always something (there to remind me)

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Image by Rooey202 via Flickr

Now that I’m nearly vegan—and my lactose-intolerant insides thank me for finally going back to being dairy-free—I’d noticed that I was still feeling gross sometimes after eating, the way I would after I would down some ice cream before, and I couldn’t figure out why. But then it hit me: I felt awful after eating stuff with gluten in it.

So, that’s what I’m trying next: going gluten-free. As I was doing some research as to the best way to go about this, I ran across an interesting study published in 2001 by doctors at a Swedish university (here’s a WebMD article that breaks it down) that had some really interesting findings about gluten and autoimmune arthritis, namely that a significant minority of people with (in this case) rheumatoid arthritis round relief in a gluten-free diet.

That’s really exciting to me; going vegetarian and then vegan has helped somewhat, especially in the face of the six-month Enbrel effectiveness dip I always seem to hit. If going gluten-free was even as effective as that, I’d be feeling pretty darn good. Of course, it won’t be easy; being a vegan already restricts what I can eat, and obviously going gluten-free would be even more restrictive. Still, it can be done (and I found a vegan GF cookbook!). And, even if it doesn’t help, it’ll certainly be healthier, which is another benefit.

But for you GF folk out there: What are your favourite resources?

just desserts: vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

I love peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Love. Them. Before I went vegetarian/vegan, I would get these delicious cookies from the local grocery co-op near my work; however, as they were made with dairy and eggs, I had to give them up.

Then—inspired by Chocolate-Covered Katie—I realised I could just turn my favourite peanut butter cookie recipe vegan. So, I did. And the results are delicious! (Except when I get too impatient to eat them, and I take them out before they’re fully done. They’re still tasty, then, but they don’t stay together very well. Oops.)

Amazing vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

2/3 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup vegan margarine

2/3 cup brown sugar (I’ve also used agave, with yummy results. Use less and reduce the liquid if you go that route)

1-1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I’ve used soy and almond)

3/4 cup non-bleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

non-dairy chocolate chips to taste

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix egg replacer and water in a small bowl. (I use a whisk. You really need to make sure there aren’t any hidden lumps, which is fun.) Set aside.

2. In a big mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter, sweetener and margarine.

3. Mix in soy milk, egg replacer and vanilla.

4. Sift in flour and baking powder a bit at a time. Add salt.

5. Add chocolate chips.

6. Place cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 8 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned but centre is still soft.

8. Let cool and enjoy!

 

i’m loving … chocolate covered katie

As you know, I’ve been doing the vegetarian thing for awhile now. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling as though I should go the extra mile and banish all animal products from my diet, including eggs (no big loss there) and dairy (nooooooo!). The thing is, I love cheese. And (milk) chocolate. And cheese. Did I say cheese?

Anyway.

The other day, I found a pretty darn good non-dairy mozzarella cheese substitute to put on my whole wheat flatbread pizzas (which I call pita pizzas because it’s just catchier). So, the cheese objection crossed off my list, I moved on to the chocolate conundrum.

via Chocolate Covered Katie

And then I found Katie.

Everything she makes looks amazing—and it’s all vegan. She’s even got sugar-free, gluten-free and even raw variations.

But the proof is in the pudding—or in my case, in the blondies (that’s them in the picture; mine didn’t turn out that pretty looking, but they sure taste good!). I’d had some problems making conventional (from-a-box) desserts and subbing in egg replacer and soy milk instead of eggs and cow milk, so I was ready to tackle making some desserts from scratch. And, honestly? These were easier to make than Betty Crocker’s brownies. Including the prep work and bake time, it took me maybe 50 minutes to make these—and I had them in the oven for 38 minutes.

Oh, and the taste? Out of this world. I made them last night, and I’ve already eaten half the pan.

But the best part (beside the taste and the vegan thing) is they’re healthy. Everything on Katie’s site is. And that means dessert doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure anymore; it can just be something to enjoy. Awesome.

