Tag Archives: vegetarian

iPizza

Adrian got a new friend this week.

Every day since then he’s asked me if I’d played around with it yet. No. I just can’t get too excited about it! It’s cool, but I don’t have a burning desire for it so I kind of forget it’s there. I’m sure I won’t be saying that when I go home this summer because it seems like the perfect 9-hour flight companion!

I also had some fun in the kitchen. When I was younger I used to love going to Pampered Chef parties because they’d always have free food. For some reason I went a couple that had cool veggie pizzas and I absolutely loved them because they’re so good, light and refreshing. I’ve never made one myself until this weekend and I’m so glad I did. I always thought it seemed complicated, but I didn’t even need a recipe! I’ve already made two.

Eventually I’ll make my own pizza base, but for now I used the one you bake for 10 minutes and it’s ready. I mixed a heaping tablespoon of mayo with about 3/4 cup of cream cheese. Brits aren’t too big on Ranch, which I knew was generally a key ingredient in this mix. I Googled a recipe for Ranch seasoning, hoping it was something I could make myself and turns out it’s dead easy. Just a few shakes of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. I have to admit I did a little jump of excitement when I tasted it.

I shredded a large carrot, sliced about 4 green onions and diced 1/4 of a medium cucumber. In all It made a little more than a cup of vegetables to spread on top. I had also bought fresh broccoli for the occasion, but I didn’t remember it until I was eating. To be honest I think I’d just skip the broccoli next time. Why mess with what’s perfect?

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Flowers and food

I had every intention of walking along the Southbank today and taking some fun pictures. Due to a sandwich that turned extremely soggy overnight I had to eat out for lunch which meant I couldn’t go on a photoshoot. I did manage to snap a couple pics of some flowers on the way back to work. I’ve been really interested in flowers lately so I’m thinking of potentially making it a new hobby. I feel like I’d be prettaaay, prettaay, pretty cool to be able to name any flower on the spot. When you’re a grandma that kind of thing is expected, but when you’re 26 it’s like “how do you know that?”

I found such a refreshing, healthy looking recipe at Broke Ass Gourmet’s site, and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. It’s a garlicky butter bean puree spread with freshly chopped basil, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s spread on a straight-out-of-the-oven baguette and topped with rocket, watercress and thinly sliced parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Does anything smell better than fresh basil? I have a basil plant on my window sill and I pick up the whole plant every day and sniff it.

Put one can of butter beans, two garlic cloves, a handful of basil leaves, juice from one lemon, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor. I blended mine only enough to have a good mix – I left a few chunks of bean because I wanted a bit more texture.

Spread over half of a baguette and top with salad. The only thing I’d do differently next time is drizzle a bit of olive oil and lemon juice over the salad. Then top with the shaved parmesan. I was so pleased with how this turned out. It’s the kind of meal that tastes as good as it looks, and you feel great about eating it because it’s so healthy.

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Meatless “chili with meat”

I made an excellent vegan chili con carne and told my parents about it on Facebook only to have my snob-o-saurus rex sister pipe up and say, “You do know con carne means ‘with meat,’ right?”

Karen thinks she’s cool because she studied abroad in Mexico, learning Spanish and playing with reptiles.

What else should I call it? Chili con bean?

It’s hard to imagine chili with no cheese or sour cream, but I guessed I probably wouldn’t miss it in the slightest if I made a fresh batch of simple guacamole. I was sooo right. The fresh guacamole was a much stronger, fresher taste than gooey sour cream and it took only a couple minutes to make. Definitely worth it.

Chili Con Bean

Serves 4

– 1 can of red kidney beans

– 1 can of black beans

– 1 can/box chopped tomatoes

– 1 medium onion, red or white

– 1 or 2 cloves of garlic

– 1/2 cup of water

– 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

– 2 tsp brown sugar

– salt

– pepper

– 1 tbsp cumin (or to taste. I normally just dump a bunch in)

– 1 tbsp mild or hot chili powder (same as above, I normally just shake until it looks like roughly a tablespoon)

– enough rice for 4 servings. I used Camargue red rice, and it was really nice because it kind of blended in with the chili, but any would work.

For the guacamole

– 2 ripe avocados

– small handful of red onion

– sea salt

– pepper

– tbsp of lime juice

– tbsp of lemon juice

Heat the tomatoes until they are simmering and add all the spices. In the meantime, rinse the beans, chop the onion and garlic and add everything to the pan. Add the water.

Let simmer for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn’t get too pasty. I didn’t want a soupy chili, so I added only enough water every now and then to make sure it didn’t get dry.

At around 20 minutes you can try tasting it to see if it needs any other spices. I don’t like to try it before then because I always find the tomatoes are still too sour and haven’t sweetened yet.

The guacamole is really simple. Cut them open and scoop everything (minus the pit of course) into a medium sized bowl. Add the red onion, salt, pepper, lemon and lime juices and mash until you have your desired consistency.

After you try it it’s perfectly acceptable to say “great success!” in a Borat voice.

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Not your average chocolate chip cookie!

When you read the name of the cookies I just baked, don’t shy away! They taste like regular cookies and Adrian gobbled up so many that he didn’t have room for dinner, which was sad because dinner was delish.

My sister found a recipe for vegan cookies, and I was hesitant, but she was right. Definitely worth it. If for nothing else, it’s cheaper to make these than regular cookies because you don’t have to buy milk and eggs. Sorry, I should have said if for nothing else make these because YOU CAN EAT THE DOUGH!!

Vegan cookies = yummy edible dough. Who doesn’t like to eat cookie dough?

