Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Vegan's Three Best Friends

            Are you or somebody you know lazy? Both in life and in the kitchen? Do they happen to be vegan too? Well, I can say that as a student, though I love to cook, I’m pretty lazy with my diet 50% of the time.
            For me, one of the drawbacks to cooking all of my own meals is that it can take up a lot of my precious time that could be spent watching YouTube videos, playing Plants vs. Zombies (a recent addiction), or studying (ugh).
            So with that, my 3 best friends are my rice cooker, my crockpot, and my oven. With my rice cooker, I usually throw in 1 cup of brown rice with about ½ a cup of some kind of veggie. Now I usually get pretty lazy here again and I will use frozen veggies (SO much easier than cleaning and chopping up fresh veggies), and 2 cups of water.  I can do this, go study for about an hour (who am I kidding, I’ll definitely be catching up on some of my favorite YouTubers), come back and have the perfect little meal. Add some garlic, salt, and pepper, and YUM!
            My next best friend, best in line, is the good ol’ handy dandy crockpot. If I know that I’ll be busy the next day, I’ll usually prepare a soup at night and let it cook until the next morning, and BAM, I have soup for days. (Well, usually just that day because my friend is pretty tiny, but don’t tell her that, she’s a great friend to have). Again, I’m lazy here, so I stick to the same soup recipe every time. Why change a good thing? (My crockpot gets me).
            Every vegan has an arsenal of dry beans, so that usually makes up 90% of my soup. A simple recipe here, 2 cups total of any beans you like. My favorites are red kidney beans, split peas, black beans, and great northern white beans. Then I’ll add whatever veggies I have in the fridge, like carrots and celery. Add in 2 Tbspns of veggie stock paste, a good amount of apple cider vinegar, water to fill up the rest of the crockpot, and lastly, my favorite spices which I talk about in my other blog post, “Potatoes & Spices.” Put the crockpot on high if you want it ready the next morning, and wow will you wake up to a delicious smell.
            Lastly, but surely not least, is my oven. I love making fries, stir frys, and everything in between, and I just love the “oh so barely burnt” flavor that a pan cooking on top of a stove can give my veggies and potatoes, but that means I have to stand there, cook, and actually watch my food. But with my oven, I can put my veggies in a dish with some oil and spices, throw it in the oven at 450° for 20-30 minutes, and I just gave myself 20-30 minutes of Plants vs. Zombies time.
            In the end though, it’s not important the food that you make, but how much time you can save yourself for other things you need, or want to do. (Plants vs. Zombies anyone? I know I’m not alone in this addiction). So get to cooking! Or not! And get lazy with your diet!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Merry Vegmas

Christmas is only 24 days away, the elves are stocking up on toys, and Santa is sure to be preparing with some vegan cookies and almond milk. It’s a very magical time of the year, and as I always say to people who don’t enjoy this time of the year, ‘BUT THE WHOLE WORLD IS HAPPY!’ How can you not love the holiday season when the whole world is in the same joyful mindset?
I think Christmas has to be one of my favorite holidays, and around the holidays there’s bound to be gift giving all around. And as a vegan, I think people consider it different because they’re not sure what to get a vegan (even though there are tons of things out there that are vegan). So what DO you get a vegan for Christmas? Snacks, clothes, almond milk? (I’d love to get some almond milk as a gift, it’s DELICIOUS!) So because vegans make it so hard (according to nonvegans) for carnivores to shop for us, I’ve put together a list of some gifts that are sure to get a vegan smile from a vegan human!
·         Tea
·         Dark chocolate
·         Books
·         Soy candle
·         Animal tshirt
·         Bath salt/body scrub
·         Animal adoption sponsorship
Though a small list, these are things that I love, and thus they are vegan approved. Now with tea, my favorite is a good chamomile and rose hips, and you can never go wrong with a good fruit tea. Dark chocolate is one of my favorite treats, and for the vegan sweet tooth lover, it’s a perfect stocking stuffer. (Just be sure to double check the ingredients for milk, not all dark chocolate is vegan) If the vegan in your life loves to cook, why not get them a vegan cookbook! I have one from the restaurant Native Foods, and it has some pretty amazing, delicious recipes in there.
Soy candles are SOY amazing! And they last much longer than non soy candles. What vegan doesn’t love a good cat tshirt? You can’t go wrong with that. For the beauty vegan, try some bath salts or body scrubs. A lot of them are vegan, and some are not, so again, be sure to read the ingredients! This last gift idea is my favorite one, and will probably make that vegan in your life the happiest person in the world. As vegans, a lot of us feel like nonvegans don’t understand our stance on meat eating and animal cruelty, but by sponsoring an animal, that is a great way to show your compassion and understanding for what vegans stand for.
So get shopping, and if none of these gifts work for you, buy them almond milk, vegans love almond milk am I right?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Survive the Holidays (Vegan Edition)

