you are folding batter)If you have mixed in a pot transfer to a serving bowl.

8- It is best to keep this covered in the refrigerator over night but if not at least keep it in for one hour or more for flavors to blend. Mix lightly again and serve.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Carob Powder or Cocoa Powder

I had wondered why some vegan recipes call for carob powder and not cocoa powder. I thought is cocoa powder not vegan and if so why? I looked at some web sites to find this answer. From the information I read here is what it appears to be. Carob powder is used as a substitute for cocoa if someone has a chocolate allergy or needs less caffeine. The carob is caffeine free. Here is an excerpt on what carob powder is:

"Carob powder is made from the toasted, then ground, pods of the Carob tree. Carob is used as a substitute for chocolate although totally different substance."

another source on carob powder is :

Here is an excerpt on cocoa powder:
"Cocoa Powder: A product of the cacao bean. The cacao beans are removed from large pods that grow on the trunk of the tree then they are fermented and dried. The beans are sent to chocolate factories where they are roasted, the outer hulls removed, and the inner nibs ground to produce chocolate liquor. Most of the cocoa butter is extracted from the chocolate liquor, leaving a dry paste, which is further dried and processed to become unsweetened cocoa powder. The cocoa is called Dutch-processed if it is treated with alkali to produce a dark, mellow-flavored powder. (VEGAN!)"

Another source on cocoa and being vegan or not:

The above source mentions how certain products like breakfast chocolate drinks may contain some milk product in them but that pure cocoa powder is vegan and does not contain any milk or animal product in it. I hope that this information helps for anyone who may have thought of this question also. I will just look on the back of the products as I have been doing and utilize this information.. It seems from reading the information on line that carob powder does not taste the same as cocoa powder. So, being that I have no allergy to chocolate and have no problem with caffeine, I would rather the cocoa powder. As far as hot chocolate I think the packets in the store have milk in them so I could just make it from a non dairy source of cocoa powder or hot cocoa mix. You could find these products in the health or organic store. Unfortunately, because of the way foods can be processed you will see on the back of some products may contain traces of milk, nuts, etc. The products may be processed on the same equipment as products with milk, eggs, nuts, etc. I learned from an online resource that the manufacturing of products on sole equipment for just vegans would be difficult because there are not enough vegans for a company to invest money in that purpose. So, hence we see the statement I mentioned on the back of products. It will be a personal decision whether you choose to have the product or not.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Watermelon Slushy by Gnewvegan

With the summer time here the one thing I enjoy making is slushy's and smoothies. Especially on those hot days or mornings when you are too hot to drink coffee. I made a very nice smoothie today with protein powder but I forgot to measure the quantity. I was too in a rush to drink it. :) So that will be for next time. Today I am posting my recipe for a watermelon slushy. I drank the whole thing but it can be for two people as well, 1 cup each. Here's to the beginning of summer.

Watermelon Slushy
2 servings (1 cup each)

1 cup chopped watermelon (seedless or remove seeds)
1/2 teaspoon powdered lemonade mix
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 and 1/4 cup ice

Blend together and enjoy.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fresh Herbs from the garden

One thing about the summer approaching that I look forward to is planting some herbs and flowers. There is nothing like fresh herbs to give your food a wholesome flavor to it.. In the winter I have to rely on store bought but I love going to my garden and picking my own freshly grown herbs.. I also like to plant some flowers as well. In the pictures below you will see everything I planted except the tomato plant. That is in a container as well. The tomato plant is called "patio" container plant and hopefully cherry tomato's will grow. Last year was the first time I planted a tomato plant in a container. Only two grew because I learned the container was too small. This year I bought a nice size pot so we will see what happens.

Thyme and Oregano

Parsley, Chives and dill



Mint and Basil

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vegan French Toast by Gnewvegan

On the weekends I enjoy spending a little more time on breakfast because during the week it is usually not possible. French toast is one of those recipes I enjoy. Here is my recipe for veganized French Toast. Treat yourself to a tasty breakfast treat. You can serve this with fruit, vegan breakfast sausage or bacon..

French Toast

Serves one


2 slices whole wheat toast
1 Tablespoon apple sauce (not chunky)
4 Tablespoons plain soy milk
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vegan margarine (or more if needed)
Ground cinnamon, desired amount. (optional)


1- In a breading pan (or dish) combine the apple sauce, soy milk, water, and cinnamon if using. Mix well to have a smooth mixture.
2- Preheat a non- stick griddle for about one minute. Melt margarine in pan, spread over pan with spatula.
3- Dip each slice of bread in apple/ soy mixture and coat both sides well. (* see G note)
4- Place on griddle and brown both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes each side, until desired level of brown. (* see G note) Serve as desired.

G Note - * When coating the bread sometimes I find you have to take a fork and smear some parts of the bread that may not have been fully coated.
* When browning the bread I find that 4 to 5 minutes is the general time of browning I like. Sometimes it may take 3 minutes when doing the second side due to increase heat on the griddle . My suggestion is to lift up one side of the bread with a spatula and see if there is a nice even coating of brown.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Vegan eats at a Caribbean Restaurant

A few friends of mine and I went to eat at a Caribbean restaurant. I was not sure that they would have something to eat that I could have but to my surprise they had a few vegetarian items. I inquired about what was in one of them and was happy to find out I could eat it. They had a jerked spice tofu, a vegetable chop suey, I forgot one of them and the rasta pasta... I was in the mood for pasta that night so the rasta pasta it was.. I had penne style and it had a vegetable like spinach (I can not remember the name), red, green, yellow peppers and a wonderful flavor to it.. I have a picture to follow. The music and atmosphere were wonderful. It was great to sit and eat while listening to jamming Caribbean music played by a two man band. It is really a nice surprise when you go to a restaurant that you did not expect to find a dish you can eat and see some nice options on the menu. I am finding more places seem to be expanding their menu to suit a variety of dietary types. Happy vegan eating. I will definitely go back and inquire about the other vegetarian dishes for some more Caribbean dining.

