Day 21 – Being Stranded Ain’t So Bad..

Today’s Vegan MoFo theme: “What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!)”

For this post, I’m really taking the “stranded on an island” thing to heart. This means no oven, no dishes, no stove, microwave, blender, etc… If I had to be stranded somewhere with no method to cook and all of my nutritional needs were met, I would eat fruit for the rest of my life! Fruit is something I never tire of. I try to eat at least one fully raw meal each day, and recently those meals have consisted entirely of fruit. The longest I consistently ate only raw was for two weeks, and I have never in my life felt so clean and refreshed each morning. I didn’t need coffee, I was happier, and my body completely changed. It was like a cleanse without the deprivation, and the thing I ate more than anything was fruit. Two social media women (that many of you are probably familiar with) that I really enjoy reading and learning from are Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram (FullyRaw Kristina, who also does posts in Español!) and Freelee the Banana Girl. I especially liked watching Freelee’s recent trip to Thailand and her fruit adventures there. She is a brave voice for animals that I really respect.

I like to imagine, for this scenario, that I end up shipwrecked on an island where there is bountiful amounts of my three favorite fruits; nectarines, lychee, and bananas. Not only are they my favorite, but I also feel they each have such a different consistency that I wouldn’t get bored for a long while. I once at a nectarine that was so juicy, and I was so hungry when I ate it, that I nearly cried. It was the best piece of fruit I have ever had in my life, and I would want that with me on this imaginary island. Hopefully I will have a basketball or something around to draw a funny face on and make friends with, or meet some turtles and dolphins to hang out with too. A girl’s gotta stay busy, right?

IMG_6013I think this was a tough prompt to think about, especially since you can be so creative with how ‘stranded’ you really are. How many of you took this to heart like I did? What are your favorite fruits? And what magical creatures did you make as friends on your island? Until tomorrow… Cheers!

– E&E

Day 20 – Veganizing Things

Today’s Vegan MoFo theme is to veganize an “old family recipe”. Last night I cooked, and today we went for brunch, and so I have two amazing items to talk about.

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Thug Kitchen’s Ravioli Recipe

Growing up I can never remember anyone in my family preparing their own pasta. So sorry, Mom, I didn’t end up veganizing one of your recipes. Last night I made my own ravioli, instead. While ravioli is not my family’s tradition to make, it IS really old school. How old, you might ask? I read a few different sources tracing it to the 14th century in Italy, or the 11th century in the Arabic world. If that isn’t traditional, I don’t know what is! For dinner last night I put in some serious labor. Thug Kitchen‘s cookbook has a great recipe for ravioli. A few months ago when I got the book, it was the first time I had made pasta EVER. There is something so satisfying though about making your own tofu ricotta, house marinara, and preparing the pasta dough and each individual pouch. The effort poured into a dish like this gives that same special home-made feel that you would receive from a meal your grandparents made.

Today after morning mass we finally made it to Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara. They are a mostly-vegan restaurant (they offer eggs for some reason, but there is nothing else animal-based on their menu). For an appetizer we had the hummus with zatar flat bread. I am a huge fan of zatar, and definitely a hummus snob ever since spending a few months in the Middle East. Even so, I loved the seasoning on the flat bread and the harissa sprinkled into the hummus. For our meals I had the empanadas (a vegan version of a traditional Spanish food) while

Mesa Verde's 'ABLT' on seasoned flatbread
Mesa Verde’s ‘ABLT’ on seasoned flatbread

my husband had the ‘ABLT’ (avocado, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato). I asked my spouse for a comparison between his tempeh bacon and real bacon, and to my surprise he said that although it tasted different, he enjoyed it a lot.

Another reason I like the idea of “veganizing” familiar items is that it helps to introduce new vegans to the lifestyle. Last night we watched the documentary “Cowspiracy” which has finally been released on Netflix. I could talk about it at length, but what I really wanted to mention (for the sake of this post) are the companies interviewed in the documentary, including Beyond Meat and Plant-based Eggs. While I am not a fan of egg-like and meat-like substitutes, products like these are important in revolutionizing the way people think about their diets. With companies like this, there is literally no excuse to not go vegan. You’ll miss the taste? There is a replacement. You’ll miss the dishes you enjoy? There is a replacement. When Chipotle, who champions using animal products in their meals, offered a FREE sofritas burrito to anyone who would try it, I was shocked. A meaty company was encouraging meat-eaters to try a meat substitute, FOR FREE, and I hope in the future there are more companies open to this idea. Veganizing recipes you are familiar with like ravioli, like the ‘BLT’, shows people that vegan lifestyle isn’t about depriving, it is about surviving.

– E&E

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Day 17/18

Vegan Mofo Theme: Make (or eat!) a traditional local dish. & Honor a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism.

