Thursday, February 25, 2010

Confessions of a wannabe vegan

So I've been on this vegan journey for one week and....I have a few confessions to make.
1. My multi-vitamin and evening primrose oil aren't vegan.  Both have gelatin that come from animal sources. I was not about to buy a new multi-vitamin for 40 days when I have bottle with more than 100 tablets.

2. I accidentally ate a piece of soy cheese that I thought was vegan. I was so excited about how it has such a great flavor. I went back to read the ingredients and noticed that has casein, which is a milk protein.  The company does make vegan cheese that I might buy in the future....for now I live a cheeseless life.

3. Since Lent began, I have been out to eat at least five times. I refuse to buy salads at restaurants because I can go to the grocery store and buy lettuce for a few dollars. I realized that I really don't know how to be vegan in public (i.e., at a restaurant).  I asked basic questions like "does XYZ food have eggs", "what kind of oil is XYZ prepared in", "can I get the baked potato without butter, sour cream, bacon bits, cheese, etc. etc.", but I haven't interrogated anyone about how the food is prepared and what it's prepared on or near.

Restaurant 1
I went to Rulis' in downtown El Paso. Usually I get the grilled veggie panino which has aioli made with eggs. I tried the Garden (vegetarian) pasta dish with linguine, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and sweet red onion without Parmesan cheese, of course. The cashier didn't seem to mind me asking so many questions about how the food would be prepared. She had to ask the chef several times....Maybe next time I'll just ask to speak with the chef.

Restaurant 2
Then, I went Nothing but Noodles twice. I had the pad thai noodles the first time and spinach cranberry salad the second time.  (في رأيي the thai cart in Richmond, VA on the MCV campus has the best Thai food I've ever eaten. I've never been to Thailand though.) The Pad Thai is described as "Rice noodles tossed in a classic Thai sauce with bean sprouts, scallions, crushed peanuts and fried egg. Garnished with fresh cilantro, a lime wedge and peanuts."  So what are the ingredients for thai sauce?  

Restaurant 3
I went to Jaxon's and had the mushroom burger with a black bean patty, no cheese or mayo. I think the the bun had butter on it. And I'm certain that the black bean burger is prepared on the same grill as all the other meats.

Restaurant 4
Tuesday, I went to Yamato Japanese Restaurant on Mesa St for lunch. I just had a small bowl of veggie fried rice (minus the eggs). The highlight of eating here was that I successfully mastered eating with chop sticks!  I'm assuming that my dish was free of animal product.   Unfortunately, assumptions don't get people very far...

Being vegan in public is hard work!  I'm sure I've probably consumed some animal product at these restaurants but not knowingly or willingly.  Maybe next time I'll consult dining guide for the Vegetarian Society of El Paso.  Or maybe I should just stick to more experimental vegan cooking and say NO to eating out.....decisions, decisions. :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Priorities: God, family, and....chocolate

So, Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and the season of Lent begins. I decided to go vegan (transitioning from vegetarianism). Farewell, green chile cheese enchiladas.....

Tonight I spent a little time experimental cooking and getting my menu prepared for the rest of the week. I really wanted to make vegan chocolate covered peanuts (my version of the famous color-coated milk chocolate peanuts) or agave nectar roasted peanuts (my version of honey roasted peanuts). Unfortunately, I don't have all the ingredients to make a chocolate sauce and agave nectar taste too much like syrup for me to substitute it as honey. I may make a small batch this weekend, but for now I'll have to find another sweet to nibble on.

I did make a delicious stir-fry with portobello mushrooms, tri-color peppers, broccoli, and sprouts. I made the sauce from dijon mustard, sesame oil, Bragg's liquid aminos, agave, nutritional yeast, and some vegetable blend seasoning. I will make a pita sandwhich with the stir fried veggies. Hopefully, this will be my lunch for the rest of the work week.

For dinner, I'm planning on making a concoction of pinto beans, carrots, rice, and a variety of seasonings. So what am I actually going to make from all the cookbooks I have?? Who knows :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Going vegan

So, I'm already a vegetarian and have been toying with idea of going vegan (just food, not the entire lifestyle). I've decided to go vegan for Lent. This is going to be challenging because I really like cheese, eggs, and honey. I went to the library and got a few cookbooks. My 2 favorite books right now are Becoming Vegan and You Won't Believe it's Vegan.

During the Lenten season, I hope to update my blog with a few biblical insights and delicious vegan recipes. No more experimental vegan's real.