Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lunch Spread for the Week: Italian Chickpea Spread

Every week, I make some sort of sandwich spread for my wraps and sandwiches. This is an off-shoot of hummus, but with lovely Italian spices. This is from Lorna Sass' wonderful little cookbook, Short-Cut Vegan:

1 15 oz can chickpeas
2-4 tbsp chickpea cooking liquid, drained from organic chickpeas, or water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian Herb Blend*
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1-3 tsp balsamic vinegar or freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Combine all in a food processor and process until smooth. Add more chickpea liquid or water to make it thick but still spreadable.

I enjoy this in wraps with tomatoes, avocado, and/or carrots with plenty of lettuce or greens.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's That Time of Year

Wow, a new blog post here, the first since August! But I felt inspired to write about this because so many people are getting sick lately.

It's that time of year again when the weather is cold, school begins again, and the flu and cold season comes for a visit. Before I went vegan six years ago, it seemed I was sick all the time. My husband used to work with teens and caught everything and then, of course, so did I. And every time a holiday or days off rolled around, we were sick.

Thankfully, I don't have this problem much at all anymore. I really do believe a big part of it is because I'm vegan and I exercise. But I also have a regimen that works for me and I know my body well enough to detect when something is off.

To prevent colds and flu I:
  • Wash my hands often. This is just automatic.
  • Wipe down keyboards and phones at work. We have shared workstations and I also work with the public at a public service desk, so I do this every single time I sit at the computer. Okay, some would say obsessively, but I have over 130 hours of accrued sick time. Just saying.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every single day, even weekends.
  • Eat whole foods almost exclusively. I'd say at this point in my life the only processed foods I eat are soy milk (about 3 times a week) and tofu (every other week).
  • Exercise with alternating days of yoga and Synergetics, plus two 15-20 minute walks daily.
  • Practice meditation and quiet time.
  • Pop an Airborne tablet in my water bottle at least once per week.
  • Eat lots of citrus every day, usually Clementines, grapefruit, and orange slices.
But at the first sign of a sore throat or not feeling quite right I also:
  • Gargle with very hot water and a heaping spoon of salt every hour. I can't do this at work but so far, this hasn't yet happened. But when I'm home, I have found that this really does take the pain away quickly.
  • Take ibuprofen to reduce swelling and ease pain.
  • Continue to drink Airborne (or its generic equivalent) in my water bottle all day long; it tastes good and boosts the immune system.
  • Drink hot tea--decaffeinated and/or herbal.
  • Take zinc and/or elderberry lozenges throughout the day.
If I've caught a cold, I take the day off from work to rest. The body needs rest and sleep most in order to repair itself. If you're running around, you will NOT get better faster and your symptoms will be more severe and last longer.

If my nose is stuffy, which rarely happens anymore, I use a nose spray only to sleep at night; it's too easy to become addicted.

So that's all I do. If I do get a cold or virus, its symptoms are not severe and the whole thing is usually over within 3 days. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weekend Lunch

Fennel, red pepper, & spinach salad, red potato salad with lemon juice, and basil cucumber gazpacho

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Produce Porn

This is just the produce that isn't refrigerated, but we will eat all of this in one week: 18 bananas, 4 avocadoes, 4 plums, 4 granny smith apples, 4 nectarines, 6 heirloom tomatoes.

In the fridge, from both our CSA and our co-op (which, by the way, has THE BEST produce in the city limits of Pittsburgh), there is also a head of red cabbage, 3 cucumbers, bunch of green grapes, a bunch of basil (which we'll make into pesto), 2 bunches of parsley, a pound of green beans, a head of lettuce, a quart of blueberries, 4 bags of greens (for smoothies), green onions, and two fennel bulbs.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chickpea Curry

Serve with any grain; I used barley & it was delicious.

This recipe, officially called "Chickpea Curry in a Hurry," comes from Lorna Sass's Shortcut Vegan.

I've tweaked it a bit to suit my personal taste but it's so easy and delicious you'll definitely want to try. What follows is my tweaked recipe:

1 15 oz can chickpeas
1/2 C chickpea cooking liquid from can (you can use water if your chickpeas aren't organic)
1/2 of a container of Pomi brand chopped tomatoes
1 tsp mild curry
1 tsp hot curry
3 C baby spinach
1/4 shredded coconut
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp salt

In a large pot or saucepan, combine all ingredients EXCEPT baby spinach. Bring almost (but not quite) to a boil over medium high heat, then cover and simmer for five minutes. Add spinach, stir, and serve with grain of your choice. I used barley in the picture above but I've also used rice (brown, brown basmati, or short grain brown).

Sass's recipe adds either green chilies or a seeded jalapeno but I think a sweet green pepper might be good enough since the hot curry is so strong. She also uses more coconut but I want to taste everything and I find coconut can be overpowering sometimes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Else Can I Say?

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos

When I started this blog in 2009, I had been vegan for a little over a year. I was so excited about how wonderful my body felt and how much it had changed that I wanted to share my experience with others. Also, many people had been asking me questions like, "So what DO you eat?!" and I felt that this blog was a great way to explain.

But now that I've been vegan almost six years (!) I know I will continue this lifestyle for the foreseeable future and I don't think I have much left to say about my experience. What started out as an experiment for my health as I grew older (I'm 45 now) has evolved into even more as I seek out non-animal products as well (clothing, for example).

Farmers' Market in South Haven, Michigan

So I will not be updating this blog much anymore unless the inspiration hits me and I want to share some news or a new recipe that I think others might be interested in.

I will still leave the site up for the recipes and posts so that, even if you stumble across it later, you still have access to it.

I just feel my interest in the subject has become every day for me, and indeed it has as it should. I don't even really think about being vegan; I just am.

 I wish to write about other topics and this space doesn't fit that form. I love history, books, Jane Austen, and reading so I have started a new blog over on tumblr if you'd like to take a peek.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about food, health, and being vegan in future and, as always, I'm very happy to share my experiences.