LM-Web-Glass-with-CoasterA lot of people think of California as the wine capitol of the New World, but here in the Central Coast area, beer is just as big of a local-fest. Last night I went out for a few work events, both hosted at hometown craft breweries: Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewery. Firestone Walker had a great tasting room where they were experimenting with some lovely new sour style beers. I’d never tried a sour beer before and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m sorry I have minimal pictures to share (I need to invest in a camera of some type if blogging becomes more of a habit); to elaborate, each of the sour beers I tried had lovely shades of pink or red due to the fruit added to them. My favorite was a cherry-infused Saison style that was brewed with peppercorns. I ended up not drinking anything at Figueroa Mountain (I was driving and we are all about responsible consumption here!) but I have tried their Lizard’s Mouth Imperial IPA before and for someone who dislikes almost all IPA’s-this one is so yummy and unique. The first time I tried it, I described it to my husband akin to “feeling like you are drinking a field of wildflowers.” The aroma is pretty amazing (up there with the smell of tomato vines…anyone with me on that weird olfactory addiction?).

When it comes to honoring someone who inspires my veganism there are some amazing women I need to mention. To begin with, my Aunt Amanda. For someone so young (she’s only 10 years older than me), she has so much insight and wisdom to share. She was into the whole local and sustainable food movement way before it was a thing and was the first person to introduce the idea of vegetarianism to me. She lent me Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which was the first book I read in my adult life that made me confront the facts about factory-farming. And she paved the way within our family for understanding each other’s food choices (thankfully my family has always been very accepting of my vegan lifestyle-but I think it took way less explaining thanks to the amount of conversations about food we’d already had).

Secondly, my blogging partner in crime, Elly. Her accepting attitude is what drove me to understand and learn more about veganism and ultimately go vegan myself. She continues to inspire me everyday!

486171_380449915366699_1323729281_nAnd third, my sister Connie. This chick is a farm gal and sees the beauty in animals from baby goats to draft horses. I always loved going on the trip to pick her up from horse camp at the end of the summer and see how well she worked together with such massive and majestic creatures. She also inspires me because she went vegan after educating herself about it! I think it takes someone truly strong to open their mind to something new and different and then decide to change their actions to match their values. And in fact, that sums up all these amazing women-they are women who are educated, empowered, and go out of their way to support their values. What wonderful humans to be surrounded and inspired by!

-E&E

Day 16: Watermelon Granita

Vegan Mofo Theme: What’s your favorite late summer food?

One of our favorite summer foods is watermelon. What better way to enjoy it than in frozen form during the last heat wave before fall? We like the little kick black pepper provides, but totally up to you for what extras you’d like to add to your granita.

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Ingredients

  • 1 mini watermelon
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or other sweetener of choice)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste (optional if you like a little edge to your dessert)

Instructions

  • Scoop out the watermelon flesh into a blender, add sugar, lemon, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into a large dish (the shallower the liquid the faster it will cool-so go big if you have the space in the freezer, I used a lasagna pan) and sprinkle black pepper across the top if using.
  • Place dish in the freeze and use a fork to scrape through the ice about once every hour until the granita reaches the desired consistency. Add additional black pepper as desired. Enjoy the last remnants of summer!

-E & E

Day 15: Welcome, President Obama!

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Today’s Vegan MoFo Theme is to prepare a meal for U.S. President Obama if he were coming over to your house.

I’m not going to lie and pretend I know about politics. I don’t know a single thing! But, as far as character goes, I imagine that President Obama and Mrs. Obama are genuinely kind people, who I would love to have over at my house. We pretty much already know them since they sent us a congratulations card for our wedding last year (Try it, it works!). If they had been able to attend, they would have experienced a delicious vegan wedding carrot cake, but they were unfortunately all tied up with Presidential affairs.

So, President and Mrs. are coming over, what would I prepare? I like to think of them as pretty down-to-earth people who would enjoy anything. We all know Michelle loves her veggies, too! A staple in our house is Mexican food. We make some sort of Mexican item (quesadillas, tacos, flautas, guacamole, tostadas) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner probably 5-10 times a week. Not. Even. Exaggerating. If President and Mrs. were coming over, we would most certainly serve them something that represents us, and that is Mexican food. We are from San Antonio, after all.

Angela's pretty steak fajitas (from the book)
Angela’s pretty steak fajitas (from the book)

I usually don’t go off a recipe for Mexican food, we grew up making it! But I wanted to try Angela Liddon‘s take on “Portobello Steak Fajitas” on page 185 of her amazing book, “The Oh She Glows Cookbook“. The first time I tried it my husband cancelled all plans when he saw what I was making. It was something besides our usual Mexican fare, and we were both excited.