I don’t know about you, but I love eating dough that won’t give me salmonella. 🙂

Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

click here for original recipe

*Please note: I just copied and pasted the original recipe. I used regular flour because I didn’t have unbleached. Dark chocolate is generally vegan, so I bought a dark chocolate bar and chopped part of it with a knife. I also bought a small carob chocolate bar that I got at Whole Foods and chopped it.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cinnamon, to taste, optional
handful vegan chocolate or carob chips
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado; sucanat works too, but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Very important-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It will work if they’re not at room temp but it works much better if they are. Also while your oven is pre-heating put the cookie sheets you are going to use on top of the oven so they get preheated as well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in chips. Make a well in the center and set aside. In a medium size bowl, add together sugar and oil; mix well.

3. Add the vanilla and then add the water; mix well.  Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it.  Add more chips if you need to.

4. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Put them in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets (top to bottom and 180 degree rotation). Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool. I usually go in 2 minute increments from here until they get to where I like them.

5. Take them out when they are done and move them to wire cooling racks. If they split or come apart when you try to remove them let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the racks.

Makes about 2 dozen. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10-12 minutes.

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Who protects the animals?

Yet another videotape has surfaced of extreme cruelty and abuse of animals on factory farms, but this isn’t the worst news. Some state legislators are trying make documenting these acts illegal.

If unspeakable acts of cruelty are being comitted with the knowledge that it could potentially be leaked, how much more will happen and how much worse will it get when no one is watching?

Mark Bittman at the New York Times has written another great piece questioning who will protect the animals if laws like this are passed. I thought this quote was particularly haunting:

The biggest problem of all is that we’ve created a system in which standard factory-farming practices are inhumane, and the kinds of abuses documented at E6 are really just reminders of that. If you’re raising and killing 10 billion animals every year, some abuse is pretty much guaranteed.

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Funny.

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Buying organic food on a budget

We’ve made the decision that our traveling and fun lifestyle has to be put on hold while we save hardcore for the next year. We realized if we don’t start saving we could get stuck in England forever, and that’s definitely not ideal. It’s not ideal for a variety of reasons, one being that this is the weather almost every day of the year:

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. A big gray blanket of misery. Gray everywhere. Never too cold. Never too hot. Never much of anything.

Anyway, this financial decision also meant my food budget got cut despite my protests. I guess it’s fair to say I didn’t have a budget for food before. If I wanted it, I bought it. I felt (feel) that health shouldn’t be connected to a budget.

Needless to say, buying all organic is no longer an option for the Mitchell residence.

Adrian believes that if you aren’t going to buy all organic then it’s pointless to bother buying any organic. I disagree. I think you should do all you can to eliminate pesticides and fertilizers from your diet, even if that means cutting them by only 50%.

I’ve read that certain vegetables and fruits are worse than others in terms of contamination, so I did some research and found this list from organic.org on which are the most contaminated fruits and veg:

12 Most Contaminated 

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

From what I can tell this list seems to coincide with a lot of other things I’ve read concerning the contamination levels of these foods.

(Image from dailymail.co.uk)

In addition to trying to limit my organic spending to the most contaminated, I’m also buying far less meat. If I can’t buy meat that is humanely farmed and raised free of hormones and drugs then we won’t eat it.

We want to eat more healthfully anyway, so adding a lot more vegetarian options to our diet will be a good thing.

I tried going to our local farmers’ market to try to buy local but it was just awful. It was nothing like farmers’ markets I’ve been to in the US. All the food was clearly days old and starting to go bad, the meats weren’t displayed in a clean or safe  manner and at one stand there was blood all over the back of one of the vans. We also ended up getting food poisoning from what I believe was  a cheese we bought.

There are lots of markets throughout the city, but a few I’ve been to it’s no better than the supermarket because the food isn’t even from England. I’m sure that’s not the case for many, but I’ll have to find them.

Do you have a budget for food/organic food?

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The vegan/omnivore alliance against factory farming

Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, wasn’t a life changing book for me, but it brought up a lot of interesting ideas and I definitely think it’s a great place to start for anyone interested in where our food comes from. 

I think he brings a lot of different angles into his argument against factory farming. One of the most interesting aspects of the book was his focus on vegans or vegetarians who rather than campaign against all animal consumption participate in the movement to raise animals for slaughter in healthy, humane ways.

Side note: If you  haven’t read his fiction book Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I highly recommend it. I don’t generally describe anything other than cats as “adorable,” but the main character is adorable, and the story is fantastic. I also don’t really like heart-wrenching stories, but this story about a young boy who loses his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack is heart-wrenchingly wonderful. Loved it!!

The article below is exactly related to what I just mentioned about vegans and omnivores joining forces to try to eliminate factory farming practices.

http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-23-introducing-the-vegan-omnivore-alliance-against-animal-factories

I’m currently looking into how I can get involved in London. I don’t want to be the type of “activist” whose only activism is blogging angry words.

Naturally Adrian doesn’t agree with volunteering with anything to do with animals when there are people suffering in the world, but I think this is helping people. This is a cause I am becoming passionate about and I’m devoting almost all of my reading time to health and food issues associated with where our food comes from and how it is produced. This is just as much about people as it is about animal welfare and safety.

Another good place to start learning is Twitter. I follow a few people who post a lot of great articles about where our food comes from, what’s in our food and the movement to end factory farming.

Here are a few of my favorite food related/animal welfare people to follow on Twitter. I’m still fairly new, so if you have any recommendations leave a comment! To see my full list, just visit my Twitter page @sarakuhlman.

@HumaneSociety

@bittman

@guardianfood

@michaelpollan

@TheAtlanticLIFE

@GordonRamsay01

@jamie_oliver

@nytimesdining

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