90-day vegan

On becoming vegan, our environment

Well, today I celebrate 90 days as a vegan. I am still alive and kickin’. I have thanked the animal that was unnecessarily killed to give me a pair of leather winter boots – but to honour the animal that was sacrificed, I wore them all the way up to the time the snow started to seep through. There will be no more leather for this gal.

Consuming meat, by-products, and animal secretions are unnecessary and cruel to animals. Just think – that crispy bacon is from a gorgeous pig that was born and raised in a confined crate his/her whole life, then slaughtered ruthlessly. Born to die. Because of us.

Lots of information out there!

With the wealth of information out there (just Google vegan recipes), you can learn to eat the right foods to keep your body healthy without the meat.

No food shortages here!

So, it’s true – I have not lost any weight since I stopped eating meat! I have been experimenting with recipes for my upcoming plant-based cookbook. So eating more desserts doesn’t help – but it’s for the cookbook – a good cause right?

There is no shortage of delish food that we can make/eat to fuel our bodies.

Pictured below from top left to bottom right: Black bean mushroom burger with potato wedges, Korean-style rice cakes with kimchi, steamed asparagus on tofu with black beans, banana chocolate chip cake and bean thread glass noodle with veg coconut green curry.

In this thing called life, I have learned to experiment more with food recipes. This makes meal planning slightly more exciting… Cheers to healthy eating, good health and cruelty-free living.

Vegan product review: Nona Vegan Alfredo Style sauce

Food Product reviews

I used to occasionally enjoy eating my pasta with alfredo sauce or pesto sauce. The thing is: normally alfredo sauce is made with milk ingredients and pesto is made with parmesan cheese.

Label reading

So here’s the thing, being vegan forces you to take a closer look at what you eat. This means looking at labels and determining if a food can be eaten with a smile (makes me happy knowing that what I am eating did not require the torture or death of animals).

I have finicky taste buds though, so I read the Nona packaging a few times before buying. It is very handy to have in the fridge because it has a few month shelf-life.

Ingredients directly from the label

“Water, cashews, sunflower seed oil, arrowroot powder, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, sea salt, ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Xanthan gum.”

Consistency

A bit thick, so I added some water. Similar to a condensed soup in texture until you add a bit of water.

Taste and Smell

Not bad overall. Smell – fine. Similar to traditional alfredo, it doesn’t smell that good from a package/jar.

Dish created (pictured top right)

For last night’s dinner, I quickly made the sauce more liquid, threw in some enoki mushroom, pea sprouts and lastly added some cubed tofu. Black pepper for taste. Then poured on top of pasta.

Where to buy

So far, I have only been able to find this product at Sue’s Market (Major Mack. East near Bathurst, Richmond Hill).

www.suesmarket.ca

Would I buy it again?

Yes. Was thinking about serving it at my next pasta party. Of course, I would not tell my guests that they are having ‘vegan’ sauce until after they eat and compliment my dish. Because as you probably know, eating choices are at least 1/2 psychological!

Sneak-preview: plant-based cookbook recipe

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Hey there!

I am a new Vegan (Day 12), so I need to get used to answering people’s questions/comments like “How can you not eat meat? I cannot.”, “Make sure you get enough protein”, “What can you eat?”, “Oh, you can just eat a little meat…once in a while.” I actually do not miss eating meat at all and love the challenge of making every meal as exciting, healthy and appetizing as possible. My mornings now start with a soy milk smoothie with kale, spinach, blueberries (and other fruit when available), coconut oil, hemp and chia seeds. Sometimes just for fun, I will add a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the mix. Yum!

This recipe is just a teaser from the plant-based cookbook that I am collaborating on with my daughter, Kelly (who I would say has basically been vegan for the past two years). Aiming to publish our plant-based cookbook mid to late 2019…hope you will all pick up a copy when it’s out!

All the recipes in our plant-based cookbook are super easy and fast to prepare and you can easily swap ingredients for anything that you have handy in your kitchen on any given day.  To save time and make life easier, there are some staples (such as lentils and frozen corn) that I would suggest that you stock regularly in your kitchen.

photo of portabello mushroom burger
Spicy lentil rice portobello mushroom burger

Makes 2 burgers

Prep time: about 15-20 minutes 

Cook time for mushroom caps and rice: about 20 minutes each

Ingredients

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps with stems removed
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice (or any type of stickier rice that you like) 
  • 1/4 cup of uncooked green lentils 
  • 1 tablespoon of chili spice and 1 tablespoon of black pepper (to sprinkle evenly on mushroom caps)
  • 4 tablespoons of cooked corn (frozen is handy, but you can use fresh corn kernels)
  • 6 lettuce leaves (or you can use a couple handfuls of mixed salad leaves for each burger)
  • Red onions, finely sliced, to garnish (can use a sharp knife or mandolin to slice onions)
  • Sweet chili sauce (use your favourite store bought sauce for convenience, or you can make your own -recipe will be included in our cookbook)

Step 1

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Celsius. If you have a small countertop oven, I would suggest that you use it.
  • Cut off the stem on your mushrooms and gently wash.  Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Put 4 mushrooms (top of mushroom facing upwards) on a metal tray or oven-safe plate.
  • Sprinkle chili and black pepper evenly on the mushrooms.
  • Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • When cooked, remove from oven and let sit.  

Step 2

After you put the mushrooms in the oven, wash the rice. Then add lentils.  Lentils like to float so add them last (directly into the uncooked rice).  Cook rice in accordance with the instructions on the packaging.  After rice (with lentils) is cooked, open the lid and let cool.

Step 3

Remove one mushroom cap from the oven and arrange on a plate.  Add lettuce on top.  Using a flat bottom small bowl, press the cooked rice with lentils into it.  This will make the ‘rice patty’. Then directly on top of the lettuce, flip the bowl upside down (and shake gently if needed to remove the rice). 

Step 4

Add 2 tablespoons of corn kernels on top of the rice.

Step 5

Add amount of desired onions on top.

Step 6

Add sweet thai chili sauce on top.

Step 7

Put second mushroom cap on top. And Tah Dah – your burger is ready!

Step 8

Repeat for second burger

Step 9 

Enjoy!

Sides

Burger goes great with a side of soup or homemade baked fries.