Home » Vegan

Tag: Vegan

Book Review: China Study Family Cookbook

Continuing on in the series of cookbooks based on the acclaimed, and essential book, The China Study; this one focuses on families. Rather than just be a cookbook though that is loaded with recipes and no tips, Del Sroufe makes the transition easy for all. There are not only cooking tips, but recommendations on items to stock your pantry with in advance so you aren’t pulling your hair out looking for an ingredient.

One section of the book that I loudly applaud is the inclusion of cooking with your kids. My wife loves to bake with my sons. Being more of the savory cook, I always thought it would be hard to cook with these guys but I feel ready to try and approach the idea.

The book is a marvel to look at. The pictures are as simple as the recipes and let the food show itself and not get swallowed up in a busy backdrop. The layout is clean and recipes are as straightforward as you get. What I really appreciate is all the tips on each page. Even if you are a novice cook, the tips will break down certain techniques to help you get the result you want with the dish. Some of the recipes have less than 5 ingredients, hows that for easy?

I’ve spoken with some folks lately that talk about how involved vegan/ plant based cooking is; this book shatters that belief. Most of the recipes can be made with ingredients you have in your home, or can go down to the local grocer to get. Most of them are not niche items and can be made by those of any skill level, such as the homemade corn chips, potato wedges, sweet potato hummus or sloppy joes. Heck, you can make the corn and black bean salsa for those chips nearly as easy as the chips themselves.

There are some that are more adventurous recipes though such as the Mediterranean Loaf which I can’t wait to try. I’m really looking forward to making some of these dressings and sauces though. I’ve been getting really bored with the usual and these will give me a little liberty when trying to create flavors I used to enjoy. I appreciate that companies try to make vegan version of things like thousand island dressing, but they are processed and have preservatives in them to make them shelf stable. The recipes don’t have that and are much more fresh because you make them. The plant based mayo sounds like it’ll be fantastic.

The things I’m really looking forward to try and make is the chorizo. I’ve been trying to perfect my own jambalaya and again, have been trying to do it with less processed foods. Having some roots down in Louisiana, spicy foods and heat are most certainly my thing, The ingredients here are all whole foods and this recipe is mouth watering.

You can find more info out about this book and order it at http://www.benbellavegan.com/book/the-china-study-family-cookbook/

Turning A Blind Eye For The Movement

A couple of days ago I saw a post on the Vegan Bros Facebook page that instantly stirred up feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment. It was simply captioned, “Everyone’s going vegan.”

Normally I am totally on board with the crazy, over the edge stuff that Matt and Phil promote. When a celeb goes vegan they lose their ever-loving minds. I understand why, that person has a huge following and fans so it helps to popularize veganism and expose it to folks who maybe just fluffed it off.

Am I fan of Kylie Jenner? Nope, but what she does is her own thing. Miley? Yeah I’m not a fan of hers either so her announcement that she went vegan didn’t elucidate more than just a “yippee” from me. Over time though, I give her credit, it hasn’t been just a celebrity fad thing for her and she seems to be really passionate about it. Don’t get me wrong about celebrity veganism, it’s great; absolutely great!! Again it raises the presence of the movement into the public realm and you can’t buy that type of advertising. But when does it go to far?

But when a character like Adrian Peterson talks about becoming an 80/20 vegan (because he can’t drive by a Church’s Chicken without falling off the wagon); I cringe. I cringe because this man, just a short time ago, perpetuated violent behavior toward his own son. These are graphic photos, but if you have not seen them CLICK HERE for proof of what a monster he is. I commented on the Vegan Bros thread about this and got this response from another person who follows them:

My comment was cut short, I forgot to expand it before grabbing the screenshot from my phone. I actually went back a few minutes ago to get a better screenshot but it seems my comment has been deleted. When I said up above I was disappointed, this is the reason. Rather than take down the post about this piece of sh*t child abuser, they took my post off.