Thank you for coming to my blog. I hope you come back again soon.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Veggie Pride Parade

On May 18, 2008 the first veggie pride parade in America was held in Greenwich Village, New York City. I was very excited to have been able to be a part of this day. I have never marched in a parade in New York City and this was a wonderful experience. Some people were dressed in costumes such as banana's, peppers, pea pod, and a pig to name a few. Various signs showing support for the vegetarian, vegan, and going green lifestyle where soaring for all eyes to see. One guy was ringing a bell from his window as we walked by. We marched through the streets and onlookers were taking pictures and smiling. What a feeling actually walking in the street as traffic had to be diverted or wait for us to pass by... It really was an amazing feeling.. The march ended at Washington Square park where there were various booths and a performance by the Cheryl Hill band. Even when it started raining the pride in this day could not be dampened. Below are some pictures of the the first veggie pride parade..

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The chant of the day was be green, go veggie!!!


Friday, May 2, 2008

Interesting vegan websites

While I was on the internet I came across the vegan society web site and a hospital catering book that they made.. I looked at it and it is interesting. It has information on what vegan is, why people become vegan, vegan foods, and some recipes. I thought it would be interesting to share. I am also posting another website that has useful information on being vegan, substitutes, etc.

Thank you for coming to my blog.. Please come back again soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Vegan Chit Chat :)

This is just a post for chit chat. As I have written about before I enjoy trying new things more now since I became vegan. It is a nice feeling to add a new addition of food style to my food choices. When I was not vegan and I would have something with cheese I never like pieces of cheese, only melted or in a ravioli for example. So when I eat tofu I prefer thin or small pieces. I had not tried tofu scramble before and thought it was time. I was reading a blog that talked about options for tofu scramble. A seasoning packet made for tofu scramble was mentioned (I can not remember the name) and Amy’s frozen entrees was also mentioned. She has a tofu scramble entree. I had mentioned Amy’s entrees before in a previous post. Once in a while I may use a frozen entree and it was nice to find good tasting, vegan, frozen entrees. So, I decided to try Amy’s tofu scramble before I start trying other’s recipes and then making my own variety.. Well, it was filling and very tasty. Of course it does not taste like scrambled egg’s but It hits the spot.. I will now be trying recipes and a creation of my own will be in the works.. :)
One of the last restaurants that I went out to was an Indian restaurant. And there I experienced the dosa.. I had never heard of a dosa and when I first saw it I could not imagine eating it all. But I did and it was yummy.. It looked like a giant crepe in the shape of a log. In it you can have choices such as potatoes with spices and rice mixtures . It is served with varieties of chutney. I believe I had coconut, lentil, and I forget the third type of chutney. I folded the dosa in half as I saw others do and broke off pieces dipping it into the chutney. It was yummy. Some of the chutney was spicy to me so I had plenty of water.. But it was worth it... Chatting that night I learned that Southern Indian food is usually vegan. You have to just make sure there is no Ghee in your food which is a form of dairy. So now I know to ask for no ghee in my food when I go to an Indian rest. Here is a website that tells you about ghee.
Next time I will take a picture of my dosa but here is a website which shows you a picture of a dosa.
Some time ago I wrote about another Indian restaurant I had went to where they had a buffet and one half the buffet was vegetarian and the other vegan. I am really enjoying my taste of Indian food and experimenting at home. I also find it very interesting to go into an Indian grocery store. There are so many varieties of spices and foods.. And it is there I found ready made dough in various forms without egg. I had been looking for that and was so glad to have found that. It is really nice to add different cultures into my eating habits as it opens up new doors of food enjoyment.
And on a sweet note , one night I wanted a sweet treat and remembered a post on a blog I read "A vegan life" (It is on my list of blog’s I read). The author showed a picture of a french twist vegan treat and gave the website to the products. Here is the website:
Well, I went into the grocery store and saw french twists in two flavors and they said non- dairy, no eggs.... I read the ingredients and happily bought them because they were vegan.. It was the store brand not the one posted on the latter blog site.. But I thank Allie for that post because my craving was fulfilled. Happy Vegan eating...

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A weekly menu of what I have eaten as a vegan

One common question people ask me is what do I eat. I did a post a while back on that subject and decided to make a table of a week’s menu to show some of my days eating as a vegan. As I have said before in previous posts I am not a nutritionist so my information is not a substitute for you to seek advice on what you should eat from an MD/NP/Nutritionist. This is just to help show new vegans there are many food choices out there. I did have this originally in a table but it does not copy and paste well so I typed it this way.


Oatmeal, 2 pieces of wheat toast with soy margarine, and tea with soy milk and vegan sugar.
soy nuts: raisins
potato /squash soup
apple, steamed broccoli with peanut sauce ( peanut sauce was posted 12/23/07. One of my recipes is steamed broccoli with peanut sauce)
Handful of shredded wheat/sugar coated


oatmeal, 1 slice wheat toast with apple spread, tea with soy milk and vegan sugar
Moroccan tofu with sweet potatoes and couscous (Posted on 11-13-07)
Tofu cutlet with vegetables; cherry tomatoes
Dessert/ Snack-
Banana; Air popped popcorn


cereal with soy milk and banana; tea with soy milk and agave nectar
soy nuts
sauteed spinach; soy dog and baked beans
veggie burger on wheat pita bread; mixed veggie’s with vegan butter


oatmeal with sliced banana; tea with soy milk and agave nectar
Peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread; carrots; handful of shredded wheat; crackers
soy nuts
Stir fry veggie’s with tofu crisps over rice (stir fry recipe posted 11-13-07 and the tofu crisp strips were posted on 12-18-07- you could make this without the tofu and just follow the recipe on 11-13-07)


cereal with soy milk; coffee with soy milk and agave nectar
Peanut butter and apple spread on wheat bread (posted 11-13-07); carrots; soy nuts
small salad; raisins; carrots; soy nuts
store bought vegan veggie loaf with veggie’s


oatmeal/banana; 1 slice of wheat toast; coffee /soy/agave nectar
salad; steamed veggie’s over rice
raisins; soy and edamame nuts
Vegetable shell and soybean soup (posted on 1-9-08)
Tofutti icecream


