31 August 2009

Locavore 100 Mile Challenge: Day One

Today's menu:
Breakfast - rolled emmer with honey and blackberries and mint tea with honey
Snack - peach
Lunch - rolled emmer with zucchini, onion, garlic, comfrey and tomatoes sauteed in camelina oil
Snack - apple cider (I drank about three glasses through out the day - I may need more!)
Dinner (above) - garlic rubbed roasted acorn squash stuffed with spelt berries, carrots, garlic and onion sauteed in camelina oil with savory herb, drizzled with honey and a baked potato drizzled with camelina oil

Overall, my meals have been satisfying but I did wish for salt several times today. My son is not following these restrictions, but he did try some of my breakfast and liked it. He really enjoyed dinner too, but of course, he added salt and pepper to everything and had Earth Balance on his potato. While I was removing the seeds from the squash as I prepared dinner, I paused just long enough before throwing them out to consider saving them to toast. Can you toast acorn squash seeds? The internets tell me yes. I have those in the oven right now with some camelina oil and savory herb. Snacking is going to be my biggest challenge after caffeine, but at least I'll have toasted squash seeds tomorrow! I also roasted a garlic bulb and will probably throw in some tomatoes since the oven is already on. Looking at Monique's breakfast tomatoes earlier made my mouth water!

And Go!

The challenge has officially begun! For the next five days I will only be eating food that was grown within a 100 mile radius of Spokane. I spent the week preparing by researching local food, buying said food and weaning myself off coffee. That's right, like many other participants of this challenge, I have a nasty caffeine addiction. I realized early on that it could be my downfall, so I limited my consumption leading up to the contest. I have to be at work at 7am (so why am I up writing this?!) and coffee is my constant companion, but this week I'm having an affair with the local dried mint tea that I picked up at the Roots Market at Fresh Abundance on Sunday.

After stopping by the market on Sunday, my friend Amy and I drove up to Green Bluff where I picked up some apple cider, onions, peaches and honey. Add to that the carrots, acorn squash, dried mint, blackberries, comfrey, jalapenos and bok choy from the Roots Market and the zucchini, tomatoes, corn, chard, bell peppers and rhubarb from the Perry Street Farmers' Market and potatoes and garlic from the Spokane Farmers' Market, I'm in good shape so far. I only wish I'd known about the hazelnuts up at Green Bluff. The only allowable grain I've found so far is rolled emmer (farro) and have not yet identified a source for beans/lentils. Fresh Abundance carries camelina oil, grown and processed in Marlin, WA that is safe for the challenge. I picked up a bottle of that for almost $17. The price seems a little steep, but as a vegan, that will be the only fat in my very limited diet this week.

For breakfast, I'll be replacing my usual cereal of quinoa, hazelnut milk, fresh fruit and cinnamon with rolled emmer, honey and blackberries. I combined the remainder of the emmer I cooked up with some sauteed zucchini, onion, garlic, comfrey and heirloom tomatoes for lunch and packed a peach for a mid-afternoon snack. For dinner, I think I'll roast some of that squash.

There are still a few things I need to work on acquiring: more rolled emmer, China Bend wine (after much debate about yeast, this item has officially been added to the allowable list), more fruit and hopefully (fingers crossed), a legume.

29 August 2009

Another Vegan Bake Sale!

The Spokane Vegans are at it again! This time we're supporting KYRS, Spokane's only community radio station. Stop by the Community Building tomorrow between 11am and 5pm (or until we run out of treats). All the usual suspects will be there, including evildoodles, cupcakes and fudgacado with some new friends like muffins and double chocolate almond cookies. See you there!