Next up? I’m going to try the cake batter shake.

new turkey(less) day plans

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008

Image via Wikipedia

My vegetarian journey is going pretty well. Meat (of any kind: pork, beef, poultry, seafood; some people keep making me things with seafood in it because it’s not meat, apparently) is definitely one of my triggers; every time I accidentally eat some (there are animal products in tons of things I never would have thought of), I feel pretty terrible the next day.

Now, since the mister and I are going to my in-laws for (American) Thanksgiving, I’ve been trying to find some vegetarian options, so I would have mountains of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for dinner that night. Once again, the New York Times has pulled through for me. On their health blog, Well, they’ve created a new feature: Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Every day until Thanksgiving Day, they’re adding another vegetarian recipe perfect for the holiday. Right now, I’m loving the maple roasted Brussels sprouts, the Thanksgiving roasted root veggies and the skillet macaroni and cheese, and so many more.

So, now I’m psyched again for a tasty Thanksgiving, even if it’s not the traditional one I remember. Thanks, New York Times!

what’s for dinner

So, I decided to try the Mexican chopped salad with crunchy tortilla strips Jen of Jen Loves Kev posted on her blog awhile back.

It. Was. AWESOME.

There is a ton of chopping and prep work involved, so it’s not a meal to take on if your hands are hurting. But the outcome is delicious. I used fresh sweet white corn that I chopped off the cob, and it really made the salad. I doubled the amount of dressing made, and if there’s any left over, it will make an amazing marinade later in the week. Tim put some chicken he’d made up earlier in the week and some goat cheese crumbles and he said it tasted really yummy as a non-vegetarian salad that way.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

Tortilla strips

1 t canola oil

3 6-inch tortillas (I used whole wheat ones, and they were delish)

chili powder

salt

Salad dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 t cumin

2 t coriander

1 t sugar

1 t salt

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

pinch cayenne pepper (I just used more chili powder)

Salad

Romaine & spinach (I just used spinach)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, sliced (I used two because I love avocado)

3 celery stalks, sliced (I left this out by accident. Oops!)

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup corn (I used about four cobs, minus a handful that I just ate)

1/2 cup cooked pinto beans

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1 red pepper, sliced

1/3 cup red onion, sliced (I didn’t feel like cutting red onion, so I cut up the rest of the green ones.)

Prep

1. To make the tortilla strips: Preheat oven to 350*. Brush the tortillas with the canola oil. Cut in half, then into 1/4-inch strips. (I used a pizza roller for this, and it was super easy.) Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. To make dressing: Heat olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and sugar in a saucepan on low heat for two to three minutes. Blend remaining ingredients with oil mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3. Combine everything and toss the salad with the dressing.

And that’s it!

It was super tasty and pretty easy, too. I’m super excited about the leftovers I get to bring to work tomorrow (as you can see).

Nom nom nom, indeed.

I’m noticing now that I’ve made the jump back into being a vegetarian that I’m cooking more — and enjoying cooking, too. I like seeking out recipes that appeal to me, sure, but I’m also on the lookout for those that I could easily turn into a non-vegetarian dish for the mister. It’s an interesting challenge, but I’m definitely liking it.

So, I would love to hear your vegetarian recipes! What have you found works and what doesn’t?

the yogurt of champions

Silk

I am super excited about this.

I went to Target yesterday to do some grocery shopping. And, as I always do, I scanned the yogurt section for the brand of soy yogurt — Silk — I particularly enjoy without much hope it would actually be there.

I’ve had a hard time tracking it down since Harris Teeter pulled it off the shelves a few years ago. The only place I could find it was a specialty co-op grocery store near where I work.

But no longer. Target has decided to stock it! This made for the best day ever. I marshaled a few strawberry and key lime yogurt into my carts. Yum! So, thanks, Target! Now, I can enjoy my lactose-free yogurt without paying more than $1 a-piece for them. Nom nom nom, indeed.