Monday, June 28, 2010

Last week in Veganville

Success! Here are my surprisingly delicious and satisfying dinners from last week:

Zucchini pancakes and fresh corn salad
1 medium zucchini, shredded
2 T. egg replacer
1 c. flour
Combine ingredients. Add more flour (or water) to achieve a thick batter. Cook pancakes on a hot frying pan or griddle with vegetable oil.
2 ears white or yellow corn
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 green onion, chopped
1 T. rice vinegar
1 tsp. adobo seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut kernels off cobs. Combine all ingredients. Chill slightly before serving.

Curry stuffed eggplant
1 medium eggplant
1 c. quinoa, cooked
1 small onion
Pre-made curry sauce to taste
Cut eggplant in half and roast flesh side down at 350 degrees on oiled baking sheet until soft. Scoop out cooked eggplant flesh to create a "boat". Reserve flesh. Sautee onion until soft. Remove from heat and stir in quinoa, eggplant flesh, and curry sauce. Fill eggplant boat with mixture and heat in oven for 5 minutes.

Asian green beans
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 green onion, diced
1/4 c. roasted peanuts, chopped
1 T. hoisin sauce
1 T. mirin
1 T. rice vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
Steam green beans until tender. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, mirin, vinegar, and soy sauce. Pour mixture over green beans and toss with green onion and peanuts. Serve with brown rice.

Chipotle stuffed peppers
1 large bell pepper
1 c. quinoa, cooked
1/4 c. chopped seitan
1 T. ketchup
1/2 T. Worchester sauce
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
Preheat oven to 400. Combine quinoa, seitan, ketchup, Worchester, and chili power. Scoop out center of the bell pepper. Fill pepper with quinoa mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pepper is tender.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Popsicles: Episode 2

These whole fruit, no sugar added mango popsicles were a HUGE success. I only wish I had more!

Mango popsicles
1 whole mango
Juice from 1 lime

Peel the mango. Cut off large chunks of flesh and put in food processor. Squeeze the excess juice from the mango into the food processor. Add the lime juice. Pulse until blended. Pour mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid.

This only filled about 1 and three-quarter molds.

Notes to self:
One, line popsicle molds with saran wrap or parchment paper to ease the process of removing finished popsicles from molds.
And B, fill popsicle molds completely with water, pour water into measuring glass to learn exactly how much liquid is needed to fill all the molds.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Going Vegan

In light of my husband (meateater) being deployed this summer, I have decided to take a stab at going vegan. This means no meat, no eggs, and no dairy.

Why this seemingly drastic decision? Since graduate school, I've been extremely opposed to contemporary animal farming practices. I even tried to get people to join my boycott of the North Carolina pork industry. That's my platform for going vegan this time.
I say "this time" because I was a lactoovo vegetarian from age 9 to age 21. During "that time", I opposed consuming meat (red meat in particular) due to farming practices of clear-cutting ancient forests to make room for cattle farms. My disgust with the cattle industry was thus furthered on a road trip to Denver, Colorado where we passed several slaughter houses/processing plants. By the way, when I told my mom I wanted to be a vegetarian at age 9, she made me do research and come up with a (valid) reason for the dietary change. "I don't like corned beef" wasn't a good enough answer for her. My high school and college friends always told me I was a vegetarian because I wanted attention. Hah.

So vegan, easier said than done, right? I'm planning to report weekly on my adventures in vegan-land and include recipe successes. I will also include failures, since I'm fairly certain I will cheat and sometimes not have a vegan option. For example, I LOVE YOGURT. Another example, staying with my almost entirely carnivorous in-laws (every now and then a starch and almost never a veggie). Never fear, I'll keep posting my DIY adventures, too. Keep your eyes open for posts on DIY Greek Yogurt and Popsicles: episode 2!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Organic Gardening

When we decided to make a garden in our back yard, we made a conscious decision to do everything organically. Why? We feel like it's the responsible thing to do - for ourselves, our dogs, our community, and for the earth.
Now that we're well into the growing season, we've hit the part of organic gardening that involves maintenance, e.g. fertilizing and keeping away bugs and pests. In lieu of spending half our paychecks on organic fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from our local hardware/garden store, we've opted (of course) to DIY. We've primarily been drawing tips and tonics from Jerry Baker's book Bug Off!.

Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Bug Away Spray
1 c. Murphy's Oil Soap
1 c. antiseptic mouthwash
1 c. tobacco tea
Mix ingredients in a 20 gal. hose-end sprayer and soak plants to the point of run-off.
*To make the tobacco tea, wrap half a handful of chewing tobacco in an old nylon stocking and soak it in a gallon of hot water until the mixture is dark brown. Pour the liquid into a glass container with tight lid for storage

Cabbageworm Wipeout
1 c. flour
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
Mix ingredients together and sprinkle on young cabbage family plants.

Tomato Leaf Tonic
2 c. tomato leaves
1 qt. water
1/2 tsp. dishwashing liquid
Put leaves and water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and let mixture cool. Strain out leaves and add dishwashing liquid. Pour solution into a hand-held sprayer and spritz the plant's foliage from top to bottom. This will keep away flea beetles, asparagus beetles, cabbageworms, and white flies.

In addition to these tonics, we also bought some praying mantis eggs to put in the garden to hatch. So far, the combination of tonics and praying mantis have worked, save the mangling of our cabbage plant (we waited to long to apply the tonic to salvage it). The only downside: you have to reapply each tonic after each rain, and unfortunately, it's been raining A LOT lately in Middle Georgia.

We've also tried some tonics to keep our dogs and the squirrels out of the garden (both involving some concoction of hot peppers), but much to our chagrin, neither have proven to be effective. Thankfully, the dogs and squirrels have been less than destructive to our garden anyway.

If you'd like more reading on the subject, a friend of ours referred us to this website: