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Archive for October, 2011

I just spent a week with my mother.  She has a beautiful home in the Western Mountains of North Carolina and went up to see the fall colors.  We joined my parents for part of their trip.  We hit the turning of the leaves perfectly.  Now, since my tiptoeing towards veganism journey, my mother has been extremely supportive and always reads my blog.  That’s what mom’s do.  However, mom’s supportiveness did some serious lacking in the “in person mode.”

First of all let me just say that the 3 lbs I had lost have returned.  Now lets take a look at my week with my mom. First off, she had just had company and decides that she is going to feed us left over chili.  Chili the second day is usually even better.  Mom decides she will add a little to it and feed us all.  She starts dipping some of the chili into a bowl and picking out all the meat.  I ask her what she is doing and find out that that bowl is for me.  I look in it and remind her that I no longer partake in land meat (hooves, beaks, varmints).  I also see that there are TONS of tiny pieces of hamburger meat in the bowl.  I’m like mom, “that has tons of meat in it.”  Her response is, “I picked out all the big pieces.”  There is no come back to that remark.  Yes, she picked out all the big pieces but no, my current stage of vegetarianism still does not allow the tiny pieces.  So she dumped the bowl back in the pot and before adding extra tomato sauce and beans we put some to the side for me.

Next, my parents take us out to a country diner.  It’s a buffet.  Scary.  That buffet is filled with things like fried chicken, meatloaf, pork chops, etc…..pretty much a vegan nightmare!  I decide I will just stick to the veggies.  However, every veggie there was in some kind of casserole type dish.  Meaning milk, cheese, eggs, etc…  Basically, that buffet was an artery nightmare.  I ate them anyway and that’s okay because of my current pescatarian ovo lacto vegetarian status (a mouthful, I know.)  It means I am a vegetarian who is currently eating fish and other seafoods, eggs and dairy.  In the case of the buffet, I ate it but I did not enjoy it.  I have tremendously cut back on the eggs and dairy.  Spending time with my mother did not allow this to continue.

Then, my mother makes the most delicious bread pudding I have ever put in my mouth.  Yes, I know that I did not have to eat it.  But you try to say no to that smell and to your own mother who will remind you of how she slaved in the kitchen to make this homemade treat just for you.  It of course was filled with milk, eggs and lots of sugar.  It was also mouthwatering good.  I ate it.

Now, after several days of eating all the flesh one could consume, “Grill King” said those magical words every vegan wannabe longs to hear.  He crawled into bed and said, “I am so bloated.  I can’t wait to start eating your food again.”  Oh those magical words!!!  It made it all worth it, even gaining back the 3 lbs, which will be gone again soon.  I’m already working on it.

I am now about to say goodbye to eggs and really cut back on my dairy.  My body is begging for this next step.  Next visit with my mom, I will have to hold firm.  I may have to bring my own food.  As I start eating less and less, it will be difficult eating with family.  This will be an adjustment for them as well as myself.  The big family Christmas Party this year is going to be difficult for me in the food department.  The good news is that I have not taken a step backwards in the land meat department.  Goodbye hooves, beaks and varmints.  I have held firm and the desire for it is gone.  On to the next step in my journey…saying goodbye to eggs.

I had to share the photo below.  This is Bald River Falls.  It is just off the scenic drive on the Cherohala Skyway that runs between North Carolina and Tennessee.  These are on the Tennessee side.  Enjoy!

Fall Mountain Colors

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A few weeks ago, Peter (Hi Peter) left a comment on my blog.  I do not know Peter but a very good friend of mine named Michele (Hey Missy) clued him into my journey.  Anyway, Peter told me he was a Vegetarian (ovo lacto).  Now hear’s the thing, I had no idea what that was and since I believe one should not advertise one’s stupidity, I did not ask Peter about the ovo lacto thing.  Instead I started doing a little research.  As it turns out, Peter is a vegetarian that consumes both dairy and eggs.

Now, come to find out, there are many types of vegetarians.  So I decided to take a look at them and see what club I currently belonged.  I realize that my list is most likely incomplete, but here is what I found and if I messed something up, I apologize now.

