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Archive for August, 2011

I gathered all these in one day.

We are currently on Avocado overload at our house.  I am not complaining because we only get Avocados a few months each year.  That’s because usually we do not buy avocados, we eat them off our trees.  We have probably 10 avocados trees growing on our property with 6 producing avocados right now.  I kid you not when I say we gather probably 20 avocados a day because they fall off the trees.  My husband has been taking them into town and passing them out.  We have actually had people calling the house asking for him to bring them more (living in a small town allows good things like this to happen.)  Our avocados are a Vegans Dream Come True!

Funny thing happened – I asked someone if they wanted any avocados.  They said they had never eaten an avocado or really knew what one looked like.  I looked at them like they had three heads and gave them one to try.  I thought how could someone not know about avocados?  But now as I tiptoe towards veganland and I come across things I have never heard of, I guess maybe it just boils down to what you’ve been exposed to.  But Avocados….that’s crazy!  Tofu, Tempeh…understandable.

Avocados are an amazing fruit.  There are over 500 varieties of them.  We have probably 7 varieties and sizes growing in our yard.  Avocados are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin E.  They even contain carotenoid lutein that helps keep your eyes healthy.  They are heart healthy and assist in lowering cholesterol.  Avocados contain the “good fat.”  Avocados are put in everything from moisturizers (great for your skin) to hair products (moisturizes your hair too).  Eating them is best though.

Our avocados are the best I have ever eaten.  They are buttery and delicious.  Mostly we just slice them and eat them with dinner or lunch everyday.  We also make lots of Guacamole especially on the weekends. Most of our trees have been grown from seed.  We have a few young ones that are not yet producing.  We had a dog named Lucy.  She was a chocolate lab that loved eating avocados and burying the seeds.  Lucy died last year.  She left us many gifts because  we have had avocado plants sprouting up all over the place.

Unfortunately, last year we had a late freeze here in Southwest Florida and all our baby avocados were killed.  This year though – Hello Avocados!!!  Probably I should have my kids at the end of the driveway with an “avocado stand”.    We will have avocados for another month, maybe two if we are lucky.  YUM!

One Beautiful Avocado Growing on my Tree.

One of our Avocado Trees.

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My first homemade hummus with garlic and jalapeno stuffed olives.

I figured I better fix something.  So I went online and stumbled onto a website – Happy Vegan.  Allysia who owns the website has a great blog and recipes.  I wrote down her Hummus recipe and her Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup.  Thanks Allysia!  Then to Publix I went.

Most of the ingredients for the hummus I had, who knew!  I needed tahini (did not even know what this was) and another can of chickpeas.  Then I needed the stuff for the soup.  The kids were at swim class and “Grill King” and I were walking the aisles of Publix.  We had time to waste and I intended to walk every aisle searching for Vegan food.  My cookbooks still have not arrived but I wanted to just “see what’s out there”.  Unfortunately for me there was no “Vegan Aisle”.  I did find the tahini (basically – sesame seed butter).  I saw things like tofu and tempeh – what is that?

Here’s the deal – I have always thought of myself as a pretty intelligent person but looking at some of the vegetarian items, I’m starting to feel like an idiot.  There are words here that I have never heard or seen.  Best thing for me to do is one recipe at a time and wait patiently for my cookbooks and keep looking at the blogs of others.  Thanks to Happy Vegan I made some fabulous hummus.  I need to find me a health food store – soon!

Later, with left over hotdog buns, I made a hummus sandwich.  Sounds weird I know, but I couldn’t very well put a hotdog in those buns and I don’t believe in wasting food.  I had to think of something to do with those buns and I’m getting desperate trying to make things out of  the food I currently have.  Hummus topped off with slices of tomato and avocado actually tasted pretty darn good on a hotdog bun.  I was surprised.  My son took one look at it and said he wanted one.  He actually ate it and liked it.  We were the only two to partake on this experiment.  Some of my family members are actually tiptoeing slower than I am.  My daughter is an extremely picky eater.  My one requirement is that she atleast try it.  Then there’s my husband and while he is a veggie eater, his veggies are usually accompanied by something that once walked the earth.  I’m still dragging him along though.  Tiptoeing remember?

Hummus, Tomato and Avocado on a Bun.

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Meat for "Grill King". Imagine how much there would be if the kids and I were joining him.