           So you want to learn how to survive during the holidays as a vegan? Well, you may have come to the right place.
            It’s difficult enough being vegan in a world where factory farming and slit animal throats have become so normalized, but it’s even more difficult when you have to be surrounded by a bunch of people who are oblivious to the realities of factory farming. I don’t think that you can get a bigger group of nonvegans together, other than when a vegan posts something vegan on social media, and you see all of the carnivores come and throw in their two cents, than during the holidays.
           So shouldn’t we have books and video tutorials on this subject by now? How do we vegans survive Thanksgiving, family get-togethers, and Christmas parties surrounded by people with different views? (p.s. We do have books and tutorials on this, they’re called vegan cookbooks and YouTube!) There are so many great videos and recipes out there already, but I want to share a few of my own tips. Hopefully you can find some kind of vegan value in them. (And if you do, then yes, you have come to the right place!)

Tip #1: Teach People
           Though sometimes it may not seem like it, people are more willing to learn than you might think. If someone asks about your veganism, share what you know! That brings us to the next tip.

Tip #2: Share your Knowledge & Feelings
           We’re bound to get the oh so famous questions, “Why are you vegan?” and “What do you eat?” Probably with the latter question being asked more so than the other. So with that, share your knowledge! Tell them why, and if they’re mature enough about it, they’ll respect you for your choice in it. If not, you’re more than likely going to get a sarcastic comment or joke, and if you do, share your feelings about being vegan. People can be more receptive to how you feel, than to the facts and reasons behind veganism and why it’s better for one’s health and the world. So don’t debate, and offer up your feelings instead!

Tip #3: Offer to Help or Host
           Thanksgiving dinner almost always surrounds a turkey carcass and nonvegan dishes, so why not offer to bring a vegan dish or two! That way you have something to eat, and it’s also less for the host to cook. Or take it a step further, and host at your house for the holidays. That way you know what you can eat, and you’re sure to get some happy faces for doing all of the work!

Tip #4: Be Prepared
           If you host for the holidays, be prepared! Do what you can, and if you have to, plan ahead of time if you need to so that you have everything you need and you’re not running around day of. On the other hand, if you’re going to someone else’s house these holidays, be prepared for the questions, and know that everyone is usually curious about the vegan lifestyle and diet. Lastly, a good tip is to bring over dishes you know that you can eat. If you know there might not be vegan options, ask the host, or prepare meals in advance and you can warm them up when you get there.

Tip #5: Be Positive, Stay Positive
           Not every vegan has a bad experience during the holidays, but if you happen to run into a situation, just stay positive! Know that not everyone is open to veganism yet, so keep a good attitude because everyone has different beliefs and morals, and that’s okay! Agree to disagree if you have to, and eventually with time, hopefully sooner rather than later, the world will be more knowledgeable about how damaging a nonvegan lifestyle can be. 

Tip #6: Last Resort
           And if all else fails, put on some Christmas music, grab some vegan pumpkin pie, and turn on abc family’s 25 days of Christmas!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Potatoes & Spices

            Did you know that there is a city in India, the city of Palitana, that is an all vegetarian city? In 2014, it legally became the first city in the world to be an all vegetarian city!

Even though this city exists, people still don’t understand this lifestyle. Many think that it’s a new concept, though it has been around a long time in other parts of the world; it’s just fairly new to most people in the U.S. because of our age long pattern and habits of meat consumption.

            So with that, vegans just eat salads right? I think salad is my number one response to what I eat when talking to a meat eater. Though I do enjoy a good salad, I think vegans kind of get the reputation of eating plain and boring, or weird food. Though that is far from the truth, I want to talk about my all time five favorite spices that make an appearance in almost all of my meals.

            They are chili, cumin, garlic, red pepper, and turmeric. Minus all of the health benefits people find in all of these ingredients, they make for the perfect combo in any cashew sauce, stir fry, or potato wedges recipe; of which I’ll be sharing down below.

            My favorite fry has lots of seasoning, and tons of flavor. So for this recipe, you will need:

            7 potatoes (I prefer red or golden baby potatoes, but I’m using what I have atm)

            1 Tbspn chili powder

            ½ Tbspn cumin powder

            ½ Tbspn garlic powder

            1 tspn crushed red pepper

            ½ Tbspn turmeric powder

            3 Tbspns grapeseed oil (or whatever you prefer)

            ½ cup nutritional yeast (optional)

            First, peel, rinse, and cut your potatoes and put in a tupperware with a lid. Add your grapeseed oil, or whatever you prefer here, put the lid on, and shake until the potatoes are fully covered in the oil.
            Next, add in your spices, chili, cumin, garlic, red pepper, and turmeric. If I have nutritional yeast, I add it in at this point as well.  Put the lid back on and shake until all the potatoes are evenly covered in the spices. 
Put in an oven safe dish and pop it in the oven at 450°F for 30 minutes. (A little more if you like them crispier)
Lastly, take them out, let cool, and munch on!
 If you try this recipe out, let me know below what you think!