My Current Read: Vegan for Her

Vegan for her: The woman’s guide to being healthy and fit on a plant -based diet by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD with JL Fields

I had gotten to a point where I was questioning what I was eating and was it optimal for my health. I felt that it was, but was my diet lacking. That and then I found a page of Facebook, “What Fat Vegans Eat” and it reminded me that I was increasingly eating processed vegan food. I work full time and am working on my second Masters degree, so my eating habits have been lacking. There, I admitted my diet had become processed once again and I could lose a few pounds. This book has a section on “When Vegans are Overweight” p. 132. The bottom line is that a vegan diet is more compassionate, advocate centered and respectful. I think it’s more than that when whole foods are eating and it becomes better for the body to process and gain nutrients. I’m just about to chapter 10: Healthy Aging. I’m there! Aging is happening – the healthy part is my latest challenge. 

There is also a section of recipes that I am going to begin preparing, resources for vegan women, a metric conversion table (always handy if you love to purchase cookbooks when you travel for find on the internet). 



Arabian Lentil Sauce

I have found myself lingering and cooking again in the kitchen. I have been so busy with life these past few months, that fast vegan food has been my diet. Although a diet of fast vegan food is better than some diets, isn’t as nutritious for the body long-term as cooking whole organic vegan meals. Finding the time to cook isn’t easy, but am trying.

I found a wonderful recipes, Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup,  in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Appetite for Reduction. Personally it didn’t have the variety of vegetables to qualify for a soup – just my taste!! So, adapted it as a dish to pour over rice

Arabian Lentil Sauce

2-3 T. water or vegetable broth for sauteing

1 medium diced onion

6-8 cloves of garlic (depending on size)

pinch or two of freshly group black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt (add more if you like salt)

1 T. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 c. dices or slivered carrots

1 c. dried red lentils

6-8 cups of vegetable broth (depending on prefered thickness)

about 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

4-quart pot for stove use

Saute the onions and garlic in water/vegatable broth then add the spices and cook another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients expect the lemon juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer – cook about 40 minutes. When the lentils are fully cooked add the lemon juice and spices as needed to taste. Let sit 10 minutes and serve over rice.

adapted from Isa Chandra’s Moskowitz’s recipe: Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup

Check out Isa’s blog, Post Punk Kitchen.

Refresh and Renew

“Life is so Daily”

Those four little words are so true, it seems a bit mundane for me! I prefer a re-write: Life is so Daily, so let’s change!

Purchased a mini version of a book I had years ago, The 28 Day Plan by Christine Green. I need to make some changes in my diet, get more exercise, and pay more attention to refreshing and renewing.

Happy Valentines Day – treat yourself and the ones you love

Be Healthy

Where’s That Vegan Cookbook

Someone had this great idea at work to have folks bring holiday cookies everyday this week. Kinda like a cookie exchange, but instead to just indulge and enjoy as we get through finals – I work at a college. No set days, just bring at will. I volunteered and added “mine will be vegan and yummy”. No comments from the lovely e-mail.

So, was excited to get home and pour over the few baking Vegan cookbooks I have. Problem – I couldn’t find the vegan baking one that I had in my head- like, where would it go? Today sat on the floor to make sure that I wasn’t missing it by looking from above. Nope! I have been known to get rid of a book at whim on my way to Half Price Books, but rarely a cookbook and even more rare a vegan cookbook. I did find a lovely book for our white elephant: Highballs High Heels: a girls guide to the art of cocktails. Oww, that might be a re-gift! Don’t use it  – Don’t need it.

Well, once I started focusing on taking that book out of my library I remembered that the book I was looking for is an e-book. How does one reference those on the book shelf? Then on my i-Pad I have aps for iBooks, Nook, Blio & Kindle. more searching… found Party Vegan by Robin Robertson & Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki in iBooks and Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry.

Now have to settle in, search recipes and decide what to bake. I love cookbooks!


Start Collecting Recipes and Ideas for Winter Holidays – This Year and Next

Holiday meals should be a good blend of family classic recipes with a twist of new recipes – my opinion.

Today in the e-mail inbox I found a recipe for sugar-free cranberry sauce. “Oh no, now what sweeter is used – can’t be good!!” I was wrong – good food of the earth… from Lani Muelrath. Check out her webpage ASAP as she is featuring a webcast with Lindsay S. Nixon about cooking for the holidays and will be introducing her new book: Happy Herbivore Abroad .

Now back to Lani’s recipe:

Lani’s Cranberry Sauce with Dates and OJ Recipe   

  • 2  1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • juice from one orange
  • a dozen pitted dates (doesn’t matter what variety, I used a mix of medjool and deglet noor)
  • 1/4 + cup water
    • soak the dates overnight in the orange juice (you can probably skip this step if in a hurry – if so, maybe cook them a little to soften!)
    • blend the dates with the juice and water
    • put the dates/juice/water in a pot with the cranberries, bring up the heat quickly to get it hot and then and cook over medium/low heat for 15 minutes.

There you have it!  You may need more or less water, depending on how juicy the orange, dates, and cranberries.

21 Day Vegan Kickstart – Did you Take the Challenge?

Awww. it’s always tough to make changes to our diets and our mindset. In case you didn’t sign up for the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart you could purchase the kickstart book or another book of interest by Neal Barnard, M.D..

I have had a very busy week at work and didn’t get my cooking done last Sunday. I will admit I was working on Jim Lahey’s pizza dough recipes and baking pizza. Vegan,  no oil… just didn’t get my kickstart food prepped.