Pescatarian aka Pesco-Vegetarian – Eats fish and other seafoods but no other meat

Flexitarian/Semi-Vegetarian – Mostly Vegetables, eats meat infrequently

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – eats dairy and eggs

Lacto Vegetarian – Dairy but no eggs

Ovo Vegetarian – Eggs but no dairy

Pollo-Vegetarian – eats Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) but no other meat

Total Vegetarian – Only plant based foods

Vegan – No meat, fish, eggs, dairy or any processed foods containing ingredients derived from any of these things

Raw Vegan – same as a vegan but does not heat any food above 115 degrees F.

Then there is what I call Esselstyn Vegan (Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.) –  No meat of any kind, no dairy, no eggs, NO OIL, no avocados, no coconut, no nuts (occasionally walnuts if you have no heart disease).  Use only whole grain products and eat soy cautiously.

So as it turns out, yours truly is a Pescatarian Ovo Lacto Vegetarian.  Most likely, I am in a Club by myself.  This means I am a Vegetarian who eats fish and other seafoods, dairy, and eggs.  I think the time is nearing for me to take another step Tiptoeing Towards Veganism.  One of the big three are going to have to exit my life soon.

After all this research, I got to thinking about “Grill King” and decided he also needed a Club.  So I came up with a new type of vegetarian just for him:

Carnivorous Vegetarian – One who likes to eat veggies but when a piece of meat runs by, latches on to it like a dog with a bone and if challenged can become dangerous.  These are the ones you really need to watch out for, especially if they have gone a few days without the flesh of another hanging from their mouth.

So, since I am embracing my new found Vegetarian status of Pescatarian Ovo Lacto Vegetarian, I have a delicious dish to share:

Take several fillets of tilapia or any white fish.

Coat it lightly in Olive Oil

Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (old bay, salt, pepper, basil, garlic, parsley, etc.)

Places in a baking dish and add a dollop of butter to the top of each fillet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until your fish is flakey but thoroughly cooked.

Arrange a salad in a circle on your plate – mixed greens with chickpeas, dried cranberries, sunflower seed, sliced carrots works great and tastes good too.

Cook some brown rice and put a scoop of it in the middle of your plate.

Place the baked fish on top of the rice.

Top fish with a mango tomato salsa (I would like to take credit for this salsa because it is sooooo good but I get mine from Costco.  It is delicious and very vegan.  If you do not have a Costco then you can find many recipes online.)

My entire family loves this dish!  I guess they better enjoy it before fish exits my life.

Baked Tilapia with Rice, Salad, and Mango Salsa

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I found a recipe in The Happy Herbivore cookbook.  Lindsay is a Vegan Genius who has some fabulous low fat recipes.  Since Tiptoeing Towards Veganism, I have enjoyed both her website and her cookbook.  I recently made her Maple-Glazed Vegetables.  Her recipe was done with carrots and parsnips, two items that my kitchen was lacking, so I substituted potatoes and onions.  I included some parsley in my version.  Her recipe also called for sesame seeds, another thing missing from my kitchen, so I just didn’t use them.  Plus, I doubled the recipe.  My substitutions turned out so tasty that I thought I must not only share it but say a big Thank You to Lindsay the Happy Herbivore.

2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 c vegetable stock

4 c peeled sliced potatoes

1 large onion

4 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 tsp lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp agave nectar

a handful of fresh parsley

pepper, to taste

Mix cornstarch with 2 tsp of water.  Let it dissolve and set it aside.  Put broth, potatoes and onions in a large pan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and add maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, agave and pepper.  Cook until potatoes are cooked and can be pierced with a fork but still a little crisp (about 10 minutes, maybe more depending on how many potatoes you have in there).  You don’t want them falling apart so watch them.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir.  Then throw in some of the parsley.  Cook a few more minutes until it thickens.  You may have to turn the heat up a little.  Save a little parsley to sprinkle on top for garnish along with a sprinkle of pepper.  You have just made yourself a low fat and delicious side dish.

For all of you out there with picky eaters, this passed both the kid test and the husband/Grill King test (who by the way thought these would go great with a nice juicy steak.)  Hand me the bat NOW!  No cheese, no butter, no milk, no animal parts, and no guilt.  Gotta Love It!

