Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Veganning with a Vengeance

I've gone on a binge of ordering vegan cookbooks from the library. True, I've only actually done one recipe so far, but I have a stack of potential.

Dkat borrowed from me Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance and was so impressed he decided to buy it. In his words, it's got realistic, doable, tested recipes. He likes the fact that the recipes do not rely on all kinds of processed meat replacements and fake cheeses, but on fresh, whole foods. He's jonesing to try the falafel recipe and I'm very curious about the homemade seitan. I had no idea it could be made so simply (or at least it appears so from the recipe). I've also got her new book, Veganomicon, on order from library.

As a testament to the growing interest in vegan cooking, I found I was unable to renew Vive Le Vegan because someone else had requested it. Part of me thinks, "Harumph" but another thinks, "Go, vegan cooking!"

In other veganning news, I had a dream that I accidentally ate some butter cookies.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Veganning Dream

I actually had a dream about the veganning. In the dream I had to attend a work-related dinner. The cook, I somehow knew, was vegan himself, but he provided an omni array of foods. Initially, I helped myself to a plate of pancakes, for some reason simply assuming they were vegan. But after taking a couple of bites, I realized that they probably had dairy and/or egg in them, and I decided to search for a vegan meal. One of my co-workers told me that she'd just had a delicious vegan entree. I asked her where it was, and she told me that another co-worker had the serving dish. I went over to where co-worker2 had been sitting, and I saw a serving dish next to hers. The entree looked delicious, and there was quite a lot left, but I felt I had to ask the co-worker before taking some. She was not there, so I tried to find her. After I'd been looking for her away from the table without finding her, I returned to the table and found her back at her seat. I asked her if I could have some of the vegan entree, and she told me that she'd eaten it all. I said something like, "Oh. That was the only thing here I could really eat because I'm vegan now." She said, "Really? I'm sorry."

A bit later, I found the chef, and I lamented that I was the only vegan there, yet others had eaten the vegan dish. He expressed regret, but told me, "Remember why you're doing this." And he gave me a carrot. An unwashed, unpeeled carrot. I thought this was pretty unhelpful, but I decided I'd find my own alternative. I put the carrot back in the refrigerator (somehow I was in the kitchen) and found a case of ripe mangoes. I took one and started to look for a knife so I could peel it. Suddenly, a co-worker (who was for some reason Judith Light, who plays Claire Meade on Ugly Betty, and I can assure you does not work with me) started to yell at me. She said, "You vegans talk about compassion for animals, but look at all the suffering you cause for your fellow human beings!" I asked her what on earth she could mean, and she went into a litany of people I'd frightened, to the point where someone called the police and I was nearly arrested (!). I'd apparently scared the bejebus out of the munchkins (this had become a Wizard-of-Oz themed party somehow), one of whom was a "new munchkin." I'd had no recollection of going into the angry tirade she was claiming I had perpetrated, and I told her that I had merely made some inquiries and had a very calm, quiet talk with the chef, but she contradicted me. Then I woke up. I felt the dream was sort of a caveat on how to present my veganning to others. Even if I don't think I'm being strident or judgmental, others might interpret what I say/do that way--they may be so reflexively defensive that they attribute to me motives and thoughts I do not harbor.

Funny thing--I'm already thinking of this annual holiday party my office participates in. We don't host the party, but we are always included, and it takes place at a restaurant that is not vegetarian friendly in the least. This past December, the only items that were vegetarian were the green salad and the bread. They were kind enough to prepare an alternate meal for me, which was a pasta dish--vegetarian but not vegan (I hadn't veganned yet). Assuming the party is in the same place this year (and it is likely), I am thinking I will need to call ahead or not go.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Dkat stocked up on soy milk yesterday. A couple of cases worth. Since apparently the price of soy is about to shoot up. (Same story for just about everything these days!) Boykat is drinking copious amounts, despite the fact that it appears to give him the farts. o_0

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Skipped the lasagna last night

Last night, when I came home from work, my husband (I'll call him Dkat), said, "You don't have to have the lasagna. There are leftovers from last night." This doesn't sound so great on the face of it, but "leftovers" were a delicious tofu/veggie stirfry, so I was happy with that option. The only downside was there wasn't enough for me to bring in for lunch today. But that gives me an excuse to go to the vegan café I mentioned below.

