Tag Archives: Vegetarian

♥ Slow Cooker Hominy Soup

I’m happy to report that I am (finally!) a working woman again. I have been fortunate in that I was able to transform my volunteer work into a paid position. To my way of thinking, that makes every paycheck a bonus. Having Fridays off does not suck, either. Yaaah me! 🙂

Now that I’m away from the house during the week, the dinner schedule has drastically changed around here. I’m lucky enough to be off by 4:00 in the afternoon and I live a mere 5 minutes away from my new office. But, when I return to the house, the greyt boys are my first priority (sorry, J!) and not the usual dinner prep work. Luckily, we have just enough daylight left to take a walk down the street to the boys’ favorite hang-out spot.

The meadows adjacent to the lake are chock full of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, coyote and bear. The greyt boys practically go berserk with all the delightful scents and sights they encounter. And they love to eat snow, which is funny considering that both of our boys spent their racing careers in very hot climates.

The slow cooker has become my best friend since I returned to work. In fact, I think I might be forming an almost-romantic attachment to mine. It’s reliable and it’s dependable and when I return home from walking the dogs after work, it’s waiting for me with a hot, home-cooked meal. I’ve known a lot of men that can’t deliver on those basic desired qualities! Now, if it could only shovel the driveway…

♥     ♥     ♥

Slow Cooker Hominy Soup

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

4 cups yellow and/or white canned hominy, drained and rinsed (alternatively, use 2 cups hominy and 2 cups frozen corn kernels)

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 small zucchini, sliced in halves or quarters

2 small yellow squash, sliced in halves or quarters

2 poblano peppers, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 8-ounce package soy curls (chicken-style seitan works, too), soaked for 15 minutes in filtered water

3 cups vegetable broth

1 14-ounce can tomato sauce or tomato purée (preferred)

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon azafrán or saffron (see note)

2 teaspoons Mexican oregano leaves

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Optional Garnish:

Shredded green cabbage

Diced tomato

Diced avocado

Chopped cilantro

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers until crisp-tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so. Cut the heat and remove the pan from the burner to cool.

Meanwhile, drain the soy curls and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the slow cooker with the hominy, vegetable broth, tomato sauce or purée, tomatoes, crushed red chilies, bay leaves, azafrán (saffron), oregano, thyme and salt. Stir in the cooked vegetables and turn the slow cooker to ‘low’. Cook for at 8 to 10 hours. Add the corn the last 30 minutes, if using.

Serving suggestion: place a handful of shredded cabbage in a large soup bowl and ladle the soup over it. Garnish with diced tomato, diced avocado and/or chopped cilantro.

Note: The azafrán (saffron) ingredient won’t make or break this recipe. If you have it on hand, great, but know that buying this costly ingredient for this dish is strictly optional. Myself, I use it liberally because I happen to have a large box of Iranian saffron in my pantry. That’s one of the few perks of being married to a man who deploys to the Persian Gulf (way too) often: care packages from the Spice Souk in Dubai. I’ve been spoiled by having access to some of the world’s best spices at dirt cheap prices.

Can't you almost smell the heavenly aroma of the Spice Souk?!

♥ Tropicado Smoothie

Hooray, hooray . . . today is International Green Smoothie Day!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share our current favorite green smoothie with the world on such an important day. Bonus, this sweet frozen treat is perfect for the hot August days that we have been enjoying here in South Lake Tahoe.

Without further ado, I present the Tropicado Smoothie, so named by J because it contains (surprise!) an avocado.

♥     ♥     ♥

Tropicado Smoothie For Two

 Ingredients:

2/3 cup orange juice, unsweetened

2/3 cup coconut milk, unsweetened

1 cup frozen unsweetened mango or pineapple

1 ripe banana, frozen preferably

1 ripe avocado

1 ripe kiwi

2 Tablespoons coconut manna, optional (but so good!)

2 Tablespoons Spirulina powder, optional (for extra green goodness!)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender and blend well.