French toast/ vegan breakfast sausage links; coffee/soy/agave nectar (I will post my french toast recipe soon)
banana; soy/edamame nuts
Lentil soup/ crackers
sliced tomatoes/cucumbers mini salad; apple
veggie quesidilla; pickles

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Eggs and becoming vegan

When I first was learning about why someone would choose not to have eggs or dairy, I thought that maybe if I used organic eggs, or cage free that would be better. I even thought that maybe I could find a local farm where the chickens were raised properly and not have a dreadful outcome. So I bought the latter eggs, but still could not bring myself to have it. Then after research I knew that organic eggs or cage free were no better then the regular ones. The conditions and final outcomes for the animals were the same. I am writing about this to tell other new vegans that it is normal for you to doubt why you may or may not be eating something. This is a new way of life and sometimes we may tend to try and justify why doing certain things is ok. I thought I had to have meat and milk growing up because that it was the surrounding society and my upbringing seemed to focus on as the mainstay of meals. Even on pasta days we had the meatballs. The milk moustache commercials telling you that milk does your body good and meat always being the main course with veggies as your secondary was a way of life. At weddings I would see three choices which are fish, chicken or beef. And please , I do not want anyone to take offense at me mentioning society/ family as a reason behind food choices. I think it is a combination of what you are raised in and what you see in your surrounding society. And I was not raised in a vegetarian family. Now as an adult I learned things I never knew before and made a choice for me that I feel is the right one. I learned and realized that being vegan is a way of life that is not harmful to me, and makes me feel better as a whole. I have added here some web-sites that I found when making my decision on eggs in the beginning in case a new vegan is wondering about my earlier thoughts as well. As with any new journey learning is the key and is a powerful tool.

Happy vegan Living. I hope to see you again.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Going Green

I know this is not about how to be vegan however in my profile I stated how being vegan has expanded on my world of living. I had always recycled before but as I began to learn to become vegan I wanted to do more to help the environment. I thought about buying the canvas grocery bags before. I remember one day I was in the grocery store and saw a young man in front of me with a canvas bag. Of course, maybe he was not doing it for the same reason I am. But, for whatever the reason, it will help by decreasing the amount of plastic used. I saw the stores selling them more and more. So, I decided to buy my green bags and use paper bags more often to decrease the plastic use. I was watching the Oprah show one day and it was on going green. I try to use some of the suggestions. I have the power plugs and do my best to remember to turn them off to conserve energy, replace regular bulbs with CFL bulbs when it is time to change, conserving water, and I started buying eco-friendly products as I need to replace them. Step by step, person by person. You never know what will inspire you. The person in front of you, changing your way of eating as I have done with veganism, or an array of things. It is true, I think, one person can make a difference. Because one person can turn into two people, and so on. So, I am not only proud to say I am vegan, but that I am doing my best to go green. April 22, 2008 is Earth day.. I read on another blog about an act of togetherness called “Earth Hour” which was on March, 29, 08.. When cities globally turned out the lights at a certain time for their support of the environment.. Here is the website:

I wish I had known about it but I know about Earth day and thought this post would be appropriate. Here are some web sites about Earth day:

I will end this post with a poem I have written and say Happy Earth Day everyone..

The purity of the sunlight is in the path,
The light of life, to start a new,
The path that is within our reach,
The ocean waves reaching over the horizons,
The height of nature is the power we breathe,
The wind, snow, birds, flowers and trees,
Mountains, rivers, animals, living beings,
The purity of our earth is for us to seek,
It is the choices one makes,
That will encircle what is to be,

It is the color we choose,
And I choose green.

By Gnewvegan

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Penne With Peas And White Beans by Gnewvegan

Serves 4 to 6

I was inspired to make this recipe from a family recipe that my friend made.


1 pound penne pasta
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1 (15) oz can of small white beans, drained , rinsed
1 ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pasta water
Salt and pepper to taste , as desired


1- Boil water for pasta and cook per package directions. When done drain and put back in pot.

2- When the water boils and the pasta is put in the pot start the sauce. Preheat an 11 inch pan for about one minute. Add the oil to the pan and heat for one minute.

3- Add onions and garlic to the pan and on a low- medium flame, lightly brown, stirring occasionally until the onions begin to become translucent; 5 to 7 minutes.

4- Add margarine to pan and melt stirring one to two times.

5- Add beans and peas to pan and 1 cup pasta water. Add salt and pepper to taste. On a low- medium flame simmer ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

6- Add sauce to the cooked pasta in the pot and mix well. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve and enjoy.

Below are pictures of the finished dish... I get hungry just looking at it... :)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My First Easter As A Vegan

As with my first Thanksgiving and Christmas Easter was no exception to a nice holiday. I went to a friends house for dinner and she is really great. I have known her for many years and she is like family. She so kindly told me to bring my soy milk and margarine and she would put mashed potatoes aside so I can make it my way. She liked them too when she tasted it :) I used some vegan margarine in a dish of pasta.. The sauce had meat in it so a dish was taken out for me pre the sauce added. The veggies her and her husband made were delicious and they purposely did not put anything in them I could not eat. She also made a very nice salad and put oil and vinegar on the table because the other dressings had ingredients I could not have. I made the orzo I posted in the “Thanksgiving post” and sugar cookies. I never made sugar cookies for Easter but I saw these really cute Easter cookie cutters so I decided to make cookies. I did it just like Christmas as I wrote on my post “It’s Cookie Time”. I just substituted vegan ingredients and everyone enjoyed the cookies.. As always I had my vegan sugar with me and this time I had the soy milk for my coffee. At the end of the day I was full and had a very nice Easter dinner.. It is not impossible to have a holiday dinner when you are the only vegan. It has worked out well and it always is made easier when you have wonderful friends that do what my friend's did when cooking.. I am touched at the caring and find it really wonderful when people are interested in learning about my veganism. I will be posting one of my pasta recipes in a few days.. Come back soon and maybe try it out.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

I bought Hemp Seed

This is a follow up to my last post. I went into a natural food market and was looking at the hemp products. There were quite a few of them to choose from. Products such as hemp powder, hemp oil, and hemp seeds. Some of the powders were geared towards making shakes although there was a recipe on the back of the bag with the seeds using the seeds as well to make a shake. I asked someone who worked there what was the difference between the oil and the powder or seeds because I did not see protein content in the oil but I did in the other ones. I was told that the reason why the oil does not have the protein is because it is cold pressed which removes the protein. But the essential amino acids and omegas are in there. I decided on the seeds that were not ground so I could sprinkle them on what ever I want. I first tasted them straight out of the bag and they had a nice nutty flavor. This morning I had them on my cereal. I put in a bowl a vegan spelt flake cereal, sprinkled the hemp seeds, drizzled a little agave nectar, sliced a banana, and added soy milk.. It was a nice vegan breakfast. Here are some photos of the product bag and the seeds themselves..

