25 November 2008

Dear Omnivore

Each day I make the choice to live vegan. I read labels before I buy: food, clothes, cosmetics, etc. (Well, at least 99% of the time – sometimes I get too comfortable.) I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to deny myself more, be a radical or make my life or anyone else’s more difficult. For me the decision to go vegan was the result of a lot of research and thought. I don’t feel at all burdened or deprived. If you ask me, I will gladly share my reasons for being vegan, but I’m not going to badger you if we share a meal and you chose to eat a cheeseburger. I’m just not a fan of proselytizing, religious or otherwise. I will respect your omnivorous decision and expect the same consideration for my choice.

So why do some people feel the need to badger me about my meals? My decision to be vegan is not a criticism of you or your lifestyle. Veganism represents the vast majority of my values and ideals. It covers everything from human welfare to animal welfare and the environment. When you criticize my food choices, you are in fact criticizing some of my most deeply held thoughts and beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a sense of humor and can take a little teasing. But don’t start throwing outright falsities at me in attempt to convert me and presumably make you feel better about yourself. Case in point: today a co-worker was prodding me for the umpteenth time about drinking milk. She tried suggesting that by my choice to not consume dairy, I was causing cows’ utters to become unnecessarily engorged and thus causing them very great discomfort. Wrong - on so many levels. My support of the dairy industry would in fact encourage the meat industry (research veal) and create more demand. This idea is like suggesting that livestock would overrun the world if everyone stopped eating meat. Such comments, as is the case here, are often not intended to insult; but they do.

All I’m asking for is some respect and consideration. Let’s keep an open dialog. I won’t criticize you or feed you hyperbole, but I ask that in return you not criticize me or feed me any animal products. Thank you.

21 November 2008

You're Invited!

Tomorrow at 1 pm at the Downtown Spokane library (room 1A), the Spokane Vegan Meetup Group will be hosting a screening of Porch Life Production's documentary, "Seeing Through the Fence", which takes a critical look at factory farming. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker and a vegan potluck. A $5 donation to the filmmaker is encouraged.

17 November 2008

the who farm

i think this is a tremendous idea! i signed my name; will you?

10 November 2008

Fudge Balls

These delicious morsels of chocolate are rolled in coconut and have a hidden ingredient: avocado. Yes; avocado and chocolate. I swear it is amazingly good and you cannot detect the slightest taste of avocado. Omnivores love this treat, too. I came across this recipe last year and adapted it slightly for a Halloween treat. Follow the recipe, but instead of spreading it in a pan, place the fudge in a bowl. Refrigerate for about half an hour, or until the fudge is the consistency of playdough. Using your hands, roll a tablespoon of fudge into a ball and coat in shredded unsweetened coconut. Return finished fudge balls to the refrigerator until hardened, then devour!

09 November 2008

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We visited my friend and her boyfriend in Richland a few weeks ago and my friend's boyfriend made us stuffed peppers for dinner. I don't know that I'd ever had a stuffed pepper before and if I did, I probably didn't like it. But my taste buds have developed a lot over the years and I really enjoyed the classic stuffed peppers with rice, tomato sauce and veggie sausage. I enjoyed it so much that my mind started racing with variations on this humble classic. So here is my take on the stuffed pepper, with some of my favorite flavors such as coconut milk, cashews, curry and cilantro. (Sorry about the poor picture quality - I really need a new camera.)

You will need:

4 green bell peppers, cored and seeded
1 C quinoa
1/3 C currants
1/3 C cashews, roasted, unsalted
1/2 C mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 t cumin
1 t ginger powder
1 T curry powder
1 C coconut milk
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350°. Add quinoa to 2 cups water and bring to boil. Cook covered at a simmer until all water is absorbed and the germ has separated from the grain. Stir coconut milk, spices and garlic into quinoa and combine thoroughly. Toss in mushrooms, cashews, currants and cilantro. Fill peppers with quinoa mixture and place in a deep baking dish filled with 1/2 inch of water. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until peppers have softened but are still firm. Let sit for 5 minutes and enjoy!

02 November 2008

shopping vegan

i found these primal strips at the rosauer's at the north division "Y" in the natural foods section (actually, i found all of these snacks there). they carry the mesquite and hickory smoked flavors. these make a great snack. my son loves them!

these taste just like cheetos, but they're vegan and they don't have that gross orange powder! even non-vegans like these.

vegan GF french bread pizza! i was really happy with these. the bread was toothsome, the soy cheese didn't have much flavor, but added a nice texture and the sauce was good and garlic-y. this is a new quick meal favorite in our house.

27 October 2008

vegan mascara

i don't wear makeup much, but every now and then i feel the need to add a little something to my face before i head out the door. i haven't used mascara in a while, so i was pretty excited when i found Larénim Mineral Mascara. it's all natural, vegan and gluten free! i found it at Super Supplements, which happens to be my favorite place to buy shampoo and the sort. i've never tried any other vegan mascara, so i can't compare it to another brand, but i'm satisfied with the results. (it cost about $15 at SS.)