Part of what I had said in my comment that isn’t shown is, what if Michael Vick all of a sudden went vegan? Would the community just forget what he did because now he has a voice for animals? I don’t think so. Everyone would lose their minds and condemn him. But somehow it’s ok for Adrian Peterson to beat his child and then be held up on a pedestal because he all of a sudden went vegan, but still eats chicken.

**eyeroll**

“He’s trying!”

**eyeroll**

Yeah, I hear you.

But I cannot, and will not get behind this man monster. I apologize for all the profanity, but this really, REALLY burnt my ass and I felt that I needed to get it off my chest.

Am I wrong here?

When do we stop making excuses for people just because they are vegan?

Seitan Ground Sausage

My kids just wanted plain old pasta and sauce for dinner tonight. That sounded super boring and I had just worked out for 1 1/2 and needed more than that. I didn’t have anything to put in it so I figured I’d try to make my own grounds; with more of an Italian sausage flavor. It was a process, but the end result was tasty as heck. It’s also given me the confidence to make my own grounds in the future.

The recipe is amazingly easy, it’s just a time consuming process. It’s why I started the first part while I was working out. Here is what you will need and how to put it all together.

1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fennel seed (crushed)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup water

Get a pot going with 4 cups of water and 2 cups of veg broth.

In one bowl mix all of the dry ingredients well then add the water. You will have a goopy mess and it will seem more wet than it should be; it’s not. You need to knead it for a bit to give it some elasticity. Once you’ve gotten there roll it out lengthwise and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll it a bit lengthwise so it kind of looks like sausage, this is just to help it cook quicker than in chunk form.

Once your water is boiling drop the pieces in, cover it and lower to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour making sure to check now and again that the liquid level hasn’t gone down too much.

When the hour is up, remove from the water and let drain onto some paper towels for a bout ten minutes. Grab your Ninja, food processor or whatever you use to pulse blend with. Put all the seitan in and pulse three to four times until you get the size crumble that you prefer.

One last step, I promise. Dump all the grounds into a frying pan and brown them up a bit.

That’s it. Well, you can add to your sauce now and what you use depends on your level of involvement there. I added this batch of crumbles to Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce and it was slamming! Enjoy!

Review: Revy’s Wallet

After making the transition to veganism, I’ve distinctly tried to not only keep animals out of my body; but also off of my body. I am aware and conscious of products made with wool, leather, fur, etc and stay away from them; obviously! One thing in particular that I had a hard time finding a decent replacement for was a wallet. I’ve tried all sorts of material, synthetics and whatever — none of them lived up to what I was looking for.

Until now that is.

It was either this past Christmas or the year before but I received a wallet that totally fit my needs. I’m a simple guy and just need a bi-fold wallet. It has to be able to carry my ID, credit and debit cards, as well as a couple other business cards or friends cards. Oh and of course it has to be able to carry cash, although I honestly never have dollar bills in it; I use my debit card all the time and couldn’t tell you the last time their was money in my wallet.

It’s a Revy wallet and if you don’t know what that is, I’m going to explain. Revy is a company based in El Salvador that makes products from recycled material. A good amount of what they do is make products that are made from recycled bike tires, like my wallet. I thought for sure after a good amount of time it would stretch out and my cards would be falling out all over the place. That is so far from the truth; it’s remained tight and firm. The workmanship is phenomenal and you can tell these are all hand-made.

Revy works with a variety of coops throughout El Salvador and believe in Fair Trade practices. From their site here’s is what their company stands for:

“All workers have the right of association to form their own coop, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.”

  • A fair price with cash advances and prompt payments
  • Collaboration on designs and production methods
  • Transparency by sharing costs and pricing
  • Long term relationships with job security

Have a guy or gal in your life that needs a practical and amazingly well crafted wallet? I can’t recommend these guys more than I already have here. I’m in the market for a new belt and will be ordering theirs soon, it looks just as amazing!