25 August 2009

Vegan on a Budget: Gardening and Gleaning

One of the best ways to cut your food bill is to grow your own fruits and vegetables. There are many great resources on the web and at the library about backyard gardening and small space/container gardening. Unfortunately, some of us don't even have a balcony to grow tomatoes on. That's where gleaning comes in. Talk your neighbors, friends, family and co-workers and let them know you'd be happy to help them out with their over abundance of X fruit or vegetable. Anyone who has a garden usually has one crop that they can't keep up with and are more than happy to share the wealth with you. Even if you have your own garden, why not trade some of your extra tomatoes with your neighbor who has an abundance of zucchini? Or maybe you could talk to your friend with that big backyard but no time and work out a deal where you garden on their land and share the bounty? Either way you go, you're saving money and participating in the local community!

Home Gardening links:

You Grow Girl
Anarchy in the Garden, formerly known as Victory Home and Garden
Your Small Kitchen Garden
Small Green Garden
Food Not Lawns Inland Northwest

20 August 2009

My First 7vs7 Challenge!

The people over at Spokane Food Blog are organizing a challenge between local bloggers. The contestants will commit to eating only food that is grown or raised (but in my case only grown!) within a 100 mile radius for five days. That means no coffee, salt, olive oil, chocolate, tea or even tofu! I'm in, but I'll be honest, I'm scared. No tofu? No quinoa? No sugar?! I have a few ideas in mind, but this is going to be tough. Thankfuly, this area has a lot to offer agriculturally. It's time to do some research and probably cancel my produce box from Fresh Abundance for that week. It would be terrible if I lost because of a pluot from California!

A list of the other participants can be found on SFB.

09 August 2009

My New Project

I've been thinking a lot about food lately. More than usual - but maybe that's a good thing. With the releases of movies like Food, Inc. and various authors like Mark Bittman talking openly, albeit not comprehensively, about our current food crisis, it seems almost everyone is reconsidering their relationship to the industrial food chain. Including me. Like everyone else, I've also been thinking about money and budgeting lately. Specifically, how my spending habits impact my community, my bank account and my family's health.

I know that a vegan diet is the healthiest way my family can eat. But how healthy is a Gardenburger? What impact does that processed vegan cheez have on the environment and our community? Am I really getting the most out of the money I spend on food? When presented with the idea, a lot of people will say that they can't go vegan or vegetarian because it costs too much. By offering simple tips such as avoiding processed foods at the grocery store, I hope to dispel that myth in a series of posts about eating Vegan on a Budget. I'll cover topics ranging from local shopping to making your own tofu and non dairy milks. I will keep a focus on eating local, seasonal whole foods, local shopping and above all, creativity and thriftiness. This will be a regular series for the foreseeable future and you should see the first related post within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I'm going to see Food, Inc. at the end of the week. I'm very excited to see the movie that's been getting so much attention lately and even more excited to start discussing it!

03 August 2009

Midnight Baker

It's hot! With temperatures at or nearing 100° for weeks now and no A/C in my apartment, the only time to bake is late at night to early morning. My best friend had a bridal shower on Saturday and one of my co-workers had a baby shower today. I volunteered to bake cupcakes for both events. For the bridal shower, I used the basic chocolate cupcake recipe and buttercream frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (VCTOW). I added blue food coloring, because blue is her wedding color. I wasn't happy with the finished product though. I felt like I was molesting a smurf when I ate the frosting. No good.

For the baby shower, I made gluten free cupcakes using Pamela's Chocolate Cake Mix and topped them off with the chocolate buttercream frosting (I used Dutched cocoa, yum!) from VCTOW. My son loves this mix and you'd never know it's gluten free. The cupcakes came out really moist and fudgy. My new manager is gluten intolerant and she really appreciated the cupcakes. As a vegan, I know how it feels to be surrounded by all kinds of food at various gatherings and not be able/willing to eat it. I always like to share something that everyone can eat, no matter their dietary restrictions. Food should bring us together, not separate us!

It looks like I'll be doing even more baking in the near future. The Spokane Vegans have been asked to do bake sales for two different benefits this month. We're still working out the details, but they should be great community events. I'll share the info once we have the details down.