I talked recently about how exercising and doing yoga every day was helping me make slightly healthier, more conscious food choices. Now, I'm taking it a step further. I've decided to try being vegan again.
Those of you who've followed my blog since the beginning (thank you!!) know I was vegan for about a year when I lived in New York. But when we moved back to Texas, the lure of chips and queso proved too much and I returned to my vegetarian ways. Well, it's been almost four years and I guess I've eaten my fill of queso. I've also learned to make a damn good vegan version.
Actually, my dorky Game of Thrones obsession is also to blame for this decision! While I was trying to find info on the new season, I came across this PETA video made by actor Peter Dinklage (Tyrion). I have seen these types of sad images before; we all have. But this is how our brains work: one day, re-exposure to images or words you've seen countless times strikes you in a new light, depending on your mood that day. It seems I just needed a timely reminder of my lifelong love of animals.
My biggest grapple with eating vegan in Austin is that my omnivore husband and parents all love to eat at Tex-Mex restaurants. That's an easy fix for most vegans...order the bean burrito, right? But I'm allergic to pinto and black beans, so I have to work around that as well. But, if I'm not being lazy, I should be able to figure something out. Polvos has a wonderful Michoacan salad that's loaded with huge chunks of fresh avocado. Chuy's has blue corn veggie enchiladas, just order with no cheese. Lazy Smurf has an extensive, helpful list of "safe" taco places. And when I look at the big picture, I realize taking a moment to request "no cheese, no sour cream" is worth the reassurance that I am not tacitly participating in cruel farming practices.
In a happy coincidence, there's a new all-vegan grocery store in town, called Rabbit Food Grocery. I was excited to check it out after reading Lazy Smurf's review. Olivia and I popped in the other day and left with a few little treats. She immediately went for the all-natural Tree Hugger bubblegum, while I picked out some Beanfield's Nacho chips. Now, here's how observant I am...I didn't realize they were made from beans, in spite of being called "BEANfield's" and stating "BEAN & Rice Chips" in large letters on the packaging. Derp! I wasn't able to eat more than a couple of chips, but I passed them on to some grateful kiddos. Tony and I enjoyed the Pacific Northwest pepperoni pizza kale chips; they are very spicy!
Other random eats..."dessert for breakfast" shake with banana, chocolate raw protein powder, cashew milk, vanilla, and dates.
Banana Pancakes from The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of the East. Jackson ate four in one sitting! Well, they are small. I've learned that banana pancakes are the most difficult pancakes to cook without tearing when you flip them, since the bananas caramelize and stick to the griddle. Just cook 'em slow and low, and they will tell you when they're ready to be flipped. (Not literally, pancakes do not speak! Or else they wouldn't be vegan!)
Have you heard of Fire Cider? It's supposed to be good for colds/allergies. I'm brewing my first batch in the fridge this month. I consulted a few recipes and ended up tossing onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and horseradish into a small jar of apple cider vinegar. It will either be useful, or disgusting. Or both, possibly.
Tempeh-Pimiento Cheeze Ball from 1000 Vegan Recipes. I'd wanted to try this recipe forever, since I'd never heard of using tempeh as a cheese substitute. Mine was a bit too moist to form into a proper ball, even after chilling in the fridge. So it ended up being more of a pate, sprinkled with chopped pecans. Nice for dipping pita chips and carrots.
BBQ Tempeh 'n' Dilly Salad Bowl from Salad Samurai. Another winner from this amazing book. The spicy-sweet barbecue sauce-coated tempeh is the perfect match for the creamy, dill-accented coleslaw.
Jackson celebrated his 100th day of kindergarten today by wearing a shirt decorated with 100 stickers.