I think a lot of vegans tend to replace meat with fake meats such as seitan or fake cheeses like daiya. While I have tried these meats and cheeses, I am just not a huge fan (sorry if you are!). I think it is psychological more than anything. Too close to the real thing scares me (uncanny valley of veganism?). For meats, I am much more a fan of substituting a protein such as lentils, beans, or in this case, portobello mushrooms. I love the lime marinade she spells out for you in the book, and how the mushroom slices taste just off a hot griddle. I accompanied the portobello steak slices with chopped lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and sauteed red peppers, and carmelized onions. I am sure Michelle would enjoy all the vegetables present in this dish, and President Obama himself would love being treated a vegan representation of the cuisine we both grew up with.

Olé!

– E&E

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Day 14: Sharing is Caring

Today’s Vegan MoFo Theme is to make something vegan and share it with non-vegans! Erin and I often cook and bake items for work, where we are heckled, poked, and annoyed to wit’s end about being vegans. No joke. If I had a dollar for every dumb argument/question I am asked at work that Vegan Sidekick has turned into a comic strip, I’d be a thousand-aire (I love Vegan Sidekick and super recommend, btw).tumblr_n2qqsgdr5z1qb7zx2o1_1280Anyways, today I baked Chef Mary Mattern’s “Fat Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies” from her new book, Nom Yourself, for all the haters. I’ve never added mint into cookies before, so I thought this sounded like an amazing recipe to try. They were a hit, I think. The cookie box was emptied, but I did have to carry it around to cubicles to get rid of the last of them. I got a lot of the FullSizeRender(8)usual comments. “You’re a vegan? You don’t look like a vegan…” What does that even mean? What does a vegan look like? Another guy said “these don’t have the consistency of vegan cookies…” very hesitantly. I told him “they taste the same, even without the lamb bones and lion hearts, right?” jokingly. I think that, while dealing with people’s vegan questions and comments (for almost half my life now) has sometimes made me angry and defensive, it has made me a more patient person overall. I am not as kind (or eloquent with words) as Erin is, but I still think that this daily test of my patience is making me into a better person. Right? I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that sharing cookies calms me down. I hope you’ll try it too. And if you haven’t checked out Mary’s new book, Nom Yourself, I suggest you do!

– E&E

Day 12: Favorite Cookbook!?

FullSizeRender(5)Hello All! I’m back after being bedridden for the last 5 days. Erin held down the blog and even stopped by yesterday to see me in my semi-recovering state, so she can attest… I was REALLY sick. If my Instagram account seemed kind of random, that’s because I was laying in bed unsure of what was going on, and used photos I took on other days. I’m still not eating much but soups and crackers, but it’s a major improvement from not being able to eat at all during the first three days. It’s lucky today is about a book and doesn’t require cooking! Erin and I both have at least six cookbooks each, if I had to guess. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you count how many recipes, it’s thousands!

We definitely couldn’t agree on which is both of our favorites, so instead we both have submissions for you today! Enjoy.

Eriña:

It’s way to hard to just pick one favorite cookbook, but the first cookbook I bought for myself when I went vegan has always been a favorite of mine. Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s “Isa Does It!” is full of beautiful, full page pictures and everything I’ve tumblr_mzf9clcflU1qz6f4bo1_1280tried from it has been absolutely wonderful. A particular favorite of ours is the vegan nacho recipe with taco spiced lentils and cashew queso – we’re big on nachos with movie night. I can truly say this cookbook got me few the first few months of going vegan.

Although my husband likes most of the recipes from the book, he absolutely abhors the cover photo (it’s a long story with him having a really, awful, horrible day, coming home and seeing this propped up on my cookbook stand and he felt like she was giving him the evil eye). What are your favorites?

Elinorcita:

My favorite cookbook is my most frequented one and also the one that makes me laugh most. I have been a fan of the Thug Kitchen for years now. I spent a good chunk of this year away from home, due to work. One of the gifts my husband got for FullSizeRender(6)me when I finally returned was the very first Thug Kitchen Cookbook.

Their blog, and now their cookbook is just my type of humor. The foods are hearty and there are many different recipes to choose from. I’ve made the sweet corn & baked green chile flautas on pg. 82 more than twice now for parties, the horchata on pg. 139 almost weekly, and perhaps one of my favorite things I’ve ever made; the creamy ravioli with house marinara on pg. 147. I could go on and on and on. I absolutely love this cookbook and what’s more, my omnivore husband loves it too (maybe it feels manlier than other cookbooks?). On his own he has even cooked several things from here. His favorite is probably the whole wheat banana pancakes on pg. 13, or the roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut dipping sauce on pg. 128. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

Some other great cookbooks we use frequently:

Both of us are excited to hear some suggestions for other great cookbooks and some shout outs to the chefs and cookbook authors we love through the Vegan Mofo channels! Hope you are having a blissful Saturday-we’re out for the weekend but we’ll be back Monday with a make-up post about our kitchen tour (hint: it’s not traditional) and something to show those non-vegans in our life how versatile vegan food is.

Cheers!
-E&E

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