10 July 2010

Daily Archives

I've been terribly absent from this blog recently and have decided to put my focus elsewhere. For vegan-specific blogging, please follow spokanevegans.wordpress.com. I'll also be blogging about more personal matters and non-vegan topics at my new blog, dailyarchives.wordpress.com. Thanks!

01 April 2010

One World

The Spokesman Review published an article last week about One World, one of my favorite places to eat in Spokane. I was interviewed for the story and was happy (and flattered!) to share my thoughts on this great organization. I'm quoted in the article, but those quotes are not accurate, so I'd like to set things straight.

“I think if you’re used to eating food that comes out of a box or your standard dining out fare is at one of the chain restaurants or fast food you might not like One World,” says Crystal Clark, organizer of Spokane Vegans, a social group for vegan eaters.

“I think this kind of dining experience is intimidating to people, but I also think some of the fun of dining at a place like One World is the surprise. You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

I would never suggest that people would not like One World. When I spoke to the journalist, I suggested that the unique dining experience at One World may be a little intimidating to some less adventurous eaters, but that it didn't have to be. I explained that the model that One World uses - cooking with whole, local, in-season foods is not as predictable as eating at one of the many chain restaurants in Spokane. It's a bit of a surprise every time you eat there – it's always good, but the menu is never the same – and I like that! The friendly volunteers and chefs are knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions. They might even share a recipe with you!

I think everyone in Spokane should eat at One World and I can't imagine anyone not liking it. The food is delicious, creative and gives a real sense of place because you know exactly where it came from. Spokane has a lot of great local restaurants serving delicious food and One World is definitely one of them. They always have vegan options and do fun things like tapas nights and guest chef nights. Visit their website and Facebook page to learn more. (Hint: They'll have vegan meatballs tomorrow night.)

15 February 2010

Spokavore Challenge Round 2

I really had the best of intentions when I signed up for round two of the Spokavore challenge. Round one was a lot of fun–even though I didn't make it to the end–and I was looking forward to giving it another shot. However, as the first day dawned, I found my self completely unprepared. I could give you all sorts of excuses about how I've been busy with this and that and how challenging it would be for me to limit my diet even more, considering I'm gluten-free and soy-free (more on that another day) this time around. But really, I just wasn't prepared.

So yeah, I was out before the challenge even started. But I wish all the other contestants luck! I'll be following everyone's progress as the week goes on.

11 January 2010

Pasta with White Bean Sauce

I'm broke. I get paid at the end of the week, but until then I'm being very thrifty and getting to know the contents of my kitchen cupboards. At the request of my son, tonight's dinner was originally planned to be one of our favorite soups, but I realized I was missing a couple of key ingredients. And since I'm determined not to go shopping this week, a special trip to the store for only two ingredients was out of the question. I had the white beans and the pasta though, and thought a white sauce would be nice. I did a Google search for recipes and soon found my inspiration. I added a few ingredients, increased the recipe, and in less than 30 miuntes dinner was on the table with a side of red kale.

This was really easy to make, calls for simple ingredients and is surprisingly satisfying. The flavor is delicate and just slightly "cheesy" with a nice smooth texture. I hadn't made a bean sauce before tonight, but now I'm a huge fan. I know I'll be playing around with this one some more. With a little adjusting, I think it would make a great base for a Stroganoff, too.

You'll Need:

6 T Earth Balance
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 C or 2 15oz cans white beans (cannellini or great northern), drained and rinsed
2 C soymilk
1 t Spike seasoning
2 t nutritional yeast
splash dry vermouth or dry white wine (optional, but recommended)
salt and pepper to taste

Your favorite pasta–I won't try to guess ounces this time. Plan for 4 - 6 servings.


While pasta is cooking according to instructions, get started on the sauce. In a deep skillet, melt margarine and saute garlic for 2 minutes. Add a splash of vermouth and cook another minute or so. Put beans in food processor and add margarine and garlic, soymilk, nutritional yeast and Spike seasoning. Puree mixture until completely smooth, adding more soymilk as needed to reach desired consistency. Return mixture to the skillet and simmer on medium-low, stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.

28 December 2009

Food I've Been Eating Lately

I have a few posts that are still in draft form and a couple of recipes that need to be refined before sharing, so I thought I'd offer you some food porn today. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2009 - We followed this recipe for the tofu and gravy. Yum!

Rachael Ray Redux

Off-the-cuff Mexican-type casserole with a mole-like sauce - I'm going to play around with this one some more. I really liked it and the kid LOVED it.

I used to love eggs in a basket and my son still does. We had tofu in a basket for breakfast on Christmas Eve and plan on making it a tradition.

Christmas dinner 2009 - My sister and I made potato kale burritos with mole sauce, and as she so astutely proclaimed, chocolate is always a good choice for dinner! (Or something like that.)