Enjoy!

♥ It Really IS A Vegan Burger

It’s been a rough few days in Vegan Land. Unless you are living under a rock, you have already heard about the VegNews scandal. Ad nauseam.

So, VegNews lied. So, VegNews took the easiest and most cost-effective path available to them, despite the  fact that it was outright deceit. They used stock photos of burgers, ribs, stews, etc. to represent vegan meals in their vegan magazine. And, to add insult to injury, VegNews handled their PR nightmare very poorly. But, I’m over it. Really.

What I am not over, however, is the fallout in the vegan community. Call me naïve, but I have never witnessed so much hateful dialogue on vegan blogs and Facebook pages before. And this is among vegans! So, VegNews betrays our trust and our vegan ideals and, in response, we turn on each other?!

To make matters worse, the story was picked up by news syndicates such as CNN, The New York Times, and NPR. The comments on those websites are not  kind to vegans, or veganism, either. The air of smug self-satisfaction is palpable: of course the magazine used meat photos . . . because vegan food isn’t appealing or satisfying! To my thinking, that perception is the real tragedy of this unfortunate situation. And that perception could not be more wrong.

Of course, the general sentiment (as well as a lot of jokes at the collective vegan expense)  is that malnourished vegans are deprived and frustrated wanna-be-meat-eaters. That is, we are deprived and frustrated by our inability to duplicate the taste of meat for our sanctimonious and holier-than-though enjoyment. Heh?! Say what?!

I choose to respond thusly:

My (not professional) stock photo of a vegan "burger".

Okay, I will concede that one (ignorant) point. I haven’t been able to “duplicate” the taste of meat. What’s more, I do not want to! It is true, my Portobello mushroom burger does not taste anything like dead cow. It tastes better! Deprived? No. Frustrated? No. Satisfied? Oh, yes! [And about 1/3 of my total daily protein requirement, too (according to NutritionData.com).]

To enjoy this better-than-beef “burger”: caramelize sliced red onion in olive oil over medium heat and add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar toward the end of the cooking time. In a separate skillet, gently cook the Portobello mushrooms over medium heat and brush them frequently with good quality balsamic vinegar. When  the mushrooms are tender, place the mushrooms and onions on prepared buns with a slice of non-dairy cheese and condiments/burger fixings of your choice.

We enjoy our Portobello burgers on homemade bread machine buns* with  the caramelized onions, Vegenaise, romaine lettuce and pepper jack cheese from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.  And a serving of sweet and tangy sandwich slaw on the side. And J’s “kickass” homebrew in the background.

* Note: I made the buns whole wheat by substituting the total flour amount in the original bun recipe with 2-3/4 cups + 1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour + 3 Tablespoons soy flour. I also added in 2 extra tablespoons of warm water to adjust for the high altitude.

♥     ♥     ♥

If you’re feeling like I am (disillusioned and worn out from the VegNews fallout and negativity), I offer you some diversion therapy: squirrel antics on the other side of the dining room window!

Deprivation. Longing.

Big dude: problem solved.

Big dude: squirrel acrobatics.

Little dude: everyone wins (except the displaced birds).

Little dude: he takes matters into his own hands (paws?).

More deprivation. More longing.

As you can see, there ain’t no deprivation in this vegan house!

Although, the frustrated cats may beg to differ.

♥ Seriously Addictive Caramel Corn & A Lovely Surprise

I’ve only been blogging for a few months now, but I have lurked around the vegan blogging scene for years. I didn’t actually start leaving comments  on the blogs that I have followed, and enjoyed, until I created my blogger identity. Before I became “greyt”, making up an online identity along with my comment was too much trouble to show my appreciation of their hard work. Apparently.

I was pleasantly surprised (and outed!) when one of my favorite long-time lurking “targets” (Andrea at Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking) bestowed upon me a “lovely blog” award. By accepting this award, I agree to link back to the award-giver, share 7 things about myself and pass the award on to 15 newly discovered bloggers.