22 October 2008

school lunch

i always feel so bad when my son eats a school lunch.

21 October 2008

best. ever.

this stuff is amazing! with few exceptions, i've always been a little disappointed with soy and rice based ice cream alternatives. tofutti and good karma's carrot cake rice cream are always good, but most non-dairy ice creams just don't satisfy the craving for me. i need something rich and creamy. something fattening: an indulgence. then i found luna & larry's coconut bliss. they use coconut milk so it is dairy and soy free. i'm always looking for ways to diversify, as soy is a major staple in my diet and i don't like eating too much of any one food. but there are so many other reasons to love coconut bliss. the flavor is incredible and the texture is so smooth and creamy. they offer a handful of flavors, but my favorite is probably good old chocolate.

where you can find it in spokane:

fresh abundance


20 October 2008

Soup & Waffles

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a match made in heaven. It was a Sunday afternoon and I really needed to do some grocery shopping, but I was just too comfortable in my pajamas to even think about showering. I needed to come up with lunch, but it had to be simple and quick because that's the way I like my Sundays. I had picked up some Pacific Cashew Carrot and Ginger soup a few days earlier and I had just enough (GF) Namaste Waffle and Pancake mix left for one more batch. I'd never thought before to eat waffles with my soup, but really they're just another form of bread, right? Taking a cue from the soup, I added a teaspoon of ground ginger to the waffle batter. The combination was brilliant. The meal was quick and simple and oh so delicious! My son loved the unlikely pair and we found a new favorite. Soup and waffles: try it!


18 October 2008

Quinoa Crusted Quiche

Growing up, quiche was one of my favorite breakfast dishes. So I was very excited to come across this recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I made a few substitutions to the recipe based on what I had at hand. Instead of brown rice for the crust, I used my favorite grain, quinoa. I subbed broccoli for the asparagus, added some Italian seasoning and topped it off with tomatoes. It turned out pretty good. I think the tofu mixture needed a little more seasoning and the crust would be better with a quick pre-bake, but I will definitely make this again. I took left-overs to work for lunch and got compliments on the smell. That's unusual. Most days my food just gets suspicious looks from my tofu-fearing coworkers.


17 October 2008

silk nog

it's back on the shelves! i just picked some up the other day. i love silk nog; i feel so inspired when i drink it. i wonder how i can use it in my cooking? maybe in cupcakes, or pumpkin pancakes...let the creativity begin!


16 October 2008

green bluff

just north of spokane, green bluff is a grower community celebrating harvest season through out the month of october. my best friend through elementary school lived on the bluff (although her family weren't growers) and i spent endless days with her walking around the bluff and checking out the festivities during harvest season. several of the farms offer u-pick fruit through out the growing season and boast impressive pumpkin patches in the fall. one farm in particular goes all out and builds a corn maze (admission is a little steep) and even brings in other vendors, such as funnel cake and the sort. (unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the vendors are not vegan-friendly.) we celebrated my mom's birthday on sunday and it happened to be a gorgeous crisp autumn day. on my son's suggestion, we headed to green bluff. we stopped off at Sundown Brown's Place and picked some beautiful apples and found these amazing asian pears (pictured above). i'm really only familiar with the pears you find in the grocery store and they don't impress me much. but these fresh picked asian pears were delicious! i have never tasted anything quite like it. never again will i settle for pears from a chain grocery store. we picked a total of 9 1/2 lbs. of apples and asian pears, costing us a whopping $6! there is no better way to buy fruit. green bluff: support your local growers!


09 October 2008

Autumnal Inspiration

Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves change, the skies are overrun by cotton ball clouds, we pull sweaters from our closets and we eat warm rich foods. One of my favorite foods to eat when the mercury drops are potatoes; any kind will do. I love the warm and exciting color of yams and the sweet rich flavor is a real treat. This dish was inspired by the earthiness of fall's colors and flavors. Although it's perhaps a tired denomination for foods of a certain taste, I like to call it harvest quinoa. The nutty flavor of the quinoa really shines here and compliments the sweetness of the raisins and yams.

You will need:

4 small yams, peeled and cubed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Italian seasoning
1 C quinoa
1/3 C raisins
1/4 C dry roasted pumpkin seeds
2 t olive oil
salt to taste


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and bring water back to boil. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes. Add raisins and pumpkin seeds and stir. Return lid and let sit until all water is absorbed.

Boil yams for 3-5 minutes, until just soft. Heat olive oil in large pan or wok. Sauté garlic for minute. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. When yams are just soft, drain and add to pan with Italian seasoning and cook until yams start to brown. Combine quinoa and yams in pan and salt to taste. Serve warm.

Variations on a theme: Add 1 cup mushrooms with yams, substitute cranberries for the raisins and/or use walnuts in place of pumpkin seeds. Add 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro before serving.