Happy Holidays to all..

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Is Hemp the super seed?

I came across this topic when I was reading through a store circular. There was a section which stated the following:

"Hemp- The super seed "

"Hemp is one of the most sustainable and nutritious crops on the planet. Similar to a sesame seed in size, and nutty in flavor, hemp seeds are a hot new food trend found in everything from waffles and cereals, to protein powders and now even hemp milk. This super seed is one of the plant kingdom’s most complete sources of digestible protein, with all 10 essential amino acids. Hemp seed also contains a balanced source of Omega- 3 & 6 essential fatty acids with GLA, live enzymes, vitamins, minerals and an excellent source of fiber.
An 8 oz glass of Living Harvest Hemp milk includes 700 mg of Omega- 3 essential fatty acids; all 10 essential amino acids; GLA, vitamins A, B12, D and folic acid; naturally occurring minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus, as well as 40% of recommended daily calcium”.

This caught my eye because I am always looking to learn about new foods that can enhance my vegan lifestyle. It further caught my interest when I learned it is a member of the cannabis family wondering is it the same thing and how could that possibly be safe/ legal if it was. Here are a few web sites that I found helpful in learning about Hemp. One of them I will note next to it is a site for Living Harvest products. If you look on the lower left side you can click on a web address to see a broadcast about Hemp seed and products on the Channel 11 News.

(The above site is the one with the Channel 11 news story)

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vegan Express by Nava Atlas

I have written on my blog before about a book by Nava Atlas that I use called , "The Vegetarian 5 ingredient gourmet" and highly recommended it.. Nava now has a new book called the "Vegan Express" and I already had a delicious soup from the book this evening. When I first changed my eating habits Nava's book helped me discover my new way of eating. The recipes are very tasty and easy to follow. Her new book follows in the same path and I look forward to cooking up those recipes.. I am posting a picture of her new book and highly recommend it. Thank you Nava for another delightful book.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies

One day I was browsing around online to see if I could find some yummy vegan chocolate chip cookies. I came across a recipe that looked good. And they were indeed yummy.. :) Here is the link to the recipe and a picture I took of the cookies.. I will definitely be making these again..

Note: when using the egg replacer as stated in this recipe I did mix it with the water that the box states to mix the powder in. The recipe did not state to do that or not, but it was dry without the water. I only made half of the recipe because I was testing it out so I only added water for one egg amount. I think you are suppose to be able to view the making of the cookies on the site but I was unable to , so I made the choice of adding the water. I wanted to save part of the dough so I made two log rolls, wrapped it in glad press and seal and then put that in a freezer safe bag. So when ever cookies were desired I sliced what I wanted and baked it.. I also enjoyed eating the uncooked cookie dough. :)

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spinach Soup with Low Mein Noodles by Gnewvegan

I was inspired to make my own Chinese Noodle bowl after having a rice noodle soup bowl I bought in the store.

4 or more servings
(yields 5 2/3 cups, 1 cup per 1 serving)

6 oz frozen chopped spinach
5 cups water
* Vegetable bouillon to equal 4 cups (see G note)
* 4 oz wide Lo mein Chinese noodles, broken in half (see G note)
1 small onion, 3 to 3 ½ oz , thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon adobo all purpose seasoning with pepper
salt and pepper to taste

*G note : For the vegetable broth you could use 4 cups of vegetable broth in a box and add 1 cup water.
* If you do not like your noodles long in a soup then break the noodles into three pieces instead of just two.

1- In a 2 qt pot put the appropriate amount of water. Put the bouillon in the pot and stir (break apart with fingers if you can) . If using broth from a box just pour the broth and water amount into the pot and bring to a boil.
2- Put all the vegetables, noodles, seasonings, salt and pepper as desired, and the oil in the boiling water, mix well and bring to a second boil.
3- Simmer on a low- medium flame, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.
4- Serve and season with more salt and pepper if desired.

A reader of my blog requested pictures of the recipes and I am glad to say I am finally able to do that. Here is a picture of the soup.

I hope you enjoy the soup if you try it.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Sunday Lunch at an Indian Restaurant

This past Sunday I had a delightful lunch with fellow vegans and vegetarians.. We went to an Indian restaurant. When I first walked in, the place was divided into a store and then the restaurant. The store sold a variety of things from Jewelry, pillows, blankets, incense, frames, clothes, etc.. I was told that everything in the store came from India. The colors were so exotic in detail on practically everything they sold. And the detail on the items were impressive. Then off to the restaurant side where you could choose to have the buffet or pick from the menu. I was very hungry when I arrived and was very happy to learn that a good portion of the buffet was vegan. You had a choice to have the buffet or items from the menu. On the menu they kindly wrote next to the item if it was vegan. But there were plenty of vegan items already prepared to be eaten right away!! So buffet it was and it was good.. There was enough spice to make me drink plenty of water but I enjoyed it. I do not like things too hot but this was just right.. They did have signs that would tell you if a particular food was on the very hot side. I will do the best I can to remember what I had. There were vegetables sauteed in a delicious sauce, rice, chutney, chickpeas with spinach and tomato , spinach soup, a pancake type food with some sort of vegetables on top and salad with a very tasty dressing. The restaurant was very nice to make us a vegan bread... A wonderful dining experience I would do again.. I do like to use spices such as curry, turmeric, and garam masala. As I have developed a love for cooking I have become more open to exploring new things. What I have learned is that creating a nice balance of spices to the food being prepared can be a wonderful dining experience. And you do not always need many spices to make a dish work, just the right ones.. Some recipes may only call for a few spices and some a column full. But the fun is in the creating and taking the spices you enjoy and making that dish your own.. Last year some time there was a recipe I tried with chickpeas, spinach, tomato, turmeric, and garam masala.(I was reminded of this flavor combo with the chickpea and spinach dish in the restaurant) That is when I went looking for garam masala and found it.. You did not need too much and the flavor was a unique taste in a good way. Here is the link to the recipe which is on the Rachel Ray website:

Do not be afraid to explore new food choices including the spices which add such a uniqueness to foods. You might create a dish that you find yourself craving...

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

My entry in a writing contest

When I was reading another blog ( the author wrote about another blogger who is having a writing contest. I went to the site and after reading about the contest decided to give it a try. I was inspired from the picture on the blog which is to aid in the idea of each writers story.. I sent it in tonight. Here is a copy of what I wrote and the site URL. To understand my story you will need to see the picture. I am not sure when it will be posted on the site.

Blog site:

A Moment

As I look in the distance at the gray of the sky I ask, where have all the leaves gone? The sun was just shining and the birds were singing their song. I heard a whisper amongst a sudden wind that touched my shoulder so gently. It made me look away for a brief moment in time. When I looked back the flowers were gone, the birds were silent, the clouds formed a wall of mystery that I do not understand. What does this all mean? Why am I standing here so confused when I was encircled in a rainbow of peace and serenity.

But then, I looked beyond the gate and saw a man and a woman holding hands. A child so sweet, in between them, skipping to every beat. Pointing to something in the sky .. I looked, and saw the answer I searched for. The light of the horizon was creeping through the darkness and grasping the call of the blossoming wind. For flowers need to reep and sow and then you will see the essence of it's growth. For every drop of rain in the sky is a teardrop that will bring a new beginning to one's breath.. The gray is not an everlasting moment. It is only a moment in time that precedes the path of the meaning of ones spirit, being, and the answers one will find.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Store bought vegan soup

Well, Yesterday we had the snow storm. It is quickly turning into slush. Luckily for me I did not have to drive in the snow because public transportation is pretty good. I wanted to post during the week but time did not allow. A few days ago due to time constraints I knew I would not be able to make a soup that I wanted to. That day was a cold, windy day which is perfect for soup. So, while in the grocery store I looked to see if there was a vegan soup.. I came across a soup I had seen before by Thai Kitchen.. The one I bought was the spring onion rice noodle bowl. I normally always cook so I usually have some soup saved in the freezer.. But it is always good to know fast alternatives for the once in a while you just need something quick. It was pretty good and the best part is , it’s vegan... There are red letters on the back which say vegan and I read the ingredients and I did not see anything in there I could not eat. I do not know if their other products are vegan but I know this one is... :) When I make recipes I enjoy creating them from my head, veganizing recipes already known, and recreating a dish I enjoyed out. I definitely will be make my own version of this soup.. Here is the website of the company and you will see on the list of products the one that I had.

Here is the main site:

And on another note, that day I added more snacks to my snack bag, dried banana chips and cereal pieces... The cereal is a vegan cereal by Arrowhead Mills, sweetened shredded wheat bite size cereal. I bought it in the organic food store. As I have said you can add anything you want like dried fruits, pretzles, other nuts, etc... I take what I have and put it in my snack bag. So that would make the things I used so far edamame and soy nuts, golden raisins, vegan chocolate chips, cereal, and dried banana chips.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Bok Choy and my Sunday

I started off Sunday morning with a nice bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee with soy milk & agave nectar. I then got myself ready to go to the bead store. I have beaded once before but it had been some time. A good friend of mine had given me a very pretty beaded bracelet which had broken. I wanted to see if there was someway I could put it back together and another friend I met makes jewelry and offered to show me how to re-string the bracelet. I really enjoyed putting the bracelet back together.. So much I made another one!!! As I was walking around the bead store there were so many pretty beads and one in particular caught my eye... So there I was stringing another bracelet.. It is a nice feeling when you are wearing something that you made.. It would be a nice idea to make gifts as well. Two hours seemed to go by very quickly because you are enjoying the beading and really become focused on it.. I started to get a little hungry as I was stringing and munched on my handy snack bag I put together and carry with me often... Here is what I mix together:
Dry roasted edamame seeds, soy nuts, golden raisins, and sometimes vegan chocolate chips. The chocolate chips I use are by Sunspire, Tropical source, semi-sweet rich dark chocolate chips. They say on the bag 100% dairy and gluten free. I buy them at the natural food store.
You can mix and match as you like.. It is like those snack bags you see in the store but sometimes I notice in the multi pack bags they may have chocolate in it which is dairy . This way if I want some chocolate I have my own variety... The edamame seeds and soy nuts have soy protein in them. The back of the edamame seeds bag says that there are 14 grams of soy protein in 1/4 cup seeds. From what I read you do have to eat nuts in moderation because of fat content but that soy and edamame nuts are a good source of protein. When I came home with my accomplishment’s I had some bok choy for my lunch. I served it over some brown rice. I had never had bok choy before but remember reading it was good for you. I had looked for it a few times before but did not find it. When I was in the whole foods store the other day they had organic baby bok choy. So I bought it and found a recipe for skillet sauteed bok choy in an Asian cook book. I saved an excerpt in a magazine about bok choy and it states that “bok choy is low calorie and is high in vitamins A and C and calcium.. “ It suggests ways of cooking which are ,” boiling: 3 to 4 minutes for stalks; 1 to 1 ½ minutes for leaves. Steaming: about 6 minutes for stalks; 2 to 3 minutes for leaves. Stir frying: about 5 minutes for stalks and 2 minutes for leaves. The magazine states that bok choy is available year round and one should look for firm, plump white stalks and fresh deep green leaves. Here is a website showing you a picture of bok choy and also giving information on how to prepare it. In the recipe I used today it did not tell me to cook the leaves separate from the stalk when I sauteed it and It tasted fine..It may be because the recipe called for the bok choy to be a tender- crisp when cooked.
In the book “Becoming vegan” by Davis and Melina it states that ½ cup, 85g, of bok choy has 79 mg of calcium with an estimated absorbable calcium being 42 mg. That seems pretty good because when they compare it to cows milk for a ½ cup of the latter, 120 grams, there is 150 mg of calcium with an estimated absorbable calcium being 48 mg.. Again I always stress you should always review the values you need with your doctor or nutritionist. I thought these values were good information to write here to show how calcium and vitamins can come from other sources besides non vegan foods. I will now add bok choy to my list of foods and come up with some recipes.. The flavors of the sauteed bok choy went well over the brown rice. I decided to serve it that way to make a nice lunch. For a snack in between my lunch and dinner I had a nice basic salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, broccoli sprouts and soy Italian cream dressing. Sundays are usually pasta day as I am use to growing up in an Italian family. I finished the day with a nice pasta dish for dinner and as I write this one of my precious kitties, Jasper is purring next to me..