Okay, 7 things about me. Here goes (in random order):

  1. I have a rescued racing greyhound (or rather, he has me) and he is partly to blame  for the name of this blog.
  2. I eat peanut butter every day. For as long as I can remember.
  3. I was born Jewish and raised Catholic. That in itself explains a lot. A  whole lot.
  4. I am a 5-year cancer survivor. I credit my healthy lifestyle for my success at beating the odds. And I credit cancer for making me a compassionate vegan. And Erik Marcus, too.
  5. I was a vegetarian when pregnant with my son 20 years ago.  I didn’t drink milk, either. All the “experts” (and other annoying types) warned me that I was starving my baby and that he would be malnourished from lack of protein (which was synonymous with meat, apparently). My baby boy weighed in at a scrawny 11 pounds. I am so ashamed.
  6. My first “rescue” was an orange striped cat that found me playing in my yard. I named him “Tiger”. Not at all original but, hey, I was only 3! He was the first of many stray cats and dogs that found me over the years. I made up beds in our junk-filled garage for the cats that came and went and I fed them on the sly. I knew that if I told my parents what was going on, the dreaded “pound” truck would come take the cats away.  Apparently, my parents were none the wiser. The St. Bernard mix that followed me home one day, however, proved more of a challenge to hide!
  7. It took me 10 years to finish my college education. My first declared major was nutrition, toward the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. Then it was  geography, until I figured out what I could do with a geography degree (teach). Then I became a city planner. And now I blog about vegan food and my love affair with a greyhound. Go figure!

There are so many great vegan blogs out there; but the blogs that I have been following (or lurking about!) are not new on the scene. I think those bloggers can rightfully be called “pioneers” in the movement. Since I joined the blogging community, however, I have discovered a handful of new (well, new to me) vegan (or vegan friendly) blogs that have captured my interest. In no particular order, other than the order in which they popped into my head, I present my  more recent finds (or they found me and I quickly grew attached):

la vida vegga

JL goes Vegan

Play With My Food (sidenote: I now regret giving away those Rubbermaid totes full of my son’s discarded action figures!)

Cadry’s Kitchen

Virtually Vegan Mama

The “V” Word

Food Feud

Mehitable Days

The Witchy Kitchen

The Vegan Mouse

katshealthcorner

lovinlivinvegan

No Meat Athlete (not new, but he recently made the leap from vegetarian to vegan)

Bren McClain

♥ And lastly, the source for my renewed caramel popcorn addiction: Recipe Rhapsody.

Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody adapted my version of white chocolate for her Vegan Cinnabon Caramel Corn recipe. Of course, I could not resist the temptation (sweet AND salty, heck yeah!) and I tried the recipe. Multiple times, actually. Using both white and dark chocolate.

I must admit, I actually prefer the dark chocolate on the caramel corn. When made with cashews, it totally reminds me of Moose Munch, which I haven’t had since I gave up dairy. And I once loved Moose Munch. I think I am in serious trouble here!

♥     ♥     ♥

Seriously Addictive Caramel Corn

Adapted from Recipe Rhapsody

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels (about 12 cups popped)

1 cup lightly salted peanuts or cashews (I like the sea salt varieties)

1/2 cup non-dairy butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 250F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Use an air popper to pop the corn into a large bowl. Pick out the un-popped kernels, then sprinkle the nuts over the top and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the non-dairy butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, agave nectar, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly, then allow to boil for 4 minutes (reduce the time by half for higher altitudes) without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and  the vanilla.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn/nuts and stir well to coat. Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the caramel corn, then return the baking sheet to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes. At the end of the baking time, transfer the caramel corn to waxed paper on the counter and spread evenly.

Place the chocolate pieces in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds; stir. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth.

Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and allow it to cool completely before breaking apart.

Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bags.

Okay, just one more look!