Have you heard of the Texan "treat" called armadillo eggs (or atomic buffalo turds)? My dad recently told me that he had made a ton of them over the summer and I immediately started worrying about his blood pressure and general coronary health. I told him I would try and come up with a vegan version of this truly offensive dish. I'm not there yet, but I did make these. Mini sweet peppers halved, seeded, filled with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, topped with an olive or mushroom and sprinkled with some Spike seasoning. I put them in a 325 degree oven for about 12 minutes. They tasted even better cold the next day.

22 November 2009

Response: Is Vegan the New Locavore?

Veganism seems to be getting a lot of attention lately, locally and nationally. One of Spokane's prominent locavore bloggers is even pondering the idea. Craig, of Year of Plenty, has a recent post in which he references a New York Times Op-Ed piece about veganism. Craig seems to be approaching the idea of veganism from an environmental view point, whereas the Times contributor takes an ethical stance using some rather polarizing language. There is some obvious discomfort between these two philosophies and my humble input has been requested. I'm very flattered (and surprised!) to be consulted on this topic. I'll try my best to address this heady issue.

A lot of the arguments used to promote veganism can be off putting — the use of words like "murder" often seem extremist. It's unfortunate that some people choose to use such hyperbolic language when discussing veganism in broad terms. Ultimately, veganism comes from a place of compassion — for animals, human beings and the environment.

The raising of animals for food and clothing has an undeniably detrimental effect on the environment — beyond that, it also induces human rights and social justice issues (Read Fast Food Nation or watch Food, Inc., neither of which promote even a vegetarianism lifestyle, to get a better idea of the human cost of raising animals for consumption). The moment we start talking animal rights or welfare, though, tensions rise. The question of whether or not to eat meat (or any animal products) triggers something deep within ourselves and can cause us to question exactly what it means to be human. For many people this can be a very uncomfortable experience.

The author of the Times piece that sparked this discussion makes some good points, but overall I have to disagree with his approach. I am a vegan for ethical reasons, but my convictions don't end there. I also choose a vegan lifestyle for health and environmental reasons. I just never cared much for meat and like 75% of the world's population, I'm lactose intolerant. There are many different reasons one may choose to be vegan. As we are all individuals, each person chooses to approach the subject differently. Steiner chooses a more hostile and decidedly philosophical approach than I do.

Little more than a year ago, I founded a social group called Spokane Vegans. The impetus for this group was my selfish desire for a vegan community in Spokane. I had been vegan just over a year at the time and didn't have relationships with any other vegans in the area. I just wanted to have some friends to share food with and hoped we might also serve as a support network for each other. With the help of my co-organizer, this little group has grown quite a bit the past year, both in membership and scope. It may be surprising to know that not all of our members are vegan.

The approach that Spokane Vegans takes is very much in line with my own philosophies on veganism. We strive to foster a dialogue on veganism in the community while promoting respect for all earthlings and have fun doing it. To me it just doesn't make much sense to talk about compassion for animals if that same compassion and respect is not extended to the intended audience. I feel very strongly about my reasons for being vegan and I will not apologize for them, but I also won't force my beliefs on anyone. Sometimes we need to be confronted with facts, but when an idea is presented in a confrontational manner it may often do more harm than good.

Veganism is a broad idea with many talking points. Trying to address them all could turn this blog post into a something more akin to a treatise, so I'll try to get back to the topic at hand. Steiner's op-ed piece should not be read as an introduction to veganism. For someone considering their carbon footprint, the adoption of a responsible vegan lifestyle would certainly lessen one's environmental impact and should be considered if this is the ultimate goal. Fact-based readings would prove to be more convincing and beneficial in this case. Vegan Outreach has a page devoted to the environment on their web site. The Vegan Society also provides some great information on the many environmental impacts of animal production. For an unbiased look at the issue, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production has made their full report available online.

Regardless of dietary preferences, I invite the Year of Plenty family and the whole of Spokane to join the Spokane Vegans at our next vegan potluck for some good conversation and great food! We love to talk about and eat food, and the only fights we have are over who gets the last cupcake.

20 November 2009


We all like the word free, but when is something really ever truly free? Not often. But this Sunday at the Peaceful Valley Community Center, a small group of community-minded individuals will be hosting the Really, Really Free Market. The idea is to give away want you don't want or need anymore and take what you do need - for FREE. This isn't a swap or a sale. It's simply free. What a great answer to our throw-away consumer culture that is even more rampant this time of year!

Besides offering tables of free stuff, the market will also include workshops and a vegan potluck. So if you're in Spokane this Sunday, get together your old winter coats, too-tight jeans, extra chairs and your favorite vegan dish and get down to the Really, Really Free Market! See you there!

What: Really, Really Free Market
When: Sunday 11/22 @1pm - 6pm
Where: Peaceful Valley Community Center 214 N Cedar
Tentative Schedule of Events:
1:00 – Doors Open
2:00 – Vegan Potluck
3:00 – Creative Writing Workshop
4:00 – Crocheting Workshop
5:00 – Singing and Dancing
6:00 – Doors Close

For more info or updates about the RRFM, write to spokanefreemarket@gmail.com