Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipes: Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta with Okra and Veggies

 I started with THIS recipe found on

-also added jalepenos to onions/garlics while sauteeing
-added fresh diced okra (into saute mix)
-added organic frozen veggie mix (green beans, carots and corn)
-used 1 12oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies instead of fresh (its what I had)
-and mixed in a 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast at the end to thicken the dish and add flavor.

-put raw green bell peppers and some lettuce salad straight on top
-my staple homemade dressing: mustard whipped with balsamic vinegar and flax seed oil.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recipes: Bean Stuffed Chilies

-washed and hollowed out chiles
-stuffed with raw garlic, black beans, & follow your heart mozzarella cheese
(also great to stuff with sauteed onions, rice, quinoa, tomatoes, soy rizo, and mashed potatoes)
-baked on a tray at 350 for 30 minutes (after vcheesev started to melt)
-served with green enchilada sauce poured over them (also good with salsa or vegan sour cream)
-side salad: lettuce, cucumber, green bell peppers
-dressing: mustard, balsamic vinegar, & flax seed oil whipped together until smooth

-left over cupcakes from pumpkin party for desert! The left-over broken marzipan bats turned into mustaches. mustache cupcakes!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Philosophy: After going vegan what did you do with all your leather items?

For me going vegan has been a long process. For almost ten years now I've been vegan (with 8 years of being vegetarian before that). Every year I learn something new about the way in which we live, and the commodities and lives we, as the American people take for granted. I am, and have always been a realistic and practical person. I knew from a young age that to Do The Right Thing, I would have to set goals for myself that were reasonable, and easy for me to accomplish.

Like my food transitions, I went from being a vegetarian who gave up milk, then cheese, then ice cream, onto transforming my beauty products into cruelty-free vegan items, along with my housewares and wardrobe... There are many aspects of our lives that can be changed to create an impact on how we treat our planet, and the animals who live here. All of these life transformations are a lot to take on all at once (though it can be done), and it can be somewhat overwhelming. For me, just remember its a process, and every little step helps impact the larger picture.

As a vegetarian I still wore leather because I was a kid, and no one in my household seemed to question the origins of leather shoes, wallets, belts, jackets, photo albums, car interiors, gloves, necklace ropes, and journals. Not growing up with tons of money these items that I had assimilated into my closet, and wardrobe stayed with me through my teens and past my 18th birthday (I had transitioned to being vegan at 17).

There was one day, when I was living out on my own as a college student and though I wasn't buying any new leather items I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to have leather in my life. I gathered up all my old belts and shoes (the only leather items I owned at that point) and took them to the Salvation Army.

There are so many alternatives to leather that I haven't once regretted my choice to eliminate animal skin from my fashion and daily life. I felt the most appropriate choice would be to recycle these items though, and donate them rather than destroy them. Many of the leather-alternatives are much more affordable, but there are also a wide variety of higher-quality products that last just as long in durability as animal skin.


It took me a while longer to give away my wool and silk clothing pieces, and though I still do not consume new wool, silk or leather products (or buy vintage ones for that matter) there are a few silk scarves and wool blankets that I've held onto after my grandmother passed away and left them for me.

To me, being a vegan is not adhering to peer-pressure, or an unrealistic set of rules that you feel obligated to follow out of fear of contradiction. Vegan living to me is living out of compassion, and thoughtfulness, with respect to all life forms. Its about living conscientiously, and making your best effort to live without inflicting harm or pain on other beings.

I think that to throw out several sweaters, and pairs of shoes that someone without as much money could use once you chose not to use them is wasteful. It doesn't mean that I don't wish everyone was vegan like I was- but I think that since you can't change the past, all you can do is move forward. By this I mean, NO LONGER consuming animal products, and passing on the non-vegan items that are still within your possession if they make you uncomfortable.

Recipes: Primavera Spaghetti with Green Beans.