Website: http://www.revydirect.com/

Daiya Sells Out; The Day Vegans Became Unhinged

I have to admit, reading  news about Daiya being purchased by a pharmaceutical company (Otsuka) nearly had me foaming at the mouth. I was outraged. I felt like they had let me down and the whole vegan movement, they sold the f*ck out and I was so f*cking pissed off.

I watched the announcement online, as most folks did. You can watch the video below to see what the founders had to say.

Again, I was angry after watching that. I felt like they were being greedy d*ckheads who only cared about one thing, money. With all the other companies selling to larger corporations, it honestly didn’t come as a huge surprise.

Beyond Meat received investment capital from Tyson Foods.

Gardein was acquired by Pinnacle Foods.

Vega, So Delicious and Silk are owned by Danone.

Maple Leaf Foods recently bought Lightlife.

Unilever owns Ben & Jerrys and Breyers who have finally offered vegan ice creams.

I could go on for a bit, but I wanted to make a couple of points instead that could make all of this more positive than it is negative. The fact of the matter is; sometimes money talks. If a brand like Daiya is looking to expand but doesn’t have the money to do so, having an offer on the table to be able to grow and hit new markets is a must— especially if the right deal is struck and you get to maintain the ability to oversee how the company is run and have a say in its future. That’s pretty much what happened here.

We’ve all loved Daiya for years. They were the talk of the town at some recent expos and their new products are going to blow people away. Besides cheese they also have cheesecake, yogurt, salad dressings, cream cheese and mac & cheese. They’ve tweaked a bunch of the recipes over the past year and will be releasing them soon.

Back to the video and announcement. I was angry that I wouldn’t be able to try these products because Daiya had aligned with a company that is known to test its products on animals. Yes, Otsuka are big, huge, GIANT pieces of sh*t, there is no way of getting around it. It was hard to sit with this and try to rationalize why the acquisition could be a good thing. I came up with this reason and maybe a couple more.

It is quite possible that they (Otsuka) are legitimately trying to get out of the whole animal testing thing and are going more toward a plant-based business model; that seems to be what the Daiya guys think and I believe them to be stand up guys. They didn’t do this for the past (almost) 10 years to just throw up their hands and say f*ck it. These are passionate guys and you can tell in the video. You can also tell in their responses to all the posts on social media. While those same comments are canned, they are consistent in what they believe.

We got to look at this a different way and think that it might just help the movement. Daiya will be distributed all over the place now, imagine all those people who are going to get turned onto it and drop dairy. I know more than a few people who still have yet to make the final jump to full vegan and that’s because of cheese. Ya I know… But still, this move could be huge for them, especially if the new formula is as good as they say it is.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t jump off the proverbial bridge every time something like this happens. We can’t just yell “BOYCOTT” or hop over to change.org and get a petition going; that seems childish. It’s not always as black and white as it seems and may very well be a blessing in disguise. I will admit, for a few days I switched my cheese brand from Daiya to Go Veggie (it’s all my local market had).

I plan to go back to Daiya though because I like the product.

I plan to go back to Daiya because Otsuka needs to see that vegan foods are a growing market and they should get out of the animal abuse game. As I said before, money talks. If they see the growth they will invest more. If we take our toys and run away like children then Daiya fails and Otuska (and other investors) see the movement as a fad and move on.

I plan to go back to Daiya because I believe in what they think they are doing. I don’t own the business and I can’t tell them how to run theirs. If they believe this will help others than I am all for it.

Do what you want to do, I can’t tell you what to believe or think. I can tell you what I think and that’s now been said.

I’m interested in your civil comments, please let me know what your thought are now that there’s been a few days for this all to sink in.

Day in the Life; What I eat

I share recipes as often as I can. I even post what I pack for lunches during the work week. But what do I eat from the time I wake to the time I hit the hay? It can vary greatly but some things are staples.