Yes, this is meat and No, I did not eat any.  Normally this grill would be packed with meat, hence hard times.  This is what my husband calls a “small” amount since he would be the only one eating the red stuff or since this is pork, maybe it’s the white stuff.  I don’t know.

I passed on the grilled animal and instead enjoyed a fabulous salad and some grilled asparagus.  Yes, grills can be used for good things too.  Place the asparagus on some tin foil, sprinkle a little bit of olive oil and top with your favorite seasonings.  The trick is to only grill the asparagus for about 5 – 10 minutes.  You want it to be a little crunchy/firm.  At least that’s how we like it.

My salad was yummy.  A lettuce mix with carrots, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and crunchy sesame  sticks with slices of avocado, olives and beets on the side.  All good but soon I am going to need more.  The salad, rice and bean thing is going to have to get more interesting.  Hurry up cookbooks (amazon super saver shipping, where are you?)  I guess I’m going to have to go shopping and just look for things that scream VEGAN.  Do things in the grocery store actually say Vegan?  Obviously this whole journey will be a learning process.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am doing this for a healthy heart.

Grilled Asparagus. Veganism meets the grill!

My salad - carrots,beets, olives, avocados,dried cranberries, slivered almonds and sesame sticks.

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Here I go tiptoeing towards veganism.  This starts my journey towards a healthy heart.  I will not dive in head first…that kind of thing doesn’t work for me.  I’ll drown, hence TIPTOEING.  Small steps s-l-o-w-l-y.  I need to pay attention to what I eat, cut out red meat, dairy (how am I going to make cakes, pancakes, etc), fish (I love fish), chicken (not a big deal for me, chicken has always given me the weebie geebies.  Don’t know why.  I can eat it as long as I don’t have to see it raw or touch it or cook it.  Obviously, my husband prepares all chicken in the house and I stay out of the kitchen.) Not sure how all of this is going to work…Order cookbooks, learn to cook vegan, find things that make my mouth water like chocolate creme brulee.  Is that possible?  I really love chocolate creme brulee with fresh fruit on the top.

Yesterday, my husband (the carnivore) and I are preparing breakfast.  On the menu was homemade egg mcmuffins.  I toasted some english muffins while he fried the eggs and ham.  On top of toasted muffins goes shredded cheese, a piece of ham and an egg.  Top that off with the other 1/2 of the muffin.  Place on a plate, add some fresh grapes, some orange juice and breakfast is served.  Keep in mind this step is the “pay attention to what you eat step”.  As I am assembling our breakfast sandwiches, I realize holy cow (sorry cows or at this time…pigs), the only thing I should be eating here is the grapes and the english muffin (I think).  I was in shock.  Like I said on my about me page, I do not know how to be a vegan.  Give me time, I am in the learning stage.  So, as I savored every last bite of my egg mcmuffin (yes I ate it), I swore right then that I would not put another piece of red meat in my mouth (hopefully).  I am trying to make my heart healthy and happy.  I do not think the egg mcmuffin did that.

Dinner time arrives.  My husband has prepared some wonderful black eye peas that he has soaked all day with a sliced onion and some spices.  Yum!  He was planning on grilling some meat with them but I reminded him of the leftover ribs in the fridge and suggested he heat those up since he would be the only one having meat.  The peas are smelling wonderful and as I walk into the kitchen to make some rice, slice a tomato and an avocado, which came straight from one of my trees, I glance into the pea pot.  There floating in the middle of the beautiful peas are two hamhocks!  MEAT!  If you are not from the south, you may not know what a hamhock is.  MEAT!  My first thought is stuffing those two hamhocks up my husbands rear end.  Then again, he is the father of my two children and we are TIPTOEING toward veganism (at least I am).  So very nicely, through gritted teeth, I ask him from this day forward to never add a meat item to any vegetable item.  He agrees (hopefully he will remember).  I would hate to have to explain to a doctor how hamhocks were lodged in that particular area.  So I had somewhat of a vegetarian meal – black eye peas (that were boiled with meat), rice, sliced tomatoes, and avocado.

While this was good, I look forward to trying some interesting recipes.  I have not been shopping yet because I am awaiting my cookbooks (from amazon, super saver shipping).  So I am making due with what we have.  Also, I will not waste the food that we already have – freezer filled with meat, fridge filled with cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc..  Another reason for tiptoeing steps.  By the way, my kids were given the choice and they too went without the meat.  Yea them!

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