If you decide to try the bok choy I hope you enjoy it.. And may you enjoy my snack combo or your own...

Thank you for coming to my blog. I hope you come back again soon.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Broccoli sprouts and my saturday morning

Last night when I came home from work I wanted something quick and easy because I was very tired. I enjoyed a very nice whole wheat pita sandwich with hummus, broccoli sprouts, onions, cucumber and tomato an idea thanks to the author of Archive site:
I went out looking for broccoli sprouts after reading her post on Feb. 10, 2008. She showed a very nice picture of a wonderful lunch she had of broccoli sprouts with hummus and onions on pita bread. It is very tasty and easy to make. I realized you can mix and match any way you like. I served it with some veggie chips an idea also from the author of the latter site as she had her sandwich with corn chips. I also had another idea of adding roasted red peppers on this sandwich. I had thought about it before to add some kind of sprout to the peppers and the broccoli sprout seemed like a good idea. My nan one day made me a roasted red pepper sandwich when she wanted to make me lunch. She did not know what to make since I became vegan and Italian Grandmas love to show love with food. She roasted red peppers, added some spices and some oil.. It was a very nice sandwich.. Thanks to my nan and the author of “my life as a vegan” I have two new ways of enjoying a healthy, yummy sandwich... I did also see a combination pack of different sprouts in the produce section. So if you do not find the broccoli sprouts try what kind is at the market.
I like to treat myself with pancakes on a Saturday or Sunday. So this morning I made some tasty pancakes and after that I enjoyed A self treatment of reiki. Reiki is a Japanese form of “healing” using energy from one person to another or your own energy as I did this morning. I started learning about it some years ago and life happens so it took a few years before I was able to take a class and become reiki level one. I sat there doing the reiki to some very nice relaxing music and I feel a serene calmness right now. I have recently started to do reiki again and my goal is to continue and eventually advance to the next level.
I hope you try the broccoli sprouts. I also had them on a salad the other day... And for lunch today I did have the roasted red pepper sandwich. I took a whole wheat pita pocket bread, opened it up (leaving one end attached to flip back over), spread some hummus on one side (you can do both if you like), put a nice size roasted red pepper from a jar on one side of the pita (over the hummus), broccoli sprouts, and chopped onions.. Yum..

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The 10,000 steps a day challenge

Some months ago I met a college age woman who was wearing a pedometer. We started talking and she told me why she was wearing it. She was working on some kind of project to encourage people to take a certain amount of steps per day. I do not remember how many steps she said you need to help your heart be healthy. I thought it was a pretty cool idea. But of course, time goes on, life goes on, and here I am months later finally doing it. When I became vegan it was not for health reasons. And as I have stated in previous posts I am not a nutritionist so I am not making any claims about being vegan and your health. But for me personally, I feel better physically and spiritually. I have more energy then I did before and I think when you feel better overall you want to continue doing things to make you feel better about yourself and your health. I practice yoga with home DVD’s and low impact aerobics. I am also thinking of giving pilates a try. But a family member got a free pedometer and gave it to me and I thought, why not!! I should take the 10,000 steps a day challenge. I say 10, 000 steps a day from articles I found on the internet. From what I read , the goal would be to reach 10, 000 steps a day (5 miles a day). I did not look for a long time on the net but the information I read said there is no definitive research which says that if you do this your heart will be healthy. But when you do read information about a healthy heart and lifestyle walking does come up as a good form of exercise. Of course, you should not enter into any exercise program or task without consulting your physician. Below I will copy and paste links to the sites I read. I am wearing a pedometer right now since this morning. Today is housecleaning day but you are still taking steps!! It’s almost 4 in the afternoon and I have 1,145 steps so far today.. I think that is amazing considering I am home. Of course there will be days that I will forget to put it on, but I am going to try and take this challenge, chart my steps per the guide on the links below and see if eventually I can reach 10,000 steps a day.. I am going to post on my site a survey to see how many of my readers think they want to try the challenge and do the challenge. I will try to post my weekly steps the end of each week. For those who join in this challenge comments about your weekly steps are welcome. Let’s not only be vegan together but step together with the pedometer challenge!!!

Thank you for coming to my blog and I hope to see you again soon.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

What is TVP?

I started to write this post and looked out my window at what seemed like a snow storm starting to brew.. I was driving home earlier and it was a nice sunny day.. Then later on at home, I see a gray sky , wind and snow coming down... Shortly after the sun is out and the sky is blue. Now as I type this the gray of the sky above has overtaken the sun again... This winter has surely been one of weather mystery. My cats are not sure what to think either. When it was snowing they were looking out the window at the fallen snow and then their show was gone.. My kitties actually love the snow.. I do not allow them to be outside cats but with me to supervise can go on the platform outside my door (which I refer to as my balcony) gated in.. And they have played in the snow.. Now on to TVP :) I have not used this product but was interested to find out what it was. When I need a crumbled “meat” product I use the already made crumbled meat you can find either in the regular grocery store or a whole food store. I did some research on the net and here is some information on TVP. Oh, My, as I am writing this the snow prevails!!! It is coming down.. Burrr.. The show is on kitties...

Article one:

"Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)?
Also known as textured soy protein, TVP is not tofu. It is, however, made from soy. TVP comes from defatted soy flour, which is a by-product of soybean oil, so it is plentiful in supply. It’s also quick to cook and a great source of vegetable protein without all the fat.
TVP comes in small dry chunks resembling, well, dried vegetables more than anything, or in a finely-ground form. It’s flavorless, but when you rehydrate it and add your own flavors, it makes a great protein-filled addition to many dishes calling for ground meat. Because of its varying texture, it’s versatile, and can take on the texture of many meats. For instance, it’s excellent in chili, tacos, veggie burgers and soups.

A 43-gram serving of TVP contains 120 calories and 21 grams of protein and hardly any fat. Since it’s so high in protein, it makes a great transition meat substitute; but since North Americans eat more protein than our bodies can process, you should gradually reduce or even eliminate TVP as well.
When it’s used to replace meat in stews and soups, your family will hardly be able to tell the difference and since you can marinate it in many of the same sauces as meat, it can take on many of meat’s flavors.

Though TVP is much healthier than most meats, it’s still a high-protein processed food, and high-protein diets increase the rate at which you age. With minimal proteins and a high fruit and vegetable diet, you’ll achieve the best level of health.

Natural food stores, health food stores and large supermarkets generally carry TVP; check the bulk section if you can’t find it. "

Source :

At the moment I do not plan to use TVP but wanted to post this information in case someone else wondered what is TVP as I did.. And as for the show for my kitties, only one is at the window.. Mother nature is undecided at the moment. There is a partial gray/ blue in the sky, and no snow. The weather mystery continues..

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Friday, February 8, 2008

"Veganized" Recipe

I have a recipe that I am not sure where I found. I think it came from a magazine that I use to use when I ate chicken. It is called “One- Pan Tomato Basil Chicken”. In one of my recent posts you will read that I finally made the home made seitan. I have quite a bit in my freezer and decided I would like to try it with the chicken recipe. This is to show you how I take a recipe and make it vegan and you can do it to!! What I will do is write the recipe in its original form and then below it write what I did. Please note I did not measure everything properly as I just wanted to make enough for two servings that day and just “eyed it”. That is the fun thing about recipes. You do not always have to do it exactly the way it says... Your tastes may not be exactly as the recipe says so you change it a little. I enjoyed this recipe and would indeed make it again.

One Pan Tomato Basil Chicken (Original)

1 package (6.9 oz) Rice- a Roni- Chicken flavor
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, about 4 halves, chopped
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 medium tomato chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

step 1 - In a large skillet, saute the rice- vermicelli mix as the package directs.
Step 2- Stir in 2 cups of water, chicken and contents of seasoning packet: bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 3- Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes.
Step 4- Stir in broccoli, tomato and basil. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Serves 4

My changes-

1- Rice a roni chicken flavor does not sound vegan to me. So, I decided to just make the rice mixture myself. I wanted two servings so I had some instant brown rice in the cabinet. I measured enough for two servings per the box directions. Then I used the proper water amount per the package directions and used vegetable bouillon in the water. I added spices that I liked in the water and cooked the rice per the box directions.
2- While the rice was cooking I took 2 pieces of the seitan I made (they were thick meat size pieces) , sliced them and then cubed them. I put those pieces in a plastic bag and threw some flour in the bag. I shaked the bag to coat the seitan pieces well. Then I heated a non stick 10 “ skillet about a minute ; then I heated up some extra virgin olive oil in the heated skillet about a minute. I put the pieces of seitan in the heated skillet and browned each side , just about a minute or two to make a nice golden brown color.
3- In the same skillet, I put the rice, with the seitan, broccoli flowerets, a chopped tomato, dried basil, and vegan mozzarella cheese. I stirred it to mix well and partial covered. On a low- medium flame I simmered it, stirring occasionally until the broccoli was done. About 5 to 7 minutes. That depends on how you like your broccoli.
4- You could sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese if you like.

And that was my dinner with a nice salad..

As I stated in my very first post, part of this blog is to show you how you can change a non vegan recipe to being vegan... You do not have to get rid of the recipes you liked before just learn the substitutes and enjoy your new lifestyle choice!!!

Happy Vegan cooking

Thank you for coming to my blog and I hope to see you again soon.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Artichoke hearts with garlic and capers

When I was younger I was a very picky eater. If I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day with chocolate milk I would have been happy. When I first developed a love for cooking I started to become more willing to try new things. Of course, we all have our own exceptions. :) Since I became vegan I started to try more vegetables. One of them is artichoke hearts. I do remember having artichokes, I think once some time back. I remember not liking it as I scraped whatever it was off the leaf. But I also remember thinking how could grown ups drink coffee? This after a bitter taste of it when I was a child and now I indeed enjoy my cup of Java. I wanted to try artichoke hearts and was looking for a recipe to try it with. I saw the below one on a vegan blog and felt this would suit my taste. Well, I made it and I enjoyed it... I wanted to share it with my readers.
PS: I did some research on frozen artichoke hearts and found Birds Eye to be the best tasting.