Let’s go through a typical day…

BREAKFAST

I’m up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 each day, depends on how many times I hit the snooze button. Habitually I brew a pot of coffee and down a cup before it’s the other morning habit; oatmeal. It doesn’t matter what’s in it, I eat oatmeal every day! EVERY DAY! Depending on what the day has ahead I will up the calories with either hemp seeds, nuts or both! I try my best to make sure there is at least one fruit in it, whether that’s a banana, strawberries, blueberries or even raisins. Again, depending on the day ahead, my oatmeal can vary from 250-600 calories.

SNACKS

Before lunch I snack on at least two pieces of fruit, that’s usually a banana or whatever melon is in season. Right now I’m crushing cantaloupe like it’s going out of style! I may have some seeds too, all depends on whether I’m at work or not. Carrying around a ladder, and the weight of a tool-belt, I can burn calories and feel famished quickly. Maybe I will swap a fruit for some pistachios if I need the extra energy. If I’m home it’s just the two pieces of fruit.

After lunch I try to eat more fruit, or even some raw broccoli or carrots. Maybe I will dip the carrots in some hummus but I try not to add to much to them, they are perfect the way they are. I really enjoy Nature’s Bakery bars and will maybe devour a package of those. There are a couple in each package, the package says 1 bar is a serving but who the heck eats just one? Not this guy. I try not to do this to much but, when the sweet tooth is too strong, I love me some Breyers non-dairy Oreo Ice Cream. They’ve done great things with non-dairy ice cream and although I love it, the Ben And Jerry’s is nowhere as cost efficient.

LUNCH

Lunch is by and large pretty easy. If I’m working it’s usually one of my Mason Jar Creations which have three components: protein, clean carb and greens. That can be tempeh with rice and spinach. Maybe it’s chickpeas with quinoa and collard greens. Or even some jambalaya with chorizo and okra. You get the idea. At home my creativity is somewhat lacking if I’m just bumming around. I will usually eat something that is left over from the night before. That can be taco crumbles sprinkled on some greens, maybe some mashed potatoes (which I will add some butter and nooch) and make a meal out of that. I try to balance the best I can, leftovers are great though as I hate to toss out food. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little sluggish I will make a big salad and load it up with a variety of greens and keep it super simple.

DINNER

Being vegan is easy folks, as you can see so far, we don’t just eat nuts and berries. Yeah it sounds like it, but there is so much good food out there. I make my own seitan so sometimes I will make a homemade mac and cheese with seitan “ham” or “bacon” and asparagus. We eat tacos nearly every tuesday and we usually use Trader Joe’s beefless crumbles; they are hands down one of the best. Being from the northeast we love the flavors of Thanksgiving so we frequently have Gardein Turk’y Cutlets. My kids love breakfast for dinner so we will make pancakes and homefries. Other days we might just decided to take things easy and slap a Beyond Burger on the grill w/ some zucchini and summer squash.

You get the idea, right?

As the saying goes “anything you can eat I can eat vegan!”

Mason Jar Creations: Curried Chickpeas w/ quinoa and lentils

Like many of the “regular” post series I start here, they fizzle quick. I’m going to try my best to revamp this one because I post a pic of them each week on Instagram, so why make the effort there and not share here? Here we go and here’s hoping for consistency!

I changed up my normal formula with this weeks set of jars. Normally I like to add at least one green to the recipe. This week I intend to bring a salad each day to eat with my lunch. So, I figured I could get away with skipping it and adding something with more protein. I’m wrapping up the second week of a new workout routine and could use some help with muscle recovery.

I curried some chickpeas (1 can) in a spice mixture that I came up with that is similar to garam masala spice mix; but more heavy on the cumin and curry powder. I sauteed it in a bit of soy-milk as well. I prepared some tri-color quinoa (1 dry cup to 2 cups of water) and finally, I cooked up a bit of green lentils (1 dry cup to 1 1/4 cups water with 1 cup of veg broth).

Once it all cooled down I jarred it up, put lids on em and they are waiting to be eaten.

I can’t wait to go to work!