-put water on the stove to boil for pasta, added some extra virgin olive oil and salt
-while water heated i sauteed onions, jalepenos, and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
-then added some fresh tomatoes to saute, along with some green bell peppers and soyrizo
-once water boiled added pasta noodles and set timer
-when pasta only needed 5 more minutes to cook added green beans into the water
-poured two cans of regular, plain, organic tomato sauce to my sauteed veggies
-added more fresh pepper, dried parsley, and a half cup of nutritional yeast to make the sauce creamier
-drained and rinsed the noodles and green beans and returned to pot with a TBSP of earth balance butter and a bunch of dried parsley.
-saved some raw tomatoes and green bell peppers to sprinkle on the top of our pasta.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recipes:Pumpkin Party Chocolate Cupcakes

I followed THIS recipe for the vegan cupcakes, then made my own frosting using powdered sugar and earth balance, and blending them until reaching the proper consistency (roughly half/half). Everyone said they turned out really well, and they quickly all disaperared!

My non-vegan housemates chipped in and made vegan marzipan cupcake toppers! i quickly took a pic of the last bat & pumpkin before we ate them all, they also made tiny ghosts. But as you know ghosts don't always photograph well...
So much fun tonight, SO awesome. Here's the pumpkins we carved lit up in all their jack-o-lantern glory. My dog, "Zombie" is showing us that she can make her eyes glow too!

 It wouldn't be a pumpkin party without also roasting all the seeds. Spread on a baking sheet, baked @350 with some melted earth balance butter and salt and pepper until golden brown.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipes: Vegan Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Sliced sweet potatoes into long strips, and drizzled oil over it with salt and pepper and dried parsley. baked in the oven at 350* for an hour.

Vegan Gardenburgers from Costco, heated in a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil. Grilled slices of onion, salt and pepper to taste.
Cucumber, Tomatoes & Arugula all picked fresh this morning from Johnson's Backyard. (Sweet potatoes were from our pick up box too).
Veganese, organic (no sugar added) ketchup, and slices of Vegan Jack Cheese (Follow your Heart brand). All on toasted sprouted wheat bread. yummmmm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Recipes: Salad and Vegan Quesadillas

Mmmm greens (and reds). Dressed with Flax Seed Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

Lettuce, red bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers. Pickled jalapenos over corn tortilla quesadillas with follow your heart brand, vegan gourmet cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Recipes: Tacos


Black bean and Soyrizo sauteed with garlic and onions, Brown rice re-heated over the stove with a can of spicy diced tomatoes with chilies. Baby Arugula, and cucumbers on top.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recipes: Vegan Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

I followed this recipe here, and made it my own by adding fresh parsley, more garlic, a few fresh diced jalapenos, & swapped the dairy cheese for slices of Follow Your Heart vegan Mozzarella. I also added some soyrizo, and served with some toast buttered with earth balance.

We washed it all down with some blackberry flavored Izzys with skull and cross bone ice cubes for the Halloween spirit.

Dining: Who says vegans can't order pizza delivery?!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recipes: Pesto Pasta

Vegan Pesto:
1/4 Cup Raw Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 Large Bushel of Basil (ours was from Johnson's Backyard)
4 Whole Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
 *blended till combined evenly*
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or other preferred veggie oil)
*then blended till creamy*
1/2 Cup of Nutritional Yeast, and Salt and Pepper to Taste
*finally blended for taste and thicker consistency*

Used Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pasta (From Costco)
Added a large chunk of Earth Balance Butter to rinsed noodles in pot over stove,
and finally stirred in all pesto until evenly distributed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipes: Spicy Okra & Eggplant over Brown Rice






All local organic produce from our new membership with Johnson's Backyard, community supported agriculture program. MMM picked fresh the morning of pick-up.

ingredients not pictured:
1 whole diced yellow onion (not from johnson's)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper freshly ground to taste
garlic powder
dried parsley to taste
side topper of pickled jalapenos 

simmered on low heat for 30 minutes
*served over brown rice*