Dkat is still off of coffee and determined to continue, though the withdrawal has made him more tired than usual. This morning he said he finally felt energetic. I've actually cut back from my usual copious amounts of coffee. If I go off of caffeine, it's going to have to be gradual!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The idea of recipes

I realize that I like the idea of recipes much more than I actually like following them. I have a pile of vegan cookbooks that I checked out from the library, and I was planning to try some new recipes over the weekend, but I didn't. I ended up mostly alternating between peanut butter sandwiches and microwaved frozen veggies with lentils, rice, and recaito sauce.

One reason that I like the idea of recipes more than the actual recipes is I just want to have everything I need. I don't want to have to shop for a recipe! Please note, I think our pantry is reasonably well stocked--wide array of spices, grains, etc. But I don't have tamari sauce or a zillion different types of miso. Just the soy kind from our Asian grocery. I forget what else we don't have that I see showing up in recipes. I confess--I'm prone to laziness, especially on weekends, which is when I actually have time to cook. Also, I don't like having to use our food processor, mainly because it's a pain to clean it up properly. We don't have a dishwasher. If you don't get all the little areas cleaned up, you get mold. Mold is bad!

To my credit, I did try a new recipe during my holiday time off between Christmas and New Year's. I tried the lentil pie from Vive Le Vegan (with some modifications; miso and soy sauce instead of vegan Worcestershire and tamari, for instance; also pan-fried all the ingredients before putting them into the food processor, and lentils pre-cooked in the slow cooker). My husband liked the results enough that he asked me to write out the recipe (with my modifications) on a recipe card for further use. This is a high honor, because he's got very exacting standards when it comes to food.

I've been meaning to check out Food For Thought, Albany's new vegan café, and might do so today during lunch. I brought a peanut-butter sandwich in case the weather fails to cooperate.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I took option #1

I had the lasagna. It turns out I was mistaken about the cheese being one layer on top. It's pretty pervasive. And there are two different kinds.


See, I work M-F, 9-5 and my husband cares for our son and does the cooking. On weekends, we swap. I came home so hungry and I thought, "I hope he didn't make lasagna." And he had. He's had a really bad cold lately and had very little energy today, hence the "throw something in the oven" type option.

I didn't enjoy the lasagna. I used to love it, but it tasted too salty and heavy for me. And almost immediately I had a headache. I don't know if the lasagna is to blame or if it's coincidence (or maybe even psychosomatic). But I'm thinking I'll skip the lasagna next time it comes up. Maybe over the weekend I'll do a bunch of cooking so I have a backup plan.

How slowly am I veganning?

Although I conceived my veganning as a process that would unfold during this year--and I did not have a definite date in mind for when I'd be completely veganned, I've found myself actually consuming a fully vegan diet since the first of this month. And now I don't feel that I want to go back.

Here's my dilemma (and I feel kind of stupid even stressing over it). My husband buys a frozen veggie lasagna from BJ's, and we use it for those "too tired/busy to cook" days. He bought four packages of this lasagna yesterday. Now, he knows I'm transitioning, but as far as he knows, I'll still have the occasional dairy-having lasagna during my transition. I feel kind of bad about the prospect of telling him I won't anymore. So I guess I'm down to:
  1. Have the lasagna
  2. Have the lasagna, but remove the cheese layer (it's strictly on top)
  3. Don't have the lasagna
I'm sort of leaning toward #3, with #2 as a back-up position. Not liking #1.

Oh, well, I'll figure it out.

My yoga instructor has a t-shirt that's all black, with a star in the middle and "vegan" in the middle of the star. I've sort of been thinking "I want to be able to wear that t-shirt!" Which would mean nixing the lasagna. (Oddly, I'm not even sure I'm interested in actually wearing a "vegan" shirt--only being able to. Or rather eligible.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Veganning in 2008

I decided to make 2008 the year I transition from vegetarian to vegan. The egg part is the easiest, because my son is allergic--therefore we don't keep egg in the house anyway. Dairy is a bit more difficult, but so far, less than I thought.

I expect travel and restaurants to be somewhat more challenging. I have a business trip in April--I'll have to request vegan meals in advance. And pack snacks!