Monday, February 09, 2009

Veg-versary and Birthday!

Well, today was a big day, and not just because I turned another year old (sigh!). I have been vegan for exactly three years now, and vegetarian for a decade! Phew - if I can do that, surely you omnis can do it for a meal, a day, a week or even a month during March (Meatout Month)! :)

Start off with this meal from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook: Vegan Pot Roast! This hearty, winter type dish was my husband's meal choice this week, of course, but I have say, it was pretty darn good! We used my homemade seitan (see last post) which I had frozen in baggies with the broth (I label how many pounds or ounces in each bag). I thawed it, sliced it, marinated it in some great red wine sauce, and baked it in the oven in our never-before-used Dutch oven with some veggies! Everything was perfect, except perhaps there could have been more onions. Four star rating for this bad boy ****. Very good.

So, although today was my big day, I had to work today, so I spent the weekend doing my birthday ritual. Namely, relaxing, running, talking to friends and family, and shopping. No cleaning but of course I still had to cook (more on that later).

I had gotten some gift certificates to Pangea's (in Rockville, MD) so on Sunday hubby and I trekked up there to check out the store. Boy, was it tiny!! But, still very cool to know that every single thing there was vegan. I got some things I had been eyeing or craving for a while: that snazzy punk studded belt, white chocolate chips (ohhh....heaven!!), a humane mouse trap, Red Star nutritional yeast (has B12), Parma (which I was a little disappointed in - tasted like what I make at home), Chreese (mozzarella style mix), and some eye makeup (yes, most makeup is not vegan, as it has either animal urine or bug parts in it - yuck! This stuff was beautiful (No Miss brand)). Hubby wanted a big fat vegan cookie (500 calories for one!) and some Tofurky jerky. Thank you to Mum, Dad and hubby for the gift certificates!

Here's my no-curves waist showing off that hip belt. Not sure if I'm supposed to put it through the loop holes or not....I feel like such a bad ass wearing it, though....(no pun intended)

Then, it was off to eat my birthday dinner! We supped at The Vegetable Garden, just five minutes down the road from Pangea. Awesome food! It is macrobiotic but the style is mostly Asian. We were first served with some homemade brown bread that had a tender pieces of zucchini and summer squash in it. Neat! After an appetizer of Asparagus wrapped with Seaweed (served warm - sooo good!), hubby had the General Tso's Chicken (mock meat, of course, and honestly, really good!), while I opted for...

The Garden Pan macrobiotic plate. I figured that I can make Chinese/Asian food just about any time. Those cool looking round veggies are lotus root slices. It was basically a stir fry with the lotus root, marinated tempeh cubes (delicious!), bok choy, carrots, tofu skin (yuba?), mushrooms and kelp. Scrumptious. And, they served it with the most tender brown rice. Everything was so good, I didn't even miss dessert (they served it, but I'm just staying away from refined sugar and sweet stuff for a while...)
The best part? Seeing several stickers on the door such as this one....!

Last week, I had a hankering to bake and this Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake from Veganomicon did the trick. It looked so perfect and smelled so good! I tested it a few minutes before it was supposed to be done, and the cake tester came out clean. Unfortunately, it was a little bit underdone. Let this baby cook the whole way! Beautiful flavor, though. Three and stars ***.

Here are some slices up close. Don't know if you can tell they are a bit underdone in the middle. It crumbled a bit, too.

This Chickpea Tomato Spelt Soup was actually a recipe that I clipped from Body and Soul magazine a while back! (Click on the "recipe" link for the recipe! I subbed veggie broth for the chicken, of course). I had some spelt in my pantry to use up (saving money!) and some cans of chopped tomatoes that we bought in bulk at BJ's. I had the parsley and carrot, too.

The best part? I used some really cheap dried chickpeas and cooked them myself! You do have to plan in advance to do this (soaking overnight or at least in the morning before you cook dinner), but it's worth it! The chickpeas were done perfectly and with no salt - much better for you and definitely saves money! Not sure if it's more environmentally friendly, though, since you use energy and water this way, but I figure lots of energy and water go into the canning process, including the making and recycling of the can. Whatever. The soup was incredible. Four stars, easy ****(I'm on a four star rating plan at the moment -I may switch to five being the highest). I can't wait to make this for my Veg Group but unfortunately spelt is not quite gluten free!

I also made Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Veganomicon, but forgot to take a photo. The jelly kind of spread throughout the batter, but everyone who ate one seemed to like them well enough! (I didn't have one, remember? But the batter I licked was pretty darn good!). Three stars for these ***. I tried to make them gluten free with Bob's Red Mill flour, but I left out the xanthan gum and they were way too flat (zero stars). So, Berry-Coconut Crisp (yes, from Veganomicon!) to the rescue! This was gluten-free, with white rice and quinoa flours on top, and the coconut mixed with berry flavor was to die for! I had one tiny bite of this at the Veg Group and was in bliss! Four stars **** What a great way to celebrate so many milestones. Here's to good food - even in tiny bites!

1 comment:

VeggieGirl said...