Potatoes....But Not Au Gratin

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For a want-to-be-vegan that is s…l…o…w…l…y tiptoeing towards veganism, eating out IS NOT FUN.  Grill King, the kids and I were out of town.  We were in Orlando giving Universal Studios our money and riding all their rides.  After our feet could walk no more, we ventured into HARD ROCK CAFE.  We were exhausted and starved.  Not a good combination.

Our lovely hostess seats us and  gives us the menu.  My daughter immediately decides she is having the kids macaroni-n-cheese.  Sounds great but not happening here.  My son decides he wants the GIGANTIC sampler thingy and he and my husband decide to share it.  As I look at what the sampler includes, cheese and bacon potato slices, fried chicken fingers, chicken wings, fried rolled tortilla things, and more, I knew that nothing on that platter was going to pass through these lips.

And so the search began.  I found only few items that I could eat and not feel guilty about.  I ended up getting a veggie burger with a portobello mushroom and grilled vegetables.  The waiter then asked whether I wanted fries with that or a salad.  Of course I wanted the fries, what kind of question was that?  After hesitating, I ordered the salad.  The waiter actually laughed at me and said, “are you sure?”  He got THE LOOK that is usually reserved for Grill King on certain occasions.

See, here’s the problem – there needs to be a different menu for us want-to-be-vegetarians or vegans.  No one, and I mean NO ONE should have to look through a menu like that and then have to order a Veggie Burger.  That is NOT right!  The desserts alone make your mouth water.

To top it off, I sat there eating what turned out to be a delicious veggie burger, while I watched my son and Grill King slather down animal parts and grease and my daughter wiping cheese from her chin.  Very disturbing.  Grill King got his “wing fix” as he likes to call it.  I call it “artery clogger.”

So, like I said before…some of my family are tiptoeing a whole lot slower than I am.  It’s a tough road, but I must say that I no longer crave land meat (hooves, beaks, varmints).  After a month and a half without it, it no longer appeals to me.  I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for seafood, dairy, and eggs.  We’ll see.

I have had several Vegan dishes that have been really good.  I make sure the family gets them several times a week (in between the chomping down on a leg of some kind.)  A behavior I do not partake in.

note to self:  start researching restaurants that have plenty of Vegan dishes.

On another note – if you have not been to Universal’s Islands of Adventure and ridden the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.  IT IS A MUST!  Absolutely amazing!  We have been on it several times now and it hasn’t worn off me or the kids yet.  Hogwarts itself is incredibly realistic.

 

Hogwarts at Universal's Islands of Adventure

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When I was in college and on a very tight budget, I would sometimes make rice pudding.  The recipe was in a cookbook that my Grandma had given me for high school graduation.  In it she wrote: you will be able to make all kinds of goodies.  Heaps of Love, Grandma.  She always signed Heaps of Love.  That’s because she always gave Heaps of Love.

The rice pudding in that cookbook fit my criteria.  It was cheap.  It was easy.  It was good.  My rice pudding was done the quick way – on top of the stove in a small sauce pot.  Clean up was a cinch with only one dirty pot.  That rice pudding was absolutely delicious and filled with both milk and butter.  It was sweet, creamy, and satisfied that sweet tooth.  I usually sat down and ate it right out of the pot…all of it.

For some reason I was craving rice pudding even though I have not made any in years.  I think this craving is because ever since I have stopped eating certain foods and have cut back on others,  there are times when I am ready to attack a perfect stranger just for a bite of whatever they are eating.  Is this normal?  It’s just different now because I have to think about things before I put them in my mouth.  The other day, I swear I smelled bacon frying.  Tiptoeing remember?  I’m sure the men in the white coats will be showing up soon to take me away.

So about the rice pudding,  I decided to make it vegan style that way I could eat it completely guilt free.    It’s funny because every time something turns out delicious, I am surprised.  Eventually, I’ll get past this.  If you like rice pudding and don’t want to give up any of the flavor, try this:

3 cups almond milk

1/2 cup brown rice

1/3 cup raisins (optional)

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 tsp vanilla

cinnamon sprinkled on top (as little or as much as you want)

In heavy sauce pot bring milk to boil, stir in uncooked rice.  Cover, cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 30 – 40 minutes.  About 15 minutes into the cooking, add the raisins, vanilla and sugar.  When its done, spoon into dessert dishes and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Delicious!  If you have kids, you may want to make more.  Enjoy.

Almond Raisin Rice Pudding

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