06 October 2008

double cheeseburger, or hummer?

i was reminded the other day of a study conducted by the u.n. in 2006 that explored the impact of an animal based diet on global warming. for me, the decision to go vegan was greatly influenced by environmental concerns. fish was one of the last animal foods i gave up, but the more i learned about the state of our oceans and the threat of extinction to so much aquatic life, it was a gimme. when considering how much energy is used to feed, medicate, transport and ultimately process livestock, it's hard not to see how the meat industry overwhelmingly contributes more to greenhouse emissions than even transportation. but there are still too many people - voting people - who don't "believe in" global warming. you and i (assuming you believe the "liberal media") can look at the numbers and realize serious steps need to be taken to save our planet and that we can make an impact as individuals on a daily basis, by choosing a vegan diet. but considering some americans will be going to the polls next month denying global warming with notions of natural climate cycles and end times, Time Magazine got it right when they suggested that the next administration may have a greater impact on climate change than my choice of a vegan lifestyle. although, whatever the outcome this november, you can be sure i'll keep making my compassionate living choices.



05 October 2008


My favorite cartoon character growing up was Garfield the cat and one of my favorite foods was lasagna. I remember watching Garfield eat pans of lasagna in one swift gulp and admiring him for his good taste. Lasagna is one of those classic comfort foods that so many of us vegans crave and one that tends to make the omnivores cry foul if done incorrectly. I assembled this veganized version of the classic recipe on the fly a few weeks ago when I needed to come up with an easy dinner option to take to my (omni) mom's house. It turned out well and even got compliments from my tofu-suspicious steak-eating step-father. I was really pleased with the recipe but did a little tweaking of the tofu "ricotta" mixture and voilà! Here, then is my recipe for GF vegan lasagna, or what I like to call veganagna:

You Will Need:

1 box GF lasagna noodles* (I like the rice variety)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1 C water
1 T lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 14 oz package extra firm tofu
1 C fresh chopped parsley
3 t Italian seasoning
3 T vegan parmesan style rice topping
1 C vegan mozzarella style soy cheese, shredded (I like Follow Your Heart Gourmet Cheese Alternative)
13" x 9" baking pan (I use glass)


Preheat oven to 400˚F. Drain and press tofu. Using a fork, crumble tofu in medium sized mixing bowl until crumbles are uniform in size. Add parsley, lemon juice, 2T "parmesan", garlic and 2t of Italian seasoning to tofu and combine. Mix water with marinara sauce and coat bottom of baking pan in a thin layer. Add a layer of noodles** and top with marinara and tofu mixture. Repeat layers, leaving the top layer of noodles without tofu mixture and instead top off with remaining marinara sauce and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle "mozzarella" and "parmesan" on top. Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 - 50 minutes. Remove foil and brown under broiler for 1 - 2 minutes. Bon appétit!

* There is no need to boil the noodles if you add water to the marinara sauce. Add more water if your sauce is very thick.

**I like to break a couple noodles and use the pieces it to fill in any gaps in the layers.


23 September 2008

a new name for the color of my favorite sweater

canned peas, for some unknown reason i picked up a can a while ago. i was searching my cupboard for inspiration last night and came across this lowly can with a label of emerald green. i thought to myself: i love green peas; they would be good in a thai peanut sauce with zucchini and mushrooms over rice. my suspicions began after i opened the can (note: that is not an actual picture of my canned peas, but an exact likeness). the little balls of protein waiting patiently in that tin were not of fresh emerald, but sickly yellow-green. i tried not to give this disappointing color much thought and continued to drain and rinse the peas. then the smell hit me. you know the one, every canned vegetable possesses this scent that is most akin to salad mix that has started to go and is all brown and slimy. again i gave the humble peas the benefit of the doubt. i heated up a pan on the stove and added the peas to warm up. at this point i was starting to lose my confidence in the green goodness. the peas seemed only to be getting soggy and gooshy in the pan. a taste was in order. and then the peas were in the garbage and i had decided i would never again waste my money on canned peas. the taste was completely offensive and the texture was worse. i realized the color of those canned peas was what is referred to as pea green, which has always confused me. delicious fresh green peas are the color of summer and grass and freshness. no, that color we call pea green should actually be called canned pea green. gross.

20 September 2008

lovitt restaurant

housed in a re-purposed old farmhouse in colville, wa, lovitt restaurant serves up some scrumptious vegan fare. the restaurant takes up the first floor of the house and the owners live out of the second floor. lovitt is not a vegan, or even vegetarian restaurant, but with a menu that utilizes fresh herbs from their own garden along with produce from local farmers, the chef is happy to accommodate a vegan appetite. upon my second visit, i was excited to see a vegan offering on that week's menu*. the atmosphere is elegant, but also casual and down to earth. they have outdoor seating available on the wrap-around porch that looks out onto the garden. after two visits, lovitt restaurant has become a favorite.

* the haystack with pickled veggies and chickpeas on lentil "griddle cakes" topped with vegan pesto and fried chard, pictured above - delicious!