Artichoke Hearts with Garlic and Capers

When I was growing up, this old family recipe was always reserved for special occasion.(written by author of recipe)

1 (9-ounce) bag frozen artichoke hearts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup toasted dried breadcrumbs

Cook the artichoke hearts according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved artichokes, capers, and hot red pepper flakes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring to blend the flavors for 3 minutes. Add the parsley and breadcrumbs and toss to combine.
Serves 4

Friday, February 1, 2008

I made home- made seitan

I was finally able to find nutritional yeast at a health store so now I had all my ingredients for the home made seitan recipe I had. So, I went to work and made seitan!! I did not find it too time consuming. The actual mixing of the dough and broth are brief. It just takes time to cook but then you have a good amount of seitan to enjoy... I actually froze most of it because I only needed a bit for tonight’s meal. I looked online to see how to freeze it and most sites I found stated to freeze it in the broth and one site said you can freeze it for about three months. That was the messy part because I used plastic baggies and was filling them with some broth... But now, I have plenty of seitan to try with established recipes and my own. From what I have read you can also store it in the fridge in a tight closed container in the broth for about a week. I am sorry I can not share the recipe that I used to make the seitan. I am not sure if it is a personal recipe from the person who gave it to me. But, when I looked online at various sites it appears that the method is pretty much the same as well as the basic ingredients.. Broths vary according to ones taste and the dough may have a different ingredient or two... But the technique is the same. Here is a link for a website by Nava Atlas for seitan on how to make it and some recipes... This will give you an idea. If you google home made seitan you will find some good resources...
Here is a site I found that shows you pictures of the seitan making process:

In one of my previous posts I discussed if Vital wheat gluten was the same as vital wheat gluten flour and it appeared it was. The recipe I had called for vital wheat gluten flour and I bought vital wheat gluten. Well, I used the latter and it worked fine.. So now I know I can use either or... The dough did have that elastic type bounce the recipes say it will have... And when cooked will be sort of tough but spongy. It did indeed have a spongy look to it.. I have previously had store bought seitan which was fine... The difference I found is that the store bought is a bit more tougher then the homemade. This appears to be common from what I have read. The store bought one may already be cut thinner, so after you cook it at home you cut it to whatever size you need. For example , for cutlets you take the chunk and cut it into cutlet size pieces or small chunks if you are using it for a stir fry.. I am glad that I finally made the seitan because I now have a good amount for whenever I need. Maybe one day you may give it a try as well. It was a rainy day today so it was a perfect kitchen day. I turned on a nice CD and then the seitan adventure began...

Thank you for coming to my blog. I hope to see you again soon.

Happy Vegan cooking.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movie and the Diner

Last night I saw the movie “Juno” and it kept my interest the whole time. I think the lead actress was played by Ellen page and she did a wonderful job. The story is about a 16 year old girl who becomes pregnant and searches for adoptive parents for her baby. The story both touches your heart and your funny bone. She played the role very well and you feel like you are on the journey with her as you watch the movie.. This was the first time I had been to a movie theater since I became vegan. In the past I would usually order milk duds or the buttery popcorn. But this time, I ordered nothing and I was fine... I wanted to save my appetite anyway for dinner afterwards. This was also the first time I have went to a diner since I became vegan. I was not sure what would be on the menu for me to eat but I was up to the challenge. There actually were a few choices for me. My first idea was to make a meal out of the sides, tossed salad, veggie’s (and I would have told them no butter, just spices and maybe lemon), and linguini. Then I saw a veggie burger. I told the waiter I was vegan and had to give a brief explanation. No meat, eggs, cheese, milk, nothing from an animal I said. I asked the waiter if he could kindly ask the chef what the burger was made of. He did tell me there were no eggs, milk etc. But for some reason, I was unsure. Not that I thought he was not telling me the truth.. But, when I asked what held the burger together, the response was the same. So, not wanting to take a chance , I actually ordered something I never thought I would order in a diner. Pasta! Not that I think pasta in a diner would be horrible, but that is something I would order in an Italian restaurant. It was Fettuccini with pomodoro sauce. (Tomato) I asked if there was any broth in the sauce and the waiter said no, and to hold the chicken (which was stated it was part of the dish). It was actually quite tasty. Fettuccini with broccoli and tomato.. I ate it all!! And of course I had with me my vegan sugar and non-dairy creamer to enjoy my cup of hot tea.. So all in all, I would say my first movie as a vegan and diner experience went pretty well. Every day as a vegan I feel great and with each learning experience it enhances my journey in a positive light..

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you visit again soon.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eating out as a vegan

When I first became vegan I was not sure how eating out would be. But so far, I have not had to walk out of a restaurant because there was nothing on the menu I could eat or because the staff were not willing to tell me ingredients. Since I became vegan the times I went out to eat it was usually an Italian place or a place that is vegetarian or vegan. When I go to the latter I am usually with people who are vegan or vegetarian. When I have gone to other places it is because I am the only vegan. The times I went to an Italian place one time I did need to ask the waiter about the ingredients. And the waiter was actually very receptive to my question. I would not have asked before, "Is there any beef or chicken broth in your marinara sauce" but after talking to a friend one day I found out that some people actually do use the latter in the marinara. Even butter, which I never had heard of.. I told the waiter I do not eat any animal products and needed to know the above question. He kindly told me the ingredients and I ordered and had a good meal. The only time I had not much to choose from was when I went to a place that served things like salads and sandwiches. A lot of there salads had things I could not eat and even there sandwiches. So that day, I simply had a house salad, pickles and a bag of chips. But that was for lunch, so I was fine. Do not be intimidated to ask before you eat. You made your choice to be vegan or vegetarian and do not want to feel bad if you eat something you really do not want to. An idea is to do a search online in your area for vegan restaurants or vegetarian restaurants. See if you can look at the menu online. Sometimes you will see that they state some of the meals are vegan. A hint for sugar and milk for coffee is what I do when I go to someone’s house to eat. I always carry with me vegan sugar, or agave nectar sticks, and a non-dairy powder creamer. I took empty plastic spice bottles, washed them out and put the sugar and creamer in them. Very easy to pour that way and convenient to carry around. Today I went out to eat at Mexican style restaurant. I was not sure how that would work out but it was fine. Even though the restaurant was not vegan it was in an area that seems to be geared more towards the vegetarian/ vegan way. I had ordered a vegetable burrito with beans and the original menu said some kind of cheese. I told the waiter I was vegan and he understood what that meant. He said they had soy cheese and even brought me soy based sour cream. So I enjoyed my burrito. Being vegan is a way of life and as a friend had said, once you learn how, it is second nature.
Thank you for coming to my blog . I hope to see you again.
Happy vegan eating.