May 28, 2012


Looks like a holiday weekend brings out the blogger in me. Work has been great but tomorrow I start back on my dreaded 2-a-days. That means for the next four weeks (excluding today) on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I teach from 9 am to 1pm and then again from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. One day of it is not so bad, it's the Monday/Tuesday back-to-back combo. I arrive home around 11pm on Monday only to turn around and wake up an 6am Tuesday (not my typical 7-8 hours of sleep, so I am little cranky....but that should prepare me for kids right?).

In a few previous posts I said it would explain "opportunistic vegan". I guess now is a better time than any. As you already know (if you are kind enough to read my blog  *thank you!!!*), my husband, Mike, and I are both now vegan. And by vegan, I mean 95% of the time vegan: no meat, no dairy, and no eggs. Now our reasoning behind all this is different and complex. Mike does it for health reasons; I do it for a combo of health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons. Normally when you tell people you are vegan you will receive a multitude of negative responses: "don't you miss meat/dairy/eggs?", "you're one of those tree-hugging hippie types", "you're a food snob", "being vegan is impossible", "I could never do it". The last one always gets me. Sure you can do it. Even if just for one day a week. Keep an open mind and anything is possible. You may find you like it :) 

The opportunistic point is that when some one cooks something for us, goes through all that effort, we will eat it. A little meat or dairy here and there won't kill us. We aren't snobs when people buy food for us, that's just rude. But when we get to make the decision (at a restaurant or the grocery store) we will always buy vegan. We also don't force our eating habits on people. So when some one comes to my house for dinner, I always ask them ahead of time if they would prefer something non-vegan to eat because I would gladly make it for them (because I love cooking!). For the most part, our friends and family are very open to trying vegan meals. Usually the only request I get is for cow's milk (for coffee and cereal).

Veganism comes with a lot of negative connotations in American society. A few movies and books I have enjoyed instead call our eating habits a "whole foods, plant based diet". Doesn't that sound friendlier? I still say vegan because I only have to say one word as opposed to five. So what I advocate to people who will listen (i.e. my Advanced Bio class that is forced to sit and listen to me for 4 hours, 3 days a week), is to have an open mind and at least try it for a day or two or more. You may like what happens not only to yourself but to the world around you.

I have probably bored you enough today with my lecture, so I will save my suggested movies and books until the next post. Now to get into some older photos.  We planted jalapeños last year and had an over abundance in the late fall. It is quite hard to find things to do with jalapeños but I did find this website: Jalapeño Madness. This is not from that website, but I took a basic bagel recipe (from my Southern Living cookbook) and added diced jalapeños. Here is the result:
Fantastic! I recently made them again (about a month ago) when two of Mike's friends were staying with us. They were a big hit even without cream cheese or butter (did I mention the recipe is totally vegan)!

We weren't around for the holidays (instead we were in Ohio and Hawaii), so I had to make my co-worker Christmas gifts early. I wanted to make all vegan treats to show how good vegan baking can be. Here is one of my batches of vegan peppermint sugar cookies (make sure to use a vegan butter!):
Eventually, they were iced with a simple powdered sugar/almond milk glaze.

Here is one of the assembled boxes:
 In the top left corner are apple jellies, in the top right corner are vegan fruit and nut balls ( I can't find the recipe), in the bottom left corner is dark chocolate peppermint fudge (again cannot find the recipe), and, finally, in the lower right hand corner are my sugar cookies all iced and with sprinkles. I guess they were a big hit (I found out later when I got back from vacation).

Speaking of returning from of the many things Mike and I discovered in Hawaii were açaí bowls. Amazing! We had as many as we could while we were out there. When we returned home, we tried to recreate them:
Doesn't that look good?!? Below all the fruit is a blend of açaí berry puree (we got it frozen at the store), almond milk, frozen blueberries, and a little agave nectar. You then top it with granola (in this case, my homemade granola), sliced strawberries and bananas, and then you finally drizzle local honey over the top. The absolute best way to start your day!!!

Overload comes to mind after reading all of this, so I will stop. Until next time, enjoy this photo taken near the Ringling Bride in Sarasota on Thanksgiving day, 2011:

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