Next week will be on the kickstart and following a modified plan, since I am allergic to soy and often cooking just for myself. I usually pick 2-3 recipes a week and that’s plenty for me. I have oatmeal every morning, so don’t need a lot of variety of breakfast.


VegFest 2012 – 1st Timer

I’ve been a Vegan for over a year and a Vegetarian for over 20 and last weekend was my first time at VegFest in Seattle. I arrived late for a number of reasons – won’t bore you with details. I really wanted to hear  and see Dr. Neal Bernard’s presentation. Actually could have stood outside and heard it all, because as I was walking past the back of the building could hear him very clearly though some vents – odd huh!!

I paid and rushed to the back of the large room as that is where he was presenting. I’ll write more later on his talk and the book I purchased.

After the lecture folks were taking down their booths, but still had time to talk to a few vendors, try a few samples and joined Vegetarians of Washington. I also purchased two books at their table: the Veg-Feasting Cookbook: favorite Recipes from Local Restaurants and Leading Chefs in the Pacific Northwest & Vegetarian Pacific Northwest: A Guide to Restaurants and Shopping. I need to get out more and discover the wonderful restaurants in the area and support Vegan restauranteurs and Chefs.

VegFest is definitely worth attending. Next time will attend earlier in the day and catch more of the lectures and cooking demonstrations.

I’ve already tried one of the recipes from the Veg-Feasting Cookbook: Lentil Pottage from Abou Karim in Oregon (p. 162)

My rendition of Lentil Pottage:

1/2 cup lentils

2+ c. low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 onion

1/8 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper.

Rinse lentils then combine with  2 c. vegetable broth in a pan/pot (bring to a boil and then lower to simmer) cook for 15 minutes. Ten minutes into cooking saute onions with spices in a small amount of vegetable broth until cooked but crisp. Add to lentil mixture and continue cooking until Lentils are fully cooked – check every 5 minutes.

This recipes is very tasty, easy to prep and  quick.  I was drawn to it because it said it could be eaten hot or cold. Sometimes just don’t have time to heat!!

Jim Lahey’s My Pizza Cookbook

Yup, pre-ordered the e-book on my iPad. It just arrived and the pictures of the crusts are amazing. I don’t really care that meat is featured, i can make alterations around the meat and dairy-oh but the crust will be amazing.

I have a no oil crust that i used for years, but is a high maintenance crust from start to finish. Excited to try Jim Lahey’s! Will let you know my favorites.

Guinness Trivia and Fun Facts

St Patrick’s Day – Ireland – Guinness

Seems to be a good match to me!! I was in Barnes and Noble last week looking for Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread book, but it was sold out (I guess), but did find a wee treasure: Little-Know Facts about Well-Know Places: Ireland. Figured I could get some fun facts for the blog and then pass it on to my Irish son.

Here’s a bit of trivia as well as some useful facts from Little-Know Facts about Well-Know Places: Ireland by David Hoffman:

“When Arther Guinness opened the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin in 1759, he signed a 9,000-year lease on the property, which required a small deposit and locked in an annual rent equivalent to $85.00.” p. 10

“2,304,000 pints of Guinness that can be fermented in one brewing at the company’s original St. James Gate facility in Dublin.” p.11

“The best pint in Ireland is frequently reported to be at Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street in Dublin, where, according to folklore, its freshness is attributed to a pipe underneath the bar that connects directly to the basement of the Guinness brewery.” p. 15

Here is the bad news for Vegans (wait, there is good news right after this):

“The Guinness production process uses a tiny amount of isinglass, a form of gelatin, as a clarification agent. Because isinglass is extracted from the swim bladders of Beluga sturgeon and other fish, Guinness (to the dismay of many) is considered neither vegan nor vegetarian.” p. 12

Here is the good news, compliments of Barnivore:

Guiness Extra Stout – North America is Vegan Friendly and there are some chilling in my frig for St. Patrick’s Day and cooking – wink!

A Vegan’s Saturday

Today was feeling a bit lazy. I’ve just finished the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart and was diligent about cooking on the plan. After 21 days of having menus and recipes prepared (of course I felt  it is just for me) I stumble around wondering what to prepare for the next week. I do have a whole shelf of Vegan Cookbooks and lots of vegan sites. Sometimes, Saturdays are good for roaming after a long week at work.

I have some new library books: Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry, Raw Energy by Stephanie Tourles, and Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. After perusing the three am going to start with the Vegan Soul Kitchen. He has a spicy cornbread that sounds divine, Gumbo Z, and Roasted Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce. Those are my top three recipes that I just have to try first. One more mention about the Vegan Soul Kitchen: he has soundtracks listed for each recipe. How awesome is that! My taste buds are imaging the food and am searching the music pathways for the songs. I suspect Bryant has soul music playing as he cooks and I just may download some soul music for a full experience of his cookbook. Let the good times roll….

So, back to feeling a bit lazy. There’s a very good Vegan/vegetarian restaurant/coffee shop  in Tacoma, WA Caffe Dei. I don’t go there often, but today was craving their deep rich coffee (served in real cups for staying in) and their Vegan Ruben (they make their own vegan sausage). A real treat and had mid afternoon so took care of lunch and dinner. They serve vegan baked goods, but after a sandwich I’m fully satisfied and have no sugar cravings (which may mean they don’t heavily salt their food). My thought.

I am also going to post my Vegan Superbowl Menu very soon!! Hint – I am quite certain those roasted veggies and garlic-lime sauce will be featured. I’m hoping it will turn out as well and my brain and palate are expecting. Stay Tuned